Good morning everyone.
How are you feeling? I hope everyone is well.
Akihabara was a must see for everyone so we went pretty early on into the trip. Actually, we went a couple of times. Once there we were met with high buildings, crowds of people and maids trying to entice people into their cafe behind the SEGA arcade. we spent time in the arcade before walking round for a while and looking around many manga stores. I couldn’t believe there were 12 story shops just for manga. We easily spent hours in there. The guys are all into figures so we spent a good while in an exhibit, losing one another every now and then but enjoying the air conditioned building. There was everything from keyrings to life sized models of things and even an area just for cosplay outfit and accessories. I spent the most time in that area looking at all of the wigs and make up etc. I didn’t buy anything, I just thought it was interesting. I also went into a department store where I saw nail painting. I would have liked to do it but I was afraid to since I couldn’t converse in Japanese to say what I wanted or anything so I thought it would just be too awkward. For that same reason we also didn’t visit the maid cafe even though one had said “Master, I am waiting for you” to Chris…which we all made jokes along with some of the funny activities from maid cafes that we saw on YouTube. Maybe its better that we didn’t go as I doubt the guys could have kept a straight face the whole time. One thing that shocked me about Akihabara was the amount of ‘adult goods’ stores there were and how huge their signs were…and how people could just walk in and out including men by themselves. I don’t think we would see men casually walking into the likes of Ann Summers over here. They’d be more likely to walk past a dozen times, afraid to enter. We went back to Akihabara a few times during our trip. One morning we went for the Gundam café. Inside was really well done up but the food was just…average.
As promised I am back with stories from Japan. Firstly, I should start with who I went with: Chris and 3 friends called Thomas, Martin and Adam. Thomas and Martin travelled to Northern Ireland a day or so before we set off on our trip (from Norway and Denmark) and we all travelled together. As you all know, I hate flying and the whole process of getting to the destination. However, I don’t think I was as bad travelling this time around as I was going to the country I’ve wanted to go to for ages. Taking off (and actually getting on the plane) had me nervous but once I was in the air I forgot all about it. We travelled to Germany for the connecting flight. I know what you’re thinking, waiting the next flight is so boring. However, our wait wasn’t boring with Thomas around. Poor guy is just an awkward clumsy wee thing. He thought it would be funny to walk/run on the moving walkway before attempting to jump over onto the carpet while we walked to one of the shops. Only thing is, his feet got stuck on the handrail and he face planted in the middle of the airport. I honestly nearly cried with laughter. Our wait also wasn’t boring due to the amount of cute Japanese people at the airport. I swear some looked like they had stepped right out of an anime/manga. I had 16 days of this to look forward to! Our next flight was 15 hours (I think) but with a range of movies, music and food it wasn’t too bad. I got a little sleep but not much. Aeroplanes aren’t the most comfy thing to sleep in, especially when you have the middle seat.
I had a few thoughts once arriving in Japan. My first thought when we stepped off the plane was about how humid it was. It was like a wave of heat whacked us up the face as soon as the door was open and we were outside. my second? Why do we have to fill in so many forms and get our pictures taken just to get through the airport? I panicked a bit in case my suitcase was lost but it did arrive eventually. We got a pasmo card at the airport since we would be travelling about quite a bit. What didnt surprise me was the trains. I guess I just knew what to expect with them. On time, fast enough and a lot of standing room. What I did like about the stations was how easy it was to get around them. move your card over the thing and walk on. No waiting for tickets to be checked for ages and plenty of signs to let you know where to go. I even went about by myself a couple of times from where we stayed to the next stop or two to do some shopping alone easily. I felt pretty safe in Japan too. The only thing that wasn’t great was the humidity…and the rain. To be fair it was the end of the rainy season though so what could we expect. I got kind of used to the heat after a while but I just don’t understand how the people living there were able to walk around in jeans and even hoodies and jackets in that heat as if it were totally normal. I could hardly cope with a dress on not to mention my hair was twice the size it normally is. I got a few looks (one woman even turned her head right round while she walked past to look at my hair!) but I guess you don’t see curly hair often in Japan.
Other things that suprised me include:
- How friendly everyone was. OK with us being foreigners we were generally ignored or just looked at we didn’t really speak much to anyone. However we sat on a train that was empty thinking ”Wow, everyone must be getting off here. Well it does seem to be a popular stop” when an older man came to tell us, in English, that this train was heading back to the place where all the trains stay and that the connecting train would be arriving in a few moments at the other side of the track. Without him who knows where we could have ended up? I also found that we were more forthcoming in offering our seat to elderly people or those with children than others…and that those who ride trains frequently have serious skills in keeping still without holding anything and even reading while the train rattles about. I did get used to balancing when I stood but seriously, they looked so relaxed even when the train stopped whereas I would sort of go to the side when the brakes were on. Awkward. Once, I saw an elderly man who also had a broken arm standing on a pretty crowded train. Once a seat became free we both looked at each other and, me being younger and not having my arm in a cast, I gestured for him to sit. This lovely man however offered the seat to me and we began to ‘argue’ over who should sit. In the end I sat and he seemed pleased. I thanked this man and when leaving we both sort of smiled politely and only then would he take a seat. I just thought he was so gentlemanly.
- How cheap things were compared to what we had expected. Food was seriously way cheaper than what it would be here. And absolutely delicious. I could have eaten all day. We stayed in Shin-Okubo where there was a ramen shop, the type where you press a button to get a ticket to order with. It was quiet, friendly and I went two or three times. Recently I’ve been thinking of how much I want to eat it again. I also went to a place with Chris down the street from this shop and we ordered sweet potato fries, chicken wings and…something else. We took Thomas and Adam along the next time because it was so good. What really suprised us was that they came to the door when they saw us eyeing up the menu and told us there was a member of staff who spoke English who also came out to welcome us and served us. This was great as we had very limited speaking skills.
- How many convenience stores were about. honestly, everywhere we went there were at least two or three, mostly 7-Eleven or Family Mart stores. I found a few of the things I had wanted to taste inside and everything was pretty cheap. We were in these stores so often. Late at night and feeling hungry? Lets go round the corner/down the street from the hotel and get some snacks. I swear, they were everywhere. Amazing. I wish we could get some of the foods and snacks over here.
I felt sad coming to the end of our trip. I didn’t want to go home. Despite the heat and humidity, my hayfever didn’t bother me once and I was loving the food and feeling way better, probably from having healthier foods and drinking so much water. I wish we had more time because we couldn’t see everything we wanted to see due to the intense rain at times and having so much we wanted to do. I really want to go again someday.
Sorry for disappearing for so long. I guess I’ve been saying that a lot this year actually. The last time I was posting was around the time I went to Japan. I can’t believe how long it’s been since I came back. Since coming back I started a summer job (I got a call asking me to start when I was in the airport!) and only one week into the job, I left an application for into a caring job, was interviewed and got the job all within an hour. So, I worked full time in my summer job with children then went out at night to train and work in my other new (permanent!) job. I did this for a few weeks before the summer job ended and I started into my permanent job properly. That’s not all though guys! As soon as we came back from Japan, Chris and I began house hunting and have just bought our first home! Talk about a busy few months. Chris had asked that I keep news of our house a secret and off all social media until everything was finalised in case anything went wrong as it can be tough getting mortgages and everything and you can never be sure the house is yours until the papers are signed and the key is in your hand. It wasn’t as easy and straightforward for us as due to the nature of my work, I do not have fixed hours and I also haven’t been in my job long enough for a mortgage provider to really consider me which was an obstacle for us. Thankfully everything worked out in the end.
As if that all isn’t enough news. Just a short while before I went to Japan, my sister found out she was expecting her third child. What a pleasant surprise. I can’t wait to meet this little bundle of joy in just a few more months. Anton wants a sister, Callum wants a brother. I guess we will have to wait and see which one will get what they want. I’m sure once they meet the baby they will both love it regardless of what gender it is. It will be interesting to see how Callum transitions from the ‘baby’ of the family into a ‘big brother’. Everything is so exciting right now. You can see why my blog has taken a bit of a back seat lately. However, it’s time to be back and what better way than to share all of my latest news and start telling you all about my holiday in Japan.
I’ll be back soon with some great stories.
The weathers been getting so cold lately, the nights are getting darker earlier and the mornings feel like night. I’ve started spending the day cosied up in bed with tea and the laptop thinking out clothes for winter and I’ve come up with a wishlist. Let me know what you think.
Continuing with my favourite animes of the season, today I will be posting about Shokugeki No Soma.
Sōma Yukihira has been working in his Dads small restaurant since he was a young boy, learning the tricks of the trade and loving cooking. He had competitions with his Dad over who made the best dish which a customer would judge. One day he got a call from his whimsical Dad. He had decided to temporarily close the restaurant and go on a journey, had gotten Sōma into a famous cooking school and said he would leave some money to cover expenses. The school just happens to be the most famous and hardest school to complete with 99% failure rate. There, on his first day he pretty much makes an enemy of the entire student body by saying he will be the number 1 chef. However, he does make some friends at the dorm he is staying in and learns a bit more about the school. Within a short time he takes part in his first Shokugeki and wins. Now, he’s at a training camp where a lot of students will be expelled. As he tries, one of his friends get failed and was told she would be leaving. Soma being a man, steps in and challenges, get this, an alumni of the school who just so happens to be a famous chef in Paris. Really? That’s some guts. Obviously they fail the shokugeki. However, in a twist of fate, someone starts the ball rolling by putting a silver coin on their plate meaning one vote for them to win. He also gives a coin to another alumni who places her coin down. Now, it’s 2 coins to 3. Finally, he does this speech to the man who was challenged and the chef actually puts his coin on Soma and his friends plate meaning the shokugeki ends in a tie and the students can stay. What a close call. Well, it wouldn’t be interesting if that didn’t happen. Since it ended in a draw does it mean his cooking is on par with a professional? Will he become the number 1 chef in the school? Exciting times are ahead!
In the beginning I wasn’t fond of the anime due to the amount of ‘reaction to food’ scenes. They were so overdone and…silly. Now, that seems to be toned down a lot and focuses more on the story which is great. Again, I love the opening and ending.
Good morning everyone.
Today is day 2 of a round up of my favourite animes. Today I’m posting about Owari No Seraph.
Once upon a time there were humans and vampires. One day, vampires decided to invade and capture all human children. Well, some were captured others killed. Why? A virus was causing humans over a certain age to die. Vampires would have no food if they didn’t take some to ‘keep them safe from harm’. Among the children was a group of children from an orphanage. Mika being the oldest wanted to do what he could for his family so willingly went to a noble vampires place and had his blood sucked, stealing a map and the vampires gun in return. One night, the family decided to escape. However, just as they were approaching the exit, the noble vampire showed up. Of course he had known what was going on the whole time and thought it was a fun game. Long story short, he killed all of the children bar one. Yūichirō. Yūichirō is a fiesty guy and shoots the vampire for killing his family that came to mean so much to him in the short time they were together. He was traumatised seeing their deaths and blames himself for running away and leaving them all. Now, he is hell bent on revenge and joins the moon demon company, obtaining a cursed weapon – Asuramaru. He gains a new ‘family’ in this moon demon company (his team) and together they begin the fight against the vampires. However, the nobles are out in full force and pretty much ruin the humans fighting them. Yūichirō takes this pill that is meant to help him ‘activate’ more demon power from Asuramaru but guess what? Turns out he isn’t fully human and whatever it is inside him goes nuts. Oh and don’t forget this little twist. Mika was saved on the verge of death by the vampire Queen and is now a vampire who believes Yūichirō is being used and wants to save him from the humans. They meet in battle only when Yūichirō sticks his sword through Mika to save the commander…before realising it’s Mika. Now, they know each other is alive and on opposing sides. What will happen? Will Mika kill the humans to save Yūichirō? Will Yūichirō try to save Mika from the vampires or will he also kill him? What is the thing inside Yūichirō? I can’t wait to find out. Oh and don’t forget, Mahiru Hīragi. You’ll be having a great time finding more out about her. Interesting stuff.
On a side note, I love the opening and endings. Always a plus.
Right now I’m missing out on watching some of my favourite animes of the season since I’m in Japan but, to be fair, I’m most likely looking about Akihabara and stuff and seeing anime things all around me so I won’t complain. I can catch up when I get back ^.^’
Today I’ll start a round up of my favourites. I’ll post these over a few days so keep a look out.
1. Arslan Senki
So, whats the story? Basically, a prince who isn’t very ‘princely’ goes out to battle for the first time and his army is almost wiped out, his dad the King is captured and Arslan escaped thanks to the help of his servant Daryun. All of this happened because of Kharlan, a general who committed treason. Now, the Queen is being held captive and the captial, Ecbatana has been taken over by Lusitanian forces. Arslan and Daryun have managed to get help from Narsus, a super smart and cunning tactician who once worked for Arslans Dad. Soon, two more people join their party and are trying to find a way to take back the Ecbatana. However, who is the rightful heir? General Silvermask who is leading the forces (and who Kharlan joined forces with before his death) and claims to be the rightful heir as he is the previous Kings son, or Arslan, the current Kings son? How will it end?
I feel like this is similar to Akatsuki No Yona (last seasons favourite) so I think it will end the same way as that one. I might be suprised but we will have to wait and see.
On a side note, I love the opening and endings. I won’t skip either song and sing along every time it’s on.