Old Blog Entry: Films & Electric Blankets

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Yesterday I went to see 'Avatar' at the cinema, in 3D.
My first 3D film, and it was awesome. The graphics were beautiful!
The story was pretty good too, but alas it doesn't come under my list of favourites.
Speaking of which, I saw the trailer for 'Alice in Wonderland' by Tim Burton with the ultra-amazing Johnny Depp ♥ Except stupid Japanese cinema dubbed over his voice  I really can not wait to see it! Tim Burton is such an artist. It amused me in a way to see that it was through Disney, though.
But before that, I want to see the film out now (in Japan as well, I think?); 'The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus' with Depp as well as Heath Ledger, Jude Law and Colin Farrell. I mean wow, what a cast! And I'm also interested to see the beautiful Lily Cole's performance. Call me un-updated, but I never realised she was an actress; I only know her as a model for M&S alongside Twiggy! Nonetheless, the film looks weird and funky, which is what I like.

I also bought myself an electric blanket, because I desperately needed one. I've been hating the fact that I've had to resort to keeping my stove on all day and all night, just because I feel that I'd like to spend my money on better things than heating, haha! The reason for me having to do this is due to the little incident that ur, happened the weekend before (see my last post). After having the landowner and a helper (?) getting a big, strange looking machine that looked like a vacuum to heat my pipes up in order to de-frost them so that I could have running water, he said that I should keep my stove on even when I leave the house. As I gritted my teeth at the thought of oil bills (as the stoves are heated through burning oil which is kept in 2 big tanks in my hallway, which I need to get refilled by phoning a petrol station), my sub-supervisor I-san showed me a little button on my stove which sets it to run at the lowest heat, and said that if I kept it at that level during the day, it should keep my apartment at a moderate temperature.
Therefore, I decided that I'd try to keep my stove only at that small heat, and when I'm in my apartment I should try to keep warm through other ways such as hotwater bottles, layered clothing and dancing around the room (seriously). My grandparents in Tokyo reccommended an electric blanket, and as I then gritted my teeth at the thought of electricity bills, they said that it doesn't actually use that much electricty, and that the blankets themselves aren't that expensive. When I checked yesterday, they weren't that bad a price at all, so I purchased one and had a lovely sleep without having to adjust my stove or even use hotwater bottles. All is good

I need to think of a plan for my lessons at 1 of my schools (where they tell me to take over the whole lesson) and I have no ideas, eek!

Old Blog Entry: Musical Rehearsal in Tomari

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This weekend, I went to a rehearsal for a musical I'm part of. Though, it's not really a musical, it's a pantomime. Yep. Get ready for the "Oh no you're not!"s, men in drag and awful jokes, in our production of 'Aladdin'.

I'm doing the pantomime with other ALTs (English teaching assistants i.e. the same job as me) in Hokkaido. It's only a small cast of 11 of us (including the director & staging people), and it's a multicultural cast of British, American and Canadian. And guess what? I am the hero of the show; Aladdin.
We've been rehearsing since about the beginning of November last year, and we practice every fortnight at the weekends. As we all come from different parts of Hokkaido, the rehearsal takes place in a different town each time. For example, this weekend, the rehearsal was in a town (of our Producer's) called 'Tomari' (泊村).
It's right on the coast of the North of Japan, just by the sea. I actually arrived in the town on Friday night in a horrible snow storm so I couldn't see thing, and as the blizzard continued till the morning we couldn't see anything then either. However, by the late hours of Saturday morning it cleared up, and we gaped at the stretch of sea before us. The scenery was stunning! It was bizarre to see the beach covered in snow though...I wish I'd bought my camera!

There wasn't exactly much time for sight-seeing however, as it was time to knuckle down and rehearse.
This weekend, our main chunk of the practice was the songs and dances that we are to do during the show. Due to it being a Pantomime, we're using existing pop songs that the (mostly Japanese) audience can recognise, whilst changing a few lyrics here and there.
The songs I'm taking part in is the love song between Aladdin and Jasmine - 'The Way you make me feel' by Micheal Jackson, the Genie's song - 'Hare Hare Yukai' (with changed lyrics) from 'The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya' anime, and a song with me and the Genies - 'New World' by Touhoushinki.
We've tried to include English and Japanese songs, hence the strange mix!
'The Way you make me Feel' is hilarious, as though I'm an awful dancer, as I have the most experience in all the cast in dancing I've had to choregraph a lot of the moves! Me trying to be Micheal Jackson-esque with all the hip thrusting here and there is an incredibly amusing sight to see, but it all adds to the Pantomime effect I guess!
The even more amusing sight is my learning the 'Hare Hare Yukai' dance. Anime/Manga lovers and Cosplayers will be familiar with the dance, and though I've seen friends do it, I never imagined I'd be sweating away, trying to follow cutesy moves of 2D characters on screen!!

All in all, I love being part of this Pantomime, as I've missed performing (mostly acting) a lot, and I'm honoured to be able to be the leading role - something I'd always wanted! 

...oh, and urrr, in Hokkaido, as it snows, you're meant to stop your water running if you're away from your house for at least 2 nights as the water pipes freeze up...
And I forgot to ask how to do that.
As a result, I returned home last night to turn the tap and found that the water would not run Thank goodness I had some water left in the kettle for last night and this morning! Really though, the water droplets in the bottom of my bathroom floor had turned to ice particles!!!
I've left my stove on to warm my apartment up, and I sheepishly told my supervisor who is going to check up on things at lunch time. 

Old Blog Entry: First Post

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My first entry to my blog that I was supposed to start a year and a month ago.

No, really.
I made this layout in December of 2008.

Since then, a lot has happened. Well, it has been a whole 365.242199 days (wow, Google). The main adjustment being that I've moved to from my home in England to a different country and have started working in the big, wide, world. Dun, dun, duuuun!!
Although, I feel like I'm cheating... 'cause I'm working in Japan as an A.L.T. through JET.

Now, to many, this is a big step and a big challenge. But me, being half Japanese and brought up with half of the culture plus the language; Japan as a country isn't exactly unfamiliar. I've also been lucky enough to visit Japan a good number of times. Of course, I've never lived and worked in Japan before, so I've learnt a lot (especially to do with bills), but as this job is - how should I put it - aimed at the "lost foreigner" who is plunged into a bizarre and new enviroment, the work is ahem, not too "tough".

It's not that I don't do anything! Though that is the slight downfall that comes with this job. As I'm paid monthly (a very pleasing amount I must add) I have to be at the Board of Education office, even if the schools are closed and I have no classes to teach....and I have nought to do. It drives me a little crazy. But it means I now have the time to do something a little creative like, let's see, this blog.

I'm at the office now, waiting for my 4:30pm depature (which is an amazing time to finish compared to the hardcore Japanese workers who are still staring at their computer screens until the late hours of the night!)

This'll do for my first entry, mostly because I'm not in a big mood to type anymore, as just fiddling with all the coding for this blog has tired me out! Fingers crossed I'll keep this going...