Monday, June 12, 2006

Ginza and Tsujiki

i am
hungry and dinner is waiting, but nihon no tomo is sleeping :( that's why i am blogging again.
only one size is allowed in japan - M.

if you are bigger than M, daijibu desu yo
, you can just buy slimming products. there are many many in japan. if you are smaller, i don't know what you can do. the shops don't seem to stock any other sizes at all. so if you are of the wrong size, it's really just TOO BAD.

besides, there simply isn't enough space for people to grow fat, really. nihon no tomo' s toilet is so small that if i were to put on weight, i can't even turn myself around in the space! Tokyo is just too crowded.

i finally found a bank to cash my travellers cheque. the service there took very very long, though there was no queue. but they served us tea and sweets, gave me a very pretty floral envelop to put my money in, and bowed us out with a flurry of farewells. so, you leave feeling pretty good anyway :)

Tsukuji fish market is really interesting. i had the biggest, fattest and yummiest scallop i have ever tasted in my life. on the other hand, sea urchin tastes like raw crab roe :P

with my pathetic map reading skills, i somehow navigated to Ginza anyway. i bought a really really pretty bag in Ginza, shopping belt for the rich. very pleased :) by then the money from my cheque is all blown, so, the only place left to go is...home. its time to assess my loot and damage :P

tomorrow, nihon no tomo and i have to commit a crime - we are going to have to throw away our rubbish secretly, cos i generated just too much rubbish in these few days, and it costs too much to throw away so much rubbish. never ever complain in singapore again.

Harajuku, shibuya

Anime meets Gothic!

Despite my poverty stricken state, i still went to Harajuku. after all, it's what i came to japan for! (apart from seeing nihon no tomo) it was really as weird and wonderful as i thought. young people dressed up as anime characters, adams family, samurai, whatever. i took some pictures of them, but actually, they were so intimating that i hardly dare to ask them for permission.

wandering in omotesando hills makes me wonder where all the rich people come from. i am only a poor kyoshi! the things were so expensive that nihon no tomo and i could only stand and gawk at people making elaborate desserts, and wonder how much that would cost. saw a miniature eiffel tower made of chocolate!

after shibuya, we were so tired that we could barely drag ourselves home. i think it was fighting the shopping crowd in harajuku that really killed us. i insisted on cooking dinner at home, so, instead of resting when we got back, we started washing rice, chopping onions, frying fish. i learnt to make miso was a very late dinner. too wilful of me :P poor nihon no tomo :P

after days of research here, i have compiled a list of fashion tips for guys back home. who says that guys don't have to dress up? this is how you can look jap-idol cool:

1. get a koizumi haircut - long and flowing
2. wear funky glasses - thick and colourful rims
3. always wear more than one shirt - dress in layers
4. wear hats/ caps
5. eat more mcDonalds so that you can grow taller :P

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Matsuda and Machida

All trainlines lead to Shinjuku

minasan, ohayo gozaimasu

nihon no tomo made me go to the english lesson for japanese, at the english centre. it was interesting, i must say. the lesson was energetic and the students were most attentive. i enjoyed myself, until the chapel time, which was in japanese. i was bored to tears. it was impossible to pretend to be interested when i don't understand a single word. everyone was nodding at me encouragingly, and i could only smile weakly and wonder when it would all end.

and that is why, it's sunday, and i am here blogging, instead of going to church :P can i imagine myself in the same position, a missionary alone in Nippon?well, i can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

cultural rules can be so unpredictable, it's impossible not to do anything wrong. for example, you shouldn't:

1. cross your legs on the trains
2. eat or drink while walking
3. wear sleeveless clothes until everyone agrees that it is summer

i did all of the above :P but since i am gaikoku jin, i just have to ignore all the disapproving or curious looks.

i spent all my yen already and it's only the third day. tried to cash my travellers cheque, but guess what, mine was in sterling pounds, and here they take only american dollar cheques. this shows that UK is no longer a great world power :P sigh! living off the generosity of nihon no tomo now. hopefully banks in Ginza are more international. help! i still want to shop in harajuku later.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Not Lost

Not Lost

it was raaaaining the whoooole day! :(

i wanted to go to Asakusa, but nearly went to Akasaka instead - see the difference? my dear nihon no tomo gave me such long instructions that i forgot the most important information. it must have been my guardian angels again, cos somehow, i managed to wend my way through the maze of train lines and finally reached Asakusa anyway. actually, i am impressed by myself. i have to say here on the record that i didn't lost my way at all today, and the japanese train/densha/subway system is MORE complicated that London's subway.

i wandered around the quaint little lanes in Asakusa and it was raining. i went into a little shop for lunch, came out, and it was still raining. i was the ONLY customer in the little ramen shop, and nobody, nobody talked at all when i was there. it was a most uncomfortable situation. i didn't linger.

then i went to Ueno, and explored the park and surrounding area. i paid ¥420 to enter the museum, not cos i am interested, but just to get out of the rain. i am sorry to say that the museum was awfully boring and unimaginative. but i liked Ameyoko cos its lively and bustling. interesting to see people hawking seafood that is so fresh that it is almost alive.

singaporeans shouldn't complain. nihon no tomo's flat has bedrooms that are the size of storerooms. and the trains...even if i don't hold on to anything while standing, i can't fall down cos there is no space. i emerged feeling crushed and weak. so, if you think you know what rush hour is...

Japan morning

ohayo! it is a cool and rainy morning in tokyo. my breakfast is waiting for me, and i am blogging instead ;P

nihon no tomo explained the very complex japanese transport to me. i sure hope that i would be able to navigate my way around. there are so many kinds of trains! and everything is in kanji...

as expected, i take ages to say anything is japanese, and so, i am thoroughly intimidated, even though everyone has been very sympathetic and kind. i got unto the wrong coach, and they were trying to explain to me, and all i could say was, 'i dont understand!'

anyway, everything from the airport to the coach runs like a clockwork. i am truly impressed.

now, i am going off to explore the Asakusa.