It’s a New Year – Regrets and Resolutions

I started 2016 with a bang – meeting new people at my friend’s annual New Year’s Eve party, getting a little too excited, drinking too much, losing my gloves and my phone, going to bed with the room spinning, waking up to the sound of my mum yelling, and then (literally) picking up the pieces. Probably not that different to the average Brit’s New Year, to be honest.

January’s almost over already! Blimey, time flies by faster and faster the older you get. There was no white Christmas this year, and this winter has been pretty mild (save for ‘Storm Frank’ and the UK floods), but it FINALLY snowed a little bit over the weekend. Not a huge amount, but enough to cover the ground and look like a festive, magical blanket hiding all the ugly bits.

I had my January exams over last week. They didn’t go terribly, but they didn’t go brilliantly either. I submitted an essay on ‘women and violence’ in Le Morte D’Arthur (by Sir Thomas Malory) for one of my English modules, which was pretty substandard, I’m sad to say. But my semester of Medieval Literature and Arthurian Legends is over now. They were highly interesting, but unfortunately not subjects of English that I was particularly gifted in. Hopefully that will change when I start the new semester with Literature of the Romantic Period and Japanese Film & Literature.

As soon as my last exam was over I got on the train and went to go visit a friend down south who I hadn’t seen since before my year abroad in Japan, and we had a great time catching up, exploring the city, eating junk food and watching the new Star Wars again, this time in 4DX at Cineworld. The movie was enjoyable (obviously), the 3D was okay (I’m not crazy about it) and SOME of the 4D effects were great.

The good effects included the motion seats that would move and vibrate along with the camera pan or spaceships flying, and some strobes that lit up whenever there was an explosion, along with some wind and a bit of water splashing when in rain. The vibrations from clashing light sabers were also a pretty nice effect. Other things, like these little whooshing bursts of wind that erupted from my headrest and spurted past my ear whenever the Stormtroopers fired their blasters, were not so great. It felt like there were actual bullets whizzing past my head by a hair’s breadth and it made me want to curl up under my seat and take cover.

And now here we are, with me finally having a bit of free time after a grueling semester. It was hard work, and I got sick and stressed out a lot more than I did in Japan, but I was much more productive and efficient in my studies and entering societies than I was when I first began university over two years ago. At the same time, I seem to have turned into a bit of a social recluse. Whenever I didn’t have to go to class, I would shut myself away in my room and not leave except to eat or go to the bathroom for days on end. And by the end of my hermit retreat, I would get anxious when the time approached to leave my cave and interact with other people. I also had on-off bouts of intense nihilism and depression. But for now, mentally, I feel quite healthy and at ease.

When I visited my friend this weekend, he mentioned he hadn’t seen any artwork or internet publications by me in a long while. He’s working now, with a 9-5 job in the city, but he says he still tries to keep up with his art at least once a week, and that’s inspired me to want to produce more stuff despite all the work I have to do as well. I thought about starting drawing again, and wondering where I could publish my drawings, then remembered I could still use this blog as a place to keep it all linked. I don’t really use Tumblr, deviantART, Flickr, or any of those. And I hate starting new accounts just to let them gather dust when I lose motivation. So here we are: new cover photo, new profile picture. Feel free to follow me on Facebook and Twitter, too.

So, regrets of 2015:

  • I don’t think I completely made the most out of my time in Japan and there are still so many places I want to visit and friends I want to make.
  • I didn’t budget carefully enough and ended up owing my mum a lot of money which I’m still paying back. Luckily I still have that Skype tutoring job (which is going great, by the way).
  • I didn’t work as hard as I could have and this is still a problem I’m facing back in British university.
  • I didn’t make a big deal out of my 21st birthday back in September. That’s not a HUGE regret, and I was too exhausted at the time to have a huge party, but I think in 2016 for my 22nd I’d definitely like to try inviting all my friends around.
  • I can’t go to California this year after all. One day I hope I can.
  • The disaster that was New Year’s Eve. I’m not drinking at all this month and after that I vow to limit a night’s drinking to four drinks only.


And my resolutions for 2016:

  • Drink less, eat less, sleep more, exercise more
  • Do all my homework on time and keep up with assignments
  • Read for leisure, not just for my degree
  • Do an internship in Japan this summer (in the works!)
  • Visit family and friends more
  • Travel a bit around the country and get to know the UK a bit better
  • Be creative and use this website to enhance my artwork and writing skills
  • At the same time, try to work on my internet addiction
  • Plan ahead for people’s birthdays so that I can give them great presents
  • Learn a new skill – I’m studying Korean at the moment, but I think I’d like to learn to drive in my final year of university so that I can work towards getting an international license and then be able to drive in other countries.


Happy New Year!

NIN pp


Day 108: A white new year 木曜日・2015年1月1日

明けましておめでとうございます!(Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu! Happy New Year!)

I woke up at 12:30, pretty hung over. Not too much, just had a bit of a headache and my face looked wrecked, but then, when does it not looked wrecked. Haha.

Rachel came to my room, bringing traditional New Year osechi with her. Looking back, I forgot to contribute ¥2000 for them. They’re freaking expensive. But we set it up on my little table, and had some of Charlie’s tea to go with it. Delicious. We ate them with special chopsticks, as apparently it’s bad luck to eat osechi with normal chopsticks.


It started snowing really hard whilst she was over… it was like a blizzard. It snowed maybe three inches between then and the next few hours. It’s still snowing a little bit now (2am), and the snow looks a little thicker. But I’m happy. It’s real snow, not like that sad dusty amount from two weeks ago which everyone lost their shit over, haha. I loooooove snow.

I walked to Onohara after Rachel came round, passing people building a snowman. (Insert Frozen-related joke here.)

Amazing how the shops are still open, even on New Year’s Day. I was going to SoftBank, originally with the intention of nominating Rachel as my emergency contact, but I snapped, and thought, you know what, I can’t do this anymore. I can’t live 9 months (maybe even 21 months if I decide to extend my year) without the ability to call people on a device that’s supposed to be used to call people. Instead of letting my phone be fixed, I decided to quit my contract and leave SoftBank. It sounds more dramatic than it really was, though it did feel like a breakup in some way. A good way to start the New Year. Farewell, you devilish fiend. Never again shall you steal my money or make my life difficult.

Funny how ending my contract was the least complicated matter I’ve ever had to tend to whilst courting SoftBank, which is the opposite of how a good relationship should be. So now I’m a single pringle where it concerns cell phones, but I’ll be looking for love tomorrow. Thinking of trying the AU company, as apparently it’s the cheapest one and has really good student deals. I wish I’d known about this before getting messed around by SoftBank. Hopefully AU can treat me right.

Anyway, I exited the SoftBank in Onohara (good riddance), and I needed the loo, so I popped into MosBurger before trudging back up the mountain in the snow, but when I got in I decided to get a burger. Not so healthy, compared to the osechi, but I got the healthiest one on the menu (allegedly, it was the veggie burger. Hmm.)

While I was there, I got a nice surprise, as I bumped into Yuko-san’s friend “Kyushu” (he’s from Fukuoka, hence the nickname), who apparently does his part-time job there, and he’d just gotten off work (working longer hours on New Year’s for more work, apparently). I think this is the third time since Osaka Castle that we’ve seen each other unexpectedly.

So I got my burger, and he sat and chatted with me for about an hour, which was nice. Mainly in Japanese. We got to talk about rock music, and New Year’s Resolutions (mine to be more healthy… I said this whilst clutching a burger), and to read a newspaper article every day, also do a couple of essays a week for Yuko-san to look over and correct.

Then I finished my burger and we left, going in opposite directions so that he could take his moped home. In England, you probably have to be someone cool to ride a motorbike at that age, but Tamaki does it, Kyushu does it, so many people ride them. They look really easy to use, and stay upright very easily. They’re electric too, I think. And very lightweight.

Speaking of motorbikes, I forgot to mention this yesterday, but on the way back from Onohara last night I witnessed someone on their motorbike sliding off it and into the road, because it skidded from the wet surface (it was raining). They skidded right in the middle of a crossroads… very lucky that there was no oncoming traffic. That would have been the second motorcycle accident I’d have witnessed here. There’s so much death surrounding me all of a sudden. A bad omen? Haha. The guy in Kobe, the two people jumping in front of trains on the Yamanote line and the Chuo line, and now this guy who just avoided getting run over.

I still kinda wanna ride one. They look fun. Death doesn’t, however.

I got back, had some cheesecake courtesy of Layla and Shin, and I’ve not done much since. I stumbled across a BL movie on YouTube. (Stumbled across, yeah right, I hear you cry. But it was a Japanese movie so out of interest I clicked on it, and BOOM.) It wasn’t too bad. Lacked plot, but the acting was particularly good, by the younger actor, Tochihara Rakuto.

And now it’s 3am. Why did this take so long to write? Sigh.

Anyway, AU tomorrow, hopefully. New year, new number. Hahaha.

Day 107: Happy New Year! 2014年12月31日

I say “Happy New Year!” because I’m writing this at 3:30am on New Year’s Day, Japan Time. And I’m kinda drunk. So I’ll keep this sort.

I got lost looking for my proper night bus departure space, which stressed me out, but I got there JUST in time, and I managed to get more sleep than I did on the way to Tokyo. However, the way back to campus from Kyoto was pretty irritating, as I arrived before Tourist Information was open, but I found my own way to where I needed to go. But I then boarded a semi-express train, which is slower than a limited express. Because of that, I only arrived at Kita-Senri about five minutes after an hourly bus arrived. I couldn’t be bothered waiting, so I got a taxi (which was actually quite cheap), and I had a a shower immediately afterwards.

I went over to Rachel’s for lunch (to have soba), then I walked to Onohara so I could try to go to Softbank and figure out what to do with my phone.

Well apparently it’ll take 10 days to repair, but I won’t be able to use the “calling” function. So it’ll merely be a Wifi device. If I wanted to replace it, it would cost as much as the original: ¥55,000. Fuck that,

So I’m nominating Rachel as an emergency contact, and I’ll tell people to contact me by email from now on.

It started to rain on the way back (I walked both way), so when I had to meet up with Rachel and co at 6:10pm, I was a drowned rat.

We wanted to go get Indian, but it was closed, so we had sushi instead. We then bought a fuck ton of alcohol, then went to a temple to celebrate Japanese New Year properly.

We sat inside the tatami room in the temple for a while, then went outside and rang the bell, then ate “Buddhist soup”, which had pork in it so Rachel refused. Here are some pictures from our night:

DSCN0282 DSCN0283DSCN0285

Then we went back to campus to have a party, hence why I’m drunk. I had mohito mix, then umeshu (plum liqueur), then a Smirnoff orange, then three beers. I mixed. Probably why I’m so drunk.

But New Year’s osechi with Rachel tomorrow!

Goodnight everyone~ Happy New Year~~~~

Day 103: A day of being guided around Tokyo! 2014年12月27日

It was a really long day. I’ve been up since 7:30am and it’s now 22:30pm, so I’m going to make this quick as I can. Also, I’m sat on the really uncomfortable bathroom floor as I charge my laptop, as it’s the only available place with outlets, and I’m wearing a thin yukata, and it’s embarrassing when the other women walk in and see my on my laptop, sitting on the floor.

So, I went out with Yen today to meet her Japanese friend Harima who she met in Sydney. They are both research students, and a lot older than me. Yen is 30, and Harima is 34, though both look like they could be in their 20s.

We met Harima in Tokyo station at 10am, who then took us to Chiyoda-ku, where the huge garden with the Imperial Palace is. (Where the royal family apparently lives, hehe.) The photos I took with my new camera were beautiful but I really can’t be bothered going to find my camera now. Maybe I’ll post some on my Facebook page tomorrow morning.

If you didn’t already know, I have a Facebook page where I post the occasional status, and extra photos, and videos.

My Facebook page (Naive in Nippon).

After that, we walked to Ginza, the very famous (and expensive) shopping district, where we managed to find a cheap restaurant selling simple Japanese dishes (chicken-based), and then we hopped on the subway to Harajuku, which is where all the young people be at. Yo. I’m totes down with the kids.

The first thing I noticed, which kind of rubbed me up the wrong way, was this huge truck driving around blasting a new “edgy” boy band’s single, and it was just noise assaulting my ears. Not as bad as the apparent hundreds of Jehovah’s Witnesses who gathered in Ginza,Harajuku and Shibuya today, obnoxiously blasting that we were all sinners damned to  hell. Wow, it’s as if a godless tourist can’t even enjoy their Christmas holidays in blissful denial anymore. (I’m joking, of course.)

We went to Meiji Shrine first, which was pretty cool. You’re supposed to chuck ¥5 into the praying crate for good luck, but I only had 10 cents (from Euros) that was about the same colour and that I wanted to get rid of. I’m sure the gods will forgive my attempt at multiculturalism.

We then went to Harajuku and looked around. There was a LINE shop! I was hilariously adorable. I didn’t know it actually physically existed.

After Harajuku we walked to Shibuya, and then got the train to Shinjuku, where Yen wanted to see the gay district.

The gay district was very quiet. I think because the party was inside the buildings, rather than out. As a minority, they probably don’t want to show it off on the streets, like they would in the Manchester gay village, maybe. It was the men-only section though, with too many pictures of semi-naked men in tight boxer-brief underwear. No lesbian section. I wonder if it was further up the road, or something.

We then ate at a really traditional izakaya (Japanese “tavern” where you can order all sorts of dishes to share, as well as unlimited alcohol if you so wish) at the top of this building in the Shinjuku area. It felt really fancy and really Tokyo, for some reason. We had pizza, dumplings, grilled fish, miso soup, omelettes, fried chicken, chilli fries… the list goes on and on, haha. I had a glass of umeshu (plum liqueur) on the rocks (I swear umeshu is one of the greatest discoveries I’ve made so far since coming here. It’s delicious), and then a mojito which I think was over-diluted with lime soda, but oh well.

After that we all parted ways at Shinjuku station – Harima was a really cool guy and I’m really thankful to him for showing us around – and Yen and I went back to our capsule hotel.

On the way back to the station, I shit you not, I totally recognized the maid who served me at the maid café in Akihabara yesterday. I think I made a face of recognition and said “Hey!”, waving, all on automatic-mode before I considered her possibly not recognizing me, or being embarrassed. But she didn’t see me, so it was okay. Haha. I wonder if she’s part of that huge circle the Tokyo “comfort industry” goes through – earn money as a maid in a maid café or as a hostess in a hostess club, so that you can save up and then pay to be fawned over by a host in a host club. Kabuki-cho is nearby to Shinjuku station, and that’s where the “sex industry” supposedly lies, though that of course is separate to just the host and hostess clubs, where you pay people for company and for them to give you lots of compliments. Though it IS kind of prostitution in the mildest form.

Jane (the other Chinese girl I met here) went to Kyoto today on the Shinkansen, having only stayed in Tokyo two days, and Yen is also going to Kyoto tomorrow, so from tomorrow morning I’ll be alone again.

But that’s the way I’d originally thought it was going to be, so I’m lucky I had company at all whilst being here. It feels like I’d come with friends after all, even though that didn’t happen, haha. I made friends really quickly and easily, somehow! Haha.

Yen is living in Fukuoka until April anyway, so hopefully we can meet up again at some point in our lives.

That’s enough for tonight. See ya later.