Sunday, 30 September 2012

ワインをもっとカジュアルに

Every week my hours at work are going up, which is good news. I've also started teaching kids lessons for three hours a week with a different company. The kids are crazy but a lot of fun and make a change to teaching adult students, who are much quieter on the whole.

We've been going out drinking a lot, and I need to stop because I'm bleeding money. After getting my pension returns I've had a cushion of cash in my British account, but it's a shame I've had to use most of it to finance my drinking. I'm keeping track of what I'm spending and my wages will be able to cover it, but I'm also trying to save, so I think I will really have to cut down on the drinking.

The last three nights we've been going to a place near Juso Station which we've nicknamed 'Cockroach Alley'.  The first night we went in a bar that had rats running around on the floor, then in the next bar we found a cockroach, and in the last bar we went to the toilet was covered in puke - when we mentioned it to the owner he seemed surprised but I'm pretty sure he knew. The next night we went back to Cockroach Alley and saw another cockroach in a different bar. We went back to the alley again last night out of morbid curiosity and ended up in the puke-covered toilet bar. We went upstairs and there were posters of a young child holding a wine glass with the words 'ワインをもっとカジュアルに' written underneath ('Making wine more casual'). Japan is living up to expectations.

I've started riding my bike into work, which is good exercise and more fun than riding a train. The weather has been terrible these past couple of days. There was meant to be a party today by the river but it's been cancelled because of the rain/a typhoon warning.

The apartment is really shaping up now. We have everything we need now 'cos we inherited a couple of things from an American guy who was leaving this apartment building. I bumped into him in the lift and he asked me if I needed a fridge and a washing machine, so we got given them for free. Only thing is we'll then have to get rid of them when we leave.

Been really itching to get back into drumming lately, but I don't think I'll be staying here long-term so there's no point getting involved in a band. It's something I definitely wanna pick up again when I settle somewhere though. I miss it a lot. I'm also missing pizza, but me and my housemate are gonna get a Domino's when we get paid (on the 10th). I need that money/pizza soon.

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Monday, 17 September 2012

Birthday 2012

It was my birthday on Thursday, so on Wednesday night a couple of Japanese friends came round to my place and gave me a cake they'd bought. It wasn't like any birthday cake I'd had before - it was a pineapple and the flesh had been scooped out and replaced with sponge, then on top were various syrupy fruits. We had a bit of a party at my apartment and I called my brother on Skype so he could join in. 

Here's a picture of the cake:


On Thursday afternoon I had to visit a kids class which I'll be teaching from this week, and then I had a shift at work in the evening. After work a few of the guys bought me beers and we went drinking by the river in Juso. After a while we headed back to one of the guys' apartments and watched a funny Canadian film called Fubar.

The next day I had the whole day off so I headed over to a bar near my house that was hosting a weekend-long Ramones event. 


I checked out the exhibition, which had loads of Ramones posters, old show flyers, t-shirts worn by the band etc.  I've put some photos up on Facebook. Then in the evening I went drinking by the river again with a friend.

On Saturday I had a full day at work, and in the evening I didn't do much as my wallet had been taking a beating.  But on Sunday I went back to the bar to see the final event of the Ramones weekend, which was a live set by the Osaka Ramones, also known as Shonen Knife.  That was a lot of fun. Then in the evening I went out in Shinsaibashi with some friends. We sang karaoke and ate at Torikizoku, which is one of my favourite places to eat in Japan.

All in all it's been a fun few days.

Also, McDonald's were running this sweet promotion across Japan over the weekend.  I have four hamburger coupons ready to redeem now. Nice deal.

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Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Riding to Shinsai

Yesterday I rode from my apartment to Shinsaibashi, which is something I've wanted to do for a while. I've ridden to Umeda plenty of times, but after finding out you just need to carry on straight through Umeda and head down a big main road (route 25) it was pretty simple.

Osaka's Apple Store is in Shinsaibashi and I had to go as the power supply for my MacBook had broke. I didn't think it would take long, but I arrived at around 12:30 and they said they couldn't fit me in till 2:15. I went and grabbed some lunch at McDonald's and visited an old friend who works in the American Apparel store in Shinsaibashi.  I went back at 2:15 but then I had to wait about another 40 minutes to be seen. There was a workshop on how to use your iPad, and loads of people were sat watching. There's also a table where you can bring your laptop/iPod/iPhone and one of the staff will help you out with any problems you're having. All the staff are walking round with blue Apple t-shirts on and it was like a some sort of benevolent cult. But it's good that Apple go the extra mile with their customers. I think it's paying off for them now.

In the end I had to pay 945 yen for a new part for the charger. It's working fine now.

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Thursday, 6 September 2012

Kobe

I'm part way through my first week of work. It's going well on the whole. The school  I work for is pretty laid-back and the work is fun.  One of the branches I teach at is in Nishiakashi - quite a distance from Osaka. To get to it you have to go through Kobe and change in Sannomiya. Just walking from the Hankyu station to the JR station in Sannomiya yesterday I got a massive nostalgia blast. I walked past the arcade and remembered the games I played there, and past おっぱい山 which was always the best meeting point in Kobe. 

Kobe is such a great city, very international and welcoming to foreigners. It feels idyllic in the way it's bordered by the sea on one side and the green mountains on the other.  

Money's tight at the moment so I'm living on a budget, but not going out every night does give me time to work on various things. For example, I started an online TEFL course this past week, and I've started practising my drums rudiments again as well.

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