Saturday, December 31, 2011

I think I'm turning Japanese - Part 1

Hello hello!!
I'm writing from my teeny tiny hotel room in Shibuya, Tokyo and boy it is COLD. But being the (overly) prepared person that I am I've got it covered with fleece-lined leggings. Might I suggest you get yourself a pair of these bad boys the second winter hits? These things work miracles - pretty sure I could walk on water in them (and still be warm I bet!).
And to make the whole experience a little more authentic, we've just had an earthquake. Obviously nothing to severe if I'm still sitting at a desk blogging... but still bizarre none the less. It took me a good minute to 1) realise we didn't have a vibrating bed and 2) wake Owen up to ask if this was in fact an earthquake he was sleeping through.

Earthquake aside we are having so much fun! I'll admit I had a minor freakout when we first landed because I forgot how damn hard it can be to communicate here. We speak zero Japanese bar the very simple thank yous and yes and there really aren't a lot of English signs (not that there should be, we are in Japan after all)... so safe to say we've looked pretty stupid on a number of occasions including being told to move by Shinto priests because we were in the way of their religion procession. But that is half the fun of travelling right? Or so I'm going to keep telling myself.

We've walked all over the place and have eaten more crepes and even more okonomiyaki than I'm willing to admit. My current theory is they cancel each other out. Please don't correct me, I simply don't want to know.

 The three steps to okonomiyaki:
Step 1 - stare longingly at hot plate
Step 2: push food around with chopsticks in an attempt to look useful
Step 3: eat said food before it is finished to annoy your dining companion. Enjoy!

Kidding! He actually cooked mine for me so I shouldn't be such an ungrateful git. He's proving to be my near-perfect travelling companion... dealing with my extreme nervousness and he's tagging along for some shopping and even encouraging me to buy things. Winner!

We've hit up lots of different suburbs and while a lot of stuff is closed over this time of year, we haven't really been bothered by it. There is always something to see and do - it is Tokyo after all. And I'm not willing to disclose just how much yen we've spent on videos games except to say... it's a lot.

 Exhibit A: Emma's idea of fun...driving along Rainbow Road. Exhibit B: Owen's idea of fun... punching a panda.
Last night being NYE we had a nice dinner (drinking Japanese cocktails... and Spanish wine... ticks for authenticity!) and loitered around the Shibuya crossing with just a few (thousand) other drunks. When the clock struck 12 everyone waited patiently (if patient means loud and involves throwing glow sticks) for the lights to change so everyone could surge onto the crossing and wish each other a happy new year. It was kind of similar to being in a sweaty moshpit at BDO but with less nakedness due to the single digit temperature (not to say there was none..) and a lot more good will. And today the city is pretty quiet so we did a little bit of shopping and someone else is busy sleeping.

You can bet I'm busy tracking down every Kit Kat flavour and trying every novelty food/drink I can get my hands on. But that my friends is a post for another day!

Anywayyyy enough yabbering on. I'm going to get me some deliciously cheap noodles for lunch (heart vending machine noodle houses, so much less fuss). And here is my unashamed photo dump of Shibuya/Yoyogi Park/Harajuku - half iPhone, half new camera (thanks mama and papa - birthday present! 26 years young!). Happy New Year! And sayonara!

Monday, December 19, 2011


In one week I'll be in Shibuya! I can't even begin tell you how excited I am... oh wait, yes I can. I'M REALLY EXCITED!!

I've been a busy bee, between getting a new (read: BETTER) job and finally leaving the nest that is my family home of 26 years, blogging has taken a back seat. Maybe even the back seat on a bus I'm not even on? Oh how philosophical of me. But seriously folks, this has been a full on six months and I think I need a nap.

New home is fun! It's tiny, but it's cute and most importantly its ours. We're getting on like a house on fire... sometimes the kind of fire that makes you want to leap from the window with your prized family heirlooms... but more often than not it's a happy, loving fire that makes me want to beam in a really smug way that probably makes other people want to punch me. I absolutely love having his company almost all of the time. I'd like to say all the time but that's a lie because living together now suddenly involves a lot of UFC watching.

That said, I still have pangs of missing home and I always miss my mum and dad. I don't think the cord is cut just yet.... maybe I just attached an extension cord to said umbilical cord. Yes I'm going to be 26 in a week, what's it to you?

I won the Christmas tree war. I campaigned for 12 solid months that I would have a Christmas tree in our tiny flat and tears were shed (I wish I was joking), I was ultimately victorious! So what did I do? Buy the tackiest Christmas tree I could find of course, thank you Target. It's red! I love her in all her gaudy glory. She stands 1.2 metres tall.. and I bought 24 metres of lights to string around her. I like to think she's wrapped up in love... and 24 metres of LEDs.
I caught up with one of my oldest and dearest friends who I hadn't seen for an age. We (well at least I) had so much fun - we spent a good 20 minutes debating the name of the quirky science teacher with the really long fingernails (Mr Williams FYI... might save you 20 minutes one day), gossiped in a (mostly) harmless way about who was doing what and/or who. And we somehow got onto the subject of nuclear physics, which was explained with help from a humble salt shaker.

Safe to say that conversation had my undivided attention.

We had LION CUBS come into work. Sorry but I think that the words LION CUBS deserve some serious capitalisation. They were beyond cute and I'm pretty sure everyone in the office made at least one attempt to steal them that day. The other month we had zombies in the office (not quite worth of capitalisation but close). Safe to say, things are always interesting at the new job.

And this last weekend we had a cardboard party. Seriously, this theme is amazing. It costs NOTHING except your time and maybe the muscle between your thumb and forefinger from cutting a lot of thick cardboard... um ouch. Nothing like last minute inspiration (aka google search) to get you moving. We repurposed our old TV box into everyone's favourite arcade game characters. I'm not one to gloat (okay maybe I am... but that's just because I know I'm good. SERIOUSLY KIDDING, I'm not, I suck.) but these costumes looked pretty good considering we started making them 20 minutes after the party was due to actually start. Hooray procrastination! I was the ghost because I have the nervous eye thing down pat and Owen likes to eat a lot ie. the perfect Pacman.
I kind of want to keep them on our walls in all their spilt wine and nacho-cheese-cornchip-smeared glory. A testament to a fun night out with great friends and silly costumes. We ended up with about 3 friendly police cars driving past and giggling at our costumes.
Anyway. That is a long, rambling and possibly annoying account of a few things I've been doing in the last couple of months :) Love love!