Monday, December 31, 2007

New Years!

Happy New Year! I had a lot of fun ringing in the new year here in Tokyo! I headed out to Shibuya to meet up with some friends, and we counted down to midnight out in the street, on the scramble crossing with all the big video screens. They stopped traffic through there, and it was really crowded but still really fun. I guess Shibuya is the Tokyo equivalent of Times Square over new years! Afterwards we headed out to a club nearby - on our way there, we ran into a shrine, and it was a really odd location for a shrine since it was right in the middle of the clubbing/love hotel district. We stopped in for a minute (partially because they had a fire going and we were all freezing, haha), and tossed in a few yen and rang a bell for luck for the new year. We left the club around four am and headed for a Sukiya, which is sort of the Japanese equivalent of a Waffle House except with higher sanitation standards. The trains still weren't running by the time we finished, so we decided to head up to Meiji Shrine in Harajuku. It was a little bit crowded! Everyone goes to shrines here on New Years though, it's Japan's New Years tradition. Despite the cold, we washed our hands and mouths at the place where you do that (aunt sam and mom, you remember that ritual right?) and tossed some more yen and made wishes for the new year. Then I bought a souvenir, it's an arrow and I guess it's supposed to protect your home? I just thought it was cool, haha. Check out the PICTURES. I'm spoiling you guys with all these pictures lately : p The little piece of paper next to the arrow is a fortune, there was a place where you could shake a box full of sticks, and whichever number stick came out corresponded to the fortune you were given. I got number 7, and one of my Japanese friends tried to translate it but according to him it says that I should become a person who is better than bamboo. I'm guessing something was probably lost in translation there, haha. After we left Meiji Shrine we split up, some of my friends went to catch the train home but a couple of us decided to stick around and watch the first sunrise of the new year from one of the pedestrian crossings in Harajuku. Then after that I finally came home, and tried to get some sleep but the sun streaming through my giant glass doors onto the balcony made it kind of hard, so I decided to go ahead and write up this post : p

Friday, December 28, 2007

Back by popular demand, it's picture post time!

Due to popular demand, here are some more pictures. These ones are just of my apartment; I'm still sorting through all my Christmas lights pictures. That'll be the next post. Then you all will have to suffer a dearth of pictures again as I attempt to find the right cable to transfer pictures from my phone to my computer. It's hard right now because I was going to get one of my Japanese friends to help me out, but at the moment they're all in their hometowns for New Years. New Years here is when everyone goes back home to be with their families. But for now, enjoy some pictures of my apartment. Check out the size of my closet! Also one wall is almost entirely taken up by sliding glass doors out onto the balcony. Lots of windows, which is nice. I thought I took a picture of the genkan and shoe cupboard, but I guess not... I love having a shoe cupboard, it's so convenient because it's right there by the door, so you don't have to lug your shoes to the entryway to put them on or waste valuable closet space on them! Not that it would particularly matter in this apartment's closet.
The bathroom sink is right there in the kitchen, which I initially thought might bother me a bit but which has turned out to be perfectly fine. It's actually a pretty good little bathroom sink space, the mirror cupboard has shelves and a place to put your toothbrush. The stove only has two burners, but a couple of the other places I looked at only had ONE, plus no counter space. There's not a lot of counter space, which can be a pain at times, but I don't actually cook that often, so...
Anyway, I'm tired and slightly sick, so I'm going to head for bed. Vacation starts tomorrow, yay! No more work until Jan 7, which gives me plenty of time to rest and recuperate.
Happy New Year everyone!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Check it out! Finally I can post pictures again! This post is going to be short because I need to get to sleep - I'm working tomorrow, so I need to be up fairly early. Just wanted to get this up because SOME people seemed to think that it would never happen! : p Anyway, these four are me at Tokyo Beach in Odaiba, the view of Rainbow Bridge from Odaiba, a view of Shinjuku out the window of the bar from Lost in Translation (it's on the 52nd floor, I think - it's a fantastic view, this picture doesn't do it justice), and me, my friend Matt, and Jack, the guy from Amsterdam we met at that same bar. This is it for now, but look for another post soon with even MORE pictures! I've got some of my new apartment, and a bunch of the Christmas lights from Shinjuku and Tokyo Midtown. Time to sleep now, though.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Being a tourist, after three months

So in the last two weeks I've seen more of Tokyo and done more touristy things than in the entirety of the three months I've been living here, probably. Last week one of my friends went back home to England, so in the two days before he left we hung out and did some stuff, including going to the bar from Lost in Translation. It was a little smaller than we were expecting, but the view was AMAZING. I took pictures which I can't post yet... hopefully I'll be able to within the next couple weeks though. At the bar, I started talking with this guy who turned out to be visiting from Amsterdam. We hit it off so I spent the next couple days being a tourist with him. We went over the Rainbow Bridge into Odaiba, which I had never done before. Odaiba was great though, there was actually a beach there, and another fantastic view. There was also a store that had the turquoise kettle I wanted! Score! I tried to take some pictures of the Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Tower from the observation deck, but my camera is on its last legs and didn't quite capture it very well. I'll try to post the pictures anyway though. We also took some purikura pictures. You can choose all your own sparkles and glitter and accessories, and it's soooo high school girl but totally fun anyway. Then today I went to Ikebukuro Nishiguchi Kouen, or Ikebukuro West Gate Park as it's known in my favorite Japanese TV show. It was also smaller than I expected, but I walked around and took pictures like the fangirl I am ^^ Afterwards I went on a quest to see some illuminations. Tokyo is decorated to the nines with Christmas lights, but some areas are more extravagant than others. I went to see the Shinjuku Southern Lights and the Takashimaya illumination circus, and they were pretty awesome. I also went to Tokyo Midtown in Roppongi, which had an entire field of lights as well as avenues of lit-up trees. Marunouchi is supposed to have some great lights as well, but I probably won't make it over there before Christmas is over. Apparently here in Japan, Christmas decorations go down the minute Christmas is over, unlike in America where they might stick around until mid-January.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Home decor

Now that I have some money again, I've been doing some shopping for my apartment. I still don't have a refrigerator - I want to get one used but I have to figure out how to transport a used fridge, since most sellers don't offer a delivery service. So I went looking around - the cheapest new fridge I've found was around 30 000, which is a bit more than I really want to pay. I'm sure there are other places to look though, that might offer smaller and cheaper. I got a bathmat, and some cute blue bowls, and a frying pan, and the Japanese equivalent of a Swiffer today though. I was going to get this awesome turquoise tea kettle, but when I went back in to pick it up after deciding to fork over the 3000, it was gone! So no tea kettle for me. Tomorrow I'm going to try to run back to Yodobashi to get one of those hot water heater/dispenser things instead. It's kind of fun to do all this home shopping, since I've never lived by myself before I've never really had complete control of the decor and everything.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Internet-less again

Today is my last day here in Ikuta, and unfortunately my new place doesn't have any unsecured wireless signals for me to pick up so this will also be my last post for a while, until I can set internet up there. Everything else is set up though, there's water, electricity, and gas, so that's good at least. Anyway I should be going, still got some things to move and I probably shouldn't procrastinate too long. Until next time!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Moved... almost

My friend came through for me with a car last Saturday, so I'm mostly moved into the new place now. There's no hot water there yet so I'm sticking around in Ikuta until there is, because hot showers are pretty much a necessity in winter.
Once I move in there, I really want to get a bicycle. It's a little far from the station - not a terrible walk, but when I'm in a hurry to catch the train to get to work on time, I can see a bike coming in very handy. Plus it'll be good exercise. I need one with a little basket on it to put my grocery bag or shopping bags or purse into when biking back from the station!
Sadly, it doesn't appear that the grocery store at Komae station is 24-hr like the one here in Ikuta is. At least there is a coffee shop in Komae though.