Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Ham sweet Ham

Here is a picture of Hamamatsu taken from the top of ACT city tower... where I went with Andy and Jenny, after buying some beautifully cheap alcohol (chuhai) from BIC Camera (yes... an electronics store).... it was very high up, and a lot of school children shouted "HELLO!" at us...

That circular thing is the bus station. It looks a lot prettier at night, I'm told. But there we go.

Below, you can see the Denny's which is very near my apartment.

And here is my block of flats. Very modern-looking, eh?

Sunday, 28 March 2010


So here is a video I made of my LeoPalace. I forgot to include the toilet... but, there is one, and it has shiny shiny buttons... and the water flowing into the tank goes via a small tap-like thing at the top, so you can wash your hands in the clean water entering the toilet... very "green"!! It's cosy, here, although the only places I can go are chairs at a desk and my futon/bed.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Sakura begins!

Day 3! Attempted the Japanese breakfast.

So, I never thought fish, rice, tofu, egg and miso soup for breakfast would be a good idea, but it was all nice! We did have some problems though... what's the acceptable way to cut the fish using o-hasi (chopsticks)? How do you eat the egg and the tofu? What are the vegetables/fruit on the right? We didn't know. We still don't. But in a week or two I will laugh at myself.

We found Tiffani at breakfast, and went out to explore some more. We went to ACT city, a large orange building (for large read "the tallest building in sight") full of shops and restaurants. In there, we bumped into Dan! Everybody recognised each other from the Facebook group, which is pretty magical. I'm also becoming convinced that we gaijin send out some kind of telepathic signal or scent, which is masked in our usual societies - because we were later approached by another Interac girl, and then they just all appeared at once, from everywhere!

Day 2

So, I began the day with the "European Breakfast":

From top left, clockwise: Salad (mmmm), orange, yogurt (well, flavoured milk to be precise), water, (the good bit) bacon with scrambled eggs and CARROT, and beautifully thick toast. The most exciting thing about this to me was the blueberry jam, which I used to smother my doorstop bread... yes, so they didn't quite get the Western breakfast right, but it was still nice!

I had been talking to Saba over the Facebook group (Interac 2010), who told me that she was arriving in the morning. By my estimations, she would be at the train station by 10.07 - Japanese trains are never late! I wandered around the 7-11 and Family Mart for a while. They are convenience stores, which sell not only food and snacks but a range of useful items (I saw make-up, stationary, hot food) and have ATMs and photocopiers.... I waited for Saba for a long time but didn't see her, so decided to make my way back to the hotel. When I entered the lobby, someone shouted "Gwyn!" and there she was! Turns out the train arrived at 10am, and she'd had to find her own way to the hotel with two massive suitcases in the wind. Damn... if I'd been there 2 minutes earlier I would have caught her!

Saturday, 20 March 2010

I AM HERE!!!!!

Well. Wow. I finally get round to writing this.
So. At 9am on Friday (19th), after a saddening goodbye with some of the most important people in my life, I boarded the plane. To London. The flight took a whopping 40 minutes. I then spent the next 2 or 3 hours in Heathrow, eating and staring at the departure board.

Eventually, I boarded the big plane. It was Virgin Atlantic, who I've heard look after their customers well. Economy meant that my seat was not overly comfortable, but it wasn't the usual plastic squeeze that I'm accustomed to. I sat next to a friendly Japanese man, who talked to me for a while (mostly telling me about how slow Japanese drivers were). The seats came with a pillow and a blanket, and we were later given a goodie bag (socks, a blindfold - for sleeping! - and a toothbrush and toothpaste) and headphones for using the individual entertainment systems.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

One day more....

So. I go to sleep. I wake up, my parents come here, we go for a final meal. The last supper - my boyfriend, my best friend, my parents and I. I saw a friend today who told me never to say goodbye - just to do as the French do, and say "au revoir" - until we meet again. While I hope that is the case, nothing is certain in this life, and so this week I feel as if I am saying goodbye to people forever. It will be a year - but being apart from some people is going to feel like forever.

I can't believe I only have one more day. At 8.55am on Friday morning, I will fly out of Manchester. I will arrive Narita Airport, Japan, at 10am (local time) the next day.
I am a bundle of nerves. Sad, excited, terrified.... into the unknown I go.

Friday, 12 March 2010

My very own LeoPalace!

So, my apartment is confirmed!!

It is, as I had hoped/expected, a LeoPalace. This means that it comes furnished and internet-ready. This particular one is 18 minutes walk from the train station and comes with high-security prison style locking gates (which I guarantee I will somehow find myself locked outside at some point). It is located in Naka-ku, the most densely populated district in Hamamatsu - the one with the castle!

I have been adjusting to the realisation that I will be living in Hamamatsu city, and have found a lot of beautiful links, which I thought I would share with you.


http://wikitravel.org/en/Hamamatsu - have a look at the amount of parks, shrines, things to do.... there's a theme park!


That is all for now. Very exciting - I fly a week tomorrow!!!!

Monday, 8 March 2010

Placement change - 10 days before I leave!!!! + Visa

Well! Talk about last minute... although, to be fair, I have heard of people being told they have new positions at training. I just received an email from Aaron to tell me that I will not be in Fuji City, as I had thought, but instead in Hamamatsu City!

Well! I'll be a bit further than I thought I would from Tokyo and some other friends... I won't have those stunning views of Mount Fuji when I wake up... but I will be in a city that I have already researched a fair bit (as my training will be there anyway), where I know a few people who are going to be there already, and which was originally one of my top choices anyway. Wow. I've spent so long telling everybody about Fuji City, and suddenly it isn't anymore. It shows you how well organised these guys are... heh. Now, while I have always mocked my mother's need to plan what we are going to eat for dinner for the entirety of the next week, I generally like to know exactly where I am going, at what time, and what I am doing. For Interac, I have had to suspend this need quite considerably, and really go with the flow. I could get to training and be told that I am actually being shipped to Okinawa or Hokkaido, who knows!? For now... at least I have been replaced within the same branch, and somewhere that sounds awesome.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

The "Things I'll Miss" post...

Well, here it goes. It seems to be a popular trend on our blogroll (which I am loving a lot, by the way) at the moment to discuss the things we'll miss about home once we're in Japan.

There are many things I will miss, of course, but I'll try narrowing it down!

1) My friends and family - of course. Here are some photos that I'm sure I will be blu-tacking to my walls at some point.