Monday, 27 January 2014

time to decide


Ive been a little stressed as it’s recontracting time. It’s the time of year when people decide if they want to stay for another year or not (or find out if they’ve been offered the position to do so). Tensions are high – it strangely feels like a game of poker. Its only a matter of time until everyone had laid their cards on the table. Or a reality game-show, like Big Brother – who stays? Who goes? You decide.  Im sure I could squeeze a few more analogies in there. hmm....  Nope, I tried too hard and drew a blank. back to the draqing board.

Just for the record: I am going to re-contract. Meaning I’m here another year suckers.

Monday, 20 January 2014

A photograph from two different angles




when joe was here

Heres somepictures Ive found online from when Joe was here:

Karaoke and others:













Joe got some new clothes, I wonder if he managed to buy a big enough suit case to take them all back with him?:


I wanna climb with you on a mountain

We climbed Mt.Tskuba. What a great day.


Up we go, 2 by 2



little rest stop:


At the top with tired little Riley:





 And some more humans who managed to reach the top:



We got silly with daleths face:



cool view with holly and riley:



Afterwards some of us drove up to Mito to catch up with these fools:



Thursday, 16 January 2014

on second thought

I dont know why I was so angry. I feel bad. Im not really angry. for god sake im crap at being angry - that sort of energy always gets converted into silliness at some point anywayz. Well one of my all time silly mood sountracks is patrick wolf, which Ive been listening to all morning. what an old classic. the only gig ive proudly done the do-si-do at. That was with charlie baylis. what an odd re-occuring character in my life. I should write the story of my relationship with charlie baylis before its forgotten from my life memory.

In early 2007, at the Dublin Castle pub in Camden Town (my old favourite - as it was the only place I didnt get ID'd prior to being the age of legal consent) - I went out for a drink with my friend Nancy. More exactly, we arranged to meet there for a drink. But she had arrived before me. And in the time before my arrival, Nancy had been left unaccompanied, in which time she had been hit on by Charlie Baylis. My memory from that long ago evening involves him writing her a poem about how lovely he thought she was and claiming he had won some poetry prize at his school - or that he was a published poet or something to that nature - I cannot recall. In fact his reason for being there was a bizarre anecdote, but who can remember these things?

Flash forward to a few months later. I go to a Patrick Wolf gig - with who? Natalia? maybe my sister Chez?? and possibly a couple of her friends? who did I go to that gig with? hmmm. I was a couple months away from starting my undergraduate degree at Kent. And of course upon instant entrance of the gig, which was at KOKOs, also in Camden (hardly suprising, it was the playground of my teenage years) - who do I bump into, but that same odd poet. So of course, we enjoyed a drink and danced the do-si-do to the magic position (the name of a song - it was not some sort of a sex act I can assure you). Something about dancing that night has always stayed in my memory.

Well, shortly afterwards I began university, and it turned out Charlie Baylis was also a student at Kent. Over the years we stayed friends - never really that close - but we would always chat at bars and house partys and the like. I also remember that I met him for a drink in London earlier last year. Or was it the year before? I know Ive met him for a drink at some point in The Old Blue Last (East London bar), I think he was travelling back from Europe. I dont remember why we met that day, but I can say I find there to be something quite wonderful about the people who come in and out of our lives unexpectedly.

Strangely, I sat down to write about how my car battery died last night outside Mito station. LUCKILY I had two wonderful friends to help. Two real English gentlemen, who happen to speak incredible Japanese and were there to help with the ordeal. Actual theres not much to the story - im just worried that my car will break down at a time when I have no translators or combinis in sight. But the nostaligia caused by music mixed with the remaining effect of a heavy sedative from last night can really add a quirk to things.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

angry

zara has been angry this week. angry. I got so angry the other night that I gave myself a nosebleed. Theres a first. my apartment smells bad. I had to dish out 100 quid for the sake of idiocy. I doubt ill see that money again. What do I get for it? my living room smells like piss, thats what. for reasons known to the person who made it smell like that. Guess what? Japanese washing machines were not built for that. the dry cleaner has ripped me off for washing my coat. I managed to spill every liquid I came into contact with onto it over the weekend. My new expensive kotatsu cover now smells awful. Thanks. Alice Russel seems to be working quite well for this. I have no classes AGAIN.. so what can I do when left to my own thoughts for 8 straight hours but dwell. Last night the water in my aparto would not heat up. I spent an hour heating water using pots and pans over the stove - only to fill my bath a tiny amount for the least satifying bath in my life. What a waste of time and gas. It did make me realise how much water it does take to fill a bath tub. a fair amount. My body was freeezing apart from the lower 3 inches. Prior to that, I spent the whole evening running back and forth between the coin laundry trying to regain the status quo level of homliness - so why does nothing smell clean? I added so much washing liquid. Im gonna have to do it again I think, what a pain in the neck. Im spending a fortune with this shit. mundane chores are the least interesting part of life. Now im sat at work venting. Ive left the windows slightly ajar - hoping to air out the place somewhat. but it just means im going to be going back to the coldest apartment of all time. my bedroom was 3 degrees when I woke up this morning. getting out of bed is not an enjoyable experience in this season. The conclusion is that I am no longer allowing smelly people to stay at/go near my delicate apartment.

Monday, 13 January 2014

back into the swing of things

Agh,

I feel bad that my last blog post had such a negative tone to it. I got a few really nice suppotive messages from various friends from home, thanks for your concern team home-people, i want you to know im doing great!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was honestly having a couple bad days.. post-holiday/January blues. feeling better now!

-My brother was here for a few days - that was fun - but also a little stressful (but mostly fun). I seriously hope he made his flight this morning and has sorted everything out!

-I have signed up to do a 5K run in daigo. I dont know what that means exactly I have no idea how km work - ive never done a marathon style thing before. in fact i havent done any sports since about 2008.  But its fine, Im waking up a little bit earlier everyday to jog in my living room for 10 minutes to music whilst waving my arms around... (i hope that is enough training?)

- Im going to do a nature walk thang to the top of mt.tskuba next weekend with a big group of amigos.

-been chilling with my friends here always makes me feel good!

- getting back into the swing of practising japanese - and being super genki with it all. also going to a new japanese class tonight. if it goes well then i will be going to japanese classes on both tuesday and thursday nights. jeez - this is gonna be a bit full on I think. But hopefully I can improve quite fast! (well thats overly optimisitc) its more like i hope to learn less slow - maybe a bump up from snail speed - to bigger snail speed?





Tuesday, 7 January 2014

january blues

Its so cold at night. getting out of bed in the morning is not just torturous because im tired and was having a nice dream, but also because the space outside of my duvet is an ice block. last night was the especially crap as my heater had ran out of oil. As soon as I finish school today I am going to fill it up. but i fear i am too late - my neck is hurting today, my throat is starting to feel swollen and from just one cold night with not nearly enough hours  of sleep I feel myself descending into illness and becoming victim to the january blues.

i cant be bothered to press on the shift key to punctuate what im typing anymore because when you feel low you feel lazy and basic tasks become arduous. this particular brand of blues has left me staring off into space occassionaly asking myself, whats the point of it all? i know im usually really upbeat arent i? maybe theres something really wrong. no, i think its just the january blues. sat in the office all day - no lessons all week, no purpose. well, apart from thursday which i wish i could just sleep through franky, or have removed from my week altogether. to be honest id prefer my life a seventh shorter with no thursdays than the thursday i currently have to endure. do I really feel that way? no of course not, its those damn jan blues catching me off guard again. although it does feel that if i can get through the day without anyone speaking to me, or if im lucky, without making eye contact then it was a good day. i wonder, am i usually this antisocial? no no, jan blues, up in my grill and headspace again.

god i hate how so many people at work have full view of my laptop screen. they must know what im doing at all times. wheres privacy when you need it? I just tried to watch tv online but i cant enjoy it whatsoever. I am too paranoid that all the people behind me are looking up, looking over at my screen thinking "whats she wasting time on now?" seeing that its a cartoon of some sort, then tutting, shaking their heads with disapproval and returning to something incredibly meaningful and productive. still, at least no one can understand what im writing. thats the only form of privacy I have.

Is it ironic, or utterly unsuprising that the cause of my social isolation at work is the key to my concealment? why did that sentence sound so pretentious? is it because I had to use a thesaurus to come to the word concealment? damn these life mysteries.


I read ages ago that the january blues are common for JETS at this time of year. the weather is cold, the holidays are over, the novelty of being in japan has worn off and all the annoying things about this place start to surface. why is there no central heating anywhere? why is everything so damn bureucratic? why is combini food so shit? when will people stop starring at me like my being here is breaking some sort of natural physical law? why is everyone so damn shy about everything? When will i be able to understand any japanese at all? why after trying so hard for 4 months am i still unable to string a sentence together? is it me? am i not trying hard enough? are my learning techniques bad? am i not practising enough? not spending enough time trying to make conversation with the locals? or are those cheeky buggers deliberately changing the language every couple of weeks just to throw me off?  no, of course not, its just the january blues and they got me reaaaaal bad.

well, time to look at the bright side: I have a pair of headphones. well... thats as far as that list goes.

ok january, you win this time, but im watching you. when february comes AND IT WILL COME lets see who has the last laugh.

but in the meantime, what can i do but wallow.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

sydney- a family holiday2

On December 27th we drovve up to the Blue Mountains. It was nice. Well, I had a good time, I love nature trails and crap like that. My dad has a really bad feat of heights, although he was coping. Joe had really bad sun-stroke so spent most of the day in the car trying not to die. On the plus side he got a nice sun hat.

We heart nature-trails! me plus siblings:

The moment Joes sunstroke kicked in:


We are adventurers we are adventuring:






we went for the classic titanic pose:




While writing this I just ate a really yummy piece of fruit. Japanese mikkan are like a really big yummy tangerine/clementine thing. YUM.

A chocolate disappointment

My favourite restaurant in Israel is Max brenner. A chocolate specialist. I went with my cousins in Tel Aviv numerous times. I was excited to see that one was opening in Tokyo. However, now that it has opened there is a line for an hour and a half outside of it. So I guess I wont be going anytime soon. There's also a few branches in Sydney. As excited as I was by this news, I was disappointed by the quality of Max Brenner in Sydney. How can they make chocolate pizza soooo good in Israel, that I've spent almost 2 years craving my next one, to finally having one in Sydney that was so BAD that I've been put off for life? DEAR GOD WHY?

You can't fake this sort of deranged excitment.



This is the last time I will smile over a chocolate pizza. thats for sure.

In other news my new years resolution is to stop eating chocolate for a year. 6 days in and im doing well. Lets see how long it takes until I crack. Hopefully long enough that my skin clears up a bit. I know that chocolate has been the source of my bad skin - but ive always been too weak to give up my addiction. I just love the stuff, what can I say?

sydney- a family holiday1

Without doubt there is always going to be arguments, disagreements and general drama. This is a given with our family holidays and get-togethers. I think this is rather normal. So yes, there was a fair share of this. Especially on christmas, as the weather was crap and we were all forced to spend the whole day together trapped in the apartment. On the whole, it was a good trip. A much needed holiday for everyone I think. As much as we argued we also laughed.

Anyway, my sister took loads of pictures which is very useful. So here is the rundown of what went on. This update is for moo as she wasn't able to come.


On Christmas eve, we went for a long walk across the coasts in Sydney:






We all agreed how great the public workout spaces in Sydney are:


Australia has an ice-lolly called "golden gaytime". hmm. Also I had a very bad spot which took the entire trip to go down.


On Christmas day it was raining. So we had to use umbrellas to protect our precious BBQ.


On boxing day the skies were blue, so I went with chez and padre for a walk in the botanical gardens of Sydney.



We walked to the famous Sydney Opera house and into the center of town.


Hey Look! Its the Sydney Harbour bridge!


Wednesday, 1 January 2014

return

I am back in my apartment. the journey was so smooth. so easy, organised, nothing difficult. My apartment is nice and clean as I left it - its a sunny day, the weather is great, not too cold - not a cloud in the sky and not even a breeze. I guess this was a good day to come back.

Now im in a tired and hazy mood from the over-night flight. I don't want to unpack - I hate unpacking. My ears are still all bunged up from the flight. I can never get away with that - it always get it bad. I spoke to the guy sitting next to me on the flight, and we started talking about it, I asked him if he ever suffered from his ears blocking up on flights, and he said "oh, I used to get it when I was little, but Ive grown out of it". WHAAT? What does he mean?? Its not a toy, or a piece of clothing, you cant just grow out of it? it either happens or it doesn't surely? maybe I really don't understand the science behind what happens to peoples ears on planes.

My sister has uploaded all the pictures from our holiday onto facebook. So in the short time I've been back I've already scrolled through them all. I feel quite sad being back so soon - our holiday was so nice - Sydney is such a chilled place and it was HOT (not to mention there's so many yummy food places). Everyone else will stay there for another week. JEALOUS. On my last day I got to see aunty mayfish for a few hours which is always funny, she lives in Cairns, and had just flown in from a trip to Perth, so we overlapped our time in Sydney by about 4 hours. We also got to spend some time with cousin Jason, who lives in Melbourne, but coincidentally had arranged to come to Sydney over the holidays. What great timing to see all my favourite Aussie relatives.

Theres a chance that I might go visit aunty mayfish in May sometime. Apparently its not a very long flight between japan and northern Australia. Also Ive been told that I must see the great barrier reef before its all knocked down and destroyed. I also have to fly to Israel in July for Amanda's wedding. So much flying around. makes me nervous.