Friday, 22 July 2011

Things I will (and won't) miss about Japan!

OK, take a deep breath, Gwynnie.... it's time to write that list. And, unlike the "Things I'll miss" post about the U.K. that I wrote before coming to Japan, this time it will actually be easy for me to list three things. Well, more than three... many, many more. Writing this list is admitting to myself that I'm leaving in only three days. My stomach is in knots, there's a lump in my throat that comes back every time I acknowledge this fact. On Facebook, newbies are getting excited about their new journey to Japan, stressing out but mostly anticipating their new adventure... and as they come, I leave, with a melancholy sigh, before turning my eyes to the gorgeous city of architecture, culture and cheap beer that awaits me.

Inspired by the rather marvellous blog 1000 Things About Japan, I have decided to weave in things I WON'T miss about Japan... perhaps in an attempt to ease my sadness, perhaps in an attempt to give a balanced view, perhaps just because I feel like it. Then again, sometimes it's the things that annoy us that we end up missing, in our own perverted, masochistic little ways. I do suspect that a part of me will long to hear shrill calls of "irasshaimaseeeeee" when I enter shops or restaurants. So, here goes....

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Ryugashidou - 竜ヶ岩洞 - Cool Caves in Hamamatsu

Are you tired of being drenched in sweat from the simple act of standing still? Is your electricity bill unnaturally high due to the constant pumping of cool air into your apartment? If you're experiencing summer in Japan, this is highly probable. Well, never fear, for I have found a day trip that will keep you cool and let you save that little bit extra on your utilities bill.The Ryugashi Caves - 竜ヶ岩洞 - are located north of Hamamatsu, and are cool in both senses of the word. One Sunday afternoon a few weeks ago, Jeff and I jumped on a bus and headed up there. 

Friday, 8 July 2011

Being Gay in Japan

I think it's fair to say that being gay is difficult. I imagine that being gay in a new country is even harder. Imagine being gay in a new country that keeps its homosexual urges under wraps and where you possibly can't speak the language. In this article I aim to give an idea of what it's like to be gay, bisexual, unisexual, fluid, whatever word you want to use - in Japan. After interviewing some of my friends and scouring for resources, my aim is to provide some useful resources and insights into the nature of sexual orientation in Japan

Thursday, 7 July 2011

A load of pictures of food

 Not so many words today, just a bunch of photos of things I've eaten in Japan. As you can see, my diet is not very "Japanese" ;)... enjoy!

Tricolour Enchiladas at Las Chillonas, Hamamatsu

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Hamamatsu's Unagi Pie Factory

When a writer for a local guidebook enthused that "to call Hamamatsu's Unagi Pie Factory a factory would not be do the place justice; it is more of a theme park suitable for the whole family", I knew that either I had lived in Hamamatsu for over a year without discovering this gem, or that somebody was having a laugh.

Unagi Pie, if you don't know, is one of Hamamatsu's "specialities". Unagi means eel, and eel itself is one of the local delicacies (although I've never eaten it because it's so expensive... tourism fail). The "pie" in question is a sweetened biscuit of sorts, made up from crushed eel bones in pastry. Yum. It tastes mostly sugary, perhaps with a little cinnamon and a subtle, lingering hint of sealife under the sweetness. Made in Hamamatsu, the factory itself is a popular tourist attraction. The only real way to get to it is by car, as it lies far from any bus route or train line, but the advantage is that entry is free.