ben griffiths
an insight into the mind of a genius

Posts Tagged ‘maxim’

The weekend has landed…. (and gone)

Monday, May 29th, 2006

Ahh…. 1:35am on a Sunday night (or is that Monday morning) and the weekend has finally come to a close…. well I suppose this means I’d better tell you what went on - innit!

But first, to mum + dad - WHERE WAS MY CALL :( - don’t love me anymore obviously… waahhhh!

So Friday night was Ayako’s birthday at a bar in Roppongi. I had been given instructions by Seiko that i had to come straight from work and not go home first which kinda sucked, as it meant I had to wear work clothes out, however… the reason was that Ayako was going to get last train home, so if i went home and then out, I would probably miss her.

So who is Ayako? You might remember her from just before christmas (the girl i woke up with, not knowing where i was), but if not, this picture should refresh your memory (Ayako is in the middle):


The bar was a new place I hadn’t gone before, and was set into two rooms. One a normal bar area, and the second (where we were) more like a stage area , with some live singers and everyone sat around the edge.

To start with, I just kinda kept myself to myself as I knew no one, and Seiko and Shiho were sitting away from me, but after a few drinks, I started to get a bit more chatty, in the end, ending up sitting next to one of Ayako’s friends “Haruka” who spoke good English and we got quite animated… it was a sad moment when the place shut :)

(The guy on the right is important - so remember him :))

So when it finished (which was about 4am - so much for Ayako getting last train) everyone departed to go their own seperate ways except me, Seiko and the guy above - who by now were quite hungry, so we scoured the streets of Roppongi to find somewhere to eat.

The first place that came up was a new Japanese place that had only just opened, so in here we went to order a few plates of Yaki Soba. Quite why we ordered so many I don’t know (we had 3) as only 2 of us were eating, but they were incredibly nice - so I guess not so bad.

Come the end of the meal, we went downstairs to pay, but were just ushured out !?? I only found out later, but ^^^ had already paid for us when he went to the toilet - i wish i had known as i didn’t get to say thank you :(
We finally got home at about 6am, which was incredibly early for us…. just what were we thinking?!?! :eek: But we decided it might not be such a bad thing as we would need the energy for Toshi’s birthday later on that evening.

Seiko and Shiho went out during the day, leaving me at home to work on Gowry’s project and sort out some more company things (it’s getting quite interesting now… hurrah!) - however, come 7:30pm, I still hadn’t heard from anyone and didn’t know what was happening….

At about 8pm, Shiho and Seiko came home - but to tell me the bad news that the party was cancelled as Toshi had to work… man, I don’t agree with these Japanese companies… no way would you get me working on my day off - especially if it was my birthday.. poor guy.

Anyway, where was I … ah yes, so I enquired if we were still going out, to which Seiko replied “up to you, but I need to have a nap first”. It’s obvious what my answer was, but I agreed to let her sleep for a bit and I would wake her at 11pm.

Come 11 though, it was obvious she still needed sleep - so i once again let her lie…

However at 12pm, it was finally getting near the “too late to leave” - luckily Shiho was now just going out (to meet Toshi from work) and had woken Seiko for me, leaving me just the task of shouting at her until she finally got ready :D
We left at about 12:15 and walked to Sangenjaya where I had a quick meal of a “Big Mac Set” (i know, i know, way too much McDonalds) before we hailed a Taxi to take us to Roppongi. The traffic wasn’t so bad this time, and thus the whole journey only cost £15!!! Awesome - we’ll have to get taxis more often :)
First stop was Don Quiote where Seiko had to buy some purfume for a friends birthday (you’d be amazed at the amount of people shopping at 1am…) before we headed (reluctantly it must be said) to our usual haunt of Hub. I say reluctantly, as we are kinda bored of going the same places all the time and really wanted something new - thus we sat at our “thought” table trying to plan where to go next.

I remembered there was a club inbetween Wall Street and Maxim that we hadn’t been before - and seeing as we had no other ideas, decided to give it a shot. It was called the “Rock Bar” and, believe it or not, was geared towards rock music. Unfortunately we had just missed the live band, but it was still a very cool joint with some nice tunes playing. For some reason, I’m not sure why, but sitting in it made me think of Ibiza, and just being able to walk out to the beach. Seiko and I thus decided that we must go on a world travel together - including Thailand, Panama and Brazil :)
At some point in the night however, the Rock bar lost its name and instead started playing R’n'B - thus signalling our time to leave and skoot along to Maxim next door.

At we had gone before 5am, it was still hip hop night (so Seiko was happy) and indeed there were a few more people than usual in there - however, they too started to slowly drift out - leaving pretty much just me and Seiko there. The music by now had switched to dance, but with no one there - whats the point?

Oh, and remember i was talking about the bar tender before (with the old photo a few posts below) - well now he has become the manager, he has changed somewhat. Seiko and I feel he’s gone from the friendly bar tender, to a bit of a “bad guy” - what do you think?


We couldn’t take the emptyness any longer and decided to continue our bar crawl by heading over to Hideout - however, alas… this was empty too!!

Just where was everyone? This presented us with a great puzzle….

It was then that Seiko had the idea to try a club we hadn’t been for ages “Quest” - infact, i think the last time i went there was last year - and hadn’t gone back since due to it always being empty. However, the people had to be somewhere and as women got in free, it was decided Seiko would go in and check - before giving me the go ahead if it looked good.

She soon emerged to say it did indeed look good - so in I went… WOW! It was extremely busy, so this is where everyone had gone. But even better, it was playing some very nice UK hard dance :) I think it was a special event as there was a whole new temp DJ rig erected and everyone was HAVING IT :)
It didn’t take me long to get back into the dancing spirit, nor Seiko to find a new boyfriend…. the amount of guys she meets (then can’t remember the next day) is astounding… meet Takashi


Ah well — also on the dance floor, making its first ever appearence - the new England and Italian combined football shirt :D

By about 9am I noticed that Seiko had fallen asleep on the bar, so it seemed now was time go head off. Seiko’s new friend wasn’t quite so eager to leave her yet, and accompanied us to the station where we put Seiko into a taxi.

Feeling a little awkward now as I wasn’t sure what Takashi wanted to do (he spoke no English at all, nor did he seem to understand “osoku nihongo itteikuddasai” (slower japanese please) - but he followed me into First Kitchen where we got some breakfast - and then began the difficult situation of small talk.

I know I say I normally enjoy this, but when the guy is speaking at warp speed, it’s incredibly hard to keep up. Eventually, he seemed to twig that i really couldn’t catch much of his chat, so he slowed down slightly - but still, it was a bit of a mission trying to keep up :)
Anyway, we finished eating and said our good byes - with him i think expecting to speak to Seiko again very soon…. i’m not quite sure she feels the same though…. ah well :)
And there you have it, the weekend gone….. :/

Ah one thing before you go. Take a look at my “McArt” - i was trying to create the illusion of the chips flowing into the burger container. I think I did a pretty good job and intend to sell my work at the next modern art exhibition I attend :p
(Well *I* thought it looked cool :p) …. enjoy ….


Kyoto to now…

Wednesday, May 24th, 2006

w00t! I’m back again. Been a while since my last update, the reason? Well, to be honest I’ve been incredibly busy as soon as i have some free time on the computer. Witout going into too much geeky details, i’ve been really pushing the FIAT Forum, working on both the site structure and design, as well as working on getting the search engines to take notice of it.

Have I finished? No, not yet :) But, most of it is done - now begins a waiting game as the engines find all the new content and hopefully give it a favourable ranking. My dream - to get the forums to appear within the first page of a google search if you type only the word “FIAT” in your search terms! :) Will I make it… i hope so, a lot of money has now been spent optimising everything … :eek:
Anyhow, enough of the “ottaku” stuff - let’s get down to the nitty gritty.

As I posted, we were going on a trip to Kyoto (almost 2 weeks ago now) - me, seiko, shiho and toshi. We were going to drive (i’m doing a recap here, bear with me!) and would be staying 3 nights. Things didn’t quite turn out like that, but it was an awesome weekend, as i will start to explain.

The journey began in Noborito, where I had to go after work to meet Toshi and pick up the hire car - a “Toyota Vitz” 1.3 and, shock horror, an automatic :( YUK!


Anyhow, I digress, we then drove the short distance to the station to pick up the girls, before quickly making a stopoff at Toshi’s house to pick up his clothes, before finally getting on the way (about 7pm).

Kyoto is about 340 miles or so from Tokyo, and we had an estimated drive time of 7 hours! Hence the reason both me and Toshi would be taking it in turns to do the driving.

The first 4 hours passed uneventfully enough, with Toshi doing all the driving until we got to a service station where we swapped over. Wooo… my first time driving in Japan :D On pulling out of the service station and onto the sliproad, I knew this certainly wasn’t going to be a power ride - the car took an age to accellerate (despite being brand new, just 70km on the clock!) - thus pulling into the main lane was a bit tricky to start with, but hey, we did it.

Then comes the speed issue - the speed limit in Japan is around 60mph - a tad slow. Now i know the limit in the UK is 70 right? But no one ever drives at this, especially not at 11pm at night - so keeping with Uk style, i kept taking it up to about 90 or so, much to the worry of Toshi who kept warning about police cars. Apparently they are really hot on speeding here (rumour has it that’s why so many sports cars are exported, because no one can drive them here…)

Come 1:30am or so, everyone was hungry - so we decided to head of the freeway and find a food joint. Using the in-car GPS, we were directed to a nearby “Gusto” where we ordered some pasta and pizza, before Shiho’s friend Nana (who lived nearby) came and joined us.

It turned out that we wouldn’t be staying in Kyoto that night, but instead we were still a few hours out, so would be going to this “good place just 5 minutes down the road”. So once our food was eaten, we set off following Nana’s car. Well, 5 minutes soon turned to 10, then 20, then 30 (driving the opposite direction to Kyoto) until finally, the car turned off the main road and we headed into “Kenko Land”.


But… erm, what was this place? It was described to me - a place with loads of public paths, sauna etc, then a big room where everyone slept… erm… wtf?! It was at this point I went into difficult mode (to my shame) and decided I would rather spend the night in the car. There was no way I was gonna share a bath, and then a room with a load of probable homo’s… haha :D
The girls all went in, leaving me outside with Toshi, who was trying to persuade me to come in. I really didn’t want to spend a night sleeping with loads of other people due to the difficulty I find it sleeping …. but, thinking about it, and realising I was being a bit of a brat - I decided to take the plunge.

On entering the place, you have to put your shoes in a locker, then proceed to the reception desk where you pay your 2,000yen and are then issued with a “bundle pack” - containing 2 towels and a pair of pyjamas. You then proceed through the relevant door (men or women) to the changing rooms. Then, you basically just put everything in the locker (read - all your clothes) and get ready for the hot baths.

Depending on how shy you are, you can either walk to the bath area covering yourself with a mini towel, or just wander there without a care in the world. On looking at the people using the towels though, they just looked so stupid, it just seemed better to be brave about it :D haha….

Ok, so I’ve kept talking about baths - but I don’t mean baths in the “home bath” style place. People who have been following this blog will know I hadn’t been to a hotspring before - so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Well basically, a massive room, full of different shape and size pools/jacuzzis. There’s even an “electric bath” which has a current running through a metal panel in the middle - of course, Toshi neglected to point this out and I just stepped right onto it :eek: My leg was then tensed up for the next 10 minutes or so … haha….

Also in the area are 2 saunas (with TV), turkish steam room, a shower section and a swimming pool. However, now, maybe it was just me…. but the pool was the only “bath” that wasn’t hot. In fact, it was freezing…. I don’t know about you guys, but a naked guy getting into a freezing cold pool, and then having to walk around naked again after…. think about it…. ;) haha…. needless to say, i didn’t go in that :)
After the pools were done (they closed at 4am) - it was time to get ready for bed. For everyone else in the complex, this meant getting into the regulation pyjamas. As appealing as this was, I thought it would be much more interesting to wear my “Dilbert” pyjamas, thus ensuring that if i hadn’t stood out before - i certainly did now… :D
One last thing to do before bed was to make a quick stop off at the milk machine (awwww) before heading up to the bedroom……

I say bedroom, but probably a better description would be the “Carnage room” - basically, imagine a room as big as.. hmmm… well say, our hillier road house from the front garden to the back garden in length, then about 4 houses wide. Now fill this room for the back 1/4 with reclining chairs (but very narrow) - the next half with weird bed matress things, before finally the front with just a free for all :eek:
It took us a few minutes of walking around to find somewhere to settle down, but eventually, it was done. However, have you ever tried to sleep when there are about a million other people snoring..? Indeed, I couldn’t either - nor could Toshi.

It turned out that neither could the girls (who were on the opposite side of the building in an identical room) so we all met in the center (where they have game machines, pachinko, massage machines and stuff) and just sat around talking (in Japanese :D) until Seiko (who *had* actually managed to sleep) woke up around 6am and we could get dressed and get back on our way.

So little closing note on that - in the end, the place was fantastic, it would be a really cool place to go for the evening, hang out for a bit (there was an alcohol machine) then just head back in the morning when first train starts. Apparently, there is a Kenko Land near Shinjuku, so maybe if someone will come with me, I’ll go again.

Out in the car park - we said a fond farewell to Nana (who had a birthday party in the evening so had to get home to sleep) and with me now taking over the driving, we set off on our way. Kyoto was a good hour or so from our current destination, so we wanted to get some good speed on…… To start with Shiho stayed up to talk with us, but after an hour, even she couldn’t take the lack of sleep and disappeared back into the back.

Toshi and myself were also quite hungry, so we pulled into a McDonalds enroute, which also gave us the perfect opportunity to snap this photo ….. yes, they were both fast asleep :eek:

The hotel didn’t allow check in until 6pm, so as much as I wanted to go to sleep, this wasn’t going to be an option - and instead we were to go off sightseeing…. oh joy… haha…

First stop was Inariginja, which in my opinion had way too many steps to get to the main bit, but was pleasent enough.


After looking around here for an hour or so, it was back to the car (sleep! yes!! NOOOO!!!) and a 20 minute drive off to the “Ryaonji Temple”. It was a shame I was so tired, as as nice as they were, all I could think about was sitting down and going to sleep. Ah well.. check out the photo gallery for the pics :)
Once here was done, our final stop was “Arasiyama” where I was promised there was something “special”, though no one would say what it was. The area itself was really beautiful, a huge river which was shallow enough to paddle across (but about the width of a football pitch) and LOADS of people.

We were walking down the street when suddenly a rickshaw ambles past. I look up, then have to make a double take, sitting in it is one of my Nova students!!! So I stop him and he is just as shocked to see me…. who would have thought it :) The rickshaw driver didn’t seem to like the hold up though, and started getting aggitated, so I let them go… small world… lollage…

We headed out over the bridge and towards a big mountain (great, climbing a mountain when you’ve had no sleep) - however the sign at the bottom looked quite interesting…


Yes! This was Monkey Mountain :D

You start at the bottom of the mountain, then follow the path up (takes about 20 minutes) until you finally reach the observation point at the top - and are greeted with the following view:


But of course, that’s not the reason you climbed the mountain - oh no… also up here on the observation platform and loads and loads of monkeys! Just running around with the people, not in cages or anything. Stupidly I didn’t take a photo of the top area, so can’t show you. But just imagine chaos with monkeys everywhere :)
You aren’t allowed to feed them on the deck itself, but have to go into the feeding hut. This is so they stay trained knowing they only get food from the hut, so don’t start going after people - you buy bananas and nuts and stuff in there for very cheap.

So without further ado, please say hello …. to the monkeys :D

Suuuugoooooi!!! :D
On heading back down the other side of the mountain after, we even spotted this very strange and rare monkey playing on the swings….. but couldn’t find mention of it in an of the guidebooks ;)

I wonder where it came from???

By the time we got back to the car, it was about 5pm and I was shattered. I was also slightly worried as I had planned to meet up with Yuuka and Haruka later on in Osaka for a nights clubbing so REALLY needed to get some shuteye.

The hotel itself was a little tricky to find as it was tucked down a small backstreet and the GPS didn’t do the best job - but eventually we got there and checked in, before being shown up to our room. Which was, quite possibly one of the largest hotel rooms I have ever seen - but with absolutely nothing in it! :D Just a tatami floor which spanned a good 6m x 3m, oh wait, there was a table in the middle - but that was it!

Everyone was talking about going out and getting food, but I was now just TOOOOOOO tired, so pulled out one of the futons from the cupboard and went to sleep…… ahhh…. sleeeppp :)
I woke up at about 10:30 to the noise of everyone coming back (they had apparently eaten a fantastic dinner… all you can eat meat…. bah!) and on checking my phone, had a message from Yuuka and Haruka asking where I was. I had actually intended to just skip it and stay sleeping, but, seeing as I was now awake - I decided (much to the amazement of everyone else - they thought i was mad) to make the hour or so journey over to Osaka to join them.

After being drawn a rough map, and picking up a bottle of umeshuu from the convenience store (well, it was an hour on a train) - I set off across the countryside (on a train of course).

True to the word of the website, I arrived exactly on time and after getting brief directions to the “rough area” of the club, I set out into the night and the city of Osaka. After walking for about 10 minutes, I soon realised I should have probably got some more concrete directions, as in reality, this club could be anywhere…. doh!

I decided to go to the busiest intersection I could see and ask someone - a friendly looking couple who just happened to be walking past. They weren’t sure where the club was, but tried their best, even trying to search it on their phone. Alas, to no avail….. it was just then that I happened to glance over the road to be greeted by a big white “Club Karama” signboard…. ahh, so it would be there then :D lol…

The music inside sounded pretty good (nice and fast) and after paying my 3000yen entry (ouch!) i made my way into the “chill out room” to be instantly greeted by Yuuka and Haruka, hurrah! Two quickly became three, then four, until I was being introduced to everyone in there…. for my sins, I cannot remember everyones name - but, it was quite loud and besides, I had already drunk the bottle of umeshuu ;)

The night was absolutely fantastic, it completely blew away any night so far in Tokyo. The people were just so friendly and down to earth - not like the ridiculous fashion parades that go on in the Shibuya clubs, and none of the “meat market” rubbish that is Roppongi. Just 5 hours of awesome music, meeting new friends and having a great time.

One thing that supprised me slightly though was the cost, certainly not cheap, drinks were about 700yen and after the steep entry - this soon tallied up. Ah well, it was worth it - they even had a yakitori stand :D bonus!

Special mention should go to Masashi, a really cool guy - who was a great laugh, and we managed to have some pretty cool conversations… :D

Alas, all too soon it came to an end - and the journey back to Kyoto was calling me, so after saying goodbye to my new friends, Haruka walked with me back to the station - where, after arranging for me to come back the next month, we said our goodbyes and I tottered off back to the mainline platform.

I caught the train in good time, and settled back on one of the large “emergency seats” and put on my mp3 player - my plan was simple, get back to the hotel for about 7:30, get 2 hours of sleep, shower, then check out for 10am :eek:.

* BANG *

The sound of my player hitting the floor woke me up - hmm… i wonder how long i had been sleeping. Looking out the window, everything looked very nice - just countryside and fields…. hmmmm… i don’t remember any of this….


An anouncement came over the tanoy “Inae” …. hmm… I looked up at the train map, well, it certainly wasn’t before Kyoto…. I followed the map along… and along … and at the line split, i kept going…. DAH! I was about 17 stops past Kyoto…. doh! Great… so of course, off the train I got and scooted over to the other side just in time to catch the train waiting (not before taking a quick photo of course :))


By now, my phone battery had died - so I couldn’t mail or call anyone, as had my mp3 battery, so I had to sit out the return 1 HOUR journey in silence, trying desperately not to fall asleep again - which I managed… w00t!

This did however mean i arrived back at the hotel at…. 9:50!!! So just in time for a quick explanation of what happened, jump in the shower, brush teeth, and check out (after paying my 7000 yen) - so erm, 7000 yen for a 3 hour sleep and a shower - dammit! I would have been better off just staying in a love hotel in Osaka for a few hours, only would have cost 3000 yen…. nuts.

Anyway, so we are now up to Saturday and of course, everyone was nice and refreshed ready for another days sightseeing…. doh!

First stop was Tofukuji, which had some very nice garden displays and even a rare guest appearence from a multi coloured lizard…


There was also quite an amazing view of one of the shrines in the hills, though we didn’t actually get to go to it.


That done, we then set off to probably the most famous temple in Kyoto - “Kinkakuji” - or the “Gold Temple” - so called for obvious reasons…. see if you can work it out :p

Near the exit of Kinkakuji was a little “Tea” area, which I just happened to browse into - and unbelieveably, another one of my Nova students was there!!! This was now getting too spooky…

I think by now, everyone had started to get a little fed up of temples (and besides it was lunch time) so we set off back to the car and into the Kyoto “city centre” (though that’s not a very good description) where shopping was bought and food was eaten. By now though, Seiko had started to feel unwell and wasn’t sure a car journey back would be too good for her - thus deciding to get the Bullet Train back - she just has too much money… pah!

This just left Toshi, Shiho and me to do the car journey back - however as we now weren’t in a rush, we decided to drive the longer route back so Shiho could see the sea…. so off we set. At around 10pm or so, we finally got there and were then able to drive along the coast a bit to look out the window. Unfortunately, being 10pm meant it was quite dark, so we couldn’t see too much, but at least we could say “we went there :)” …. now, i could sleep a bit…. :D
I woke up at about 8am or so inside a still car. Opening my eyes and looking around a bit, it seemed we were parked up in a service station car park, quite where, I wasn’t sure….

After a few minutes everyone else seemed to awake and Toshi explained that we were going to go home via “Hakone” (an area famous for outdoor hotsprings) - so an allround sightseeing trip then :)
I now took over the driving and off we set. After about an hour or so, we reached Hakone mountain (well that might not be it’s name, but it was the big mountain at Hakone…) which was incredibly steep. Even worse, the weather had now started to get attrocious, with visibility reduced to a few metres at most - which of course meant corners just kept popping up, requiring a sharp decrease in speed.

Normally, this wouldn’t be an issue - but due to the incredible rubbishness of our vehicle, combined with the automatic gearbox and the incredibly steep incline - everytime this happened, trying to get accelleration up again was incredibly difficult. So much so, that by the time we were only half way up the hill, we had a trail of about 20 cars behind us (rather bizarely you could see down, but not up…?) - and try as I might, the car just WOULD NOT go any faster…. pah! Manual transmission RULES :D
We had planned to get out at the top and look around, but the weather was just too bad, so unfortunately, we just continued down the other side and stopped off at a cafe a few miles further down the road.

The rest of the journey back was a pretty uneventful afair, though we did notice this slightly strange construction on the way…. Toshi reckons its part of a Jackie Chan car chase film set, where he jumps from one bridge to the other….. Shiho and myself are not so sure …. ;)

Blimey, that was one heck of a write up. And in reality, there’s still two weeks to go…. however, i’m not going to :p
Ah ok, well, basically - due to the whole trip costing so much, the 2 weeks since have been pretty quiet as i needed to save until i got paid again last Monday. Seiko was also pretty sick from over working, so the weekend after was a non starter.

This weekend gone however was a bit different - I had to work the Sunday to cover the shift swap for the Kyoto trip, which meant Friday night was my only night out. Come friday I actually felt awful, but really didn’t want to waste this opportunity, so agreed to meet Seiko at 12:30 in Roppongi.

She finally turned up at around 12:45 - so I passed the time before by chatting with one of the local prostitutes… lol… She even said she’d give me a discount for being so friendly, but I felt it only appropriate to politely refuse :D
So, Roppongi on a night out. The usual then - Hub first… but, meh, this wasn’t so much fun. Instead it was decided we would head to the convenience store, purchase some alcohol then go and sit in the little park drinking it. This would save us money from not needing to keep paying for club drinks, and also firmly establish ourselves as “cheap ass pickeys” :)
Remembering the success Nesa and I had had the few weeks previous with the vodka and orange, it was decided to repeat the excercise, just with more vodka this time. So a 2 litre bottle of orange juice was purchased, along with a 500ml bottle of vodka - total cost £4.50! We then proceeded to the park, tipped out a quarter of the orange and replaced with the vodka …. voila …. instant drunkeness … hurrah!

Of course, once you drink 2 litres of vodka and orange, you generally need to get rid of it again - and sure enough, Seiko was now desperate for the loo, so we shot off to Donkihoutei which has “the nicest public toilets in Roppongi” - fair enough.

Whilst I was waiting outside for Seiko’s return - who should I spot, but the bartender of Maxim. (see old photo below)


On going over to say hello, he explained that there was a special offer on tonite as the club was renaming, and that we should come along. He also said a load more, but I didn’t understand a word of it … (but of course in true foreigner style, i kept saying “ah, i understand” after everything …. hehe)

So it was settled, as soon as Seiko returned, we headed off to Maxim which was (as he had said) 2000 yen to get in, but with 3 drinks, and every drink 500 yen after this. As per usual for one of mine and Seiko’s nights, memory is now hazy… so much so, infact i can’t remember anything…. blimey…

I just remember ending up at Matsuya later on (because first kitchen was closed) and then bundling Seiko into a taxi for her to go to work… (which she later fell asleep at, and had to stay 3 hours extra to make up for it….)

W000000000t!!! Finally back up to now…. so what else do i have to say.

Well, jumping back slightly to Osaka. On returning, I realised I missed it so much, the music scene is so much better and I feel the people are so much more friendly. As I said, I have booked a holiday to go there again on the 22nd of June - but more than that, if I decide to stay in Japan any extra time (and can get the visa) I will be transferring to an Osaka branch of Nova (I’ve already looked into it, and they say it’s fine!) - I just feel (although it was a short time there) that everything would be so much more fun for me there - I would have the benefit of the great music (for which I miss London) and loads of friendly Japanese people… which means… LOADS OF JAPANESE SPOKEN!!!

BUT… on the other side, Yuuka has now moved to England for one year, so I would like to be able to spend time in London with her and see more of Etsuko (who will also return some time soon) - but flip again, and Haruka is moving to Thailand next June… so I wanna see her….. argh?!?! too complicated.

I’ve also been speaking to Ruks and Lawrence about moving out (along with one Jap person so i can keep practising - maybe Etsuko) somewhere in London. Again, this would be fantastic as they would be awesome flat mates….

As it stands, nothing can be done without a visa anyway - so I’ll see if i get it, but not try too hard for it… then i can put it down to fate - if i get it, i stay, and it was meant to be….

I have a few more thoughts running around in my head which i want to get down, but i have to get up early tomorrow (before 11:30am!?!?! :eek:) so get my hair cut, so i better let it be here…. hopefully this latest incarnation has been interesting - and i just apologise for the poor spelling as i know there’s loads of mistakes - but…. well, i’m always writing this really late at night and I’M TIRED RIGHT :p
Matte ne!

Weekend, right?

Sunday, April 30th, 2006

Yes, it’s the weekend but i’m sitting here, home at 1:30am - why you ask?

Well, I was supposed to be out with Seiko tonite (as well as last night) - but she now sleeping in the frontroom. She’s been doing manic sleeping recently, like just 3 or 4 hours a day, and is wondering why she’s tired?!?

Tonite I’m a bit annoyed though, she had work this morning from 4am-midday, then was supposed to come home and sleep so we could go out tonite, but instead went out with some friends, coming back at 5pm, which of course come 8, there was no way she was awake enough….

I think I need to make an effort to start hanging out with some new people, as I can’t rely on her for everything. Shortest case, I only have 14 weekends left, I don’t need to be wasting them like this.

To comfort myself, I went to the supermarket and bought a box of Coco Pops :) (£3 though for a tiny box!) - and instead of wasting all the night, I thought I should finish writing up the events of last week….

Then, I reckon, I’ll slip back into rant mode and start grumbling again…

Anyway, where was I - ah yes, part three - the last week of Nesa and up to now…. hmmm… we probably did a few things during the week, but alas I can’t remember - I do know about the weekend though - so let me begin.

Oh no wait, i wanted to post this picture up…. taken on a packed train :)

Anyway, back to the weekend! :D
Friday, Nesa had gone to Hakone for the day - which I suspected would tire her out, and indeed it did - this left just me and Seiko to go to Roppongi together (or at least meet her there).

In usual me fashion, I was also hideously late and in real danger of missing the train, which meant I had to run all the way to Sangenjaya, meaning by the time I got on the train, I was sweating quite badly …. YUK! I hadn’t forgotten however to fill a plastic bottle with vodka, so at Aoyama Ichome station, I bought an orange juice to top it up…. quality :D
Not wanting to break tradition, first stop was Hub (hooray for Hub) however we only stayed for a single drink as Seiko was quite hungry, so we soon left and made our way to Jonathans (wow it’s been a long time since I went there) where we stayed for an hour or so.

Walking back down the Roppongi strip, it suddenly dawned on us, how we just did the same things over and over (same places each week), however not really liking any of the other clubs caused a certain issue here… haha….

Instead of clubbing therefore, we decided to do a bit of shopping (yes, at 3am in the morning) and headed into the large Donkihote stop where we just browsed random bits and pieces until there was nothing left to see.

On the way out however, we spotted a sign for the newly opened top floor “Cosplay” department, so jumped in the lift to the 7th floor. Cosplay if you haven’t guessed is an abbreviation for “Costume Play”, and on stepping out the lift, we were greeted with the sight of hundreds of different costumes - schoolgirls, nurses, cheerleaders, policewomen - pretty much anything (including “Sexy Gymnast Costume” lol…) - oh to have a j-girlfriend … ;)
Not to be left out, they also had a section for men, though I think it served more as a comedy section rather than a serious “sexy” dept…

Finally, the clock struck 5am, which meant that “Maxim” was open, so we scuttled away over the road to our (my? ;)) favourite club, meaning i could finally get a good dance in… hurrah!

The night was not so much different from usual as far as the music went, except today we had the typical “extremely drunk ugly” man, trying his hand with everyone in the place. He started on Seiko at first, but after explaining she was my girlfriend (which he wouldnt believe until we had kissed…) - he finally left, only to start trying it on with our friend (who we don’t even know the name of :eek:) - by now i had used my “Boyfriend” card, so I was unable to help out too much here…

Luckily, he soon got tired of the constant rejection, so went off to try his luck with someone else. You know, I really don’t understand people like that - how they can possibly think they are going to get somewhere… and then to just ignore rejection… man, people like that give us guys a bad name… :p
We left around 7:30 or so and headed off to the local “Subway” to get some breakfast, before finally hitting the train home… and … sleeeeeep :) zzzzz

Saturday and first off was a meeting with Toshi and his friend for us all to eat in Shibuya. Things started off ok, we decided to go to the mexican place - though arriving there, there was a 30 minute wait - so it was off to find somewhere else.

45 minutes later, we still hadn’t found somewhere (doh!) - until finally we found an izakaya style place. Problem was, both Nesa and I were very hungry and we just knew the food would be small - which indeed it was, ah well, there’s always First Kitchen ;)
One thing that must be mentioned was what occured at the end of the meal. We all got up to leave, but the staff then informed us that we still had one dish to come (infact it had just arrived) - A YakiSobaOmelette (imagine yakisoba covered with an omelette) - by now everyone had got to the door (Except me, nesa and toshi) - but me and nesa decided it was a shame to waste it, toshi therefore went to tell the others what was going on.

We realised the implications of time here, so had to take drastic action. Splitting into two equal halves, we then devoured the whole thing in under 3 bites each :eek: I must say, I’m quite impressed with our achievement there, and indeed Toshi couldn’t believe it when he got back from telling the others (all of a minute or so at most) to find us all done…. haha….

(Dammit, I’ve just gone and made another bowl of Coco Pops, thats my third this evening, soon they will all be gone :eek:)


It was then that the split occured, everyone departed leaving just me and Nesa to do the night alone… first stop therefore, Sunkus (convenience store) to buy a 2 litre bottle of orange juice and a 785ml bottle of vodka. Finding an “out the way” seating area, we then proceded to mix up (and mix *very* well) a vodka and orange, before (ultimately) drinking all of it :)
That done, we were ready for our final (or so we thought) destination of the night, a very welcome return to “Atom” - hurrah! Nesa’s last night out clubbing in Tokyo had to go with a bang.

As we didn’t have a flyer, entry this time was 3000yen (with one drink), though at the payment counter, Nesa expertly negotiated an extra one each (go Nesa! yay!) - and finally, we were back in paradise.

It was exactly as before, just a massive club full of the most gorgeous girls you can ever imagine. I would have taken a photo, but cameras had already been removed at the door (what a stupid rule) - and although i had managed to keep mine on me, i was now scared to use it incase we got thrown out.

The music this time was better than before, with it actually getting quite hard at one point - and it was safe to say, Nesa and I had a f*&king awesome time…. so good, we didn’t want to leave - but the fact it was about 1000 degrees and my hair was starting to flop badly, meant it was time to go :) hehe… I’ll return again once my hair is cut, haha…

Last stop of the night (after returning to our drinking point from the night before to retrieve the not-quite-finished bottle of vodka - i know, really pikey , but I DON’T CARE… haha) was “Little Spoon” to grab a morning curry, with extra hamburger, cheese and croque potato… :D
Sunday, for me at least was long lie in day, though Nesa got up around 11 or so :eek: to go and meet her friend Brandon.

We therefore arranged to meet at about 7:30 at Shimokitazawa to go for the “Final Meal” - again back at Bochi Bochi. It also gave me a chance to meet up with Brandon, a cool guy, and a friend of Nesa’s who works for Nokia. Shimpei turned up as well, making the circle complete.


After “Bochi Bochi” - we then headed for “Dot”, Shimpei’s favourite bar (haha .. NOT! though I don;t know why) - where we stayed for an hour and a half or so, in which time Shimpei complained about pretty much everything on the planet. I think dad would get on well with him ;) :p
Finally, tiredness was too much for Nesa, so we made the treck home. Unfortunately this meant we didn’t have time for karaoke, nor did we remember to do the obligatory japanese Photo-Me booths…. doh!

(Jumping forward a night —>)

Come 7:30am or so and it was time for Nesa to go. She didn’t even say goodbye (pah! her excuse was something about letting me sleep) - but luckily I had not bothered to go to bed, so once I heard the door go I ran out after her :)
And then she was gone, my English speaking household sharing member had departed, oh how I cried…. :D
Thus brings us to the start of last week, during which was just pretty much work and not a lot else. I need to save a bit of cash ready for Kyoto on Thursday, so I guess it’s not such a bad thing.

Tomorrow is the “new work staff” party, which will probably be a quiet affair, so I might liven things up a bit, by getting wasted first …. :) lol… welcome indeed… haha…

So phew, there you have it, up to date - I appreciate it’s not the most exciting read, but I just needed to get everything down. Once again, I promise not to fall so far behind again - which I am sure I will break sooner or later, but hey, at least you got photos! :)
I have a few other bits and pieces to add, though I’ll do these another time, it’s now 3:30, which means I have been typing this (on and off) for 2 hours - I DON’T WANT TO WRITE ANYMORE !!! pah! :p

And thank you! :)

Friday, April 28th, 2006

Part two of the “quick” summary …. lol ….

Vanessa arrived back at maybe 6 or so - however none of us in the apartment knew as we couldn’t hear the doorbell… whoops! She was eventually let in the main door by someone making a delivery downstairs, so was able to bash on the door until someone up here noticed :)
Oh course, she was now extremely tired and was debating on whether to stay home :eek: It was decided that she should get a bit of sleep, to recharge ….

Luckily this seemed to do the trick and we were able to get out the house by about 11:50 or so, just in time to catch the last train …. ahh, except it seemed the times had now changed and last train was long gone, with the only one left terminating at Shibuya.

Due to there being two of us though, it meant a taxi wasn’t quite such an expensive idea (about £3 each) - so all was not lost - and from Shibuya station we were whisked to Roppongi, stepping out just as the heavens opened - meaning we had to make a mad dash for Hub so as not to get soaked!

Here we met up with Seiko’s friend “S…. (something)” - god I’m so bad with names, it’s appauling. I would like to say it’s because they are tricky Japanese, but I always had this problem in the UK as well!

After a couple of drinks, it was decided that we wanted some proper food - so an izakaya seemed like the natural choice. We therefore headed along to the building where club Hideout is located, but caught the lift up (instead of down) to the izakaya Seiko and I had been once before.

Inside, the food and drinks were pretty normal… however one poster seemed to stand out “Sexy Fried Rice” … hmmm… what could this be? There was only one way to find out, so order it we did ….. Can you guess what arrived???

Go on, you won’t believe it ! ;)

I don’t think any explanation is required …. ;) :p
After all was done topside, we headed down to Hideout below (where I had to take the role of Seiko’s boyfriend, due to the large Korean attention she was getting) - where we partied until about 5am


Come 5am however, iLounge (or Maxim as it’s now known) was open, so we headed over the road to get in a few extra hours clubbing.. as you can see, Nesa loved it :)

I’m not sure what time we stayed until, though I reckon about 7ish, before finally departing (via McDonalds) to the warmth of home :)
Sunday was never going to be very hectic, though we had planned to go to Shinjuku to get a new memory card for Nesa along with a battery charger (her camera had died and she had neglected to bring the UK one) - in true me style, we got out the house at about 7pm or so (giving us 2 hours to do everything) - though I’m pleased to say it was mission accomplised - I even had time to go to Kinokuniya to buy the Japanese book I had read at Haruka’s… w00t!

Before heading home however, there was one special task which had to be undertaken - take Nesa to “Kabukicho”, the red light district of Tokyo, which is home to many, many host clubs. You know you are in the right place when you start to see huge billboards of guys in suits with flash hair everyone. Suprisingly though, Nesa wasn’t at all impressed, commenting they looked like “gay boys” rather than the attractive guys she had been expecting… pah… no pleasing some people :)
Mission failed, we then went to check out some of the UFO catcher parlours to see if anything great was on offer. In about the 4th place, we came across a machine with Ninendo DS’s in abundance, which actually looked pretty easy to grab.

I therefore set about the task of retrieving one, and on the 6th go, I got one!!! w00000t! Opening the box however, something wasn’t quite right… for a start it didn’t weigh much, and looked kinda cheap…. our suspisions were confirmed when we realised that there was no catridge slot, not any slots at all - they were just all fakes…. what was it you ask? A bloody voice recorder!!! Quite why anyone would want a replica DS recorder I just don’t know (infact, it seems no-one, hence the reason the machine was full of them ;)) - of course, it said voice recorder on the box, but we had both assumed this was a feature, not the whole thing!!! pah!!!

I was a bit peeved to say the least…. mew!!!

We made one more stop off (at the Shinjuku Hub - believe it or not ;)) before finally getting the train back, then getting an early(ish) night - due to having to work overtime the next day….

Part 3 coming tomorrow …. :p

Memory loss

Wednesday, April 26th, 2006

Well it’s got to the point, the blog is so far behind, that catching it all up has pretty much become an impossibility. I’ve decided therefore to cut my loses and start again from now.. otherwise, it would just slip and slip, and become not much use to anyone.

So, lets do a real quick summary of the weeks gone past…

The first weekend after Kyoto was also Yumi’s last night in Tokyo, so we went out to a new “all you can drink” place in Shimokitazawa. To cut a long story short, Shiho got absolutely wasted (she never drinks, remember!) and at one point it looked like we were going to have to take her home…. however, she pulled through and made it out to the Karaoke afterwards :)
So there you have it, bye bye Yumi - we shall miss you :p

The next weekend, it was decided that we would head out on Friday to Roppongi. After the usual “Hub” starter drinks, we headed to “Hideout” where we stayed until about 5am when it was decided we should check out “i-Louge” over the road (which had now changed it’s name to “Maxim”).

Entrance was 1000yen, however once inside and realising it actually played decent music (it was actually pretty banging, w00t!) - plus the fact you got a free drink, it didn’t seem so bad.

Seiko had now done a usual and got pretty smashed (so was propping up the bar) leaving me on my own to jump around manicly to the very good music. After a while, I was joined by a group of girls and, I guess due to the influx of alcohol inside me, suddenly had the confidence to start talking to them (in Japanese…. duh!) - I can’t remember the girl’s name, but she was originally from Thailand, spoke no English, but really liked the club.

I stayed talking with her for about an hour and a half, before, situations over at the bar meant I had to intervene. Seiko had managed to find herself not one, but TWO guys, who were intent on dragging her off home with them :eek: - I know she might have wanted this, but the fact she seemed to keep passing out on the bar and being propped back up by them, kinda suggested she didn’t know what she wanted!!!

A swift intervention later (which rather bizarely involved me shouting out “they are bad men, they are bad men” - which they could of course hear) and we had Seiko on the way home. Rather worryingly, not 10 minutes after we had left, I mentioned to Seiko that “you really need to be careful”, to which she replied “Why? What happened??” :eek: She wouldn’t believe me at all until I told her to check in her pocket where the guy’s phone number had been put!!

We got back to Wakabayashi station at about 9am (after taking a strange detour through a graveyard - much to the amusement of the gardener) when suddenly Seiko shouts out “Ah, I have work now!! I have to catch this train…” - and off she went!?!?!

Needless to say, we didn’t go out on Saturday night! :)
Monday after, Vanessa arrived - so we did the official “welcome to Japan” evening out, by taking her to Bochi Bochi (any excuse ;)) - she then left for Kyoto on the Tuesday, returning on the Saturday.

Friday night was Ryoko’s birthday, so once I had finished work, I headed off to Roppongi to meet up with her, seiko, shiho and toshi. No prizes for guessing our first point of call ;)
We did find this strange drunk guy though …. :D

Final stop was club “Vanilla”, a swanky place just up the road. It was a bit of fun and games at first though….

Clubs and bars here don’t have cloakrooms, but just lockers. This is generally a good idea, until you have a massive club, with no where near enough lockers to cater for everyone. So picture the scene, Saturday night in a really hot club with loads of coats and bags, but no lockers.

We stand around for a bit, before deciding this just isn’t going to work and we’re better off just holding on to everything, until suddenly a group of people standing around the lockers leave and suddenly some locker keys are glistening in the club light…..

Going on instinct, we charge for the lockers and not a moment too soon before suddenly all hell breaks lose and a huge crowd of people start rushing towards us. It was total carnage with everyone pushing a shoving everyone out the way to try and secure their locker!!! :eek:
Once all sorted, we headed to the R’n'B room, which had nice comfy sofas - where we actually just sat until the end of the night just chatting and having a good laugh :)

Once the club had come to an end, we headed to the Turkish restaurant to get some kebabs (and a bottle of wine ;)) - before, at about 8am or so, heading back home to get some rest in ready for the night ahead… (and Vanessa’s return…)