Saturday, 29 January 2011

EDIT: Accidentaly posted this unfinished the other day, finished now.

My flowers :)
Siting at kokubunji station for the last train. Its surprisingly quiet, but it is the train going to tokyo. Tonight was really fun. I went to a little 居酒屋(izakaya-japanese style pub) with Hannah, a few of her friends and Jack from edinburgh. Jacks visiting from Kyoto where he studies so it was really nice to see him after such a long time.
Tonight i got to speak japanese with locals, try 飲み放題 (nomihodai - all u can drink) for the first time, play some Korean drinking games and also try mochi pizza. It was actually really good.
While we were sitting in the Izakaya, a Japanese guy came over and gave me and Hannah some flowers and said 'welcome to Japan' lol. Usually I detest looking so western, as it makes you stick out like a sore thumb, but every cloud has a silver lining I suppose. Who am I to question spontaneous flowers from a stranger?

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

日本の音楽 Japanese Music

Hey everyone!

I have a lot of work to do today but I'm taking a break right now and thought it might be fun to do a quick music post. I've been enjoying keeping up with the UK top 40, something not all the 留学生 (ryugakusei-foreign exchange students) out here have managed to do. A friend of mine, Joe, went clubbing just before Christmas and became terribly confused by a song with only the words 'Barbra Streisand', of course the he was referring to Duck Sauce's hit single (see below) which was released in the UK in early October but how was he to know it was so popular back home?

Anyway, this post is not about Duck Sauce. This post is about the Japanese singles chart; after a little searching on you tube I managed to find a current top 30. The video below also lists the artists and the titles of songs so that you can download them if you like.

You'll notice straight away that there are a lot of 'traditional' Japanese songs in this week's top 30. I don't think this is always the case so I will try to post another video in the near future. The second thing you will probably realise is that Japan's music can be split into three very obvious genres;

  • soppy balad
  • angst angst angst 
  • and pure cheese
My favourite song in this chart belongs in the 'pure cheese' category, its definitely a guilty pleasure. So guilty that sometimes when I hear it if I'm out shopping, etc, I actually grimace because I'm hearing it AGAIN! (its played so often) Released on the 18th of August, its spent 23 weeks in the chart and is still at number 5! Tell me this song is not catchy. Meh I dont have the stamina to hate it anymore...

One thing I have noticed is that, of this chart, I can probably say only 4 or 5 songs seem familiar to me. Considering after the 2 weeks I spent in Komatsu in 2006 I became a bit of a closet KAT-TUN fan, I have to say that I expected living here for 5 months would result in me becoming a fan of Japanese music. Perhaps its down to the state of music in the UK at the moment, but there's something with Japanese music that just doesn't quite settle with me.

There is a lot of talent in the UK right now and for the first time in what seems like a good few years the charts are being dominated by talented British artists; Adele, Professor Green, James Blake, Mark Ronson, Tinie Tempah, Taio Cruise, Hurts, Tynchy Strider, Katy B, Ellie Goulding, The Wombats, (I cant bring myself to list N-Dubz or JLS as talented, sorry).

Some of the stuff I'm loving right now...

Getting a little old now, but I haven't heard it played much. Lovely to hear Robert Smith's voice again. There's something really special about this track.

I love listening to this song right now, its definitely my song to listen to whilst relaxing right now. So chilled.

This is my party song right now. I was originally attracted to it because the background noise going on sounds like the siren from ghostbusters... Yes. I am a geek. ...this has really grown on me though. Loving the Jeremy Kyle reference.

Woops, I turned this into a personal playlist. Best leave it there. Hope this was entertaining/not too boring
Thanks for reading :)

Sunday, 23 January 2011

I worked out how to blog from my 携帯電話� so heres a quick test-post...

Check out my cupboard, my friend Brittni just stoped by my room and surprised me with a jar of GOOBER! I havent had any in about four years! Be jealous family, be very jealous. Well thats my breakfast sorted for happy �


Last week I was sooo busy, time flew by faster than I could realise. I had a midterm and a Japanese speaking test that I had to prepare for but on top of that I was also busy preparing for GAGA House Ball. At ICU each dorm has the opportunity of hosting a 'ball' once a year, except 2nd Men's Dorm who I've heard are allowed to host two(?). We decided on our theme for the ball in early December, just before breaking up for Christmas; the choices were Lady Gaga or Clowns...needless to say Lady Gaga was the victor. I signed myself up for the decoration team and in the midst of all the Christmas excitement, the ball was soon forgotten about. Unfortunately this meant that once everyone was back at ICU at the start of January we only had two short weeks to yeah that's where I've been, neglecting my blog and making decorations and, of course, my costume.

I finished my costume on Wednesday, it only took me around three hours which I was pretty pleased about because I haven't sewn in years. This was my inspiration, the outfit from the end of Lady GaGa's Telephone video...

I made a few modifications (like wearing pants!!) as I like to think of myself as (just a little bit lol) more modest than Lady Gaga, and this was the end result. It was soo nerve racking wearing something like this; obviously I look stupid here on my own but in context my outfit wasn't so crazy, a lot of people came to the party with coke cans in their hair, or wearing giant origami planes. So although I felt kinda stupid at first, it wasn't that bad once people arrived.

The ball was really successful, thanks to the advertising team we have over double the amount of people than last year (about 300 in total) and although I helped worked the cloakroom for a little while, and people kept asking me if I was American and then, upon hearing I wasn't, proceeded to ask me if I hated England, it was a really fun night.

I have already received my grades for both the exams that I sat last week. I got a B in both, which I am happy about. I would always love to get an A but nobody can argue with a B.

I began running a few weeks ago so this week I'm looking to continue my running and catch up with school work before I have to buckle down...there's already only 4 weeks of this term left!!

Friday, 7 January 2011


So I haven't posted in forever.

Merry Christmas! メリークリスマス

Happy New Year! 明けましておめでとうございます

And all that malarkey...

For my 冬休み(fuyu yasumi - winter break) I headed back to England. I'd been in Tokyo a long 4 months; a fun and exciting 4 months full of discovery, happy times and also sad times. My journey was a brutal 23 hours but I knew it would be worth it. Unfortunatley, I had a headache for the majority of those 23 hours as I had decided to boycott caffeine in an attempt to sleep on the plane. However it was a failed attempt and 19 hours later I found myself sitting in Starbucks at Schiphol airport sipping on a very christmasy grande praline mocha scowling at an American who tutted "she's writing Christmas cards" while I wrote out birthday cards for friends. How dare he make me out to be scatterbrained and unthoughtful...postage from Japan is expensive!! I was pretty cranky lol.

As I waited at the gate to board my final flight I found it hard to control my excitement. Listening to the familiar voices of the geordies around me I thought about how Chris would be leaving soon to pick me up from the airport. I even started to wonder if I knew anyone on the plane, as if it would be likely lol. I don't think I had been this excited since I was a child. It was so nice to see Chris at the airport, something I had been waiting for for what seemed like a loooonnng 4 months. But the moment became perfect when out of nowhere I was ambushed by my amazing friend Jenny. They had schemed together to surprise me and it was amazing to see her after so long.

My 10 days at home were hectic but I wouldn't have had it any other way. I had a lovely family Christmas, a snowy romantic getaway in York as part of my Christmas present from Chris, and I managed to have quite the crazy drunk New Years Eve. For me the highlight was seeing the ones I love and being able to hug them and laugh with them, while technology has progressed enough to the point where we can bridge the gap with Skype, there is something quite unnatural about it which leaves much to be desired. The greatest gift I received this Christmas was to be with friends, family and loved ones.

Here are a few photos from my time at home. I'll make a post soon with some New Years resolutions (one of which is to post here more), and what I've been up to since I got back to Japan.

Me and my girlfriends on NYE

On our way to York...EXCITED!

Ahh Singstar Girls v Boys, is there a sweeter victory?

Chris and I before New Years Eve
Christmas Tree 
Thanks for reading :)

Friday, 26 November 2010

Christmas Time in Tokyo VS. Christmas Time in Newcastle.

Update is needed.

So this post is probably going to seem a little premature, considering its only the 26th of November and there are still what like, 29 shopping days left till Christmas. But England has SNOW! And everyone is so excited and feeling all Christmasy and I'm feeling a little left out!!

So I received this picture yesterday from Chris ♥. If It looks like it was taken right by my house. How exciting, all that snow!!
So much snow at home in Newcastle <3

I then had a lovely conversation with a friend of mine yesterday about which Wellies (a word the Americans here find hilarious) she should buy to combat the bad weather. I even heard that some schools and roads were closed, I think England's been caught a little bit off guard by this, apparently the earliest snowfall in 17 years! Surely it can't be as bad as last year. Still its nice to see that England is getting ready for Christmas. 

It's a little different here in Tokyo. As you know, I'm currently in the middle of my 秋休み (akiyasumi -autumn holiday). The colours on the trees are beautiful right now so many people spend their free time visiting beautiful scenic areas. This is a photo of Nikko National Park.  Nikko is famous for its beautiful autumn foliage (or 紅葉-momiji). I was actually planning on travelling here for autumn break but it turned out to be too expensive and quite difficult and we didn't have enough people to go.  It's now past the peak time for viewing the autumn colours, but I hope I can visit here sometime anyway. If your interested in seeing more pictures, click here for the website I got this image from, it has a lot of nice pictures.

紅葉 at Nikko

The weather here is still very mild, a nice 15 degrees usually and most days I go out without a coat. A little different to England's cold snap right now.

I received a few other photos from home this week. This time from my mammy. They were photos of Fenwicks Window. For those who aren't familiar with this; it's a mechanical shop window display in Fenwicks which tells a Christmas story. They have it every year and its kinda a big deal because there are only a few Fenwicks stores within the UK, Newcastle's being the biggest and the only one to have the window display. I remember a few years a go the story was a bit ridiculous and involved aliens, but this year it seems very traditional. From what I can see it looks like its based on Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer?

Though there are a few Christmas Trees here and there, Tokyo does not have anything like Fenwicks window.

Actually Christmas is celebrated quite differently in Japan. On the whole its seen as a couples holiday. I have heard my female Japanese friends here talk of how めんどくさい(mendokusai - bothersome) it can be if you are alone at Christmas, because everywhere you go there are couples holding hands and smooching. URGH!
Kids still receive gifts in Japan, but they don't give them; as the gifts come only from 'Santa' (I recently discovered its very Northern to just say Santa...but you know what I mean... Farther Christmas/Santa Claus/ Saint Nick). Also instead of Christmas Day, the main celebrations seem to take place on Christmas Eve.

A Christmas cake in Japan is not a boozy fruitcake topped with marzipan and icing, which can feed you for the whole year. A Christmas cake in Japan is basically a strawberry shortcake that's eaten on Christmas eve; plain sponge, whipped cream and topped with strawberries. We are contemplating buying one for our flat from Cozy Corner, take a look...

They're cute right.
Thanks for reading :) x