Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Tokyo Continuned....

If you have never heard of this gaijin strip of Tokyo then am not sure how to describe it to you. Roppongi is a neighbourhood in Tokyo unlike anything I have ever seen to date. It is the nightclub district, the gaijin (foreigner) hangout with a little bit of Las Vegas and Time Square mixed into the typical Tokyo landscape. Neon lights, hundreds of people on the streets, hostest bars, club promoters pulling you into their establishments, restaurants and bars packed on top of each other in ten story buildings, drag queens, starbucks, McDonald's, Wendy's, KFC, and Lush, are all the things that make up Roppongi.
After walking around and having the most disappointing pizza ever (a story too pitiful to tell), Mhairi and I went into a Sheesha bar on the 7th floor of some building on the main drag. And yes, I choose the bar whose promoter on the street had been the first person to call me beautiful. Flattery goes a long way, and he was pretty beautiful himself. Mhairi and I were good girls, and after a few drinks and refraining from ordering sheesha, we caught the last train (11:55pm) back to our hotel. It was a lot of fun and we were sorry to leave, but taxies are WAY too expensive here and we were not up for dancing the night into the morning, although I am sure that those nights will be in our future. The next morning I caught a train back to Ota for I had to work in the afternoon.
Mhairi and I also walked around the extensive border of the Imperial Palace, pictures of which are below. And although we did view an apartment we choose not to take it as it is too expensive. Our apartment hunt will continue.
The train schedules and route maps which we received on our cell phones are invaluable in Tokyo.

Night Out in Tokyo

Imperial Palace

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Tokyo Part 2

So I got the job. I will be working for a company called JP something... Anyway I am working in nursery schools around Tokyo. I teach for max 4 hours each day but get paid for 8 cause of travelling time! I teach at one school in the morning and another in the afternoon all around Tokyo. The pay is good. I have two months probation during which I make about $2,500 a month and then it will go up to $2,700. Not crazy amounts of money but not bad. It is more then I make now with Nova but then again I am not living in Tokyo so my living expenses are not so high. Tomorrow Mhairi is meeting me and we are looking for apartments.
I am of course so happy just to be in Tokyo. This city lifts my spirits like crazy! As soon as the train starting pulling in I got excited like a little kid.
I am chilling at my hotel right now and I dont know what I will do tonight.
We shall see....
Oh and ash, I saw some pics from the white trash party.... looking good. lol
Later dudes

Last Tuesday

Last tuesday I went out with one of my new Japanese friends. Chiaki helped me get my cell phone and then we went to eat and then went to this crazy flower garden which the government had opened to the public to pick flowers for four days last week.
She is so cool. We had so much fun together. I am really going to miss her when I move to Tokyo but I hope she will come and visit. She better anyway.
Anyway here are some pics from that day.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Rain rain go away....

I am currently at an internet cafe here in Ota as I am trying to get directions to a job interview tomorrow which i will need to print off. Utorid seems to be havign problems with its connection or this computer is so I havent been able to get into my email and I am rather angry. It doesnt help that it is rainy like crazy outside and has been all day. The rain did provide an upside as Mhairi and I had an excuse to watch P&P all day...it was lovely.
But now my mood is not so great.... grrr stupid computers!
The internet cafes here are not that cheap and I dont want to spend the money to be here. THe free drinks, fries, and salad are a small plus.
Yes so I delayed my trip to Tokyo until tomorrow as it was raining and I couldnt see the point in spending the day walking around Tokyo in the rain.
I am doing my best not to think about home or halloween too much. I think both Mhairi and I are reaching the point of becoming homesick. We knew this would happen eventually. I am hoping the approaching move to Tokyo will busy us so that we arnt overtaken by it.
Theo is going to be Bell ( from beauty and the beast) and Piper is going to be a Piriate for Halloween. This is the first time in their memory that I havent been with them for halloween and I cant say it doesnt make me feel horribly depressed to be missing out on it. I miss them and all my little neices and nephew very very much.
Well i better check to see if i can get through to my email.

Monday, October 23, 2006

My birthday came early!

Well it looks like my birthday came early this year! This morning I received a package from my parents with such wonderful presents!!! The complete A&E P&P was too much mom!!! thank you soo much!!! And to get the books! And the mags! Oh i cant wait to read the article about the religious right taking over Harpers government! FABULOUS! And to get my old housecoat that smells like the dryer!!! And the new pjs. Ahhh happy day!
Thank you , Thank you, Thank you!!!
I am bubbling with happiness. Sorry dad, no signs of the plague.
I am off to Tokyo tomorrow.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Well I finally got to Tokyo! Ani and I went last Tuesday and stayed the night in a hostel. We were apartment shopping for Ani and Nina. They found a place in a really amazing area, so they are both excited to move. Well what can I tell you about Tokyo? Basically, it is AMAZING!!! I cant tell you how wonderful it felt to be in a big city, to ride on a subway, to be around lots of people and shops. We could not have asked for a better day, it was sunny and really warm, probably around 26-28 degrees. Ani and I left early in the morning from Ota and we went first to see an apartment at the top of the city, the Komagome station on the Nambuko line (for those of you who are following this on the Tokyo subway map). Here we made an amazing discover....TOKYO DOME CITY!! (http://www.tokyo-dome.co.jp/e/) It is amazing. I cant even describe, it will not do it justice. It is kinda like a theme park, shopping center, restaurant court yard, and athletic center all in one. All in all it is fabulous!
The apartment we looked at was however, not so amazing. We then walked down from Komagome station to Shinjuku which is a major hub of Tokyo for foreigners and locals. The walk took about three hours, the city is huge of course, but it was sooo nice! It just felt amazing to walk the city. The Japanese are not big walkers so everyone we met along our way in our inquires as to our direction, were very surprised to learn we were intent on walking that far.
We finally arrived at Shinjuku and it did not disappoint! There were so many people, so many shops, there were fabulous little alleyways that I longed to explore with tones of shops and people. It felt like a festival was going on and this was just a normal Tuesday! I was so happy I was walking around with the biggest smile on my face. I am sure I looked so stupid but I didnt care, I was in Tokyo, one of the largest and most fabulous cities in the world and nothing could bring me down from that high. Ani and I just walked around in awe of the neighbourhood which didnt seem to end. We went to the next apartment which is not far from Shinjuku and Ani loved it so that is where Ani and Nina are going to live. It is a three bedroom, and the third room is occupied by a guy our age who is studying here in Tokyo. The apartment is not large, as you can imagine but it is nice and their rooms are a good size.
When Ani and I left that apartment it was late and as we walked towards the subway we were stopped by a man who apparently owns a crame school and was looking for teachers. So at 9pm we had an hour (or longer) interview at this man's school which was close by. The pay is not what I want and I dont think he can offer full time but he was certainly impressed with us. Unfortunately we were not so impressed with the job but it was still a very random and totally crazy experience.
So after that we made it to our hostel and were, as you could expect, completely exhausted. It this time I had been slowly coming down with a cold which when I woke up it was the cold from hell. Ani went off to sign her contract with the school she will be working for and I had to return to Ota and to my bed. I have sent the last few days rather ill and I had to miss a day of work, so that is my excuse for having such a delayed post. I am on the mend but still not fully better. This illness has not spared me of my cold sore curse. So I am also fighting that. Pretty picture isn't it? Wouldn't you like to have a one on one lesson and your teacher have a big gross sore under there nose. I am controlling it with tea tree oil but it is still ugly.
Mhairi and I are still applying to jobs in Tokyo and are apartment shopping.
Work is of course busy. Eight lessons a day, a 40min break, 10mins between classes to prep for the next... the days pass quickly.
I have finished reading The Secret Life and Many Sorrows of Josephine Bonaparte. It was great, I recommend it. And now I am on the homestretch of Pride and Prejudice. Last night I read from the time I got home (8pm) to after midnight without evening noticing the time going by. I of course had to read Mr. Darcy's proposal out loud to myself and then I had to read their meeting at Pemberly twice. There is such a misfortune to my being ill!
Well that is it for me now.
p.s. I cant seem to upload pics at this time, I will do it later.

Monday, October 09, 2006

First Thanksgiving Away from Home/Cottage

Well it is Thanksgiving in Canada and the few Canadians now currently living in the Ota area got together for a thanksgiving dinner and some fabulous Karaoke. After a busy day at work (the weekends are always busy at Nova) I came home to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner for Ani, Nina, Mhairi and our other Canadian friend who lives in Kiriu a short distance away. For those of you who know how much I love cooking you wont be surprised to read this....and yes I will go into detail thank you very much! I made chicken breasts stuffed with baked squash (seasoned with cinnamon and maple syrup), creamed corn and mashed potatoes. That was fabulous if I do say so myself and was very filling but that wasn't all... Oh no I also made baked apples with maple syrup and cinnamon, and crepes with nutella, raspberries and banana slices. Yeah it was pretty great. The best part for me was that I made it with a very limited kitchen.... a toaster oven, a gas rang and limited utensils. As we did not have enough forks and knives for five I ate with chopsticks. Oh I must give Mhairi credit for the crepes, she did a wonderful job with them and we had a great time making them. I think we ruined as many as we ended up with but all turned out in the end, however the stress of it all did make for a great deal of laughs, a few moments when tears could have appeared, and many moments when Mhairi would have been justified in "drop-kicking" me. ( Yes my dear roommate has something like 11 years of self defense training and other crazy ways of causing bodily harm, but I remain unbruised. Yes she has patience, I know. I am still waiting to find her braking point...hehe). So dinner was a success and we all heading out to the Karaoke bar across the street for some beer and for some fabulously horrible singing. Total Eclipse of the Heart was sung...no worries there. Myself and a few others are in terrible pain from the meal though. Our stomachs are not the size they used to be after a month in Japan but our eyes were as hungry as ever.....The combination has resulted in many groans, unbuttoning of paints, and general feelings of discomfort and pain which can follow a large feast.
Happy Thanksgiving all.
p.s. While working at starbucks, I once described a chai latte as a warm hug with a hint of cinnamon. Today I treated myself to a Chai latte from starbucks. I cant afford such drinks but hey man, it is thanksgiving and I am in Ota, I needed my warm hug with a hint of cinnamon! Mother of God, it was good!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Shido Palace....oue fabulous apt building!
First day of training, I hate this pic but it is the only one I have.

Introdution to The Travels of the Tattooed Map

Hello all,
Well I am here in Japan. Ota-shi, Gunma-Ken Japan to be exact. Ota is a good sized industrial town about 2 hours north of Tokyo. Although Ota's population is not small there is very little to do here. To tell the truth the four of us are kind of going insane here. By the four of us I mean my dear friends Ani and Nina who came here with me from Toronto, and my roommate and new fabulous friend Mhairi who is from Scotland. Mhairi is pronounced Var-ri by the way....it only took me like a full week to learn to say it correctly. We are here working for Nova, an English conversation school. That's right, we are among the thousands who come to Japan to teach English, make some money and hopefully have a fabulous time in the process. So teaching and making money we have checked off in our three weeks here...the fabulous time we are still working on. Don't get me wrong. We are having fun with each other and our general boredom, but we aren't exactly doing anything exciting to report home about. I teach 5 days a week and each day I teach eight 40min classes. I generally teach from 1:20pm to 9pm, I arrive at work at 12:20 however so that I can plan my lessons. So yes I am working hard here. Teaching is an experience and I have nothing negative to say about my classes, my students or the company, the city is another matter. I am sorry to those who have been waiting for this that it has taken me so long. I have no excuse. I will be posting updates on my life here, so keep checking if you are interested. I am using this blog system instead of mass emails. Cheers.

Three Weeks

Well its been three weeks, and according to my father my deadline has past and I have to return home. ahhh my sweet papa.

Of course I am not returning home but I will be leaving Ota. Ani, Nina, Mhairi and I are currently looking for work in Tokyo and I hope to move there by December.