You can't make me leave!!!
20.05.2009 25 °C
hello again, how's it going?
well, how could I forget to mention my obvious snow whiteness again (see 1st blog), have you seen the picture of bambi? bless it, my singing is going to help a lot of animals in Asia, I just know it... there was also a shockingly bad zoo that I ran out of with my eyes closed, no amount of singing would have helped those poor beasts. I think though if I had of mentioned them or indeed anything else in my last blog you'd all have been asleep or late getting to bed... I expect this episode is going to be much the same, as a lot of you will know, once I start to waffle I find it hard to shut up...
so, on my blog goes and Japan just gets better, I truly love the place, it's so different to anywhere I've ever been before. Anne says I've fitted in really easily and with my love of the food, Hiro has been enjoying more sashimi and sushi at home than usual. Its funny, everytime I go into the supermarket downstairs they have the same song on, I don't know if it's just on a loop or something and I'm not even sure if what I'm hearing is right but it sounds like a really cheerful song, the chorus is... "la la la la lucifer, la la la la lucifer, lucifer, lucifer, la la la la lucifer" and you can only hear it round the fruit and veg bit which may I add is very expensive, the fruit anyway. Saw a teenie weenie box of blueberries the other day going for about 7 quid!!
I got biten by an ant in Nara which left me with the biggest itchiest nastiest angryest looking red splodge on my leg I've ever seen. The lovely people at Yougendo gave me a cure called 'King Kong' it smells a bit like vics vaporub but by eck it works. After the initial stinging feeling and icyness the redness goes down along with the swelling, twice daily with that and I had no problems. Going to buy some before I leave Japan as I expect the mozzy's are going to eat me alive in other countries.
The zoo I went to was in Wakayama, once I left the castle I went down the hill and saw a pool with a big net over it and birds inside being fed by some men. It wasn't very big but it was clean enough and the food looked ok although I think having so many birds in such a small space including swans, pelicans and different ducks shouldn't be allowed. Then I came across the bear, poor bear, he was fairly small and black and totally depressed, he wasn't in with the birds, he had his own enclosure but still... Its the only photo I took in the zoo cos of the happy bear painted on the wall in the background and this wee depressed bear lying infront of it, looking back at the photo now, it looks like the painted bear is going to fall into the pool of water and looks rather worried about it. Unfortunately it only got worse. There wasn't an entry fee to get into the zoo but if there had of been I wonder if the conditions would have been better. I watched an american beaver, (I knew it was american cos it was wearing a baseball cap and a wife beater t shirt although it also said it on the sign) drag the same bit of wood round the wee pond it was in twice before I moved on and passed 4 deer on a bit of sand no bigger than a postage stamp and a single penguin hiding inside his house, then the pigs. On one side were 2 pink pigs with so much skin damage it was heartbreaking, they didn't have any mud to wallow in at all, don't the people who run the place know they have to wallow to protect their sensitive skin? on the other side was a parrot in a cage made of cement and bars pacing from side to side, that was enough for me and I got out of there as quickly as possible
right then, enough of that horrible stuff, lets get back to Tokyo, fish markets, hard rock, more karaoke, shopping torchure in Ginza, wonka bars and getting lost again... The day after I arrived back was Annie's birthday, 25 again... We booked a baby sitter who was called Miduri (although I've probably spelled it wrong) she's lovely so the 3 of us went out to the Hard Rock Cafe for music and the best Hard Rock food I've ever had, none of that weird raw chilli power salad that I had in Lisbon for me this time!! it was lush, we then went on to Karaoke which was brilliant. Hiro was fab!! we were all fab but he really gets into it and Anne did the best rendition of Wuthering Heights I've ever heard. Hiro also ordered an array of drinks of which I have no idea what they were but tasted good so what they hey hehe. After 2 hours in there and a phone call from reception telling us to get out Hiro went home to relieve the babysitter bless him and me and Anne carried on into the night... We went to a couple of the bars we'd been in the time before, one of which was up a big set of stairs, how I managed them last time I'll never know as I can't even remember them!! anyway we also went to an 80's bar and 'bopped like a robot from 1984' and met a K1 Fighter. After leaving there we went for noodles, it's like the japanese equivelant of getting a kebab, shame the camera battery had run out as there was a sumo wrestler in there in his sumo jammies probabaly having his 8th meal of the day - cool
Some people in Japan are really friendly and chat in english when they can and some people dont like to even come near me. A lovely girl who was working in a resturant I went to in Oji helped me with the menu as I couldn't read it at all then sat and asked me loads of questions, I wanted to eat my salmon and she wanted to go to my country. I also sat and chatted to a gentleman on the train to Osaka who also wants to go to my country and knew sooo much about the UK, he got off at Tennoji (the station I loved to get to cos then I knew where I was...) but spoke to me the whole way from Nara which was about 30 mins. He said he was 75 in 5 years time and planned to go to europe having never left Japan ever in his life. He was self teaching english and had a wee book of cuttings about famous places in Japan but in english and a sort of translator computer, his english was brilliant. We went over the pronunciation of a few things and he very happily got off the train for his sushi and beer giving me a wave from the platform. I'm not sure if the words we went over were cos thats how he felt sitting next to me or not come to think of it, I hope not... he wanted to know how to say anxious & anxiety... on the subways some people will do anything to avoid sitting next to me. Anne says it's cos I'm an unknown quantity and they can't predict what I'm going to do which they find stressful so move to an empty seat away from me or just stand, I don't take it personally, it's quite amusing really.
Shoes, the shoes here are amazing, you know the spider heels I have and the red and white spotty ones with the mushroom hanging off the front? well much like them, it's like a show for 'Irregular Choice' the only problem is, I dont have the right kind of feet and I don't have the right body for the clothes either which I suppose is a blessing for my bank account... Did I tell you about the way some women walk here? they walk with their toes pointed in, it's a regular thing, I don't know why though, it looks very odd, perhaps it's got something to do with the shoes, maybe they don't really fit anyone...
The day after Anne's birthday Anne, christina and I went out to MacDonalds for a hangover burger, I had nuggets then we went to a shopping mall called LaLaPort. I wondered if LaLa was the most popular of the teletubbies and thats why he/she got all the endorsements cos I couldn't see tinky winky, dipsy or po anywhere. The shopping mall is massive, they have a cinema in there and a floor with resturants for any kind of food you could ever want. I wanted to go and see the film Goemon one day but it's like 13 quid for a ticket so I'll just wait till it's on DVD or alternatively forget about it till I re-read this... They even have a shop with english pic and mix athough the chocaholic shop has a distinct lack of chocolate in it but a massive supply of plastic cake keyrings... Downstairs they have a cafe for dogs, yes dogs, they have a wee shop next door selling dogs and you can even hire a dog for the weekend if you want, not from there but it can be done. Most of the dogs here are small and yappy as the apartments here are fairly small, if you see anyone with a big dog like a lab or retriever you have to assume they either have a big flat or they've just borrowed it to make themselves look good. Japan is such a convenient place, there's something for everyone here. I want a rice making machine, Anne & Hiro's one sings twinkle twinkle little star when you swtich it on and another tune when it's finished. My next flat will have one, mark my words!! I also kind of prefer eating with chopsticks now too, it's just so simple and you can hold your book with the other hand or wave at people or even just rest it on the table beside you. Anyway the sign outside the cafe that I was talking about before says 'smoking yes' 'dogs yes' they even have a doggie menu, it's class. On the way into the building I noticed a sign that said 'dogs on the floor NO, dogs in your arms NO, dogs in a bag NO, dogs in a buggy YES' a buggy?? like a pram, you see them everywhere, it's great, I've never seen so many spoiled and pampered pooches in my puff. I tried to go back to LaLaPort the other day on my own and got so lost I had to get 2 trains home, Hiro and Anne can't beleive I walked so far, neither can I really but you dont notice when you're just wandering about. I found a wicked park and gardens and sat reading my book in the sun while munching the biggest apple I've ever seen in my life, it was like the size of a melon and I struggled to bite into it without it breaking my nose, the only thing wrong with it really was that it was 3 quid, 3 quid I tell you, it wasn't even that crispy. Anne says it must have been a luxury apple, luxury my arse, even posh spice would have drawn the line at 3 quid me thinks, mind you, it would have done her 3 meals.. note to self, take a calculator with you when shopping for apples.... They had a cool water feature in the park that I found which sprung into life after 4pm which made little kids scream with delight, there's a picture of it on here with a reflection of me in it. I then went through the park and came across the Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art which was very interesting. They wouldn't let me take pictures of anything apart from the big metal baby and a chair which was part of the show, not just a random chair, it had 2 tubes coming away from it, and was called the Ear with Chair... yeah... ok.... I got one of the elephant though when no one was looking, it was fab, made out of a truck or something. The big baby was mental, it moved it's eyes like one of those dolls that when you lent it backwards it closed it's freaky eyes and this one even talked as well in a sort of angry I'm going to crush you with my big feet robotic sort of way, it had an aura of wanting to take over the world about it, I wondered if it came alive at night... My favorite paintings in there were one of a man hugging an elephant seal, a huge painting I think was inspired by the yellow submarine cos the no where man was on it and the end DVD which I could have watched all day. It was a rush of colours and soft music with the face of a girl with long blonde hair, she sometimes looked like she was drowning and the colours used made me think it was about life and death... deep huh? I really enjoyed it. Some of the 'art' was just pants, is a room full of empty boxes and a few TV's flashing on and off really considered to be art or a load of bathroom tiles with permanent marker dots on them? The deer made of balls of glass were impressive though and a painting of a girls face which was fabulous, I wish I could have snuck some more photos but I didn't fancy being flung out of the gallery... I may have missed the room full of small bits of wood... I also went to another art collection in Roppongi Hills which was attached to the observation deck of the Tokyo Tower 52 floors up, I have to say it was fantastic!! one of the pieces was a room full of big disco balls, the light reflecting off them was like fire flies, I loved it. They also had a dvd and at first I thought it was a bit mad and strob like but the more I watched the more I realised it was the film 'The Amityville horror' just chopped up a bit, distorted and in black and white, good though, before I realised what it was it made me think of fear and loathing which I suppose it what is was about. They also had this weird looking thing called 'bunny got snookered' it was about women and their place in society etc, I didn't really understand it but it made me laugh. It was an office chair with some stuffed tights hanging off it, yep, that was it. Some of the pieces were by the same people as the muesum of art I went to before, like strip lighting and TV's flashing on and off, this time though they were flat screen plasma's instead of old ones, probably cos I was in a posh area... The tower itself was wicked although yet again I picked a rainy day to go up it so I saw much the same as I did in Yokohama... clouds and rain.
I found my way back to LaLaPort on a day when I had remembered to take my map of Tokyo with me and bought a bar of Wonka chocolate, yes, they actually exist, I couldn't beleive it, it's a 'Whipple Scrumptious Caramel Delight' it even comes in a tin so you can put your pencils in it for school after you've eaten the chocolate, I hope it's as good as I want it to be and pray it's got a golden ticket inside. In celebration of this, Anne and I went out for dinner to a stick place down a street I had no idea exisited, well why should I really... it's a vibrant wee street right next to where she lives. In the resturant almost everything you order comes on a stick and is cooked on a big grill, it's called Yakitori, Yaki being BBQ and tori being chicken... I think thats right. Anne is so good at reading japanese, she ordered all these lovely things for us with no problem at all, I had no idea what was coming but I trusted her not to order any kind of live octopus, which is available in some places although knowing what yakitori now means it was unlikely we were going to get octopus cleverly disguised at chicken, no intestines either.... I know she's been here for 6 years but it's like hieroglyphics to me, we had mushroom, asparagus with bacon, chicken, chicken with leek, minced chicken, chicken wings, pickled cabbage (not on a stick) and a bowl of cucumber with a red miso dip which was soooo tasty (also not on a stick). They have a picture of a chicken in there and you can basically point to the bit you want if you get stuck, not sure what the dot next to it's bum hole is all about though... maybe it's for egg? We then went to the smallest bar in Tokyo, standing room only more cos they don't have any seats than anything else, it was packed out though, it can't have been much bigger than maybe 2 x 4 metres?. We had a bottle of champagne. A woman, or should I say a mad woman, came along and sat outside to talk to a big bucket of terrapins, which in itself is a bit mad I suppose, they were just there at the side of the road, when we arrived there was a man feeding them bits of fish bodies. I went over and asked her if they'd like some of my champagne to which she cackled very loud and rocked back and forth on her seat.... The loo in the bar was the dreaded local loo for local people... I near fell backwards trying to balance on the elevated tiles while concentrating on weeing without hitting my clean troosers, I just managed to grab the metal bar infront of me before doing another 'rocky' move like I did many moons ago in the west linton bowling club roof while putting clips on the cables (mind that Dad?) anyway, I didn't make a mess, so proud of myself which I'm sure you all are too. On the way home we stopped off at the Family Mart for a bottle of hangover cure which tastes a bit like day old hubba bubba that you've left on the window sill after chewing if for ages to see if the flavour would come back, come on now, we've all done that... mixed with red bull, does the trick though. We also got some green tea flavoured rice sweetie things that tasted good but felt like testicles, apparently... it's called Moshi, you can get it in all different shapes, colours, sizes and flavours, hot or cold, they don't all feel the same though if you get what I mean. Some say that old people sometimes choke to death eating it cos it's so sticky but I haven't heard of any cases of that while I've been here.
It's really cool you're all enjoying my ramblings even if sometimes it's in no order and there's not much real information about where I am, I'm enjoying writing it all down, thanks for reading!!
I'm getting good at hurdling by the way, Anne and Hiro have a baby gate over the entrance to the kitchen so the munchkin can't get in, it's pretty high and difficult to get over for me, imagine how it is for Annie... I don't run at it though so I don't think there's any chance of me entering the olympics...
LeeAnne, one of my pens has died already so you can imagine the size of my journal, think yourself lucky I'm not putting it all in here!! now where was I... Went out with Anne to Roppongi Hills on my last saturday night in Japan, almost fell over on a moving floor, bought more Wonka bars and was attacked by a small dog.... The dinner in Roppongi Hills was very posh, we had a fantastic meal in a place called Xen, it was gorgeous, the music was brilliant too all motown and funky, nothing like a bit of stevie wonder when you're munching into sashimi, we then went to another bar that had a jazz band on and got into the cosmopolitans then headed to a smaller bar called heartlands where lots of westerners hang out, was weird, I found myself staring at them lol, they all look the same... then we went to karaoke, it was class. The place was called LoveNet, we hired a room called Kiss, it was all love hearts and cushions. You can hire a room with a pool init if you want, all rooms are themed and different sizes, we sang our little hearts out (I even have video, which won't be posted) then went to denny's for chips and home again, great night!! the next day Anne went to work for a bit so Hiro and Christina took me to a new near by sushi place, it was lush!! When you walk into resturants all the staff shout welcome at you, I love it!! I may have mentioned that before... I'm going back this week for their 600 yen lunch special. Talking about fish, I went to the famous Tsukiji Fish Market. It was massive, I got up at 5am especially. They have soooo many fish and octopus and shellfish in there and men driving about on things that I can only describe as oil drums with a wooden flatbed thing on the back. I expect they have a scooter engine in them, whatever they are, they go fast and as tourists aren't really meant to be in there you have to be careful not to get run over, chucked in a bucket of ice and sold to the highest bidder, I hear we taste like spam... Anyway there were loads of tourists in there snapping away with their cameras just like me. As I said, it was amazing, I got a few photos and walked about in awe at everyone working so hard chopping and lugging and shouting and smoking over the dead fish, I don't even know what some of them were. I went by some prawns and one jumped up trying to escape from the overcrowded box it was in, the man at the stall caught me laughing and picked it up and offered it to me, having no where to put it except perhaps on my shoulder as a wee pet I smiled and said no ta, feel guilty now as I could have saved it's life. My soup yesterday had 2 prawn heads floating in it just as a reminder of the life I could have saved. I also saw the eye of a big fish twitching and loads of big fat yellow fin tuna, how they get them in the tins I'll never know.... They need a lot of ice in the fish market as you can imagine, I didn't really think about it till I saw how they got it. At the side of one of the entrances there's a bloke sat watching the TV and waiting for men to come up to him with trays on the back of the motorised oil drums. He has massive cubes of ice which he puts on a conveyor belt which then get dropped into a massive crusher and the crushed ice then shoots out and into the waiting trays, it's great, would be very handy for cocktail night!! I left there and went for a sushi breakfast, it was about 7am by this point and I was hungry. You can go in the expensive places just outside the market but the cheaper ones are just as good. The one I went into had a few people in, one customer took about a million photos of a guy making nigiri then an American Family came in, bless them I don't think they were really up for the sushi, the husband was and he tried his best to get his moaning wife to eat some. His daughter tried but bless her she ran outside holding her mouth like she was going to be sick apparently this was cos of the seaweed, they left shortly after that...
We were supposed to be going to a hot spring bath place but couldn't go as the thought of being kicked out would have been embarassing for all. Tattoos again... you have to be completly starkers you see and they think of people with tattoos as being a bit dodgy, liking pain, yakuza and all that, shame but I can do it in another country... Boooo Went back to the electrical mecca and got a storage device for my photos and a cable for my camera, sooo cheap. Some of the stuff in there is just wicked like I said before, you could spend a fortune in there!!
We had a massive storm in my last week, thunder and lightening that would have scared the biggest and scariest dogs, I thought the windows were going to cave in, Anne said she's never heard anything like it!! Oh, I'll tell you about the dog attack, talking about dogs again, well, I was sat by the water minding my own business munching on corn chips and listening to Kings of Leon when all of a sudden a woman comes running up to me half screaming with her arms out, I pulled my ear phones out only to see a minature version of lassie practically jumping into my lap, I know that reads like I pulled the earphones out of my eyes but you know what I mean. At first I thought Billy had fallen down a mine shaft but no, the dog was just after my lightly salted but highly addictive crisps. The woman was very apologetic and went off down the road with the dog on a lead and a smaller fluffy dog in a pram... phew That was the same day I nearly fell over. I was walking home and got to the tunnel with the moving floor in it. Having no problems with it before I didn't think to take extra care or anything but I'm sure it was faster than it had been in the morning... I got on ok but as I sauntered along I looked to my right and for some reason tripped over my foot which made the bag I was carrying smack off my legs into the wall of the moving floor which made me give off a wee yelp which I'm sure everyone heard as I grabbed the moving bannister and righted myself before complete humiliation occurred. I laughed all the way home, still makes me smile writing it down now.
Ginza is a great place, they have expensive clothes shops, cheaper shops, tons of food shops and lots of arcades, I decided to go there and torchure myself by trying on clothes I knew wouldn't fit as I need a pair of linen kecks as the arse has nearly fallen out of the ones I have with me, typical, I've had them for about 4 years and now they give up on me 1 month in...so I went into H&M to try them for size. Not bad but didn't buy anything, even tried on a pair of shit catchers (you may know them as hareem pants) I did it for a laugh and laugh I did!! respect to anyone that can get away with them!! Think I'm just going to wait and get something in Thailand if I really need them.
You know people that stand on the pavement and try to give you leaflets advertising stuff? well here they give you packets of tissues with the leaflet inside, ingenious, I have many packets now, 3 for the same store as I went up and down the street last week not knowing where I was going and instead of ignoring the bloke, I kept taking the tissues... great idea though eh?
There's been 23 earthquakes since I've been here but I've only felt one, it was 4.9 on the wobble board... cool, the mirror moved and everything. I didn't really notice to be honest, I felt a bit strange but I thought that was just me... Anne said Ooo earthquake so I got up from the sofa and walked over to her (faking stumbling sideways of course) to see the mirror moving, it was pretty mad. We looked it up and discovered there had actually been 22 other ones this month including one that very morning lol!! Anne told me a scary story about Tokyo and earthquakes but I'm not going to tell you, it's too scary.
Well, I guess my time in Japan is all but over now, I've just got in with Anne after the most amazing meal ever!! followed by some serious karaoke. The resturant was teppanyaki which is food cooked on a hot plate as in metal, not a china one. We had lotus root, asparagus, mushrooms, sesame tofu which was utterly amazing, duck, chicken, and beef that melted in the mouth, Okonomiyaki which is like a big cabbage pancake mixed with shrimp and pork and topped off with seaweed and bonito flakes (dried fish) and an array of desserts like orange jelly, salted ice-cream which was weird but nice and the best baked blueberry cheesecake in the whole world, it was ace!!! Japan has been fabulous, I love the place and everything it has to offer. It's fun, beautiful, steeped in history, clean, organised, has 80,000 resturants in Tokyo alone and above all, Anne and Hiro have been fantastic. They've managed to put me up/put up with me for almost a whole month, I bet they'll be glad to get their house back to themselves when I leave hehe Thanks to them I've had an amazing time and will definately come back another day I'm going to miss wee furniture moving Christina Mai and her demanding mentalist ways, she truely is a baby that knows what she wants, she's ace and totally gorgeous, I love her to bits. She's changed so much in the month I've been here and I can't wait to see her, Anne and Hiro again next year whether in Japan or bonny Scotland. Thank you so much for everything xx
Anne bought me some 'Hello Kitty' going away gifts which are brilliant!! I love them!! I have a new sparkly charm, I was eyeing it up before without her knowledge and Anne's gone and bought me it, you see great minds think alike. she also gave me a cloth to dab my glowing brow (girls don't sweat) and a compact with comb to make sure I don't have a hair out of place when travelling (or to enable me to squeeze the odd plook or two on my travels when I've run out of books to read...) Thanks again Annie, love you loads xxxx
next stop Singapore......