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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Mini post ☆ ミニポスト

Hello friends.

I’m in bed, about to do some reading. But I thought I’d make a mini post beforehand. It’s my sixth week of work here (or so I believe) and I wanted to write a little update to say what I’ve been up to. This week my parents have been in France and so I have had less time chatting on skype with people from home.

So recently, where to start… Work has been as usual, always challenging and always learning new things. I’ve had several difficult lessons lately that hurt my confidence a bit. But each time or rather each lesson I am learning and improving, I feel. I want to be good at my job. Some of my challenging issues are classroom management, discipline and time management. I’m usually good with time except when there happen to also be disruptive kids, as that slows everything down.

I’m expected to be researching more about my job during free time but since starting I have always found that I’m pretty tired after work and don’t want to do too much requiring thinking. I did listen to a couple of question and answer videos by a well known youtuber called gimmeaflakeman. I’m not really sure why he’s called that but he’s funny and friendly and has a lot of videos about his esl career so I watched a few of those on my day off.

As for the Japanese language and how that’s going, for a while I felt like I was only improving in tiny amounts. But yesterday I finally got back into my kanji (Chinese characters used in Japanese) study and I feel a bit better about my progress. I’ve started studying from a book called Genki 2, very popular among Japanese language learners. It’s mostly been revision for me so far, which is good. It’s helped solidify certain things which my other book left a bit flaky.

… Man this post is dry. Sorry friends. Don’t worry though! One day my posts will be swamped in beautiful drawings and exciting tales and news, or so I hope…

I also managed to find the international centre yesterday, hooray! It is at least a half hour walk from my apartment, not so fun. But it’s in a really fancy, giant building which also has several cafes, an environmental centre, uni library, etc. maybe I’ll take some pictures next time I go there! I signed up to look for a Japanese language supporter to help me study but maybe I will do better to get private lessons once I get paid?

… Yep, I’m counting down the days to pay day and already planning which days I will go out shopping. I have a carefully curated list of items I want to buy including a giant cardigan, leggings, shower mat (actually my shower is broken at the moment but I want to buy the mat in the hopes that one day it’ll be fixed), shoes, more shampoo, lush soap, etc. I’ll probably end up buying a tiny amount of the stuff which I fantasised about since I feel guilty whenever I spend money. We’ll see. Maybe I can take photos of my haul?

Bleh. I should finish soon. Next post will have pictures probably. Hopefully! Lastly I will just say that Broadchurch TV series was great, and I’ve almost finished the anime Durarara, which is pretty good. I’ve also started on American Horror Story season 3. AHS is pretty problematic and very tacky at times. It is like a guilty pleasure. However I appreciate this third season as it’s mostly about women’s stories and interesting lady characters. I think I’ll finish AHS off and then consider resuming Twin Peaks.

As for books, I finished the third book in Tad Williams’ Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series, and am on the final book of the series. I will be so sad when it ends. Luckily I brought my dad’s kindle with me, including 100+ books that I want to read. Tad Williams is also planning writing three more books within the same universe so I’m excited!

Anyway, I’ll go now. Thanks for reading this somewhat blah post, if you managed to get through it that is! I’ll just say this is mostly for my family and the few people who seem to enjoy reading about the mundanities of my life! Lots of love.

E

Settle

Dear friends,

I’ve been in Morioka for about a month now and since I managed to get hooked up to wifi at my apartment finally, I thought it would be a good time to write an update post. I can’t say this is going to be a very picture heavy post at all so I won’t be offended if you don’t stay to read this. But to those who want words and are happy trawling through my long ramblings, thank you for sticking with me! If you are looking for more pictures, less talking, I have posted some sketches I’ve done since arriving in Japan on my regular art tumblr. Also, if you turn your eyes to the left of the site there is my instagram feed. I haven’t posted many personal/Japan photos, just art.

So, this is three or so weeks on from my last post. I have been at work for four weeks and am mostly working independently now, which can be frightening, but I’m getting to grips with it a lot more now. I have a few difficult classes, and teach from age 2 to 90. My work is fairly varied and as I said before, the hours can be a bit weird as it’s a private language school.

I’ve been walking around the city a lot and finding my bearings over the last few weeks. I know where most of the useful places are now. For example, there’s a super shopping centre about an hour and a half’s walk from my house (or a 20 minute journey if I walk to the station and catch a bus). Inside there are lots of nice shops I’ve never heard of, plus Muji, Uniqlo, Baskin’ Robins ice cream and a Mexican themed shop with loads of lovely clothes and accessories. My friend and I also found some good cafes nearby plus a wonderful Italian restaurant.

mexican and/or central american inspired shop front. clothing store within a shopping mall

Mexican/Central American themed shop – sorry if I got the specifics wrong, I don’t know enough about the culture. But I would like to learn more and learn to speak Spanish ><

I still need to find out how to go to the doctors’ surgery if ill and how to get my teeth cleaned by the dentist as I didn’t have time to have a checkup etc. before flying off. I need to find the international centre too, because I’m in serious need of Japanese lessons. My Japanese is very patchy which is a pain, so I have borrowed a text book (Genki 2) from a colleague, but also want to get some lessons to speed up my learning.

I had a few problems with things not quite working in my apartment but I am slowly smoothing those out now. Hmm. I’m not sure what else to update on regarding everyday life…

Oh, lastly, there are several fabric shops around here which makes me feel very happy. The biggest one has a small section dedicated to needle felting, and I have wanted to give it a go for a very long time since my amazing friend inspired me. I managed to budget enough to be able to afford a small starter set this weekend, so I’ve been playing around. This is my first attempt. I found it pretty difficult and I get frustrated easily with craft – probably because I’m so messy but I really admire and want to make cute, clean work – however it was fun and I enjoyed watching the TV series Broad Church while making it. My next needle felt item will be a donut!

needle felt soft sculpture tiny loaf of bread. beige and cream

My attempted needle felted bread loaf.

Anyway, today is my day off (I get Sunday and Monday off) and I am finishing off this blog post and then have some letters to write. After that I just want to slack about now that I have internet, cook my dinner, etc. I started a drawing in my sketchbook which I’d like to finish. I’ll probably take a photo of it very soon for tumblr and instagram. It’s been difficult finding time/motivation to draw much, but I have managed to do a bit every day or two. I don’t have many materials here but I plan to get hold of some more pens and colours after I get paid.

I’m not sure what to say next, so until the next post, goodbye! Thanks so much for reading. If you have any questions about expat stuff or whatever please let me know in the comments.

E