Sunday, 29 November 2015


Spotted in the menu of a Japanese restaurant yesterday:

Painted by Rene Margritte in 1929:

A worthy comparison?

Flea market

We sold some things at the flea market in Shinjuku central park. The market there is held once every two months. Even if I'm not selling, I would like to go to more flea markets in japan, I've never seen so much great stuff.  We were supposed to pay 2500 yen to sell, but no one ever came asking for the cash, so whatever we made was automatic profit yay! Which is good because I hardly made much at all. However, I really enjoyed haggling with old Japanese ladies.
I learnt to say  "交渉" or "kousho" which directly translates as "negotiation" but is actually used in the context of asking for a discount. Which I was asked for by everyone.
I also couldn't help but buy a couple of things as a lot of women who came to sell off their old clothes offered everything for 100 yen in the last hour of the market. Everyone loves a time sale! Japanese people are known for preserving their clothes in good condition  (which really confuses me because their washing machines do cold water washes only), so it's worth buying things second hand here. 

Monday, 23 November 2015

Hiking Nokogiriyama

When struggling to climb down the mountain, Michi advises me to "be myself". 

We took a train, taxi, ferry and a bus to get to the southern peak of Chiba. A-HOY MATEYS.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Drinks at the Park Hyatt

Two old school friends Raph and Luke visited tokyo and booked a room at the Park Hyatt hotel in Shinjuku. We drank "old-fashioned" at the New York Bar.  Just like in Lost In Translation, there was an incredible view and a live jazz band.

Owl cafe

We went to the Baron Cafe Owl cafe in Koenji

Tokyo design festa 2015

Tokyo design festa 2015 at Tokyo Big Sight in Odaiba.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Steel me away

Friday 20th November 2015.
The day I became a Steely Dan fan.
Digging it.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Just cycled home in the rain #selfie

For half an hour. From Iidabashi to my share house in Sendagaya. It was dark, and as British people say "pissing it down".

I quickly learnt that when its raining,  cyclists in Tokyo should watch out for:
- Young children who haven't quite figured out spatial awareness
- and incredibly slow to move out the way old people.

GET OUT OF MY WAY. My trousers are drenched.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Shunga exhibition

I went to the big hotshot Shunga exhibition running in Tokyo's Eisei Bunko gallery. 

Very old pieces of traditional Japanese erotica art beautifully preserved and presented.

I knew it would be busy despite going on a Wednesday morning, what I didn't expect was to be the only person under 60 and foreign at the exhibition.

Imagine being in a small art space shoulder to shoulder packed with ojisans and obachans  (old men and women) surrounded by erotica, some of it pretty weird. Claustrophobic, uncomfortable and awkward. I didn't stay too long.

To find out more about the exhibition go here:

 Hey who's this loser?:

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Speaky talk talk yawn tappidy rap

Been back only two months and already talking like an ESL weirdo.

I spoke to a UK person who was on holiday last night - he thought my accent was really strange. But, after speaking to him for longer, I slowly reverted back to normal - apparently.

"oh, well, now you're sounding like a London person, but before you were talking all weird."

So that's what happens, accents revert depending on where we are or who we are talking to. Ground-breaking discovery Ms.Zara thank you. However, how much are we aware of it, when we are doing it, and how much can we control it?

You know when people hate hearing the sound of their own voice on an answer machine or in a video? "oh, ewww, turn it off, I hate hearing the sound of my own voice". Why? embrace it fools. That cringe noise is what the rest of us have to put up with every time you deem it necessary to speak. If you hate it then try to revert it, because apparently there's nothing unnatural about that.

I will leave you with this motivational thought which 100% highlights everything we have discussed this evening (or morning if you are in Japan):

Do you think Pokemon just evolve by accident?


Or is it? I stayed up all night doing karaoke with some of my housemates and a couple of tourists we might as well have picked up off the street. But the case is that we actually met them at this thing we went to.

They were nice, I just like to be dramatic. The thing was good too.... very 'artsy'... oh wow, this is so Tokyo-life blog right now.

Here's a question. 

When you read something written like this by someone you know, do you just read it in your voice, or is it through a sudo-me voice. For those who are familiar with my deep deep ladyman voice, is that what you imagine saying this? What about this? Or even this?

Let's try an experiment with some example sentences.

I want you to imagine this read in a French accent:

Stop doing that and focus. 

If you read that correctly, then the word focus, should have sounded like "fuck us".

OK, here's another one:

Ok, so, take a deep breath and now imagine this said in the voice of Alanis Morrisette:

Isn't it ironic...don't you think?

If you read that correctly you should now have the song 'Ironic' by Alanis Morrisette stuck in your head.

OK great, we can all compare notes on how this experiment went and write it up in some high-brow academic journal.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Blending in

There's been a few times in my life where I've moved to a new place. It always comes after a big decision, a lot of anxiety and a fair amount of planning.

I've been here for almost two months now and it still doesn't really feel as though I live here. Moving to Tokyo was something I wanted for so long, and now that I'm finally here, I feel quite deflated.

It takes a lot of time, and a lot to happen in order to really feel established somewhere. Each time I move to a new place, I have to go through the same processes. Working out a new routine, a new way to get around, where to go and what to do. Will I take on any new hobbies here? Who will I be friends with? When you move to a small place, there are fewer choices so it becomes much easier to figure these things out. You can just go with the flow, see what happens. I'm learning that in a big city, it’s not so easy.

Tokyo is a place in which it’s so easy to be lonely, get lost, feel like a nobody and achieve very little, I'm realising how much of a challenge it really is. After feeling so secure in myself and who am I, being a new person in a city of this scale means that it is not only hard to establish yourself, but you can quickly loose comfort in your sense of identity.

I am aware that I am just going through a common process. These feelings are something I have experienced before and recognise. I felt this way when I moved to Bristol at 22, to Ibaraki at 24 and now, to Tokyo at 26. In each case, I made the most of my situation and turned them into places I was able to consider a true home, with true friends and a strong sense of familiarity.
I don't doubt my ability to do it all again, I am just feeling a little drained. Perhaps there are only so many times in my life I can pack up and move on somewhere new. I am worried that before my real career has even begun, I have lost a lot of the enthusiasm and energy I had for it. I had a nice job and a great group of friends in Ibaraki. Although I hope I can have the same again in Tokyo, I sometimes don't feel like being responsible for making it happen.