Archive for the 'prequel' Category

10th June 2002

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

This is from my diary from when we first relocated to Japan – pre-blog. Other entries can be found here.
Went to Kobe for the World Cup on Friday: what a fantastic trip! We had to leave here at 7am but go onto our shinkansen in loads of time for the 3 1/2-hour journey. When we got there we got a taxi to our hotel, which was a very nice high-rise right by the waterfront. Think there were some FIFA officials or something staying there. Didn’t hang about – put on our football tops (Celtic for C, Sweden for me) and headed to the stadium. Suddenly the streets were full of green and yellow (and Japanese blue) and C started to count Celtic tops. His enthusiasm petered out fairly quickly and he stopped when he reached 7 or 8. Quick sushi lunch from the 7-11 then we joined the throng and went in.
People-watched for a bit – small children playing, laughed at the fans, then the Sweden team came out to have a look at the pitch so we had a debate about whether the chap with no hair was Larsson or not. No matter, because when they changed and came back out he was definitely there – C went down to the front to take some pictures and got a wave!
The match was pretty exciting, even for me – an American girl next to Cameron had to have him explain the offside rule, which I think he secretly enjoyed. There were some Swedes and one very keen English boy behind us, and an Irish man with his Japanese girlfriend next to me – they seemed to be supporting Nigeria. I was hoping for a tie (but was happy to see Sweden win as it made everybody else happy).
At half time, a man in a Celtic top came over to say hello – we bumped into him in a pub that evening and karaoke’d until 4am, but that comes later. After the match, we hung about in the stadium chatting (mostly to people in Celtic tops – one Japanese lad wanted to know why there were so many). Lots of Glaswegians – some with Larsson masks, some in kilts. We had our picture taken loads of time – I kept my mouth shut as I didn’t want to disappoint anybody by not being Swedish.
We did eventually leave and walked about 100 miles around the subway station before being allowed into it. Back to the hotel for a quick shower then out to the nearest Irish bar to watch the England match. Bumped into aforementioned Celtic top-wearer (Eddie) and his mates (Kevin, Allan) – not too keen to support England but they did manage to say they were happy when we won. Not convinced they meant it!
Bar was full to the brim with people standing on the bar to see…and only one barman, poor chap. Some Japanese girls had come especially to scream and swoon when David Beckham came on screen. There were a couple of other English people there but mostly Japanese, who could be persuaded to cheer for either side – or any other side. Important not to offend. (Kevin told us about when they’d been on a train on their way to Ireland-Germany, there were two Japanese boys on the train in Germany shirts. At the next stop, the train filled up with Irish fans shouting and singing – apparently the boys looked at one another then got Ireland shirts from their bags, put them on, and joined in the singing! ha ha.)
Once the match was over and the bar had emptied, we went to “Mickey’s bar” and did karaoke until 4 or so. Cameron made friends with – we think – a prostitute; one woman tried to sing Britney Spears; I howled my way through Puff the Magic Dragon…then a woman arrived who could actually sing, so we called it a night.
Next morning passed us by completely but we eventually made it back to the station to leave our bags then went and looked at Kobe. A nice city though we were perhaps a bit knackered to completely appreciate it. Saw a shrine, chinatown (bought a new bag and some chopstick rests), a huge shopping centre then the old area where Westerners first lived, before riding up and down the mountain on a cable car and coming home. Only to discover that the house had been broken into, but I don’t want to write about that.

Tuesday May 28th 2002

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

This is from my diary from when we first relocated to Japan – pre-blog. Other entries can be found here.

Busy busy – work is manic. Did little but, last week – C was out every night except Thurs so I just worked. Friday night I had bad cabin fever so we went to Fujimamas for dinner – no wait despite not being able to book. Then on Satuday we went to Hakone. Plan was to walk but it was a bit late to start by the time we got there, so we abandoned (postponed!) the plan and went to the open-air museum instead – basically a sculpture park, it was fantastic! Spent much longer than we expected to, what a great place! Up on a mountainside, hot and sunny too so we had a great afternoon. Then we headed to our ryokan, which I’d booked online. It was fine – nothing special, but fine. I like the outdoor onsen, although it was not quite as outdoors as I had envisaged. Can’t beat a good soak in scalding water after an afternoon of tramping about on a mountain! After dinner (much “what do you think that is?” and “I’m not eating that, it’s a funny colour!”) we went to the bar, where we were the only people for a while – not surprised at ¥1000 a drink! – until a group of men came in and entertained us with their karaoke. The barlady was quite annoying, applauding after every single line and shaking her tambourine, and unfortunately we left before the men got sufficiently into it to join in with their own tambourines and squeaky toys, which they had with them. The bar snacks looked like cat treats.

The next morning when I was lying in my futon waiting for C to get back from his bath, the staff came and told me to get up and go for breakfast – not entirely sure what that was about, but we were not allowed to wait until 8.20, as we had planned.

Toyed with the idea of doing the walk, but decided we probably should use our free passes so we did the circuit: train, funicular, bus (cablecar out of order), look at the smelly sulfur springs and Mt Fuji (just! through the haze), cablecar, boat, walk, bus. Extraordinarily hot and sunny, I am still feeling quite burnt; then when we got home there was a fantastic thunderstorm. Had to buy an umbrella at the convenience store by the station.

May 13th 2002

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

This is from my diary from when we first relocated to Japan – pre-blog. Other entries can be found here.

Phew! Work has certainly picked up – I’ve been doing 9-hour days with posters and slides. Cam got home on Saturday afternoon, surprisingly non-tired and with a new pair of shoes (!). I didn’t do much on Saturday: pottered into Shibuya for Metropolis and bought a hoe. Had intended to poke about some nice shops but that was a bit impractical carrying a hoe, so I just came home. (Hoe has stood in the hallway ever since, I really should do some weeding.) Side-tracked on my way home by an arum lily in sunshine yellow, I was doing so well not buying plants but I’d been coveting it all week and decided I deserved a treat. It is beautiful!

Sunday was a bit of a failure. I wanted to go and see the cat sculptures at…um, well I’ve forgotten its name – we got the trainto Nishi-nippori, anyway. Had a nice walk – saw plenty of real cats, but could not find the museum at all. Eventually gave up – and found it on the map at the station. I had trusted the map in my guidebook (and assumed there was a typo in the address) and it was wrong! Bah. Am hoping to convince C to try again next weekend. We stopped at Harajuku on the way back – saw some freaks (they seem to sing these days) and the dancing teddy boys, and went to the Thai food festival in Yoyogi Park. Food looked and smelt fab, but it was really busy so we went for rotating sushi instead. Today I have worked (and worked) with just a quick dash to Shinjuku for printer ink. C has gone to dinner at the British Embassy tonight – lucky him – so I am in on my own again.


Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

This is from my diary from when we first relocated to Japan – pre-blog. Other entries can be found here.
Oops! That’s a whole week flown past without writing. I’ve been so busy…

Cameron was just about recovered at the weekend; fit for a couple of low-key outings, anyway. On Saturday we went to Shinjuku, to the bookshop then to Shinjuku-gyoen where the wisteria was just about over, the irises not quite there yet (why is nothing ever out?). It will be beautiful when the waterlilies flower though I have no idea whatsoever when that might be. We sat on a bench and listened to the crows for a bit.

Sunday was HOT! We went to Omotesando for cash (hooray! Bank account now operable) then to the Togo shrine in Harajuku where there was a flea market. Poked about there for ages, while staying out of the sun, then walked (by mistake) to Shibuya and (realising our mistake) back again. Eventually found what we were looking for, the Nezu institute of fine arts. Museum itself a little disappointing (I am still wondering if we missed some of it) but lovely garden full of statues and lanterns. Nice and shady, which was necessary, and the irises there were out. Saw a turtle sunning itself – I am still not blasé about turtles!

Monday I worked and C flew off to Houston. The bad news is they got the flight transfer they wanted so won’t be back until Saturday. It’s too bad – Monday should have been a holiday and trvelling at the weekend too. Bad Shell.

Went to yoga on Tuesday morning – I think the teacher may be trying to kill us and I still hurt today. Coffee after with Gail, and Gail’s mum and dad, then I went and joined the library, which has certainly got enough books to occupy me for a while. Then to Shibuya for a mop, bucket and broom – with my yoga mat as well, I was popular on the train! Yesterday was hectic (I don’t honestly have time to work) with the rest of the lease furniture arriving and a chap coming to fix the satellite tv all at once – they’ve taken away my desk! So I’ve set up the patio furniture in the office…of course the only way to fix the TV was for me to buy a new box! Still, if it does work it will be worth it and this one does seem much better. Then in the afternoon, the mad Yolly arrived to clean and iron and ask why we have no babies and tell me I am like her daughter. Barking. Had to pop back to Omotesando for more cash after all that (but I do have a nice clean house). She even folded our carrier bags!

And today I went cooking, which I enjoyed. There was a nice American gir l called Karen, an Israeli girl, and a Japanese woman who has been going for years and years – and the teacher. It was good! And we ate it afterwards, which was good too. Gochisosama deshita.

2nd May 2002 – 1 month in!

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

This is from my diary from when we first relocated to Japan – pre-blog. Other entries can be found here.

Poor Cameron hasn’t been well this week. It’s Golden week so he’s had a couple of days off, but he spent most of yesterday on the sofa. He’s gone in today because he’s off to the states on Monday and has to prepare, but I’ve no idea what sort of state he’ll come back in. I’ve been sent hardly any work today, which is a bit annoying but does mean I can go to a bookshop (I’ve finished all my books!) and get out in the sunshine a bit. I’ve taken tomorrow off.

We think we felt our first earth tremor a couple of days ago – we were sitting watching TV when the house shook! It was like someone slamming a door (hard) or a big lorry driving past. We can’t have a proper quake yet because I haven’t yet collected together water, tinned food, etc. (If I had it wouldn’t be much good as the tin opener is still on the ship.)

The rest of the rental furniture is arriving next week – although they are going to take away the temporary stuff, including my desk, which is not ideal – and also a maid! 4 hrs/week. Hoorah.

Monday, April 30th 2002

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

This is from my diary from when we first relocated to Japan – pre-blog. Other entries can be found here.

Golden week, so C is off today, Weds, maybe Thurs, and Fri. I am working but I expect I will take Friday off for a long weekend. And Golden it is today: cloudless blue skies and hot hot sun.

We spent Saturday pottering round Shinjuku after a long lie-in; I think I am still jetlagged and C was suffering the after-effects of two welcome parties on consecutive nights (I have been watching some truly dreadful television). We went for revolving sushi – Cameron’s first time – and bought the inevitable CDs and an amp so we could use Eiji’s CD player, which he brought round on Sunday. Did nothing Saturday night, then went for lunch with Doug and Verity on Sunday, which was very pleasant – out on the roof of the Monsoon cafe (I feel a bit sunburnt today) with pina coladas and plenty of wine.

I was busy on Friday: had a haircut (slightly traumatic but she’s done an ok job. Love the leather beds for hairwashing and the head massage), which I was late for because the replacement fax machine arrived; went to Shinjuku to get our alien registration cards; went to Hiroo to the supermarket and met Gail for lunch, then back to wait for my groceries (I like this delivery system)!

Email home 21/4/02

Monday, January 26th, 2009

This is from my diary from when we first relocated to Japan – pre-blog. Other entries can be found here.

We have been in the house for nearly a week now and are coping quite well with 2 cups, 2 plates, 2 forks etc – it will be nice when the ship arrives! We have most of the leased furniture in now (though some bits are new so won’t be ready for a few more weeks) so we at least have something to sit on and something to sleep on, and the satellite TV is up and running though showing very little of interest (to me anyway). There’s a bilingual function on most channels, but when Cameron was out on Friday night I settled down to watch Gladiator only to find that it was dubbed into Japanese! I’ve spent most of the week at “Tokyu Hands” – a fantastic shop that sells abnsolutely everything you could possibly want – buying shower curtains, an alarm clock, adaptors, hangers, etc etc, all the essentials! I still have a long list though.

I went to the western supermarket on Tuesday to stock the kitchen, having been assured that they would deliver – only to find that they don’t in fact deliver here except at the weekends. So a day after moving in I had to direct a taxi driver home (Tokyo taxi drivers can only find major landmarks and districts as the address system is so random – houses are numbered in the order they were built rather than their order in the street!) Poor chap thought I was some sort of loon who didn’t know where she lived, and I coulnd’t remember how to explain that I’d only lived there a day and, in fact, I did know where it was as long as you started in the right place and not where we currently were! Fortunately, we eventually drove past a park that I recognised and I managed to remember the words for left and right to direct him.

We went out for dinner last night with another couple of Shell people, to a restaurant on the side of a canal. The food was fantastic fusion style (I had shrimp cakes with a miso sauce) and we will definitely be going back again. Today it has rained and rained and rained (our first wet day) but we decided that if we are going to live in Japan we can’t let the rain stop us doing stuff, so we went fora walk in the park. We weren’t the only people there, but it wasn’t far off it! We visited the shrine and there was some sort of festival thing going on by the gate with mad dancing people and a dressed-up dancing horse. No idea what that was all about. There was a wedding going on inside the shrine (as there has been every time I’ve visited) and lots of ladies in kimonos. Yesterday we did a quick raid on Akihabara, the electrical district. We will have to go back sometime to wander about, as it is fascinating, but we just needed a printer so it was straight in and straight out again. Except that while I was looking at printers Cameron was sidetracked by the digital cameras so we have a new toy (more fun than a printer) and I have attached as a trial a picture of our little garden in the rain, taken around an hour ago.

So, still upbeat! I had a bad day on Friday – I was knackered after a late night (we went out with a Shell visitor from England and ended up at karaoke followed by an 80s club), I managed to break the fax machine (still not working and I don’t know what’s wrong with it. Well, I do but I have no idea how to fix it) then had traumas getting the satellite TV working. Cameron didn’t get home until after 10 by which point I had had enough! Poor Angela (our Japanese teacher from the UK) very kindly called as she is in Japan at the moment (unfortunately too far away to visit this time) and found me being all miserable, and then all homesick because she’d rung and been kind! I will have to call her back and explain that other than that one day it’s been fine so far – and there are bound to be bad days.

I tried to send some postcards home the other day – any idea if they got through? I put them in the hole marked “postcards and letters” and only later found out that because they are going overseas they should have gone in the “others” hole.

Thursday 25th April 2002

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

This is from my diary from when we first relocated to Japan – pre-blog. Other entries can be found here.

Well, we just had a Japanese lesson. I can’t say I feel hugely satisfied – she showed no interest in what we already knew and was determined to teach us introductions. Good revision I suppose, but not satisfying.

Have had a pretty quiet week so far. I’ve done quite a lot of work and have managed to get the ADSL connection working  (though it is currently connected to every phone in the house!) Yagashita-san came to look at the fax machine and has completely knackered it but she does at least now agree that it is broken, so she is going to replace it. When, I don’t know.

We went out with Stephane last night – I met them in Odaiba and we wandered until we found a very jolly Japanese restaurant (with, importantly, an English menu). And the night before I spent so long fiddling with the fax machine and computer that I forgot to cook, so we went to a french restaurant near the station – steak and chips, lovely lovely cheese, creme brulee. I went to yoga on Tuesday so it’s ok to have all that fat. Gail and I went for sushi afterwards, where I left my yoga mat so I had to go back for it yesterday. I managed, though first she handed me a map??

Ancient history

Friday, September 5th, 2008

wedding It rained 10 years ago, too! (I was a child bride.)

Thursday April 18th 2002

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

This is from my diary from when we first relocated to Japan – pre-blog. Other entries can be found here.

It’s chilly inside today (because it isn’t sunny) but warm outside so I am having my lunch (cream cheese and banana sandwiches: who said I wouldn’t be able to get bread or cheese?!) on the patio, which is very pleasant. I can hear the crows (you can always hear the crows) and the odd passer-by, but very quiet and peaceful. I’ve spent the morning working but have nearly exhausted what they sent (I work so much quicker here. Less chat?) so will I think have a walk to Shibuya when I’ve finished eating. Back to Tokyu Hands for B-list essentials. I bought all the A-list on Tuesday but thought my hands would drop off carrying it all home- had to battle through Shinjuku too, which was not much fun. Got a local train back because I thought it might be quieter – I was right, at least I got a seat.

Didn’t do much of anything yesterday – a few hours’ work, read a bit, pottered down to the shops. Tried to buy hooks for the shower curtains without knowing the words for “hook”, “shower” or “curtain”, which was very amusing for the shopkeeper. He didn’t have any.