Where in the world???

25 04 2011

Am I? Well, back in Brisbane actually.

So, firstly I am so sorry that I have been a totally slack blogger and haven’t posted regularly for months. But a lot has been happening and I haven’t felt like doing any writing. And so. yeah. slack. Sorry m(-_-)m

Let’s see, since my last post I’ve been to Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Wakayama and then back to Tokyo. And Brisbane. So yeah, my life in Japan has come to a conclusion. And I have very mixed feelings about that.

It’s been great to see my family and friends again, but moving back to Australia ahead of schedule means I haven’t really planned anything. at all. But I’m working on my resume, and I have big plans, we’ll just have to wait and see if it all turns out.

I’m sad to have left Japan, I managed to see a lot of my friends before leaving, but there were a few which i just couldn’t arrange to meet, which was even more saddening. But it’s good to be away from all the earthquake craziness, and actually, not having a job really doesn’t agree with me. At least in Australia I am working towards a goal.

I have so much to blog about, so do expect more posts shortly. Even a few more posts about hiking around Tokyo (although I still would not recommend going hiking in the Tokyo region just yet…). So keep an eye out, I hope to be back to posting at least once a week from now!

Brisbane Bites Take 2

31 01 2011

It’s been over a month since I returned to Japan after having a lovely few weeks in Brisbane for Christmas, and my lovely summer tan has finally disappeared under coats, scarfs and gloves. So, it’s about time I shared some photos of my Bris-Vegas adventures.

As always, a fair amount of my time was spent eating the things I don’t usually get to eat. Firstly Lauren took me to Guzman Y Gomez, a mexican (somewhat upscale) fast food restaurant chain from down south. It was beef nachos and margaritas all round!

And no trip to Brisbane is complete without a visit to the Pancake Manor on Charlotte St. I thought I could get through a regular stack, but my stomach had had too much pancake-y goodness 2/3rds through. Such a shame to waste good pancakes.

And of course there was the traditional (well, my family’s) Christmas day lunch of cold cuts of chicken and ham, smoked salmon, prawns and salad! The prawns were to die for!

Between eating I spent most of my time with family, meeting a couple of friends, looking at the sky (it’s sooooo pretty in Australia!) and even managed to go to the Gallery of Modern Art.

Unfortunately only a few weeks after I left, Brisbane and a lot of the state was flooded. Thankfully none of my friends or family were badly affected, but the long term effects are going to be difficult for everyone. In fact, financially it will affect the majority of Australians, so if you can spare, please donate to the flood appeal!

vlog update – goings and comings

27 11 2010

How to become a ‘Cartoon Hero’

29 10 2010

Ayers Rock

Remember Ayers Rock? And Kanga-kun (the inflatable kangaroo?)

Well, the library at my school made a display for Australia just recently, and wanted to use the Ayers Rock and the Kangaroo, so of course I said yes.  As advertising they drew a little cartoon in their newsletter to let the students know –

Ayers Rock Cartoon

That top panel?  Apparently that’s me.  I always wanted to know what I’d look like as an anime character… And it’s amazing they predicted me getting a fringe!

Basically the cartoon reads as –

  1. *AYERS ROCK!!* Did you see the Ayers Rock that the Junior High English Club made for Culture Festival?
  2. The Librarians meet to plan the display about Australia… “Did you see the inflatable Kangaroo???  It was cute!” “Right, lets borrow it for our display too”
  3. *REAL KANGAROO* ‘Waaahh!’ “What is it?? Wood?!”
  4. “No way!” Looking very closely (it is kinda a wood colour…). ‘Miss Librarian, it’s wood isn’t it?’ “No, no no!  It’s not made of wood…”


10 09 2009

ACK! It’s been over a month!?! Boy you must be thinking I’m slack. But I have a good reason, really!

Um… okay….

Maybe not that great. But yeah, things have been happening to conspire against me blogging. I think summer holidays do that to me. Either I’m incredibly busy or sleeping. However, that’s all over now, and I will endeavor to stick to Goal #1. Both Goal #1s…

My school’s summer holidays are from about mid-July until September. I always have the best intentions to spend as much of my vacations travelling around. Last year I managed to go to Kyoto with a friend, travelled to Aizu Wakamatsu and Sendai for the Tanabata festival, climbed Mt Fuji, visited my family and friends in Australia, then travelled with my parents to Hakodate, Sapporo and Furano in Hokkaido. It was a very successful vacation! A number of these trips were part of my ‘Things I MUST do in Japan’ list, so I was really happy. This year I intended to do a number of things from that list too, however time and money constraints limited what I was able to achieve.

As I mentioned in my last few updates, I did go to Hakone and Nikko, but apart from that I didn’t have the chance to travel much in Japan. Some of the events I did manage to go to however included the Sumida River Fireworks and Summer Sonic.

Japan is very big on summer festivals, particularly fireworks. Sumida River is the biggest and oldest firework festival in Tokyo. The fireworks themselves go for about 90 minutes, but it is near impossible to get a good vantage point unless you reserve your spot some insane time in the morning. That being said, it’s still an experience going. Festivals are a lot of fun, with people in yukata, food stalls, and a fun atmosphere. However, I think next year I will go to my local city’s festival instead, because I actually want to see the fireworks.

In recent years, as well as summer festivals, summer music festivals have become popular in Japan. Summer Sonic, which is held in Chiba and Osaka, and Fuji Rock, in Niigata, are the two biggest. I really want to go to Fuji Rock, however this year the line up wasn’t great, and Niigata is quite a way away. So I went to one day of Summer Sonic instead (it’s a 3 day festival). Although there weren’t any acts that I was dying to see, I did enjoy Dragon Ash, Phoenix, Mercury Rev, the Silent Disco, and Nine Inch Nails(totally surprised me, but NIN were the best act of the day). Overall the day was more fun than I expected.

Apart from those couple of events, there wasn’t much else to my vacation. I did spend a day at the ‘seaside’ (or bayside to be precise). Odaiba is an island of reclaimed land in Tokyo Bay. You can catch a boat from Asakusa along the Sumida River to Hinode Pier, and from there across to Odaiba a ferry. During July and August a special life sized statue of a Gundam was built to promote ‘Green’ Tokyo. I have no idea what Green Tokyo was about, but the statue was very very cool. Every once in a while it would play theme music, move its head, and steam, which was pretty cool. But what really impressed me was the details, things like the decals, and hydraulics (fake of course), which made it look like it could have just walked off its stand. Too bad they are taking it down. I think it would have been a very good tourist attraction. Anyway.

While I was in Odaiba I took the time to go to Miraikan or MeSci as it’s known in English. It’s a museum that is supposed to ‘share’ innovative science. There are a lot of interactive displays, and it’s well set out and very funky, but I was disappointed that there didn’t seem to be that much. I suppose when I think of a science museum with interactive displays I think of basic sciences. There’s not many ways you can have a display of the International Space Station and make it interactive. And driving a robot remotely just isn’t my thing. However, the one exhibit that was really cool was the internet display, designed to show kids how information is sent around the internet. Using black and white balls as bits you try to send a word to another input station, but the balls have to go along all these ramps and through big windy things. Very cool. Overall, even though I found Miraikan to be a bit dull, young kids would like it.

Oh, and I finished off my day in Odaiba by conquering my fear of heights and walking across the Rainbow Bridge. Got some great pictures of Tokyo too, check them out!

For the rest of my vacation I knew money was going to be sparse, so I took up an offer from my company to teach at an English summer camp. The camp was a lot of fun, and really wasn’t very hard work. I got to meet 3 other teachers from my company who were lovely ladies, and my group of kids was friendly and tried hard. I think the most enjoyable part of the camp was the BBQ/bonfire/ghost walk evening. We ate a heap of meat, got to light small fireworks, dance around, and freak out the kids (we were the monsters)(and yes, I am kinda sadistic).

The final part of my vacation was two weeks spent in Australia. Two weeks seems like a long time on paper, but it really flew. I visited my grandfather, aunt, uncle and cousin, and also managed to catch up with a few friends. I went shopping for clothes (I just can’t buy pants/underwear in Japan), multiple doctor/dentist appointments and ate many foods I missed. It was really wonderful to go back home, I’ve been missing it a lot lately. And believe me, it was very sad to leave. It was also very distressing to get my credit card bill (4 days of shopping, and averaging $500 a day… you do the math) but at least I have clothes now.

And now it’s September and it’s back to school. Admittedly it’s only the first week of school, but things have been slow so far. I’m expecting to get slammed next week. But I would have to say the most interesting thing about being back at school is the ‘measures’ the school is taking in regards to Swine Flu… It’s not even flu season yet!?! Regardless, if a kid comes down with a fever during class time, we have to give them a mask, send them to the teacher’s room, and then to the nurse’s office. And on top of that, the school has decided to limit the Culture Festival in a few weeks time. Now, if you’ve ever watched a school-based anime, Culture Festival is when all the kids open a maid café or make a haunted house in their classroom. People from outside the school (family/friends/complete strangers) can come and look around, etc. This year however, the school has limited the festival to one day, no food will be sold, and only families that have returned their RSVP’s can come. I can tell you now a lot of the kids will be disappointed.

But such is life in a society prone to panic.

Did I ever tell you about how natto sold out when a TV show said eating it every day was good for dieting??? Crazy group mentality….

*edit – apparently the swine flu panic isn’t over reacting, at the moment about 12 kids from the school have contracted it…. great….