Thursday, 31 May 2012

Travel Log: Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture

Last weekend, I went to Hakone in Kanagawa Prefecture which is located surprisingly close to the Izu Peninsula. Hakone is a popular day-trip destination for Tokyo-ites being so close to the capitol as it is. If you are interested in some amazing views of Mt. Fuji, I definitely recommend a trip to Hakone. Check out the comprehensive page for more information about traveling in Hakone. Enjoy some snaps below...

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Tops Tuesday


Why, hello there! Mitsubishi's latest range of cars will bring out the metrosexual in you...

Friday, 25 May 2012

T.G.I.F.: Tohoku Rokkon Matsuri Festival, Morioka, Morioka Pref.

This special event is held with the intention of encouraging Tohoku District's people to cheer up, because the Tohoku District suffered extensive damage from the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. Six major festivals from each prefecture in the Tohoku District will come together and parade through the main streets in the city on both days. The festivals are: Aomori Nebuta of Aomori Pref., Akita Kanto Matsuri of Akita Pref., Morioka Sansa Odori of Iwate Pref., Yamagata Hanagasa Matsuri of Yamagata Pref., Sendai Tanabata Matsuri of Miyagi Pref. and Fukushima Waraji Matsuri of Fukushima Pref.

You can get there via the JR Tohoku Shinkansen Line or the JR Tohoku Honsen Line to Morioka Sta. Click the image below for more information.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Diary of a JET #8: What are they up to?

I'm going to hell for this one...

So I'm riding my bike home from the station after one of the last trains home late at night, and my students are right there wandering around the streets in some kind of daze...

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Tops Tuesday


Of course it's the solar eclipse that occurred at 7.30am this past 21st May in Japan. What a romantic way to propose...

Friday, 18 May 2012

T.G.I.F.: Shimoda, Black Ships Festival

To commemorate the arrival of U.S. ships in Japan and the subsequent "opening" of Japan to the rest of the world, the Black Ships Festival is being held in Shimoda, the town where Commodore Perry landed in 1853. The festival begins today (May 18th) and runs through the weekend until Sunday. Known for its white-sand beaches, Shimoda is located within a couple of hours travel from Tokyo on the southern tip of the Izu Peninsula. There will be various attractions including fireworks, marching bands, a U.S. Navy parade, historical recreations, a bazaar and more. Click the image for more details. Happy Friday!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

The Izu Life: Top Iphone Apps You Should Have (in Japan)

Plan your route and find out train and bus fares at the same time. Very useful for planning long journeys in Japan or just checking when the last train home is.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Tops Tuesday

I only have one "tops" item to report on today... Japan is known for being at the forefront of technology and robotics, and today we have reached a milestone in humankind's evolutionary potential.  Researchers at the University of Electro-Communications in Japan have developed a synthetic posterior that can communicate with humans through physical contact and 'muscle' contraction. 'What's it for?' you may be wondering. Well, I can safely say, this device has absolutely no purpose. Maybe you could file it in the same category with blow-up dolls, the remote kissing device, dating simulations for otakus, or maid cafes. Whatever it's for, it's weird, it's wonderful, it's Japan, so it's tops. 

Friday, 11 May 2012

T.G.I.F.: Tokyo Design Festa

This Saturday and Sunday the Tokyo Design Festa takes place in Tokyo Big Sight, Odaiba and claims to be the biggest arts festival in Asia. Its basically a exhibition/free-for-all of artists, performers, crafty types, and DIY-ers. I'm told some amazing cute and quirky items can be picked up here so if your a fan of kawaii stuff from Japan click the image below to visit the official website for all the details. Worth checking out. Happy Friday!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Diary of a JET #7: In which I expound upon the weirdness of ALTs in Japan

What you are about to read is probably going to be an unpopular opinion. You have been warned.

8.10 am and morning meeting begins as the school bell chimes, just like clockwork. The vice-principal bids the staff room a good morning. “Ohayo Gozaimasu,” we chorus back at him. The regular principal does nothing, sometimes he doesn’t even attend morning meeting. He is just a figurehead.

As usual, I understand nothing that transpires; the meeting is carried out in Japanese in hurried, urgent tones. A few staff members stand to deliver small announcements. I sit in my chair in the corner checking my emails, reading other blogs about Japan, googling nonsensical things like how to utilize neon accessories for spring and then pinning it all to Pinterest.

It’s a day like any other. Life here can become so uniform, so regimented, that days start to blend together, becoming just another link in life’s impenetrably-armoured succession of days. This is something that has come to my attention recently, the endless monotonous onslaught of routine. Sometimes I think each day is just a step closer to getting out of here. And then I get depressed because I’m probably not utilizing my time here effectively.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Tops Tuesday!


^This, this, this! This the best thing I've seen all week. Abe-chan is a pet myna bird with his own Youtube channel. Myna birds are known for mimicking sounds and voices near perfectly. Abe-chan has learnt to parrot his Japanese owner's voice identically and proceeds to have something of a converstaion with her...
Abe-chan: Good morning!
Owner: Good morning to you.
Abe-chan: I’m a good boy, aren’t I?
Owner: You sure are. Abe-chan, I’m going out. Can you look after the house?
Abe-chan: Sure.
Owner: Really? You’re amazing. Be good, Abe-chan.
Abe-chan: OK, I will.
My mother has a pet rainbow lorikeet which she rescued back in Australia and while Olive is capable of simple greetings and asking "how are you?" it's nothing compared to Abe-chan! (Source).

Not Tops

Last Sunday a tornado tore through a region just 60 kilometres north-east of Tokyo. The tornado took the life of one boy, aged 14, and caused plenty of property damage, tearing the roofs off many houses. Tornados are extremely rare for Japan so this has come as something of a shock to many. I myself was enjoying a beautiful sunny day on Sunday when at around 3pm the wind picked up the the temperature dropped very suddenly. Thunder rolled in the distance and I felt the ground shake noticeably a couple of times but thought little of it until I heard the news report. Nature, with the beating Japan has taken in the past year or so, do you think you could cut these people some slack for a little while?

Friday, 4 May 2012

T.G.I.F.: Tokyo Hotaru Festival

I'm going to let this picture speak 1,000 words to you...

As a part of the Golden Week celebrations, this event is designed to encourage people to think about the relationship between modern Tokyo's urban culture and the Sumida River, once a central hub of trade and commerce in old Tokyo. Throughout the day on May 5th and 6th, marketplaces and workshops will be available in the area around the Sumida River and Sky Tree [Map] (take the Ginza Line to Asakusa Station). The pièce de résistance comes on Sunday night at 6.30pm when a symposium on integrating the river into city living will be held and artificial “hotaru” (fireflies)--really just an array of LED lights--are floated across the Sumida River. Some events require tickets, with the symposium on Sunday evening costing 1000yen for adults. More information can be found here (Japanese only).

What are you doing this Golden Week?

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Tops Tuesday

Not Tops

Spring rains set it this past week or so and in Japan, moisture = humidity, and humidity = insane hair frizziness. A mild inconvenience you may be thinking? No. Try an ungodly mess perched on top of your head leaving you in a position where your students and coworkers struggle to take you seriously (because there is a thing on your head). Imagine spending each morning painstakingly flat-ironing your hair (as I did) only to find not 15 minutes later, before you have even left the house, your hard work has been undone and your hair has frizzed up! The stuff of nightmares, my friends. The stuff of nightmares. ...Well, if you have naturally curly hair that you wear straight and you live in Japan. Positively hell on earth!


Fret not. I have discovered the wonders of the Japanese straight perm. This miracle treatment obliterates any potential frizz risk in a matter of hours. No longer will leaving your house on a rainy--nay, any high-humidity--day require you to spend hours taming unruly locks. I actually wrote a post about the Japanese straight perm way back in mid-2011 the first time I got the treatment done. Check out that post for all the relevant details on getting a straight perm procedure in Japan. I definitely recommend it! It will save you a lot of time and stress. I also recommend the Toni&Guy salon in Shizuoka City where I get my cuts and straight perms. English-speaking staff is always a plus!

Where is your favourite hair salon in Japan?

Favourite Quote...

Life is short, so tell someone you love them today... but shout it at them in German because life is also baffling and terrifying.

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