Karaoke on Thursday! Thanks Matthew for taking these cool pictures! I should do karaoke more often, it helps me deal with all kinds of emotions. Actually, I should just be a singer in a band. That would help even more!

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OK, I still haven’t been. It’s not because I don’t know how to buy tickets! I have the instructions written in my notebook and everything, I just keep forgetting to book them. You see you can’t just show up and buy them, you have to buy them in advance from Lawson (a convenience store) and you have to buy them for a specific time of day, The time/day can’t be changed and as you can buy tickets up to three months in advance you really have to plan ahead. So anyway, we were in Inokashira park and suddenly realised that hey, we’re next to the Ghibli Museum. We were just standing outside looking in when I remembered that the Laputa robot statue is on the roof! I got very excited and walked quickly (wasn’t excited enough to like, run) round the building and sure enough, you can see it from outside! Yes! There were a few museum staff around but other people were taking photos so I went ahead. Then one of the guys at the gate came up to us and I thought “Laaame” but he wasn’t coming to tell us to stop, no no! He said we should go over to the entrance where we could take photos of the giant Tototo at the ticket gate! Thank you lovely Ghibli Museum man! So we did and now I am more determined than ever to book tickets and actually GO.

Colour Puddings!

March 28, 2011

These were coloured by my lovely brother, Nick. Thanks Nick!!

Happy Blurry New Year!

January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

I was in Tokyo for a about a week so no updates, sorry!! I know, I know, it IS possible to update when I’m not at home but I just didn’t quite get round to it! Of course the main reason I was in Tokyo was the Tokyo Game Show and I will put some pictures up from that (only pictures of cute things though!) but I haven’t put them on my computer yet so in the meantime: Sanrio Puroland. We went there on the Tuesday after TGS.

You know how lots of people in Japan seem to really, seriously love Disneyland/Disneysea? Sometimes people even say things like “It makes me happy” or “It gives me dreams”. OK, so I can never imagine myself feeling that way about Disneyland because (Sssh, secret!) I’m not much of a Disney fan. Sanrioland on the other hand, made me feel the way I imagine Disney fans feel at their theme park of choice.

It’s amazing of course! It’s in the middle of this nothing area. All grey, mid height buildings and businesses and then suddenly this massive pink castle, right next to a road. It’s a little bit rusty and tumbledown on the outside but inside it’s fantastic. Once through the ticket barriers you look ahead and see this giant fake tree (“The Wisdom Tree”) and all these little nooks and pathways all around it, it’s hard to figure out where to go first!

First we went on the boatride. It was very cute but I have to admit I was a little scared! We were in a  boat, alone, and as you go along, little scenes light up with music and voices. I was distracted enough by the cuteness not to be too freaked out but ever since a terrifying walkthrough ride featuring historical scenes and sinister talking cats I went to with my Mum and brother in Weymouth when I was little I’ve been pretty scared of rides like this (Darkrides I think they’re called?).

OK, the rest of the place offered no complicated cute-fear combinations, it was all cute. We saw a show in the Discovery Theatre (Golden Age of sci fi inspired!) featuring Cinnamon, two lovely dancing ladies in awesome costumes and the audience participation catchphrase “Power of…communication!” I normally HATE audience participation but…I participated, I even did the whole making-a-heart-with-your-hands gesture! Loser!

The Kitty Lab attraction is fascinating too. A mini Kitty village! I was really bad at most of the games but never mind! Kitty’s house is adorable. Although…if you were Kitty, would you really want a pink bath shaped like your own head? Or a mirror? Or a sofa? Isn’t that a little weird really?!

Managed not to buy tooo many things. Bought elaborate bentos purely for the packaging rather than the actual food and found Tuxedo Sam goods which are almost never available! Also met some characters and went slightly mental cause they’re so impossibly cute. Especially Mocha with her sad eyes!! She kept looking up at me and making hug movements with her arms! Yes I know it’s a person in a costume!!

So you see..you really should go to Sanrio Puroland. It made me feel relaxed, happy and amazing. It gave me dreams!! ;P

Here is a massive gallery of photos to look at, enjoy!

And now I am going to try to tidy away all the stuff that came back with me from Tokyo :( Will try to update again this evening!

Explosions by the sea

August 25, 2010

Me and Danny went to Kumano for the first time on the 17th, to see the famous fireworks show! Train ride down wasn’t so bad. I mean, it was long (4 hours, we went with local trains) but I’d been anticipating sitting on the floor or something and we got seats easily! Scenery between Taki and Kumanoshi was gorgeous. Heavy heavy green trees and mountains. Sometimes the scenery in Japan reminds me of Norway! I mean, it’s often kindof more ‘lush’ than Norway but just the sheer amount of trees and the mountains reminds me of driving through the country back home sometimes!

Anyway, got to Kumanoshi around half four. Very cute little station! Got some snacks at a konbini and debated buying a T-shirt with a Japanese milk company logo on it. They were really cool but both of us… already … own …so…many…T-shirts!

Headed for the beach. Wow it was packed! It’s a stony beach so no sandy shoes, yay! The Kumano RA, Marissa, had reserved a spot on the beach, thankfully! It was next to the lion rock which totally IS shaped like a lion! It was really crowded and although you could have seen the fireworks from pretty much anywhere it was nicer to be so close to the beach where you could actually see the reflections of the fireworks in the water. Quite a few ALTs showed up, I was mostly too sleepy/in awe of fireworks to do much talking… Chatted to Mitzi a little, said hello to some new people who I will fail to recognise if I see them again cause it was super dark and I couldn’t see so well!

Fireworks were fantastic! The sound they made echoing off the rocks was insane! It really sounded like..cannon fire or something! The fireworks in the water were great, huge plumes of light and the poor people in the little boat lighting them zipping away as each one exploded. I couldn’t help myself going ‘Ooooh!’ and ‘Aaaahh!’ all the time. I did hear one little kid shout ‘Ganbatte!’. Very cute! Do fireworks need the encouragement? Or was he talking to the people on the boats?? There were fireworks shaped like mushrooms, umbrellas, mikans, smileys and planets (No Hello Kitty though!! Will it never be??! Do they even exist?)! There were swirly ones and disco ones and ones that I thought looked like space (like star clusters, kinda!), colourful ones and glitter dust ones and golden ones and rainbow ones. Here are some photos that probably don’t do the show justice but what can I do?

Hung out on the beach for a little after the show. Chatted to Lauren for a bit then me and Danny headed off for our train. Got baby castella on the way back, yes! And as the stall was closing up she gave us tons of them, yes! Or not yes, cause of course that meant we ended up eating more of the things than we would have but whatever, they’re yum. Had to join a special queue for the train back. Train was delayed by at least half an hour..then it kept stopping (abruptly!) on the way there and just not moving for ages (I guess the delay screwed up the schedule and it had to pause for other trains to pass). Ended up being delayed by just over an hour, got back at around 4am! Um, yay! Didn’t feel too bad though, I’m impressed we got back at all! Yeah, Kumano fireworks, definitely a thing one should do while in Mie! It’s beautiful down there and the fireworks really are extra specially awe inspiring and LOUD!

Wow, I love fireworks. I do remember being a bit scared of them when I was little. I think I was also afraid for the people lighting them (sometimes, my Dad would be one of those people). I remember going to Guy Fawkes nights in Wales and thinking ‘Aaaahhh!! Run!!’ every time anyone lit a firework. I was scared of sparklers for the longest time too, purely based on those freaky adverts where a girl wearing fingerless gloves would hold her horrifically burned hands up to the camera and say something like ‘I played with sparklers. Look what happened’. I’m OK with sparklers now though, they’re fun! OK, glimpse into my childhood: over!  Fireworks: yay!

Cosplay Times

August 20, 2010

On August 31st and July 1st I went to the World Cosplay Summit 2010 in Nagoya. I guess I’d always been a little dismissive of cosplaying but since coming to Japan I’ve decided it’s actually quite cool (well, most of the time anyway…there are some aspects of it I’m less than fond of…). I was pretty excited when I found out about this event, and so nearby too!

Day One:

Headed to Nagoya with Danny and Matthew, had lunch at Boyd’s Cafe in Osu. Their scones are nice as are their lattes. Not really any vegetarian options though so I just had scones and coffee.Mm, nutritious!

The day’s events began with a red carpet mini parade featuring this year’s contestants. I wasn’t there because a) I wasn’t invited *sob!* and b) I needed a lie-in (minor hangover *sob!*). Next up was the cosplay parade, held in Osu Kannon. Goodness me, it was quite fun! I decided to dress up cause I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t.  It can be practise for the day when I finally go full on Gothic Lolita and wander around Nagoya. So anyway,  I dressed up as Mio Akiyama from K-ON! It’s a manga/anime series about a group of high school girls who form a band. Mio is the bassist and my outfit was one of her stage outfits. It was pretty much a maid outfit but as we have established, maids=cute! I’ll come right out and say it: I bought my outfit at Cospa. Real cosplayers make their own outfits but I am really terrible at sewing and I don’t have a sewing machine either. Maybe next year…

So on the way there Danny and Matthew  were joking that I’d have to watch out for photographers. “Haha”, I thought. They were right though! Standing still for a few moments seemed to make me radiate a ‘Take my photo now!’ vibe and I soon had people coming up and asking me if they could take a picture. Wow-like paparazzi! I felt too shy to feel famous. Lots of people were using their phones but some guys (only guys!) had those cameras that take zillions of pictures at once, eep! I didn’t really have any poses ready so I just did maid type poses (Whatever that means?! In my head I was thinking “Yeah, these are maid-ish”, but what do I know?!). Some girls went into little paroxysms and kept screaming “Kawaii!! Kawaii!!” at me which was pretty funny really! The parade was cool if a little weird at times because when it slowed up the cosplayers were just kind of stuck there, staring at the crowds! Some were posing and some just seemed a little confused! At the end of the day I got changed before heading back in case we bumped into anyone!

Day Two
Me and Danny arrived at Oasis 21 around 15.30. By 16.00 (3 hours til showtime) my feet were killing me (heels) and we had to go to Starbucks to sit down. It was funny to see all the cosplayers sitting around drinking frappuccinos. Baskin and Robbins seemed to be the most popular place though-the line was massive and made up entirely of cosplayers! Had my photo taken some more and ran into three other Mios! One matched me and the others were wearing two of her other outfits.

Before the show started we met up with some other friends and while Danny filmed I headed off to the observation deck above the art gallery across the road to see how the view of the stage was from there. Unfortunately to get to the observation deck we had to pass a fancy restaurant. The entrance was full of people in very posh outfits, it looked like a wedding reception or something. We were respectively wearing: shorts and a T-shirt, a yukata and a maid outfit. I couldn’t look up! I could just imagine everyone thinking “Oh foreigners! They’re so ker-ayzee!” On the way back out I noticed one of the guests holding a half empty bottle of JD. That made me feel a bit better for some reason.
The observation deck was way too hot so we soon headed back. By now it was getting dark and the sky was a dusky dark pink. Oasis 21 looks fantastic at night. It’s made to look like a spaceship and it DOES. What with all the cosplayers walking around and the lit walkways and billboards it really felt like some futuristic space town. Bladerunner crossed with a fuzzy rainbow. Caught about two thirds of the show from a staircase. The place was really packed and there was almost nowhere to go. People were crammed onto the ground floor around the stage and against the railings of every floor surrounding it.

I missed the last few contestants because I just couldn’t stand on tip toes anymore! I watched through Danny’s video screen then took a break to get mango and yuzu frappuccinos. This time I wore everything but my headband home-too tired to find somewhere to change. So to summarise: cosplay is really awfully fun and I’d do it again. Some people are just so talented at making costumes, it’s crazy/brilliant!

Aaand here are some more photos. The Gundam Cafe really was cool. I am not a huge fan of Gundam, not ’cause I think I’d hate it or anything, I’ve just never watched it. As a cafe/bar concept it’s a pretty good idea! Apart from the bathrooms! OK, they are cool really, and look like the rest of the place, all slick and metallic BUT, above the hand drier there’s a big red shiny button that says “Stop. Emergency” on it. “Oh hey, how fun!”, thought silly Joanna and pressed it. Don’t press it! Especially if you, like me, are afraid of the dark!! The lights start going on and off and a fake alarm sounds. I jumped, went AAAHHH! and unlocked the door… Thankfully there was nobody outside so nobody noticed…

Otherwise…Akiba was hotter than HOT, it was 36 degrees hot. Ouch. We all went to a maid cafe which was totally awesome. Me and Danny had been to ‘Cure Maid’ the day before, it’s a Victorian style maid cafe, very cute, very traditional and very polite. It was lovely but the @homecafe is something else entirely! We picked the sixth floor and as it happens this was a floor with English speaking maids! So cute!!! In fact, I think I’ll photograph the polaroid I had taken and write a proper post about it later. That’s all for now, I need to go and space out a bit before swimming.

Photos!

Ooh! Mini fame!

May 19, 2010

So I was shopping in Thank You Mart in Yokkaichi the other day (I love this shop!) and as I was on my way out a cool shop assistant (they are all cool and they all look amazing) stopped me and asked if he could take a photo of me for their website! Since my Japanese level is still pretty much zero ( I know, I’m awful, don’t worry, I beat myself up about it every day!) all I could understand was ‘shashin’ and then ‘cute girl’ (*blush*) and ‘website’. Then the two shop assistants wrote ‘Age’, ‘Occupation’ and ‘Comment’ on a piece of paper for me..so sweet! Anyway, now my picture is on the website along with lots of stuff I can’t understand! The first half of the post isn’t about me, just the last part. For fun, I recommend translating the page into English because…it makes no sense! I’m sure it DOES make sense really but the translate function on my computer is ah…so-so at best!

Anyway, it was nice for my tiny, struggling self esteem and made me very happy, especially since I do really love Thank You Mart, they sell so many awesome things. I’ll take a photo of the T-shirt I plan to buy there on Friday.. it’s so amazing, a description wouldn’t suffice!

Here is the link to the diary page btw:

http://www.390yen.jp/shop/detail/1/158/#sdiary

(Might need to scroll down a little!)