Wednesday, 2 January 2013

New Year

I'm on a week-long break at the moment. It started on Saturday and it feels great to finally have some time to chill.

On Saturday me and a couple of mates went to Hankyu Nishinomiya Gardens and spent the day as mallrats. We messed around with the toys in the toy shop, played the pianos in the music shop and ate some great food. We ate gelato at MILKISSIMO where they had loads of cool flavours. One of the best things about food in Japan is the crazy flavours they have, and I always take time to try the wacky stuff. I had the apple pie, chocolate orange and fresh corn flavours and they were all good - the fresh corn one had real corn in it. For tea we went to a place called Sasebo Burger. It was 980 yen for one of their hamburgers, but it was a really good size and tasted great. Definitely wanna go there again.

Before tucking in

In the evening we headed back to Umeda to meet a couple more people and did all-you-can-drink at an izakaya. The service was pretty slow, as is usually the case with all-you-can-drink, probably intentionally so, but we kept the staff on their toes and made sure to get our money's worth. Then we went to Shinsaibashi and ended up at a couple of our regular spots before heading back to Juso.

The next day we went to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey at a cinema in Umeda. I've never watched a LotR film all the way through - I once tried, got bored and stopped watching - but I enjoyed The Hobbit a lot, so I'm gonna give LotR another shot. It was good to hear loads of British accents in the film, especially northern ones. Those kind of things stand out when you live in a foreign country.

On the 31st my friend invited me to her family's place in Kobe. Her extended family was there and we went out to a restaurant to eat shabu-shabu and chankonabe. I don't often get the chance but it's always good to get away from your own place and have a taste of Japanese family life. It's also one of the first times since coming to Kansai that I've had to use a lot of Japanese, as most of the family didn't speak English. One of my friend's cousins is ten years old and it somehow transpired that his dad wanted me to cut this kid's hair in the same style as mine. So when we got back to their place after dinner I shaved this ten-year-old's head while the family watched the KĊhaku Uta Gassen. He seemed happy with it, and when we were leaving I waved to him and he patted his head back. Was pretty funny.

At night we returned to Osaka and I went out to meet some friends in Nanba. These ended up being the same group of friends that I'd hung out with last New Year's Eve at a house party in Sheffield - it was then that I started to think about coming back to Japan. We hit the usual bars, which are getting a bit tiresome to be honest, but we did the countdown, danced to disco music and had a good time until around 8am the next day.  On New Year's Eve and New Year's Day the streets of Osaka were strangely empty. I've never seen the place so quiet, and it makes a good change because I'm not a big fan of the busyness of Osaka.

So it's 2013, and people have asked me what my resolution is. I don't usually make them cos I'm a pretty motivated person and if I want to do something I'll do it anyway. If I had to make one though it'd be to study Spanish. I've only got a couple of months left here before moving to Chile, so I need to learn quickly. I need to book flights, buy insurance etc. as well.

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