Friday, 31 January 2014

11 days? Seriously?

Water coming out of the rock. Like, for real.

Oh my fu**ing goodness it is friday... I've been here eleven days...?! Where did they go???
This week-end I am free. None of my Japanese friends in Tokyo seem to be (what and idea though, to have a family or to study at university, who thinks of that stuff...?), but hey, me and my Japanese Residency Card don't need anybody to go and jump around in the city of Tokyo!

Jim ' So, why are you going to do in Tokyo?'
Fang: 'huh... Walk around...? 
...And drink matcha latte when I'm tired...? And buy cute stupid stuff I don't need, then walk some more...?'
Jim: 'Sounds good!'

I will sleep in a capsule in a hostel, to brush up on my social skills in case some nice people are around and not hurt my wallet (it cost like 23 quids, but that's because I took the Economy capsule as opposed to the Luxure capsule - I didn't dare to ask what the difference is).

Tonight I am alone in the house.
I am planning on watching Sen to Chihiro (Spirited Away) in Japanese with the smelly cat and some left over curry I did yesterday.

Man, I made some vegan cookies AND vegan curry, and the kids happily ate BOTH!
And as of yesterday, I can bath a 7 and 4 year old and put them to bed with not a single tear from any of them. Check me out.

On the way to some coffee, the ice on the wooden outdoor floor boards.
Do not think of tattoos. Do not think of tattoos. No no no. Do not think of tattoos.


Ps: Natto.
I thought I was brave enough.
I thought, if I can eat a maki with natto in, I can do this.
I am a vegan. This thing is the graal of veganism: putrid smelly rotten beans, it's gotta be good. Come on.
So I took the package, removed the lid, steered in the mustard, discarded the fishy sauce, and stirred some more because some dude said this is how you 'activate' it. IT MAKES NOISE MAN. It makes noise like a fizzy drink when you stop stirring. It has more strings than the meltiest cheese you've ever seen, like tiny invisible strings that do NOT break, however high you raise your chopstick to break them and then avoid the natto falling on your head from up there, and you consequently cannot eat natto without getting natto on your chin and top and scarf and all.
It's stringy and gooey and although I am not a texture person, I am sorry but if you were eating what comes out in the tissue when you have a very productive cough, well that would feels like natto. Stirring the bastard activates the smell, more like. And then your breath smells like it - well my friend, I do not need this in my life. It stinks of death. I managed 3 spoons with rice. Then I just gave up. And washed my hands and teeth for 10 minutes...

** UPDATE **
 I finished the bastard natto bowl. I could't stand being defeated, but then again, even as a vegan, I will NEVER ever accept any criticism of french smelly cheese again in my whole life.
 The worse smelling cheese in France smells like roses and tulips next to natto. I am serious.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Pour Lea

Craquage d'ours pour Léa.

Anyways, between falling asleep one hour instead of studying and folding kids clothes and calling the cat back in and walking in the rain (first rain in Japan! Unbelievable! I am in the process of writing to the weather agency as this was NOT specified on my contract and I expect a very quick solution to the issue), I made cookies.
The oats here didn't cook like the rolled oats in the uk (sugar, as I write this I realise this might be because it simply ins't rolled oat, but just oats... duh...), so the oat is a bit crunchy. Well. The kids probably won't eat them. I will. If i'm sick tomorrow you know why.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

2nd week!

This is the Sembei (rice cracker) place in the video. 
The lady is nice. The music is awesome. The rice crackers are yummy. The tea is free and hot and good.
Hence I like this place a lot.

C'est le petit magasin de Sembei dans la video.
La dame est gentille. La musique est sublime. Les crackers au riz sont délicieux. Le thé et chaud et bon.
DONC j'aime beaucoup cet endroit.

Ce qu'il faut faire, quand il fait froid, c'est mettre plein de petites couches. 
Ici vous pouvez observer ma grande maitrise des motifs et des couleurs (aussi connue sous le nom de '' 'tain vas y j'vais tout mettre sur moi c'est impossible j'aurais pas froid')

Owly chopsticks from the Central Community Health Team in Southampton! Big Uuuuppppp!
And some special weird brocoli with hot pepper, rice, and ume boshi (pickle plum).
If you haven't eaten an ume yet, you simply have not lived. Sorry.

Those are Korean Nori (seaweed) - they are made with sesame oil and are really thin. You pick up your rice with it.
It has a really delicate taste. It's lovely.

Ce sont des nori (feuilles d'algues) Coréennes, avec de l'huile de sesame, c'est super fin.
Tu prends ton riz avec, c'est très délicat, c'est bon.

I'm gonna teach the git some manners.
J'vais apprendre quelques manières a c'te saloperie de chat.

Video - Downtown Stroll

Where I go right instead of left and take a small trip to town.
And eat sembei crackers in what is my favourite place in town (or the only shop I like).
And show you the view from the shower room.

Kids don't rule #1 / Regler les enfant #1

Do NOT pick up something with buttons to fasten in the morning unless it is the week-end, or face lateness.

Ne prend JAMAIS un haut avec des boutons en semaine, ou sois en retard.

Easy Ingredients.

Thought I was just gonna learn a bit and sing and dance.
I'm having to learn this. Like. BY HEART. Or eat plain rice and inari sushis for my whole life.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Stroll down in the town.

inna dee kitcha

Strolling while the wolves are gone.

En bas de chez moi y'a la foret,
après la forest y'a la ginza (rue commerciale),
après y'a la station de train, et après ca y'a un centre commercial avant la station de ski.
Certe... il s'agit d'un centre commercial. Mais on peut pas leur enlever qu'ils font ca avec une certaine classe. Tout est a l'extérieur, et y'a des lacs, et c'est en bois.
Beaucoup de marques françaises, beaucoup de marques de luxe anglaises, enfin tout ce que j'aime, tout a fait ma tasse de thé.
Du coup, j'ai acheté des champignons dans un magasin de produits locaux.

Après, je me suis transformée en capitaliste, j'ai sentit mes canines pousser (après tout, Fang...), et avec une determination aveugle, j'ai marché et fait la queue 20 minutes pour un Tonyu Matcha Latte (un latté au thé vert avec du lait de soja) dans le premier Starbucks en vue depuis mon atterrissage.
Oui mais c'est a dire que c'est parce qu'en fait il faut comprendre que - Ok y'a rien comprendre, si y'a du matcha dedans je sais pas resister, je m'en suis enfilé tellement y'a 5 ans que c'était une rechute absolument inevitable,
Et j'ai pensé a Paola. Et je me suis réchauffée les... mains. Et Pouf. Voila.

This is for you, Paola.
(yes I know, I went to a Starbucks in Japan, but I am ALREADY going to hell ANYWAYS).

Bon et après on est allé au super marché et la as you know j'ai faillit m'évanouir de bonheur a la vue des dizaines de sortes de Tofu, mais y'avait aussi des pauvres gamins employés a parcourir le magasin avec des petits paniers sans aucune remuneration, et ca c'est vraiment horrible (en vrai c'est horrible ces petits paniers, en vrai):

Et puis entre autre, du Wasabi (ca va ca va, je sais pas encore lire bien mais la j'suis presque sure que c'est du wasabi).

So you think that Waitrose has a nice selection of exotic mushrooms...?

Well think again.

Vous prendrez bien un peu de thé d'oignons...?

Onion tea, anyone? No? Really?

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Sunday, tofu sundayyyyy

Please say hello to the transgender cat of the house. This is Cherry, who was born in a male body but really feels like a woman inside.
Cherry is also known as ''you little git''. I already cleaned his - sorry her- pee and I've been here less than 5 days.

Cherry, life as a teenager transgender cat in High Karuizawa, full interview page 19

Please meet a vegan in the Tofu section of a japanese supermarket.
A vegan in a tofu section that large usually bares a smile. Hence, the vegan in the photo below smiles.

Tofu tofu tofu tofu tofu -
Yes some unhype vegan still like and eat tofu (especially fresh local one). Get used to it, you non bean eater,

More food and WTF moments associated with discovering life in Japan soon, in your weekly show Fang-is-in-japan-what-the-hell. Thanks for watching, and good night.


I can feed, wash, bath, and put to sleep a 4 year old and a 7 year old with less than 1 litre of teardrops from each.
Ladies and gentleman, this is a new Fang you're talking to...!

Saturday, 25 January 2014

cotton buds and momosan.

Ok let's not speak about me being ill for two days, not being able to do the job I'm paid to do because standing up was taking about all the energy I had, having vegetable soup made for me (as opposed to MAKE the flipping soup), sweating literally buckets at night so that it looked like I had had a shower during the night when coming out of bed, and other wonderful feelings associated with being ill. Fun. Joy. Love.

No, let's not... Instead: let's speak about cotton buds.
Man, for someone like me who cannot stand not having clean ears, Japan is once again where I ought to be. They have cotton buds you wouldn't have seen in your wildest dream. I will from now on go around with a camera (from now on as in now that I can walk and respond when I'm talked to as opposed to go 'mmeeehhh...?') and I will take pictures of the dozens of available cotton buds when I go to the supermarket (which is like soon, because it's been 5 days I am in Japan and I only had one single inari sushi and that's just not on, you know, I'd rather be paid in inari sushi than Yen, talking of which I still don't have the slightest idea of how much a hundred yen is worth in euros or pound, which is for the best, probably,...).

There are black cotton buds (do NOT ask me why), pink ones (again, don't...), massive end ones that will not let you go too far and pierce your ear drum (am I the only dumb ass that did this?... Twice?) which means it will just probably block your ear canal little by little, oh the joy. There's also single metallic designy-jewlery-looking ones with images of happy smiley women on the packaging, and I was told about the traditional tool the Japanese use to clean their ears which is, apparently, a small bamboo spoon (that you clean your ear with) with a feather on the other end (to 'reward' yourself and tickle your ear once it's clean...I know. What the hell.)

Enough about cotton bud paradise.
Time to join the momo-san  having a party over my head everynight while I'm falling asleep (this is what I hope it looks like by the way, for I was warned it's the weirdest looking animal with massive red eyes...)

"You have not cut yourself off from your previous life but are expanding it"

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Matte Matte

A short video where I walk around talking to myself and don't get lost and laugh at japanese road signs.
I'll give you the password if you ask nicely.

Day 2 - 9.45 am

J'ai habillé un gamin de 4 ans sans le faire pleurer
j'ai rangé une tante dans le salon, 2 fois
j'ai fait 4 machines
j'ai fait 2 petit-déjeuners
j'ai cherché partout pour voir si le chat a pas fait une bêtise parce que ca sent
je me suis demandé ce que je foutais la
j'ai éteint le chauffage et je me suis réveillée a 3h du matin dans une chambre a -3 degrés, j'ai cru mourir d'un choque thermique
je me suis dit, est-ce que je vais retomber sur mes pattes?
je me suis dit' je vais aller dans les bois' mais j'ai peur de me perdre, mais il fait beau, mais je vais y aller quand meme, mais il faut mettre une clochette pour les ours, mais si il a pas peur des clochettes, l'ours?
j'ai parlé au chat en Japonais
j'ai lu 2 kanjis sur un pot de yaourt sans m'en rendre compte
j'ai posé 80 000 questions (a peu près)
j'ai une boule dans le ventre, qui la veut?
y'a mon coeur qui n'est plus rattaché a ma tete qui n'est plus rattaché a mon corps qui n'est plus rattaché a mon coeur
j'ai pensé a Vincent et a Ginny et a Paola et a Tom et a Anne et a mon père et a ma mere et j'ai pleuré mais je saurais pas dire pourquoi, ca doit être les hormones,
j'ai mangé un bol de riz brun avec du miso maison melange et du tofu fait ici et un peu de sauce soja locale en regardant les arbres nus lacérer la neige de la prefecture de nagano

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

"The city of Southampton feels different knowing that you're not somewhere in it."
Arrived in 2 pieces (my heart and my brain).
No adaptator to charge laptop for now.
The taste of snow and sun during the day
the taste of jetlaged-i-wont-let-you-dominate-me-anxiety at night.

Will be back with news soon.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Left the Uk under rain and rainbow.
An avalanche of cards with thoughtful words filling up my self-confidence tank,
a CD with the best of the Spice Girls for when I miss the british Radio playing the best of the 90s 24h a day like it's normal,
loads of books for thinking and books for enjoying,
a little silver ambulance on my keyring not to forget the NHS team I worked with (maybe I'll work with paramedics one day who knows)
and so many other presents and hugs it just won't fit in my brain (it does in my heart, though).
And a last Starbucks with Paola before a last day of work.

Man, who knew my british and international friends were such good huggers? I would have done it more had I known.

Now, is 4 coats to many coats for 12 months (it's now -8 degrees)?
I compromised on the number of cameras (only 3), and of the 60ish blank diaries and note books I have I only took 4. Obviously that's because the number of pair of shoes is less negotiable.
Now unless my dad an I kill each other over Veganism/Vegetarianism (we nearly did at lunch time AND in the supermarket)
and unless my mum and I kill each other about which clothes I would like to take (you would think that would be my choice at 25... Well think East European, think Jewish mother,then think again),
 I shall be on the plane with my imaginary friends towards a new life in Japan by the day after tomorrow ('assatte' in Japanese, isn't it great, they have one single word for 'the day after tomorrow' - probably the ONLY practical word in Japanese, but I have a lot to learn...).

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

I'm lauuuuughing in the rain, just lauuuughing in the rain

Favourite quote of the month (see video below):

"-Why do you defend gay people? You're a gay or what?
-Yeah. And since I support animal welfare, now apparently I'm a dolphin(*)."
(I laughed my whole way to work about this sentence - already I'm french so I look crazy, but imagine a crazy french on her bike laughing at loud at 9am in the British rain…)

*Reminds me of this 'literal' humour… never though humour could be so powerful to show people their own ignorance. I love it. Love it. Love it.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Scariest fact of the day EVER: Man, I spent more than a quarter of my entire life in the U.K.

Cycling twice in pouring rain, to go to work, and to come back from work, with waterproof trousers and no-longer waterproof coat.
The joys of starting my last 2 weeks with the NHS.

One thing I won't miss from the UK in general and Southampton is the constant rain.
Rain and rain and rain. And then more rain. And then? Rain again.
Little thin icy rain getting into your hands.
Heavy rain pouring like it's time to cry.
Thunder like it's rain and you just watch in silence because this is all there is to do and forget about your bike.
I won't miss the cold weather all year round with a shy tiny little sun some weeks over the summer. OH! And people driving on the middle lane! When they are NOT overtaking ANYBODY! I won't miss the silly prices of the tasteless vegetables in supermarkets, waxed apple and plastic carrots.

But these are nothing.
These are nothing at all compared to the friends I will miss. I will miss the sense of community you get when you meet a few known faces while walking into town, everytime you walk into town (somehow I am thinking about Angela). I'll miss the pride of working for the NHS, the amazing variety of vegan cheeses available for the dummies like me who decided to be vegan, I'll miss having a room big enough to dance and jump in, I will miss the enormous sense of satisfaction when swearing in English (especially in a car). I will miss the multiculturalism here, Mayflower Parc on a week-end with its people from every colour and age and every social background speaking in every language eating the same cheap ice cream watching the ships go while they stay. I will miss the waterside table tennis club.
I will miss Paola over cups of coffee for 7 years, pouring with words and book recommendations and life stories over the condensation on the windows, the curls in her hair living whatever. Living whatever. Speaking even when we are not speaking. Running together into the parks, her curly hair living whatever.
I will miss Ginny explaining every plant in her secret garden, talking to my cat like it's not her fault she's a cat, recommending impossible 10 hours long silent movies made before my parents where born from some obscure place in Japan. I will miss her special knock on the door and cut articles through the door, ses yeux espiegles toujours prets a rire. Her orange living rooms full of everything reflecting as a magic mirror just the beautiful person she is.
I will miss Tom's perfect hugs and never ending encouragements, the sound of the van door sliding open, sliding close, dinosaurs pins all over his coat, wherever.
I will miss cycling down bevois valley to my brother's, the smell of garlic and zahtar and olive oil shining under the kitchen's door like an evening sun while the night has already veiled it all out there. The sense of being taken care of, eating vegetables I would never ever have cooked for myself. The cat's big dark eyes in the middle of his thick beautiful ginger coat looking at us both, brother and sister. Locking the back gate while asking the cat to stay in, cutting my finger every single time I push the lock in.
I will miss knowing my way around in a car.
I will remember every patients I have visited over the jobs, their old wall papers and their wooden smells, the way their beds are made, what they are dying of or went away with, what colour their skins were, a grain of sand for each of them.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Heat heat heat

Awesome fact of the day :

" [the car I will use in Japan has] heated front seat and a remote start so that you can warm up the car before you get it! "

Given the fact I am cold 90% of the time and I am currently looking for the thickest polar fleece wearable without being so thick my arms won't be able to move, this is GOOD NEWS. My carbon-conscious-eco-mind is unhappy. My body is happy.

テリ - Terrils

Sur les autoroutes du Nord de la France
on voit les terribles terrils qui
s'embrasent le soir, tout seul dans le noir
s'approchent s'embrassent et se séparent ;
C'est une belle paire disait mon père,
lalala lala lala...

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Bon, ben aller.

Obtention inextremis d'un visa Vacance Travail à l'embassade-du-japon-qui-fait-peur? Check.
Gravir le terrils: Check.
Voir ceux qui comptent: Check.
Regime de baguette: Check.
Prete pour mes deux dernieres semaines de travail pour la NHS: Check.
Breast-cancer-free: Check.

Depart du Royaume Uni des Spice Girls Reunited le 17, deux semaines encore de pluies et d'amis donc.
48h en France pour preparer un sac pour 12 mois.
Depart le 20 Janvier, et 0 heure de revision.