Excuses excuses excuses new friends old friends bikes hanami apples osaka kyoto himeji cameras karaoke pot luck lunch drinking lurve
Hi! Anyone still reading my blog? I need a catch up but there's so much I want to say that I'm going to have to abbreviate it all. Sorry!!! And there ARE photos but I'm having a few computer problems so they may take a little longer to sort out. It'll be worth the wait though! (Of course!)
Firstly, I have to share the exciting news that I've moved into the 21st century and bought myself an extremely cute iPod Shuffle. In pink. Bright pink. I haven't actually put any music onto it yet. But it IS really cute. I keep looking at it and thinking about putting music onto.
Did I ever mention I got my first CD player about a decade after everyone else? Well, that's me.
Only in Japan - I went to the supermarket the other week. As I was about to go in it started raining. By the time I'd come out, all the bike seats had had plastic bags shoved over them by supermarket staff so they wouldn't get wet. Sweet, huh? I DO love this country sometimes. Oh and I had THREE consecutive days of 'don't park your bike here' notices on my bike last week. Today I paid. I won't continue paying though.
So, let's catch up. Briefly:
1. Lesson Learned.
So, I learned the hard way, again, that I really should go with my gut instinct. The 'friend' whose visit I'd been so looking forward didn't exactly prove to be the experience I'd expected. So, I'd like to share some advice with you ex-pats out there:
1. always get clarification BEFORE a visit whether you are the REASON for the visitors trip or whether you are a distraction DURING the trip. This is particularly important if you intend to take time off work, arrange fun things, arrange for friends to amuse your visitor during their trip.
2. always get clarification (maybe in writing?) of whether friend has any obsess- er, I mean hobbies that will take over your trip and leave you wandering around by yourself.
3. if someone spends 10 years blowing you out; stop making excuses for them and accept things for what they are. OVER.
Anyway, enough, enough.
2. Trips away.
Osaka, Kyoto and Himeji:
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Could have been a REALLY good trip but see point 1 above. Anyway (and photos WILL follow) we spent two days in Kyoto, one day in Osaka and a day in Himeji. Plus a whole day travelling there on the joyful [sarcasm] 'seishun juhachi kippu' - a ticket that cost us 4,000 yen each (return) but involved about 8 hours of travel. Slightly less on the way back as we took an overnight train. Oh and a little bit of Shinkansen as I slightly fucked up on connection times. I was VERY excited by this. Friend was decidedly underwhelmed and whingy about it.
We visited Kiyo-Mizu, Chion-in, Daitokuji, Kinkakuji, Gion, Osaka-jo, Dotombori and Himeji Castle. Some of which were noticeably less crowded and more peaceful than others but they were all extremely beautiful (which still does not make it excusable to spend 5 minutes trying to get the 'perfect photo' EVERY time - see point 1.2 above)
Stayed in a nice and uber-cheap hotel too - Saiyo Hotel - with little tatami rooms, a communal (segregated sexes by time) bath and vending machines with One-Cup Sake and beer. Perfect!
Ooo and food was really good on the trip too but more of all when I've sorted out the pictures.
3. Going Away
Another good friend has escaped back to England. That's one thing that's tough about this lifestyle: people leave. I'll miss him, but we had a fun Sayonara Party and he'll be back to visit. Won't you, Mostyn!
4. New Friends
I met the adorable, but lightweight, Nicola. A cute, bubbly and totally nutty Indian/Canadian chick. I mean she had about three drinks with me and spent ALL the next day throwing up and complaining about feeling ill.
Not really! Well, partly. Anyway, we'd planned to go sightseeing on the Sunday morning, week before last. On the Saturday night though I was still so stressed out by 'friends' visit that I was exhausted and really just needed to chill out/sleep in. So we arranged to meet in the afternoon instead. I was told to look out for the bright orange top. She wasn't kidding ;-) and it was like meeting an old friend (a nice one though!). I dragged her off to get booze and nosh from the supermarket before we met a load of my friends, students, etc and went to the lovely Inokashira Park to celebrate the beauty of the cherry blossom. ie to get extremely drunk. Which we did. Nicola took to this strange Japanese custom with great enthusiasm. I was very proud of her. I then introduced her to the wonders of another great Japanese custom. Karaoke with nomihodai (singing with drink-as-much-as-you-can booze). She took to that pretty well too. Adaptable girl!
Monday we'd planned to do some major sightseeing. I'd even suggested we could try to make Tsukuji (fish) market at 8am before hitting Tokyo Tower, Odaiba, an onsen, a boat trip, a shrine....
We crashed about 2 or 3. An hour or so later I was throwing up. We woke up. Groaned. Went back to sleep. Nicola 'visited' the bathroom several times. I got the energy for a shower. Nicola suggested we got food. I suggested another 20 minutes sleeping. A couple of hours (and a few more trips by Nicola to the bathroom) I had an energy spurt and made it to the supermarket to make lunch...
Somehow we managed to get to Shinjuku (we had to get off the train once) to meet up with Boo, TimorousBeastie and Sigsy for a lovely night in an Izakaya. Tim and I first met a couple of years ago and I've known Boo for just over a year and having already got to know Nicola over MSN conversations and emails before meeting her, that just left Sigsy - another lovely person! Very bubbly and funny.
Let one of us know if you fancy joining us for our next pissup. We're going to try and get one going every 6-8 weeks. Try!
See, I'm doing my best to stay brief! This weekend we had a lovely pot luck lunch. Ever had one? I've been to lots and they're great fun. Basically, everyone takes along a dish they've (possibly) made and everyone shares. Great food, great company, lots of booze. Good day. And then more drinking in the evening. And my so-called-friends decided it'd be a fun idea to put a 'man wanted' classified out for me as my life is so obviously missing that vital part (they didn't actually tell me when I'd have time to see anyone....). Anyway, have you ever tried arguing with drunken friends? I just figured I'd humour them and then do nothing about it....
But the ad was rejected because of the email address we used. SUCH a shame ;-)
Besides, some of the guys I've had in my life in the past.... it could just be easier staying single. Maybe.
And you know what? There's ALWAYS more stuff I want to blog about - but just can't. Oh well!
P.S. It SNOWED in Tokyo last week. In April. How bizarre. I didn't actually see it but nearly fell off my chair when I heard it on the news and quickly checked it wasn't April 1st!