Monday, September 7, 2009

made in japan.

the train ride to school the other day was an interesting one.

a boy sitting across from me was decked out in purple hello kitty diamante slippers and a baby pink hoodie that read:

'i'm a taxidermist, i'll mount anyting' (spelling error included).

loves it.

long time no blog

lots of places to see, people to meet and things to do in the last couple of months, so here's a recap of what's been up:

disneyland. the monsters inc. water and fire show freakin rocked my socks! and i met daisy duck, she is too pretty. here's the infamous disney castle:

went to a maid cafe in akihabara.. weird and amazing, with dress-up chests and polaroids for souvenirs.

went to the craziest club EVER, apparently it's the biggest in asia.. i'm talking massive dancehall, upmarket bar, beach bar, swimming pool, pole dancers, the whole lot. it's called ageha and if you're in tokyo you must check it.

bought the hottest boots in the history of the world in harajuku. they were the last pair and fit me like a glove. and cost me AUD500.

we just had obon (national holiday to pay respects to your ancestors) a couple of weeks ago and some friends and i went to iwaki for a beach party.. kick arse day and night. it's the first time i've been to the beach the whole time here, and the day was perfect; sunshine, surf, sand, beers, bbq, friends, music, and sunrises.

had a look at the biggest fireworks display in fukushima. the sukagawa hanabi matsuri was beautiful. look at the lollipop and glowstick stands!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

country bumkin

i visited my boyfriend's family last weekend in urasa, niigata - proper countryside japan. the house was old and traditional, the scenery was amazing and the food was even better. it was stinking hot, involved afternoon siestas, countless chu-hi's, glasses of shochu (filled three quarters of the way to the top!), and lots of broken/translated japanese and english.

so beautiful.

tick, tock.

japan is great at reminding you of things.. watch your step when walking onto an escalator, don't get your finger caught in the elevator doors, etc etc.

in koriyama, the city council reminds us of the time, with chimes at 7am, 12 midday and 6pm. at first i found them irritating, but i'm really warming to the joy to the world ditty that wakes me up every morning.

it also urges me to get off my arse and actually do something with my day before work starts.

Friday, June 19, 2009

i really wish i had a camera

saw an interesting sign in the train on the way home from school tonight. it read:

'please don't smoke in train station. the toilet is not a big ashtray.'

loves it.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

go team!

i can't help but notice the amount of people it takes to achieve one simple task in japan.

a couple of weeks ago i saw five council workers hovering around a manhole on the road. one was actually working, the other four were just there for moral support.

today, i laughed to myself as three police officers cheered on another one who was reversing the cop car into a really easy park. hai.. hai.. HAI!

go team!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

open sesame toilet seat.

last night we were at our local bar and when i walked in to lift the toilet seat up in the bathroom.. it opened all by itself!

open sesame toilet seats. and they're heated too.

i love japan.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

moldy mattress

oh my god. i just found mold under my mattress pad.

japanese bedding consists of a mattress pad, futon, comforter (ie quilt) and a pillow. you're supposed to air out the mattress pad and futon whenever it's a dry, hot, sunny day, but for the two months i've lived in my apartment i haven't done it once - and i'm seriously regretting it.

i googled how to deal with moldy futons and it said that sometimes mites can grow inside! i clean my entire apartment top to bottom every week and now i just feel.. dirty.

if you need help with futon maintenance here's a good link:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

oh joy.

i teach kids from 2.5-15yo.

by the time they reach a certain age, children do not need to be escorted to the bathroom, and are well past the potty-training phase.

you would think that allowing an 8yo to take care of themselves in the lavatory was acceptable, right?


one of my students (i'm yet to figure out who) pissed ALL OVER the floor. you could barely get a foot in there.

and when i finished cleaning up all that lovely wee, the floor was sticky. thank god japan uses the toilet slipper rule.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

poking and prodding

back home in australia, i have a massage once a month. it relaxes me.

having been in japan for two months now, i thought it was time i tried a japanese massage.

normally you take your clothes off and get oiled up. i walk in and find that there are numerous people in the room on benches and i'm thinking, wow, so we all get naked in here together? ok. i've been to an onsen. i've got this.

so i start pulling at my shirt and gesture to the massage therapist that i'm going to take my clothes off. she makes an 'X' with her arms (this means 'no' in japan). she says i should lie on the bench with my clothes on. what?! so i hesitantly get on the bench and she then proceeds to put not one but TWO towels on top of my clothes (i'm wearing a long-sleeved shirt and jeans by the way) and starts poking my back.

i think the whole idea is to hit pressure points and relieve tension, but i like my therapist mel in clovelly better.

i want it.

ok wait so sienna clearly got her inspiration from this AMAZING balmain ensemble.

NB: i am a size 6 dress and shoe size. can you airmail to japan please?

Monday, June 1, 2009

need it. now.

i was just checking out the red carpet photos from the 2009 mtv movie awards and i have decided that i need to somehow get my hands on this amazing dress. so jeally of sienna miller's wardrobe!

ps if you haven't seen factory girl.. hire it this weekend!

pps the full trailer for the twilight saga: new moon is out and i am just a tiny bit excited.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


paid a visit to tower records this arvo and had a listen to a chick called MEG.

she's a singer-songwriter and fashion designer.

pretty freakin cool.


just wanna have a bit of a whinge.

so the teaching thing has been going great.. for the most part the kids are fab.

BUT today i had the biggest brat of a kid in my class. he didn't participate at all, yelled, screamed, threw things, jumped on tables, and was generally a big, fat pain in the ass for an entire hour. i tried moving him, i tried the silent treatment, i tried the death stare, i tried raising my voice and eventually i just gave up. that kid is a fruitcake. and as soon as he acts up all the other kids join in and then it's impossible to stop. ugh.

the other thing is my bike. i love my shitty third-hand bike, its amazing. but when i'm riding for 30 mins to and from work every day.. WHY does the wind ALWAYS work against me? i can't feel my legs and i reckon i average a speed of about half a kilometre.

that's all. rant over.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

best game show in the world!


i am watching the funniest game show on tv!

it's a bunch of people playing really old school super mario (like the very first version ever made, that i played when i was 7). it's hilarious, i've been hooked for an hour!

i took some pics.. they had the dungeon, swimming and flying fish stages and everything!

just a regular day at the shops

at some point it becomes necessary to wash your clothes - and dry them. so i went to the mall the other day to buy a clothes horse. in australia, if you buy something that's too big for the store's largest plastic bag, you just deal with it and struggle to lug it round the shopping centre or to the car. this is not so in japan. they have little sticker handles that make life SO much easier for people like me who have no actual muscles in their arms.

shops in japan also play some interesting 'ambience' music. they're catchy little jingles that go something like 'seafood, seafood, seafood' (in japanese) - in the seafood section of the supermarket - and 'doo-doo-doo-IRASSHAIMASE!' (can i help you?) in my local chemist. the staff like to sing along too. nice.

mount bandai baby!

mt. bandai is the closest ski resort to my new hometown of koriyama. however, it's now spring and the ice has melted, so some friends and i decided to hike it! we only got halfway, but the view was pretty cool. even cooler was me finding a tarnished 500yen coin that made it through the entire snow season. bring on the good luck!

we also checked out the five lakes - which supposedly formed after the mountain exploded and deposited minerals that make each lake a different colour. this was the prettiest one:

our last stop was lake inawashiro, the most famous (and biggest!) lake in fukushima. the sunset was so gorgeous.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

first stop.. iwaki

so my new place is in koriyama city, fukushima.

a few things have happened since i moved here. i've started teaching solo, experienced a 630am earth tremor (that shook the whole building), made some friends, and yesterday, i caught the bus out to iwaki.

iwaki is on the fukushima coast and is the closest beach to koriyama. it was a gorgeous day, t-shirt weather and all sunny. my friend TJ and i checked out the lighthouse on the peninsula and just chilled at the beach for the rest of the spring afternoon. nice.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


i experienced my first earth tremor today!

the whiteboard was wiggling, and my brain felt like it was slapping around in it's brain water.

the kids are so used to it, they didn't even notice!

it only lasted a few seconds but it was a weird feeling.

Monday, April 13, 2009

tokyo madness


went to tokyo for the weekend and came back with a few less brain cells but had the best time ever. my new friends and i went to akihabara (electric city and manga central), shibuya, shinjuku and roppongi.

my favourite parts:
  1. the boys trying to figure out the best way to pick up japanese girls in the 'love & sex' section of the lonely planet phrasebook.
  2. constant references to lost in translation.
  3. singing kelis ft. andre 3000's millionaire.
  4. laughing so hard it hurt my stomach muscles.
  5. speaking engrish (english with a japanese accent).
  6. comic porn in akihabara.
  7. drink tickets that come built into cover charge at all bars and clubs in roppongi.
check out these pics - a barbie clothing store in shibuya, porno manga dolls in akihabara, and shinjuku at night.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

best invention ever

i know this invention isn't unique to japan, but it's the first time i've actually used it.

a bidet.

fear of the unknown and intimidation had stopped me from using it in my hotel bathroom. i had stared at the button for a long time, then decided against it. but after a little encouragement from my co-workers, i tried it.

is it wrong that i'm so excited about a toilet function?

oh, and i have a heated toilet seat too.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

country and western.. japanese style

i went down to the local hanami (flower) festival in fujigaoka on the weekend, and for our afternoon delight, we were entertained by a JAPANESE country and western band!

please note the guitarist's fringed jacket. and line dancers.

eye candy alert!

ok.. so i was watching tv a couple of days ago and all of a sudden, across my screen came a really hot japanese baseball player.

his name is ichiro suzuki.


Saturday, April 4, 2009

working-class woman

i got a job! at an english language school for kids. training starts tomorrow. so excited!

maccas, bullet trains and finding my inner zen

my two friends anna and carrie always insist that maccas (mickey d’s) in australia is shit (they’re from the states and canada); as i sat down to eat my third juicy chicken set-o since i arrived in japan, i realised this is true. they even have grape fanta as a beverage option!

i’ve had two ‘firsts’ this week. i went to a REAL zen garden (featuring the most beautiful sakura tree in the history of sakura trees) and caught the shinkansen (bullet train). i still have to get used to people smoking indoors - it’s really stinky but i guess it’s like walking into a public toilet; your nose adjusts eventually.

i caught the shinkansen to nara, the old capital of japan. the temple i went to see, todaiji temple, is surrounded by parks that are home to over a thousand semi-wild deer. i tried to take some snapshots with them but they were really only interested if you had biscuits for them to eat. and when you have biscuits, they know it! they run at you and bump their antlers at your arse and nip at your clothes until you give baby food! i quickly learned that the key is to stay calm and don’t run or scream (it can get overwhelming, all these animals converging in your aura!); i was in stitches watching little kids and mums yelling and carrying on with a herd of deer gallivanting after them!

it’s all my fault

i just found out from friends that the local in-ta-net-o café has changed one of their house rules: no skype in private booths.

i’m not good at lowering my voice!

sakura in bloom

it’s cherry blossom season in japan so i thought i’d give you a sneak peek at the beauty i’ve been lucky enough to see in real life.

nagoya in the sky

went to the sky promenade a couple of nights ago, where you take a ride in the fastest lift in japan to the top of the highest building in nagoya (46 floors). here’s a few sunset and night shots i got.

weird and wonderful ads on city streets

Friday, April 3, 2009

nihongo.. berry good!

a japanese native told me i have a good japanese accent! this means i might have a chance of impressing my boyfriend’s grandparents this summer.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

you just got told!

ok. so today was a great day. i made friends with an aussie guy called stefan, and we went into downtown nagoya, got lost in translation, found some adaptors, ate cheap curry and beef and rice, shopped for groceries at the 100 yen store and traveled the subways without getting lost.

but we got told. twice. by elderly japanese women.

the first time, we were on the train. we were happily seated when the lady next to stefan glared at him and said something rather sternly in japanese (loud enough for everyone else on the carriage to hear). you didn't have to speak the language to know what she was on about. note to self: stand up for anyone who looks older than you (or has grey hair). we will definitely remember that rule!

the second time we were in the internet cafe just whispering amongst ourselves when the old lady sitting across from us gave us a death stare, yelled at us in japanese and then proceeded to yell 'GET OUT!'. giggling proceeded.

lessons learned: stand up for your elders and no talking in internet cafes.

Monday, March 30, 2009

i think i'm turning japanese

so today is my first official day in japan and so far so good, i think.

the flight was a bit crappy, was shoved between three other people in the middle section of the plane AND we were the last row before the toilet, so every time someone flushed we woke up. but the food was good!

i've been successfully utilising my japanese skills, mostly by saying, 'suimasen, ego ga wakarimaska?', which means, 'excuse me, do you speak english?'. just using that phrase has helped me buy credit for my phone, buy a train ticket, make my way to an ancient temple and store my bags at the airport. pretty good methinks!

ps - it's cherry blossom season next week! can't wait to see all the pretty flowers.