Sunday, 30 March 2014

Kurima Island Video

Avec, en bonus ce mois-ci, des toilettes avec television, des poissons clowns, un ours qui fait du chamisen.
With, this month only, extras including tv in public toilets, a teddy-bear playing shamisen, and clownfishes.


Saturday, 29 March 2014

Council Tax

I just deleted all occurrences of the reminder 'Council Tax' on my calendar every 1st of the month.
Ah hu.

Friday, 28 March 2014

There are days I want to study four chapters of my japanese grammar book at once, create a new piano tune, make samples, create an audio track a from all the recordings I gathered in Japan so far, finish a video, go for a walk with the dog, send a fourteen pages letter to a friend, clean the car, carry on my drawing series of uncanny cats and hares in a world of fine lines straight out of my brain to wash my head and then add them to an online portfolio to show a gallery - to say it short, be productive.
Today is not such a day.
Today I want to go to bed at 8pm and watch My Fair Lady while drinking bed time infusions after finishing my book half asleep in the afternoon sun, only a few hours after waking up very late.
Now if anybody has something against that, they may leave the room. Now.
Thank you. Now let's enjoy the movie.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Little images from Kurima

Bridge linking Miyako Jima to Kurima

Miyako Jima (Okinawa Prefecture)
Happy in the mangroves. Well. Not quite in cause it was full of tiny bright red crabs.

Cooking sweet potatoes in a fire. Mochiron!!! Sure!!! A fond!!!

WARNING: food follows.
Fellow vegan travellers: don't trust those who tell you it's impossible to stay vegan in Japan, that you will miss out on everything, and that you're a pain. It's just not true. Just saying. That's all. I've been staying in tokyo, in the rich type country side, and in totally lost places with not a kombini for miles (that's saying something), well I'm still alive, I've been eating fine, I haven't been a pain to people, I even made friends who cooked for me and made sure I stayed vegan while in the supermarket, and while eating in little shacks.

Those are called little tortoises - they are amazingly yummy rice and salt snacks from Okinawa prefecture, and are vegan.
And I didn't at all buy 10 packets of them until my suitcase wouldn't close.

'Petites tortues', des petits snacks salés de la prefecture d'Okinawa, et vegan.
Et j'en ai pas du tout acheté 10 paquets jusqu'a ce que ma valise ne ferme plus.

Little local restaurant. No problem to order vegan thanks to my host.
Who said vegan miss out on social events? Whhhaaaaattt?

Ok, where else in the world you stop to fill up your tank (well, actually, you don't do it, in Japan people run around - literally- and do it for you, don't ask me why you can't do it yourself like everywhere else), 
and for doing so you get free popcorn and free MELON FLAVOURED (yes, I just said MELON flavoured) cotton candy? I say: hell YES!
Rika-chan and I getting fat.

Vietnamese style spring rolls out of the blue from my host, with shitake, lettuce, carrots and secret soya sauce.

Te-chan fixing his line after he went fishing in...a tree... for leaves, I guess...

San-chan, le chien de l'auberge Hibiscus.


りかーちゃん in the mangroves, Miyako-Jima.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Kicked ass and got my ass kicked at ping pong.
Time for some sleep,
but before,
this warmed my heart:

Back from Kurima!

SO! I'm back and I'm tanned
and I made a friend (Rika-chan, which means pear-sent, she's a hip-hop dancer and we understood each other through the language barrier and it felt great),
and between the airport and home, I used all of my money to the last yen to buy my train ticket back here. I also tried to break into a car that I thought was ours, but wasn't (man, it was the same car, how am I supposed to know!),
and I also successfully reversed and caught the front of the car on a fence that just appeared all of a sudden. I swear it wasn't there before I put the car into reverse gear, surely I would have seen it. It never happened to me before, so travellers: beware! Japanese parking lots are full of out-of-nowhere-fences! Oh well, I didn't hit a person, so let's say it gives the car character.
I had no money to pay the parking so I hoovered the car bottom with my fingers until I found enough coins. Yummy.

Now I am going to Ueda to check out a school, then tonight I'm gonna kick some asses at ping pong (NOT... those Japanese guys know how to play table tennis, I tell you), then I might take a coffee with a nice lady who want to speak English while I speak Japanese.

Hitting the floor running, that's called!
Bye bye little hibiscus flowers and turquoise see, hello mud and snow :D !

Some pictures as an apero.

We tried to make fire. For 4 days. No success. We made a mess, that's all.

Te-chan, Rika-chan, Fan-chan, and San-chan!

Dinner at Hibiscus

Man, you're not a real blogger if you don't post pictures of your food.
Am I a real blogger now? Please?


San-chan checking me out.

Me in the morning. Is this why I am still single? 

Bridge between Kurima Island and Miyako Jima.


Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Marching March

SO today, I woke up and started reading my book and discovered George Orwell was to put it... a big racist fu*k?
I tell you, the first words you want to read in the morning seldom are :

'Fear of the mob is a superstitious fear. It is based on the idea that there is some mysterious, fundamental difference between rich and poor, 
as though they were two different races, like Negroes and white men.'

Down and Out in Paris and London, George Orwell

I am a little bit baffled that there is no preface or afterword... this is a well respected author that most students will read with 1984 or Animal Farm (Hello? Anybody out there that bought another book from an author they enjoyed?). And there's just nothing to say anything about either the vocabulary used nor the bluntly racists views held in it. Wow. Ok.  WHAAAATTTT???
The 'n word' had been used in the book before, but I thought 'hhhmm, written in 1933, ok, maybe,...'. I haven't finished the book nor looked at any article on it, especially at how I am guessing he was just totally focussing on one battle (the social classes one) and absolutely oblivious to anything else going on, but I will finish and read about it, though it made me feel a little sick to read that half awake.

But anyways, yesterday I had a small chat with pickachu so I was in a good mood. I went to dance on the mountain (I did, see the video below), fell asleep in the sun (yes! this is how warm it got, and how tired I am), and totally got put in my place (not) by the family's grand-ma, who doesn't know what an au-pair is and used to be a servant (I won't even go there).

If you think he should become my boyfriend, press #1. If not, press #2.

Below a video in French for my family and friends. If you don't speak french, well... I don't know. Learn it.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

ugly kanji.

My allergies are back. I am covered in red spots. It's very sexy. NOT.*
It started a few days after I settled in Japan. I wonder if I'm not allergic to Kanjis...
I am working on flashcards so that I can be independent when buying food (vegan people travelling to japan, go here). Here is a short and simple illustration of my despair:

 Bonito looks like this 堅魚, which is easy because it includes the kanji for flipping fish.
You would just THINK, wouldn't you, that flaked bonito is just the same with a kanji for flaked.
Well nope. It looks totally different:削り節 which are the kanjis for sharpen/pare ('til here ok) and...


Insert my painful lack of teacher, lesson, class, school, structure, native speaker HERE - 
how do I make sense of this? 
Just pass me the gun, please, will you?
What? WHAT? I mean what IS this language? Man, learning Hebrew and Arabic after learning Japanese is going to feel like playing those large shapes games for babies, where the triangle goes with the triangle, the circle with the circle, blue goes with blue...

* Yesterday the boy I look after ran after me, pointed to my new japanese shoes, and shouted 'kireinaaaaaiiiiiiiiii'. Meaning... Ugly. 

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Learning Japanese, Apprendre le Japonais: chercher l'intrus, spot the odd one.

Dans les definitions de ce Kanji, trouver l'intrus / In the meanings list, spot the odd one:

精 :


Ok! Hot water back on! Pipes not broken due to ice! Only took 10 hours of constant running up and down with hot water, swearing in French English and Japanese*, banging walls, screaming and shame.
You know what's coming... my celebration soooonnng!!!
(*English is still the best language to swear in)

Ok! On a de l'eau chaude! Ca aura seulement pris 10 heures de ma vie a courir dans le escaliers avec des pots rempli d'eau chaude, des gros mots en Francais en Anglais et en Japonais*, et la honte, genre le TEU-HON. A fond.
Bien évidemment ci dessous mon son préféré pour célébrer une bonne nouvelle
(*je persiste et signe: l'anglais c'est le mieux pour jurer)

Me - Ok. we have hot water. Good. Can I go to table tennis then please please please?
Boss - Yay!! Thanks much, Fang. You showed a lot of poise in the face of duress. I appreciate it. Yes, you can play table tennis and I can wash my butt! The world will be a better place at 9 pm tonight!!


Comme ce n'est pas la fete du slip, et que je n'ai rien d'intéressant à partager (porter des casseroles d'eau chaude 7 heures durant entre la cuisine à l'étage et la salle de bain à l'étage inférieur, ca fait mal au dos - est-ce intéressant? Non),
je vous renvois à cet article illuminé d'un auteur et speaker que je trouve lumineux.
A bon entendeur...

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

There's nothing that eating your own weight in maple syrup won't help a little bit with.

Monday, 10 March 2014

I really would like to go out tomorrow, and ask people of my town what they think should be done about nuclear power stations with my recorder, 3 years after fukushima.
Oh yeah, I forgot: I don't speak Japanese.


I dropped in Takadanobaba. Baba is warm.
It felt homely. Clear blue winter skies let the sun hit a tiny kids-cats-playground. It was made for kids but is used by cats. On the fences were hanging signs borbidding people to abandon their pets, with drawing of crying cats being left in a cardboard. In the bushes, families of cats said hi as I walked them by.
I let the flat roof tops and drying laundry colouring the streets too small for a car to turn any corner fill my eyes, sat on a plastic giraffe. No kid around, but a well dressed middle aged-man holding his head in both hands between his knee sat on one of the benches, and a younger man smoking a cigarette looking at a wall. Everywhere in the world there are little parks hidden from main streets where people smoke looking inside their own head and cats lie peacefully in the shade and where the traffic can't be heard. I could have been on holiday in Lisbon. Or Barcelona. Or Tel Aviv. But that's not why it felt homely I think.
I felt the same in the south area of Kamata. There are streets, with lines and all, but really any normal car would get stuck within minutes (and I don't just mean if I am driving the car). The people walk slowly. The houses and architecture is wonky as can be. Succulents are left in pots right left and centre next to front doors, like I did as soon as I had a place I called home in the uk. It feels like summer even in the biting cold, maybe that's why. It has this atemporal feeling stuck in each different grays of the houses and the street concrete, and the quarter is cut from the rest of the city. It feels safe I guess.
Okubo and shin-Okubo had the same succulents on top of walls and pavement, and grand-pa's arching their backs, but the streets were straight. I really liked it too.

Fact points:
-I dreamed of phones being stolen - guess I missed an opportunity to communicate.
-I also physically admitted that my Yashica is on holiday, and portrait-taking with it. But I still feel an incredible strength when I talk about Peace Faces and I know I will resume the project and make it real and complete to my eyes in the future.
-And I also thought about other things that I will talk with to my imaginary and non imaginary friends.
-Also I realised about a quarter of my salary goes into sending cards and letters and packages to friends (that's just for the physical card and stamps, not the stupid amount of black pens and stamping pads and stickers and ribbons and cat-tape). I think this a good way to spend money.
-Also, I have decided to try and dress a bit less like a 15 year-old boy and make an effort into looking at least half decent. I found made in Japan shoes AND trousers yesterday, the day my jeans decided to die and free my left knee so he could see the world too, and the day I couldn't physically take one more step because my shoes are just not made for my feet.
-I saw earphones (like, the little ones you put inside your ear, to listen to music, right?) for 25000 yens. That's about 174 euros. Is this mad or is this just me?
-I love recording sounds. I need a wind screen though.

Ahhhh on ne se fatigue pas de ces 'traductions wtf!'
For the English speakers, the text on the cup says (and oh my, this is an interesting translation exercices, translate into English a French text that was probably google-translated from Japanese (is this neologism going to send me straight to hell?) and convey the wtf feeling... hmmmm) :
The time as the milk is entirely in the coffee and he drinks is the most happy.

 It is now absolutely official that the coffee from the chain 'Tully's coffee' is THE YUMMIEST FLIPPING coffee ever. Their soy latte is just delicious.
 I have no idea how they made a face out of foam and coffee, but they did.

For Hazuki-san!!!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Non non, je ne suis absolument pas en train de regarder des chaussures de tennis de tables sur internet au lieu d'étudier, non mais en fait c'est parce que 'fin c'est pas pour moi c'est pour une copine tout ca...

Wednesday, 5 March 2014


Oh happy day (oh happpyyy dayyyyy)
Oh happy day-yeah (oh happpyyy dayyyyy)
The day I fouuuunnnd (the day she foundddd)
A local ping pong club to play (Oh happy dayyy)

This is more or less the dance I did in front of my boss once back, asking if I could try and go every wednesday.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014


Buying my birthday present, I also wanted a windscreen.
En achetant mon cadeau d'anniversaire, je voulais aussi acheter une bonnette anti-vent (ouai, ca sonne mieux en anglais, non?).

And there was one. It was perfect and fit there size and cheap.
Y'en avait une. Pas cher, la bonne taille, parfait.

And then I was like 'Hey, hold on. What's this made of? It's not rabbit right?'
(Yes somehow I can say that in Japanese, hell I am self-taught and that's not great but at least I can speak a bit, you should't doubt me like this).
Au moment de payer, une pensée me vient à l'esprit. 'Heu... C'est fait en quoi en fait? C'est du polyester? C'est pas du lapin, hein, c'est pas du lapin?'

And the two vendors go 'Hmmm no, no that's not rabbit.
It's fox.'
'Hm... non. C'est pas du lapin ca non. 
C'est du renard.'

Then I ran away under their big questioning eyes. True, I mean, really: what is wrong with killing a fox and rip off its skin and fur to make an audio accessory?
J'me suis sauvée en courant sous les yeux ébahis. Apres tout, c'est vrai: ou est le problème avec le fait de tuer un renard et lui arracher sa peau et sa fourrure pour produire un accessoire audio?

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Panda Usagi koala

I am too full and it is too dark for me to relate my past few days in Tokyo now.

Let's just say I bought myself a birthday present I have been wanting for a long time,
I laughed with people I didn't know a few hours until midnight in a hostel (see, brushing up my social skills, see, I can talk to someone else than the cat AND make a joke that human beings beside myself find funny - though the ones that make nobody laughs but me are the funniest, I find),
I found out that  middle-age to old japanese table tennis players just love to coach even when you just want to play, and that I am still the only female in the room, and also I found out that falling on your hand hurts (your hand) (and your ego) (especially when you are just walking and not asking for any trouble),
I can carry a 4 year old a backpack and a suitcase out of a train,
I am a complete sucker for rilakkuma  (I swear i didn't look for the store, I happen to walk pass, I swear),
and Japanese anti-allergy drugs will make you sleepy but kick ass.

More soon.
More table tennis soon.
More japanese soon.

Hey, has anyone seen prince-charming? You know? Japanese, not speaking a word of english, tatooed, fit, cute, nice, friendly, rich, interesting, a bit older than me, with dark eyes? Nope?
Ah. That's what I thought. Me neither. Please send him my way next time you see him.
Tell him I said panda usagi pyjamas.