Pictures from my birthday

This post I guess is more for personal/posterity reasons, but anyway I thought I would share a few things from the time around my birthday (19th January). Wanna catch up with what I’m doing art-wise? You can find some recent drawings on my tumblr. Most of my drawings done in Japan are using cheap felt tips and cheap pens since I don’t want to spend too much on art supplies, which would take up space/be a pain to transport.

5 packs of white hot chocolate mix, 1 pack of raspberry hot chocolate mix, photographed on my bed

My kind coworker bought me some delicious hot chocolate mix from the import food store and gave these to me a few days before my birthday. These are from Italy I think and they are lovely. I buy them from time to time for when I finish my workday.

photograph from 4th floor of apartment building, the view is of a snowy city residential area

On my birthday I decided to head out for a wander and it was very snowy.

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hamburger with avocado and salad

I really like the hamburger chain here: Freshness Burger.

photo of a lurcher (dog) on video chat (iphone facetime)

I got the chance to speak to my family and caught a screenshot of my dog.

photo of a mug which bears the slogan 'good luck' along with gold polka dots. In the background there is a laptop and another, smaller mug which contains stationery

I got a cute mug for my birthday from my lovely friend, perfect for drinking tea. I only just got into drinking milk tea after getting to Japan. Maybe my new love for milk tea has come hand in hand with my newly discovered patriotism…

photo of steamed rare cheesecake

This is my new favourite thing lately: steamed rare cheesecake from the bakery near the station. It only costs 170 yen (£1) and is soft, spongy and delicious. I love it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

photograph of a table at a yakiniku (Korean BBQ meat) restaurant. There are 2 plates of meat, 1 bowl of rice, 1 plate of sauce and some other plates without food on them yet

My kind coworker strikes again! On the evening of my birthday we went to a yakiniku restaurant and I tried gyuutan (grilled beef tongue) for the first time. It was alright but not something I would order for myself. I myself ordered karubi – apparently short ribs according to wikipedia. It was super tender and yummy. Oh man, I feel guilty for posting meat on my blog. I still want to be vegetarian. I’m sorry I’m not making a good go of that! For the record, I usually don’t cook meat at home but once I go out this (possibly) evil meat eating beast emerges from within and orders whatever… (please don’t consider me criticising anyone who eats meat, it’s a choice!)

photo of a yakiniku (Korean BBQ meat) grill in the centre of the restaurant table. 3 pieces of meat are currently being cooked on the grill

Our last photo of the yakiniku grill. Not much to say here except that yakiniku restaurants are fun and I enjoy being able to BBQ it however I like. I’m glad we got to go on Monday 19th since we hadn’t been for a long long time.

 

Well, that’s my mini-photo haul. I hope that it was interesting for some of you! Now, it’s Monday 26th. I’m on my day off and tomorrow I’ll be back at work (I do Tues-Sat).

I’m feeling the urge for mini steamed cheesecake now so I might take that opportunity to cycle to the train station… Or perhaps I’ll stay home, haven’t decided yet. Should probably stay home since I need to save my 8000 yen in my wallet to pay my lovely coworker for the internet. Otherwise I’ll have to draw out more money… gah… cheesecake.

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Yuucho blogging

Hi all.

11.20AM

I’m just in the bank (name: yuucho). It’s my day off. I’m attempting to send a little bit of my money here back to England so that I can put it away for savings. To do this I got a form to fill in, on which I made multiple mistakes (as I do with English forms too since I seem to often forget which field to fill in and put stuff in the wrong place). I just got called up to negotiate the amount to send back as well as to hear about the fee for the transfer. The lady also said some other stuff but I can’t say that I totally understood. I think it’ll be ok! Wouldn’t be good to have my £500 floating around in nowhere land. I’ll need it at some point for plane tickets or something.

I feel pretty wary about handling my money, budgeting, and unsure how much emergency cash to keep here. I’m probably weird about it all since this is the first time I’ve been truly financially independent. Anyway, it’s the tenth today so it’ll be another eighteen days until payday, so not too long I don’t think. I will be fine until then and will hopefully have some more money spare at the end of the month, too…

12.10PM

I spent about half an hour or so here just going back and forth between the desk. Then the post office people said that I needed an IBAN code, so I had to cycle home and rush to find it on the HBSC website (their guide to finding the code on their internet banking site was outdated of course), and now I’m back here waiting again to get my money sent over. The post office is a lot more busy now, lots of murmuring and friendly elderly people about. One lady talking to me about an expensive-looking umbrella left by the seats.

Oh hooray, I’ve been called up!

I talked to the lady. I think it’s all ok. Just waiting again now. I asked about fees and with ゆうちょ銀行 (yuucho ginkou), the fee is ¥2500 (£14) to send and also I think my bank might take £5 too. Just gonna have to wait and see. And then see if I ever want to do it again. I hope HSBC are nice and don’t decide to sap my money 😦

I finished the whole process at 12.30pm.

Anyway, aside from all the money talk… This weekend has again been pretty busy. On Saturday after work my colleague and I decided to be lazy and eat at Freshness Burger, a chain fast food place. After that we had a brief bout of shopping since she had discovered some cheap fleece tights in a store (which later turned out to slip down all the time while wearing).

On the way home we discovered a group of other foreigners, a couple of whom we had already met before. We chatted and were promptly persuaded to join them at an izakaya. There was 飲み放題, all you can drink, for ¥3000 (£16.50) plus various free dishes to share. The dishes included pizza covered with salad, pasta, soup and also some chicken which was pretty much raw. It tasted how I imagined it to taste – not something I enjoyed that much, I don’t think I’d eat it again! Anyway, it was nice to meet and chat with people from America, the UK, Ireland, and some lovely Japanese acquaintances too. I hope we can meet them again.

On Sunday, the weather was bleak and grey. I ended up waking up early automatically, at 7.30. I can’t remember what I did, really… Oh. I went out to the shops although I can’t remember what for. But on the top floor of Kawatoku department store, I made the lovely discovery of a food event featuring loads of stalls from Hokkaido. As I made my way around the 7th floor, I was handed many, many samples of cheesecake. The food was a little on the pricey side for me so I focused on getting as many samples as possible before returning home.

 

When I got home, I cooked some risotto and ate together with my coworker, while watching The Darjeeling Limited. I really enjoyed the film but then also was wondering if there are any films of Wes Anderson’s where the protagonist is female. I remembered the girl in Moonrise Kingdom as well as Margot in The Royal Tenenbaums. I think perhaps his films are pretty good when compared with other contemporary Hollywood films. I’m not sure though, and perhaps this is a thought to continue on another day!

I forced my coworker to come back to the food stalls with me again and we did a second wander, together, and bought a couple of sweet treats. The event ends tomorrow though so I really want to go and at least buy something significant, since I don’t know when or if there will be another.

12.45PM

Risotto with parmesan cheese

I know I’m supposed to make food pictures look good and stuff but I was never one for presentation. Anyway, it tasted good, I promise. Lots of chilli, some carrot, some left over tofu (I know, not a regular ingredient but I needed to use it up), lots of mushrooms, garlic and more.

I’m just eating up my leftover risotto for lunch but after that I am very tempted to make a quick trip to the aforementioned fair and buy some cheesecake. There was also this strange stall that had pumpkin flakes which could be mixed with milk to make a delicious soup. Since it has pumpkin in it it feels like it has the illusion of being healthy, although I doubt that it actually is ;_; It tasted too good to be healthy.

Later on today, I have a 1 hour lesson to teach, and then my coworker and I are meeting a friend for ramen. After that, who knows? We were going to go for karaoke although I’m not sure if that’s the plan anymore. I would quite like to retire at home and play World of Warcraft for 2 hours, read some Jane Austen and get loads of sleep in time for another busy week ahead.

Art

I hope you all don’t mind, I haven’t been blogging so much about art lately, mainly about life here, since it’s all so different and there are many new experiences constantly happening. That is not to say I’ve stopped drawing though, far from it! I try to update my instagram account with artwork whenever I can, which you can find on the sidebar to the left. I have been drawing more than usual this week and am fairly pleased to feel that I haven’t regressed too much.

drawing of a girl with short brown hair and blue facepaint lines across her cheeks, with a halo of grey smoke around her head

Thanks everyone for reading my blog!

writing with no plan

Hi all,

yesterday I got back from my visit to the North of England. It is now one o’clock and today has been spent drawing and wandering. I really would like to buy a baguette from the shop opposite my house right now, but I should not spend any money. Temptation is evil. The thought of the sandwich only entered my mind approximately two minutes ago but now it is dominating my thoughts and all I can think about is eating some slightly crunchy ciabatta bread with tomatoes and cheese and other nice things inside. I’m considering just going over budget this week. I spent a lot early in the week for no reason other than gluttony. And then on my visit, I expected to spend a fair amount of money on trains and the like. I spent less than I had anticipated and am considering using this as an excuse for buying more unnecessary food. But I’m writing this instead to try and momentarily distract myself from the thought of ciabatta.

Above are some drawings I’ve done over the past week. None of these are for my course. I did the first two as worried gifts for the people I was going to be staying with, but decided to cook them dinner instead. After having finished the two watercolours, I put them on my personal facebook in the hope of selling them, and I did! … something very surprising and encouraging for me.

The seagull drawing is for a friend who would like to have a tattoo. She asked me to draw one. I had to borrow a reference from google, because seagulls don’t stay still.

For the rest of the day, I think I will work on actual university stuff. I have a few pages to polish up for the exhibition, so that should occupy me for an hour or two. After that, I suppose I should write my presentation. We need to talk about our work for maybe 10-15 minutes on 7th May (which we did before, last year), so I will work on some notes and powerpoint slides.

I also want to do some more drawings which I can sell… I think that it’s fun to create drawings outside of my coursework (even though the eyes in my opinion are off in the two watercolours above) because I can experiment with mediums and then attempt to sell them as well.

Right now, the pull of ciabatta is super strong, so I’m going to try and cook a big lunch of wholemeal pasta with cheese sauce and sweetcorn. If I eat enough, maybe I can stop myself from wanting things I can’t afford?