Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Road Trip part2: Osaka

These road trip posts will be in mostlt chronological order, but Osaka presents a problem, cos it was the base of operations for a while: a place to stay while we were checking out other places, cos theres so much near-by.
Anyways, when we got there our first priority was to find a place to stay. So we went to the info booth and they told us about the Hotel Kinki. Hmmm a kinky hotel? (For any Japanese people reading this the English word kinky is similar to the Japanese word hentai). But it was close to the centre of town and dirt cheap. For a twin room (thats 2 beds to make sure of no kinky stuff- haha) it cost us less than 3000 yen (about $30 Aus) each. Not bad.
So after sorting out accommodation the next priority was to find a suitable watering hole. We kind of wandered about aimlessly (even though we had an aim) until we spotted a sign for an Irish pub (yes they ARE everywhere) and since Irish pubs the world over are basically the same, we figured to give it a go. Good call. The place was tops, very friendly, we talked to just about everyone there and when the place closed the barmen took us with them to an after hours bar. Needless to say we were pretty blotto by the time we got back to the hotel.
The next night we took a well-deserved break from drinking in order to be in tip top shape for New Years. When we got back there on New Years the place was packed and again had a great atmosphere. At one stage when the band was playing a conga line started up. Gold. And there was this crazy old guy dancing and trying to get any woman in a 5 metre radius to dance with him. Classic.
Anyways, after talking to nearly everyone in the joint, I ended up in the company of a very nice young lady. We hit it off nicely and things were heading in the direction of a nice..... conversation (ahem). But after a little while she said that she and her friends were going to go to a shrine about an hour away from where we were (its Japanese tradition to go to a shrine on New Years). I thought bugger that, and told her about the shrine me and Brent spotted just down the road earlier in the evening. So we (me, Brent, the young lady and her friends) went to the shrine. Now its probably bad enough to be shit-faced drunk at a shrine, but to be making out too, maybe that was a bit much. I didnt think it at the time though of course.
Anyways at 6am after no sleep at all I got on the train for the long journey to Hiroshima. More on that later.

Night time view of Osaka from the top of a very tall building. The glass elevator ride to the top was pretty freaky

The crazy dancing old guy. Champion

A Christmas themed love hotel. Classic. (sideways, sorry)

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Road Trip part 1: Nagoya

So, the road trip (or more accurately rail trip) was about to start. Since we had a special pass we planned to make the most of it. The only problem is that the pass only allowed local trains, no shinkansen. So we were steeling ourselves for a very, very tiring trip. But it didnt turn out so bad.
So we (me and Brent) arrived in Nagoya early evening after a surprisingly easy journey and went to the info booth to seek out accommodation. We found a hostel nearby. It was nice, cheap BUT closed the next night, so we had 1 night of accommodation for a 2 night stay, small problem considering it was the only hostel in town and we were on a budget.
We put our stuff in the room and promptly went to find somewhere to drink. We eventually found a pretty cool izakaya. It was open and encouraged interaction, unlike other izakayas which enclose groups in their own space. But there were private rooms too, in one, for some reason, there was a guy wearing only a spiderman mask and spiderman undies. Very amusing, the photo is below.
The next day it was off to Nagoya castle. It was all very impressive to me because it was the first castle I'd seen in Japan, although now I know that Himeji castle makes it look like a country shack. there was a museum in there too; all kinds of swords and armour and calligraphy scrolls and stuff.
Next it was off to the Toyota museum, which is really great if you're into looms and weaving. HUGE room full of every imaginable way of getting raw cotton changed to clothing. Fascinating. The next room was a little better, it was the cars. Lots of cool stuff. But the highlight was watching a robot play the trumpet. Gold.
Then back into town to try and sort out a place to stay. We went back to the info centre, no other hostels, plenty of hotels but out of out budget range. Then me and Brent had a powwow. Should we do it? I don't know. We are in Japan. Its like THE japanese experience. I guess we should do it at least once. Yes lets do it. CAPSULE HOTEL!!!!!
So we found one nearby and booked in. The facilities were top-notch, but the atmosphere was really creepy. It was like walking into a spa resort for the undead. Also there was an enclosed section with a door, inside we could hear womens voices outside we saw a list of times and prices. I'm not 100% sure what was going on in there but I'm pretty sure it involved a happy ending.
Next morning as soon as we were up we got out of there ASAHP. Time to move on, next stop: Osaka.

Me in the capsule wondering what the hell I've gotten into

Me riding a "dolphin"of course it looks nothing like a real dolphin. Real dolphins are orange. Obviously

Now: trumpets. Next: world domination

Somebody get Spiderman a sandwich! Cant you see he's starving?!!?

Monday, November 13, 2006


So, the call went out; big halloween party, costumes a must! Some people were kind of wussing out but Phil (the organiser this time) was adamant. No Costume, no party!
So everyone got into it. In the afternoon, me and Juri went looking for costumes, but they were all either really expensive or really lame. So I suggested she should go to a 2nd hand store and get old clothes to go as a hippy, I was gunna go with my backup plan. But Juri insisted I go as a hippy too. So after a fruitless search for bell-bottoms I went with some purple corduroy pants and a shirt already in my cupboard I topped it off with a rainbow headband with cut up wool hanging off it, (cos a hippy needs hair) and also some rose-coloured glasses. After putting them things on I felt full-hippy cos everything looked really trippy. Like, psychedelic man!
Anyways about 30- people turned up and it was 3 hours of all you can drink karaoke, so it didnt take long to get the place rocking. I did a version of Sex Machine that tore the house down. Get up-ah!
After 3 hours, unfortunately it was time to go. But luckily a bunch of people were also going to Ikuta (where I live), so we went down to the fish bar for a few more. At the end of the night, I tried to take my camera out of my pocket but dropped it and broke the screen. Dead. Farewell fair Snappy (the post-mortem name I just gave to my dead camera) you served me well. To fix it would've cost the same as a new camera (or more than the price of a just average camera) so I went and got a new one today. Very cool.

The undead can be remarkably good drinkers

Another in the lucky man series. The hair had come off by this stage, much too hot

When zombies attack!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Disney. Hooray.

I recently went on my 2nd trip to Disney. Not because I particularly like the place, or that I'm a Disney-phile or anything (but there are plenty of those in Japan), but because Johnboy wanted to go and I couldn;t refuse the request of a mate about to leave the country.
Unlike last time, it hardly rained at all. Since the weather was good and it was a Sunday the place was a madhouse. Waiting times on rides were through the roof. We didnt make it onto our first ride until after about 3 hours. tragic.
We completely avoided some rides because of ridiculous waiting times. We were happy though, that once again we seemed to have come on the day of the stupid hat convention. Until you go to Disney you have no idea what lengths some people will go to to make the area above their head loook ridiculous.
But anyway, in the end we had a good day. We were wiped out at the end of the day though. So much so, that we didnt even go for a dink afterwards. Whoa!

words to live by

members of the convention

Some hats can be cute though

Sunday, October 08, 2006

booze cruise

The meeting place was Shinjuku. When I got there Wakana and Kath were already there in their yukatas. I was unsure how to tie myself up, so I asked Wakana to help. She was unsure too, but we went off to a quiet spot in the station (not easy considering Shinjuku station is the busiest in the world with over 2 million people passing through every day) and we dressed me in my yukata.
The reason for the yukatas was that the booze cruise we were going on gives a 1000 yen discount if you're wearing one. So anyway, once everybody got there we hopped on the train to our bayside destination. On the train journey we asked some of the guys if my yukata was tied correctly. It turns out that Wakana had tied it the girls way. So Susumu retied it to make it more manly.
By the time we reached our destination we were all amped and ready for a top night. We found our little room, which already had some food and a couple of pitchers of beer ready. Nice. We dug in to the food and beers.
Once the boat got moving we went up on deck to get into the party atmosphere. They started playing My Heart Will Go On, Celine Dion's song from Titanic. I don't wanna hear that crap at the best of times but its worse on a boat. The Titanic sank for God's sake! But the good thing about it was that Kazu and Susumu started doing the famous pose from the movie (see photo). I also got a photo of me doing the pose with Juri. Phil and Susumu did the backgound bonehead thing.
Then out came the dancing yukata girls. They were very sexy, but its kind of strange seeing girls in traditional outfits, doing traditional dances to modern crappy pop. But it was cool. We were so jazzed up from the free drinks that we even danced along. It was quite fun.
The only bummer of the evening was that somewhere along the line Juri lost her camera. She was understandably upset and hit the red wine. The mix of red wine and raw emotion didn't mix too well with her and she ended up having difficulties keeping it together. I stepped up to the plate and helped her back to the station. She was very apologetic, but lets face it, I had a beautiful woman hanging off my arm. I really didn't mind!
Anyways, all in all it was a great night. Everyone had a great time. It was great.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

burn baby burn

Nova is finished. The new job requires no formal wear. A celebration/ritual must be observed. With these thoughts in mind I decided to have a bbq on the Tama river and after finishing cooking I burned every damn tie that I own! Nice.
So I got to the river at about 6ish and found a spot. People arrived slowly, but everyone got there. We fired up the barbie and cooked up an assortment of goodies. I made my best braaibroekkies yet. Nice.
Then it was time to light up the ties. They didnt want to light up at first, so we had to stick a couple of paper plates in there to get the fire blazing again. Once the fire was up the ties got going too. My (now-ex) co-workers were saying I was enjoying it far too much. And I was.
Anyways a good night was had by all. We were having such a good time that some of the local wildlife wanted to join. A tanuki came out to look for food. It was the first time I've seen a native Japanese animal.
No bbq/ night outside is complete without fireworks. So, of course Johnboy was in his element, setting them off and almost blowing us up.
So my new job has started and I've just completed 2 weeks of training. I think its gonna be difficult cos its very involved, but I think its gonna be a lot of fun too. All my new workmates are really cool. So all in all I think it was a good move.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Escaping the clutches of the pink bunny

After 2 years and 4 months I've finally gotten that pink bunnies filthy paws off my throat. For those who don't know the pinl bunny is the NOVA usagi, a character generated to create awareness of, and buttloads of cash for NOVA, the place where I was working until yesterday.
Your guess would be as good as mine as to why a pink bunny with a beak is a good symbol for a language school, but its super popular amongst Japanese people who think its KAWAII (cute). Anyways, I'm finished.
In my next job I don't have to wear business clothes, so taday as a kind of ritual, I'm gonna have a bbq, when the cooking is finished I'm gonna throw all my ties on the fire. Burn baby burn! Needless to say there will be pictures and words on this blog about it. But that will be later. My first day of the new job is tomorrow so I'm gonna be pretty tired.
Anyways stay tuned for more soon. Same Brad-time, same Brad-channel and all that.