Daily rambles, stumbles and travels

Friday, 6 May 2011

Is In Tokyo!

It's taken me a week to finally update with this mofo, so lets get to typing!

The move was successful, we are now in Tokyo ^___^

Here are the bunch of "bastard bags", which were still the opponents when wrestling them onto the subway and to the apartment.

The Yokohama subway station. A woman waits.

The new apartment is amazing, I couldn't be happier ^__^ The location is the overall big change, one major factor is not marching up a mountain to get home, the other is that it is right next to the city. Everything is in arms reach! This includes having numerous supermarkets, convenience stores and pharmacies nearby. As I said, it is supposedly smaller, but as the apartment is broken up into three separate sections via my ever favourite feature, the slidey doors! I can't tell the difference. It seems the same size, if not bigger.

*sandwich break*

Ok, now I'm back. With a ham sammich!

Settling into the apartment during Golden Week has been fun, it means whenever we've been out that there are mad rushes, but nothing too terrifying, as a rush here is always organized. Unlike London subway where everyone seems to push and shove, taking no regard as to whether anyone else is heading, Tokyo's rush hours seem to be more considerate, as everyone is in the same position and knows this. There are orderly ques and patience come s as standard. (This does not disregard the fact of subways can become packed, we've been wedged in quite a few "sardine can" situations).

Shopping has been an experience, becoming easily overwhelmed by the many choices each isle has to offer, easy to push trolleys and constantly finding myself becoming amused by every package sporting a face.

How can I not refuse this steamed bread guy? Especially when he's 30% off!

We have visited several famous areas during our stay here, risking getting caught in the Golden Week crush.

Akihabara
We originally visited here on the quest for the following:
Scanner/Printer
Mouse-mat
Router
Model Paints

With Summer on it's way and the skies looking blue, I dressed for the occasion

But of course, along the paths of Akihabara, walking through Otaku central can lead you to several distractions. The vast Oasis of arcades, comic shops and Cosplay goods can easily send you on a path of unnecessary time wasting!







I suppose with all of the effort of moving, we deserve some kind of arcade therapy, right?
Especially when my favourite arcade game, Project DIVA has it's own gallery!

They had the signatures of the original game designers and the original singing voice of Hatsune Miku! What made this even more fabulous, besides the five machines that were available to play, was the stand of sketchbooks that fans can doodle in, outfits are then picked and turned into playable designs within the game, Sugoi!

Time for lunch.


Pork ramen time! Very oishi indeed. This was a small eating establishment which could seat no more than ten people. You can always tell if it's worth eating when there is a queue outside!

We managed to pick up a router and a mouse mat (I ended up with the boobed wrist support favourite of Otakus, oh yeah!) on our travels, not bad despite the many distractions XD


Ikebukuro
I had a day hanging out with a fellow Cosplayer, who was actually spending a month in Japan, of course, I took her down what is know as 'Otame Road' or should I say, 'Maiden Road' in Ikebukuro. A road entirely dedicated to female Otakus!

Blessed ani.mate!

There was even an exhibition on the top floor of certain Cosplay outfits from a manga, not sure what it was, but the costume were certainly impressive!
Even the drinks have anime characters of them!

Lunch
We dipped into a little noodle bar which we found in Ikebukuro station. At 330 yen, how can we refuse! As always, oishi.

We headed to Shinjuku for some Purikura!

Followed by crepes!
Trying to capture some of the many herds of Host Bar men in the background XD Their hair and suits are always so pretty! Although, the hair usually reaches unnatural lengths in height.



Shibuya

With it being a subway ride just under 10 minutes away, how can we refuse having a wander around here?
We didn't really have an objective or a mission, just a desire to wander. One of my favourite past times, just wandering around Tokyo and discovering it's side streets of intriguing shops and sights.


In admist our wandering, we came across the most beautiful sight, an arcade that was entirely dedicated to Purikura! I couldn't believe it, all the latest booths and even costumes to wear! SUGOI!


Behold, not only an onigiri hat....BUT A CRAB HAT! This may have been one of my finer moments in life ^___^ *JOY*
We also managed to take some kawaii shots too!

^___^ ~ <3

As if things couldn't get better, just further down the street was a Kitty Cafe!
If you are unfamiliar with this custom, let me explain. It is a cafe, with kitties! It's that simple.
This certain establishment was called 'Hapineko'

With this certain cafe, you could order a drink for free too, which came with complimentary biscuit and chocolate.





So many adorable kitties!

On our travels back home, we walked past one of the most elaborate Disney Stores I've seen! All themed 'Pirates of the Caribbean' for the upcoming movie. YAAAR!

Away we went home, over the infamous Shibuya crossing.

And past Hachiko!

Thats everything in a nut shell really, Tokyo is awesome and we're loving every second of it! I still have more videos to edit. I am getting way behind on my own footage, hence why this weekend shall be a "lazy" one.

Expect more vlog updates soon!

ShiverZ In Japan: Chinatown and Yoshimoto Aquarium of Fun

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

ShiverZ In Japan: Cemetery

Getting Up-to-Date In Japan

Last time I typed, I told you we were looking into another apartment, due to this one being a bit far out. We booked to view an apartment on Monday, which was a place that we were eyeing before we decided to pick the housing we are at now. So we were definitely excited to view it!

The new apartment is 15 minutes subway travel from Shibuya, so couldn't be more perfect just for that reason alone. From our present location, it took us an hour and a half to reach, just to prove the difference between the two spots already. It is a little bit smaller, but I'm willing to sacrifice space for location. We both loved what we saw on the overall apartment, a bonus point was that bathroom had been refurbished recently, it was a win-win situation! What made the day out even better was that the kind staff member we had our apartment viewing with was so friendly and even bought us our first Takoyaki, おいしい ~! She was great to talk to throughout, as she lives within the same area and gave us some insight into whereabouts everything is.
The afternoon was spent filling in forms for the new apartment and then wandering around Shinjuku for food, which was the ever faithful Mos Burger, then a crepe fr dessert ^___^ I may have also treated myself to some addictive gameplay in the arcades, hehe ~!

We will be moving into the new apartment tomorrow ^___^ Wish us luck!

On the Wednesday, we decided to walk towards the main shopping street known as Motomachi, which was right next to Chinatown (The largest outside of China!). A very pretty area, which had a great sense of Western influence to it, kinda gave it a cool European feel to the area, until it lead into Chinatown, of course! This place was HUGE. Of course, one of the first stops was at a traditional steam bun stand ;D I couldn't believe how fresh it was, a great way to re-gain energy for Lunch! Along side was a melon pan, actually full of melon, topped it off nicely.
The surrounding area of Chinatown was packed of many stores (Many giant panda themed stores), eateries and even an aquarium. We accidentally stumbled into the Yoshimoto Aquarium of Fun, which was just as it suggests in the title, some very cool inventive exhibits, which may have involved some baby lobsters. So かわいい ~! We actually spent a lot of time in here, despite how small it may look, it is pretty big and theres plenty to see! We decided after a couple of hours we had better head back.
Somehow, we ended up taking a wrong turn, (Passing not just Kitty Cafe, but a Bunny Cafe on the way) so we ended up having quite an unexpected tour of the area XD Luckily, the weather was good, if a little windy, and there was a kind teacher in our path to guide us in the right direction.
We did get home eventually, huzzah!

Spent today mainly cleaning up bits and bobs to get ready for the inspection that will also come with handing over the keys, there wasn't much to clean anyway, as we haven't really settled here for too long. So it hasn't taken too much time, will go over little pieces tomorrow morning.
When the keys are handed over, the epic struggle with suitcases will begin once more! At least we'll be going downhill this time round XD Might see if we can order a taxi in the meantime, if not, the journey to the subway station and on the subway is quite an easy one now we know where we're heading.

I'm looking forward to actually get settled and set up things such as Gaijin Card, Bank and Mobile Phone. That way we both can finally move onto getting ourselves work and making head way into Living In Japan.
Despite the moving set back, I can't even begin to explain how living here for just under two weeks has been an amazing experience already, meeting locals, shopping at the food markets and being among it all. I'm so grateful and excited to be here right now ^___^ ~ <3

Whats that, lack of photos you ask? I am actually uploading all of my photos to my ShiverZ In Japan Tumblr Account to make things easier, so go check em' out!

ShiverZ In Japan: Vlog Updates!





Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Arrived in Japan!

Robzilla and I are officially in our Japanese apartment in Yokohama ^___^

It was a long flight, (Eleven and half hours to be precise) where I managed play bejewelled many times and view the film 'Social Network'. I was bubbling with excitement and nerves, which probably didn't help the fact I had an odd bought of air travelling sickness (I'm usually great at travelling on planes), but the hours flew by and the journey to our hotel in Tokyo was smooth. I was glad to see there were quite a few blossoms still hanging onto the trees!

The hotel itself was really awesome too, spacious and great location (Right next to Tokyo Tower!). We even got ourselves a free upgrade too, I think it was because we didn't smoke? Either way, woo! After a much needed rest for an hour or so, we had a celebratory meal at Mos Burger, a delectable burger food chain in Japan, which I must admit, their teriyaki burgers are SOOO GOOOOD. Afterwards, we took a stroll through the Zojoji Temple which is almost underneath Tokyo Tower, pretty impressive to say the least! Surrounded in sakuras and many hidden treasures, it looked almost perfect when being lit by the evenings sun.

We woke-up considerably early the following morning, getting confused about times zones and all kinds of excited about picking up our keys for the apartment. We left our bags at the hotel and went to the Sakura House office in Shinjuku. It was great coming back to this point, as this was where Robzilla and I had previously stayed during our time in Tokyo. It was a short walk from the subway station and my mind was fluttering between excitement and nerves, I don't think it helped I was still getting used to the time zone! The time had come, we had finally reached the building. Inside, we were greeted by many faces, so we sat down to whoever was free.

This
is when it hit me, we were going to be living in Japan.

We were shown a video on Japanese bins (They have a crazy amount of recycling over here, you have at least five bins) and asked to fill in many forms. We were even given complimentary green tea and chocolates! Many papers and signatures later, it was set. The keys were handed over and next-up was the task of finding the apartment.

To cut a long story short, it was a pretty rough journey. Mainly because we had four hefty bags between us, this versus the Tokyo subway was not a good combination, this including finding ourselves on the wrong train and having to backtrack to lead us to the right one. Luckily, we asked some very nice Japanese folks who guided us in the right direction, so domo arigato to them!

When we got on the other side at Yokohama, evening had hit and we eventually managed to flag a taxi. As we began to enter the area of out apartment, the taxi driver seemed to be very confused, driving up some very winding roads (I give anyone credit who could squeeze around those bends!) and then eventually stopping at the bottom of a very long passage way towards the apartment. Not only was it a long passage, but it was a bumpy stair way up hill. The taxi driver was kind enough to wait with some of our bags, as we then lugged them up the hill (This just shows how trusting you ca be of complete strangers in Japan. And yes, this may have been a very risky idea leaving luggage with a taxi man we barely knew, but hey, Japan is awesome).
When we arrived at the apartment we unlocked the door and were welcomed by a spacious and very lovely lodgings. Many appliances and a very comfy bed. Our bodies were pretty much broken at this point. We still had to wander out to retrieve the essentials, but luckily there is a convenience store about ten minutes from the apartment... BUT... we had made it! ^____________________^ <3

That was just under a week ago now and here I am typing away in the apartment.

SO, what has been happening this past week?

It has been a mixture of finding our bearings and planning our next steps. Oh yesh, don't forget the sprinkling of jet lag.

I'm still in a state of disbelief right now, that I will be living here for just under a year. I'm looking out of the patio door and outside is, WOAH, IT'S JAPAN. I think it dawns on me a little more each day, especially when going grocery shopping (So much fun!), that I'm actually here.

The local area is a lovely suburban town, which has many shops and places to discover to keep us busy with wandering around. There seems to be a lot of older residence nearby and all the houses are so beautiful.
Our neighbours in this apartment block are ridiculously quiet, which we are very grateful for, as one aspect of living an apartment is having to put up with who you are housed next to, so naturally we we worried about how the local folks would act. Luckily, it seems the polite manners of the Japanese lead us to have considerate neighbours. So much so, that we only discovered today we do actually have someone living next door, we thought it was empty as they were so quiet. Hurray!

Although, despite how lovely this apartment is, it is a little further away from Tokyo than we were expecting. When checking out the local subway line into Tokyo, it took just over an hour, which for business purposes maybe a bit troublesome. We have another place in our housing sights, it is with the same company we found our current residence through, but it is only 15 minutes away from the Shibuya area in Tokyo, which couldn't be more awesome. This was in fact one of our first spots before where we are now, so we are going to check it out tomorrow and see what we think of it. If all goes well, we may be moving into that apartment. Either way, we'll be here for another two weeks yet.

This is one HUUUGE entry. But ya know, this is one life changing experience, I can't help but ramble!

I've been procrastinating with this blogger for sometime now, so for that, my apologies. I have been keeping a photo blog on my Tumblr page, please check it out for pretty photos! Expect more up-to-date entries now we are properly settled, I haven't really had the brain power to update this mofo with any sense.

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! IN JAPAN!

Friday, 15 April 2011

Is Off to Japan!

The hours are counting down now, this time tomorrow Robzilla and I will be making our way to Japan!

I had the hard task of leaving the homestead yesterday, which of course, was extremely hard. Tears were everywhere but my final week spending time with the family couldn't have been more awesome. It was refreshing to see my parents hanging out together and getting along, as they have been separated for sometime now,so it made me really happy to see this. Anyone who knows me is aware of how close I am to my sister and how we're pretty inseparable at times, so naturally that was the hardest part when leaving, I will miss her SO much. As I keep telling myself though, with the amazement of technology, messengers such as Skype will keep us close, despite the distance. Plus, I'm looking forward to sending her plenty of crazy items from Japan! XD

It is still pretty surreal at this moment that I will be living in Japan for a year, packing for something like this was insane! Luckily both of my suitcases are now under the weight restriction, they may have crunched my feet several times over during this vigorous process of shuffling items from one case to the other.

I'm in the midst of double checking I have everything now. Passport, tickets, money, underwear, marmite, the vitals!

OMGEEEEEEEEEEEEE I AM GOING TO LIVE IN JAPAN!!!!!!

I think my brain just imploded, this should make an interesting flight XD

I guess this about wraps it up, time for me to get my ass away from this screen and keep myself calm in these last few hours. The next time I type here, I'll be in the Land of the Rising Sun! ^___^

JAPAN.....HERE I COME!

Monday, 11 April 2011

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Less Than A Week

Thats right, it's less than a week until I fly out with Robzilla to Japan! ^______^

I spent a majority of today sitting in front of my two suitcases, with their seams bulging with the vast array of contents from my closet crammed within. Then it hit me, I Am Moving To Japan. I know this is really odd to type, as I should have realized it by now, right?

I think having an hour session talking to a friend over Skype, who is at this present time working and living in China, that I began to think that this would be me in a weeks time. When we had finished our ramble-a-thon, my sister, Hamling, decided to pass on a few gifts she had bought me for my travels. This was exceptionally hard for the both of us, choking tears as I cautiously opened the gift bag and envelope, both of us making silly remarks as I peeked at each gift, trying to distract ourselves from the obvious. I could have cried a lot more than I actually did. She is the closest person to me and always has been, so I had to stagger whatever I was feeling, otherwise I'd projectile cry like some Ghibli movie.

The Contents:
- One Giant Tub of Very Swanky White Hot Chocolate
- Mini Parasauralophus Figurine
- Chibi-styled Sushi badge
- Sakura Blossom Scented Perfume

After these 25 years, how does she know me so well? XD I am going to hella miss the sarnie crew adventures <3

I wasn't even expecting any of these gifts, or any of the other marvellous gifts I received from all of the other awesome peeps I have come to know (Man, you guys and gals all totally rock my world). All of these people have at some point been so close to me one way or another, and I have always appreciated our hang-outs, whatever the tone.

Today has been a mixture of emotions really, since both Robzilla and I have been working towards this for just under a year now, going through and overcoming quite a few difficulties with the planning in that time to get where we are today, that it is finally happening.

Maybe it was that Sunday feeling, it has been a very beautiful sunny day, a typical British Springtime, with the birds singing aloud. I'm glad I got to spend it with my family. My Pa, realizing this will be the last family Sunday meal for sometime, splurged on two very uber fancy and expensive cut of steak for Hamling and I to feast on. They were something so perfect, they looked like they had been pulled from a Tom and Jerry cartoon! With a side of new potatoes, swede and carrots, it was England on a plate. It was happily consumed while watching 'Lost in Translation', oddly enough Ham's first viewing too!

All I can say to finalize this entry is that I couldn't be more grateful for those I know and what I have accomplished from life so far. As for the future in Japan, I am excited for what the future holds, spending time within a culture I love and with someone I love, who is very special to me.

Expect more rambling updates!

Monday, 4 April 2011

こうふん!

^________^
Exactly TWO WEEKS until my boyfriend and I move into the Japanese apartment ♥♥
A very short, but all kinds of excited blog post!
こうふん - koufun = excitement

Friday, 1 April 2011

Cake and Canine

As promised, photos-a-la-doglie!









And the most delicious spectacle you'll ever see, Cake Castle! Chocolate and rasberry flavour! Mmmmm, おいしい!

Blueberry muffins, with glitter ^___^ かわいい!


Tasty times were had by ALL!
( Dog ownership and both cake delights were made by this lovely lady and her Fiancée)

With all things Japan...
Noting much to report.
I re-packed my suitcase for a third time today, I'm far more happier now that I've managed to wedge in some more bits and bobs (Makes my room far more tidier too!). Taking out some clothes helped, I'm probably going overboard with what I need, but I'd rather be over prepared than the opposite.
Weighing them shows both the suitcases I'm heaving along are under the weight allowance too - やった BONUS!
Seems like we actually might just make Sakura/Hanami season too, the buds in Tokyo have just begun to bloom, so something to get excited about once more! ^___^