Monday, 23 June 2014

When Chez came to visit 4 : Ushiku

On the saturday of Chez's 3rd weekend, after a night of hardcore karaoke we went on a rather nice day trip. However, that morning was filled with rushing around, missing trains, a very long horrible bus jouney, an insane amount of heat and many bottles of water.

But in the end we got Ushiku. The largest standing buddha in the world which happens to be in Ibaraki.

The site also has a rather nice carp pond, and of course what all massive buddhas need... a petting zoo.

Dr. Freddy DoLittle

I discovered that Riley has a weird love of goats. Something has always told me not to trust her, and now I know why:

There is something very pathetic about this:

Hey! its one of those face hole things... the epitome of a fun day out:

Did I mention there was a monkey show? It made me feel depressed like the time I saw the dophin show at the Oarai aquarium. I mean, were those monkeys even trying? The low standard of their so called "magic tricks" would say otherwise. Also when they made the monkeys bow to us by pulling on their neck chains I felt that they didn't bow low enough and felt personally disrespected.

Daniel was there with his bruva:

When Chez came to visit 3 : Karaoke rites of passage

Chez went travelling for a while by herself. If you are interested in this, please see Chez's blog for details.  When she came back mid way through the following week it was nice to see she had settled into the place. That weekend, I took chez out for a night in Mito with a big group of my friends. A lot of money was spent, much alcohol was consumed, but most importantly Chez was able to tick something off from her list of things to do in Japan... karaoke. Something which is best done in a large group of people between the hours of 1 and 3 in the morning.

Me and Micheal attempting to dance to Frozens "let it go":

When Chez came to visit 2: Welcome to Ibaraki life

On Monday I took Chez to school with me. I took her to the technical school where I teach on a Monday. This school is 95% genki male students so the attention chez got was pretty funny.

This was taken in the school office:

We took some pictures with one of my classes, but I am not allowed to post pictures of students on the internet... so I won't.

Outside the school we saw a rare, poisonous bug:

On Monday night I took Chez to Babas - a little bar we sometimes go on a Monday night which has a group of local rockers - basically a jam night where everyone is encouraged to join in. Although I have no musical talent, I have on occasion taken to the mic. Japanese karaoke culture has gotten to my head for sure.

Daniel turned up with his little brother Micheal, and Chris showed up with a cool hat:

I dont remember what we did on Tuesday night, probably took it easy? Agh no - I think we went to the drunken duck maybe... hmm, who can be sure? In fact, yes, thats exactly what happened because I just found a photograph:

I took Chez to my base school on Wednesday, where we went to 4 classes of students giving "movie review" presentations. It was cute. I made chez be a judge. I also took her to my Wedneday Australia club thing - where some students who are doing an exchange trip to Australia have been preparing presentations. We had a mini Q&A with Chez as she is 100% a complete expert on the place. You can literally ask Chez anything about Australia and she will know the answer.

When Chez came to visit 1: Arrival, Ueno, Golden Gai and Ghibli

Chez was here the last few weeks. Im so glad that everyone else in the world uses a camera... it makes it so easy to recall everything. She took so many photographs that I can describe everything that happened in a fun picture book way.

Where did it start? Saturday 31st of May. I met Chez very early saturday morning in Ueno. We were both tired...and Chez was in need of a shower, but we were not able to check into our awful little guest house until midday, so we dumped off her cases and took a walk around the area. 

Here we are at Ueno park:

For reasons too boring to explain, I had registered us as being Welsh at the guest house... when we arrived this placard was hanging in the window:

We checked in, showered, got dressed and continued exploring. I took Chez to Harajuku:

Heres a phone charm I bought and lost on the same day:

Hey Chez, how long does it take to reach the other side of the universe? Answer:

Later we journeyed to Shibuya (home of the infamous crossing):

Here we met up with Josh for a sushi dinner:

We met up with Racheal and went to the Golden Gai... an area in Shinjuku with loads of tiny bars, usually fitting up to 5 people.

We settled into a little bar called 'Lonely'... we shouldn't have been that surprised that the owner of the bar seemed somewhat deprived of company. Despite the language barrier, he managed to tell us his entire life story, showed us his photo albums and sang us some songs he had written.

Chez's friend Jess came and met us with her boyfriend and housemate:

We took one of the last trains back to our guesthouse in Ueno.

In the morning we set out for The Studio Ghibli Museum in Kichijoji. On the train we drank some tropical yummy stuff:

Heres some pictures from the Ghibli place:

Who's this friendly giant robot?:

I guess we didnt really take any pictures inside the place...whoops. 

Afterwards I took Chez to Roppongi. 

I took Chez to the TV Asahi building where I went with Daniel a few weeks prior....Looks like Chez also got along with the cast:

I then took chez to my favourite Tsukemen chain:

We were pretty exhausted by this point, so we slowly headed back to Ibaraki. We dumbly took the slow train - so got in kinda late.

eye spy with my little stye

I noticed some redness on the top of my eyelid yesterday... and thought that maybe I was a little run down. I woke up today - there it was, a stye. The first I've ever had. I did my usual freak out. Google it - figure out what the hell I should do - and what I certainly shouldn't do. This stye is small and almost unnoticeable...I think. Whats more noticeable is that I'm not wearing make up to work. As far as these things go - it's come at a good time. I have a whole week of take it easy down time at work - no classes - go to the base school everyday. I will go home at lunch and lie on my couch with a hot tea bag on my eye. I will pamper this stye. I will give it what it wants. medication? fine... hot damp cloth? fine... A sacrificial japanese kawaii kitten... if it so wishes. Whatever it takes. I will give my all to appease the stye gods and be rid of their evil cursed spawn.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

A girly weekend

There was a sleep over party at Tiffani's on Friday night.

Marlys made cookies:

This is basically as girly as it gets:

There's something about a girls night every now and then which makes me feel so good. It is necessary to occasionally get into that headspace. I miss my ladies nights with my tour de garcon crew from back home more than I can say. being able to do something similar here sure keeps me grounded and helps fill that hole.

What a whole bunch of awesome:

I was planning on going to Tochigi prefecture on the Saturday to do some touristy stuff (as Tiff lives on the Western side of Ibaraki and close to the border), however, it is rainy season here right now.... and Saturday was a particularly rainy day. We ended up at Uchihara mall. It was very crowded as one can expect from a large shopping mall on a rainy weekend. But I enjoyed it. I go to that mall every Thursday on my way back from Tomobe, but had never been with other people. This week I will hopefully take Chez there too.

Just to point out, there is a childrens clothes shop in the mall called "Starvations":

After the mall I journeyed down to Tokyo - spent the night with Josh and then spent Sunday in Shibuya with JJ. This picture was taken next to the famous Shibuya crossing. We couldn't figure out who they were, a boyband? or maybe some models promoting a nearby store? Who knows?:


In case you don't know who JJ is, he is a very sweet gay dude who's been here for 5 years now. We know him because he was originally based in Ibaraki, but now he is living round the Yokohama area. This is a picture of the two of us from the Hibiya beer festival:

Here's some other stuff we encountered on Sunday:

People here are so crazy about One Direction (god knows why) that they have their own shop:

A crane machine with plastic croissants:
(*I am not sure how to rotate this images, if they appear wrong I'm afraid you will just have to tilt your head or the screen. Gomen.)