Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Never stop learning, and feedback for all.

So I have just arrived back home from a long day of work and English teaching. Thank you to everybody who came today. You were all great students. The best students participate as much as possible and always make it clear when they do and don't understand something. I feel I have to take my language skills to a new level now, as I had trouble explaining about one of the issues that came to light towards the end of the lesson. I will be making sure to add any major topics and issues to my blog, and explain them in detail. Unfortunately, I am very very tired now, so I will leave it to another day(hopefully tomorrow) Anyways thank you all! I look forward to my next lesson. :)

Life is hectic in Japan!

Sorry I have been so slow to create a new post. Recently, I have been preoccupied with so many things. In addition to my full-time job at a software company, I have also been teaching English, going to parties, studying and researching various things, oh life is hectic. Though, if I think about it, I was never this much of a workaholic before coming to Japan. I really do think people became what is around them. Although there are many things I have no intention of taking in to use myself here, there are somethings that we just naturally absorb, one probably being working too hard. It becomes easy to feel guilty if you do not work hard when everybody else around you is. Yeh well, life goes on, we grow, and become able to do more. Don't hold back, just go forward! That is what I believe! As I improve my knowledge and skills, I will find ways to post better information, and post as easily as possible to provide the best information for everybody. Any help with easy blog posting and attaching files from phones etc. would be much appreciated. Thanks everybody for reading my blog! :)

Saturday, 5 May 2012

English shops in Osaka / 大阪にあるイギリスの店

In this post I will constantly update information about English shops in Osaka.
I hope to add as much information as possible about authentic English shops in Osaka.
I am sorry for those fake shops offering Japanese curry and other Japanese dishes as if they are English shops, I will not be adding you.

この投稿は常に大阪にある本格的なイギリス関連の店を更新します。
できるだけくわしい情報を提供するようがんばります。もし候補を思いついたら是非教えてください。
この投稿には本格的なイギリス関連店を追加しますので和風メニューある店とかは遠慮します。

日本中のイギリスの店の投稿も作成するつもりなのでそれもよろしくお願いします。

London Tea Room Oxford Club - Kitashinchi ロンドン・ティールーム http://london-tearoom.co.jp/  堂島本店・阪急百貨店メンズ館店・阪急百貨店メンズ館アンネクス店
London Tea Room Hep - Umeda ロンドン・ティールーム http://www.navio-bimi.com/shop_6p.html?c=2&t=2 
Kitahama Retro 北浜レトロ http://r.tabelog.com/osaka/A2701/A270102/27000121/
Sherlock Holmes Pub - Kitashinchi 英国パブ シャーロックホームズ http://r.tabelog.com/osaka/A2701/A270101/27020154/
Brighton Bell http://brightonbell.jugem.jp/
Honeysuckle Rose http://honeysuckle-rose.co.jp/index.html
Seiyosakan 西洋茶館 http://www.seiyosakan.com/
Cafe Ann Doll カフェ アンドール 本町本店 http://gourmet.walkerplus.com/169079056001/index.html
Grosvenor Cafe グロヴナー・カフェ http://r.tabelog.com/osaka/A2701/A270107/27005244/
The Ritz Carlton リッツカールトン https://secure.reservation.jp/rco/restaurant_pc/rsv/grp_intro.aspx?lang=ja-JP
Tea House Mujica (Dojima) ティーハウス ムジカ 堂島 http://r.tabelog.com/osaka/A2701/A270101/27000229/
Hub the English Pub ハブ http://www.pub-hub.com
The Blarney Stone ザブラーニーストーン http://www.the-blarney-stone.com/

イギリス関連カフェリンク集:
http://www.jin.ne.jp/coffeein/group.htm

3-chimneys スリーチムニーズ http://www.3-chimneys.com/
Mingus カフェ・ド・ミンガス http://r.gnavi.co.jp/k195033/
Grosvenor Cafe グロブナー カフェ http://rp.gnavi.co.jp/0059653/
Broadhurst's ブロードハースト http://www.broadhursts.com/
Belle Espace ベル エスパース http://mm.visia.jp/belle-espace/
The Britannia ザ・ブリタニア http://www.tcbn.co.jp/brands/index.html#08
Lolli-Pop 英国カフェ ロリーポップ http://lollipop.okoshi-yasu.com/
Canterbury Tea House カンタベリー・ティーハウス
Cafe do TAMAYO
チェルシー
カフェ・アンダンテ
Queen's Country クイーンズカントリー http://henkutumono.k-server.org/
Cafe Loadestone カフェローデストン http://r.tabelog.com/osaka/A2702/A270201/27013312/
Marylebone メアリルボーン http://r.tabelog.com/osaka/A2701/A270101/27013665/
The Rose and Crown ザローズ&クラウン堂島 http://r.gnavi.co.jp/k015482/
Rupert ルパート http://www.rupert-bear.com/information.html
ヴァンブェール
カフェ コンセール


Minaten みなてん http://minaten.com/ 芦屋ラポルテ店2F/みなとのてんらんかい
兵庫県芦屋市船戸町4-1 ラポルテ本館2F
TEL: 0797-38-0361

以下の会社ページ http://www.yumemifactory.co.jp/
Dreamton village ドゥリムトン・ビレージ http://dreamton.co.jp/ 
社名     株式会社 ドゥリムトン
所在地    〒621-0124 京都府亀岡市西別院町柚原水汲6-1
Tel・Fax (0771) 27-3004


Lots more coming soon!

Otaku turned normal. So what are my feelings towards Japan now?

So yes, I admit it! I was one of those strange people who didn't have much life apart from the daily 12 hour dose of manic video gaming followed by a night long anime session, but things have changed since making the effort to live in Japan, and finally settling down here.

Image thanks to Giant Bomb

I will probably go through my experiences and feelings in more depth later on, but for this post I would just like to sum up for changing feelings towards to Japan.

How I felt about Japan before living here


Yes, Japan was paradise, it was the land of cute Japanese girls, cute anime characters, cute video game characters, where everybody was nice to me, and all my dreams could come true. It was the land of perfection, all day video games, an endless supply of anime, just paradise!

Cute girls thanks to Cafe at Home


Don't forget all your favourite Japanese foods, like Pocky and Californian roll or tuna and mayo sushi!

It is probably the same for most otaku in the west. They know nothing really about the real Japan, so they only see the perfections.

How I felt about Japan when first arriving


It was still great! A land of many things I enjoyed. Video games, anime, internet cafes, 24 hour convenience stores, just about anything you want whenever you want offered by diligent Japanese workers and at a pretty good price.

Otaku paradise - Akihabara thanks to Wikipedia and Jmho


Still with no negative experiences, everything seemed possible. Every cute girl could be my girlfriend, the whole idea of foreigners being popular meant I was "the man" and actually probably in reality "the only English man in a 5km radius".

Some things didn't go smoothly, like language barriers, or the Japanese food I knew of such as Gaijin-friendly sushi, but what the heck, life is about experience and evolution, right?

How I felt about Japan half a year down the road


After a while, I finally got to know a lot of the lingo, I understood where to find jobs, food, people, whatever. Life became smoother in certain aspects, but in other aspects I experienced failure in a country where I thought only good things could happen. This is the point where I start to avoid things that seem to be difficult, and the idea that Japan is the land of perfection starts to break down.

Old men collecting rubbish, homeless people sleeping in boxes, the lack of fresh cheap fruit and veg, negative points start to become apparent, but yet to be something that feels negative. I just focus on the positive things of Japan like drinking myself silly with all you can drink or "nomihoudai" here, or by laughing at Japanese Engrish.

Not so perfect after all.
Image thanks to Janjan

How I felt about Japan after settling down


After getting married and now having to get a steady job and nearly live like a Japanese person, this is the real turning point. Now I start to notice everything in a more negative way than reality. All those things that I actually loved back home seem impossible to get here, and too far to get from here, so I start to feeling really down.

No cheap fresh fruit and veg, world produce, food without tons of salt, rubbish processed fats, refined starch, the lack of decent wholemeal bread, the necessity to eat white rice with everything, even sometimes with noodles, super sweet sweets.

Believe it or not that cup ramen has the daily allowance of salt in it!
Image thanks to Wikipedia and Brokensphere


It doesn't stop at food, convenience stores being too convenient, "irasshaimase" sounding like a pointless drone to the day, English that just makes no sense, oh the list could go on all day.

This point of realization is where things totally switch round. It was at this point that I seriously considered every possibility in my life again... but yes, I came here for more than a pursuit of an unrealistic otaku dream, so I am still here now.

How I feel about Japan now


I am back to being my realistic self.

There is a lack of cheap fresh produce but if you search it is not too bad, if you find import shops there are quite a few things from back home available, yes everything is loaded with salt but there are foreign brand food and foreign restaurants with normal sodium dose foods available, and you can always cook food yourself from scratch, more expensive foods have better quality ingredients, in reality rice isn't necessary depending on the shop.

Convenient stores do remove the feeling of everything closing at night and can feel a bit stressful but if you don't go to them you quickly forget about them, "irasshaimase" can feel like a drone, especially in those fashion stores with those dorky boys wearing some stupid Engrish as if it is cool, but honestly just don't go to those stores, places like Hankyu department store are much more welcoming.

irasshaimase!
Bowing cat thanks to Kancoro


So in reality the extremely negative things aren't so negative after all.
Japan is actually a great place, but it is our over-expectations that can threaten our enjoyment in the long run.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Japan is so cute! Introduction to the cutest characters

Japan is land of the cute! Or in Japanese "Kawaii", and I bet it won't be long until that becomes an English word at the rate it is being used on the net. Especially in France, the masses of "Otaku" are using "Kawaii" in standard conversation, and to be honest it definitely is a notch above the word cute from English because nothing in the west can really compare to the extremely cute world of "Kawaii" in Japan.

Now, first off, don't get me wrong! I am not some girly boy, or in any way into those cute animations with characters you want to kill at first site such as "Care bears", but in Japan cute can be just really cute. I rarely feel any negativity from the cuteness of standard characters in Japan, though some anime can be a little cute in how they are portrayed and especially the voices, general original cute characters with no annoyingly over-cute voices are just pleasantly cute.

So let me introduce some of favourites!

Mameshiba

This is my favourite! For you out there who do not understand Japanese.
"Mame" means "bean". Yes because the character is weirdly enough, shaped like an edamame(Soya) bean which an often eaten green bean in Japan.


There is an anime cartoon and even a Nintendo video game version of it. See below!


Official Mame Shiba Nintendo DS Page:
http://dogatch.jp/anime_kids/mameshiba/game/

Official Mame Shiba Anime Page:
http://dogatch.jp/anime_kids/mameshiba/

Rilakkuma


The cute bear from Japan has become a huge hit because of its lazy looking but cute design. It can be found all over Japan on a variety of goods from cuddly-toys to sweets.
From the Japanese style English name, you might notice that "rilak" is actually trying to resemble "relax". Yes, this lazy bear was originally advertised as sleeping under a blanket, and is still done these days but not as much. However his lazy characteristics are still present.
He loves sweet comfort-foods such as pancakes and pudding, lazing about, and he really dislikes spicy foods. Yeh, bit of a lazy teddy bear, but he is definitely pleasantly cute to have decorated in your home.



You can find more information about the cute bear from the official site below. Check out the other characters, and even though everything is written in Japanese, I am sure you will more than enjoy it.

List of characters from the official Rilakkuma page:
http://www.san-x.co.jp/newcha/2009/newchara09.html

Hello Kitty


Hello Kitty is the cute cat that has broken cultural barriers and spread around the world to infect us all with "kawaii".



Yes, Hello Kitty is coming at the end of the list because I like it but just don't feel it is that special. And to be honest I think a lot of Japan thinks the same way as me.
Although it is extremely popular in the west as a kind of cute-Japanese mascot. It really has its competition in Japan. Although it is still popular in Japan, it is fiercely over-shadowed in cuteness by the immense competition.

The drawings are cute, but honestly, it is the last of my choices when in the land of the cute - Japan.

Hello Kitty Official Page:
http://www.sanrio.co.jp/characters/detail/hellokitty/index.html

And that is it for today. I will surely introduce more popular cute trends in Japan later on.

Thank you!

Japan - The bizarre and wonderful land of the east

Japan is most definitely a great but strange place. Before coming to Japan I knew very little about the land of the rising sun. The culture is very difficult to dive in to from abroad even with the manga/anime and video gaming craze in the west. Even though you can experience a lot about Japanese culture from the comfort of your PC seat, you can not really understand Japanese culture until you have lived it!

I have lived here for quite a while now, speak and think in Japanese on a daily basis, have traveled Japan, have experienced Japan, have tasted the delights and the the not so delightful dishes of Japan, and just about experienced everything Japan can offer, so to share this wisdom, I will be sharing the various experiences, memories, daily troubles, and just down-right craziness from Japan including a mountain load of Engrish! And if you have any questions, comments, or just about anything, please feel free to contribute. Thanks!

Thursday, 3 May 2012

ゴールデンウイーク始まるぞ!

昨日Golden Weekが始まりました。そういえるかなあ。実際1日、2日勤務する人が多いですね。しかし、僕の優しい会社はその二日間も休日になりますのでゆっくり休める。。。といっても僕は休むのがすごく苦手でストレスに弱い人なのでどんどん行動してしまいます。では、どんな一日目を過ごしましたか、ちょっと紹介します!

早朝のBBC NEWS

4時半午前におきました!特にしたくないが最近そうなってしまう場合が多い。その時間に起きたら出来ることはほとんどありませんが、とりあえずパソコンだよね。。。いろいろニュースとかを調べる。正直に言いますとかなり長い間毎日同じおはよう朝日ニュースをみてちゃんとしたニュースがほしくなる。日本のニュースは日本のどうでもいいだれかのなにかの些細なはなしがおおい。。。たとえば芸能人の離婚・結婚・再婚・求婚。。。正直に言いますと興味一切ありません。イギリスに住んでいたときでもその趣味がなかったが一段知らない数多い日本の芸能人ならさらに興味がない。というわけで海外のニュースにちょっとはまっている。
BBCニュースとか海外の企業ニュースといろいろが面白く感じている。だけど。。。変わらないニュースはちょっとあきてしまいまああああす。その一つのは:

ヨーロッパの不況

ほかにもありますが、それは他の日に紹介します:)

初めての水彩に挑んだ!


それから久しぶりにデザイン系のことに挑戦した。まったくデザインのセンスがないから良いなと思いました。特に妻はこのクラスに興味がありましたので僕も同行して行こうと思いました。

摂津市のコミュニティープラザでやっているサークルですけど、やっぱり若者がなくてゆっくりしたサークルですw。ちょっと僕たちの場所じゃないみたいに感じたがまあいい面白いことをどんどんやっていこうのは僕のポリシーです!
実際このクラスは水彩ですけど、最初の一日は鉛筆だけでやりました。妻は大好きのロンドン旅行雑誌をもってきて僕はその中の写真を描くことにした。本当にひさしぶりに絵を描くことでいろいろ気付いた。ちゃんと細かいところまで気づいて”ああこれもあった!”とかなんかいも思った。

ゆっくり味のない抹茶ミルクを飲みながら絵を描いて2時間立ったらまだまだ全然完成していないが以下の感じです。
どうかなああ、よくないなあw まああ終わっていないし:)

そんなもんかなああ。。。
ほかにいろいろ冒険しましたが特に面白くなかったからその話であなたを困らさないw。
僕のGolden Weekはその感じで始まった、あなたはどうでしたか?もっと面白っかた、たぶん。
じゃ、またよろしく!