Published: August 26th 2009August 26th 2009
I've been in Japan for over a year now and have to say that I feel a lot better about being here. As I said on a recent post to a friend on Facebook although there are still certain things about the Japanese way of doing things that I find strange or disagreeable I don't find myself reacting quite so emotionally. No more hiding under the duvet just because someone looked at me funny. I've also had a fantastic summer which has made me realise that living in Japan can be loads of fun. My job is (was?) probably the source of most of my unhappiness but having survived it for a year maybe this year won't be so bad. Ian has also moved to a much better school and no one has stuck a knife in him for nearly a year now so he's doing a lot better too.
I might not write so much on here over the next year as I'm currently not feeling the need to do so much therapeutic ranting but if something interesting happens I'll try to make time to scribble it down.
Anyway, for now, here are this summers highlights. As I say, all pictures are on Facebook.
1) The Tenno Matsui Festival. Standing on a friend's balcony overlooking the river in Tsushima and watching the boats float across.
2) The world cosplay summit in Osu. Youngish boys and girls dressed up in all different manga costumes.
3) The Mongolian party. The Mongolian restaurant in Shin-sakae. Dressing up, singing and eventually eating Mongolian style. Also a leaving party so a bit sad too.
4) The Sumo and meeting Hakuho Sho. Having gone to see the Sumo tournament in Nagoya a friend of ours casually announced she knew Hakuho and so we got up early one morning to watch him train. Afterwards, he came over to say hello and gave us a gift, his hand print and signature. He's from Mongolia, I can see a theme developing.
5) The welcome bbq at Okasaki. Someone jumped in the river after too much too much excitement and Asahi.
6) Utsumi beach, went down to Aichi's low rent Miami on a couple of days, loads of fun watching the 'skanks' and trying to wrestle each other in the sea. You should not try throwing the jelly fish.
7) Sarah's visit in August. Far too much happened to really recall it all. Here's the gist of it. We spent a day in Kyoto exploring The Imperial Palace and various temples. We finished the day off at the Fushimi Inari shrine which is the one with the thousands of torii (red gates) going up the hill. We also spent four days in Tokyo. On the Wednesday we visited the Ikebukaro craft center (much better than it sounds), Shinjuku gyoen (park) and explored the drinking and partying district, Shinjuku. We got curry out of a vending machine and went in to one of those tiny bars and persuaded the semi retired jazz singing lady to sing for us. Tarantino could not have produced a better sound track. Thursday was a hike round Harajuku (if I was 15 I'd have bought everything) and Yoyogi gyoen. Ian and I then gave up in exhaustion and sent Sarah off to Asakusa. We had Thai food in the evening which contained so much sugar I got a little hyper. Tried to see Mount Fuji on Friday but there was way too much cloud so we took a pink duck out on the lake instead. In the driving rain it felt like Lake Windermere. Found an amazing Japanese restaurant in the evening though and then stuffed with food staggered over to Shibuya crossing. On Saturday we went to the Mori Art Museum in the Mori Tower, Roppongi Hills. And saw this exhibition: http://www.mori.art.museum/english/contents/aiweiwei/index.html.
He's the guy that did the birds nest stadium for the Beijing olympics. In between days in Kyoto and Tokyo we did other stuff in around Nagoya such as another trip to the Tokugawa museum (first time for Sarah though) and the beach. Ian's teacher took us out for Okonomiyaki, a Japanese favourite.
And then we slept. For many many hours.