Saturday, February 26, 2011


This is what Derry's hair looks like when it's not slicked back into his usual quiffy-job. He was really drunk here, he drank a fuckload of red wine that made his teeth go purple. Hawt.

I taught my classes for the first time in work this week. I had the baby class on Tuesday and the older class on Wednesday. It was a bit of a fucking disaster if I'm honest. Teaching is not as easy as it looks. I was a bit disheartened after, but they told me I did grand, so fuck it. As long as I'm not fired.

I got this teacher profile to fill out. I don't know what to write. When I worked in Topshop all the staff had one of these kind of things hanging up in the back room, I even remember getting my photo taken for it, but for some reason I never did one. I got overlooked somehow. Oh well.

I got my first paycheck, which didn't amount to much because I only worked 8 half days this month, it doesn't even cover my rent, but I should have enough money in the bank to scrape by til the end of March, and then we're laughin. This months bills were stupidly high and my bankcard doesn't seem to be working, so that's got me in a really bad mood. Ugh, 4 more weeks and then no more money troubles. Hopefully, ever.

It was really warm on Friday, about 20C. Derry, being the legend that he is, made a big breakfast for us to eat on the roof. It was pretty delightful, except that it got really windy which made the coffee go cold really fast and my pancakes almost blew away.

Pictured is a salad, a bowl of noodles, inari, tofu, my apple, and a big pot of coffee of course. Not pictured are my pancakes. Mmmm, pancakes...

After breakfast we got the train to Kichijoji which is a western suburb quite near to us. We really like Kichijoji, it's got a really nice park and interesting shops, but yesterday we just went on a mission to find Kaldi Coffee Farm which is an awesome import store. It smells amazing, because it sells loads of coffee beans, obv, among other things, and it's a fair bit cheaper than other import stores. We picked up some tortilla wraps and two varieties of tabasco sauce, I got my favourite jalapeno, and Der got chipotle.

Then we decided to grab a coffee, so we went for a wander to look for a coffee shop. We stumbled across a basement cafe called Coffee Hall. It was cool, a bit like a dungeon, the menus were made of wood with leather pages. We couldn't understand the menu at all so we just ordered two hot coffees. 630 fucking yen each. Gaaah. That's €5.60 just so ya know. This does not adhere to our frugal lifestyle. You'd swear we are made of money.

Here's me trying to smile even though I just drank away my budget for dinner in 5 minutes. I FUCKING LOVE SMOKING INDOORS.

So yeah, all in all, a pretty boring week. I spent a large portion of it working on this jigsaw that Laila sent me. It's a fucking cunt. I only have about 45 pieces of sky left, but it's impossible, because not only are all the pieces almost the exact same colour, but they all KIND of fit together so process of elimination doesn't really work. I hate it. Thaaaanks Laila.

A shitty, boring week. I don't know why I'm bothering to blog about it. I think if I skip a week I'll probably never update this again, and I'll have to start telling everyone individually how things are going, and that would just be annoying. Hopefully this week will be better. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I hope everybody had a lovely Valentines Day last week! Derry and I never make a big thing of Valentine's day. He got me some chocolate, we went on one of our Mister Donut outings and then he cooked me dinner. So it was pretty much like most other days, haha. He's a good boyfriend. Another fucking blizzard started on our walk home from MiDo, I've never seen such massive flakes of snow before, they were about as big as my fist.

Work was the usual, one of the little boys called me scary in Japanese - kowai. This is one of the few words I know in Japanese because for the first month I was here, I accidentally kept calling everything scary, when I meant to say cute - kawaii. One of the little girls fell asleep standing up and fell over which was lol. I have to teach next week so I planned my lesson with the other English teacher, and I'm not so nervous now, but I'll prob be shitting it when the time comes.

I had to go back to the immigration office on Wednesday. It got complicated and I still don't have my visa, but they gave me a new stamp in my passport saying that my application has gone through so that I don't get deported, despite the fact that my tourist visa ran out this week. Derry got his tourist visa extended so he's cool too, for now.
We went to apply for our Alien Registration cards on Friday, which you need if you're in Japan for longer than 90 days. I can't believe it's been 90 days. Wild. Derry applied for his, but they wouldn't let me apply for mine because my tourist visa has run out, and I have no official status of residence right now... The dude kept telling me I've overstayed my visa which is illegal, and I kept trying to tell him that I'd BEEN to the immigration office, it was all GRAND, and THEY had told me to come get my alien card. But fucking the language barrier made this an impossible task. Urgh.

We went to the local library which did have a decent enough English section, but we can't get a library card until we get our alien cards. Can't do anything without that fucking card. Can't get a cellphone, health insurance, a bank account etc. Because I have no status. Siiigggh.

I got really down in the dumps towards the end of the week, which was either caused by, or the cause of, a bout of homesickness. Ryuta said it usually happens every 3 months. I can't believe I've been here three months.

We met up with Lugosi yesterday and went for a drunken ramble through Shinjuku. We went back to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building again to check out the night view. It's open till 11pm which is cool. I had my camera with me this time:

Click to enlarge

As the night progressed, we got ignorant, found a random shrine, went drinking in one of those teeny backstreet bars where Lugsy demonstrated his Japilities, then went back to Nakano and went bowling. Derry and Lugosi tried to psyche me out because they were so jealous of my mad skills.

Sorry this blog is boring as fuck. Here's me pretending to be Japanese. That's a massive bottle of soy sauce beside me. Yeah.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


One thing I forgot to mention about last week was Setsubun which is the Bean-Throwing Festival celebrated on Feb 3rd. Basically, someone wears a demon mask and then you all hurl some soya beans at them to ward away evil spirits.
I had seen these masks in all the supermarkets and convenience stores for about a month, but had no idea what they were until the day. Ryuta and his friend Yui went and got us the beans and masks and we went out on the street and looked like loopers, tossing beans, eating beans, and making a big old mess on the very clean streets.

For some reason, our masks had TV Digital written on them, maybe to symbolise the demonic nature of television and the way it rots our brains or whatever. I dunno.

So, onto this week... I got a package from Kate Molloy with a book and some chocolate, which was awesome. I'm going to go join to my local library this week because apparently the English section in it is pretty decent. I will confirm or deny this next week.

Work went fine as usual, until I got ambushed by the other teacher and the school administrator. They sat me down and questioned me about what ideas I have and what changes I want to make to the curriculum and that kind of thing. I have barely been told anything about the curriculum as it stands, or what kind of standard or goals they have set for the kids. Also I have absolutely no teaching experience, so I was totally caught off guard and I didn't like it. I wormed my way out of it though, went home and did some research, and I'm all set for Tuesday. I'm going to go in and present myself as an ambitious go-getter type, brimming with new ideas and yadda yadda yadda. Hopefully. Really, I just hope I don't get fired.

My private student cancelled his lesson, because he's a flake and has rescheduled every lesson we've had so far. I'm glad he paid me in advance.
I met with a new private student for a trial lesson, which went well. He is a policeman. His English is really good, so I got really nervous trying to think what the fuck am I going to teach this chap, but it turns out he wants to do conversation style lessons. It'll be nice not to have to plan a whole lesson, I can just have an idea of some topics to discuss if the conversation runs dry. He was convinced that westerners don't eat fish, so I told him about chippers, and he seemed fascinated. He sent me an email thanking me for an awesome lesson, which consisted of 5 sentences and 26 exclamation marks.

My friend Kate came over on Friday to give me a haircut seeing as I made a balls of it trying to cut it myself. She's got mad skills.

I braved a snow blizzard to meet her in Shinjuku. We hit up a bookshop with a whole floor of English book. I was tempted to buy a book from the Japanese culture section, entitled "Understanding Japanese Humour". When we went back to Nakano we stopped at my local Disk Union, where I did my best not to look at any records while Kate dropped some serious cash. Sigh.
After haircuts, we grabbed Derry and headed down to the local Denny's for free coffee refills, chain smoking and a gigantic ice cream sundae.

Today, I went to a free teaching seminar in Shinjuku. I figured I could use all the help I can get as far as my teaching skills are concerned, but it was boring as hell. The first two presentations were pretty basic shit that I did in my TEFL course, so I bailed at the lunch break and went off to have some fun with Derry.

Despite the snow blizzard two days ago and all the rain yesterday, today was absolutely beautiful with clear blue skies and lots of sunshine. We seized this opportunity to finally go up to the observation deck on the 45th floor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.

Not my photo.

It was rad We were able to see Mt. Fuji, and our house (or at least the giant triangular building near our house). I defo want to go up again at night time. Of course, I didn't have my camera with me because I suck. We decided against going into the Lost in Translation hotel which was across the road until we have a camera with us. We found a delightful coffee shop and then we went for a delish pre-Valentines day Indian dinner.

I didn't realise this post was going to be so massive. It's after midnight here now so Happy Valentine's Day from Futureland, hope y'all have a good one xx

Sunday, February 6, 2011


I started my job! Hurray! I was just in for a few hours on Tuesday with the baby class and Wednesday with the older class, which is how it will be for the rest of the month. I don't actually have to teach until the last week of February, right now I'm just getting the lay of the land. I just participated in the classes and got to know some of the teachers and the kids. One of the little boys was terrified of me and burst into tears every time I looked at him. Which was a fun game. For me.

The job seems, for the most part, pretty easy. I'm pretty damn good with children regardless of the fact that I don't particularly like them. Plus the children so well behaved. We sang songs, they showed me a dance that they know, we read stories and we painted a tree. Everybody told me their name and how old they are, and then they all asked me some questions, including what is my favourite soup, vegetable, candy, cookie, rice, fish, colour, animal (I said cat and meowed at them and they all went into convulsions on the floor, so easily amused, I love it).

The other English teacher is dead sound and I got on really well with her which is awesome because we'll be working very closely together. She's also MAD strict with the kids, which made me realise that I can be really strict! No-nonsense Laura. I plan on having every child terrified of me by the end of next week.

I got a package from Laila in NY this week, which was rad. I have awesome friends.

Today I went to the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography to see an exhibition called Snapshots Cast Their Spell. I heard about it on The Sartorialist's blog. Some of his work was in the exhibition, and I love his blog so I thought I'd check it out. *Edit: I swiped these photographs of the exhibition from The Sartorialist.

My favourite part of the exhibition was a series of photographs by Paul Fusco, entitled RFK Funeral Train. One of the photos from that series is in the foreground of the image below.

I like doing cultural shit, the bad thing about Tokyo is that you have pay into pretty much all of the museums, so going to most of them is on my list of "things to do once I start getting paid".

Bedtime now.