Day 347: Books, glorious books 金曜日・2015年8月28日

I’d opened up some work slots last night for the first time in two weeks, but no-one booked me for today. I suppose this is what happens when you’re gone for so long. But I have a few bookings tomorrow so it’s not a complete disaster. Besides, I haven’t the time to go back to work properly yet. And my ear phones appear to be dead in one ear, which is very irritating.

Today I packaged up most of my books and sent them back to England, because there was no way they were going to help my luggage keep to the 30kg limit my airline set. I acquired a lot of textbooks over here, about 500% more books than what I came with. Because if this, I’m glad I decided to download this year’s books for English Lit onto my Kindle, because there are just so many.

My book load came to a whopping 13kg. I was exhausted by the time I got to the post office, because I carried all of the packages at once, not helping my already-overexerted arms. I’ve been doing a lot of heavy lifting and arm movements these past two and a half weeks. I was so tired I couldn’t speak proper Japanese and zoned out at several points while the clerks were asking me questions about the contents. My arms were shaking when I had to write out addresses and values and signatures numerous times. I only just finished by the time the delivery men came to pick up the packaes. To save money I’ve sent most of them via SAL, which sadly takes 2-3 weeks to be delivered.

It cost a bomb sending them overseas. If I can offer any universal advice for traveling overseas, especially if you’re staying there for an extended period of time, it would be not to bring books with you, if you can help it. They weigh a ton and only crank up your overall luggage weight. Don’t forget you’ll inevitably acquire a load of new stuff abroad, whether it’s clothes, or souvenirs, or even textbooks in my case.

I can’t remember doing anything else today. I’m too tired. Oh, well I finally started packing, I guess. I’ve packed one of two suitcases – the yellow hardcase four wheeler one. I ended up stuffing it full of souvenirs and the heavier stuff, because it’s much easier to manoevre than my huge blue suitcase, which I plan to use just for clothes (and toiletries, I guess, though I’m trying to run them down). I haven’t packed the takoyaki machine yet, and I’m wondering if it’s a good idea to take it back with me. It’s very light, and only cost 300yen secondhand which was an incredible price, but it takes up a lot of space, and it’s really hard to get hold of such ingredients abroad, i.e. takoyaki flour, or dashi, not to mention octopus, tenkasu… if I don’t have room for it, I may just leave it behind. I’m sure it’d find a happy home with a student here.

My plans for tomorrow are to sell stuff that’s in good condition to Second Street, throw away anything kind of battered behind the international dorm so the new students can take them and use them if they want, pack the rest of my stuff, and finally, cancel my phone contract. All before going to KFC and a final round of karaoke, unless I do some with Rika the day after. I’m seeing her on the 30th, which is my last full day in Japan.

For some reason it’s still not really sunk in that I’m leaving Japan, and with no clue as to when I can return. I’d like to do an internship next year but applying is deathly expensive, and I have to organize my airfare by myself, and whatnot. So it’s still uncertain. It could even be years until I come back.

We’ll see.


Day 346: Domo-kun, Packing and another Visual Kei live 木曜日・2015年8月27日

All in all a good day.

Rika came over to hang out for a little while, so I cleaned up quickly as I could, and it turned out that we both had presents for each other. She gave me a big Domo plushie as an early birthday present, and I gave her a little Domo phone strap that I’d found in Nagoya. We both had Domo on the brain. She also gave me a little Fuji-chan to compensate for the fact I didn’t get to see it. She climbed it not so long ago.

Then I went to Umeda and recycled some clothes in H&M, and I got a 500yen coupon to use before the 31st. Then I had dinner with my friend Gemma (Germany), before we met up with Risa (Austria) to see Panorama Kyokyu Xenon. I really enjoyed the visual kei live last time, especially when Xenon performed, so I was happy to watch them again.

I am now tired and partially deaf. Goodnight!

Day 345: N2 Exam Results; Last day with my host mother 水曜日・2015年8月26日

I actually found out my JLPT results from July yesterday, and forgot to write about them, so I’ll write it now.

Well, first things first, I didn’t pass the N2. Of course. I knew I wouldn’t, as I’d been stuck between choosing whether to go for N3 or N2, and I felt kind of wary about it from the beginning, so I’m not too disheartened by the fact. But I did far better than I expected, with an uncommonly high mark in Listening, which I wasn’t expecting. To be honest I think that was mainly down to luck, as I did abysmally in my N2 Listening module exam as part of my university classes. Also they say the listening comprehension part of the test was easier than usual this year.

But anyway, because I got over 40% in the N2 test, that means I’ve automatically been awarded N3, therefore I’ve passed my year abroad, and I don’t have to take any resits. I’ll be accepted into the Japanese course at my university next semester, no problem.


I also got told that I received an “Exceptional” mark for my Year Abroad essay submitted in June, in which I wrote about Osaka-ben. I got a high distinction, whereas my composition in January (written in Japanese) only got a pass. But as I got an “Exceptional” in one of my home university’s two assignments this year, that means all I need is 70% in the N3 test to be awarded an “Exceptional” mark overall for my whole Year Abroad. In order to somehow prove I am at least 70% proficient in N3, there’s a Diagnostic Test I can take in September before classes begin. No matter what happens, I’m safe, as I’ve passed, but I think I’d like to take the test because while I wasn’t sure about N2, I’m pretty positive I can pass an N3-level test, and I think I’d quite like an “Exceptional” grade for my Year Abroad.

The way it works at most British universities is that most degrees last three years, and often the grades you receive in your freshman year don’t count towards your final grade upon graduation – in fact, you only need to pass, and the passing grade is 40%. Oxbridge doesn’t have this system, which I think makes sense. With the painstaking selection process, they’re hardly going to accept students who are anything less than borderline-workaholics.

In my case, my degree lasts four years, as I’m studying a language and the four years include my year abroad in Japan. My first year’s grades will not be included in my overall grade upon graduation, and neither will the results earned in my year abroad be taken into account… HOWEVER, if you get an “Exceptional” on your Year Abroad, they do put it somewhere on your diploma, so I am told. Like an extracurricular activity to include on your personal statement in a uni application, or like a special skill on your CV. Not strictly necessary to succeed, but it’s a little extra boost if you do include it. So as I’m so close to achieving an “Exceptional” overall, why not go for it?

I see on Facebook a lot of my friends did well with their JLPT results, and I’m happy for them. Rachel passed N1 (obviously), and a lot of people in my language classes passed N2. I don’t know how Jay did – he did N2 as well – but I’m sure he did fine, and if not, I bet he got at least 40%, enough to warrant a provisional N3 result.


Today I saw Aiko-san, my host mother, for the first time. I gave her a present to say thank you – a nice box of posh biscuits I found on my travels – and I wrote her a little letter, with a drawing of me saying “thank you!”.

Unfortunately her husband was already back at work so I couldn’t say goodbye to him, but she had her son over (very tall and fit, does a lot of judo apparently), and he had his two sons with him, who I will call A-kun and Y-kun. I’ve met A-kun before, a few months ago, who is five years old, and he remembered me from last time. I met Y-kun for the first time. He’s seven. At first he was so shy that he hid his face in the sofa, and wouldn’t say hello, but after a while, he warmed up to me. (I accidentally hit him with the controller while we were playing tennis on Wii Sports. I was mortified. It was quite a hard whack, but luckily he didn’t cry, and seemed unfazed.) Then we played MarioKart, and I came first in every single race, despite having a knack for choosing a really crappy car every time. I also won at baseball. (I would say I showed no mercy, but I did pitch the ball really slowly a few times to give them a chance. No-one could have predicted my home run at the end when I already had two players on the bases, and I ended up scoring three points all at once, meaning I stole the game.) Too bad I suck at baseball in real life. Pitching, batting, you name it. I’m not too bad at fielding, though. Baseball fielding is pretty much the same as fielding in Rounders. I can pitch and bat in Rounders, but you have a smaller bat, a bouncier ball, and the pitchers throw underarm. Basically a tame version of baseball.

We all went to a yummy izakaya at the top of a skyscraper in Senri Chuo, where I went with Aiko-san and her husband a few months ago, and loved. We ordered all sorts of things, from Korean bibimbap to fried chicken to pizza. We also taught Y-kun some English. Y-kun went to an English-speaking kindergarten apparently, so his English pronunciation is really good, but he doesn’t really remember vocabulary. He spent a lot of dinner going, “Hot hot hot!” when eating his fried chicken too fast, or “Oh my god”, or “What?”

Aiko-san gave me a lovely present – a beautiful silk change purse, wrapped in a silver box. She also wrote me a letter, which said lovely things about how she enjoyed meeting me and that she would love to meet again. I hope I can! I want to try getting an internship in Japan next summer so hopefully I can see everyone again.

A-kun and Y-kun also wrote me some letters at the table – they kept ‘discreetly’ glancing at me as they wrote, trying to figure out what to say. Y-kun wrote something very sweet about enjoying meeting me and that he’d like to meet again, whereas A-kun wrote something along the lines of, “You beat me at baseball… but next time I will win for sure!”

They were both adorable. I wish I could adopt them as my honorary little brothers. They remind me of my own little brother… when he was that age, anyway. He’s 15 now and I haven’t seen him in a year. But I’ll still always think of him as my little brother. No matter how much taller he grows than me. He’s shot up like a weed while I’ve been away.

I sat in the back of the car with A-kun and Y-kun at the end, and when they got out of the car first (as Aiko-san dropped them off at her condo and she was going to drop me off at my dorm), they leapt on top of me and gave me big squishy hugs, and I gave them both a kiss. Ahhh. How I miss familial affection. Watch out, family members. I have been severely deprived of hugs this year.

Aiko-san also gave me a big affectionate hug when she dropped me off, and said, “I love you!”, and looked a bit teary-eyed as she pulled away, but that may have been just the streetlamps reflecting in her eyes.

Ahhhhh. So sad to see them go. But not long left until I fly back to England and begin a whole new adventure.

Speaking of adventures… more tomorrow. Going to another visual kei live before I leave. And this blog is almost over. But I think I’ll continue with it once I’m done with the year abroad, and put out blogs about opinions on Japanese culture, some research on Japanese society, tips about how to pack for Japan, and whatnot. They won’t be daily, hell, nowhere near as frequent, but I don’t think I’ll let the blog die altogether

Rika’s coming over tomorrow morning to hang out and my room is a tip, as always. Sigh.

Day 344: Last day at USJ :’c 火曜日・2015年8月25日

I was utterly exhausted all day from not sleeping the night before, and singing all night. I think all-night karaoke would have been more fun if there had been more than two people, especially since Leon doesn’t really sing, and I’m not the best singer in the world. The night really dragged, even though it was a fun activity for me, and I wish I could do it more often. I’m going to miss karaoke so much in the UK. Why we haven’t implemented karaoke booths and made them a thing already, I have no idea.

I saw Leon off safely at 5.15am this morning, when he caught a train from Namba to Kansai Airport, and apparently he got through security so fast that he had an hour and twenty minutes to wait until his gate opened. From Kansai he was due to catch a domestic flight to Tokyo, and he messaged me from Tokyo; everything appeared to be fine. So I think he should be fine on his flight back to the UK.

My turn next. Five more days.

Leon and I hung out almost exclusively with each other for the past two weeks so we developed very similar brainwaves towards the end, with us spitting references almost in sync.

This morning I rushed straight to Hollywood Dream. The gates opened early, around 8.20am. Today was going to be one of those overpacked days so I ended up not bothering with a Harry Potter timed ticket in the end. I went there three times this year after all, and I went on the Forbidden Journey ride all three times as well. It IS the motherfucking best, I have to admit.

I’d kind of hoped I would do actual Hollywood Dream and not Backdrop this time, as I’d already experienced Backdrop and wanted to try facing the way I was going so I could appreciate the view more, and when I got to the front of the line (only a 30 minute wait… unreal) I saw the blue seats and I got all excited, but the cars that drew up next were red (for Backdrop), and I ended up getting on those instead. I had a 50/50 chance. But no matter; Backdrop is incredibly thrilling. Bonus – I could select a music track that would blast from a mini personal speaker on the headrest behind my head, to play whilst riding the rollercoaster. Genius idea. I could only choose from 5 songs, though – I chose ‘Feel This Moment’ by Pitbull feat. Christina Aguilera, which was timed perfectly to the drops and rolls of Backdrop. I don’t know if it was the added intensity of the music, or because I was delirious from lack of sleep, but the ride was even more terrifying than last time. Once again, I felt like I was falling, and like I could have fallen out of my seat. My heart was pounding for a long time after getting off the ride.

I also went on Space Fantasy whilst waiting for the first Terminator Show of the day, which was fabulous as always.

Jurassic Park still wasn’t operating. Sadface.

After Terminator I decided to go home, because I was dead on my feet. I got home about 1pm and slept for 6hours. Not as long as I would have liked, but I didn’t want to completely ruin my sleep cycle.

Mind you, I say that, but it’s probably too late. It’s half midnight and I don’t feel that sleepy.

I’m seeing my host mother for what I think may be the final time tomorrow evening. Need to give her a present.

Day 343: All-night karaoke 月曜日・2015年8月24日

Today was Leon’s last day in Japan and the next day he needed to catch a train to Kansai Airport at 5.15am so to keep him awake we did freetime karaoke. I did most of the singing. At some point he had a 1.5 hour nap. I didn’t sleep at all. But we got to the station on time, and I saw him off.

Now what am I up to? Well, running on 0 hours sleep, I am waiting in line at USJ. There are already hundreds of people queuing. It doesn’t open for another 2 hours. And it just started to drizzle. But this is going to be my last chance to go to USJ so I might as well do it. I really hope the Jurassic Ride is running.

Day 341-2: Nara and Kyoto 土・日曜日・2015年8月22~23日

Yesterday we went to Nara. It was a first for both of us as I’ve not actually been to Nara since coming to Japan, even though it’s in Kansai. Not that easy to get there, of course. I have to go into the centre of Osaka and then catch another 50-minute train. Yeah, Kintetsu line, direct from Namba. Easiest, cheapest way, I think, unless you live closer to Tennoji or Umeda, then maybe it’s better to get the JR line, Ionno. More expensive though.

Anyway, once we got there, we passed many Sentou-kun mascots (as John Oliver put it, ‘a shirtless boy creature with antlers on his head’). As terrifying as it sounds.

There were so many deer around the place. Leon and I ended up buying three stacks of crackers to feed them with, and at first I was surrounded by deer and kept having them nipping and biting at my shirt (my shirt got really damp with saliva… ew), but with the next stack I strategically hid them and walked away subtly if I noticed them coming in my direction, so that I could make them last longer and not lose them in a panic. It was amusing watching the other tourists panic and throw a whole cracker on the ground to distract the deer, before running away. One poor unfortunate soul dropped their whole stack of crackers and all the deer pounced on it like a seagull diving to steal your fish and chips.

While we were there we went to Kofuku-ji and Toudai-ji temples, which were extremely old and grand.

Then, the next day (today), we went to Kyoto. Leon was running low on money so to save ourselves money we decided to combine the Kyoto/Arashiyama and Uji trips all into one day. In the end we abandoned Arashiyama, and opted not to go to the Golden Pavilion or the Silver Pavilion, as they were further away, and required the bus, and had an expensive entrance fee. So in the end we visited Yasaka Shrine (close to Gion Shijo station), I bought a bottle of plum liqueur, then we went out of Kyoto city centre for a bit to catch the Keihan line to Uji so we could go to the famous matcha café Itohkyuemon. I had a matcha parfait with warabimochi, and Leon had a matcha tea roll with an ‘ice matcha cappucino’. They were great. There was also a shop with a load of expensive matcha products, like matcha soba and matcha curry. I was tempted to buy something but I am also running low on funds. Also, I did end up getting a big souvenir in the end… I’ll tell you about that in a bit.

We went to Byoudouin, a famous temple in Uji with a beautiful garden. I accidentally poked one of the petals off a dying lotus flower. Oops.

We then went back to Kyoto, where we visited Fushimi Inari Taisha, a huge shrine with the thousands of red gates. I’ve actually been there before but it was almost pitch black when I went. There was a nice light this time, being summer.

On the way up we passed a yukata store by chance, and the yukata of my dreams was inside. Not only was it cheap, it had a lovely design, and came with the full set – geta sandals, obi belt, and so on. So I bought it. And now I have a yukata. Maybe I should get some hair accessories and a matching fan to go with it before I leave. I could wear it to Japanese conventions in England. Japanese society formal dinners, or something. It’s really pretty.

Then we went to Sweets Paradise and I ate too much cake.

Then home.

I realized for the first time (late, I know) that Ellen DeGeneres plays Dory in Finding Nemo, and then I just had to watch it again. Terrified me as a kid. But it was okay this time. It was sweet. Brought a little tear to my eye.

Day 340: 10 days left of this blog. Kobe today 金曜日・2015年8月21日

I’ll be on the plane back to the UK within 10 days. Not long to go.

Today Leon and I went to Kobe. For lunch we had gyouza, and I had ramen with bamboo in it with mine. We went to Chinatown, around the port area, the famous bakery, and we ate akashiyaki for dinner (like takoyaki, but you dip it in a sour soup).

Tomorrow, Nara. A first time for both of us. I’m looking forward to it!

Day 339: Nagoya 木曜日・2015年8月20日

Today I went to Nagoya for the first time. I went with Rachel and Leon. We got the Shinkansen there. I ate miso tonkatsu for lunch, then we went to Nagoya Castle (which was lovely, but a little too new as it was renovated pretty recently), and the Science Museum, which was a whole load of fun. We tried to find Atsuta Shrine but it went a bit wrong. Then we had an hour of karaoke before heading home. Like an idiot, I almost put my IC card in the ticket slot. Dumb moment.

Kobe tomorrow.

Days 336-8: First time riding a Shinkansen this year, and a bad first impression of Osaka 月~水曜日・2015年8月17~19日


Our last full day in Tokyo was mainly spent in Tokyo Station as we ordered Shinkansen tickets (damn they’re pricey) and eating in Ramen Street again, because there was a tasty-looking veggie soba dish I wanted to try. It looked delicious on the photo, probably because the soup was red and it had lotus root in it. And yes, it was very yummy. I think Rachel would have approved. The broth seemed healthier than most noodle-based dishes, too. Leon had Okinawa-style ramen. The restaurant layout was really nice, and the order bell was shaped like No-Face from Sprited Away.

Then we spent our last few hours in Akihabara, revisiting all the stores in which Leon oohed and aahed about buying souvenirs. Then back to the hotel, and we watched some Fate/Zero. I hadn’t realized when I watched Fate/Stay Night years ago that the identities of all the Servants (e.g. Saber, Archer, etc) were famous legendary people, i.e. King Arthur, Bluebeard, Gilgamesh, and so on. Then again, Fate/Stay Night was more about who Shiro was going to sleep with at the end, with more fanservice, so not that serious. Fate/Zero looks way better. But I may not resume watching it for a while. I’ve gone off anime in general so I’m only going to get pumped up about really good shows. Fate looks really promising. So far I’ve seen three episodes. I love Saber already. I ship her with Irisviel.


Between Tuesday and Wednesday I did a lot of heavy lifting. I think I’ve strained my forearms.

We checked out of our guest house (more like a doll’s house really), and trekked our way through the stations to Tokyo Station. We were pretty early because I was stressed about boarding the Shinkansen and wanted to make sure we were on time, allowing extra time for lugging our heavy suitcases around. I needn’t have worried, though I was antsy with every minute past the time I’d designated us to leave because Leon hadn’t finished packing. I’d said to leave at 11; it was 11:15 when we left. Barely anything. But I’d finished packing the night before, so I was restless with every passing minute. I empathize very much with my father now. He would get very stressed whenever I was an idiot about travelling. Luckily, I’m used to it now.

We got a Hikari Shinkansen, which is the second-fastest. Fastest is Nozomi, which can get to Osaka from Tokyo in about 2.5 hours. Hikari takes 3 hours. The slowest is Kodama, which stops at all the stops, so I imagine it takes more like 5 hours.

I was hoping we’d see Mt Fuji on the way, and we reserved seats so that we were sitting on the right side of the train, but the clouds were thick and hanging low in the sky, like they had in Hong Kong in May, and we couldn’t even see the mountain base. Though we did see Mt Hakone.

The Shinkansen is much cooler, not to mention cleaner and more comfortable, than British express trains. And ofc they’re working on the maglev Shinkansen trains, which will be even faster. The fastest Shinkansen currently runs at about 200mph average (320kmph), but the test runs for maglev reached 361mph (581kmph). Meaning commutes from Tokyo to Osaka could take as little as one hour in the near future.

I was wearing a more conservative Japanese-girl style outfit today. Knee-length skirt, and shirt jacket (though my top had Amy Winehouse exposing her cleavage on it, so maybe not that conservative). I thought it looked nice. Apparently not everybody agreed, but I’ll get to that bit in a moment.

From Shin-Osaka we got the subway to Namba where Leon would be staying all next week. Lucky sod’s staying on Dotonbori, the most famous street in Osaka.

Unfortunately he’s not used to public shower rooms. I’ve never experienced an all-male capsule hotel (obviously), though I think it’s unfair there are fewer options for places for women to stay in Osaka, but I don’t envy him about the public showers. I’m totally fine with them, and I’d forgotten they were a thing for foreigners who are embarrassed about getting naked in front of everybody. But even if I were a man, I can only imagine the horrors of a public male shower room. Probably a repeat of what I was subjected to one Skype session – lots of nut and arse scratching.

We went on a walk around Dotonbori, and almost immediately a Japanese waiter leapt out at us and tried to get us to go to their restaurant. For some reason they approached me rather than Leon, even though they spoke to us in broken English. I turned them down and continued on our way because we were seeking okonomiyaki and that restaurant didn’t have any.

As we turned to walk away – my memory’s a little hazy on this – I clearly heard the word ‘ugly’ spoken aloud. I think that part is non-negotiable. Whether it was about me, or the group of Japanese guys I’d barely acknowledged who’d been standing behind the waiter were talking about something else, I don’t know. It’s probably naive to assume they were talking about something else, or that I’d misheard.

My automatic reaction was barking a laugh while continuing to walk, without turning back, because the word bounced right off me, and I’d already started to forget about it within the half-second afterwards until Leon asked me what I’d laughed at. I told him, oh-so-blasé, ‘they just called me ugly in Japanese’, and he got really annoyed on my behalf, even telling me to go back there and confront them. I’ve noticed this happens a lot, people getting offended on my behalf when I get belittled in front of them, when in the moment, I don’t really care. But Leon is right when he says he hates it when people shout insults, thinking the other person won’t understand. I don’t think it makes much difference whether you understand the language or not, though obviously if you think they don’t understand and there won’t be consequences, that’s much more cowardly. Both are cowardly to be honest, though. Bullies tend to shout insults at people who they think won’t call them out for it.

I didn’t go back. The moment had passed, and I still didn’t care enough. I didn’t have any justifications for my behaviour at the time, e.g. ‘it’s not worth it’, ‘I don’t care what shallow Japanese guys who think it’s okay to shout insults at foreigners think of me’, ‘it wouldn’t make a difference’, etc. I just didn’t feel like it, full stop.

We spent the next couple of minutes walking in a kind of tense silence without taking in our surroundings, which was an utter shame because Dotonbori’s full of exciting places. Leon was utterly unimpressed with the area, upon being distracted by some thoughtless asshole. We talked about it eventually as it was kind of hanging over our heads like an annoying wasp and I wanted to clear the air. Unfortunately him caring about it made me care about it more. But what do I care what some nobody thinks? What do I care if I don’t adhere to Japan’s stupid one-look-only beauty standards? Anyway, moving on.

We found the Glico billboard (though Leon refused to pose in front of it), and the big famous crab sticking out of the building. Then I decided to take us to Umeda and escape Namba for a bit, as I wanted to distract Leon with some different scenery. We ate at the okonomiyaki restaurant at the top of Yodobashi-Umeda. Both of us had modanyaki – Leon had pork and squid; I had pork and kimchi. It was sooooo good. I was really full afterwards.

We had a little meander around the third floor, where all the ‘hobby’ stuff (i.e. figurines and nerdy things) were. We discovered Leon had less money left than he’d previously thought, having spent so much on souvenirs. But this week will be more about experiences rather than souvenirs so he probably won’t spend as much, I think. After all, Tokyo is full of expensive distractions.

Then I dropped him back off at Namba, and made my own long, long way home. Ugh. It took two hours. I did meet a friend on the way though, an Italian girl who’d also just gotten back from Tokyo. She had her sister with her and I tried to speak the very little Italian I know. “Non parlarlo italiano.” “Sei una donna bella.” “Latte.” “Farfalla”.

I was exhausted upon getting home and almost immediately dropped into a deep, dreamless sleep. Which wasn’t enough.


I ended up not meeting Leon today. I feel bad for abandoning him but I was too busy this morning from errands and if I’d gone all the way to Namba I could have only hung out with him for 2 hours before going home again. 2 hours there, 2 hours back. I didn’t fancy it. I was exhausted as it was.

This morning I sold my fridge. I did a lot of heavy lifting, and carried the fridge single-handedly from my dorm room on the 2nd floor to where my host mother usually meets me, outside the big international dorm. I think that’s how I stretched my forearms. Yesterday I did a lot of heavy lifting with my suitcase (I was able to lift it above my head and put it in the Shinkansen overhead compartment, whereas Leon needed help with his… sorry, can’t help but feel a bit smug about that fact). But the fridge was really hard to hold because of its long shape and required me awkwardly stretching my arms around it to keep it in place in my arms. But yeah, nice to know I still have some muscle. Side note, Leon was no help at all back in Tokyo when some stranger started talking to me in Akihabara and wouldn’t leave me alone. I don’t really mind, as I got rid of him fairly easily by myself. But it’s good to know that with the combination of my muscles, wary approach to strangers and (apparently) my hideous visage, I ought to be alright in terms of protecting myself, and have therefore gained freedom as a woman without needing a male around to help. Bizarrely, despite my looks, I still manage to attract creepy guys twice my age. But I’ve gotten rid of all of them… so far. Ominous ending not intended but I suppose it’s the truth.

I bought my fridge for ¥6000. How much did I get for it in return? A measly ¥700. If I’d just waited until people threw out their stuff I could have gotten a fridge for free. So yeah, don’t bother buying big stuff with the intention of selling them afterward, because you’ll get fucking pennies after paying pounds.

After that, my host mother kindly escorted me to the public office where I had to apply to ‘abandon my residency’, and pay a fee on that late health insurance slip (which luckily didn’t amount to much). They gave me an insurance slip to last me until the end of the month.

Then my host mother took me to an Indian restaurant for lunch, which was heavenly (but sadly, in Japanese portions).

I went home and did my laundry and started cleaning up my room, and I told Leon where and when to meet tomorrow, as we’re going to Nagoya.

I had a nap, then bought dinner (breaking the mirror on my way in… what a genius), then drawing my sister a birthday picture.

I’m so tired. And I’m not going to get anywhere near enough sleep tonight.

Day 335: Shinjuku Revisited 日曜日・2015年8月16日

Today Leon and I hit Shinjuku. I was immediately reminded of how much I loathe the complicated station. But I was able to navigate the area much easier than before, so that was something.

First of all, we completed the simple task of trying Japanese MacDonald’s. He had a tonkatsu burger. Then we went to the game/hobby building of the main Yodobashi central store and tried our luck on the capsule machines. Then we went to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building to see the view, and then we went to the infamous 2-chou-me, which is the gay village area, basically. It was really lively, surprisingly. When I went back in December, it was pretty dead. Probably because it was dead. But we’d arrived at just the right time, because it was the “Rainbow Festival” (Pride in other words, perhaps?). I got a free fan with lots of muscular, military-themed men carrying a rainbow flag on it.

Then we ambled back towards the main Shinjuku area where we went into the Taito Game Station and played the drumming game and MarioKart together, and he also had a go on GunSlinger, and we tried our hand on the crane machines. He managed to win two prizes, and I tried (and failed) to win a huge Funasshii plushie. Damn you, Funasshii. I can sense him laughing at me.

Then we ate in another izakaya for dinner, then went home.