ben griffiths
an insight into the mind of a genius

Posts Tagged ‘curtains’

All is well on the eastern front

Thursday, August 25th, 2005

Good news!! Well, at least I think it is… or maybe it’s a cause to feel guilty.. hmm… my rent has miraculously decreased to Nana-Man Yen (70,000 yen or £350) a month. I don’t know if this is because it was originally worked out wrong, or the girls feel sorry for me as I keep complaining about the cost of everything… lol… but I guess I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, so I’ll accept it graciously…

Ok so where was I, ah yes i was just on my way to Shibuya to post the start of this up. You know, I really feel I must apologise again for the rubbishness of the look, but at this moment I really can’t do much about it, anyway, I digress….

It’s really strange, I have only been here for four days, but already I feel this area is like home. I must admit, I still like it that I’m the only foreign person here (whenever I see another westerner in Shibuya / Shinjuku - I kinda get a bit jealous… weird I know.. but I haven’t seen any other blondes yet…. yatta!) - the walk from the apartment to the station now I’m used to it is quite nice, all the houses are so different, quite unlike back in the UK where a street is normally quite uniform in look.

I’m going to jump around a bit with topics now, as I keep remembering things in differnt orders, so prepare for a slightly confusing post.

Background: As I think I mentioned, and you can see from the photos, my bedroom door(s) is/are made from glass and keep out 0% of light. We are still working on this problem, and my brilliant plan involving many sheets of A3 paper (and an hour and a half to do one pane) came to nothing. The next idea is wallpaper which will be attempted tomorrow.

Anyway, because of this, first thing in the morning, the whole room is lit up by the sun (the curtains in the front room are some rubbish 2000yen (£10) things we got from Donki) which invariably wakes me up at about 6/7am. I do manage to get back to sleep however until about 9am when the builders arrive….

Smack opposite the balcony (and you can see it from the photos, it’s like another high rise) is the university halls of residence. For some unknown reason (ie it looks fine to me) - the good people at the council / uni / whoever have decided they need to knock down the perimeter wall. If this was a wooden wall, then no problem. However it is steel re-inforced concrete, which requires a jackhammer and about a billion work men to knock down. Oh my god it’s so droning, and combine it with the b4stard flying squaking things, makes sleep impossible. So then I lay they cursing them until 11 when they go for tea, so I can get back to sleep….. not a good way to sort a sleeping pattern.

I was watching out the window today shaking my fist at them (more for a laugh than anything) when one of the chaps looked up, saw me and got all his chums to start waving back… hahaha… he better watch it, they sell air guns at the local toyshop ….. mwahaha!!

You know one thing that puzzles me, it’s how the japanese guys keep their hair so perfect. I assumed it was some sort of gel, but it seems to be waterproof. After I came out of Manboo (the internet / comic store where I uploaded this) - it was bucketing down with rain. But NO ONE’S HAIR WAS GETTING MESSED UP. I’m so jealous, it takes me ages of careful flicking here and there to be confident enough with my hair to go out, but only seconds to trash it in the rain, yet these guys don’t have this problem.

To try and solve this mystery, I thought I would ask one of them, which of course was easier said than done. As expected, I didn’t really get very far and just ended up telling him his hair was “sugoi!” (cool) - way to go ben! erm yes, quite….

I also had my huge shopping list to do, which (apart from the paper) had the very important items of lighting devices on it. Now, maybe I’ve just been spoiled by Dad’s low prices, but to me 2000 yen (£10) for a budget lamp ISN’T a good deal. Ceiling lights are even worse, with the cheapest light shade I could find coming in at 3500 yen (£17.50) - so as of yet I still have no lighting…. maybe i should just bite the bullet and get one…

So we’re now at dinner time and after meeting up with S+S they said we should go for Hamburgu. After questioning whether they meant hamburgER and being told “no”, i was looking forward to this new delicacy. Of course, all a Hamburgu is, is a hamburger without the bun, but aparently because of this it is seen in a new light… I duly had the Hamburgu with Frankfurter, Pork Bits, Sweetcorn and Chicken, which I must admit was very nice (and it was also good that the girls picked it, so I can’t be accused of not eating the local food .. ;))

After dinner, they wanted to go off to one of the many book shops in Tokyo, not to buy anything mind, just to sit in there and read!!! Reminds me of the Starbucks in Borders in Kingston, where you can get a coffee and read through all the books!!! Something I beleive Judge used to do during exam revision time so he had access to more material… (I of course did the more sensible thing of buying the book, reading it really carefully and returning it after the exam……)

I had decided now that I wanted to start on the creation of my wall masterpiece, so headed off home. All full of enthusiasm, I got in, hooked the laptop up to the TV (better speakers) , put on the Muse album and began sticking. I suppose I should have realised that the album finishing and me still on pane one of glass meant I wasn’t doing too well, but I kept on going and put on Green Day to fill the silence. By the end of that, and after catching A3 paper as it fell off the wall WAY to many times, I came to the conclusion that:

1) This was going to take longer than an evening to complete.
2) I wish I had bought A2 paper

But worst of all, after going round the other side:

3) It looks completely crap anyway :(
It was at this moment that the girls got home, so I took the opportunity to have a tantrum and start shouting at the wall until they made me a cup of tea. (ok the tea bit isn’t true, we don’t have a kettle, but they did come to see what was wrong :)) - we decided that perhaps going to the fabic shop in Shinjuku tomorrow (today) would be a better idea, so the paper was shelved (literally … it’s on it’s own shelf in my special cupboard. When I feel particually evil, I tear some apart, sheet by sheet shouting “ha! you bastard, take that!!!”)

Oh I missed a bit, dammit, ok well earlier we went looking for mobile phones. There are so many to choose from, but you have to decide what you basically want (sort of same as UK) - but you then limit yourself to which network…. it’s not stupid features like colour screen, many ring tones etc, but important stuff….

To cut a long story short, I’ve whittled it down to Vodafone, but now have a dillema. I can either get the 3G model, which allows (amoungst other things) SMS to and from the UK and free picture emails (so i can take a photo, then mail it to you guys) and have global roaming (though I guess not so important) - however the signal coverage is not so good outside major cities… OR go with one of their V6 models which will allow me to listen to FM radio, use the video functions, but best of all…. WATCH TV!! :) I tried it in the shop and it’s so cool… Of course, I don’t have a clue what’s going on, but it could be useful once I actually learn Japanese…..

Let’s jump a day forward now (temporarily) - but after sitting up with Shiho last night for about 2 hours working out what each brocure said, then enduring a very painful english/japanese conversation with the woman at the vodafone stand in Shinjuku (just before reading the catalogue and finding out there is an English speaking shop in Shibuya… doh!) - I’ve decided to go with the 3G model, as it will be nice to be able to send and receive texts and the photo email facility will be cool (I’ll eventually link it up with here, so I can post directly to the site…)

Well this morning was jackhammer morning, but I did get to witness a load of them kick at the wall until it fell down (which looked pretty cool!) - so perhaps all was not *quite* so bad.

I got up and dressed around lunch time and as Seiko had eaten, decided to walk to the convenience store to pick up some lunch (and a few bottles of water, but to write that would just be boring… oh no, wait…. lol) - of course, the convenience store is “Justin Heaven” as it’s full of various cold fish dish type things. I of course aren’t at all impressed by this, so hunted for some meat. Now I can tell the difference between fish and meat pretty well (i’m sure most of you can) - but now when it’s all wrapped in breadcrumbs as most of the dishes are. Not to fall for the same trap as last time when instead of obtaining a nice chicken burger, i was hit with a mackaral sandwich (YADDA!!!) - I played it safe and went with the only english written packet in the hot food section - Spicy Chicken Cutlet Burger.

After a bit of hand waving, I managed to get the woman behind the counter to understand I wanted it heated up, so she popped it in the microwave for me for 15 seconds. Now I don’t know what wattage these things are, but after these short moments of time, the thing was piping hot!! I swear I could see it glowing as she put it in the bag, but I’m not completely sure…..

Anyway, deciding it would be rude to eat walking down the street (well ok, i just didnt have enough hands free) - i took it home to eat. Settling down on the floor (lol), I opened it up and took a bite… but something was wrong… there was no cutlet in it. I was just about to throw it in disgust over the balcony at the builders (who had now resumed their ‘jackhammering’) which I noticed something small and brown… could it be…? Opening up the buns confirmed it, the smallest chicken cutlet known to man had fallen into one of the airpockets in the bread and was barely visible to the naked eye…. now I know the Japanese are small, but to make a burger this size is unthinkable. Think coke can diameter and you have my lunch….

There wasn’t time to grumble too much though, as I had to go with Seiko to Shinjuku and look for fabric (to try and sort the wall out) - so took the now familiar walk back to the station….

Hmm, I wonder how long I will keep up writing absolutely *everything* I do, each entry has been a few hours so far… let’s take bets…


Question: How long will it be until Ben-san starts writing very brief entries / no entries at all…??

(HAI!) A: 1-4 days
(HAI!) B: 5-10 days
(HAI!) C: 10-14 days
(HAI!) D: 14 days or more..

PLACE YOUR BETS…… tick tock, tick tock, don’t be afraid of the ticking clock….


Sorry, lol… so Shinjuku and the cloth shop. We must of spent about an hour or two trying random cloths with the “torch test”

Torch Test Shine torch on back of cloth and see how much light comes through the front.

And as we got more desperate (as all of them let the light through) - and figuring unless I was VERY unlucky, the sun wouldn’t rise smack next to my window anyway (in which case I’d be dead and not care anyway - at least it would stop the damn jackhammers) - we resorted to the “head test”

Head Test Make “tent” shape from cloth and put head in gap to judge light levels. This method of course obtained us many a funny look, however it was a lot more accurate and conclusive than the torch test…

Unfortunately though, none of the fabric (or at least the fabric within the £3 a square metre range - I need 8 square metres) passed, so we decided to go get some more food instead after meeting up with Shiho.

After dinner Shiho was off to the bookstore, but we agreed to meet after an hour to go check out mobile phones (but I’ve already told you that…) - so I had an hour to find an internet cafe, or, more accurately the one I was at the other day.

It took me about 20 minutes to eventually find it (all i knew was it was underground near the red light district) - after being offered sex about 30 times by various blokes (who i assume were a front for women, at least, i hope so… :) ) i finally found it, so settled down in the comfy sofa avec foot stall to log on… (i’ll take a photo of one of the booths, they are amazing - pc, tv, ps2, dvd player, video phone etc etc… you can rent one for an hour or two just to watch movies, or as some people do, go to sleep!!)

So yes, apologies to you mum, but my time ran out before I got to your email :)
Then comes the phone store bit, which you’ve already read… before heading back via bus with Shiho to home. (our place does actually have a posh name, but i’ve forgotten it, so i’ll update another time) - where… guess what…. I COOKED!!! :)
Now I bet you’re all dying to know what…. but then, I think with a few guesses you would probably get it…. no…? Spaghetti with Garlic Fried Chicken and lots of Olive Oil :) A Ben and Gowry speciality, no? :) Ate this while sitting watching a comedy sketch show with Shiho, which despite being in another language (funny that…) - I managed to work out what was going on and it was quite funny. It must of actually been ever better if you knew what they were talking about, at least I assume so by the fact Shiho was rolling around on the floor every 2 minutes =)

Almost done, don’t worry…. we then had another look at the whole glass door situation and tried to work out a new rememedy. Well, the next plan is wallpaper :) Cut very straight, I reckon it will be possible to make a perfect looking door (to the outside) - then put a (cheap) cloth over the whole of the inside. Of course, the A3 paper plan was also a masterpiece of an idea, so this could go horribly wrong too, however I have faith!

Which brings us up to now, 1am on a erm (I dont even know the day, let me check my ultra cool watch…) Wednesday evening (or Thursday morning if you want to be really precise) - heck, almost the end of week 1… i only have a week to go until i must start school… which reminds me, I need to enrol…. eek! And I’m sitting my pillow (I’ve learned from the sore bum incident the other day) listening to very loud music on my headphones :)
Shiho is down at the payphone talking to her boyfriend as her mobile has stopped working, and Seiko should be home very soon (her work finished at 11…. hmm… which means she should actually be home by now….)

I’m hopefully going to be able to get to sleep earlier tonite, not the 3/4am it has been, but this is looking doubtful at the moment. If I had a light in my room, I could sit in there reading… but as of yet, my cheapskateness self hasn’t got the lighting ability :)
Seiko reckons she makes do (very well) with about £500 a month (excluding rent and bills) - so even the lowest paid Nova job should be ok. (however I will need to use all my savings for school…) - I also don’t know how much she goes out, but I do know that I’ll save a fortune in internet cafe bills once it finally gets put in :) haha!

Skype is setup now too, so I can annoy you all at work by ringing at 5pm my time and laughing at you lot just starting your day :p The timezone is a bit annoying though, as it means I can only properly ring at the weekend… grrrr…

So before I leave, tomorrow - Alien Register (something every “alien” to the country has to do if they are staying more than 90 days) - which will then allow me to open a bank account at the Shinsei Bank, which in turn will allow me to purchase my phone (Toshiba/Vodafone 902t for anyone interested - and then be able to text you guys :)
To you my friends… OYASUMI!