This was taken just before we were about to walk up the Brooklyn Bridge. H E L L O Brooklyn!

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Shibuya and Harajuku's Meiji Shrine

As much as I would have liked to have taken photos of Harajuku's fashion life, it wasn't possible given the many signs saying 'no photographs.' There was even one sign that said, 'No Photos, FUCK OFF!' LOL. Harajuku is amazing and so is Shibuya. I wish I lived inside Tokyo because it reminded me of London and New York. Very busy and very city-esqe. : ) I enjoyed it very much :)

The famous pedestrian crossing. The most largest in the world. Start's off..



On path to the Meiji Shrine, famous Shinto shrine. These things are filled with Sake.

So are these!

The Meiji Shrine. I had to clean myself by washing my hands and drinking some of the fountain's water before entering the shrine's area.

Tori Gate?

The path to the shrine is very pretty. You forget you are in a cosmopolitan city once you enter this park. It feels like a forest.

Making more wishes!

That's me. Me with those path lanterns that automatically turn on when it gets dark

Friday, 11 April 2008

More bloody photos I took on my camera phone...

Map of my hood - the blue bit is TOKYO BAY... : )

Mutsuura view: I have to walk up a hill to reach one of my primary schools and this is the view. Isn't it lovely?

This is the same place, but it was a murky day. : (

Yes, Yokosuka... my hood! Interesting sewage cover... man hole cover!

View of homes from a high up hill in Yokosuka. I really like these homes all close knit and connected despite the un-flat land : )

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

The Company Training and more Yokohama observations

I’ve spent my day reading over current affairs and that was fun, but then the novelty wears off and I’m sitting here with little to do. Perhaps I should go home and just chill. I’m also quite tired, but then again, I’m always tired. I cannot be bothered to think about my rent. I paid half my rent for this month, yet apparently, I haven’t sent them anything, which is strange. I’m going to check my account and see how much money was taken out because I’m sure I sent it last week. I’m really sure of it! I have this feeling that they could be trying to take me (and my money) for a ride, but no one is going to be doing that.

In hindsight, I’m pleased I sorted out my accommodation pretty early. I haven’t had to deal with the hassle that my colleagues had to when they arrived. They hung out in the hotel because they had to. I hung out in the hotel because it was in central Yokohama and fully paid for by the company. Of course it was also an opportunity to be surrounded by people who knew me and grab a little social life in Yokohama, which was good.

That intensive training last week really got me tired. Towards the end, I was bored. We were going through policy papers and we ALL got the message. No matter what happened in our schools, we’d always consult the company and not the school to confirm permission of anything. So silly! There are funny things about the company that has given us a semi-negative perspective of the company. For one thing, we are not allowed to use a bike to travel to and fro to our schools. Obviously they’re doing it just to cover their own backs. Also, there was a mistranslation, we’re getting taxed 15% each month and part of it is because we’re posted in Yokohama. Not that I would change my mind in living in Yokohama, but I’d prefer it if I had known back in my time in London how much I was going to be taxed.

Also, we’ve been told we cannot touch the kids. Now, that’s funny because I’ve spoken to many ALTs who’ve touched kids before without getting harassed afterwards, but either my company wants us to learn about Japanese etiquette, or wants to cover their own backs yet again, it all sounds dodge. On top of that, we have to wear a suit… or business attire even if we want to access the office apparently. I don’t understand why it’s so necessary. It’s not like we are going to the office to work. We could be going there just to give in a copy of our passport, but we’d still have to look professional. Hmm, it’s all self- promotion and clever advertising, isn’t it? No!

There are other little bits about the training that I didn’t like such as the lack of new materials we could have used in our teaching practice. We had to do in pairs. We had 10 minutes to prepare them and 5 minutes to do them. It wasn’t easy as first, but soon after it did. It was good seeing other people acting highly energised and making a laughing stock of themselves. I guess this training wasn’t so bad. I mean I l had some practice and also learnt that with teaching kids the most important things to do are to always smile and praise them for what they do. We were assessed twice in our teaching practice and in the first one, I got 43 out of 50, which is good considering that I haven’t got any teaching training whatsoever. Bryan, the yank, got 27, which made him feel like shit understandably. Although, he was hardly ‘genki’ (highly energised) in the voice and his body language was monotone. Like me, he hadn’t trained primary school before, yet he was also shy. I suppose he was shy in front of a crowd too and I can’t really blame him when he had me as a partner, who was screaming on the top of her lungs, ‘HELLO EVERYBODY’ and smiling like a chimpanzee high on coke. Teaching kids won’t be easy. Even if I feel shit one day or very depressed, I can’t show those feelings to my school or else they wouldn’t learn anything.

Any other observations about my current stay in Japan so far. Contrary to popular notion that Japan are the most avid newspaper readers before the UK, I’ve haven’t seen much of that in action. On the tube, practically everyone would be raiding for the London Metro or the London Lite, but that doesn’t seem to be the case in Tokyo or Yokohama so far. On the public transport, I’d see maybe one newspaper in one salary man’s hand and that’s it. Sorry, to upset you people but that is definitely how it is for me so far. I suppose I’m being too judgmental. Ok, they do read on the train, but it’s usually Manga comics or Japanese books. The salary man would spend most of his time sleeping, eyes closed or just watching Japan go by through the windows.Yet, I’ve seen younger salary man reading comics, usually of a sexual nature – No surprises there. And besides that, I’ve seen other Japanese commuters reading novels. Reading novels is big here though. They’re probably as normal as London in being too proud with their books. I’ve seen one very kind (old) woman offer me her seat with a English Penguin Classic book, which she had written all over. Other books are for students of English, which only goes to show how much the Japanese are keen to learn such a great language.

Oh another observation. The Tokyoites aren’t a laptop culture. I’ve been in coffee shops and cafés and there are no signs of a laptop besides my own. However, they do enjoy texting or sending emails on their mobile. That’s something almost habitual. I’ve seen grandpa’s with their mobiles. He he!

Sunday, 6 April 2008

新宿駅ーShinjuku Station, Central Tokyo

Here are some photos of me in Shinjuku and it's area. I'm in another Japanese Sushi place. Accept this one is in central Tokyo and it's very very crowded. Almost cramp in there. Either way, it's the Japanese way.

Can you spot Brad? Peek-a-boo! He and Cameron Diaz are celebrity endorsements for softbank; a Japanese commerical bank and mobile phone service. I have a softbank phone : )

more of shinjuku...

Shinjuku station... cool no?

And more...

It's a pink crepe van... KAWAII!!

Now, isn't this a sight for sore eyes? On the weekends, pedestrians can walk on the roads and enjoy more shopping!

Oh the gerkin? The Tokyo gerkin? Well, this is two times bigger than the London one...

The business district

They had one of these in NY, Manhattan - Now, I've found one in Tokyo... fascinating!

That's me, Li and Jokan

Tooika, me and Jokan

Tokyo Metropolitan Government

A Fountain... woohoo!

Shinjuku Park - It wasn't big. There are bigger ones around.

Oh Cherry Blossom!

A Statue...

...another one!

That's just pure beauty man?!

Cherry blossom!

Can you see that tall government building in the background?

Cherry blossoming viewing: Hanami: During this national event, everyone (excluding the kids) get drunk!

In the middle of the park, we found a shinto shrine: )

I wish I knew what this was...

Oh, thats a shrine for sure.

This is where people write down their wishes

This one at the bottom says 'I want a woman'

And this one is self-explanatory, ain't it? I think that's the best wish you could ever ask for. Of course the Shinto gods shall grant thee...."LOSER"

That's me - getting close to nature : )

Not such a great photo here. BLAME me and my forgetfulness. How much I miss my 7.1 mega pixel camera. All I have is this crap 2 mega pixel. Quality... NOT!

Cherry blossom only lasts for a couple of weeks in a year. Hence the reason why I'm trying to capture as many of these pink lovelies as much as possible.


Shinto believers are supposed to wash their hands and drink the water of this little fountain thing. I like the dragon. It's there...

Tradition, nature and modern. ummmm I like! Only in Tokyo, people!

I'm always showing off! I'm in Japan with a stone dragon!

More FLowers!

Pretty ... pretty... (yawn)

And to the Izikaya. I had calpise... pronouced like COW PISS. It is like Japan's version of their own yogurt. : ) Accept it takes exactly like yogurt.

I've moved to NY

I've moved to NY
I have certainly moved to New York City