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!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Must Work Harder

One of the four year olds that I teach has to stop coming to private English lessons because she has to start going to cram school twice a week and can't fit it all in. She's at nursery school now but needs to do an exam in two years to go to kindergarden, hence why she has to go to cram school after nursery.

Of course, this is nothing on the kids who go to cram school from age two here.


Fucked up slightly this morning: last night felt sick (actually I was sick) and normal recent insomnia settled in for a snuggle. So I popped a sleeping pill.

Recently I gave in and, as much as I don't like them, bought some earplugs to keep out the annoying novelty alarm of the guy in the room next to me from waking me up at 6am every day, before the clattering and shouting of the housemates wake me at 8am (I don't need to get up until 9 or 10am as I start late and finish late).

Oh and alarm clock battery may be going too.

Anyway, bad combination - sleeping pill + earplugs. I completely slept through the alarm clock and slumbers and woke up at 12.15pm. I should have been in school for 12pm. Really not the best start to the day.


The sun is back though :D

Finally coming together maybe

Thanks to a couple of extra days off and too much shitty weather to be arsed to leave my pyjamas or the house (except when I left the house IN my pyjamas to go to the convenience store, having run out of food and not wanting to go in the rain to the supermarket / just not wanting to leave my p.j's), I've been a litte bit productive.

I'm still a long way from chipping into my to-do list but I've figured out where I'm going in India (ah, sunshine, can't wait!), made tentative enquiries about not doing the diploma exam in Tokyo. Only tentative. Nothing is decided - except that I'm not doing it next month.

Two of the four pieces of written work I need to complete for the diploma are done, pending corrections...

And I've found time to study lots of Spanish and write some emails and continue to look for houses to move to. And continue to look at my rooms and wonder when I'll have time to sort them out as obviously packing involves chaos. I'm thinking after India makes more sense.

And it's finally turned winter. Cold. Wet. Not pleasant. And I had it in mind that today I wanted to go to the park to take photos and kick leaves - or at least try and find some leaves to kick. They don't tend to lie around for long here. A couple of weeks ago, during a typhoon, I saw people sweeping up leaves. Like, that's sensible. And a few years ago I saw people up trees picking leaves off so they couldn't fall.

So wrong!

Monday, October 26, 2009

It's all very circular...

Wake up (get woken up).
Get up.
Drink coffee.
Go to work.
Study Spanish on way to work.
Study in work breaks.
Come home.
Study Spanish on way home.
Check Facebook / Twitter / Yahoo / Housing websites.
Watch something I've downloaded.
Worry about study / finding somewhere to move to / packing up all my stuff / sorting out India / my upcoming deadlines / whether my flatmates will keep me awake or wake me up.
Find myself unable to sleep.
Lie awake.
For a long time.
Eventually drop off / pop a pill.
And then it all starts again.
Very zen.
Or not.
Well, the circular bit is. The stress and worry not so.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Woken up early yesterday by housemates.
Drank lots of coffee during day.
Got home from work 10pm.
Lots on my mind.
Crashed around 2.30am.
Woken by tinkly 'Stairways to Heaven' alarm in neighbours room at 6am.
Rewoken by the Swiss contingency of the house shouting outside my room at 8am.
Didn't need to be awake until 9.30 / 10am.
Feel shite again.
BUT have no work Friday or Saturday this week :D

So, finally, everything has fallen into place.

Okay, not really but I felt like saying something positive!

I'm not feeling so stressed.

My head is still about to explode, but I'm not having a meltdown anymore.

On the house front: well, I have always been a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Not in a god like way, because I don't 'do' religion, but in a 'what goes up, must come down' kind of way. Things just are and things happen and there is sense in most of it, although sometimes it takes a lot of hunting to find the sense in things.

But I'm going off on a tangent, so let's loop back around.

On the house front: This house is too hot in summer, too cold in winter and I really don't like the people who live here.

However, doing nothing is so much easier than doing something.

Knowing the house will cease to exist, is a good thing. It means I have NO choice but to find somewhere else to go to.

I'll miss the location. I'll miss having my own kitchen. But such is life. I've got my eye on a couple of companies gaijin houses (guest houses) and when a suitable room comes up, I'll grab it.

On the diploma front, I'm concentrating on the portfolio work at the moment and haven't done any unportfolio study in a while. I can't cope with the house stuff and the full whack of the diploma right now, so I'm being realistic and postponing the written exam until next year.

I'm studying Spanish like a mad woman these days because I don't have enough else to do!

I keep looking at my room and groaning at the thought of how much stuff is in it to sort out!

And I really do need to find time to figure out India in case it means I can any cheapo advanced tickets, etc.

Oh and I have to help organise a work xmas party.

And find time to sort out my India visa.

And sort out my sewing pile.

And continue with weekly dental trips. Yay!

And hope I don't catch 'new' flu. In Japan, they apparantly won't call it 'swine flu' because that would upset the pig farmers and panic the whole population into giving up pork. Or something.


Saturday, October 10, 2009


After last nights meltdown post and lying awake mulling for hours before popping a couple of sleeping pills... I reached a decision.

It's not a decision I'm happy with and it's not totally down to me so I'll have to see what happens, but what I think I'm going to do seems the better of a bunch of bad options right now.

There IS no right decision or right answer and I hope following my gut will be the right thing to do here.

Of Rabbit Holes...

I'm half way down a rabbit hole.

I can't go up.

I can't go down.

And the rabbit hole feels like it's filling up with water.

Every option means a sacrifice.

I don't know how much I'm prepared to sacrifice.

My head is telling me many things and I don't know whether to listen to reason or to logic.

Or even if they are the same thing.

I just know something has to give. But I can't figure out what.

What should I sacrifice?

And if it all boils down to the same thing, then I'll just stay midway down the rabbit hole. Unable to go up or go down.

When did it all get so complicated?

And why? How did I manage to piss off karma so much? I thought I deserved better. Or maybe I just used up all my good karma.

(Sorry for the vagueness. I don't know who reads the blog and don't want to say anything that could come back to bite me.)

Or as they say, 'this too shall pass'. Eventually. Taking my sanity and health along with it perhaps. (actually, I don't know who says that, but someone did.)

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Oh Great!

Got home this evening and logged on. As usual. Found an email from house agency. Instant reaction was - what are they complaining about now. They don't send us chatty emails. Actually, word has it that house is owned by a cult.... But each to their own and as long as there are no more than a surplus of unread """""religious"""""" books lying around, I'm not bothered.

I like my house. Well, I kind of like it. I like my room. It's in a shared house (ten bedrooms - don't really like communicate with the other tenants because a) we keep different hours, b) we have language problems, c) i'm too busy with diploma / knackeredness, d) some of them are just strange, e) there's a lot of coming and going of tenants.

Actually, there's a couple of them that drive me nuts.

The house is in a pretty poor condition. But I like my room, as I said. It's a decent enough size. Plenty of space for me and the cockroaches. It's an old house. Kind of goes with the territory here. I have lots of cute cockroach traps lying around and cockroach spray (not pleasant when you accidently inhale it, as is quite hard to avoid actually) and I've been known to drown a few if I can...

The house is old. It has 'character'. Okay, it's kind of crumbling and rattles but so do most Japanese houses older than ten years of age. Kidding. It's made of wood and wood rot mainly, with doors and windows that don't quite fit.

And the location. The location is great. If you know Tokyo, it's near the Hilton and Shinjuku Chuo Park. It's easy walking distance to Shinjuku Station, Tochomae Station, Nishi Shinjuku Station... It's convenient. In Japan 'convenience' is very important. My students always tell me how Tokyo is such a convenience (sic) city. London and Paris are other convenience (sic) cities.

It's a quiet area. Even if the house isn't always quiet. It's cheap enough. Even if my clothes get mould on them and smell damp a lot. It's home. In a crumbly, I'm a foreigner and so can't really find anything much better with my own kitchen in a convenient area, kind of way.

I love the tower blocks around here. Lots of hotels and office buildings. A park. Lots of nice homeless people.

The house is one of a bundle of very old (we're talking Japanese old house not UK old house here) houses in a block of about three or four small streets and...

to finally get to the point of this post and the email...

We've received notice they're going to knock all the houses down.

On the one hand, I'm not at all surprised. I guessed about ten months ago it was only a matter of time due to the number of suited men walking up and down the streets taking photos and scribbling notes and the recently erected office blocks. The land this block of houses is on is probably worth a fair amount of money to someone.

On the other hand, it's bloody annoying. I'm not planning to be here for more than another six months. Having to move somewhere new in the middle of that is not convenient. They say the earliest this will happen will be end of January. Great. I have no time (diploma) for house hunting or moving this YEAR. And as soon as the diploma is finished, I'm off to India til the end of the first week of January.

We'll get 45 days notice apparantly. On the plus side, we won't get charged any damage or cleaning fees now.

The plus sides aren't feeling too plus at the moment though.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Five Years

Five years I've been in Tokyo.
Five years I've been teaching English.
Five years I've been missing my friends back home.
Five years and seven days since I left London.
Five years, five months and some odd days since I started the blog.
Friends have got married. Had kids. Had more kids. Moved in with partners. Got divorced. Got new jobs. New lives. Moved to different countries. Five years. A long time. A life time ago.
London. BBC. England. English. The NHS. Long daylight hours. Short summers. Understanding. Being understood. Shoe shops. Clothes Shops. Boots and Superdrug. Weekend newspapers. Pubs. Beer gardens. Europe. Cheap flights.
Five years. A long time.
I'd never been to Asia before moving to Japan. Unless Israel counts. Now I've visited Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, India. India for the second time this coming winter.
But enough is enough.
Friends have come and gone. Some haven't come. Europe is calling me. England isn't. Weekends in England are, but England isn't home. Japan isn't home either. Not really sure where home is. But I'm making preparations for where might be home. Researching. Language studying. CV prepping. Europe beckons. Access to friends. Access to friends' kids. Access to London shops. To budget airlines. To friends all over West Europe. To Europeans. To a different way of life. To a different mentality.
There are many things I like about Tokyo. There are many things I've loved about my time here. But it's all too predictable.
That's why the blog slipped.
I had nothing to blog about.
I've been likening life here to a marriage recently. The first year or so was the honeymoon period. It was all new and fresh and unpredictable and exciting and wonderful.
And then the routine set in. It became increasingly more comfortable and predictable.
And more comfortable and predictable.
And more comfortable and predictable.
And, whilst glasses didn't get thrown around, boredom started setting in.
And in.
And in.
And in.
And as the comfortableness and the predictability grew, I knew it was time to make a break.
Spring 2009. That was when I planned to leave.
But the diploma came along.
And now it's like waiting for a divorce to come through.
And the diploma is ending too fast.
And too much of the year has been spent stressed.
And sick.
I've never had so many health problems in my life as I have this year.
Now it's a tooth infection.
Before that it was something else. And something else and something else.
And with the studying and with the tiredness and with the stress there hasn't been the time or energy to do anything this year.
But the bigger picture. That's what counts. The money I'm saving. The holiday I'm planning. The diploma I'm going to get. The experiences I've got. The knowledge that this isn't forever. And the day of packing up will come quickly. And new adventures will start. And things will again become unpredictable. And I can reconnect with friends who lived in Tokyo but moved to or moved back to Europe. To friends in England. That I'll be able to stop my stagnation.
That maybe I'll find home.