ben griffiths
an insight into the mind of a genius

Posts Tagged ‘gas panic’

The weekend has landed….

Thursday, March 16th, 2006

Wow! Next day sure takes a long time to arrive! :) Why haven’t I updated since last Wednesday, well, the easiest answer is that I haven’t yet actually been home!! Or at least, if I have been, not really been in a fit state of mind to type something insightful (though thinking about it, it would probably quite insightful into how I was feeling at the time… haha)

So let’s begin with the Wednesday night then and Vanessa’s leaving party.

After work, due to everyone finishing at different times, we all met up at the nearby Seigo Fraidos (or however you say it) before moving to the first main stop of the night - a local izakaya, whose manager is actually a Nova student! (though I didn’t know this at the time) Once there, it was basically the usual izakaya experience (order drinks, then snack food - usually fried potato, fried chicken etc) - though i remember the umeshuu was particularly good :D
That done, we had about an hour and a half until last trains - so it was decided to head out to karaoke, for “one last sing song” as it were. The place chosen was smack opposite the train station, making quick exits possible and, whilst looking pretty grim from the corridoors, had pretty ok rooms. One extra cool thing was the “song pick computer”, unlike the usual karaoke affair, this one had a full colour screen and even let you play space invaders on it!

As is usually the case when alcohol is involved, the plans were soon changed, as come last train - no one wanted to head back “just yet”. This however left the agonising question - “reluctantly finish the night off now” or “stay out until first train at 5am”. Admitedly, it wasn’t such a big deal for me due to my late starting times anyway - though for the others it was more of an issue. However, the “all nighter” was the chosen option, made even better by the arrival of Hisako (the new Yumi) - you only need to check the photo gallery to see how good a time was had by all ;) With the drinks flowing all night (and some hilarious poses shown off by Mark!!)


I got home by about 6am or so - then a wonderful sleep in until around 3pm, when it was time to get back into work. Hisako had to start at 10, and when I arrived at Nova - it was pretty plain to see she hadn’t had much sleep :) “Late night?” ….. lol.

Friday after work, once again it had been arranged to go to “Dot” in Shimo, so when I was able to finally clock off at 7:30, it was direct to the bar we went :) This time, we were joined by Toshi, Ryoko and Shimpei but also the return of Yumi!! Hurrah! It was decided that although we made pretty good use of the nomihodai last time, this time we should do better - so a 15 drink target was applied to the night. I’m also pleased to say that we made this target (and above) and come 11:40, we were well and truly merry. Seiko and Ryoko then wanted to go to a club, however I thought perhaps I should try and save some money, so instead went with the rest of the gang to another izakaya (the one i had gone with Shimpei to previously) - were, yup, more drinks ensued.

We also had a game of “Suishi Roulette” - where basically you order 5 of the same sushi dishes, however one of them is laced with loads of wasabi (hot). I think it’s pretty obvious from this picture who the “unfortunate” was ….


Finally, I think at about 3am or so, I couldn’t stay awake, so we all left, splitting up with Yumi half way as she went back to her house, and us to ours :)
Saturday had the obligitary lie in, followed by the obligatory do nothing for the rest of the day (though not much was actually left!) until Seiko got home in the evening, bringing with her a bottle of umeshu for me :) Go Seiko! This actually was nicely timed, as I had just started to do some mixing - and the added alcohol went down a treat. So well in fact, that an hour later when we were due to leave, I was quite drunk ;)
So first stop of the Saturday night was Sangenjaya where we went looking down the “cheap street” for somewhere to grab some food and a few extra drinks. We settled on a really traditional looking izakaya, which had the full “shoes off, tatami mat” experience, and also, had a large selection of drinks.

I ordered the Umeshu Sour (suprise, suprise) and a few minutes later, was greeted with the following sized tankard…! :eek:

Yup! That’s not a photoshop, it really was that massive! Seiko opted for the beer, and whilst although there was an equal sized glass available, she instead chose the “more wimpy” pint :D
3 glasses (or pitchers or whatever you call something that size) later, and finally it was time to head out to Roppongi - first stop “Hub” to get in a few drinks, before we really hit the town… lol… no actually, to get a few “cheap” drinks in, before we moved on to an old haunt “Hideout” - which had been recently closed for repairs.

It’s funny I guess, when writing a blog entry about going out clubbing, there really isn’t much you can say. I guess I can say where, and if anything exciting happened, but there’s not really much else one can add. So here, look at some photos of some fire breathing by the bar staff instead! :D

Shortly after all this went off, the amount of alcohol finally got too much for me, and i had to make my excuses and head to the toilets where I stayed for the next hour or so, until i was able to stand (using the word very loosely) and get back to the safe chair by Seiko. By now, trains had started and I really wanted to get back - however Seiko was now getting friendly with some new bloke, so I left them too it and headed off to the cloakroom.

Memory here still a little hazy, though I just remember someone tapping me on the shoulder and saying “come with me”, which seemed like a good idea at the time - so I followed (or rather was led) by a girl out of hideout and into a next bar where more alcohol was had, before then heading to ANOTHER bar!! By this time, I had managed to start on the water, so was feeling a bit better - though still not completely with it.

The girl (whose name was Chie) worked as a hostess in one of the clubs in roppongi and had just finished work when she popped down to the club (she explained) and had just noticed me toterring around by the door :) hehe … anyway, come 8am and i *really* needed to get home, so arranging to meet her on Monday, I made my excuses and left, so stagger home to a much needed sleep! :)
But! It doesn’t end there. Waking up at 5pm, I then had to rush to get ready for Mark’s birthday meal, which was going to be held at the French restaurant we had gone before. Even worse (or better, depending how you want to look at it) was it was another nomihodi :eek: I would have actually liked to have opted out, but due to the fact I had to pay 5000yen to go to it, this hardly seemed like a sensible option ;)
The food at this place is exceptional, I have never had such fancy stuff, but it was all amazing, including something was aparently some exploded liver or stomach or something of a force fed animal, erm, I forget it’s name - something like “Far Gwah”?, but it’s delicious, I don’t care where it came from :) Luckily, some of the others didn’t agree with this, so left there’s… perfect! Oh oh oh! Plus of course, the meal wouldn’t have been complete without the lamb, and let me tell you, it was just as delicious as before, though this time there was more…. MUCH more…


Mmmmmmmmmmm….. just thinking about it again is making me hungry :) So the food done and drinks newly topped up, we headed downstairs (the main room was upstairs) where the last task of the night was to give the cake….


At about 10:30, it was time for the poor chef to get some rest (he had opened just for us) - so we headed off to Asso to get some “goodbye” coffees, where the talk went on for an hour or so - after which, it was finally time to say our goodbyes :)
Whew, almost there :)
So Monday, with work being “normal” (I no longer think I need to really write about it anymore - everyday is the same now) - though after I had arranged to meet with Chie, so headed off to Shibuya and Hachiko at about 9:30. As neither of us had eaten, first stop was a restaurant of some sorts. Due to it being absolutely freezing outside and Chie only wearing a light jacket, anywhere close seemed like a good idea - so we settled on “Lockup” (readers of my previous blog will remember it as the place where you get handcuffed and led to your table, which is actually a prison cell). The cells were all full this time though, so we had to make do with the “cave bar” - which I guess needs no explaining (it was a cave). :)
They were running a current special promotion there, which involved a load of new cocktails and “potions” (you got them in test tubes and science beakers). One in particular looked quite interesting, so, despite the warnings from the staff that it was very strong - I decided to order it anyhow. When it arrived, it looked quite harmless. Just a simple clear liquid, however as soon as you smelt it, you realised it was going to bite a lot worse than it could bark :eek:
One sip was all that was required to know that things were going to now get very interesting, no sooner had it started to go down my throat, then it started to burn - and burn a lot! However (and perhaps looking back this was not such a wise decision) not wanting to waste any money, it was decided I should just down it to quickly get rid of it and then follow it up with an umeshu chaser! So I did……. and once the burning had subsided (and the umeshu had taken away all the nasty taste) - we grabbed the bill and headed off back into the night to the nearby “Gas Panic” nightclub to use up the last few hours before the train departed.

And…. here begineth a usual tale…. ;) Once in GP, a round of shots was ordered, followed by some cocktails and then a bottle of champagne (!?!? don’t ask….) and then of course, the drink of before kicked in….. come last train, i was past caring and indeed it was about 3:30 by the time I had regained enough sense to work out where I was :) (and take this photo of the cool tissue dispenser…)


I was also now pretty knackered and didn’t want to hang around at the club anymore, so we once again braved the cold and headed out into the (relatively empty) streets of Shibuya. And then froze. So very quickly ran into a nearby karaoke building, hired a room ……. and went to sleep :)
Believe it or not, Tuesday I actually DIDN’T go out ;) Instead, staying an hour or so after work to talk with Haruna about random Nova topics :)
The 14th of March in Japan is actually “White Day” or the woman’s valentines (not sure if I wrote before, but valentines is for men in Japan - they don’t get the woman a gift) - however in our household it was reversed, so when I got back, I had the following waiting for me :)

Oishiiiiii! :D Infact, I am just finishing it off now - and jolly nice it is too :)
So, rar, I think I’ve done it - once again up to date. I got paid today (luckily) so am safe in the knowledge that I didn’t overspend toooo much ;) Though I definately don’t have any “over” money, so will have to be very strict this month. I think I will lie low for the rest of the week (yes, all two days of it) - so don’t expect much (if anything) - and i then have just Friday night out, due to work on Sunday…… however, that should be my last Sunday working for a while (fingers crossed).

So all that’s left to say is well done for struggling through this entry, I hope you have enjoyed reading about my week as I did living it :)

Forgive me father, it has been a week since my last confession….

Sunday, September 4th, 2005

Ok this is most likely to be the most confusing entry written. When I started typing, it was Sat the 27th. Then I restarted on the Sunday the 28th. Now however it is Sunday the 4th of September. However to try and keep the flow going, I will just keep adding to the end.

You have been warned.

Oh, and a big “Konnichiwa!” to Uncle Jack, I am honoured you feel reading this is worth a trip to the library :D

“Well dear friends, welcome to installment 3 of the greatest journal in the world, typed today, Saturday the 27th August, through a very hazy vision, but more about that later.” - this was going to be the start of this entry, but due to me not finishing it and going out instead, I will instead write an even more hazy account on this fine evening, Sunday the 28th :) I therefore warn you, there might be quite a bit missing (along with quite a lot of my memory… eek!)

*** jesus - I’ve only edited one paragraph and already my vision is going blurred and flashing!!! at least i don’t have a headache though I suppose….. ***

Last time I wrote, I was just settlng down to a good nights sleep, of course once again broken by the building crew in the morning, though they now seem to have demolished the wall and started putting up the new one, which whilst still quite loud, is a lot better than a jackhammer going off …. (cutting the concrete blocks with an angle grinder though does still make you grit your teeth so as not to go mad and hurl yourself of the balcony).

So it was up at 12 or thereabouts, to get my stuff together to go to the local city hall to register. I had my little map, but it is litterly just across the park, so didn’t cause too much of a problem. At least, that was the plan, except Seiko had drawn the map wrongly, so I went off to some other government building. Luckily a kind chap knew where i was supposed to be going, so dropped me off right at the Alien Registration Desk :)
It was then just a case of heading up to the counter, getting some forms to fill in and handing them back. In return, I was given a certificate of “living there..” (I dont know how to word it better) and a nice big pack about Setagaya-ku (all in English, w00t!) - I also had to pick up some temporary certificates that I would need to take to the bank in order to open an account and possibly the Vodafone store.

To Mum + Dad: You will be pleased to hear that health insurance is compulsory here (despite me trying to argue I don’t need it), however it’s not too expensive (about £30 a month) and means you only have to pay 30% (or sometimes 10%) of all medical fees. Not sure how doctor prescriptions work (as far as colds and antibiotics etc) - however there is a mystical looking shop in central tokyo that claims it can cure anything, just using diffent plants and animal faeces…..

Oh this is so annoying, I am not even sure what day it is, so I’m not sure what I’ve already said… oh hang on, ahah!!! Yes!!! I remember. This might be Thursday I am writing about. Ok… good…

So I got back from the Registration Office quite late, but still wanted to go to my college to enrol, however not knowing where it was, I had to go back to Shibuya to a net cafe to look it up. Once again though, I got there too late (the school closes at 5) - and seeing as it was the start of the typhoon, the weather was awful and not really good for “walking for miles to find a school” in.

Seiko was at work and Shiho was out, so I now had nothing to do. The rain really was coming down now (at least I thought so at the time) - so I decided the only sensible thing to do would be to check into an internet cafe for 8 hours :) (£5) It also seemed like it would be a good idea to try and find some more people in Tokyo to meet up with, so I headed to my favourite penpal site to see who was on offer. Fired off a few emails to random people looking for a language exchange, then put up a new ad of my own (its like a “meet people” bulletin board).

I then set the mail client in the background and just got on with some randomness… about 10 minutes later, I already had 4 replies, including one girl called “Waka” who was on MSN at the time, so was able to chat live. She did tell me some really interesting things, however I can’t remember that far back, except that I am supposed to be meeting her on Tuesday… (however I also told her I would mail to confirm on Friday….. whoops….)

The rest of the time was just some internet randomness (including catching up with Gerald.. hey dude!) - before I left at about 11:30 or so to get the train home.

And here, I must confess a sin, one of which i am massively ashamed…. I was so hungry by now that i went to….. yes, i know…. McDonalds… :(
Ok let’s jump subject here (we’ll come back to me leaving the cafe in a mo..)

Japanese Food - A type of food invented by someone who really hated the Japanese locals. Consists of making all food contain fish, or if they spare you of that, soy. Resulting in it smelling terrible. Then, just to take the p1ss even more, the time they do let you have something that tastes ok (such as western food) - they shrink it to about a quarter of it’s original size….

The food is actually really becoming a serious problem, I really can’t stand the smell of it (which is aparently the soy) - which makes just trying it very hard. I am therefore surviving on hot dogs and burritos from the local convenience store… Shiho and Seiko are worried I will just waste away, and I am inclined to agree with them. Whilst you can get more “western type” frozen foods (chicken nuggets and the like) - we have no oven, nor microwave so none of it can be cooked….. I do need to sort out something soon though (even if it involves removing my nose and tastebuds….)


Anyway, back to the net cafe. So I had thought the weather was bad earlier, well now the typhoon was pretty much over tokyo, and was quite a bit worse. Luckily I had brought my umbrella, so I was able to keep it off my head, but the force of the wind meant it blew under the rim and got my top body all wet… yuk! :)
I got back just before the girls and we sat around for a bit until Seiko decided she needed to get some eye wash, so we set out in the rain to the 7 11 across the park. The journey there was ok, with a few dodgy moments involving almost overbalancing and falling into puddles, but we got there safely enough.

The journey back we (well, Seiko) wasn’t really quite so fortunate as a freak gust took her umbrella and ripped the top off, which then went sailing down the street. The more chivelrous (sp) side of me thought I should offer mine, however it was cold, so I just pointed and laughed… haha…

By now, the park had become pretty submerged, with water about 3 inches deep and most places and only a few routes to get around it all, most of these being very low (like 5 inches max) and thin (4 inches) walls across which we had to balance. All was good until about half way, when yet again the wind blew (strong wind in a tornado, who would have thought it!) taking Seiko off the wall and into the now mini lake…. hahahahaha…

Back home after drying off, we spend the next 3 hours or so doing english language / pronounciation practise. (Seiko has a book of about 1,800 word she needs to learn, so I just kept opening it at random pages and testing her and Shiho on them….) - and then proceeding to confuse them with - console (as in “dont worry”) & console (ps2) and polish and Polish…. :)
So bed time was morning time, with Seiko having to get up again to go to work in 3 hours… lol…

Cool, we are now up to friday, which is a bit fresher in my mind.

Did I post the internet and phone will be installed on Wednesday? Well if not, the internet and phone will be installed on Wednesday :) I was up for the budget pack, but they went and ordered the 100Meg line instead… I suppose I can’t complain, its a 3 way bill split so wont be too bad…


So Friday morning, my tasks were simple. Go to Vodafone shop to get mobile, then with the number, I would be able to get a bank account at the Shinsei bank, before going to the language school to enrol. Simple..

The first problem occured when I got to the Vodafone store at 4 pm… hehe… I took a ticket and awaited my turn. 30 minutes later, I was finally called…

This was the Vodafone Shibuya store with the English support (which of course was the reason I had come here in the first place) so I had my list of questions ready. The woman who served me was extrememly friendly and was able to speak really good english and laugh at my jokes… (or maybe she was laughing at me..? ;))

All I wanted, was to be able to email back to the UK for free and also be able to send and receive SMS if i needed to. I already knew the phone I wanted, so I thought all would be simple. However at the Vodafone store, you had to pay 12,000yen for the actual phone. I said it was only 1 yen down the road, to which she explained I had to sign up for a 2 year contract, and if I broke this I would need to pay 10,000 yen (now here is where the problem occured, I mis calculated and made this to be £500…. not the £50 it is).

I didn’t want to do this obviously as I would only have the phone for 15 months. Again, another problem. Japanese phone contracts arent like UK ones. In Japan you have to sign for a year at a time, you cannot just use a year then keep on going without signing… To break after 15 months, I would be signed up to my second year of contract, so would have to pay 4000 yen (£20) - ok… I guess it’s not too bad.

You know, there is a load more story to this (I was in the store with her for two hours) - but I really dont want to write it all now… sorry!! Suffice to say, I signed up to a one year contract (£20 a month, with £10 of free calls/data transfer and free emails), paid 12,000 yen for the phone, 2500 joining fee (I KNOW, I HAD TO PAY TO JOIN!!!! WTF!!!)

I couldn’t have the phone straight away as it takes an hour to activate, so I went off again to the internet cafe to check my mail. To my suprise, I now had another 12 replies to my ad from various people wanting to meet up. I still haven’t replied to any yet (no time) - but i dont think i will be short of possible friends here :)
Anyway, back to the Vodafone store and my phone was ready and already charged (I made sure by asking…) - I now had 30 minutes to get back home, drop off the box and stuff, change into a shirt (the club we were going was dress code) and get back to Shibuya to meet Shiho and Seiko for 8 to go eat.

Of course, it was never going to happen, so I felt a bit guilty when I finally got back at 8:45… :o

I was starving now and had found a guide to Shibuya which listed a local Outback!! (for anyone who doesn’t know what Outback is, it’s an Australian steak house which sells really nice food, we have them in the UK - there’s one at Wandsworth - you know Dad, we went there for Tom’s birthday)

So, we’re inside and I’m looking at the menu… hmmm… nice big steak I think. Now the sizes are all metric here, so I am unsure of the weight, but going by the price of the large one, I assume it should be pretty good. The obligatory Blooming Onion arrives first, which is comparable in size with it’s UK counterpart…. things are looking good.

When the steak arrives about 15 minutes later, I am sure that a mistake has been made. Yes there is a rump steak infront of me, however I think it must have come off the rump of a new born baby micro-cow (the type you get in christmas crackers…. =)) ….it did taste nice, I’ll give it that, but really…. I can only imagine what the small one might have been like.

Seiko had also found out the club was playing hip hop, so even though it had a swimming pool, this was not alluring enough to make me want to go, so we decided to go Roppongi instead (I know, I know, yuk yuk yuk…) - first stop though, the bookstore to go and meet a friend of Seikos friend!!? A frenchman by the name of Arnaud (I think) - who luckily spoke English and who is actually a great guy (which is quite suprising since he’s french … ;) :P)

A special mention should now be made to the phone I had just bought, which of course had now ran out of battery… thanks very much…. grrr…. However apart from that, it’s an amazing phone and I love it to pieces. Finally I have a black flip, which can record pretty good quality movies and photos and send them as email for free!!! Haha! So now you lot can expect random videos and odd times of the day. The web address above was wrong by the way, its: (not

So to Roppongi (minus Shiho who had work the next day, so had gone home), first stop the “One Stop Bar” where Seiko’s friend worked and could offer 500 yen drinks. That’s pretty much all it could offer, the place was empty (probably as the music was rubbish) and pretty small… so after 2 drinks, we made our excuses and left (after meeting up with another of Seiko’s friends; Yuka).

We wandered around for a bit, before finding ourselves outside the “Hideout” - now I had been here last year, and remembered the dodgy drinks prices. The guy outside was trying to get us to go in with the offer of 500 yen drinks. I pointed out he promised this last year, but once we were inside suddenly the prices went up, so to prove he wasn’t lying, could I have a load of the 500 yen vouchers. He said he couldn’t do that, but if I wanted to come back upstairs to get a new voucher each time, this would be no problem.

Ok, that seemed fair… so we went inside.

Inside was a mix of foreigners and locals, with the locals maybe slightly outnumbering us gaijin, however everyone was in a good mood and the music was starting to get quite trancy so all seemed it would be good.

Arnaud was really getting into the musical spirit of things, pulling off very impressive (or strange, depending on how you want to see it) moves, which attracted the attention of a group of japanese guys who came over and started to clap :) This crew then became our new clubbing buddies, which was pretty cool… The main guy, whose name was Hipai, was really having a good time and was pretty smashed. He then proceeded to live up to his name, buy paying for a round for anyone who was within the vacinity, including two girls (Chizue and Mam… - doh, I forgot) who then came and joined out party group :) (We were quite blatted by now, and drinks had miraculously gone up to 1000yen…. the same as last year, so i don’t want to think about how much money Shipai was forking out….) - cue loads more crazy drunken dancing…

At about 3am, Seiko and Yuka left to go to a different bar (we arranged to meet at 5am at the station), leaving me and Arnaud to carry on (along with a new recruit, an extremely drunk j-girl who took a liking to anyone who would look at her… including trying to get off with Chizue… haha) - I managed to keep clear, though Shipai wasn’t so lucky (or maybe he was, depending on how you want to look at it….)

Come 4am and I was quite tired, but with an hour to go we had no choice by to stay in Roppongi. I just wanted to get a coffee to try and wake me up a bit, but not being on offer in the club, we decided to leave to find a Starbucks or something. The two girls also weren’t feeling the vibe so much and also left to come with us.

We sat in a local coffee shop (Starbucks closed at 4:30) until 5 when we left the girls to go to the station to meet up with Seiko… who of course wasn’t there… After 20 minutes, it finally occured to me we could use Arnaud’s phone (doh!) to call and see where she was.

We didn’t get through straight away, but after a few attempts Seiko finally picked up. Follow some very drunk sounding Japanese, along with a transfer to an even more Japanese sounding guy who then hung up on us. Getting a bit worried now, we called back, to only have Seiko again trying to explain something, but which neither me nor Arnaud could understand… Although we were still worried, we realised there was nothing we could do, but as we knew she was still with her friend, we decided to finally head back home.

Due to the time, the trains weren’t quite as frequent, however they weren’t too bad and I managed to get home by about 6:30 or so where I had a quick browse of the Vodafone catalogue before heading to sleep, when I noticed something I hadn’t seen before….

(Let’s recap, my contract = yearly, with a £20 break out clause I need to use in month 15. I then had to pay £60 for the phone in the first place.)

The “Happy Bonus” tarrif which I thought had a £500 breakout, only had a £50 break out. Why is this significant, well…

Phone cost if taking out Happy Bonus = 1 yen (0.5p)
Monthly line charge (- 5% bonus)
Month 13 and 14 - Free (Saving about £40)

So the phone saving cancels out the breakout penalty, followed by me getting 2 months free and a 5% reduction. Whereas I just had to pay for the phone AND now pay the breakout penalty… grrrr… I wish I was angry, but the woman was so nice I dont want to go back and complain incase she gets in trouble or something…????

Saturday 27th August

Woke up feeling absolutely awful and with no memory of the night before at all!!! (Luckily it’s all come back now, but it was incredibly amusing at first :)) - and deciding I definately didn’t want to go clubbing this night (supposed to be meeting George to go to Womb).

However, staying at home seemed pointless, so at about 7pm we went out to find some food. My stomach wasn’t feeling so good, so it seemed Subway was a safe bet for a plain sandwich. Subway roast chicken is nowhere as nice as it’s UK counterpart, but they made a good effort. The only bad point to the meal was the cockroach stuck on his back near our table, but after switching seats so I couldn’t see him, everything was a lot better. It also says a lot to the quality of the sandwich that I didn’t feel sick after we left, and had suddenly picked up a craving for some vodka…..

George still wasn’t ready, so to pass the time between then and him arriving, we went to the local 50yen arcade (though all the games I played were 200 yen..???!) until he called and told us to meet him outside Starbucks, after which we proceeded up the hill to one of his friends leaving parties.

Just getting in the lift should have set alarm bells ringing that this place would be expensive (it was a complete glass front that was on the side of the building, so you saw out over the whole of Tokyo as you went up to the 15th floor) - but getting inside it was amazing. The whole wall was glass, and being so high up meant you could just see for miles. Only having 2000 yen on me (£10) meant whenever the bartender came over I had to pretend to be on the phone and so after 15 minutes or so, we decided to go and head over to Shimokitazawa.

Now Shimokitazawa is billed as Tokyo’s Camden and after going there in the day, the night promised a lot. Except when we got there, the place was dead with the only visible thing to do being Karaoke. I wouldn’t have had a problem with this, but Arnaud only having a week left here wanted to party, so decided he would pay for a cab back to Roppongi (oh joy!)

We stopped one in the street and pilled in instructed the good man to drive to Roppongi - and off we went. The speed we went at seemed a bit erratic, but we put this down to Japanese drivers. It was only when we were still stopped at a green light, did we pay attention to our driver, who had fallen asleep! Seiko kicked his chair to wake him up, so we continued…. for the rest of the journey, every few minutes, the guy would then fall back to sleep!!! We should have probably been really scared, but we couldn’t stop laughing and even managed to get a photo… we did get there in the end, and we secretly hoping he would fall asleep before he took the money - no such luck :)
Before we went into a club, it was a quick stop off at a convenience store to buy some very cheap alcohol to drink in the street first (thus saving us valuable cash!) - the pikey within me decided to go for the cheapest strongest (some fowl lemon drink) - which predictably meant after about 5 minutes, I was saying “Konbanwa” to anyone who walked past and trying to strike up a conversation with a friendly Japanese guy, who I had to apologise to “Sumimasen!” as I couldn’t understand a word of what he was saying… “Wakaranii!”

Finally, 3 cans later we were ready to find a (different) club - Seiko suggested “Muse” as Arnaud wanted to meet some JGirls and apparently that was the place for foreigners to meet them… so we went, 2000 yen to get in £10 (but 2 free drinks) - but it did seem to be playing some decent music. Much to Arnaud’s dismay however, the place was just full of guys (at least 3 to every girl) - however the real reason we were here soon became aparant after realising Seiko was missing and after a long search, finding her in the chillout room with some guy called Matt… ;)
Arnaud was now pretty fed up and wanted to go, but after pointing out this would be unfair to Seiko, he agreed to stay. His luck was in though, as after about 20 minutes, we saw Seiko on the way out. I ran after her to see what the ku was, to have the guy give me his phone number and tell me to call it if i got lost?!?! I was like “eh?” - to which he said “if you need to get to Seiko’s house, just call me” - i told him i lived with her, so knew pretty well where I lived - to which he replied, “well thats strange she said that then…” - i know, that really doesn’t make much sense, however i think it’s safe to assume Seiko must have been pretty drunk (nothing different there then…)

I then went back to tell the good news to Arnaud who had now managed to find some JGirls (5 of them) and was engaged in conversation with them on the center table.

Blond Hair Syndrome - The art of being cute by hair colour?

Gowry had said about this before I went, girls will give you attention because of your hair colour. But I couldn’t believe this would be true.. though i stand corrected. The amount of girls who have come up to me and told me i have “cute hair” … ? … how can you have cute hair?!?!? I don’t understand! Even worse, I don’t know what to say back, normally just going with “Arigato” and trying to look shy… :o) haha.. I dont want to say “you look cute too” or something back (wrong idea!!), but at the same time, feel i am supposed to just to not be rude….?? (answers on a postcard please) - maybe i should just dye it black??

So to tie that in, this is what happened when i went over to Arnaud. I got the hair ruffling works (DON’T - i spend ages gelling i just right!! :p) - and was worried I would have to stay over there - however Arnaud wasn’t so impressed (”These are girls are ugly…” - harse i think, they weren’t, however there seems to be no intermediate word - a girl is either “beautiful” or “ugly”….) and wanted to go find a different club.

This involved a brief walk back down the main road to Roppongi (via a convenience store first … ;)) - where we looked for somewhere to go. However after 30 minutes of looking, Arnaud wasn’t at all impressed with the women (the notion of looking for good music seemed not to be a matter of importance for him) - so it was decided (to my relief) that we should go home.

I went the long route home, as I was unsure what the Seiko situation was, so got home at about 7:30 (after sending about a million photo mails to Gowry :D) to a quiet house. I must admit, i was still pretty drunk, as i’m sure I saw the guys shoes by the door, but on checking again when i woke up, they could have been my slipppers…!?!

After lying in bed for about 30 minutes, Seiko popped her head around the door and then went off…. At least.. I think she did, though I have a nasty suspision i imagined all of this –? she’s dissapeared out again at the moment, so i can’t confirm - however i will ask when she gets back :)
So yes, woke up to an empty house and after taking a 30 minute shower, decided i should use the time constuctivly to update this - so - here i am - 3 hours of typing later!!!

Have I missed anything? Probably, but I can’t see straight so well at the moment, and certainly don’t want to read back over everything to work out what’s not there… lol…

Tomorrow we are all going to Odaiba to see a show of somesorts, though i’m not sure what. I also really need to make the effort to enrol at college before they fill up too quickly….

UPDATE UPDATE - Ok I missed a whole week, so will continue as in one post, however there’s no way i’m going to sit on this floor for the next 5 hours, so it might be a little rushed :)

Monday 29th August

Monday was the scheduled trip to Odaiba and we were very kindly driven there by Shimpei. It’s hard to explain exactly what the whole place is and it’s purpose, but i will do my best.

Basically, some time ago (I think Shimpei said about 30 years ago, but i could be wrong) the Japanese Government decided that a new “part(?)” of Tokyo was required, so they built a massive man made island, which is of course, Odaiba. Then they built a huge bridge to get to it (the Rainbow Bridge). Finally, on this massive island they build a massive ferris wheel, a huge mall, the Fuji TV Headquarters and a load more industrial things.

Apart from the large wheel, the main attraction seems to be around “Pallette Town” - which houses a mall built to look exactly like the rome in the caser times. If anyone has been to “Caesars” in Las Vegas, you will have some idea of what this place looks like. They have the same high ceilings painted to look like the sky, fountains in various openings and big pillars holding everything up. On closer inspection, these pillars and the marble is just painted on (unlike the usa one which did it properly) - however it still looked quite impressive.

We arrived there around lunch time, so first step was to find something to eat. Obviously Japanese food was out, so we settled for an italian. To try and make a bit of an authentic, I was made to order all my food and make some enquiries about the menu in Japanese … (Kyo deserto wa nan desu ka? - what is today’s desert) - and even to make a complaint about my fork being dirty!!

The meal was actually awful - so Shimpei taught me how to say “this food is disgusting you stupid idiot!” - however I didn’t quite have the nerve to say it to the waiter when he asked how everything was … (Kono bakka yaro - you stupid idiot)

Next we went to check out the arcades (which in this place were hideously expensive, 200yen a game!!! - £1) before going out the main building to find the show / fair thing. It was a bit of a trek and on reaching the place, we found out we were required to pay 4000yen entry (£20) - which wasn’t really too appealing. Instead we went off to the beach to have a quick look around (i use the term beach very loosely - it was indeed by the sea and had a sand like mixture, however it was also mixed in with loads of tiny rock fragments which made it look a nasty colour….)

Finally (sorry, I am rushing this, I need to catch up and only have 2 hours until the pizza arrives…) we went to the Sega Themepark. Basically all the rides are computer generated, including the roller coasters and flying machines. This kinda took away most of the appeal for me, so i declined to go on anything except for the Touring Car Championship simulator which was pretty cool.

Basically you get in a full sized touring car (mine was a Mercedes) which has a huge tv screen in front of it. You then basically are playing the computer game “Sega Touring Car Championships” - but the car you are in is on hydraulics so moves with you…. SUGOI! :)
Finally it was time to head back, so we went to get the car from the car park (£20) and get on the freeway home… lol, freeway, i love that word.

Getting home and it was dinner time, but instead of staying home, I was told we were going to go to a Japanese pancake restaurant - cool, sounded interesting - and i’m happy to say it was.

It was a little walk from our place, so en route Shimpei gave us a guided tour of the area (which of course didn’t involve much - we have a library and 3 convenience stores…) before we got to the main high road and the restaurant.

This was a proper Japanese style place, with us having to sit on the floor around a largish table with a metal hot plate in the middle (which was a *very* hot plate as i discovered when i put my hand on it… lol)

There was no smell of soy in the place and i was quietly optimistic that perhaps this place might actually deliver something nice….. and it did :)
First course was some very tender (or is that, boiled for a heck of a long time) beef with a cabbage mix (I know Nan, i am allergic to cabbage, but i didn’t want to offend … :p) which was then put on the hot plate (though plate is such a wrong word, this this was basically the whole table) and started to fry. We then picked off it as we wanted… mmm… just thinking of it is making me hungry again :)
Next course was a noodle / meat combination thing which again was put on the plate and again was most scrumptious.

Finally was the “pieste de la resistance” (sp) which was the pancake. Now I don’t know about you lot, but I see a pancake as one of the batter kind. Not this though, it was like basically a bit potato cake, topped with many different things. Despite this initial dissapointment, after trying it, again it didn’t matter as it was so nice :)
I should add that along with this, we had skipped the usual water drinks as Shimpei wanted to introduce me to all Japanese alcohol. Well, it seems i have a taste (as also is true in the uk) for the women’s drinks, prefering the nicer taste of fruit to the harshness of alcohol - which Shimpei found incredibly amusing. “You drink like a girl!” - well i don’t care, as the alternative tastes rank as….

I think I must have tried every drink on the menu by the end of the night (we stayed until 1am) - so of course come home time I was hungry again…! A quick stop off at the 7/11 to buy some burritos solved this…

Tuesday 30th August

Today’s plan was quite simple, go to the language school to sign up, then meet up with Waka afterwards at about 5. Getting out the house at 3 meant i was kinda stretched for time, but figured it would be ok.

So, first stop the language school.

I found the place easy enough (it’s right on the main road - hard to miss) so went inside to see what it was all about and was immediately greeted by a very friendly old woman (well I mean she must of been about 55 or so…) who sat me down and the proceeded to explain how the course / school worked. Mon, Wed + Fri are Speaking and Listening Days, with Tue + Thur being the reading / writing days.

Actually, i should rephrase that. The first thing she did when i sat down was to grab my hand and proclaim “what a great ring, where did you get it?” (talking about my chinese / japanese ring Gowry got me at christmas) - i *think* she was being genuine, but maybe she just wanted to be nice to me so i would sign up … haha….

I must have been talking to her for ages as she went through everything which was all great until she got to the bit about start time. “Everyday is 9:30″ - HOLD UP - no I explained i wanted the afternoon course as there was no way I could get up a 9:30. “Sorry” she said, but “there are not enough people to run an afternoon course” (it seems everyone in this country likes to get up early and finish early so they have a whole day to play with).

As much as i pleaded with her, she wouldn’t budge and run the course just for me (even when i offered to pay double :D) - i was starting to worry this could be a problem. I wanted my months holiday of getting up late, and this looked like it was going to skupper my plans.

Then she hit me with another whammy… before i enrolled, i had to come to an observation class to check i liked and agreed with the teaching methods. Which was, yup, you’ve guessed it, at 9:30 the next day AS WELL as thursday. Well that just sucked as i was meeting Waka that night, then Chizue and Maduka the next and had been intending to stay out…

Anyway, I kinda half heartedly agreed and was finally able to leave :) However as it was now 4:30, I knew i wouldn’t meet Waka in time, so sent her a text letting her know i would be an hour later than planned - she replied ok.

So now it was off to Shibuya to get the train to Ueno to meet up.

After about 20 minutes into the journey I get another mail from Waka telling me she is too tired to wait and will go home?!?! Of course, I have never met her before and don’t want to come across as too angry, so instead of replying with the “f*&k you b1T6h, i have just travelled ages to find you” - i sent back a more conservative - “no wait, i’m almost there” (lol)

15 minutes later the train finally got to Ueno, so i headed off to the hard rock cafe (our meeting point) to find her. (i had by now forgotten what she looked like, so hoped she would recognise me - not difficult i suppose when i am the only blond in the whole station….) - however she was not there… hmmm… email time.

After 20 minutes she had still not replied and i was just about to give up and go Akihabara when finally i got the vibration in my pocket and the familiar “fairground noise” that lets everyone know how popular i am …. - Waka had indeed left and gone to Ikebukuro (about 10 minutes from Shibuya….) - but i could come meet her if i wanted.

At this point, i didn’t know where Ikebukuro was, so sent a message back accordingly.

15 minutes later I finally got a reply, so i headed back to the Yamanote line (the BEST line in Tokyo - like everything good is on it….) and off to Ikebukuro station (20 minutes away).

Arrive at the station - send email = “where are you” - 15 minutes later - “at the exit”…. (this station is huge and has about 8 exits) - “which one?” - 10 minutes later “east exit”.

Beginning to think this girl is a complete moron, but not wanting to waste anymore time and to try and make the best of the situation i head to east exit - where of course, she isn’t….

me: “i am at east exit, where are you”
her: (5 minutes later) “east exit”
me: “erm, i am at east exit, where exactly are you?”
her: (15 minutes later!!) “Come to Ettu”
me: “what is Ettu?”
her: “shop”
me: “WHERE?!” (trying not to send an incredibly rude message - keep cool mr ben…)
her: “it’s right outside the exit inside the mall (i forget), you can’t miss it”

I then head outside, but i can’t see this place, until i just happen to look right down the road where the big sign for the mall is visible…. slightly confused, but putting nothing past this girl, i head down the road to the mall and into CENTRAL exit. I’m looking around when i hear my name called… it is of course Waka who has been waiting at central exit the whole time…? hmm…

She tells me we will go Karaoke after, but first she has to meet up with some friends, so we head over the road where I meet 3 guys, 1 korean and 2 yanks who seem quite friendly so we get chatting. i tell Waka I haven’t eaten, so she says to go to a restaurant, so we head off to find one.

Finally one that looks ok, so she says to me “you go in and eat, then ring me when you finish and i will meet you” - this seems like a completely stupid idea bearing in mind the only reason i am here is to meet her, but she seems pretty adament.

I finish eating within about 20 minutes, so text her to say i’m done…. 35 minutes later she replies saying “what do i want to do?” - i text back saying i thought we were going Karaoke. Her reply - “well I have no money, but you can go on your own if you want..” ?!?!

Ok now I am convinced this girl is an idiot… the whole point of tonite was to go out, not for her to then say she has no money so i should go out on my own?!?!

This girl is a complete idiot….

So I go home… what a waste of a day - i could have gone to Akihabara after all… i suppose the upside was that i would in bed early for school the next day…

Wednesday 31st August

Something very scary and terrifying happens….. my alarm goes off at 8:30 … OMFG!!

This is going to be a struggle - roll out of bed and stumble to the shower. Ahh, the water feels so nice and warm and … sleepy …. :) Luckily there is the clock in the shower room, so i manage not to take too long and am all ready and leaving the house by 9.

The train is at 9.05 (i didn;t know this at the time) - so i just see it leaving as i get to the station and have to wait for the next one 9.10 or so - which means i then miss the interconnecting one at Sangenjaya - before finally reaching Ometo-Sando and having to wait in a queue for the Fare Adjsutment machine.

My first day @ school and of course, i am late :D
Luckily the older woman isn’t in yet, so i am spared a telling off - but given my sample book and ushered into a classroom where i sit to observe. Or at least that’s what i am supposed to do. I find though that after about 5 minutes i have drifted off into a complete day dream which i find very hard to shake off.

After an hour, the class has a break so i am moved into the beginners class next door to see what i will actually be doing (the previous class was the advanced, just to see how far it is possible to get in 7 months) - where it’s just one guy being taught and the teacher (who i will have from Monday) - again I sit in here for an hour and a half, just watching…

The lesson teaching to me seems odd. There is no english allowed to be spoken in the class, so everything is taught in Japanese. I can see the logic here, but I know for a fact that I needed quite a bit of explaination on the “particles” system before i fully understood it, so i worry that maybe something else later along the line might require similar..?

After this lesson, I again had to sit with the woman outside to ask any more questions and for her to drill into me that 9.30 is not early (i still don’t agree…) - before she waved me off telling me she expected me in at 9.30 the next day - i tried to argue it to 10.30 but she was having none of it…

“Your mother is not here in Japan, therefore I am now your mother here. So I will make sure you will study” …!

I decided to treat myself to some cream puffs from the shop in Shibuya for lunch (i was so tired, nothing else seemed particualy nice) - but then wanted to head home as the internet should have been installed (yay!)

Got home to find everyone back, including Shimpei - however no internet, so instead we headed off to the local electronics store to buy the washing machine. (or at least, for Shiho and Seiko to buy the washing machine….)

By the time we got back, I was knackered (it was now maybe 5pm) - however had to get out for 7:30 to meet up with Chizue, which was now looking at becoming a major task in itself.

Seiko and Shiho then went to go out, so I figured to pass some time, I would just have a sit down on Seiko’s bed…..

Of course, the inevitable happened and I woke up at 7.00 or so…. doh ^_^

Now worried I was going to be late, I decided the best thing to do would be to call, however i was beaten to it as my phone started to ring with Chizue’s name flashing up.

“Tomorrow I am going to Kyushu and am still packing now, so I’m really sorry but I won’t be able to make Tonite - I’m so sorry”

I tried to sound as dissapointed as I could (hehe) - but of course was now quite relieved - instead re-arranging for next friday.

I was though incredibly hungry, so it was back to the supermarket for my familiar shop of Chicken and Pasta Sauce, with a special treat of a creme caramel for dessert….

Spent the rest of the night playing computer games until about 1am when I figured I should go to bed…. except due to the knap i had taken earlier, sleep then proceeded to illude me until about 4am….

Thursday 1st September

How wondeful, the familiar alarm signal at 8:30. This morning however I wasn’t so forgiving to it, and through it out the room to go back to sleep….. school can wait…. :D
At 11am I was again woken, but this time it was a bit more excusable as it was the internet crew, round to fix the faulty cabling. An hour or so later, they were done and the net was up! Unfortunately, even though the whole house is networked up, it’s not been done in the most efficient way, so still only one of us can get on the net at a time, however we’ll sort this out and get a router at a later date - for now, it’s ok.

Spent the next few hours or so going through my new emails (400… sheesh!) and catching up on the forum - before getting ready for the big night out in Shibuya and “Club Pure” which had an all you can drink night for £7…

Firstly met up with Arnaud, before heading to Pure to meet Seiko outside. Now bearing mind it was only about 11pm, the amount of drunk people fallen over on the street was amazing, so amazing it was just comical. These were normal business people still dressed up, just collapesed on the floor!!!

Outside Pure was an even better sight, a guy/girl (we weren’t sure which) lying in a puddle with a rat sitting on top of him/her!! Tried to get a photo but it was too dark, dammit… Arnaud kicked the rat, expecting it to scarper, but instead it just stayed there… not afraid of us at all..?! The next kick was slightly harder however and sent the poor creature flying across the road…. hahaha….

Finally Seiko turned up and we headed up into the club…. to be greeted by the most empty venue i have ever seen - there were about 8 people there….

Was hoping this was just as it was too early, so on getting a drink, enquired to the barmaid where all the people were. She assured me they would come later, so we retook our seats.

By about 12am however, everyone had left, with the only people who we had originally thought were clients - turning out to be actual staff. Arnaud now decided he would have a dance just for the sake of it, and Seiko was pretty cained, so i headed back outside where the barmaid had now switched jobs and was working on the door.

Her name was Akiko and she was a promoter during the day she explained. I think she was underselling her title here as after some explaination her job sounded pretty impressive. Whenever a foreign band comes over to Tokyo, she is in charge of sorting out their hotel accomodation, planning everything - and so on. To mention a few, she has looked after Coldplay, Foo Fighters and Robbie Williams!

It was then decided that I should try and get some more people inside, so I was put on promotion duty, walking up and down the street shouting (in japanese) - “free drinks, come inside…”

Maybe my pronounciation was poor, or maybe it was just due to it being a Thursday night, but no one took me up on the offer, so after 20 minutes i sadly gave up :)
There was still no point going back inside though, so I stayed downstairs with my new friend and got introduced to her other friends who had now joined us (after going to Lawson across the street and buying me some food…!) - before being joined by Seiko and Arnaud who had got a bit fed up of staying inside.

Cue 2 hours or so of random chatting until the Pure team decided no one else was coming, so would close. We were however invited back inside for a private party type deal, which free pool! So in we went, where we met up with the Pure manager along with the manager of Club Ruby (down the street) - who told us we could now come in for free.

At about 4am, and after getting obliterated on free shots, we decided to head out and get some food (just me and Arnaud now, Seiko had already got a taxi home) - not before being told we were expected back next weekend, but we wouldn’t have to pay :D - SUGOI!

It was then a quick stop off at the local curry house to grab a bite until the trains started at 5.05.

The alcohol was now really kicking in though (we had been given 3 quick shots to knock back before we left pure) - and it was a bit hazy getting back to the station, where although I tried my best, i couldn’t run fast enough down the stairs to get the train - and along with another woman, almost collided into the closing doors.

Just then my phone let me know I had a message, and after checking it and reading the message from Arnaud letting me know he had just thrown up on the platform (haha) - i was about to put it back in my pocket when a great idea formed itself.

“I know, to pass the hour between now and the next train, let’s call some friends”

Cue some very drunk phone calls back home (including one at my peak of obliteratedness to Helen - sorry about that!) before finally the train arrived at the station to whisk me off home :)

Friday 2nd September

After waking up and almost having a heart attack when i saw my outgoing call log (this months bill is going to hurt….) - i got ready to head back to school to properly enroll and endure the telling off i was sure i was going to receive.

Luckily, the woman back at learning HQ wasn’t as annoyed as i thought she would be, and did see the funny side of it… phew :)
Walking back to Shibuya to get the train, I again received a text message, this time from Kaori, complaining she was in Shibuya with nothing to do - well now seemed like as good as time as any to meet up, so i told her to meet me at Starbucks.

Unlike Waka, Kaori was much better at time keeping (and actually replying) and arrived at Starbucks just after I got there. We then headed for the curry house of the night before to get some much needed nutrision.

We must of stayed in the restaurant for 2 or 3 hours just chatting about anything really. It was then decided we should go shopping as she knew some places that sold cheap furniture - so off we went.

It was getting kind of late now and i wanted to go home to use the internet, however was unsure how I should say this without appearing rude… deciding the “looking really sleepy” method was the best, i kept yawning until she asked if i wanted to go home… (w00t!)

So I made my excuses and left, though not before being offered a free ticket to “Agehar” on the Saturday night, which was pretty cool, so I agreed.

Back on the train home I sent a message thanking her for the ticket and buying my dinner :) and that I would bring Seiko to the club and that it would be cool so that she could meet her..

She replied back - “Oh okay”

Now maybe i read into this wrongly, but it would seem from that, she wanted just me to go. Why would this be…? I’ll admit, now i felt uncomfortable as I am thinking she quite likes me … eek!

Got home and was still pondering the whole Kaori episode when I got a message from Seiko telling me she is in Roppongi and did I want to come meet her and her friend Rei. Of course this sounded a good idea, so I set back out to get the train.

Arriving at the station at 12.05 was not an issue at first. The first train went to Sangenjaya no problem. It was at Sangenjaya that the fun started, there was only one train left before they terminated totally and of course, it wasn’t going as far as I wanted.

The choice was to either cut my losses and go home, or stick with it and walk to Roppongi from Shibuya (which didn’t seem that far, Roppongi-dori is right near the station) - decided i did want to go out, and meeting up with Rie would be cool (i had met her last year, but couldn’t remember her…!?) I set off to Shibuya, and from there, started walking down Roppongi-dori.

40 minutes later and I was finally there and taking a moment to have a rest (it was so hot again) i lent against a lampost. Except it wasn’t a lampost, it was a bus stop post. It was at this moment that the bus turned up (which of course had come from Shibuya…) - grrr… damn that seiko, she told me there was no bus!!! :)
Seiko showed up a few minutes later with Rie (who I didn’t recognise at all… hmm…) with Arnaud running up pretty much straight away after. First stop, the local convenience store.

The Local Convenience Store - A fantastic place, open 24 hours where you can pick up cans of very strong lemon flavoured alcoholic beverages for 50p. A perfect way to start the night; go to the conveni, get 3 or so drinks, sit outside drinking then head into the club. Quite pikey I know, but at £5 a drink inside the clubs, I DONT CARE!!! :)
First stop was Gas Panic (Hip Hip, yuk!) However on arriving there and finding it to be massively overcrowded, we moved quickly on…

Next stop was an underground Hip Hop club, which was massively overcrowded and playing some god awful music. Rie however was in her element and was soon whisked away by a decidedly sleazy looking guy who seemed to appear from nowhere, leaving me with Seikos two friends (who she still hadn’t introduced me to) - this part of the night is hazy, but i believe we stayed for an hour or so (and after i had knocked back a few white russians…) before leaving as we just couldn’t take it any more.

Our final stop of the evening was to be a Trance Club, found on the 6th floor of a distant building. On entering all seemed good, with Seiko quite drunk (well that makes a change) and ordering a round of Champagne! (well it was just for me and her, but Arnaud and Rei were off somewhere else).

Arnaud was thoroughly loving the place and had already made some new friends on the dance floor - seiko had now found someone else who would supply her with drinks, but Rie didn’t seem happy at all. After trying unsuccessfully to get her up and dancing, but failing, I asked her if she wanted to go outside for a bit instead - which she did, so we left to sit outside on the wall and chat.

An hour or so later, Seiko tottered out, saying that Arnaud was so happy he was going to stay, but we could now go, which seemed like a good plan.

On walking down the highstreet however, something amazing caught my eye… A ROAST CHICKEN STAND, complete with portable spit for fresh chicken.. W00t! Quickly getting out my wallet, i then proceeded to purchase a quarter chicken with some roast potatoes… :)
I couldn’t wait, finally i had some proper food and eagerly raised the chicken to my mouth (with chopsticks of course) and took a bite…

But… something was wrong. This thing in front of me certainly looked like chicken, but had the taste of something most unlike chicken, infact it was less edible than anything i had yet tried… (including the Natta!!) - I could have cried…. (i didn’t…. ;))

So it was with a sense of misery that I trooped back to the station, only for seiko to say she was going somewhere, wouldn’t tell us where, and jumped in a taxi to be whisked away..?!

We (me and Rie) stood there for a while assuming this was a joke and she would soon be back, however after 5 minutes it seemed aparent that no, she had infact left…!

So home alone it was then…!? There would be questions in the morning….!?!!?

Right, I can’t type anymore… this floor is so uncomfortable. Plus the pizza should be here soon, so I’ll try and write up Saturdays events tomorrow, along with a report on the first day of school! :)
Ja Ne!

Sorry for the delay

Tuesday, April 6th, 2004

Blimey! Its been so long since I made an entry, everyday i wake up i feel all ‘out of it’, not sure why, i think i am oversleeping a bit too much!!!

Anyway, it seems justin has filled in the most block parts of the day (good boy!) so i will just fill in the blanks… btw, excuse my bad typing, the spacebar on the laptop broke, so we bought an external usb keyboard… but japanese… so the keys in different places!!! lol… :)

We seem to have been doing quite a lot in the evenings, but the days are always spent in bed sleeping (i guess cause of the tiredness factor from staying out all night…)

Making decisions seems to cause quite a few conflicts at times, as we both want to do different things, and i think this holiday is really testing our friendship, but it seems to be holding up, hurrah! Justin seems to be quite unhappy i dont; like japanese food… sorry japanese people, but your food sux!! All the types I do like, are apparently ‘western’ anyway, so don’t count…. don’t get me wrong, i would love to like it (its so cheap!) but its just nasty… cooked in, ummm, soya bean (i think misu) which reakes and is very offputting :)

Ok, hmmmm… where left off… well i think i had just bought the canon iXY 500, but the photos were so white it was unbelievable… just not good quality at all so i was determined to change it. Luckily the sales people seem pretty nice, and managed to swap it for a Casio Exlim exz40 (not out in uk yet) - good camera if you dont mind shed loads of noise :( wanted to take it back… but its so small and cute that i will keep it.. only £200 so no big loss… it will do until a better model is released (nothing else any good either) when i will get chiakiy to send it over :)

Thursday night we met Seiko for first time in Roppongi… she speaks so little english it was really, really awkward, but luckily after the drink had set in from Gas Panic (see j;s post) we started to get on a lot better… still not so good english, but can talk the language of smiles :)

Which incidently reminds me, since i have been here, i have had to dumb down my english (cut out a lot of words that are pointless) that i am worried i will not get it back when i get home!! lol… all the people we are meeting are female, so i am copying them… i sound like a frickin japanese chick! lol… when me and justin speak, so start with we talk slow, until we realise we are both english hahahahahahahahaha….

Erm anyway, yeah, so Thurday night was to celebrate justins start of birthday, so Gas Panic and then a club called the Lexington Queen… depending on the entry price, you either got 2/3/5 or 6 free drinks. There was only a 500 yen difference between 3 and 5 (currently 190 yen to the pound) so we went for the 5 drinks…. quite why i dunno as we were blatted after just the 2… lol… very good fun night, all range of music inc 2 or 3 trance tracks,. yay!

Oh, that reminds me… cost… Quite why everyone say Japan most expensive place ion the world i dont understand… its cheap as chips :) I guess somethings must cost a lot, but so far, most of my money going on Arcardes!!! Clubs cheaper than UK, drinks cheaper than London Central prices (Gas panic was only £2 per drink!), food cheaper, mcdonaldcheaper ;) transport cheaper…. i love this place… You can have a bonza night out for so little… then the trains start a 5:30 (hell yeah!) so you can get home cheap after a night out, then get some food (read whole meal) in the local noodle bar for about £2!!!!

Hehe, I’m jumping about here… really can’t remember what order… its now 2/3am or something and i am parched! lol…. erm…. oh yeah, dont buy porn mags from the convenience stores. Japanese law prohibits showing of genitalia, so porn mag = naked woman all fuzzed out.. lol… it would be more attractive if she were dressed :) - if you want ‘proper’ stuff, head to shibuya or shinjuku… i can’t confirm this, but word on the street says there is no censorship in the more seedy shops…..

Shibuya is a wicked place… massive tv screens on highrise buildings and many many lights (admittedly daytime it doesn’t look so good, but at night its awesome… very very pretty) - its the #teencapital# of tokyo (or one of them, the other one is apparently harajuku) and many can be seen wandering the streets with their millions of shopping bags. You get the dodgy looking ‘Ganguru Girls’ here too… they look like sh*t, with really really tanned brown faces and really bright makeup… i don’t understand… :( the kogal’s (just lots of brightmakeup, short skirts, loose socks etc…)
however are a lot more appealing to the eye…. ;)

Right, so now we are up to Friday… i have a feeling i was asleep all day until late… but knwoing justin we probably went shopping at some point… i have managed to aquire about 10 Kanji t-shirts, so am quite happy, but there is a shop in Harajuku with some Kanji Style jeans!!! Well gow you always wanted to get me in jeans, maybe now you will… if they can get my size in i will buy there :)

Ahhhh… which reminds me… kanji clothing… so hard to come across… The japanese love english charatcers, so everything in flipping english… grrr… its funny though, justin bought a tshirt which makes heck all sense… it does go on about having sex with little children though?!?!!? and mudmud! wtf!!

Harajuku is our local walking distance shopping place.. its quite nice, big screens again and right next to Yoyogi park, which is very beautiful and houses a japanese temple (well its not going to be american now is it?!?! haha) There is a place called ‘KiddyWorld’ there… just a huge 5 floor toyshop.. but its awesome! any money i have left over at the end of this holiday will be spent there.. they have a lifesize (human size) Doromon (sp?) which costs over £200!!!! I have bought a fwe things so far, but will definately return…

Friday night for Justins birthday, we went out to Chiakiys house in Arakawoki (in Ibaraki) where her mother took us to a traditional japanese restaurant. Was very nice (see i do like some of the food!) but i dont want to imagine the cost… Chiakiys mother has been so kind to us this holiday, i am trying to think of something really nice to do for her… maybe something in Kyoto, or take her out or something… Afterwards, we went to a 24hour karaoke bar (so different to how i imagines, you get your own room rather than sing to otherr people, good in a way, but it would be nice to have an audience) - so if you see the photos, its me and j, Chiakiy (the non japanese looking girl ;)), Michiko (Micha) Chaikiys best friend and Tdu (works at Burtons, (snow board shop) with Chiakiy)

That ended at about 5:30 or something, when we had to go get the train back to Tokyo, to sleep ready for the big saturday night out in Shibuya… Unfortuntely, we also had to get up a 3pm to go get Chiakiy from the station, so it wasn’t all bed of roses… Didn’t do too badly though and was up by 2 to pick her up… didn’t show until 3:30… doh!

Chiakiy had not been Tokyo before, so we figured it would be a good time to go for a bit of a sightsee.. Decided on Tokyo Central as it sounded important… but not really anything there… Did walk to the Imperial Park though, there should be some photos… very beautiful and some cool trees which you dont get here.. Walked around it for a bit then followed the road to Ginza, the most expensive part of tokyo. Kinda same thing, big buildings lots of lights, but very nice all the same. Bought the new GunsnRoses cd from HMV for only £9 (see, japan cheeeeep!) though was pissed when the sales guy took the Kanji bit out to put in another one… grrrrrrrrrr….

For night out, decided on Club Pure in Shibuya as it was only 2500 yen (£13) with all you can drink… wicked idea, wicked club.. worked very well. We had been warned off the place, but inside it was so nice, loads of sofas, films on big screens for if you get tired (with english subtitles, oh yes!) and of course the free drink policy… ya ta!

That finished at about 5am, when we went to the arcades and then to a noodle bar to get some breakfast (noodles with fried beef… yummy!) then home to bed.

Sunday was really boring as it just rained all day, and did absolutely nothing… so no photos… nothing to write…

Today, hurrah! I can’t believe it, i’ve only been writing 45 minutes and i am up to now… yip!

Woke up so late, but didn’t want to get up… Justin left to go (suprise suprise) harajuku, went and met him later on at about 5pm… soooo sleeeppy!

Decided to meet up with Seiko again, which is cool… its good to have friends here :) to go and play pool. Went to some pool hall, which charged per hour not per game.. Cool, except Chiakiy and Seiko never played before, so we didn;t excatly get the most for our money. Especially when only after 2 hours and 1 drink each the bill came to over £35!!!! feck! Not worth it, stupid place! Should have gone bowling like i wanted to! ha! Which reminds me, Chiakiy and Sekio now becoming friends. This is good as C not know anyone in Tokyo, but S say she can come and stay at her house :) awww… teamtokyo bring people together! nice one !

Chiakiy had to go home for work tomorrow, so took her back to station and went out for some dinner .., lovely, chicken curry with burger, sausage, prawns and scrambled eggs for only £4!! :) i LOVE japanese food, hahaha, i’m sure justin will have something to say about that…

Now then, just back home writing this, when i should be sleeping as we need to be up early tomorrow to catch the BulletTrain to Kyoto… gonna be about £150 return, so only gonna make the trip once. But staying over 1 or maybe 2 nights to get the most out of the place. Credit cards can be useful after all (even if the fricking payments take one month to process!!!!)

re the Sakurs house rules… seems everyone just says ‘f*ck it’ so its not as strict and crap as we thought it would be.. MSN and ICQ work (though I have so far had anough will power not to log on) and the FTP to put the pictures up works great…

One shocking thing.. we think our 1 meg broadband is fast (or 2 meg if you really push it) here in Japan you get for 4500 yen (22ish pounds) 100meg broadband.. yes… thats right, you did read that correctly.. i will try and scan in the advert to prove it… would love it at home, though the upstream is not so good, but then i guess you can#t have everything….!!!

People are really nice and friendly, no trouble seen yet (unless you count the 60 person fight / double mafia murder outside gas panic… but that was Yakuza related, so doesn’t really count) - Chiakiy even dropped her purse in an arcade, abd someone came running out to give it back… i wonder in england if the same thing would have happened.

A lot of the people in our block are here for a year teaching english. It seems like such a simple thing to do, maybe I would like to do it when I finish Uni…. i will see… but definately something i will think about… Everyone have so much fun and you only work 4 hours a day, not bad considering you get to take home about £1000 a month… :)

Phew… well now I am knackered, if i think of anything more, i will write,,, but probably not for a few days unless we net cafe in Kyoto or something. I need to pack my clothes now, though Justin is sparko, so will need to get it done in the morning.

Bai Bai! :)

DAY 5(Harajuko, electric city, ROPPONGI)

Saturday, April 3rd, 2004

Posted by Justin

Decided to look at the Sakura since it was such a warm sunny day. Decided to go to Yoyogi Park which is about 10 minutes from our apartment. George(Guy from Norwich who lives upstairs) told us that there’s a Sakura ‘rave’ in the park on Sunday. should be interesting. Unfortunately, we have double booked with terrence on that day - supposed to go to a car show in Odabai.

Walked past Harajuko, excellent place to shop! went to kiddy land which is the a the place my girlfriend becky dreams about. five floors full of hello kitty, doraemon, gundam, dragon ball, argh you name it… so cool these jap kids are so lucky. Soft toys everywhere!!! damn cute I must ship some back.

Yoyogi park is just at the end of harajuko, don’t know why it’s called yoyogi as it’s in harajuko… The park is beautiful, cherry blossom, traditional japanese trees, shrines, temples, so peaceful.

>>> I can’t believe i’m writting this now… just been singing karoke all night >>>and can only sleep for 3 hours as we’re meeting chaiki at the station at 3pm

Well anyway.. after that, went to electric city - ben wanted to return his digital camera (ixy 500) fussy boy…haha the japanese sales people were so helpful, they all crowded round to help ben out - trying to figure out the white balence or something, in the end he exchanged ti to a casio exilim.

Had to rush back as I had to meet Seiko at 8pm at roppongi station… turned out we arrived around 10sih.

Roppongi is such a western part of tokyo. I hardly seen any policemen on the streets but in roppongi, there are plenty - I wasn’t suprised. You get bouncers trying to force you into their clubs, hading you so called drink tokens haha. pissing off, they targetted ben the most due to his striking blond hair.

Well met Seiko infront of the mitsubishi bank and proceeded to the ‘911′ bar. Drinks seems to be over 5 quid everywhere you go…but luckily she showed us ‘Gas Panic’ 400Yen a drink. Slowly all of us got very… very… pissed.

Eventually ended up at a club called ‘LEX’ 3000 yen with 5 drinks.

–I’ll fill in the details later–

The club finised at 5am, shops were still open at this time and it was daylight. I guess it’s why Japan’s called the land of the rising sun???

Got the train at 5:29am back to yoyogi station. Ate at the local restaurant bar - rice with kimchee and some other stuff thrown in.

A nice start to my birthday :)