Random thoughts, comments, observations and general fluff from a random bint who left London at the end of September 2004 to embark on a new life and new adventures in Tokyo, land of the cute.... and is leaving mid-June 2010 - and counting!

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Thursday's Things

Today was spent doing my course, which meant more train navigation and a mixture of sitting down and playing games. Tiredness hit around three o'clock at which point my brain just gave up on me. We were joined by three more of our group today which was fun - my flight row mate, a guy from my course and another guy I hadn't met yet. Being a little group meant I got my first two 'real' meals since I've been here and a long beer.

Lunch was in either a Japanese or Korean restaurant. We weren't sure which one we'd ended up walking into! We got directed straight to the low tables at the back and quickly noticed, through cramped legs, that all the Japanese were at 'real' tables with chairs and we were the only ones suffering! Anyway, we behaved impeccably and did everything 'properly' - took our shoes off, didn't serve our own drinks, told off guy with us who put his chopsticks upright in his bowl, etc. The menu was brought over to us on a little chalk board. We recognised the price (cheap!) and that there were four items on the menu but that was it. The staff were really sweet though. None of them spoke English but they started grabbing dishes and showing us what was available. I recognised most of what was in my bowl (some kind of sashimi, egg, rice, etc), but a couple of things were a mystery. Luckily, I'm not a vegetarian so it didn't really matter. And the normal miso soup, salad, pickles, green tea....

After the course we went for a beer. Beeru is, of course, pretty much the only Japanese alcohol word we currently know, and it wasn't a saki kind of event. I'm dying to try shochu though. It's some kind of knock-your-socks off liquer. I think it's potato based but can't actually remember what I've read about it.

We then went to a packed brightly lit noodle place and I had a lovely curry, which may have been chicken. There was some kind of fillet of meat on it which was yummy anyway. Everything on the menu, and in fact most menus, have pictures, so pointing is the order of the day with us. I'm getting slightly more confident at using the odd word. My current in-use Japanese vocabulary is about five words. I DO know more, but have forgotten a lot that I learned and just don't have the confidence to use the rest just yet.

Other random observations from the day:

This is meant to be a bowing society. Nobody's bowed to me yet. I feel shunned! Did I do something wrong? (Well, apart from the ticket machine who always bows after taking my money)

Nobody had an umbrella today and yet when it was raining yesterday everyone did. It wasn't raining first thing yesterday either, so are people psychic or are weather forecasts in Japan actually accurate predictors of the weather?

Finding the name on the platform as the train pulls in is becoming a real challenge. The Romanji names are there but very small and well spaced along the platforms!

There are some really cute signs around. I love the one on the platform saying to not pick anything up from the track. It's got a little school girl drawn and a station worker picking up her hat from the track with a long stick. SOO cute!

I was on one train today where announcements were made in English, but only in the morning.

I used two squat toilets today. They're going to take some getting used to. Especially after drinking I feel. Going to the toilet should involve pulling everything down (or up), sitting on a seat and doing your business. Squat toilets involve too much thinking and careful positioning and observations!

My colleague has a talking bath. I want one!

It was really really windy today and sunny. This weather is all over the place. It's great!

The seats on front of bikes for babies are little boxes. Too cute!

There are rotating fans on trains. Heaven!

I nearly fell asleep on the train a couple of times this evening while standing up and caught my knees starting to buckle both times. Before I hit the floor luckily!

You can get mcvities digestives and oreo cookies here. I don't intend to buy either but it's nice to know they are here.

This evening I had to eat jelly and fruit with a fork.

I've started talking back to my computer when it talks to me.

For a technologically advanced country, there seems an abundance of bright yellow cables criss-crossing the sky. Not very discrete or aesthetically pleasing!

First full day and more first impressions

The group I flew over with are all now training in different regions, so today I was with just one other person from the trip over.

I had no problems getting the train from the hotel to two stops away. Mainly because I'd asked last night about what sort of ticket, etc! I had more problems trying to decipher the map of where to go to once I got off the train and wandered around in big confused circles for ages. Well, I was looking for something that wasn't labelled which was supposedly next to a shop that didn't exist. Great!

Half the morning was spent going over paperwork, etc, and then observing a couple of classes in different schools which meant finding our way (two of us) on the trains as we got tireder and tireder and started getting on wrong trains, etc. Several times.

My faith is restored in the reputation of Japanese people, thankfully. Whenever we stood somewhere looking confused (several times after our mistakes) people would come straight over to us and were absolutely lovely and really really helpful and kind. I even passed my nervousness of asking people for help in the end as I got so desparate. Well, I was worried they wouldn't understand me, or that I wouldn't understand them! And extreme tiredness does funny things to you anyway.

The trains are confusing. That's all i can say. SOME of the stations have writing in Romanji (Latin script) but many don't so even guess work is out! I'm not used to having to get around when I can't at least read where I'm trying to get to! When I get my timetable on Saturday, I'm going to write down the Kanji (symbols) for the station names and carry it around with me I think for the first week or so, and that way I'm increasing the odds of NOT getting lost. Apparantly most stations don't have timetables you can take away either! I think though that there's a reasonable chance I'll be teaching in one of the schools we visited today or where we're doing our training, as they're all in the 'area'. The area includes schools that could be up to an hours train ride away. If so, this'll make life easier. I expect to have between three and five different schools anyway.

The trains themselves are SO wide! And very clean, and the ticket machines, after you've bought a ticket, have a little animated character that bows to you.

The train station platforms have non smoking HOURS. Odd.

Apparantly it's true that the trains are so reliable that if one is at all late, making you late for work, you get given a note to give your employer to prove that's why you weren't on time. Of course, waiting for the note makes you even later........ And getting home at night seems to mean either setting back at around 11pm or spending the night in a club/internet cafe/karaoke joint until the first train starts next day. I will have to try karaoke in Japan soon. I mean naturally I've done it far too many times in the UK anyway. And when I say I can't sing, I'm not being modest. I really really cannot sing. After a few drinks though, and with a couple of others it always starts seeming like such a good idea. As it's practically the third religion in Japan it would be far too rude to not indulge though. I DO hope the Japanese don't have particularly sensitive ears. For their sakes!

The second class we observed was a kiddie class and they were SO cute, except they spent most of the lesson hiding under a table and watching the teacher jumping and running around. and they screamed. Gah! We get training in young kids tomorrow though. Going on the training I've had so far, I'm expecting this to be good. We'll see!!

I bumped into one of the guys from my course today and it's always lovely to see a familiar face in an unfamiliar face. He's really experienced from previous teaching here and has been out since mid August. Really useful to know he's about and hopefully we'll meet up at the weekend for drinks.

This morning I watched a load of builders from my hotel window all lined up in rows for ages. At one point they were all exercising together. Manual workers here all look like Bob the Builder. Anyone in Brighton for Jackie's leaving party, think of Adrian dressed up and you get the absolute idea. Am trying sooo hard to not giggle at that thought! Shortness makes people SO cute too! I of course, at a smidge under 5'5" am no giant, but here -- well, for the first time in my life I don't feel like a short arse!

Saw the cutest little granny today whilst queuing for cheese and blackcurrant jam bagels (we were hungry and didn't have a lot of time and there was nothing to point to, so we saw and grabbed them. They were nice.) Anyway, granny must have been about four foot or something. Bless!

Like all hotels, this one has to do and not to do bumpf in a file and it's hidden behind all the porno leaflets! I found some lovely gems including being told to not smoke while walking.
There are also earthquake instructions. As someone from a non-earthquake country this is fascinating the hell out of me and I'm looking forward to experiencing my first earthquake (just to say that I HAVE experienced it) - and hopefully it will be a little one. Apparantly we're due for a large one though, but then again, apparantly Fuji is due to erupt too.... Anyway, you can generally only feel earthquakes if you're lying down. If you can feel it whilst standing, you should get very worried. So our director of studies (d.o.s) told us today anyway.

I have two bins in my room that are labelled. My d.o.s. said one is probably for burnable waste and the other non burnable. As there are no little animated pictures on them though, I don't know which is which. There are animated characters on everything here, and the mind the doors closing sign on the trains is a cat being squashed.

There's music in all lobbies, some train platforms and on road crossings.

I'd forgotten, but yesterday at the airport we took luggage trolleys down an escalator (in England you're not allowed to do that) which was quite scary as it was weighed a ton!

The okay to cross man on the walk / don't walk sign is orange. I like the little green man better. This just feels wrong.

It's been raining most of the day really, really heavily. I want a refund. The weather was meant to have been nice here. Still, it's a relief for the Tokyo-ites I'll bet as it's been really hot and sticky here this summer.

I can't get my head around it getting dark so early.

I had the telly on last night and there was police drama or similar. The music over the most dramatic action sequences was tinkley music. Why???

Oh and this morning I did have my noodle thing from the 100 yen shops. I still have no idea what was in it, but it was nice!

From the BBC's website: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/3699516.stm - it's a boyfriend pillow, it's available only in Japan, and no, I won't be buying a load to send over to people!

Hasta pronto.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Getting here and first impressions part one

Wow. Well I got a few hours sleep last night and will continue taking arnica and travel essence for a couple of days, so should be fine.

All my detailed planning for Monday kind of crumbled away with a last minute rush and friend taking off boxes to post office to be posted to me and others. This was followed by a taxi company fuck up where, to cut a boring story short, two drivers were standing in front of me and my house arguing about who should have come to pick me up. I was already running later than planned and this kind of stressed me out. I said I REALLY didn't care who took me, but I wanted to get the airport....

I'm so glad I didn't agree to let anyone drop me off. I had to fight back blubs when I got out the taxi to grab a trolley. I managed to then hold it together pretty well, until I got towards check in and then started crying. They let me check in twice the allowed weight without question or charge though, so maybe they were just desperate to get rid of me? I was also amazed that nobody questioned me staggering onto the plane with two bags and a laptop.

The flight was uneventful. The highlight (yes, I AM a sad person) was the realisation we were on ANA's Pokemon Jet! http://nu.ourfamily.com/pokemon/airpoke.htm and it was hilarious looking out of the window of the plane to see a giant Pikachu staring back at us from the wing tip. It completely unnerved my row mate, but he WAS unnerved pretty easily. We freaked him out telling him you can get used knickers from vending machines here.

It took forever to get from having landed to arriving at hotel and I was completely overwhelmed and assaulted by everything around me.

First impressions then, in no particular order:

I'm in a hotel until Sunday, with free internet access in my room. Everything in Tokyo is big and bright and brash and tacky and confusing and, apart from our group, I've seen no other white people outside of the airport which is most odd for me. The Japanese aren't as polite as I'd been led to believe in general, though several individuals have been very polite and helpful. The ads on the trains could be for absolutely anything. I've already discovered the joys of 100 yen shops. My hotel loo is a toilet and shower and bidet with a toilet seat that heats up. I tried the shower bit (you can vary the intensity) and tried the toilet seat on the hottest setting! I don't think there's any going back now and I'll be gutted if my appartment doesn't have one! There's a very interesting looking cemetary outside the hotel. I'm got a robe in my room that's identifcal to the one they wore in Lost in Translation. I'm too shy to use any of the Japanese I've learned yet, though have progressed to thanking people. KFC does a green fanta. ANA (All Nippon Airways) does lovely food, had good movies and games, but there seats nearly crippled us all. If the organisation I'd gone through hadn't been so good we'd probably all still be at the airport wondering what the hell to do. Everything I'm seeing is fascinating me and I can't wait to explore it properly now, though i'm not sure when i'll get the first chance as we've training all week and i move to my apartment on sunday. tokyo is flat so i'll get a bike. 'sapporo' isn't just a beer, it's a range of soft drinks too. the straps in the trains are really low. all Japanese seem to be addicted to their phones, even more so than London. On the trains, most of the Japanese men, who aren't playing with their phones, are reading comics. Half the Japanese TV channels seem to have Japanese subtitles. The taxi I got into had white seats and white lace thrown over that. Imagine that in London?? It was spotless too. I loved the automatic doors of the taxi as well. Everything seems to have a little motto on it - things like the wrapping of the hairbrush in the hotel room. I bought some pot noodle thing from the 100 Yen shop for breakfast. Seemed a nice thing to do for my first breakfast in Japan, especially as I have a kettle but no cooking facilities until I move from the hotel. It may, of course, be horrible!

I think I'm going to love it here!

I'm here!

After all the build up this is it. I'm now in Tokyo. I'm exhausted, exhilarated and full of wonder for absolutely everything. Real rabbit caught in headlights stuff.

As I'm finding it pretty hard to put coherent thoughts together right now, I'll give my first impressions tomorrow.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Tick. Tock.

Firstly, why is there no age limit for internet cafe's. There are two kids in here playing computer games. Loudly. Very loudly. But whatever....

I've escaped to the cafe to get myself away from my packing. In 24 hours the flight to Tokyo will be about to take off. I'm hoping I get a lovely check in person, as I'm pretty sure the case is overweight. I did try weighing it, but little scales and big case -- wasn't really going to work was it. I also tried standing on it with the case but it only registered my weight and not the overbalance of case.

Last night had another night of goodbye drinks and woke up bright and early feeling great. For about an hour anyway, then things started sliding downhill a bit culminating in the absolute need to visit the local drive through MacD's. Amazing how much better you feel after a load of cardboard, grease and ketchup.

I've managed to sell and give away most things now and most of the packing, as I said, is done. I didn't realise I had so many clothes though and there are currently a lot of things needing putting somewhere to go with me. It could be a very long night....

And tomorrow morning I've still a few things to do before leaving for the airport. Time really has just zipped by. If I don't get to an internet cafe tomorrow (depends how desperate I am), then the next time I'll be posting or writing anything will be from Tokyo. Eeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!

And Tokyo on Tuesday is going to be 27 degrees and sunny, London 16 degrees and cloudy. The sunset time is SO much earlier in Japan than the UK though. That'll take some getting used to.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Counting the hours

What happened to the weeks and days? We're now on an hourly countdown - or would be if I stayed sober and unoccupied enough to think about this more than once or twice a day.

Today I got my currency. I've never seen Yen before. It looks like play money, though a bit more valuable. I also managed to get a final suit, another bag and sundry other bits and pieces. Most of the big things are done now, and most of the things I have to get rid of are gone, courtesy mainly of me throwing things at people and persuading them they do need it. I'm not even so bothered about the money now, just to see things have gone to nice homes.

One of my flatmates REALLY pissed me off this morning. My room isn't exactly the largest ever, so to organise myself I've spilled over to the lounge since Thursday. Flatmate, who's going to be away all weekend, asked if I could organise things better and not spread out quite so much so they could use the table (everything is on or under the table) and they're away this weekend. I leave on Monday. I fumed for many hours about the unreasonableness of the request. Maybe he's just pissed off still about me removing my aerial? Whatever. My own place in a handful of hours now!

I'm left with packing and cleaning of room now. Oh and frustration once I realise there's no way I'm going to actually get everything into case that I think I'm taking. It's all so so soon. Can't bloody wait!

Of course, having only just realised I quite enjoy clothes shopping is NOT a good thing at this stage in the game!

Friday, September 24, 2004

Last Minute Preparations

Boxes are safely moved away to be stored. Things are selling slowly and trash outside building up pretty quickly. Today I'm doing last minute shopping. It's so annoying though that there are so many nice clothes around and so little space in my suitcase.

Of course, being in an internet cafe (again) is cutting down my shopping time considerably. This is probably a good thing. Although internet cafe's are SO annoying!


I have another eleven invites at the moment if anyone wants one.

Creeping Nearer

I'm in an internet cafe. This is weird for me, although to be honest I'd be much less productive at the moment if I did have net access at home still. My room doesn't seem my own any more. The skanky curtains that were up when I first moved in have been put back up. The TV and computer are gone. The duvet's gone and I'm sleeping between two sleeping bags. By the end of this evening all my books and stuff will be packed up. That'll be weird. That's when it stops looking like home - or it will when I take my world map down and I'm left with bare walls and no personal touches.

Oh and I've sorted insurance to cover my first week and signed my life over to my mate, who now has full access to all of my bank accounts. Luckily, she won't get lumbered with my loan though if anything happens! And I've ordered my billion trillion yen or whatever it is. Lots of zero's anyway. Am ready to pack and go now. I don't think my flatmates are amused I removed MY aerial from the main telly, but they're not buying ANYTHING from me, so I reckon it should go to whoever buys my little tv.

And I've nearly finished putting my entire cd collection onto my laptop. [smug grin]

And why aren't you all putting pins on my little guestmap? I'm feeling most unloved!

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

This time next week I'll be in Japan!

Yesterday was my last day at work. I've now left the television industry. Shit, I'm happy!!!

I left so much stuff undone that I'm sure I'll be cursed for months and months to come. Oh well. Shame.

I was walking in front of two girls yesterday who were having THE most ridiculous conversation. One was explaining to the others how she likes to challenge herself to little things, like seeing how long she could carry her bag in a certain position for, and so on. I heard this conversation going on for at least five minutes. Madness.

I had a freaky phonecall today. I'm advertising loads of stuff for sale, and this one guy called up about a sleeping bag. Was it mine? Was it still available? Had I slept in it naked? euw. Freak. I hung up.

I've gone back to brunette. Seems appropriate to have a big change before a big change. Don't many women have complete makeovers after their divorces, or something? I wonder if getting rid of the blonde hair will get rid of the blonde tendencies? I doubt it somehow!

My friends think I'm a freak who's obsessed with toilets. I've seen the pictures of the toilets in Japan that have the sink above the loo as part of the same unit. Genius. I've also heard about the loos that play music so you don't have to listen to yourself, the loos that heat up, the loos that analyse your pee for you. And I can't wait to experience them. Ditto the vending machines. One friend even went as far as to suggest I should send him a pair of knickers from one of the machines. Yeah, right!

I discovered tonight melting chocolate in the microwave burns it. Gutting.

And the hours are closing in before leaving!

Monday, September 20, 2004

My Books My Babies

Instead of just bunging all the books I own into storage at a friends house until whenever, I decided to get rid of most of them by advertising them on ebay and making loads of money back on them.

So, with one week to go guess how many I've sold? Zero. Guess how many I've advertised? Zero. I've now realised (well, hey, I HAVE been busy with my 18 days solid working, seeing people and what not) that I don't have time to advertise on ebay, get money through and get things mailed off. Bugger. So, I'm left with a huge dilemma - do I give my books away to a charity shop where they'll sit unloved on a dusty shelf? Or package up a load of books I've not touched in ages, but that LOOK nice and take up someone else's space?

GAH! Anyone wanna book?

I'm also waiting for the flood of responses to everything I've advertised on Gumtree. It's all very quiet so far though. I think I'm going to have cut my losses on this. Shame, but whatever. I'm getting past caring, though the extra money would have been nice.

And with just a week to go it's all very scary and exciting. AND today is my last day in my current job. I can't put into words just how happy that makes me!

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Leaving Party

Tonight I had my leaving party. Now, I hate having parties so I'm not really sure exactly where in the scheme of things I decided it was a good idea.Of course in line with my newly discovered appreciation of GOOD wines, I had a cheese and wine party (as every dairy intolerant person should do!) and I think everyone had a good time.

I managed to only blub once, and it was pretty brief. Please don't tell me to my face you're going to miss me - especially after I've had a few glasses of wine. This is hard enough as it is! Still, it was wonderful so many of the people I really care about made the effort to come along.

My biggest gripe though is, again, how the hell London can call itself a 24 hour city when it so blatantly is not. I'm the only one of my friends that lives in this area of London and everyone had to leave to get the last train. Grrrrr.

A few of the people who came tonight I have plans to see again this week. The rest? I've had lots of promises of people saying they intend to visit me.

Put your money where your mouths are! I want you guys to visit me. Please!

Friday, September 17, 2004


Apart from my friends I'm now struggling to come up with anything I'll miss when I leave the UK. Certainly not the traffic or transport or my office or shared housing or grumpy rude people.

I might miss the press though. I like a bit of fluffyness. Especially of the breakfast television variety. This morning I had to explain to Kiwi flatmate why it was important that we knew about Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz's split and why it was a totally valid news story. She looked bewildered.

Still, there's always the online versions ;-)

Thursday, September 16, 2004

I've Calmed Down Now

I was thinking about the last time I properly left the country (a 27 month stint). I pretty much packed up my stuff into a few huge boxes (much more than I'm leaving this time), packed my backpack, grabbed my stereo. And went. Okay, so quite a few things went missing from those boxes over the time, but there was none of this huge build up and concerns of now.

Therefore, I've decided to just go with it and concentrate my energy on getting things done rather than thinking about everything else.

And I'm in the middle of sorting stuff and placing ads, so I am getting there. Bit by bit!


Lunchtime today I picked up my passport from the embassy. VERY exciting. I'm all official now :D

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

I'm Going To Hate It

Wow, have I been going through the full spectrum of emotions. I'm now convinced, on no basis whatsoever, that I'm going to hate Japan and hate teaching.

Where on earth does all this come from??


On another note: in the paper this morning there were two stories that totally dismayed me - a six week old puppy had to be put down after some teenagers gave it brain damage by kicking it around. Also, an 8-month old baby was THROWN out of a car by thieves who stole the vehicle. The car ended up crashing some time later and the thief/thieves died. The baby was fine apparantly. Justice? Shame someone can't kick in the heads of the puppy kickers.

[End of this mornings gripe.]

Tuesday, September 14, 2004


One consolation of having to put the flip-flops away, is that I can now shuffle along kicking leaves. I love this time of year, although a decent summer to precede it would have been nice. If it weren't for the leaves starting to fall, I'd be convinced we'd skipped straight from summer to winter.

I wonder what Tokyo autumn's are like? Can't wait to find out :D

Monday, September 13, 2004

Good News!

District and address allocations have come through. All the schools are in Tokyo and the areas around it - Chiba and so on, and normally first year teachers get the regions. I put a request in for the centre but thought there'd be no way I'd get it.

Guess what?!!! HOW thrilled am I? Actually, I'm so thrilled I'm on the verge of becoming a blubbing wreck and I've been wiping away tears for the last 20 minutes or so. Not ideal when sat in the office of the job you don't care about and are about to leave!

Actually, it took me ages to figure out where I was going and once the penny finally dropped. Oh my god!

The teariness could also be down to pure tiredness. I blubbed at two films on breakfast television this morning and shouted at a driver who ignored a red light as I was crossing. I think people should probably stear clear of me for a bit.

But I'm in the centre. All the business, the sleeze, the noise and excitement and the shops and entertainment and....................

I should do some work now I think :D

Guestmap thingy

Hey. I have a guestmap thingy somewhere on the right of this.

Please stick your pins into it. It's looking VERY lonely.

Lotsa Lasts

Today was the last day at my second job before I go. It's yet another in a long list of fast moving lasts and, although I hadn't been there long, I do think I'll miss some of the people there. Two weeks tomorrow I go. I can't believe how the time is flying by now, and my moods are still all over the place, although now swinging from extremely excited to extremely scared!

Also, I'm 12 days into an 18 day stretch of working without a single day off, thereby making me so knackered I'm probably overreacting to and becoming hypersensitive to most happenings. If my body clock would sort itself out (I don't NEED to wake up at 3am every day) that would also help. Of course, by the time it does settle itself, I'll be off to Japan and throwing it back out again!

Sunday, September 12, 2004

"Works well in a group, and equally well on own initiative."

What a pile of cack. Why do people put that on their cv's and job applications when it is so blatantly not true? I seem to be coming across more and more people who cannot either work in a group OR on their own initiative. And it's painful for those of us that can. What's that saying: a team is only as strong as it's weakest link, or something like that? What it means is those of us that do work hard and do use our initiative have to work even harder to compensate.

Daily I'm finding more reasons to confirm I'm doing the right thing and also more things that I won't miss out the UK.

Let's start with how much I'm looking forward to not having to work in a group. My failures and mistakes will be down to me and my achievements and successes likewise.

I had the misfortune to get onto the tube tonight into a carriage of lads. I won't miss lads at all. Surely by your mid 30s it's time to stop acting like you're 18 years old? They were taking it turns to swing and turn somersaults on the train. One of them kicked me in the head. I couldn't even figure out how to start reacting at that.

I also won't miss the rudeness of Londoners generally.

A random bloke on the tube thrust a newspaper under my nose and made me explain a word to him. At my weekend job I'm forever explaining and correcting people. I guess the teacher mode found me, I didn't find it.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Tip of the Day

Do not violently shake an open can of diet coke to see how full it is. It WILL splatter all over you.

Friday, September 10, 2004

The Jakarta Bomb

I don't get it. Surely a death is a death? On the news reports I've been hearing they've kept emphasising that no Australians were killed, with the underlying script being that this would have made it worse than 'just' Indonesian lives being taken. Maybe I'm just reading too much into it, but this is my interpretation and something I've noticed many times before in the media - a sliding scale of importance relating to different nationalities and us Brits.

Actually, on Channel 4's 7 o'clock news yesterday, the story didn't occur until about 7.20, to the disgust of my Aussie flatmates, and it was after the story of some animal doing something.

I guess what I'm really saying is that I won't miss the British media.

And it's grey, raining and dismal today!

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Slow progress but getting there

The money for my room has hit my account. I can now relax in the knowledge I don't have to worry about that any longer. One massive relief! I've managed to sell one of the more expensive things I'm getting rid of too -- it's just the 5 million other things. Maybe I should have an auction at my leaving party? On second thoughts, I'll just drink instead.


A friend has offered to drive me to the airport. Am dithering about this. Whilst the help would be lovely, the likelihood of me getting emotional with someone there increases drastically. I'll probably get emotional in the airport anyway. I normally do, even if I'm just standing waiting to meet someone I get all teary. Why is that?

I won't have to hug the taxi driver. That'll probably be better for me.


On Tuesday when I picked up the paperwork for Japan, I was told they were expecting our allocations to come through on Wednesday. How impatient am I? Am using all my willpower to not contact them and ask!


I hate having 'those' kinds of conversations. 'Those' conversations being the unpleasant ones that could lead to confrontation. Today I finally got the guts to tell my employer that there was absolutely no way I'd get the work done they were expecting from me before leaving. I didn't add that I didn't actually care. I imagine there'll be a few choice words said about me behind my back, but the conversation itself wasn't too painful. There's not a lot they can do or say anyway. Especially if they want things left in a reasonable state. See, a last remnant of loyalty, hanging on my a teeny finger nail and about to snap completely!

Did I EVER enjoy the position I'm doing or being here? My memory is getting very selective.

Depressing Thoughts

I was out double vodka'ing with Sarah last night and thoughts turned briefly to living arrangements and the future. Are people of our generation in London going to forced to house share when we hit our late 30s and beyond? It's highly unlikely we'll be able to afford our own place in a decent area (although who knows what I'll end up doing after Japan), so should we compromise and move somewhere shit, or are we being forced to settle down and pick a partner to buy with?

Tuesday, September 07, 2004


My acuncturist is a god. He should be sainted or knighted or something. What a shame I can't see him every day though.

Yesterday afternoon I came back from a session and my colleague was shocked at how much more relaxed and wound down I was. Unfortunately, it hasn't lasted.

Smug Bitch

I just booked the seat on my flight. There were only three aisle seats left.

And I have one.

This makes me extremely happy as I drink and need the loo on flights constantly. Sounds like the flight is pretty full though, so maybe not so much chance of getting several seats to spread out on.


I also picked up my Certificate of Eligibility (very pretty!) and went to the embassy today to get my visa, and there was no queue! Anyway, I pick it up on Friday. I'm starting to care less and less about everything else now, and my current job has turned from tedium to torture. 9 and a quarter days left at desk here.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Sunday Musings

Three weeks tomorrow I go!

One of the many things I won't miss: London Underground. Fuck me. I wonder if we have the worlds most inefficient system? Engineering work, pure disorganisation, overcrowding, no air con, delays, signal failure, wrong kind of sun/rain/snow/wind/leaves on track/in sky.....

I'm not sure it's true, but I've heard in Japan the trains are so efficient that if one is running a minute late staff are on hand to hand out notes to commuters to give to their employers as otherwise they wouldn't be believed if they gave that as a reason for lateness.

Today was day six of an 18 day stretch of working. I have two jobs right now. I'm already knackered.

I'm having a cheese and wine leaving party. Today I bought the wines I'm contributing. They're all lovely lovely ones. I wonder if I can resist the temptation to open them beforehand. I've never spent so much on wines before but they are wonderful and I imagine most people coming wouldn't have tasted them before. I am, by the way, typing this and sipping a £1.99 rosé from local cheapo offie right now!

Today I saw a beautiful boy when I was working. Well, as it's an alcohol environment he must have been over 18! Okay, I'm crap at judging ages, but he couldn't have been much over 22. He was lovvvvvvvvely and he, and his friends, were chatting to me for ages while I was working. Actually, they all had boy band looks, which isn't something that appeals to me, but he WAS delicious. Wonder if he was corruptable?!

On the tube on the way back I saw the hairiest adolescent ever. And the hair was very dark. Now, I'm English, therefore hairy legs is a big no-no. It's a cultural thing which doesn't make it right or wrong, but this girl? Oh my god! I said above I'm crap at judging ages, but from her behaviour and manner I'd put her at maybe 12 years old (but a young 12). She was American and with her parents and a really pretty girl. Her mother, who was also wearing shorts, was hairless. I wonder if the mother had thought about mentioning it to the teen, or just considered it's okay? I think though what I find strangest about the whole things, is that the daughter hadn't bent to popular or peer pressure in this.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Must be getting old

I stayed in last night with crispy duck pancakes, half a bottle of wine (restraining myself) and a dvd of Fight Club. It was bliss. The first night in in ages. Can't believe I've not seen Fight Club before either. Cool film.


I think pavements and pedestrian areas within stations should have lanes for abnormally dithery people, and fast lanes for those of us actually wanting to get anywhere. I also think people should be fined for blocking entrance ways and hovering at the bottom of flights of steps, stopping suddenly in the middle of the street with no warning, etc. Maybe people should be treated like cars -- fit 'em with indicators and fine them for antisocial behaviour. I don't know how a points system could work though. Obviously I have too much time on my hands.


I'm panicking. After my emotions going all over the place this week regarding leaving, I'm now concerned about the teaching. I think I've realised that I'm terrified. What if I scare them? What if none of my students have a clue what I'm on about. Ever. GAH!

Friday, September 03, 2004

Cheese and Onion Walkers

Lovely crisps. But must remember not to stab myself in the eye with cheesey/oniony fingers after finishing a packet. Eye is stinging a bit.

The Russian Siege

Unfucking believable.

I'm beyond words.

And now it's over and the sketchy facts and sketchier figures are starting to come through.....



I've just deleted 167 emails from my yahoo inbox regarding my room. Now, if only that payment from Portugal would just hit my account.

I've started cataloguing my things. I have far too many things and am convinced I won't manage to sell the things that need selling.

Actually, I'm feeling pretty nervous and paranoid about loads of things right now, but yesterday's sadness has passed.

Sleep deprivation, that's what I'm putting it down to. It's hard work spending quality time with people, and working, and finding time to sort everything else out in such a short period of time.

Thursday, September 02, 2004


Twenty five days to go. Or rather to going. And whilst I've gone through the full range of emotions from anxiety at not getting a job, realisation and excitement I have been, relief at it all falling into place, and panic and paranoia about, well, everything else really, what I'd avoided thinking about was the friends who I was leaving.

I've been through the whole, nah, won't miss anything here, love London, but it's time for a break and certainly won't miss the rude people, etc, not avoided thinking about my little world more clearly.

I'm in the process of trying to spend quality time with as many people as I can, on a one-on-one (or two) basis, as I know I'll be pretty pissed at my leaving party. Last night I was out with Elaine, and that's when it really hit me in a big way. These are goodbyes that are, effectively, for an indefinite amount of time. That made me really sad and, this morning, pretty teary too.

I've moved on and around many times, but this time feels a bit different. This time there's a lot of people I care about in one place (many of whom I'd like to think of as friends for life) and I'm going to have to restablish myself when I get to Tokyo and go through that getting-to-know you thing time and time over.

New flatmates money still hasn't hit my account, so I'm still feeling slightly anxious about that, even though it's only been a couple of day.

God, I can be a stupid bint sometimes.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

All systems are go?

I have my suitcases. My Certificate of Eligibility has been returned from Japan to the office in London, which means I can get my visa now. Flight details were through ages ago, and on Friday I should get the booking reference number so I can, hopefully, pre-book a nice seat. I bought a box from the post office today, so I can send a parcel of stuff over to arrive when I do. My room is let. Though I'm still not going to be 100% happy about this until I see the money in my account. He's quite cute too. Oh well!

I just need to sort out the 5,000,000 items in my room and do a bit more shopping.

27 days to go!