11 08 2008

we finally went to the beach!!!! not that we went very far, though, just to chiba (neighbouring prefecture). the area is called 九十九里 (kujukuri) and the beach we stayed in is the closest to 大網 (ooami town).

it took us about 3 hours to get there – counting JR from akihabara to chiba, from chiba to ooami  and a bus to the beach. also we had to wait for jee young and tracy that had taken the chuuo line in shinjuku instead…

the beach was surprisingly clean and EMPTY! some people had told us that chiba’s beaches were not worth the trip, that they were packed with people and filthy as kamakura. while the sea was not exactly *blue* – it was dark green, in fact – the water was ok. the ocean and tides are strong in japan, so most beaches are good for surfing mainly. if all you can do is jump and ride waves, who cares if the water is green? it’s not like you could swim peacefully from side to side – you’d soon drown if you tried… but it was great FUN!! I love it when the sea gets wild! william and I tried to play a little game: see who could stay longer floating face-up, eyes closed, waiting for the waves to strike. to prevent the other one from cheating we held hands. the problem is the tide made our bodies rotate until we hit our heads… that was the end of it.

something that really surprised me – and I should be posting this in my [things I find curious about japan] section – is that nearly all girls wore rubber-rings (just like kids do when they’re learning to swim) and their boyfriends pulled them from a string attached to the rubber-thingy!! WTF!!! could it be that women don’t learn how to swim in this country? – note: ISLAND-country. or are they so lame as to be afraid of the waves? 意味わからね。。。もうガマンできね。バカみたい、ね?these things just irritate me.

apart from that, the day was perfect – we ate there and then went looking for shells (got a plastic bag full of them in my closet now). the only drawback… we all got sun-burnt! even me, who never, EVER in my life had got sun-burnt… ありえね。。。ヤバイよ、これ痛いな!

I leave you the photos, as always :)



6 08 2008

on monday duncan and I decided to go to nikko [日光] to visit 温泉 (onsen – hot springs) a last. we chose nikko over hakone or other possible onsen resorts because of the proximity and the beautiful national park – apart from 輪王子 temple, 東照宮 and 二荒山神社 shrines, there are several waterfalls and hiking paths that take you to 中禅寺 lake and it’s onsen resort.

we had in mind taking the first morning train, but lady duncan needs a lot of time in the morning, so we missed our train – sorry duncan, but it’s true. however, thanks to that we met michelle, colin, alex, mika and asami! they were heading for nikko too, so we started conversation in the train and ended up spending the day together. they were all art college graduates – michelle, colin and alex from rhode island school of art and mika and asami from a school in tokyo. some of them were specialised in glass – colin showed us too of his works, small glass marbles with flower-like forms sprouting in their cores. they were in asia because they had had a show in seoul thanks to a korean friend they met back in their college days – I wish I could have seen more of their work… and since then they had been travelling a while: hongkong, korea, japan… うらやましい。。。

all in all missing that train wasn’t bad at all.

when we arrived at nikko i was definitely glad we hadn’t gone elsewhere – even if tokyo has many parks and vegetation there’s nothing compared to the forests you see there: huge trees with thin bare trunks like overgrown mushrooms stand so close together that you get the feeling you will have to move around like in a crowded pub; mountaintops covered in thin fog and green everywhere!!! *nature loving mood* the air smelled of rain and ferns… >_< うれしい!

we found a very nice antique shop on our way through the main street – I could have spent hours there! the boys bought ukiyo-e (traditional japanese painting) and I found some pottery that made me fall in love with it immediately – duncan told me “oh, so you found the best piece in the shop, snatched it quickly and left nothing for the rest of us! I see!”

then we went to have a bite to a soba and udon place (thin and fat japanese noodles). since one of nikko’s specialties is [yuba] (some kind of tofu), nearly all of us ordered yuba soba to honour the tourist’s spirit. it was actually very good – maybe because it was not some shit-hole in shibuya, but a real family restaurant hundreds of kilometers away from tokyo.

as I said before, nikko national park hosts a Buddhist temple and two shinto shrines (one of them is tokugawa ieyasu’s tomb – founder of tokugawa dynasty that gives name to the peaceful era after centuries of war in japan. I’m no expert in japanese religious architecture, but still it was nice to see the differences between shinto and Buddhism in the symbols they use and the priests’ outfits. the shinto shrines were a frenzy of taking off and putting on your shoes a hundred times – when you’re wearing converse and have to tie and untie laces twenty time you start considering walking bare-foot. photos are not allowed inside the temples, so there are none in the album and anyway, I think the only thing I would have liked to convey about the shrines was the lovely feeling of tatami under your feet – and no photograph can do that yet. we prayed at one of the altars, shinto-style, imitating carefully the japanese people: two bows of the head, two claps, pray, clap, bow. I even managed to compose a simple prayer in japanese *proud of myself*

after that it started raining cats and dogs and we had to take refuge in a small derelict coffeeshop – considering how much it was raining and the fact that I had previously persuaded duncan not to buy an umbrella, I think he was in his right to ditch me in the nearest sewer… we were soaked from head to toes, so dripping wet we didn’t even miss the onsen. we sat in the cafe trying to decide what to do next and waiting for the rain to stop while we ate yuba ice-cream (tastes like turron ice-cream, I swear) and drinking ice-coffee. the storm went on for an hour or so, lightning and thunder included. the girls and I practised some origami and then we all went for a smoke outside. by-passers kept coming to take shelter at the entrance, but only us remained. the road had become a real river – asami, who had to cross over to go to the bathroom, seemed to be doing rafting, her feet ankle-deep into the raging water.

by the time it stopped there was not much left to do anymore; the last train was due for 18:50 and we still had to get back to the station, so we just walked back looking at the occasional open shop and buying snacks and souvenirs.



2 08 2008

I don’t remember if I mentioned in my [yoyogiKOEN] post that apart from street bands you can find a re-enactment of pure 50’s rock’n’roll right at the park’s entrance. now, if you’re thinking “electric guitars” and the like you are much mistaken – it’s not music they’re out for, it’s dancing and putting on a good show. clad in worn jeans and black-leather, their hair sticking up in impossible toupees and their eyes hidden behind rayban-style sunglasses, they look like the real thing, taken straight from the past. though they are mainly men, girls with wide skirts and fuzzy ribbons holding their hair can also be seen dancing with their male counter-parts.

I took a lot of pictures, most of them look the same, but I just couldn’t decide which ones to post and which not, so I uploaded them all. the pink car was also theirs – it ROCKS!



2 08 2008

I think it’s time I start posting some photos of architecture – why am I studying it for then?

I finally went for a stroll in 表参道 (omotesando) specifically to take photos of the [dior], [tods] and [prada] buildings. my tokyo architecture guide doesn’t include many buildings by sejima kazuyo – my favourite architect -, in fact it only talks about one; luckily it was not the [dior] building, which means I can now go visit TWO of her works!

the thing about omotesando is that even if the avenue in itself is wide, it’s diffeicult to get a good shot at the buildigs because of the huge trees that stand at both sides – in fact, that was the problem with toyo ito’s [tods] building, there was no space to take a good picture from the sidewalk and when I tried to aim at it from an elevated crossing the trees blocked my view…T_T

the [prada] building is slightly farther away than the previous two; you have to pass a big crossing, then the street gets narrower – I’m not sure it’s even omotesando-dori anymore – and everything becomes smaller in scale… the building stands on a lower level than the street, so when you are approching it it seems smaller than it really is.

I also included a photo of the [dolce&gabbana] building and the entrance to [comme des garcons]. then we found this really cute shinto shrine and we cleansed our hands and prayed at the altar :)



2 08 2008

I’ve been wanting to post random photos for a while, without really writing anything *lazy-bum*

so I’m starting with just pics of people, known and unknown. some are not recent, but I never got to post them before.


27 07 2008



upcoming: [myojo] and [oriconSTYLE] ~~ when I have some time… ^_^U

[日本に着いた!!- nihon ni tsuita!!!!]

2 07 2008

みんなさん 今晩は!日本でもう夕べです。

ok… where to begin? I’ll skip all the stuff about how long and boring the whole flight thing was and how uncomfortable all airplanes are.

the thing is I’m here! it took me about an hour and a half to get to 大崎駅 (おおさきえき), carrying a suitcase that weighted more than me, my big, heavy camera and a handbag with my laptop… my back and arms still hurt from that and I think I’ve got whiplash – though it probably has more to do with spending 11 hours on a plane…

Jen came to meet me at the station. she is french and a great fan of 嵐!yay!!! she is actually sort of crazy about aiba-chan. when I asked her which 嵐 member she liked best she took off her jacket and showed me her back. this is what I saw:

 just for the record, what’s written on the t-shirt is this: “if you see this person, tell him Jen loves him.” she actually sent him a letter telling him to marry him and he read it in a radio program and replied!!! here’s the mediafire link to the archive. you don’t need to understand japanese to get the meaning actually, but I’ll try to post a briefing some other day. 


here’s the front side of the t-shirt -just in case you were wondering. and the girl inside the t-shirt is masaki-chan’s bride-to-be, Jen.

the front reads: “雅紀-ちゃん, YOU 結婚してください!(masaki-chan, YOU marry me! – 大野’s (おおの)phrase when they make them propose at 嵐の宿題くん (あらしのしゅくだいくん)) 

so you get the picture, right?

my house is in 西品川 にししながわ) - I’m not living at 戸越 (とごし) anymore, ざんねんだね。sorry about that alex, I’ll try to look for the temple though. I’m currently sleeping in the living-room, but it’s better than going to the guest house for 8 days and then back here. and it’s closer to 大崎駅 (おおさきえき)and 山の手 (やまのて)line, wee!!! I got my スイカ カード with 定期 (ていき) – commuting suica card. all thanks to ミキーさん who was very kind and filled in all the forms for me :). alright,  this is my house from the outside:


I’d like to make this first post longer because I haven’t even introduced korin yet, but it’s 1:40 in the morning and I’ve got class tomorrow、so I’m leaving it here.

I’ll attach these photos specially for you, alex, though I hope 明子ーちゃん appreciates them too. they were taken at 新宿駅 (shinjuku station) and are part of a cellphone campaign. enjoy! 楽しんで来って!