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!

Monday, July 03, 2006

School Holiday

Sorry about not blogging, I've been too busy!

Tomorrow I go back to school after having had a nine day break. Golden Week was so hectic that I SWORE this holiday would be quiet. Fat chance. But I've had a LOT of fun, spent too much money and abused my liver constantly.

Last Saturday was a day from hell at work. But it's a long time ago now so let's move on. I went home, had three large cans of Chu-hi, crashed out and woke up the next day with a headache. I then went to El Cantina, a Mexican restaurant in Shinjuku, for lunch with a friend, and then we had a wander around before going to Arty Farty to drink too much. One of my mad Japanese friends and her mate joined us and we had a lovely evening.

On Monday afternoon I worked. Our company sends teachers to kindergardens, schools and companies sometimes and, as the money being offered was pretty good, I volunteered. See previous post for the rant that set off.

On Tuesday I had a lovely day at Disney Sea with another Japanese friend, who kindly took me. We had a lovely day, although I was a tad surprised something with the 'Sea' tag, had no marine life present. There weren't too many people there and the weather was lovely. Just one thing though: there were quite a few school aged kids with their parents wandering around. It was not a school holiday. My friend and a couple of other Japanese I've asked about this have told me parents often do this. Because they are so busy they get the kids to fit around their schedules and, it would appear, they see Disney as being more important than the kid attending school...

Having kids must be so complicated these days.

A quick aside 1: make up - today on the train there was a girl painting her nails. Nice smell... On a different day, I got on a train and a girl was applying her make-up. She continued for the next 20 minutes until she got off the train. Which got me thinking and talking to other people about this.

I wonder how much of a Japanese make-up wearing woman's life could be reclaimed if she didn't wear make-up. The evidence: make-up is applied before leaving the house (30 minutes maybe?) and then reapplied on the train (not an unusual thing to see - and normally done with a mirror the size of a greetings cards). Average train journey: eyebrows are curled and 20,000 different products are applied.

Before walking to the desk it's probably reapplied. I've heard many Japanese women with touch up their make up hourly. That's got to all equal the equivalent of a month or so over a lifetime, surely?

And, guess what? It's hot weather, that means it evaporates and melts!

Japanese women are beautiful. Are they SO insecure they need to hide behind so much make up?

On Wednesday I went with some friends to see Inside Man at the cinema. I really enjoyed the film though I'd question what the point of Jody Foster was, apart from adding another big name to the cast list. Her role was a very odd one and felt like a bit of an after-thought to me. Like, okay we have the idea for this movie BUT how can we let the audience know about the papers...

It's worth seeing anyway and it's a good story, apart from the Jody stuff. Sorry, Antonia.

That night we went to a friends house and had a girlie night. ie, a mixed bunch of females decided to get drunk and eat too much. It was a lot of fun! Although one thing upset me: we decided to go to the pub for a quick drink. The pub menu had that magic word 'PIMMS'. (As many people know I constantly crave both Pimms and humous - the former I cannot get here, and the latter I cannot find a decent supply of). So, the menu had 'Pimms' written on it. I got VERY excited and persuaded everyone they should have Pimms and Lemonade. Already salivating at the thought, the barman came back over to say they had run out of Pimms. I nearly cried.

On Thursday morning we went to the Ebisu Photography Museum to see this years wonderful World Press Photography exhibition. As every year, it was fantastic. I totally recommend it if you've not seen it yet. And I have great admiration for the braveness (stupidity?) of the press photographers who put themselves into such dangerous situations to get the pictures.

On Friday I had lunch with a friend at the Park Hyatt Deli. It was wonderful! Then after a long wander around, I met up with another friend for a cool evening of more drinking, eating and two quick hours (!) of karaoke!

On Saturday I met friends for yet more eating and drinking. We then headed to the pub for the football. Bloody Portuguese team! ;-)

I was with friends, as I said, but knew or knew of quite a few other people in the pub. And I was really shocked: whilst everyone shouts, chants, sings, bashes tables etc (and we certainly were) I just didn't get why educated males were shouting streams of really offensive comments at the screen - think racist, homophobic, sexist and misogynistic just for starters.

One Japanese girl, sitting next to me, asked an Englishman to move as he came out of toilet and stood in front of her blocking the screen. His reply? 'Fuck off. I'm English and I'm watching the football.'

How charming.

Sometimes I'm embarrassed to be English.

Anyway, after our defeat. We went to Arty Farty again. I'd never been on a Saturday before (not that I recall anyway!) and it was VERY crowded. My friend's boyfriend had been given a the bonus at work and so was buying us champagne by the bottle. After an evening of vodkas and Smirnoff Ice's, my poor liver started hurt and went to sleep. I stopped drinking. My friend said his boyfriend was very sick on the way home. I'm not surprised!!!

I crawled into bed about 6.30 in the morning. Then got up and went and met up with some more friends for - guess what? - more eating and drinking. This time we went to Sizzler in Shinjuku and hit their salad bar. With wine of course.

Naturally this was followed with karaoke and Puri Kura.

I've been here almost two years and this was my first Puri Kura experience. I'm ashamed!

Puri Kura (normally Anglicised as 'Print Club') are photos taken in special photo booths, in games parlours, where you choose the background for the pictures of you and your friends and then get to personalize them with special point and click pens, with bats, or flowers or whatever. They are HUGELY popular with schoolkids here and most kids collect them and swap them.

It was fun! I'm going to have to start dragging everyone in now so I can get lots collected too!

A quick aside 2: I'm English. Like most English I can drink a fair amount. The Japanese tolerance for booze is much much lower. ie - a couple of drinks and the average Japanese seems rather drunk. It explains why they have nomihodai here. Other countries couldn't afford it. (Nomihodai is drink as much as you can for a set price in a set time).

It also explains why you see so many Japanese staggering around drunk.

One of my friends told me yesterday how Japanese train themselves to drink and will drink every day to build up their drinking tolerance. Because it's so important for drinking life with their work colleagues that they must be seen to be able to keep up.

How sad an indication of modern life, that you are an outcast if you cannot drink as much as your colleagues.

And tonight, I had to go drinking again, to a local Izakaya, with a Japanese friend for a catch up. I'm so sorry, liver. Really. I know we shouldn't have split a whole bottle of shochu between two of us, but shit happens, ne?


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