Friday, 28 February 2014

going out on a week night

Im struggling to get the work play balance right.

The temptation to go out on a week night is too great. Im trying to be good and stay in - my week fills up quickly - I take Japanese classes 2 nights a week. I find that when I stay in - cook dinner - maybe study a little Japanese - go to bed early - wake up early energised - have time for exercise and a proper breakfast in the morning - I can get to work early, and feel good about my work ethic, my job and my lifestyle.

I can keep this pattern up for 1,2 or 3 days maybe - but then I will always crack. "Oh, I've been so well behaved, I deserve to hang out with my friends tonight". Im so bored - I need fun..MUST PLAY. MUST GIVE INTO THE TEMPTATION TO GO OUT. The weekend is too far away.

There is no way to have an early night when going out on a week night. This theory has been tried and tested many times. To go out and tell yourself you will somehow magically be in bed by 10.30 is called dellusion. It won't happen - the temptation to stay out a bit longer is always too great. Those late hours of a weeknight are always the most fun. As the level of fun heightens - cutting your losses and calling it a night is possibly one of the hardest things to do. This is something which takes a lot of will power. A level of will power I am not equipt with unfortunately.

Then I end up being drunk - or just getting in real late - having that horrible rush the next morning as dragging myself out of bed becomes the most impossible thing in the world. The I have to run to work, stumbling in a little late - or just making it on time in a way that feels like too much of a close shave. Feeling bad that Im not taking my work seriously enough. Today I made a bad impression. I can't let this happen again. I need to get my act together. I need to show that I am serious about this job. I want to be here.

I go through this cycle every week. Cracking by a Wednesday or Thursday. Same old same old. Would my life be better if I really never went out on a week night? Yes, I would save money, I would do better at work and I would be able to focus more on my studies, meaning my Japanese might improve. However, when a Thursday night looks like this, how can you bare to stay in?:

Monday, 24 February 2014

Hostess Club Weekender

Last Sunday I found myself going to the Hostess Club weekender at Studio Coast club in Tokyo alone. I bought my ticket a couple months prior and was unsuccessful in encouraging any of my mates to come along.

I was just starting to get itchy feet - I hadn't seen any live music for months (I do not see a Japanese Red Hot Chilli Pepper cover band as adequate I'm afraid) - I needed to go to a proper gig.

It was great. I came late in the day catching the last 3 bands - being the 3 acts I wanted to see. Youth Lagoon - fantastic performace. Warpaint - great as always. After warpaint I was approached by 2 white fellows who I faintly recognised. One asked me if I was Zara. I felt really confused for a second - until I realised that I had in fact seen this guy knocking around the Drunken Duck in Mito. Some ALTs from the Sister City programme. Really nice to bump into some fellow Ibarakians - as by that point I had certainly gotten a little bored of being alone.

The National was great. We watched them together. During the encore, the lead singer jumped off the stage and ran around amongst the audience. This caused people to get very excited. I realised that he wasn't going to run in our direction. I made the impulsive decision that I needed to kiss the singer on the face. I dumped my back-pack with the boys and fought my way through the crowds. At first I couldn't get close. Then I jumped at him, threw my arms around his neck and gave him a big kiss on the cheek. What I experienced was a face full of beard hair. Totally worth it.

ホステス・クラブ・ウィークエンダー Hostess Club Weekender 2014.FEB 会場:新木場 STUDIO COAST

Friday, 21 February 2014

Hokkiado trip part 5

I got ill. An inevitability of my pathetic immune system.

On the last day we had a very fun snow-ball fight. I am proud to announce that I started it. At first people were apprehensive of my rough-playing. But they got into it. A successful snow ball fight requires dirty tricks. Thats a scientific fact.

On the plane back I wore a mask because I was ill this time. It was not a preventative measure:

Daniel had to sit next to me. He hated it - I completely emphathise. I hate sitting next to an ill person. Its just awkward when the ill person is you.


I took the next day of work off so I could night-nurse coma. Worked like a charm. got over that cold quickly.

Hokkaido trip part 4

On the first night in Sapporo me and Dyar found a tiny-weeny bar which could only hold about 6 people. We made amigos with the bar-man and a couple of locals. Heres photographic evidence of the event:

On the second night, I went out one evening with Dyar and Holly to a little jazz bar.  A nice time was had by all. Here we are, doing what we do best - posing with jazz bands:

We also got some seriously yummy butter-ramen down this little ramen street with "the gang". Here is an artists interpretation of thier lovely mugs:

Hokkiado trip part 3

We spent two nights in Sapporo. This is the main city of Hokkaido. It was a cool place. The Yuki Matsuri (snow festival) was taking place. there were ice sculptures and yummy food. I also managed to meet up with some other UK JETs who I met at orientation. Sounds like things are pretty lame in other prefectures. Sad times for other JETs.

Heres some pictures from the festival:

Me and Riley found a Japanese style tardis. Weirdly the inside was as small as it looks like it is from the outside. Havent they heard of Dr.Who???

Heres me and Tommy are posing in front of a sculpture we constructed earlier that day. Yes its the Malaysian embassy. We were feeling `quirky`:

 Here I am with robbie and riley - some of the JETS from Hitachi-Ota. By this point you might have guessed that I bought a silly ram hat. well excuuuuuuuuuuse me for getting into the festive spirit, I dont see you half trying as hard buddy-kins:

Theres a great anecdote attached to this picture. It involves a choco-banana. You'll just have to take my word for it:

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Hokkaido trip part 2

Saturday: The big day

I tried skiing. After mastered the bunny slope, I had developed false confidence in my abilities. This resulted in me falling on my face many many times on what was labelled the "beginners slope"- it was pretty steep I thought. Well, I certainly ate a lot of snow. Apparently I dont know how to turn whilst skiing - I clearly lack any control. This means that I end up going waaay too fast down mountains and then forcing myself to stop the only way I know how - by plunging myself face first into the oh so soft Hokkaido mountain snow if Niseko. How romantic.

We went to a bar called "Wild Bills", where an ex-Ibaraki gaijin was working. I ended up sleeping in the linen cupboard of a youth hostel.

At the so called place with Randy after I forced myself behind the DJ booth:

I couldnt find any pictures with me wearing ski-gear....yet.

Hokkaido Trip part 1

We went on a 4 day trip tp Hokkaido last weekend.

Here's the run down.

Thursday night: Drove down to Shin-Moriya with Alana, Tommy and Riley. We, as well as Randy stayed at Dyars. Riley and I share the same type of insomnia - we both didnt sleep all night because Randy was snoring. Luckily I had someone to lie awake with and complain all night.

Friday: Wake up bright and early at 6 after one hours sleep. Head to Haneda airport. Conflict over how Haneda is pronounced. Im starting to learn that the way I pronounce anything in Japanese is completely off. Being a posh Brit, apparently I struggle with the Japanese 'a'. 

On the plane journey I wore a face mask as I was sat next to an ill person. I also played a paper game with a few people - something to do with interpreting images and senteces and images and sentences until you end up with something entirely different from what you started. 

Friday was a whole day of travelling. Eventually we arrived in Niseko. We hired to chalets to fit our large group of 18. There were issues deciding who would stay with whom. Total playground politics. Some tried to avoid this on-coming issue by suggesting "a boys house and a girls house" - but then the winning suggestion - which I originally poo-pooed was that of "a party house and a quiet house".  Then a night of debauchery in the chalet I ended up in.

There was a medium-level funny in-joke on this trip that words that one was unable to come up with would be replaced with "chalet".

In the chalet:

All photos have been stolen from friends facebook albums.

this morning

This morning I drove for half an hour running a little late - on an express-road with something very painful and uncomfortable in my right eye. I had no opportunity and no time to stop and fish it out. I was also incredibly thirsty and my throat was itchy.

I would describe this as probably my worst trip to work.

Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to read this inconsequential tale. The end.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

face masks

I find myself in that annoying situation where I'm ill at work wearing a facemask. This makes me feel ridiculous. The concept of wearing one makes enough sense - but half of my vision is cut out. Good for typing practice I suppose.

I've become so accustomed to people wearing facemasks in Japan. It gets to a point where if someone seems ill and they are not wearing one its like "wheres your mask bro?". However, wearing one myself is something Ive had to build up the courage to do. The first time I wore one to work I felt so self-conscious. I believe this to be ironic as people tend to wear them to blend in rather than stand out. In a way I equate it to muslim woman wearing a hjiab. Sometimes they wear them just to fit in and not draw any attention to themselves. However - culturally there are completely different intentions behind Japanese people wearing a 'hygenic' facemask and a lady muslim face scalf.

When you first roll up to japan, and suddenly see everyone wearing white facemasks. It's really shocking and somewhat intimidating - and then you get used to it and stop noticing when people are wearing them. Some people wear them preventatively, as a precaution to not getting sick and sometimes they are worn by someone who is sick. They are worn by different people for different reasons, this is something I quite like about it. If you are having an ugly-day you can just pop one on, and no one will question it. But in all honesty, I dont know how people can really go about their business wearing these things. I know my dad has to wear a facemask for his job - as do many people. I also think that when you are ill and sneezing and spluttering loads wearing one of these makes you feel better about your public appearance. I have a friend who wears them when he gets a spot. But really, wearing one of these things, I feel surreal. They make me feel so far away. As though I am somehow detached. This is partly due to the hot air that is circulating under my mask coming from my nose and mouth.

They make me feel so insular, and when I wear one I dont want anyone to talk to me. When I take it off randomly, to take a drink, eat a snack or to blow my nose, I get a weird rush of reality, suddenly Im back in the room.

the bangs are back

I gave myself a "drastic" hair cut this week.

I am my own personal and favourite hairdresser.

I suddenly feel young again. Not that im getting too old. But it felt like a new breath of life - or whatever the expression is. I caught my reflection in a computer screen at school on Monday. I suddenly realised that my hair was getting way too long - the ends all split and unhealthy looking. The whole thing was looking frizzy - basically it looked like a bush in an overgrown, uncared for garden. I dont know the adjective to describe it. But I remimded myself of this unfortunate looking girl I met at the JET London orientation. She was one of those bizarre people who had been growing her hair for years and never thought to cut it. Her hair was so long, it went down to her butt. I hate this. What happens when these people with the obnoxiously long hair go to the toilet? does it not hang down into the bowl? What are they doing? trying to save money on a scalf? Or do they actually think that this is atractive. eww.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Ladies night

For the first time since arriving in Japan I had a girls night. Some of the ladies based round northern ibaraki stayed the night at Hana's little house in hitaciomiya. Where she lives is so incredibly beautiful, it really is what you expect and hope to see from the japanese country side. 

We drank wine, giggled about everything,bitched about boys and danced to Beyoncé. It was exactly what you would expect, and reminded me of times spent with my main lady crew from home. viva la tour de garçon.

 I don't know why it took so long for us all to get together like that. I felt down my first few months here because I didn't feel as though I had really connected with any of the girls here. I had quickly developed friendships with several of the boys - but I craved the type of conversation you can really only have with female friends. 
I'm so glad to say that I now have a wonderful crew of lady friends here- and not just random female friends scattered - but a real group- a support system to call upon and organise a ladies night when needed. Yay! 

The cool thing about staying round at a mates in Japan is that there seems to be an abundance of futons- so everyone gets all cosy together. Lay a bunch of futons out in a row (fit to the length of the room)- throw a million blankets, pillows, duvets and an electric blanket or two down (Especially in winter)- then you have yourself the recipe for a sleepover party. 


I ended up staying round at Daniels the night before a meeting (we were playing board games until 2 In the morning).
So the next day I had to borrow his clothes. 
I wore a mans shirt and tie over my black skinny jeans. I've never received so many compliments.

This is me shaking hands with Daniel on his birthday.