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|Sunday September 10 2006 - 11:05 pm|
D I G I T A L L Y - I M P O R T E D & HappyHardcore.com - Hardcore - DJ mixes, hard dance and NuNRG!So what's happened? Why am I still writing this blog from the UK? Well, for those of you who don't know yet - I'm not in the UK!!! But "huh?" i hear you say, "but you only went for a year??"...
Well yes, this had been the plan, spend a year in Tokyo, then spend a little time travelling around before blitzing back to the UK to get on with the business with Haroon.
So what changed? Well... basically I felt I hadn't really made the most of my year here, my Japanese is still very limited and I essentially spent most time in the flat chatting on the phone. This situation was compounded after my visits to Osaka, where I realised there was a totally excellent scene out there - I was just in the wrong place.
I had a problem though, a little piece of a paper known as a visa, it was soon to expire (August) and wasn't able to be renewed. If I wanted to stay, i had to find a full time sponsor.
It was therefore with, perhaps slight resignation, that I applied to Nova for a full time position - which I was accepted for - thus clearing my problems by supplying me with a new one year visa - yatta! That wasn't plain sailing in itself as to make the switch I actually had to the return to the UK for 3 weeks (at a plane cost of £800!!! ) - but hey, that's not what we're talking about now
I got back here on the 30th of August, working one final part time day in Shimokitazawa before my full time contract started on the 1st September (a friday, which was also my day off - nice ) - Another (initially) sore point was that Shimo didn't need any new full time staff, so I've been relocated - to Mukogaokayuen no less (where Toshi lives, and the place I really liked - thanks man upstairs... lol)
Another downside of taking up a full time contract is you lose your weekends (boooo!) and infact my days off are Monday and Friday. "Oh no!" I hear you cry, but no fear - i actually requested these... "madness" you shout, but no! My reasoning was as follows:
The weekends are the busiest days, also starting at 10am so I would need a monday to recover. However the next best day to go out in Tokyo is Thursday, thus the friday off. Tuesday is a 1:20 to 9pm shift, with Wed + Thur both 5-9pm (like my original shift) - my wages increase from 195,000 (£975) to 250,000 (£1250) which I will need to save ready for reasons soon to be explained.
So what's the school like, actually it's great - i'm actually enjoying working!!! Much quieter than Shimo, with singles and no shows a regularity (hahaha) - the other teachers are also great, very on my level and easy to get on with. Been out for a few "station beers" after work, basically sit in front of the station and watch the girls go by (which is another great point about the location - right near the university) - infact, I'm really sad about leaving....
"Leaving?!?! But you only just started??!" - yes indeed so, however it was all part of my master plan. Switch to full time to get a new year visa, work for 2 months to save some money then move to Osaka!! Yes!! I will finally be able to experience those great clubs EVERY WEEKEND!!! For the first two months, I'm not even going to work, just study Japanese (with Haruka as my teacher) and really get into the society.... I'm pretty excited - so we've cancelled the lease here and all set to transfer on the 1st November.... 6 or so weeks to go
So thats the plan, and I'm sure you're dying to know what else has been going on ....
Well, my first friday back, I went with Keiko to Ueno zoo to see the Capybara's - however, due to the torrential rain, most of them stayed in their house, with just one staying out, though he wasn't in such a friendly mood and wouldn't turn around... SUCKED - so I will go back again on a nice day to retake ...
There you go, a Capybara - the largest rodent in the world - basically a large guinea pig - I wish beavis could have met him .....
Another amusing story, have a look at this photo...
I'm not sure why, but in this photo I thought Keiko looked like a prairie dog - not sure exactly why, just the pose.... anyway, for this reason we went to see the prarie dogs so Keiko could meet her family...
Cute - however then we spotted the "information sign" - which caused quite a shock....
"Black-tailed Prairie Dog" - nothign special, until you look at the Japanese translation which reads "Oguro Prairie Dog" - "so what?" - Keiko's surname ..... yup.... Oguro!!! Spooky, or just proof she originally from a rodent?
Saturday was my first day in the new job, which started well enough, but I started to get a bit croaky throughout the day - this got worse and worse until we hit Sunday morning when my voice pretty much went. I sooo should have stayed home, but due to Nova not paying for sickness, I had to go in. The day was a complete struggle but I made it through by drinking through all the classes (not allowed - dunno why) and croaked my way home, where we rented some dvds and set to watch them.
At the end of the first movie (MI) - I turned to Keiko to say something... but couldn't?!?! My voice had completely gone, like TOTALLY ... it's funny, but i was trying to laugh, but i kept having horrible "flashes" that my voice was gone forever... lol... This unfortunately meant I had to stay home monday (we were supposed to go to Disneysea) to recover, with luckily all being fixed by Tuesday ready for work.
It's now Sunday night and Seiko has just got back from Iran, very tired.... I'm going to try and sleep early tonite so I can get my haircut tomorrow and post Gowry's birthday card, but little else planned for my day off (booo!) - think it's time to get on with a bit of programming....
So there you go, up to date for the start of my second year. Hopefully thursday i'll be off to Roppongi, so some good photos and stories should be ready for Friday (when I might go to the beach... mmmmm... jchix in bikinis )
Go Go Otaku!!!
|Sunday July 9 2006 - 2:50 pm|
D I G I T A L L Y - I M P O R T E D & HappyHardcore.com - Hardcore - DJ mixes, hard dance and NuNRG!I've been getting bugged to update this - and now I must be 5 weeks behind. Writing a complete run down will be impossible. So let's just do a summary....
Week one - went to Roppongi (see slight update below)
Below is a run down of week one.
Welcome to the weekly update Yes, another week has passed, and once again there are many things to say, been quite eventful (and expensive) the week just gone, but all in the name of fun - so no worries
First up, say hello to my new language exchange friend - Keiko, as per usual, her english is pretty good - but not so fantastic enough that I feel too shy to use Japanese. She does always reply in English though, so whilst I get to practise speaking, my listening isn't really going to hot up too much.
We met up on Friday after work and went to an izakaya in Shimokitazawa, where basically we just talked and drank until about 12:30 when it was time for her last train (don't get me started on the transport system again )
I got home at about 1:30am or so, and after doing a little bit of company work, went to bed. Only to be woken at about 4am by Takashi (Seiko's guy from last week) calling. I wasn't in the mood to answer (nor do I think I could have, he didn't speak English) so ignored it. A few minutes later, it rang again, and then again and again....! Eventually I just turned it off - come the morning, I spoke to Seiko and he had indeed been ringing her too, then calling me when he couldn't get through.
Nor does the story end there - throughout Saturday we combined received a total of 37 more calls!?! By now, Seiko had of course decided she definately didn't want to see him again (duh!)
Dinner time arrived and we headed to Shibuya to grab a curry at the *good* Indian curry place (making sure we didn't overstuff outselves as we had last christmas) before doing the usual of jumping into a taxi (yes, trains are no good for us anymore ) and heading off to Roppongi.
Now I know every week, we post we are bored of doing the same old things over and over, and of course this weekend was no exception. So we actually decided to do something about it! Shock horror! Whilst looking up and down the street, a sudden inspiration came to me.... why not go to TGI Fridays, but just sit in the bar?? Of course, this would normally be an expensive night out, but wait!!! We are in Roppongi where the drinks cost more in the normal bars anyway...
So wait a minute, we can sit in a top quality bar, decent music, awesome cocktails AND yummy food - for CHEAPER than going to a a trashy r'bar..... just WHAT HAVE WE BEEN DOING FOR THE LAST YEAR?!?! haha.... it will therefore come as no suprise to you that a few minutes later, we were perched on some bar stools watching bar tenders juggle bottles, spin cocktail shakers and generally having a great time.
Of course, the night could not go perfectly - and there was a slightly dicey moment when Takashi appeared outside and sat down outside the window on his phone! Should he have turned his head, Seiko would probably have been in a little bit of trouble But after we stared the opposite way for a few minutes until he had finished his call - he eventually left
|Monday May 29 2006 - 4:07 am|
D I G I T A L L Y - sr_program_2006_05_28_16_54_18Ahh.... 1:35am on a Sunday night (or is that Monday morning) and the weekend has finally come to a close.... well I suppose this means I'd better tell you what went on - innit!
But first, to mum + dad - WHERE WAS MY CALL - don't love me anymore obviously... waahhhh!
So Friday night was Ayako's birthday at a bar in Roppongi. I had been given instructions by Seiko that i had to come straight from work and not go home first which kinda sucked, as it meant I had to wear work clothes out, however... the reason was that Ayako was going to get last train home, so if i went home and then out, I would probably miss her.
So who is Ayako? You might remember her from just before christmas (the girl i woke up with, not knowing where i was), but if not, this picture should refresh your memory (Ayako is in the middle):
The bar was a new place I hadn't gone before, and was set into two rooms. One a normal bar area, and the second (where we were) more like a stage area , with some live singers and everyone sat around the edge.
To start with, I just kinda kept myself to myself as I knew no one, and Seiko and Shiho were sitting away from me, but after a few drinks, I started to get a bit more chatty, in the end, ending up sitting next to one of Ayako's friends "Haruka" who spoke good English and we got quite animated... it was a sad moment when the place shut
(The guy on the right is important - so remember him )
So when it finished (which was about 4am - so much for Ayako getting last train) everyone departed to go their own seperate ways except me, Seiko and the guy above - who by now were quite hungry, so we scoured the streets of Roppongi to find somewhere to eat.
The first place that came up was a new Japanese place that had only just opened, so in here we went to order a few plates of Yaki Soba. Quite why we ordered so many I don't know (we had 3) as only 2 of us were eating, but they were incredibly nice - so I guess not so bad.
Come the end of the meal, we went downstairs to pay, but were just ushured out !?? I only found out later, but ^^^ had already paid for us when he went to the toilet - i wish i had known as i didn't get to say thank you
We finally got home at about 6am, which was incredibly early for us.... just what were we thinking?!?! But we decided it might not be such a bad thing as we would need the energy for Toshi's birthday later on that evening.
Seiko and Shiho went out during the day, leaving me at home to work on Gowry's project and sort out some more company things (it's getting quite interesting now... hurrah!) - however, come 7:30pm, I still hadn't heard from anyone and didn't know what was happening....
At about 8pm, Shiho and Seiko came home - but to tell me the bad news that the party was cancelled as Toshi had to work... man, I don't agree with these Japanese companies... no way would you get me working on my day off - especially if it was my birthday.. poor guy.
Anyway, where was I ... ah yes, so I enquired if we were still going out, to which Seiko replied "up to you, but I need to have a nap first". It's obvious what my answer was, but I agreed to let her sleep for a bit and I would wake her at 11pm.
Come 11 though, it was obvious she still needed sleep - so i once again let her lie...
However at 12pm, it was finally getting near the "too late to leave" - luckily Shiho was now just going out (to meet Toshi from work) and had woken Seiko for me, leaving me just the task of shouting at her until she finally got ready
We left at about 12:15 and walked to Sangenjaya where I had a quick meal of a "Big Mac Set" (i know, i know, way too much McDonalds) before we hailed a Taxi to take us to Roppongi. The traffic wasn't so bad this time, and thus the whole journey only cost £15!!! Awesome - we'll have to get taxis more often
First stop was Don Quiote where Seiko had to buy some purfume for a friends birthday (you'd be amazed at the amount of people shopping at 1am...) before we headed (reluctantly it must be said) to our usual haunt of Hub. I say reluctantly, as we are kinda bored of going the same places all the time and really wanted something new - thus we sat at our "thought" table trying to plan where to go next.
I remembered there was a club inbetween Wall Street and Maxim that we hadn't been before - and seeing as we had no other ideas, decided to give it a shot. It was called the "Rock Bar" and, believe it or not, was geared towards rock music. Unfortunately we had just missed the live band, but it was still a very cool joint with some nice tunes playing. For some reason, I'm not sure why, but sitting in it made me think of Ibiza, and just being able to walk out to the beach. Seiko and I thus decided that we must go on a world travel together - including Thailand, Panama and Brazil
At some point in the night however, the Rock bar lost its name and instead started playing R'n'B - thus signalling our time to leave and skoot along to Maxim next door.
At we had gone before 5am, it was still hip hop night (so Seiko was happy) and indeed there were a few more people than usual in there - however, they too started to slowly drift out - leaving pretty much just me and Seiko there. The music by now had switched to dance, but with no one there - whats the point?
Oh, and remember i was talking about the bar tender before (with the old photo a few posts below) - well now he has become the manager, he has changed somewhat. Seiko and I feel he's gone from the friendly bar tender, to a bit of a "bad guy" - what do you think?
We couldn't take the emptyness any longer and decided to continue our bar crawl by heading over to Hideout - however, alas... this was empty too!!
Just where was everyone? This presented us with a great puzzle....
It was then that Seiko had the idea to try a club we hadn't been for ages "Quest" - infact, i think the last time i went there was last year - and hadn't gone back since due to it always being empty. However, the people had to be somewhere and as women got in free, it was decided Seiko would go in and check - before giving me the go ahead if it looked good.
She soon emerged to say it did indeed look good - so in I went... WOW! It was extremely busy, so this is where everyone had gone. But even better, it was playing some very nice UK hard dance I think it was a special event as there was a whole new temp DJ rig erected and everyone was HAVING IT
It didn't take me long to get back into the dancing spirit, nor Seiko to find a new boyfriend.... the amount of guys she meets (then can't remember the next day) is astounding... meet Takashi
Ah well --- also on the dance floor, making its first ever appearence - the new England and Italian combined football shirt
By about 9am I noticed that Seiko had fallen asleep on the bar, so it seemed now was time go head off. Seiko's new friend wasn't quite so eager to leave her yet, and accompanied us to the station where we put Seiko into a taxi.
Feeling a little awkward now as I wasn't sure what Takashi wanted to do (he spoke no English at all, nor did he seem to understand "osoku nihongo itteikuddasai" (slower japanese please) - but he followed me into First Kitchen where we got some breakfast - and then began the difficult situation of small talk.
I know I say I normally enjoy this, but when the guy is speaking at warp speed, it's incredibly hard to keep up. Eventually, he seemed to twig that i really couldn't catch much of his chat, so he slowed down slightly - but still, it was a bit of a mission trying to keep up
Anyway, we finished eating and said our good byes - with him i think expecting to speak to Seiko again very soon.... i'm not quite sure she feels the same though.... ah well
And there you have it, the weekend gone..... :/
Ah one thing before you go. Take a look at my "McArt" - i was trying to create the illusion of the chips flowing into the burger container. I think I did a pretty good job and intend to sell my work at the next modern art exhibition I attend
(Well *I* thought it looked cool ) .... enjoy ....
|Wednesday May 24 2006 - 10:49 pm|
LIVE RIGHT NOW!! DJ SILVER FROM TOKYO 24-MAY-06!!! (D I G I T A L L Y - I M P O R T E D & HappyHardcore.com - Hardcore -...Two blog postings in as many days - (foreign accent) "why ambassador, with these entries you are really spoiling us...." (/foreign accent)
These aren't long, but I just felt it was quite interesting... firstly, I finally got my hair cut hurrah! it had got way too long.
Not so interesting in itself I suppose, but for once, I am actually amazed at the skill of the hairdresser.... i shall explain...
But first, look at this photo:
So that was me (duh!) taken almost four months ago. I particularly liked the style, so took the photo to remind me that i don't always look awful ... lol ....
anyway, I went to "Family Mart" this morning with that photo on my memory card and got it printed from the photo machine (40 yen) - and then went with Shiho to the 980yen hairdressers (not expecting too much).
So 980yen is like £4.90 - in the UK, this would get you a student cut at the most, but this place was an actual salon with professional looking people!
So I go in, wait my turn, and give the woman the photo.
30 minutes later, she is finished - and I look like this....
THE SAME!?! WOW! That's awesome! I couldn't believe it, for the first time ever I can walk out a hair salon and not need to wait the obligatory 3 weeks for it finally grow to the correct length! In honour of her great skill, I decided it only fair to pay her double - which was still only £10.... hurrah!
Oh and my second piece of news, well not news as such - but i just think it's hilarious and needs to be kept in my logs forever.
Seiko met up with one of her friends the other night, and was told to pass on the message .....
"Tell Ben he's welcome to me anytime"
Hahaha.... maybe i'm just odd, but this to me sounds hilarious - such a polite way of being a slut
Oh and before anyone emails me asking - NO!
|Wednesday May 24 2006 - 2:17 am|
Jnks - Nitrous (D I G I T A L L Y - I M P O R T E D & HappyHardcore.com - Hardcore - DJ mixes, hard dance and NuNRG!)w00t! I'm back again. Been a while since my last update, the reason? Well, to be honest I've been incredibly busy as soon as i have some free time on the computer. Witout going into too much geeky details, i've been really pushing the FIAT Forum, working on both the site structure and design, as well as working on getting the search engines to take notice of it.
Have I finished? No, not yet But, most of it is done - now begins a waiting game as the engines find all the new content and hopefully give it a favourable ranking. My dream - to get the forums to appear within the first page of a google search if you type only the word "FIAT" in your search terms! Will I make it... i hope so, a lot of money has now been spent optimising everything ...
Anyhow, enough of the "ottaku" stuff - let's get down to the nitty gritty.
As I posted, we were going on a trip to Kyoto (almost 2 weeks ago now) - me, seiko, shiho and toshi. We were going to drive (i'm doing a recap here, bear with me!) and would be staying 3 nights. Things didn't quite turn out like that, but it was an awesome weekend, as i will start to explain.
The journey began in Noborito, where I had to go after work to meet Toshi and pick up the hire car - a "Toyota Vitz" 1.3 and, shock horror, an automatic YUK!
Anyhow, I digress, we then drove the short distance to the station to pick up the girls, before quickly making a stopoff at Toshi's house to pick up his clothes, before finally getting on the way (about 7pm).
Kyoto is about 340 miles or so from Tokyo, and we had an estimated drive time of 7 hours! Hence the reason both me and Toshi would be taking it in turns to do the driving.
The first 4 hours passed uneventfully enough, with Toshi doing all the driving until we got to a service station where we swapped over. Wooo... my first time driving in Japan On pulling out of the service station and onto the sliproad, I knew this certainly wasn't going to be a power ride - the car took an age to accellerate (despite being brand new, just 70km on the clock!) - thus pulling into the main lane was a bit tricky to start with, but hey, we did it.
Then comes the speed issue - the speed limit in Japan is around 60mph - a tad slow. Now i know the limit in the UK is 70 right? But no one ever drives at this, especially not at 11pm at night - so keeping with Uk style, i kept taking it up to about 90 or so, much to the worry of Toshi who kept warning about police cars. Apparently they are really hot on speeding here (rumour has it that's why so many sports cars are exported, because no one can drive them here...)
Come 1:30am or so, everyone was hungry - so we decided to head of the freeway and find a food joint. Using the in-car GPS, we were directed to a nearby "Gusto" where we ordered some pasta and pizza, before Shiho's friend Nana (who lived nearby) came and joined us.
It turned out that we wouldn't be staying in Kyoto that night, but instead we were still a few hours out, so would be going to this "good place just 5 minutes down the road". So once our food was eaten, we set off following Nana's car. Well, 5 minutes soon turned to 10, then 20, then 30 (driving the opposite direction to Kyoto) until finally, the car turned off the main road and we headed into "Kenko Land".
But... erm, what was this place? It was described to me - a place with loads of public paths, sauna etc, then a big room where everyone slept... erm... wtf?! It was at this point I went into difficult mode (to my shame) and decided I would rather spend the night in the car. There was no way I was gonna share a bath, and then a room with a load of probable homo's... haha
The girls all went in, leaving me outside with Toshi, who was trying to persuade me to come in. I really didn't want to spend a night sleeping with loads of other people due to the difficulty I find it sleeping .... but, thinking about it, and realising I was being a bit of a brat - I decided to take the plunge.
On entering the place, you have to put your shoes in a locker, then proceed to the reception desk where you pay your 2,000yen and are then issued with a "bundle pack" - containing 2 towels and a pair of pyjamas. You then proceed through the relevant door (men or women) to the changing rooms. Then, you basically just put everything in the locker (read - all your clothes) and get ready for the hot baths.
Depending on how shy you are, you can either walk to the bath area covering yourself with a mini towel, or just wander there without a care in the world. On looking at the people using the towels though, they just looked so stupid, it just seemed better to be brave about it haha....
Ok, so I've kept talking about baths - but I don't mean baths in the "home bath" style place. People who have been following this blog will know I hadn't been to a hotspring before - so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Well basically, a massive room, full of different shape and size pools/jacuzzis. There's even an "electric bath" which has a current running through a metal panel in the middle - of course, Toshi neglected to point this out and I just stepped right onto it My leg was then tensed up for the next 10 minutes or so ... haha....
Also in the area are 2 saunas (with TV), turkish steam room, a shower section and a swimming pool. However, now, maybe it was just me.... but the pool was the only "bath" that wasn't hot. In fact, it was freezing.... I don't know about you guys, but a naked guy getting into a freezing cold pool, and then having to walk around naked again after.... think about it.... haha.... needless to say, i didn't go in that
After the pools were done (they closed at 4am) - it was time to get ready for bed. For everyone else in the complex, this meant getting into the regulation pyjamas. As appealing as this was, I thought it would be much more interesting to wear my "Dilbert" pyjamas, thus ensuring that if i hadn't stood out before - i certainly did now...
One last thing to do before bed was to make a quick stop off at the milk machine (awwww) before heading up to the bedroom......
I say bedroom, but probably a better description would be the "Carnage room" - basically, imagine a room as big as.. hmmm... well say, our hillier road house from the front garden to the back garden in length, then about 4 houses wide. Now fill this room for the back 1/4 with reclining chairs (but very narrow) - the next half with weird bed matress things, before finally the front with just a free for all
It took us a few minutes of walking around to find somewhere to settle down, but eventually, it was done. However, have you ever tried to sleep when there are about a million other people snoring..? Indeed, I couldn't either - nor could Toshi.
It turned out that neither could the girls (who were on the opposite side of the building in an identical room) so we all met in the center (where they have game machines, pachinko, massage machines and stuff) and just sat around talking (in Japanese ) until Seiko (who *had* actually managed to sleep) woke up around 6am and we could get dressed and get back on our way.
So little closing note on that - in the end, the place was fantastic, it would be a really cool place to go for the evening, hang out for a bit (there was an alcohol machine) then just head back in the morning when first train starts. Apparently, there is a Kenko Land near Shinjuku, so maybe if someone will come with me, I'll go again.
Out in the car park - we said a fond farewell to Nana (who had a birthday party in the evening so had to get home to sleep) and with me now taking over the driving, we set off on our way. Kyoto was a good hour or so from our current destination, so we wanted to get some good speed on...... To start with Shiho stayed up to talk with us, but after an hour, even she couldn't take the lack of sleep and disappeared back into the back.
Toshi and myself were also quite hungry, so we pulled into a McDonalds enroute, which also gave us the perfect opportunity to snap this photo ..... yes, they were both fast asleep
The hotel didn't allow check in until 6pm, so as much as I wanted to go to sleep, this wasn't going to be an option - and instead we were to go off sightseeing.... oh joy... haha...
First stop was Inariginja, which in my opinion had way too many steps to get to the main bit, but was pleasent enough.
After looking around here for an hour or so, it was back to the car (sleep! yes!! NOOOO!!!) and a 20 minute drive off to the "Ryaonji Temple". It was a shame I was so tired, as as nice as they were, all I could think about was sitting down and going to sleep. Ah well.. check out the photo gallery for the pics
Once here was done, our final stop was "Arasiyama" where I was promised there was something "special", though no one would say what it was. The area itself was really beautiful, a huge river which was shallow enough to paddle across (but about the width of a football pitch) and LOADS of people.
We were walking down the street when suddenly a rickshaw ambles past. I look up, then have to make a double take, sitting in it is one of my Nova students!!! So I stop him and he is just as shocked to see me.... who would have thought it The rickshaw driver didn't seem to like the hold up though, and started getting aggitated, so I let them go... small world... lollage...
We headed out over the bridge and towards a big mountain (great, climbing a mountain when you've had no sleep) - however the sign at the bottom looked quite interesting...
Yes! This was Monkey Mountain
You start at the bottom of the mountain, then follow the path up (takes about 20 minutes) until you finally reach the observation point at the top - and are greeted with the following view:
But of course, that's not the reason you climbed the mountain - oh no... also up here on the observation platform and loads and loads of monkeys! Just running around with the people, not in cages or anything. Stupidly I didn't take a photo of the top area, so can't show you. But just imagine chaos with monkeys everywhere
You aren't allowed to feed them on the deck itself, but have to go into the feeding hut. This is so they stay trained knowing they only get food from the hut, so don't start going after people - you buy bananas and nuts and stuff in there for very cheap.
So without further ado, please say hello .... to the monkeys
On heading back down the other side of the mountain after, we even spotted this very strange and rare monkey playing on the swings..... but couldn't find mention of it in an of the guidebooks
I wonder where it came from???
By the time we got back to the car, it was about 5pm and I was shattered. I was also slightly worried as I had planned to meet up with Yuuka and Haruka later on in Osaka for a nights clubbing so REALLY needed to get some shuteye.
The hotel itself was a little tricky to find as it was tucked down a small backstreet and the GPS didn't do the best job - but eventually we got there and checked in, before being shown up to our room. Which was, quite possibly one of the largest hotel rooms I have ever seen - but with absolutely nothing in it! Just a tatami floor which spanned a good 6m x 3m, oh wait, there was a table in the middle - but that was it!
Everyone was talking about going out and getting food, but I was now just TOOOOOOO tired, so pulled out one of the futons from the cupboard and went to sleep...... ahhh.... sleeeppp
I woke up at about 10:30 to the noise of everyone coming back (they had apparently eaten a fantastic dinner... all you can eat meat.... bah!) and on checking my phone, had a message from Yuuka and Haruka asking where I was. I had actually intended to just skip it and stay sleeping, but, seeing as I was now awake - I decided (much to the amazement of everyone else - they thought i was mad) to make the hour or so journey over to Osaka to join them.
After being drawn a rough map, and picking up a bottle of umeshuu from the convenience store (well, it was an hour on a train) - I set off across the countryside (on a train of course).
True to the word of the website, I arrived exactly on time and after getting brief directions to the "rough area" of the club, I set out into the night and the city of Osaka. After walking for about 10 minutes, I soon realised I should have probably got some more concrete directions, as in reality, this club could be anywhere.... doh!
I decided to go to the busiest intersection I could see and ask someone - a friendly looking couple who just happened to be walking past. They weren't sure where the club was, but tried their best, even trying to search it on their phone. Alas, to no avail..... it was just then that I happened to glance over the road to be greeted by a big white "Club Karama" signboard.... ahh, so it would be there then lol...
The music inside sounded pretty good (nice and fast) and after paying my 3000yen entry (ouch!) i made my way into the "chill out room" to be instantly greeted by Yuuka and Haruka, hurrah! Two quickly became three, then four, until I was being introduced to everyone in there.... for my sins, I cannot remember everyones name - but, it was quite loud and besides, I had already drunk the bottle of umeshuu
The night was absolutely fantastic, it completely blew away any night so far in Tokyo. The people were just so friendly and down to earth - not like the ridiculous fashion parades that go on in the Shibuya clubs, and none of the "meat market" rubbish that is Roppongi. Just 5 hours of awesome music, meeting new friends and having a great time.
One thing that supprised me slightly though was the cost, certainly not cheap, drinks were about 700yen and after the steep entry - this soon tallied up. Ah well, it was worth it - they even had a yakitori stand bonus!
Special mention should go to Masashi, a really cool guy - who was a great laugh, and we managed to have some pretty cool conversations...
Alas, all too soon it came to an end - and the journey back to Kyoto was calling me, so after saying goodbye to my new friends, Haruka walked with me back to the station - where, after arranging for me to come back the next month, we said our goodbyes and I tottered off back to the mainline platform.
I caught the train in good time, and settled back on one of the large "emergency seats" and put on my mp3 player - my plan was simple, get back to the hotel for about 7:30, get 2 hours of sleep, shower, then check out for 10am .
* BANG *
The sound of my player hitting the floor woke me up - hmm... i wonder how long i had been sleeping. Looking out the window, everything looked very nice - just countryside and fields.... hmmmm... i don't remember any of this....
An anouncement came over the tanoy "Inae" .... hmm... I looked up at the train map, well, it certainly wasn't before Kyoto.... I followed the map along... and along ... and at the line split, i kept going.... DAH! I was about 17 stops past Kyoto.... doh! Great... so of course, off the train I got and scooted over to the other side just in time to catch the train waiting (not before taking a quick photo of course )
By now, my phone battery had died - so I couldn't mail or call anyone, as had my mp3 battery, so I had to sit out the return 1 HOUR journey in silence, trying desperately not to fall asleep again - which I managed... w00t!
This did however mean i arrived back at the hotel at.... 9:50!!! So just in time for a quick explanation of what happened, jump in the shower, brush teeth, and check out (after paying my 7000 yen) - so erm, 7000 yen for a 3 hour sleep and a shower - dammit! I would have been better off just staying in a love hotel in Osaka for a few hours, only would have cost 3000 yen.... nuts.
Anyway, so we are now up to Saturday and of course, everyone was nice and refreshed ready for another days sightseeing.... doh!
First stop was Tofukuji, which had some very nice garden displays and even a rare guest appearence from a multi coloured lizard...
There was also quite an amazing view of one of the shrines in the hills, though we didn't actually get to go to it.
That done, we then set off to probably the most famous temple in Kyoto - "Kinkakuji" - or the "Gold Temple" - so called for obvious reasons.... see if you can work it out
Near the exit of Kinkakuji was a little "Tea" area, which I just happened to browse into - and unbelieveably, another one of my Nova students was there!!! This was now getting too spooky...
I think by now, everyone had started to get a little fed up of temples (and besides it was lunch time) so we set off back to the car and into the Kyoto "city centre" (though that's not a very good description) where shopping was bought and food was eaten. By now though, Seiko had started to feel unwell and wasn't sure a car journey back would be too good for her - thus deciding to get the Bullet Train back - she just has too much money... pah!
This just left Toshi, Shiho and me to do the car journey back - however as we now weren't in a rush, we decided to drive the longer route back so Shiho could see the sea.... so off we set. At around 10pm or so, we finally got there and were then able to drive along the coast a bit to look out the window. Unfortunately, being 10pm meant it was quite dark, so we couldn't see too much, but at least we could say "we went there " .... now, i could sleep a bit....
I woke up at about 8am or so inside a still car. Opening my eyes and looking around a bit, it seemed we were parked up in a service station car park, quite where, I wasn't sure....
After a few minutes everyone else seemed to awake and Toshi explained that we were going to go home via "Hakone" (an area famous for outdoor hotsprings) - so an allround sightseeing trip then
I now took over the driving and off we set. After about an hour or so, we reached Hakone mountain (well that might not be it's name, but it was the big mountain at Hakone...) which was incredibly steep. Even worse, the weather had now started to get attrocious, with visibility reduced to a few metres at most - which of course meant corners just kept popping up, requiring a sharp decrease in speed.
Normally, this wouldn't be an issue - but due to the incredible rubbishness of our vehicle, combined with the automatic gearbox and the incredibly steep incline - everytime this happened, trying to get accelleration up again was incredibly difficult. So much so, that by the time we were only half way up the hill, we had a trail of about 20 cars behind us (rather bizarely you could see down, but not up...?) - and try as I might, the car just WOULD NOT go any faster.... pah! Manual transmission RULES
We had planned to get out at the top and look around, but the weather was just too bad, so unfortunately, we just continued down the other side and stopped off at a cafe a few miles further down the road.
The rest of the journey back was a pretty uneventful afair, though we did notice this slightly strange construction on the way.... Toshi reckons its part of a Jackie Chan car chase film set, where he jumps from one bridge to the other..... Shiho and myself are not so sure ....
Blimey, that was one heck of a write up. And in reality, there's still two weeks to go.... however, i'm not going to
Ah ok, well, basically - due to the whole trip costing so much, the 2 weeks since have been pretty quiet as i needed to save until i got paid again last Monday. Seiko was also pretty sick from over working, so the weekend after was a non starter.
This weekend gone however was a bit different - I had to work the Sunday to cover the shift swap for the Kyoto trip, which meant Friday night was my only night out. Come friday I actually felt awful, but really didn't want to waste this opportunity, so agreed to meet Seiko at 12:30 in Roppongi.
She finally turned up at around 12:45 - so I passed the time before by chatting with one of the local prostitutes... lol... She even said she'd give me a discount for being so friendly, but I felt it only appropriate to politely refuse
So, Roppongi on a night out. The usual then - Hub first... but, meh, this wasn't so much fun. Instead it was decided we would head to the convenience store, purchase some alcohol then go and sit in the little park drinking it. This would save us money from not needing to keep paying for club drinks, and also firmly establish ourselves as "cheap ass pickeys"
Remembering the success Nesa and I had had the few weeks previous with the vodka and orange, it was decided to repeat the excercise, just with more vodka this time. So a 2 litre bottle of orange juice was purchased, along with a 500ml bottle of vodka - total cost £4.50! We then proceeded to the park, tipped out a quarter of the orange and replaced with the vodka .... voila .... instant drunkeness ... hurrah!
Of course, once you drink 2 litres of vodka and orange, you generally need to get rid of it again - and sure enough, Seiko was now desperate for the loo, so we shot off to Donkihoutei which has "the nicest public toilets in Roppongi" - fair enough.
Whilst I was waiting outside for Seiko's return - who should I spot, but the bartender of Maxim. (see old photo below)
On going over to say hello, he explained that there was a special offer on tonite as the club was renaming, and that we should come along. He also said a load more, but I didn't understand a word of it ... (but of course in true foreigner style, i kept saying "ah, i understand" after everything .... hehe)
So it was settled, as soon as Seiko returned, we headed off to Maxim which was (as he had said) 2000 yen to get in, but with 3 drinks, and every drink 500 yen after this. As per usual for one of mine and Seiko's nights, memory is now hazy... so much so, infact i can't remember anything.... blimey...
I just remember ending up at Matsuya later on (because first kitchen was closed) and then bundling Seiko into a taxi for her to go to work... (which she later fell asleep at, and had to stay 3 hours extra to make up for it....)
W000000000t!!! Finally back up to now.... so what else do i have to say.
Well, jumping back slightly to Osaka. On returning, I realised I missed it so much, the music scene is so much better and I feel the people are so much more friendly. As I said, I have booked a holiday to go there again on the 22nd of June - but more than that, if I decide to stay in Japan any extra time (and can get the visa) I will be transferring to an Osaka branch of Nova (I've already looked into it, and they say it's fine!) - I just feel (although it was a short time there) that everything would be so much more fun for me there - I would have the benefit of the great music (for which I miss London) and loads of friendly Japanese people... which means... LOADS OF JAPANESE SPOKEN!!!
BUT... on the other side, Yuuka has now moved to England for one year, so I would like to be able to spend time in London with her and see more of Etsuko (who will also return some time soon) - but flip again, and Haruka is moving to Thailand next June... so I wanna see her..... argh?!?! too complicated.
I've also been speaking to Ruks and Lawrence about moving out (along with one Jap person so i can keep practising - maybe Etsuko) somewhere in London. Again, this would be fantastic as they would be awesome flat mates....
As it stands, nothing can be done without a visa anyway - so I'll see if i get it, but not try too hard for it... then i can put it down to fate - if i get it, i stay, and it was meant to be....
I have a few more thoughts running around in my head which i want to get down, but i have to get up early tomorrow (before 11:30am!?!?! ) so get my hair cut, so i better let it be here.... hopefully this latest incarnation has been interesting - and i just apologise for the poor spelling as i know there's loads of mistakes - but.... well, i'm always writing this really late at night and I'M TIRED RIGHT
|Wednesday May 3 2006 - 2:38 am|
DJ Cliffraves - Hardcore fever 2 (D I G I T A L L Y - I M P O R T E D & HappyHardcore.com - Hardcore - DJ mixes, hard da...Hello chums, thought I'd drop in an update as all i ever seem to do is just waste time otherwise.
Just to quickly update on the Sunday night staff party... it went like this
5pm or so: Woke up
Arriving there though, i couldn't reach anyone as all their phones reported "No signal" (except Jimmy's which just rang and rang) - not quite sure what to do, i waited until about 10pm when finally Haruna called (she had got my message) to say it had been cancelled and she was in Shibuya with a friend
Nuts, ah well, I decided I might as well go and eat out at the "all you can eat" Indian place, so set off down the road. Passing Asso, I had a brief look inside and, lo and behold, there was Jimmy! I popped my head in through the window to ask what had happened, and why hadn't he answered his phone.
"Oh that was you, sorry mate... i thought it was the credit card people, so I ignored it" - damn you, thanks a lot Could have saved me a long wait, anyway, he's put my number in his phone book now - so this won't happen again.
I tried to console myself for the failed weekend by stuffing as much food into my face as possible, but, whilst it was indeed very delicious - it didn't beat going out to a club
So what else have I been up to? Well my main task of late which has taken pretty much all my time up, whilst being really nerdy, should benefit my website loads (fiatforum.com) - I've been working on SEOing it. Basically optimising it so it's rated as high as possible in the search engines - my aim is that by the end of June, if you type "fiat" into Google, the FIAT Forum will come up in the first page! - here's hoping
What else: Well, as I posted, I was fed up of relying on Seiko all the time for everything, so in a fit of madness (possibly) I sent out loads of random emails to people on the penpal site who seemed the kinda person I would get on with. The upshot of this is, I'm meeting up with a girl called Aya tomorrow in Shibuya.
I don't actually have any information other than she is 19, likes all kinds of music (though doesn't know what trance is) and has long hair.... a bit of a mystery meet then
I've arranged to meet her at 1, which gives me 3 hours or so to get to know her, and an excuse to leave if things aren't going so well lollage...
The weather has been very hit and miss recently, I was woken up this morning by a massive storm, with another one the other week (apparently an electrical storm as everything turned yellow - very bizarre) - but then blazing sunshine a few hours later (when I woke up again the second time )
AAHHHH! I've just seen the time, I better go to bed (or at least ring mum first) - otherwise I'll never get up for 11:30 tomorrow morning!!!
|Sunday April 30 2006 - 1:25 am|
DJ Friez - Jellycat 1 (D I G I T A L L Y - I M P O R T E D & HappyHardcore.com - Hardcore - DJ mixes, hard dance and NuN...Yes, it's the weekend but i'm sitting here, home at 1:30am - why you ask?
Well, I was supposed to be out with Seiko tonite (as well as last night) - but she now sleeping in the frontroom. She's been doing manic sleeping recently, like just 3 or 4 hours a day, and is wondering why she's tired?!?
Tonite I'm a bit annoyed though, she had work this morning from 4am-midday, then was supposed to come home and sleep so we could go out tonite, but instead went out with some friends, coming back at 5pm, which of course come 8, there was no way she was awake enough....
I think I need to make an effort to start hanging out with some new people, as I can't rely on her for everything. Shortest case, I only have 14 weekends left, I don't need to be wasting them like this.
To comfort myself, I went to the supermarket and bought a box of Coco Pops (£3 though for a tiny box!) - and instead of wasting all the night, I thought I should finish writing up the events of last week....
Then, I reckon, I'll slip back into rant mode and start grumbling again...
Anyway, where was I - ah yes, part three - the last week of Nesa and up to now.... hmmm... we probably did a few things during the week, but alas I can't remember - I do know about the weekend though - so let me begin.
Oh no wait, i wanted to post this picture up.... taken on a packed train
Anyway, back to the weekend!
Friday, Nesa had gone to Hakone for the day - which I suspected would tire her out, and indeed it did - this left just me and Seiko to go to Roppongi together (or at least meet her there).
In usual me fashion, I was also hideously late and in real danger of missing the train, which meant I had to run all the way to Sangenjaya, meaning by the time I got on the train, I was sweating quite badly .... YUK! I hadn't forgotten however to fill a plastic bottle with vodka, so at Aoyama Ichome station, I bought an orange juice to top it up.... quality
Not wanting to break tradition, first stop was Hub (hooray for Hub) however we only stayed for a single drink as Seiko was quite hungry, so we soon left and made our way to Jonathans (wow it's been a long time since I went there) where we stayed for an hour or so.
Walking back down the Roppongi strip, it suddenly dawned on us, how we just did the same things over and over (same places each week), however not really liking any of the other clubs caused a certain issue here... haha....
Instead of clubbing therefore, we decided to do a bit of shopping (yes, at 3am in the morning) and headed into the large Donkihote stop where we just browsed random bits and pieces until there was nothing left to see.
On the way out however, we spotted a sign for the newly opened top floor "Cosplay" department, so jumped in the lift to the 7th floor. Cosplay if you haven't guessed is an abbreviation for "Costume Play", and on stepping out the lift, we were greeted with the sight of hundreds of different costumes - schoolgirls, nurses, cheerleaders, policewomen - pretty much anything (including "Sexy Gymnast Costume" lol...) - oh to have a j-girlfriend ...
Not to be left out, they also had a section for men, though I think it served more as a comedy section rather than a serious "sexy" dept...
Finally, the clock struck 5am, which meant that "Maxim" was open, so we scuttled away over the road to our (my? ) favourite club, meaning i could finally get a good dance in... hurrah!
The night was not so much different from usual as far as the music went, except today we had the typical "extremely drunk ugly" man, trying his hand with everyone in the place. He started on Seiko at first, but after explaining she was my girlfriend (which he wouldnt believe until we had kissed...) - he finally left, only to start trying it on with our friend (who we don't even know the name of ) - by now i had used my "Boyfriend" card, so I was unable to help out too much here...
Luckily, he soon got tired of the constant rejection, so went off to try his luck with someone else. You know, I really don't understand people like that - how they can possibly think they are going to get somewhere... and then to just ignore rejection... man, people like that give us guys a bad name...
We left around 7:30 or so and headed off to the local "Subway" to get some breakfast, before finally hitting the train home... and ... sleeeeeep zzzzz
Saturday and first off was a meeting with Toshi and his friend for us all to eat in Shibuya. Things started off ok, we decided to go to the mexican place - though arriving there, there was a 30 minute wait - so it was off to find somewhere else.
45 minutes later, we still hadn't found somewhere (doh!) - until finally we found an izakaya style place. Problem was, both Nesa and I were very hungry and we just knew the food would be small - which indeed it was, ah well, there's always First Kitchen
One thing that must be mentioned was what occured at the end of the meal. We all got up to leave, but the staff then informed us that we still had one dish to come (infact it had just arrived) - A YakiSobaOmelette (imagine yakisoba covered with an omelette) - by now everyone had got to the door (Except me, nesa and toshi) - but me and nesa decided it was a shame to waste it, toshi therefore went to tell the others what was going on.
We realised the implications of time here, so had to take drastic action. Splitting into two equal halves, we then devoured the whole thing in under 3 bites each I must say, I'm quite impressed with our achievement there, and indeed Toshi couldn't believe it when he got back from telling the others (all of a minute or so at most) to find us all done.... haha....
(Dammit, I've just gone and made another bowl of Coco Pops, thats my third this evening, soon they will all be gone )
It was then that the split occured, everyone departed leaving just me and Nesa to do the night alone... first stop therefore, Sunkus (convenience store) to buy a 2 litre bottle of orange juice and a 785ml bottle of vodka. Finding an "out the way" seating area, we then proceded to mix up (and mix *very* well) a vodka and orange, before (ultimately) drinking all of it
That done, we were ready for our final (or so we thought) destination of the night, a very welcome return to "Atom" - hurrah! Nesa's last night out clubbing in Tokyo had to go with a bang.
As we didn't have a flyer, entry this time was 3000yen (with one drink), though at the payment counter, Nesa expertly negotiated an extra one each (go Nesa! yay!) - and finally, we were back in paradise.
It was exactly as before, just a massive club full of the most gorgeous girls you can ever imagine. I would have taken a photo, but cameras had already been removed at the door (what a stupid rule) - and although i had managed to keep mine on me, i was now scared to use it incase we got thrown out.
The music this time was better than before, with it actually getting quite hard at one point - and it was safe to say, Nesa and I had a f*&king awesome time.... so good, we didn't want to leave - but the fact it was about 1000 degrees and my hair was starting to flop badly, meant it was time to go hehe... I'll return again once my hair is cut, haha...
Last stop of the night (after returning to our drinking point from the night before to retrieve the not-quite-finished bottle of vodka - i know, really pikey , but I DON'T CARE... haha) was "Little Spoon" to grab a morning curry, with extra hamburger, cheese and croque potato...
Sunday, for me at least was long lie in day, though Nesa got up around 11 or so to go and meet her friend Brandon.
We therefore arranged to meet at about 7:30 at Shimokitazawa to go for the "Final Meal" - again back at Bochi Bochi. It also gave me a chance to meet up with Brandon, a cool guy, and a friend of Nesa's who works for Nokia. Shimpei turned up as well, making the circle complete.
After "Bochi Bochi" - we then headed for "Dot", Shimpei's favourite bar (haha .. NOT! though I don;t know why) - where we stayed for an hour and a half or so, in which time Shimpei complained about pretty much everything on the planet. I think dad would get on well with him
Finally, tiredness was too much for Nesa, so we made the treck home. Unfortunately this meant we didn't have time for karaoke, nor did we remember to do the obligatory japanese Photo-Me booths.... doh!
(Jumping forward a night --->)
Come 7:30am or so and it was time for Nesa to go. She didn't even say goodbye (pah! her excuse was something about letting me sleep) - but luckily I had not bothered to go to bed, so once I heard the door go I ran out after her
And then she was gone, my English speaking household sharing member had departed, oh how I cried....
Thus brings us to the start of last week, during which was just pretty much work and not a lot else. I need to save a bit of cash ready for Kyoto on Thursday, so I guess it's not such a bad thing.
Tomorrow is the "new work staff" party, which will probably be a quiet affair, so I might liven things up a bit, by getting wasted first .... lol... welcome indeed... haha...
So phew, there you have it, up to date - I appreciate it's not the most exciting read, but I just needed to get everything down. Once again, I promise not to fall so far behind again - which I am sure I will break sooner or later, but hey, at least you got photos!
I have a few other bits and pieces to add, though I'll do these another time, it's now 3:30, which means I have been typing this (on and off) for 2 hours - I DON'T WANT TO WRITE ANYMORE !!! pah!
|Friday April 28 2006 - 2:09 am|
Sy & Demo - Movin on (www.LynxFM.com - Happy Hardcore, Non-stop 24/7 !)Part two of the "quick" summary .... lol ....
Vanessa arrived back at maybe 6 or so - however none of us in the apartment knew as we couldn't hear the doorbell... whoops! She was eventually let in the main door by someone making a delivery downstairs, so was able to bash on the door until someone up here noticed
Oh course, she was now extremely tired and was debating on whether to stay home It was decided that she should get a bit of sleep, to recharge ....
Luckily this seemed to do the trick and we were able to get out the house by about 11:50 or so, just in time to catch the last train .... ahh, except it seemed the times had now changed and last train was long gone, with the only one left terminating at Shibuya.
Due to there being two of us though, it meant a taxi wasn't quite such an expensive idea (about £3 each) - so all was not lost - and from Shibuya station we were whisked to Roppongi, stepping out just as the heavens opened - meaning we had to make a mad dash for Hub so as not to get soaked!
Here we met up with Seiko's friend "S.... (something)" - god I'm so bad with names, it's appauling. I would like to say it's because they are tricky Japanese, but I always had this problem in the UK as well!
After a couple of drinks, it was decided that we wanted some proper food - so an izakaya seemed like the natural choice. We therefore headed along to the building where club Hideout is located, but caught the lift up (instead of down) to the izakaya Seiko and I had been once before.
Inside, the food and drinks were pretty normal... however one poster seemed to stand out "Sexy Fried Rice" ... hmmm... what could this be? There was only one way to find out, so order it we did ..... Can you guess what arrived???
Go on, you won't believe it !
I don't think any explanation is required ....
After all was done topside, we headed down to Hideout below (where I had to take the role of Seiko's boyfriend, due to the large Korean attention she was getting) - where we partied until about 5am
Come 5am however, iLounge (or Maxim as it's now known) was open, so we headed over the road to get in a few extra hours clubbing.. as you can see, Nesa loved it
I'm not sure what time we stayed until, though I reckon about 7ish, before finally departing (via McDonalds) to the warmth of home
Sunday was never going to be very hectic, though we had planned to go to Shinjuku to get a new memory card for Nesa along with a battery charger (her camera had died and she had neglected to bring the UK one) - in true me style, we got out the house at about 7pm or so (giving us 2 hours to do everything) - though I'm pleased to say it was mission accomplised - I even had time to go to Kinokuniya to buy the Japanese book I had read at Haruka's... w00t!
Before heading home however, there was one special task which had to be undertaken - take Nesa to "Kabukicho", the red light district of Tokyo, which is home to many, many host clubs. You know you are in the right place when you start to see huge billboards of guys in suits with flash hair everyone. Suprisingly though, Nesa wasn't at all impressed, commenting they looked like "gay boys" rather than the attractive guys she had been expecting... pah... no pleasing some people
Mission failed, we then went to check out some of the UFO catcher parlours to see if anything great was on offer. In about the 4th place, we came across a machine with Ninendo DS's in abundance, which actually looked pretty easy to grab.
I therefore set about the task of retrieving one, and on the 6th go, I got one!!! w00000t! Opening the box however, something wasn't quite right... for a start it didn't weigh much, and looked kinda cheap.... our suspisions were confirmed when we realised that there was no catridge slot, not any slots at all - they were just all fakes.... what was it you ask? A bloody voice recorder!!! Quite why anyone would want a replica DS recorder I just don't know (infact, it seems no-one, hence the reason the machine was full of them ) - of course, it said voice recorder on the box, but we had both assumed this was a feature, not the whole thing!!! pah!!!
I was a bit peeved to say the least.... mew!!!
We made one more stop off (at the Shinjuku Hub - believe it or not ) before finally getting the train back, then getting an early(ish) night - due to having to work overtime the next day....
Part 3 coming tomorrow ....
|Wednesday April 26 2006 - 4:07 pm|
SRPC0013 04 POWEROFMAGE.mp3 (HARDRAVE.JP RADIO(JAPANESE UNDERGROUND HARDRAVE) )Well it's got to the point, the blog is so far behind, that catching it all up has pretty much become an impossibility. I've decided therefore to cut my loses and start again from now.. otherwise, it would just slip and slip, and become not much use to anyone.
So, lets do a real quick summary of the weeks gone past...
The first weekend after Kyoto was also Yumi's last night in Tokyo, so we went out to a new "all you can drink" place in Shimokitazawa. To cut a long story short, Shiho got absolutely wasted (she never drinks, remember!) and at one point it looked like we were going to have to take her home.... however, she pulled through and made it out to the Karaoke afterwards
So there you have it, bye bye Yumi - we shall miss you
The next weekend, it was decided that we would head out on Friday to Roppongi. After the usual "Hub" starter drinks, we headed to "Hideout" where we stayed until about 5am when it was decided we should check out "i-Louge" over the road (which had now changed it's name to "Maxim").
Entrance was 1000yen, however once inside and realising it actually played decent music (it was actually pretty banging, w00t!) - plus the fact you got a free drink, it didn't seem so bad.
Seiko had now done a usual and got pretty smashed (so was propping up the bar) leaving me on my own to jump around manicly to the very good music. After a while, I was joined by a group of girls and, I guess due to the influx of alcohol inside me, suddenly had the confidence to start talking to them (in Japanese.... duh!) - I can't remember the girl's name, but she was originally from Thailand, spoke no English, but really liked the club.
I stayed talking with her for about an hour and a half, before, situations over at the bar meant I had to intervene. Seiko had managed to find herself not one, but TWO guys, who were intent on dragging her off home with them - I know she might have wanted this, but the fact she seemed to keep passing out on the bar and being propped back up by them, kinda suggested she didn't know what she wanted!!!
A swift intervention later (which rather bizarely involved me shouting out "they are bad men, they are bad men" - which they could of course hear) and we had Seiko on the way home. Rather worryingly, not 10 minutes after we had left, I mentioned to Seiko that "you really need to be careful", to which she replied "Why? What happened??" She wouldn't believe me at all until I told her to check in her pocket where the guy's phone number had been put!!
We got back to Wakabayashi station at about 9am (after taking a strange detour through a graveyard - much to the amusement of the gardener) when suddenly Seiko shouts out "Ah, I have work now!! I have to catch this train..." - and off she went!?!?!
Needless to say, we didn't go out on Saturday night!
Monday after, Vanessa arrived - so we did the official "welcome to Japan" evening out, by taking her to Bochi Bochi (any excuse ) - she then left for Kyoto on the Tuesday, returning on the Saturday.
Friday night was Ryoko's birthday, so once I had finished work, I headed off to Roppongi to meet up with her, seiko, shiho and toshi. No prizes for guessing our first point of call
We did find this strange drunk guy though ....
Final stop was club "Vanilla", a swanky place just up the road. It was a bit of fun and games at first though....
Clubs and bars here don't have cloakrooms, but just lockers. This is generally a good idea, until you have a massive club, with no where near enough lockers to cater for everyone. So picture the scene, Saturday night in a really hot club with loads of coats and bags, but no lockers.
We stand around for a bit, before deciding this just isn't going to work and we're better off just holding on to everything, until suddenly a group of people standing around the lockers leave and suddenly some locker keys are glistening in the club light.....
Going on instinct, we charge for the lockers and not a moment too soon before suddenly all hell breaks lose and a huge crowd of people start rushing towards us. It was total carnage with everyone pushing a shoving everyone out the way to try and secure their locker!!!
Once all sorted, we headed to the R'n'B room, which had nice comfy sofas - where we actually just sat until the end of the night just chatting and having a good laugh
So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY RYOKO!!
Once the club had come to an end, we headed to the Turkish restaurant to get some kebabs (and a bottle of wine ) - before, at about 8am or so, heading back home to get some rest in ready for the night ahead... (and Vanessa's return...)
|Friday April 21 2006 - 3:30 am|
The sound of the keyboard tappingI awoke at about 6am or so, to be greeted by the site of Kyoto.. w00t! Except of course Haruka had arranged to meet us at 7, so it seemed like quite a bit of waiting around would be in order. The bus stopped just outside the station and we stepped out into what can only be described as EXTREME COLD with strong as winds...
We therefore headed into the station to shelter for a bit and await the arrival of Haruka.
Maybe an hour and 45 later (go Haruka! ) she finally arrived and it was time to go back to her house...
.... except she couldn't seem to work out how to get there!?!?
Lol... after spinning around and around a few times, she finally decided on a route and we headed up through the station to a different train line platform. But it was all not all done, as again she seemed a little lost and we had to walk up and down a few platforms until we were finally on the right one
The train journey to Haruka's stop (Makino) took about 30 minutes (it's about half way between Kyoto and Osaka) but took us out of the city background and allowed us to see some countryside. This was awesome as I am kinda sick up of the "buildupness" of Tokyo and this made a great change - oh how I wish I lived out here instead... ah well...
Makino itself was even better, the station has a massive bowling alley situated next to it, along with a 24 hour Karaoke centre and a McDonalds (so basically everything you need for a night out) - a small shopping arcade just over the street (so you can buy all you need) - but apart from, NOTHING.... so cool! Just mountains in view, and little houses....
After walking about 10/15 minutes from the station, we finally got to Haruka's place (or room I should say...)
Here you go, welcome to the Home Of Haruka
Do come into the front room and say Hello!! w00t!
Again, as with the area, her place is also pretty awesome! It's certainly not the biggest of abodes, but has everything you need. Kitchen area, shower room, toilet, then the main room (as seen in the pictures) which is both the front room and bedroom. Oh and the rent, about £200 a month!!! (our place is £1300 or so!!) - let me tell you, I was so jealous!!
We were then very kindly cooked breakfast (Yaki Udon) before settling down in various places on the floor to get to sleep (except Helen who had taken a turn for the worse, so had had Haruka's bed donated to her). It must have been about 12/1 or so, when I was woken by Haruka leaving to go to her part time job - leaving a map and some keys so we could get out.
A few hours later, we were finally ready to head out, with first job being to find an ATM. No mean feat in England, but as I've been ranting over the last year - out here, can be kinda tricky. After looking around the local area for a good 20 minutes, we finally found the Post Office and Helen was able to draw some cash (I couldn't as my card didn't work there) and we could start out on our journey.
The train took about 30 minutes to deliver us to "Shijo" - a place I remembered well as it was were Justin and I had gone before (in fact, I remembered lots of places due to having gone there before, I suspect Helen got quite sick of me going "ah I went here with Justin"... lol). Here I was able to go in an AM:PM and get some cash out, before we started off on our little tour of Kyoto.
Admittedly we didn't see so much, as it was a bit late and things were starting to close (all the temples and what not generally shut up shop around 4/5ish) however we didn't miss everything...
Timing a little off now, but I think at around 8 o'clock or so (from within the coffee shop "Dotour") we sorted out the nights plan, to head away from Kyoto to Osaka (and Shinsaibashi) were we would meet up with Haruka and head off on the night out.
We arrived there in good time, and headed directly to Helen's new favourite haunt - Starbucks Where we waited for Haruka to show... and waited... and waited some more, before finally she turned up (though she did seem quite apologetic) and whisked us away to a nearby izakaya where her friend worked.
Once in, we were introduced to "Yuuka" who worked in the bar just part time, in order to save up some money so she can come to England in July! She's pretty hot too.... maybe coming home in August isn't such a bad idea.... haha ... lol...
She had to carry on working for the first few hours, so in the meantime we ordered some food and drinks (of which only the food got put through the computer ) - including a HUGE bowl of sake for Helen (which unbelieveably she DIDN'T manage to finish )
Once Yuuka had finished work, she then joined us at the table, where we chatted for an hour or so (or at least everyone tried to, but more on that later...) until it was time to go. The girls wanted to go to a Drum n Bass event, though it was pretty obvious this would be a bad idea for Helen - so they were "persuaded" against this, and instead we headed down the street to another bar (run by another one of Haruka's friends) - this wasn't however, before the manager of Yuuka's restaurant gave us a discount on the (already "incorrect") bill .... w00t!
The next place was an "American Style" diner, which meant nice comfy seats - and again, cheap drinks.
Now the fun and games began ...
Of course naturally everyone would sit and chat in a bar. This was fine for me as my Japanese seemed to have suddenly accelerated itself and I could actually hold a conversation, meaning I was able to speak in pretty much straight English. This wasn't such a good thing for Helen though (obviously) - so the girls did their best to talk in English...
However, it seemed accents caused quite a few problems (much to my amusement, sorry Helen)
It would go like this:
Yuuka or Haruka would ask Helen a question in English.
It was just bizarre, but highly amusing (well for me at least).
It reminded me of the time Haruka stayed over at Jamie's the first time she visited, the conversation went like this.
Jamie: What airline are you going back on?
I can only think that due to all the Japanese I have spent time with (both here and in England before) and the fact I have had to practise kindergarden for so long, I can now natually speak on an easy level..... for anyone else involved though, it does seem to be quite frustrating.
We must have stayed at the bar until about 3 or 4am (in which time, I got in like SOOOO much J-practise, it was awesome) until Haruka got a call from her boyfriend to say he was outside and would be able to give us a lift back to the house.
We therefore trekked outside and across the street, to be greeted by the site of what must be one of the smallest cars to ever exist, complete with boyfriend and best mate already inside (and then the four of us) - there was only one option, and that was to go for a complete squeeze. I really wish I had a photo of the car, as it's quite hard to appreciate just how small the thing was, but suffice to say - there was some serious bone crushing action going on in the back for the hour or it took to get to the first drop off point where Yuuka and then Haruka's boyfriend's (Shuuhi) mate... so finally there was room to breath
Haruka's house was another hour or so drive from Yuuka's, which left me and Helen wondering where everyone was intending to stay... this became apparent on the arrival home, when extra futons were put out, and it became obvious we were all going to share the single room - to their credit, we did get given the bed, meaning Haruka and Shuuhi had the floor - but it was still very tight and I had to really watch I didn't roll to the left and end up on top of him!!
Sleep was difficult, due to the massive heat (the aircon was left on) and apparently I then stole all the blankets... sorry!
The next day was another late start, with Haruka once again dissapearing off to work, leaving us with Shuuhi who then gave us a lift to the station when we were all up and dressed - in time for us to catch the express back into town.
Once there, we attempted to get a bit more done this time and headed directly for the guidebook trail.
We then walked along through the park until we reached one of the major temple tourist attractions... which of course was closed... doh!
Luckily, Helen wasn't in the mood to waste time, so we kept on going until we found the "old town", steep streets full of traditional shops (which looked so cool) before finally reaching the top of the hill and finding a massive shrine area. We had to be quick as we only had 15 minutes until it closed, so we rushed around it as best we could...
Not too much to tell here really, I guess you need more photos to really appreciate the place, so you are going to have to take my word for it that it was nice... but it was
For the evening entertainment, a night club again didn't seem like such a good idea (due to the having to stay out until 5) so it was instead decided to go to the local Karaoke rooms near Haruka's house. (where we were joined by Shuuhi) ... not before first going to the convenience store to smuggle in some drinks
I did have some photos of Helen, but she took the camera when I was in the toilet and then deleted them
We must have left karaoke at about 4:08am (that time sticks in my head) - paid our bills, then headed back home - where me and Shuuhi got into a bit of an animated conversation, until rolling eyes from Haruka and Helen made it clear we were to shut up so everyone could go to bed
Sunday and our final day, Kyoto wasn't on the menu - and instead we were going to visit "Nara" - very famous for a large temple and also having a park full of deer. We were in a bit of a rush as it closed at 5, however left at around 2, leaving us plenty of time....
The place was absolutely MILES away involving a drive over what can only be described as one of the largest and steepest hills in the world (so steep infact, it seemed on quite a few occassions that the car just wouldn't make it over!!)
Finally, at about 5:20 (yup...) we arrived to be of course greeted by the main buildings being closed... we were however, able to browse the grounds and run after numerous deer...
All was not complete doom and gloom though, as upon asking a local guard, we were directed up a hill towards the "observation point" - high up and overlooking everything... even better, we got there just in time for the sunset... finally, something is going our way
Of course, this good luck wouldnt' be complete without something going wrong, so it was at that point, as we peacefully looked over the setting sun, that I got a text message from England letting me know the database server was down.... great.... this then shattered all peacefullness, and now all I could worry about what "why"....
I tried my best to push it out my mind (though not very successfully) and we then headed back to Osaka to buy bus tickets, get some dinner, and, go to an internet cafe to see what was going on.
Our last meal with our friends was an okonomiyaki restaurant, where instead of doing a "mix up", just bought one each. Whilst this was good, i think it's nicer to get a mixture, so will go the share route again next time.
We then browsed a few UFO catcher shops, before I popped into an internet cafe for about 20 minutes to sort out some company work...
Alas, all too soon it was time to get the bus It was therefore sadly that we queued up in the bus line to get back on (I so wanted to stay) and said a fond farewell to the Kyoto'ers who had looked after us so well over the weekend... before finally climbing aboard (to a now full packed) nightbus, settling down, and starting the journey back....
BENS RAMBLINGS: I just wanted to make some memory notes here, and just to say a few things.
I just remembered back in 2004, when I first got in contact with Haruka and asked if she wanted to come over a stay - everyone thought I was mad, having some stranger Japanese girl over. But, back then we had a great time. Indeed again in 2005 when she came over with Nagisa (thanks Mum + Dad) - again, people were a bit sceptical and were actually talking about "using" me...
But here, it's all proved wrong! I think the kindness shown to us over the weekend, very much shows that there are some really nice people in the world and it was nice to know I have some good friends down South Of course, the invitation has been given for them to visit here in Tokyo, which I hope they will do sometime soon.... show them how we party in the capital
Will definately look into more homestays when back in the UK.... whenever that might be ....
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