Home!

Aug. 16th, 2007 12:12 pm
diamondlife: (Natural - citrusdesigns)
I made it back OK! Got back to the UK about 5.30, had to wait quite a while for bags to be unloaded but I used the time to call my mum, got met by [livejournal.com profile] davechan, spent some time going up and down in a lift we didn't even need to go in before getting on a tube train that only went about 6 stops, changed to one that went all the way to St Pancras, drank some hot chocolate (it's impossible to get real hot chocolate in Japan! @_@ 飲みたかった!) and slept on the train. Got back to the house just before 11pm - ie, 7am Japan time! e_e Was reunited with all housemates except the one who's in Iceland, then luckily fell over about midnight and slept for a good 9 hours, so hopefully should be able to get right back on schedule, without going into a weird personal timezone like I did when I came back from America! XD

I have a letter from the uni saying my course starts on the 26th of September, so now I've got plenty of time to relax and get stuff sorted out and reacclimatise! Sooooo much stuff to do. @_@ Probably won't take me too long to do any of it, but yeah, it's a long and very random list!

Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who's kept reading my adventures while I've been away and left me lovely encouraging comments - there were times when it was tough, and I've really really appreciated everyone's kind thoughts and good wishes and responses! ♥♥♥♥♥♥ Thank you also to all the great people I met while I was over there - pretty much everyone in Western-Japanese K8 fandom, haha, and you were all wonderful, thank you all for all your help! I look forward to seeing you all again some time! ^_~

Wah, I had so much fun I can't begin to explain it in words! XD It's probably the most worthwhile thing I've ever done (which I probably said when I came back from America too, haha), and though of course there were difficult times, I got through them! The real factor that would've made it even better would've been knowing a lot more Japanese, so that's the next project. ;) Haha, I never wanna work again, I just wanna go off having adventures all the time! XD I could do like the fangirl's guide to Japan or something, haha.

I'm a lucky person, in very random ways - I'm very fortunate to have the financial backing to have been able to do all this stuff, and, for that matter, to just do my MA; I'm lucky I'm able to indulge myself this way, pursuing what I want. Haha, I put so much effort into enjoying myself, far more than I'm really willing to put into working! I'm a person who never gives up hope when it comes to things I want, I hate having to give up on something if there's even the most remote chance I could get it. Which I guess is a good thing, cos otherwise I sure as heck wouldn't have ended up seeing K8 three times, or, even, being in Japan at all!

Thank you again to everyone for all your support! ILUSM2U! ☆ Now I'm going to have a shower and eat a hot pork sandwich with apple sauce, and start my enormous scanning project. :D
diamondlife: (The Detective - saihara)
It's going to be 5.30am Japan time by the time I get home. *shudder* But when I get off the plane it'll only be 1.30, so I might not be able to sleep on the plane. ;_; Oh well, at least it'll be sensible sleep time when I get back to Sheffield... ^^' but I'll probably be snappy and maungy. So apologies in advance! #^^#

I still have to pick up some pressies at the airport and take the hired phone back (which I was meant to do four days ago... oops). There's a shuttle bus from the hotel to the airport but it gets there exactly 2 hours before my flight... Oh well, cutting it tight is my area of expertise! XD

So much to do when I get home! @_@ Including probably two solid weeks scanning things. Then, uh, sorting out my MA. ^^' Man, that's going to be a bit of an anti-climax now. XD

Talk to you all when I get back! ♥
diamondlife: (Together - kit_rin)
In about 27 hours, I'll be back in the UK. ;_; I'm sad! There are a lot of things I'm going to miss:

- TV!! Even aside from the dramas I've been watching and MuchaBuri and so on, I love just having the TV on and there being some silly show with comedians in silver jumpsuits chasing each other round a field. I almost always know who *someone* is in any given show, and I've transcended the "WTF" factor into sheer appreciation.
- The wider media. Of course, I really appreciate the magazines and adverts you see everywhere - there's always some fun snippet somewhere!
- The biggest thing I'm going to miss, though, is the safety of everything here. The fact that you can leave your bag while you go to get a drink and it'll still be there when you get back. That's the thing that could convince me to stay in Japan a lot longer than I have this time.
- BL in the supermarket. XD
- I also love the food safety here. I completely trust everywhere I've eaten! Even slightly-dingy looking curry houses. I've never feared for my safety, which I do all the time at home. I really got into raw fish on nigiri here, but back home, I won't be so certain.
- Food in general. Zaru soba! Men's Pocky! Tempura! Yakiniku! Yakisoba! Gyudon! Unagi! BAKERIES!! Oh, the sweeeeet, sweet bread. :9 :9 :9 Those little chocolate donuts. I need to buy tonkatsu sauce. And eat a croquette. That's what I really want to eat before I leave. XD

There's one or two things I'm not going to miss, though:

- While customer service here is almost invariably excellent, random people can be incredibly rude without even seemingly knowing their behaviour is inappropriate. People will push in in front of you without even looking, and I rather suspect that it's being a foreigner that makes people do that, because the people who do it are almost always middle-aged or older, and if happens more often out of the cities. It just makes me laugh, really, because it's not an incredible inconvenience to me - it's just amusingly ignorant. I know there are ignorant people everywhere (especially elderly people who think they've a right to be rude just because they're old), but it's a surprise in a country where customer service people are so incredibly polite.
- People staring. Well, people do sometimes stare at me at home, because I do sometimes dress flamboyently and, for that matter, I'm quite tall and gangly and not especially attractive, so I often feel like people are staring in some weird fascination, or out and out mockery, back home. But here... it's more like being the local curiosity. XD I stand out because of my height even more here - once, even in Osaka, I got in a lift and one guy was all "...Bikkuri!" out loud. He even said something to me, though he wasn't being rude! When I first got here I found it refreshing to not think I was being seen as ugly, because I look so Western that I'm just different, not to be judged on the same criteria. But the only attention I've got has been, yeah, the stary kind. I don't quite know what to make of it! Oh well, at least here I seem like I have *some* chest at all. XD
- The extortionate price, and somewhat limited availability, of fruit and veg is also a kicker. x_o Restaurant food here is soooo cheap, but I like a nice bit of fruit to snack on and I don't appreciate paying 50p for one orange. o.O And you don't really get vegetables in meals here, so I'm looking forward to eating some when I get home. Haha, how sad am I? XD

Incidentally, I've also missed listening to the radio. I ♥ the BBC! ...In answer to my previous question, *very* sad. XD

Overall, I've had the greatest time here! I'm so pleased, because when I got here I was very homesick and thought I wasn't going to make it; it took me a while to get to grips with it. But I've seen so many awesome places and done such cool stuff and bought such awesome junk I feel like I've really had a fulfilling time. I've picked potatoes in Hyogo, made miso soup in Nikko, watched JaniBen in a monastery, had shiatsu in Abashiri, been to a Buddhist ceremony, seen numerous Shinto weddings, eaten gold in Kanazawa, been on a pirate ship in Hakone, been in an onsen in Kyushu (and Nikko), been 10 feet away from my heroes in life (hahaha)... I think I've covered all bases!

But I was worried after I'd been here a little while that by the time I left I'd've "done" Japan, and there'd be no reason for me to come back, after wanting to come for so long. But that's definitely not the case. I mean, Koya-san won't change, and Hiroshima won't change, but it would be nice to come in spring or autumn and see the different colours, and, to be honest, I'd just love to come back and enjoy being here again.

I'm already planning my next trip. And now, I'm going to watch the last ep of MuchaBuri I can live.
diamondlife: (Drive my car - younie)
Yesterday was another scorcher! o.o We went to another of the famous temples, Ginkakuji, which again had a nice pond in nice, leafy surroundings - good for strolling around, but not very temple-y, really! Then we proceeded along the Philosophers' Path (I felt right at home there! Ha, yeah right XD) to Heian Jingu and its lovely garden, which was actually pretty peaceful after the herds at Ginkakuji. Heian Jingu is fairly elaborate as shrines go, it:s sort of Chinese-style, but I thought it was very beautiful, and the gardens were expansive and picturesque too.

Then we went to the Kyoto Handicraft Centre - 7 floors of yukata, kimono, woodblock prints and some less classy tat too. XD I picked up a few pressies for people. :3 There:s still a few people I need to buy for - I:ve already jettisoned my shoes and my jeans, but I:ve not got a lot of space left for cramming stuff into the suitcase! ^^;; I guess some people will have to make do with stuff from the airport. Possibly that comes in bottles. ^_~

In the evening we went for a stroll in the old entertainment district, Pontocho, and along the canal. It:s as loud and boisterous as a night out in a British city, but somehow so much less intimidating! (That:s a big part of what I:m not looking forward to about going home - the scary packs of people you get around town, day and night. x_o) We went to a great okonomiyaki place (which was pretty busy and loud, but yeah, not nearly so annoying as back home!) that had lots of choice and an English menu. :9 I still need to go to a supermarket or something and buy tonkatsu sauce and aonori to take home! Tonkatsu sauce is, like, my favourite thing ever. ^^;;

So, my overall impressions of Kyoto? Well, like [livejournal.com profile] solaas said, it both lives up to expectation and doesn:t. I:ve seen better temples in pretty much every city I:ve been to - we didn:t see them all, or even all of the most famous ones, but the ones I did see weren:t nearly as good as temples I:ve seen in Koyasan, Kamakura, Nara or even Osaka! I didn:t really get a sense of history in Kyoto, for all its ancient-capital status.

However, as a city, I really liked it. Even though of course it:s heaving with tourists, the parts we explored didn:t feel nearly as tacky as I:d expect, and the modern city was smart and vibrant and pleasant to be in. It:s also frickin: huge. XD It:s definitely somewhere I:d revisit, because there were so many other places we didn:t get a chance to cover, but it:s not at all what I expected.

And now we:re back in Tokyo. ;_; Only two more days left in Japan! I:m so going to cry when I leave. XD
diamondlife: (Kyoto lady - woolpepper)
Today, as [livejournal.com profile] giving_ground and [livejournal.com profile] solaas were going to Hiroshima, I decided to check out a few of the temples in Kyoto, as they're so spread out we won't have time to cover them all in the time we have left.

So I went up to Kinkakuji, the famous golden pavilion. Yup, it sure is golden. That's about it. ^^' Unless was missing something very vital, there wasn't much else to it, apart from a pleasant stroll through some trees.

So that took, like, 20 minutes. Then I went on to Ryoanji, with its also-famous zen garden. The zen garden, as all zen gardens are, is a series of rocks arranged in some neatly raked white pebbles. Very nice, but I was expecting something more... expansive. The garden is all enclosed by walls and quite small - very zen I'm sure, but not as inspiring as I thought it'd be.

So I got on another bus, and went down to Daitokji, a temple complex not far away, again famous for its zen gardens. Similar story here - the gardens, though exquisitely maintained, were small and, to one not schooled in the zen arts, not as captivating as the more elaborate temples with more, well, shiny stuff and treasures. So while I'm glad I saw the zen gardens, I wouldn't necessarily call them unmissable.

Then I got on yet another bus (spent a fortune on bus fares today, because I didn't know where to get an all-day pass from) and went to find a tea shop I read about. I found it after only one false start, and had some... interesting tea I'd never tried before - not sure I was entirely keen, but you only have to drink 3 tiny cups of it. XD You have to cool the water to 60 degrees, so you have to keep pouring it from cup to cup till it's cool enough to put on the leaves. It was fun! I bought a couple of varieties, cos I think I'll have another tea party for my birthday this year, but a Japanese style one. A めっちゃ抹茶 party. Except I didn't buy matcha, cos I don't like it that much. ^^' (I hope people in my house like hojicha, cos I have a feeling I now have two lots of it. ^^' I should've splashed out and bought the more expensive sencha with the prettier name!) They gave me a sample of a very sweet powdered ice green tea, which I've forgotten the name of, but that was pretty good. :9 Maybe I'll get a chance to go in a different shop tomorrow...

After that, I went to say goodbye to Osaka. ;_; Managed to confuse myself so spent a very long time trying to get out of the station the right way, but eventually I did and went back to the sushi shop I went to a couple of times before. The guy remembered me~! ♥ I told him I was going home on Wednesday but that I'd definitely come back! I can't believe it's so soon! A week ago I was ready to come home, but now I'm not anymore! I'll be sad to leave! I'm already planning to come back - especially as I have people to visit next year too... People who are likely to get K8 tickets... ;D

Whyyyy did I only discover Friday magazine when I'm about to go home? >.<;; It has all the celebrity gossip. Though appears to be aimed at men, with its suggestive pics of girls in very little. o.O Plus, according to that Chinese article it's the magazine that got Subaru in trouble for smoking underage back in the day. ^^' But atm it has pics of Jin and that Rosa girl he's meant to be doing behind her boyfriend's back. I'd've been an avid reader if I'd realised it existed! x_o

Wah, so many things I'm going to miss when I get home! XD Though more on that closer to the time, when I'm summing up. ♥ さよなら大阪!好きやねん!また来年!
diamondlife: (At the river - tsukkomicons)
I:m aliiiiiive! And so is [livejournal.com profile] giving_ground, which is a great relief. o.o Japanese nurses are very nice.

There:s like 6000 things I should read but might not get around to, so please bear with me! And in the unlikely event of needing me to see something, plz point me in the right direction!

I posted stuff to people, so I hope it gets to you all OK! :3 Any more for any more? :D Picked an entirely random magazine up today off the rack in the tiny Kiosk in Hakodate - had K8 on the cover! So of course I bought it, though they had 2 pages. XD Subaru told the Niigata story again... *pets him*

I:m drinking that ice cucumber Pepsi. I think it:s actually quite nice. Am I a heretic?

We don:t have a room for tonight! Manga kissa or love hotel? Those are the choices...

Daaaaaamn, I want some tea bad.
diamondlife: (Hina has my hat - ffyunie)
OK, just about calmed down from Shizuoka now. XD And there is much to report on! The day before yesterday we made the 6 hour journey from Tokyo to Hakodate, right at the bottom of Hokkaido. Hakodate is a sleepy little place, but has an interesting museum about the Ainu people, and it's also notable for its European influences - there's the old British Consulate, which now has a sweet little British-style tearoom and shop where they sell scones and rose oil and, um, golf equipment and the like. We pottered around the town a bit, and went to see the place where Hijikata Toshizou had his little republic for 6 months before they came from the mainland and crushed him when it stopped being so cold (NB: historical accuracy not included).

Then today we came to Sapporo! We got here about 3, having made a successful phone reservation (the lady spoke so slowly and claearly and was so nice, it was wonderful!). We wanted to look at the Botanical gardens and museum, but of course, it's Monday, so they were both distinctly closed (curse you, Monday!!!). But never mind, cos we shopped instead! :D It's beautiful weather up here - sunny but not too hot, and not humid at all - and the beer festival is out in force. XD Thing was, it all looked a bit complicated, not to mention full of tipsy Japanese people, the scariest of which would no doubt have approached us, so we ended up buying beer at the combini instead. *cough* But Sapporo is an awesome city! Seems nice and compact, but there's, like, a million department stores, a Mandarake, an Animate (somewhere...) and a nic clean atmosphere about the place, so we kept ourselves well entertained!

Ahh, it feels good to have shopped~! I bought a hat, finally! It's black, strawlike but Trilby-shaped in nature, with a black band with white skulls on it. It was half price! Probably cost me about £5. (I'm totally wearing it to one of the Dome dates, with my skull-print shirt. :D) I also got a wonderful surprise when this provincial Mandarake had a big stash of K8 doujinshi!! Including the first Subaru/Yasu dj I've ever seen!! I had to buy it, and luckily it's so tooth-rottingly cute I consider it one of the best Y210 purchases I've ever made! I also got a little Ryo/Subaru one, and a gag okan one too. XD There were more too! I was so thrilled! I should've bought the YOhkura one too... Makes up for the K8 playing cards I saw the other day that I didn't buy cos I thought it was too silly. >.<;;; Regretted it immediately, and have since checked every branch I've seen of Gyokodo (I think it's called that!), but to no avail. ;_; Also bought volume 3 of Gaiden as well. *_* So unbelievably pretty.

I've had an interesting fannish few days, actually! For anyone who cares about pop Japanese culture, if you want to know (that'll be, um, you, then, [livejournal.com profile] whited_79!), Katori Shingo has to be the most exposed entertainer in Japan atm. The new Saiyuki movie came out the other day (we think we're going to go see it - will try on Wednesday! ;), and he's been on *so* much TV lately, including Fuji TV's 27hour TV over the weekend. I went to sleep on Saturday and he was on TV... Woke up on Sunday and he was still on TV... Went out, came back and he was *still* on TV... (I kept thinking of you, [livejournal.com profile] aicha! ;D) Bless him, he seems like such a good sport, he was still so smiley and working so hard, even at the end. And on SMAPxSMAP he and Goro kissed. Well, it caught *my* attention anyway! XD (I've since seen the clip repeated in slow motion twice, at the end of 27hour TV and on tonight's SMAPxSMAP. XD Ahh, Johnny's, it's the same all the way up the ranks! Why did I take so long to get into JE again?!)

After that and Tetsuwan Dash, though, there was nothing else on cos of the election. :/ Damn, I really want to catch Shige's drama at least once before I go home! And Yamaguchi's too! And I'm a couple of eps behind on Yamada Tarou, too... I'll get that one subbed when I get home. ^_~

Oh, and by the way, my computer's wireless spontaneously stopped working. *rolls eyes* If I'd been by myself I would've thrown an absolute fit, but somehow, having Liz here kept me calm. XD Plus, we have a cable here. ^_~ My mp3 player, on the other hand, I'm not so calm about. It also stopped working - the battery ran out a few days ago, and, while it works when it's plugged into my laptop, it always starts by saying "Rebuilding music library" then won't switch on when I disconnect it. And there's no way to get the battery out that doesn't involve a screwdriver. o.O I've even tried pressing the tiny reset button (with one of Liz's earrings!) but still nothing. I've only had it 6 months too! Wonder if it's guaranteed? And, even if it is, will I still have the necessary documents... *sigh*

Oh well, it's sunny and pleasant and there's less than a week till I see K8 again, so I can get by! ;D
diamondlife: (Join us - allqueericons)
Yesterday I looked at some magnificent waterfalls, failed to see another waterfall, and went in an onsen twice. :D

Today I cleaned an onsen, was taught to chop cabbage by a Buddhist monk, and went in an onsen once. (Well, twice if you count the cleaning.)

So, Nikko's pretty cool! Though, like, everyone is leaving tomorrow, including the monk, so it's gonna be... four of us, with I don't know how many guests. Could be less fun. ^^;;
diamondlife: (Hina has my hat - ffyunie)
Ahhh, Hokkaido foils me with its Japanese ways. XD I *think* I've booked a place in Toya-ko for a couple of days, but it seems like we might spend a lot of time on trains and buses... Oh well, that might be the best way to see the place if it keeps raining!

Yesterday we went to Hakone, the mountain region not far from Tokyo. We took the train, then a bus which wound its way up the mountain and down to the lake, where you get a pirate ship to the other side, then you get a series of ropeways and cable cars up and down another mountain. :D It was great, and we had really good tempura too. :9 I love just travelling around, staring out the window. And I think I've developed a fixation for ropeways that [livejournal.com profile] giving_ground finds very amusing. XD

The day before that we went to see an act of a kabuki play! It wasn't quite what I was expecting - it was fairly, well, normal! XD It felt very much like going to see Shakespeare, except with more beautiful, exotic costumes and sets. It was an adaptation of Twelfth Night, lol, but still! I think I want to go and see some noh now, because I've seen it on TV and it looks far more... Japanese. ^^' I love that it looks so mystical and stylised, and the way they speak is fascinating to me. Hopefully I'll have time for that sometime later!

Today we're going to Nikko to volunteer at a Lodge. I'm not sure what the internet situation is going to be, so if you don't hear from me for a week or so, I may or may not be slaving night and day making miso soup. :3 Hey, that's a useful skill to have if that magazine article I was talking about last night is to be believed! XD I'm sure there will be Ways though. There usually are!
diamondlife: (Catch up - tsukkomicons)
I think there's some kind of book coming out at some point imminently, as a lot of my friends seem to be talking about it; but please forgive me if I don't care, because you wouldn't either if you were going to see Kanjani8 twice more in the next 3 weeks. :D :D :D :D :D :D :D Priorities, people! *spins*

But yes. Earthquake yesterday morning! Here in Tokyo it was just five minutes of gentle shaking of the building - I probably wouldn't have noticed if someone hadn't mentioned it to me! Would probably just have thought I was a bit dizzy. XD But you could hear it more than feel it, it was very interesting. Pretty bad in Niigata, though. :/

We tried to go to a kabuki play yesterday, but there was standing room only, so we're going to try again today. Instead, we went to Akihabara! :D It was a lot of fun - we met up with the guy I met on Koya-san, haha, and we geeked out over so many things, it was great. We had tea in the Cafe With Cat (the waitresses had ears and tails) and went for yakiniku, which is still the greatest invention known to man. :9 I bought a manga called Zone 00 simply because the art was so gorgeous, even though I have no idea what the hell is going on. XD Might have to buy the other available volumes, just cos it's so amazing to look at. Might have to go back there again, because we spent so long in each shop I'm sure we didn't even begin to scrape the surface of the available gay. XD

The day before was the day of the typhoon! Again, not so bad in Tokyo - it just got a bit windy in the evening! But it did disrupt the trains a bit, and Kyushu got it pretty bad, I think. But because it wasn't a nice day we did Tokyo National Museum in Ueno, which was very interesting, of course! Saw lots of Japanese archaelogical artefacts, and plenty of impressive Buddhist statues too - it was very informative. I always feel like I've achieved something if I learn at least a little, even if what I've learnt is geeky, which it inevitably is in one way or another!

Best run now, if we wanna get that kabuki!
diamondlife: (Catch up - tsukkomicons)
Shhh - [livejournal.com profile] giving_ground is asleep! We found each other at the airport mirculously easily - I was late, despite getting up at the time I intended, and I didn't even know which terminal to go to, but luckily I managed to guess right. Equally luckily, I had my passport with me, otherwise they wouldn't have let me in the airport! First stop was tea, second stop was hostel (we have a lovely twin room now, with actual towels and a DVD player [guess what DVD I put on? XD] and a toilet that you can't really sit on with the door closed, damn these short-legged Japanese people! XD).

Then we went to meet [livejournal.com profile] honeybeanlove and [livejournal.com profile] hirokura08 for lunch in Harajuku! It was absolutely bucketing down, so we abandoned hope of shopping in knock-off idol shops (there were photos that even I thought were too wrong to buy XD) and just went for dessert. :9 We would've had to wait another 2 hours to get into the JE shop, lol, so we called it a day quite early as Liz was understandably sleepy! And I haven't been the freshest daisy today either, as I got the worst night's sleep ever last night. I was about to go to bed last night, when my roommate in the dorm came in - a British guy, who kept saying "It's all good, it's all good" a lot, and honestly kind of rambled a bit like he was on drugs. After he switched the light off, I could still hear him muttering, and I heard him opening what sounded like a blister pack of tablets - I was like "Oh lord, is that the medicine that stops him seeing the little pixies? Or is it some crazy narcotic??" Plus, the bedding in the room was really noisy, and he kept moving around. I kept waking up every couple of hours at least - thought someone was touching me (at the side!) twice, and another time I woke up dreaming it was 7.30 and there was no way I was getting to the airport and how was I going to contact Liz and oh man, rubbish! But all my stuff was untouched and un-nicked - it's funny, I completely trust Japanese people, it's so safe here, but the moment I have to share with a British guy I start thinking he's crazy. XD

So, sorry the meet-up was so brief, guys! :/ Hopefully we'll be able to do it again, though - me ad Liz are gonna be in and out of Tokyo a few times, and then of course there's the thing I don't wanna jinx by talking about it, but thank you V!!!!! ♥♥♥♥♥

Hmm, I keep speaking Japanese when it's completely apparent there's no need. It makes me feel like a show-off, though a lot of times I am a show-off, which I'm not proud of. (Whether I'm loud or quiet, people still don't seem to like me/get me/want to be my friend/whatever - except the people I don't really care about one way or the other, haha!) Still, at least today, a lady spoke *back* in Japanese, even though she could probably speak English. It's still only the unimportant stuff, though! XD

Donna said the typhoon is coming. x_o It was all over the TV this evening too! *fears* Tomorrow we're going to do a niiiice indoorsy museum, and some shopping. :D Gotta also fit in kabuki and Hakone! And also get to a post office, and hopefully meet up with the guy I met on Koya-san too! @_@ And we're leaving on Thursday!

...Did someone once tell me Liz laughed in her sleep? Because she totally does. XD
diamondlife: (Thank you - marlenem)
Ah~h, rainy season, Tokyo - everything I hoped it would be! -_- Actually, it's not nearly as hot as people had warned me it would be, but I guess we still have to get to August yet. ^^' But yeah, as it was raining and I didn't want to do anything too strenuous, I slept in today and then went online for a couple of hours (takes a while for my wireless to start co-operating too -_-), then decided to heard off to Shibuya. After eating my first yakisoba, which was delicious, but more expensive than I've become accustomed to, at Y900! XD

Of course, as ever, Shibuya station was a little baffling, but not too bad - I only ended up going entirely the wrong way once or twice, but I did get to see the 渋谷安田ビル (Shibutaniya Yasuda Building). Leave me alone, you know I'm a fangirl! XD

Shibuya was... OK, actually! I saw the doggie. And then, I shopped. >D I bought a bunch of cheap dj - mainly Yaji & Kita, of all things, because they had quite a few in Mandarake and they were, like, £1 each! Oh!! And I bought a My Boss My Hero dj, cos it was the only one in the shop! :D Sadly it's mainly novel, but the bit that isn't has very nice art, is Mikio/Kazu and is, er, somewhat explicit. ^^' (Whoever told me about the steps down to Mandarake, you weren't kidding! XD And it smelt funny too. >.<;;) Also bought a JoJo's art book, lol, though I don't think it was the one I've seen a few vague scans of - seems like an older one. Oh well, it was less than £10! And I found a sort of con report of Subaru and Ohkura's live cons last year, in doujinshi format - lots of random handwritten text, but with lots of illustrations. I'll have to examine it more closely!

Oh, and the Arashi conspiracy continues - I kept seeing the truck promoting Time going around, and evey record shop I went in (and I went in a lot) had loads of promo stuff. My eyes were irresistably drawn! And I'll probably end up dl'ing Time. Just to see, you understand. I kept looking for TOKIO stuff, too - I nearly bought their 10th anniversary con DVD second hand, but it was still about £15, and of course, it was before a few of my favourite songs of theirs were released, so I wasn't certain. I'm going to regret it, I know! I *really* want to get the GIGs DVD, but I've only seen it new and it's £30. I went in so many record and book shops, haha - I'm not even trying clothes shops - for a start, I can get clothes at home, clothes that will *fit*, and prices are the same anyway. Plus, style here is... not me. XD Not at all. Everything's so... flouncy! I feel sooo good, having shopped, though! :D (Haha, this will only interest one certain person on my friends list, but in the second hand record shop I went in, they were playing an album of what sounded like rock/punk Beatles covers, but with the lyrics changed. On the counter they had the album case - seems like it was some kind of Metallica-related project! XD I'll have to look out for it when I get home. ;D)

Also, [livejournal.com profile] iverin, important question for you: red or blue? :3

Had an azuki frappuccino too, but it tasted mainly like melted soft whip ice cream, so that was disappointing. Then I thought, I don't want to go back to the hostel just yet, I'm not hungry but I fancy a drink - so I went to this place listed in my guide book, turned out it was a restaurant, not just a bar, so I felt obliged to eat something even though I didn't want to. It was a good burrito, though I couldn't finish it! But they let me bring the rest home. Wine cost only Y100 more than tea, it was crazy. If I'd thought quick enough, I'd've asked for another glass of wine instead. Y600 is very reasonable! But Y500 is extortionate for a *cup* of tea.

There was a band on, and they were actually very good, so I was lucky there - they had a couple of acoustic guitars, a violin, a... well, some kind of percussion box-thingy, and a piamonica (or something - one of those things you blow in that has a keyboard on it!). They played covers of pop and rock songs, and they were actually awesome, and no cover charge, lol, so that was pretty good. I was totally too tired to talk to anyone, though. I realised I wasn't exactly being approachable, but I just didn't care, I was so tired! z_z I'm *so* wishing I was in a hotel now, where I could just sleep in if I wanted and no-one would know!

Now I'm drinking Pocari Sweat, and it tastes like medicine. You drink it and go "Argh, that's vile!" but somehow you forget *how* vile until you take another drink. ^^' Maybe I'll go finish that burrito...
diamondlife: (Every day could be like this-dawn_icons2)
I was wondering why I'm so tired, then I remembered, I've been up an unusual amount of time because I got up before 6 to join the monks at their morning ceremony.

Yes, I stayed on the holy mountain of Koya-san last night, at Rengejoin temple, and it was probably the most worthwhile thing I've done since I've been in Japan. Oh my word. It just all felt so special, I'm so glad I did it. When I arrived they brought tea and a sweet, and there's a very newly-installed looking bathroom and toilets, and they come later and lay out the bedding. It wasn't warm (I read somewhere it's 10 degrees colder than the city at this time of year, so it was pleasantly cool), but it was wonderful just strolling through the corridors around the little gardens. And of course you get vegetarian Buddhist cuisine too - best miso soup I've ever had, for breakfast this morning!

Koya-san itself contains over 50 temples, and is where the founder of the Shingon Buddhist sect, Kobo Daishi, is in "eternal meditation". You climb a hill through an enormous graveyard up to his mausoleum at the top - I'm not a Buddhist, and so I don't pray at the temples (it would feel like I was taking it too lightly), but it's impossible to remain unmoved. It doesn't feel touristy or showy, like a lot of temples do - the visitors are mainly genuine pilgrims, who chant and pray at the temples and tombs. You can't have anything but respect.

There's also a museum in the town, and a precinct of other holy buildings, with absolutely loads of amazing Buddhist works of art. Going into the big pagoda, the monk there gave everyone some brown, incense-like powder to rub into their hands, and there's burning incense everywhere - I love the smell, I hope it's still on me a bit!

(Oh yes, and the day before, I had another day in Nara, and I went to a couple more temples there too, cos it was a gorgeous sunny day. Yeah, I know I go to a lot of temples, but I haven't got bored of them yet! I love the statues and art and history and atmosphere and chanting and incense and shiny gold things!)

I met an anime fan in the temple too. XD (He was on a tour that sounded like the one you came on, [livejournal.com profile] aicha!) You meet people in the weirdest places, don't you... ^^' I've met a few now - all guys so far, which reduces the chances of corrupting them with other gay shiny stuff, but never mind, they've been cool. And English, which is how I got talking to them in the first place.

I set off from Koya-san about 1pm today, and finally made it to Yokohama (I keep typoing it as "Yokoyama" ^^') about... 8. XD Well, it was before 8, but there's always a certain amount of faffing around while you come out of the station, realise you came out of the wrong exit, realise you got off at a station you didn't mean to get off at, buy another ticket, get back on the train etc etc, but I finally got into a hotel about 8.30. (I asked how much; the woman said "7-something something" and I was like "YES", I was so relieved to find anywhere! XD) It seems pretty nice too - massive hotel, small room, but ensuite and with a nice little goodie bag. :D Here for 2 nights - meeting [livejournal.com profile] honeybeanlove tomorrow!! Then on to Nagano. ...Oh crap, need to get that booked. Oh! And yeah, it was something that had gone wrong with my laptop, though I don't know what - I just rolled it back to a couple of weeks ago. :/ I suspect Firefox, actually, because it's lost all my bookmarks and has been acting really weird, like not letting me read my mail and opening loads of empty tabs. o.o Oh well, at least it's working again! *cling* (Hmm, feels weird adding that to an entry that started so reverentially, but well, it's all part of the journey, I guess...)

Fandom post to follow - will filter, as I don't wanna bore/freak out the non-fandom folks. ^^'

Oh! Yeah, Snaps Cup Love Meme thing! Everyone likes having nice things said about them! ;D
diamondlife: (Awkward pair - younie)
Man, the rainy season really did kick in! O.O It has not stopped all day today. But that didn't prevent us from going to the old entertainment quarter of Kanazawa to look at the gold leaf shops and tea houses. We had delicious omurice for lunch, and then went for tea (can't remember the name of the tea but it was... brown ^^;;) and gold-leaf walnut meringues. :9 Chayagai is a beautiful old district, all wood buildings - it smelt wonderful, very atmospheric! It was pretty quiet, probably cos of the rain, but it was great to see it - all the places I've been so far in Japan have been fairly modern (by and large, I've been staying in cities that suffered in WWII), so it's amazing to finally see some more evocative buildings. The other day I also had a wander around the samurai district - little narrow streets with big old houses with high walls. It was really fun to just wander around! I've had a lot of fun just walking around the places I've visited, getting a feel for them. Kanazawa has such a lot of character, it's probably the best place to explore I've seen here!

We also visited Myoryuji today - aka, the Ninja temple! It doesn't really have anything to do with ninjas, but it was full of cubby holes and secret passages that the samurai could lurk in if under attack. It felt quite like an English castle, it was really interesting!

Yesterday was a day of firsts! I had my first Osaka-style okonomiyaki (I actually preferred Hiroshima-style), then in the evening I got Amelia to take me to two things I've really wanted to do since I got here, but you can't do alone - yakiniku, and karaoke! :D Yakiniku was sooooo good - [livejournal.com profile] davechan, you'd love it - it involves meat and fire, two of your favourite things! :9 The beef was unbelievably delicious, but it was so filling! Man, I've eaten so much over the past few days. ^^' Then we, ah, did 5 hours of karaoke! I sang a lot of K8 songs. #^^# We also did Yorokobi no Uta, which is actually a very easy song to sing! Or would be if I knew more kanji. ^^' Also did a bunch of GW songs, for nostalgia value!, and a load of other anime songs. Though I forgot about Tell Me Why! XD Need to see if they have that next time... ^_~

The day before that I went to Kenrokuen, the big garden in Kanazawa that's one of Japan's top three. I've seen one of the other two, in Takamatsu, and Kenrokuen is miles better than that! The azaleas and irises were still out, and there are some beautiful ponds and streams and waterfalls, and a teahouse where I had a nice sencha and watched a heron by the pond from the veranda. It was absolutely gorgeous. ♥ I spent ages there, then I had a look in a museum of arts and crafts of Kanazawa - lots of gold leaf, as that's what the area is famous for. I really enjoyed the museum, too - I think I was suffering from a museum deficiency, lol - I'd not been in one for, like, nearly 2 weeks! @_@ I felt so much more fulfilled after I'd been in there!

So all in all, Kanazawa is delightful, I really like it here! And [livejournal.com profile] m00nface is looking after me very well. ♥ I can't believe how quickly three days has gone! ;_;

Now to continue certain auction-based research, and maybe type up some stuff. :3
diamondlife: (Inconceivable! - bishsticks)
Midorikawa Hikaru is on a TV show! They just had the "omae o korosu" moment on. ♥ And he just recreated it in the studio. I'm far more excited about this than I would've expected! XD In real life, he doesn't sound anything like any character I've ever heard him voice. Seems like a nice, genial, entertaining bloke, though!

I got to Kanazawa about 4.30 - the journey took nearly 6 hours, but it really didn't feel it! There was a certain amount of waiting around in stations involved. ^^' But then [livejournal.com profile] m00nface met me at Kanazawa, and we spent the evening catching up. :D It's so great to see her again! And I'm incredibly grateful for her organising the room too - I'm staying in Kanazawa University guest house, and it's *so* nice! Nicer than several of the places I've paid more to stay at! ^^' It's a lovely spacious room, and has a view. Hey, a window's a bonus, so actually having something to look at through it is even better! ^^' (Reminds me of the video the Australian guy showed me, of a room he stayed in somewhere in south east Asia - when they opened the curtains, there was just a wall. XD) There was a beautiful sunset this evening - lovely clear skies, and nice and warm but not humid. I like it here already!

Tomorrow I'm going to at least attempt to make the last day of my rail pass count (I thought the last day today, but then I realised the actual expiry date was the 20th, and Amelia pointed out that the big "19" stamped on it actually referred to Heisei 19 ^^'), though it's a little difficult to get to places from Kanazawa. There are some lovely looking places around this area, though, so hopefully I can work something out. :)

Ahh, looks like no MuchaBuri on this TV either, so I'll stick with Midorikawa. ;) He's reading Saiunkoku scripts now. :D ...And playing a toy trumpet. ^^'
diamondlife: (Too damn cute - ffyunie)
A man is sleeping with a horse on television. o.o Before that, TOKIO just raced a train in Tetsuwan Dash, and won. Dash is such a fun programme! I loved the Joshima-kaasan bit. Yamaguchi and his son from his upcoming drama came to visit, it was cute. TOKIO are made of awesome. ♥

So, today I came to Takamatsu, on Shikoku. I got on what felt like the slowest shinkansen EVER cos it kept waiting at stations to be overtaken by faster ones. -_- Still, it only took about 3 hours altogether, and I got here and to the hotel by 3.

Then I went to look at Takamatsu's famous garden, Ritsuen Koen. Which, to be honest, wasn't the most spectacular I've seen here. There was nothing wrong with it, it was neat and well-kempt and the trees were lovely, but... it really was mainly trees and ponds. In a week or so it'll be nicer, because the many lotuses will be out, but they were just budding atm. There were some pretty irises, but not as pretty as elsewhere. The best garden I've seen so far was probably the one in Hiroshima, and not just because it had the advantage of being a sunny day when I went!

It wasn't worth coming back to the hotel and going out again to eat, so I wandered for a while, looking, but the place I found in the guide book that sounded good was closed for a private party (doh! >.<;) and all the noodle places seemed to be shut - I guess because it's Sunday teatime. So when I happened upon a small Italian place, that of course had the Italian names on the menu, I thought I'd better take what I could get (as none of the other places I'd seen had even had picture menus), so I went in and had carbonara. It was a bit strange, because they didn't use cream - there was a note on the menu, and they asked me something about it, but I'm not sure what that was, lol, and when it came it was nice enough - very peppery, which was good. :9 Of course, when I left I walked past half a dozen Japanese places that had plastic food, so I could easily have gone in one after all, but whatever. It's nice to have something reminiscent of home once in a while! ^^;;

Tomorrow I'm going to Matsuyama. I'm going to go to an onsen! :D I wonder if I should've just stayed in Matsuyama instead? It apparently has the best youth hostel in Japan. But I'm in a nice little hotel here - it's also nice to have some privacy once in a while, even if it is a bit pricier! (By which I mean, £25 a night rather than £13. ^^') Still, I don't think Takamatsu lives up to the guidebook's description of it as a "breezy, cosmpolitan city". Like the park, it's nice enough, but I think I've only seen 2 other Westerners. I feel like a novelty again. ^^'

[Edit] Hope someone summarises this week's JaniBen - it looked like it had some very worthwhile stories in it! Though Subaru's dress was typically hideous. XD
diamondlife: (Catch up - tsukkomicons)
Man, I'm totally taking it easy aren't I? All I've done today was made the 3 1/2 hour journey from Hiroshima to Nagasaki. A lot of the journey, especially the Kyushu part, is through rice fields and little villages full of old-fashioned, traditional-looking houses - it's amazing to see houses, not just big mansion blocks! I even saw a thatched house at one point. I feel like I've come to the end of nowhere, haha. I didn't even notice when we left Honshu! But we did come along the coast for a while, which was very pretty, even in the rain. Just like being at home! ♥ It rained most of the way, and I didn't have enough hands to hold all my stuff and my umbrella on the way to the hostel. x_o It's a nice hostel, though! The lady who runs it is very mumsy. :D

Oh! I did post stuff to people today! :D I was proud, I conducted the whole transaction in Japanese. Hey, simple victories please me! ^^' It was a little on the pricey side. ^^' But man, it's good to not have to lug quite as many kilos of magazines round with me! XD ...Though I still have some. And will undoubtedly get more. *cough*

I think I might actually skip Nagasaki itself and take a day trip to Fukuouka tomorrow. I don't know if I can take another museum like Hiroshima. :/

I wonder what delicious foods Nagasaki has to offer? :9 I want to eat yakisoba, I haven't had it yet! I might try and do some writing tonight, not got much else I can think of to do!
diamondlife: (At the river - tsukkomicons)
Oh, I got burnt. On the left. Not on the right, cos I remembered to put cream on my right arm; but I did my left shoulder, but forgot the arm, so yeah. Slightly crispy. -_-

I acheived this through doing what felt like a marathon hike round the temples and shrines in north-east Hiroshima, but was probably, like, 4km or something. XD But it involved climbing this bloody big hill, up to the Peace Pagoda, from which you can see all of Hiroshima and out to the islands nearby, which was worth doing! Then on the way down you come through this very long shrine in the woods, down steps through loads of red torii (shrine gates). I saw a snake too! That was all highly impressive and a good walk, but the second half wasn't as interesting, cos it was all walking on road and the temples weren't as cool. And my feet hurt, and there was nowhere to eat, and nowhere to sit down, so I limped back to the tram and came back to the city centre and sat in Starbucks for a bit. ^^' Then this evening I've tried to sort out my various parcels, so hopefully I can ship some stuff tomorrow before I head off to Nagasaki! Also need to book here again for a couple of days time, so I can come back for this festival I hear is happening at Miyajima on the 16th. :3

And, um, that's it for today! ^^' I was sure there'd be more, lol, but I was kinda not feeling like walking anywhere else today after that hill so I just lazed around. XD Muchaburi should be on tonight, but I dunno if I dare put it on cos there are loads of people around, and they've already been exposed to too much Japanese TV. *cough* I feel like I've not prepared for moving on tomorrow, but I've got accomodation, and I can't think of anything else I need to do! ...Except find my passport, cos I dunno what I've done with it. ^^;;
diamondlife: (At the river - tsukkomicons)
Short news - am in Hiroshima, and it's a lovely city! But I'm typing on a black keyboard on the hostel computer, in the dark, and the space bar and backspace buttons are very tiny, and I can;t find half the keys anyway, so this is going to be a very short and staccato update.

I really felt like non-Japanese food today, and as luck would have it, I stumbled upon a tapas place with an English menu and English-speaking staff - and, importantly, Sangria! Then I talked to some Americans, and the hostel is full of white folks too, so it's refreshing to talk to people by this point! I got here about 3pm from Osaka, where it was bucketing down, but it was bright sunshine here so I went to look at another beautiful garden. Tomorrow I'm going to do the museums. Hiroshima is very shiny and leafy, I like it. It feels like a very homely, normal city.

I can't believe I've been here ten days! o.o I feel like I've done nothing! Oh well, plenty of time left!

Oh, and Meiji chocolate is surprisingly delicious! :9
diamondlife: (Thank you - marlenem)
First things first - thank you, everyone who's left me comments while I've been here! ♥ I'm sorry I haven't got back to everyone individually, but it really means a lot that people are reading and thinking of me! You can never be lonely with an internet! :-*

Well, this morning it was raining, so I decided to, um, not do much. So I actually stayed in the hotel till after 2 - there was some kind of traditional theatre performance on TV, so I watched that, and then Hina's show was on so I watched that too. ^^' It wasn't very exciting, lol, but it made me want to eat okonomiyaki. So I went down to the southern part of Osaka and Amemura, where there are loads of boutiques and cool-looking shops - I've loved wandering round Osaka. ♥ It was cool to just stroll around the vintage shops and think "I bet Subaru and Yasu bought stuff here!". XD It's weird, there weren't many people around at all - they were all on the main couple of shopping arcades, which were absolutely rammed! I was desperately hunting for food, but the food places and the shops aren't really in the same places. ^^' And a lot of stuff was shut at 3pm on a Saturday. (...It is Saturday today, right? ^^;;) In the end I bought takoyaki, but it was a bit too tentacular for me. ^^' Plus it seemed kind of... runnier than I expected. o.O I ended up not eating much of it, so to compensate for my frustration I decided to go back to the Daimaru department store and treat myself to a cake set. :9 That was delicious - nice blackcurrant-y mousse and a lovely cup of tea. Japanese department stores are just wonderful - the food departments are just amazing! *_*_*_*_* I did actually see mangoes that cost 15000yen, too (that's about £75 O.O). That better be made of solid gold! XD

By the time I'd had my tea and cake, it was after 6, but I didn't want to come back north and then have to go out again, so I lurked in a bookshop (reading Oricon Style - I only didn't buy it cos I already have a hundred magazines XD) and wandered more till it was eatin' time. I eventually went to a place in Namba walk, the underground approach to the station, and to be honest my teriyaki bentou was disappointing, so today's food overall failed due to entirely different reasons to last week! ^^;; Oh well. I was in the mood to drink, so I decided to come back to a nice-looking jazz club I'd seen near the hotel. So I did. And it was lovely! The mama (who sang) also spoke English, so I had a little chat with her, and the wine was surprisingly good. :9 Stayed there a couple of hourse and did some work on my [livejournal.com profile] jexchange! (It doesn't make any sense, but blargh, better to at least make a start, right?) The price at the jazz place was suspiciously high, even taking into account cover charge for the music, but never mind - it's the most I've spent since I've been here, and it was fun, so I don't mind!

Oh! One last thing, I went in a knock-off JE shop down by the river! XD The Idol Box. :D Didn't buy anything, but they had a load of photos (including paparazzi shots, though no juicy ones XD) and pencil boards and posters and stuff. Not at all expensive! I also nearly bought Yorokobi no Uta, because every time I hear it I feel a certain affection. ♥ I want a theme song for Japan! XD ...Well, I have K8's whole album, lol, but I already had that. ^_~

Other observations from today:
- oh my lord, Japanese people walk soooo slowly!
- but then maybe they're tired, cos there are no seats in the shopping centres. o.o
- those tan guys with big, lightened hair really don't look as cool as they think they do. ^^;;
- the milk here is milkier. And the juice is juicier. :9

Tomorrow, I'm off to Hiroshima~!

[Edit] Oh yeah, and I found out something the other day - carshrimp kurumaebi means scampi. XD I didn't know that! Also, Samurai Blues = Japanese national football team. Of course~!

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August 2017

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