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

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Nothing can cheer you up like a package from home :)

Thankyou Mammy!!

歩こう、歩こう、私は元気...err, ok maybe not

Thank god this week is finally over. We have the day off tomorrow for a 'reading period' and it being my first reading period (Edinburgh never gives me one, although some other courses get to enjoy a nice midterm week-long break), I would love to spend it how students are supposed to spend their reading periods; getting inappropriately drunk. (or so I'm told) But unfortunately I'm probably going to spend the day in the library working, or if this cold persists, working from my bed. I have two exams next week, one on Monday and one on Tuesday and thus far I have not had the time to prepare for them due to the fact that I've had a bit of a beasty cold and exams every day this week.

Right now I'm currently in bed feeling very poorly and very sorry for myself. I finished my speaking test today and it did not go as well as I would have liked. Keigo (honorific/humble Japanese) is a complete bitch! So I came straight back and rested. I am always in two minds about sickness...I'm always either thinking 'hey, its not that bad suck it up and keep going' or 'omg I feel terrible right now, I need to get to bed and stay there until this gets better'. I'm sure everything I've been doing this week, while I've been soldiering on has gradually been making me feel more ill so now I'm going with the later approach.

thats all very boring...

Last weekend, when I didn't feel like my tonsils were trying to crawl out of my throat and escape, I went to the Ghibli Museum. I know a few people who read this might not know what that is so the quickest way would be to show you...

What you just watched is a short clip from My Neighbour Totoro (となりのトトロ)in which the main character Mei finds Totoro. This is one of the most popular films made by Studio Ghibli. It was actually realised in 1988, which I was pretty surprised at. While I love Ghibli, I think The Little Mermaid (1989) is far superior in terms of animation. I always thought Totoro was a lot older until just last week. Nevertheless I have really fond memories of this film, the first time I saw it I was sat in my host family's lounge in Komatsu. I was so tired, and I remember they kept saying I could go to bed but I really wanted to finish the film.

If you didn't already know Studio Ghibli, you might now be wondering what's so great about going to the museum. Actually its pretty exclusive...

  • The number of tickets which allow you into the museum are limited so that the museum doesn't become too crowded and ruin your experience. 
  • The tickets are only available to purchase at certain convenience stores using a certain machine.
  • Tickets must be purchased in advanced, once you have bought your ticket you will find out the designated time in which you may enter the museum. There are several times throughout the day when you may enter but if you miss your time slot, too bad.
  • The Ghibli Museum has a small scale movie theatre inside in which they show short films which are EXCLUSIVE to the museum. 
We weren't allowed to take photos inside but here are mine from the day
Outside the Museum

Totoro admitting people to the museum. It was a lush day!

Check the sunshine!!

dont know these people...these a photo of my infront of here somewhere...

Some of the museum's buildings.

And again...

Waiting to get into the many kids.

The Cafe

There was actually a bit of a western theme, felt like I was in beamish! lol

Wholegrain rice and katsu curry :)

Awesome plate!

This was the most amazing cake ever!


My flags.

If I was taller this photo would have been nicer.
You can hopefully see the autumn colours in the trees in that last picture there. The trees are just starting to turn a lovely warm orange colour. Its still around 15degrees most days here...I here in England there is snow...what a shame! haha!

Thanks for reading :)