Old Blog Entry: Rules of a Japanese Party

{ Old Entry moved from my old Blog }

April is the end of the school year for Japan.
Which means that were farewells from the 3rd year Junior High 中学 (like Year 11) students, Graduations ceremonies and..."End of the year drinking sessions". Ahem.
Hey, it's Japanese culture  Though because I'm not based at 1 school and revolve around 4, as well as my Eikaiwa 英会話 (Evening Adult English classes), I've had 4 of these "sessions" in a row. Which is probably why I haven't been feeling too well recently, eheh heh heh...
Yes, I enjoy my drink, and yes, I admit I like to consume myself with cocktails once in a while, but I could happily go without them, and I don't enjoy going overboard every night!
Yet, this, I find, to be another strange aspect of Japanese culture, is that when business colleagues, students at Uni or maybe even friends go out drinking, it's up to the senpais 先輩 ("elders" in the sense that they are a few years older and therefore have more experience in the workplace) to make the kouhais 後輩 (younger, less experienced... "newbies", if you will) drink up, even to the point that they feel ill! So there I am, being the youngest at all my workplaces, having flush-faced men, and women (but mostly men), in suits saying, "Are you drinking? Is that enough? Shall I get you another drink? DRINK UP!" The other thing that often happens in connection to this is that Japanese people, in a form of manners, always pour other people drinks (mostly the younger to the older generation and the women to the men). At first, I thought it was a good thing - England could do with regaining respect for the olders, but when it's alcoholic beverages and not green tea, and I only want one glass full and want to finish it, I really would not like someone filling my cup to the brim when I'd only had about a quater of it! I suppose the Japanese polite method would be to keep drinking as someone continuously pours for you, but my English stubborn side said,
"Hey, I can pour my own drink so I can chose how much I want to drink, and I'll only drink that amount and leave that extra amount you poured in for me without asking." Though not out loud, of course.
The same goes for food. Japanese people seem to love food and eating, though ironically about 3/4s of the girls are as skinny as rakes and complain about the skin resting on their skulls which they believe to be "fat".  They always want to feed you! For someone like me, who adores eating and food, especially Japanese cuisine, it's a trap!! I hate to whine here about dieting, but seriously, in the sense of being healthy and listening to how much your body actually needs and not wants, you are the only person who knows, so you know how much you want to put on your plate, not anybody else! Don't get me wrong, I find it really polite and well-mannered when someone kindly takes a plate and places food on it to give to you, but when they give you all the pieces of pork when you'd rather eat the chicken, it can be a little irritating.

...I didn't mean to rant. These things don't happen every time I go out and I don't despise it, but it can tug at my nerves at certain times.

On a completely different note; 'Gintama'.
What the heck is that, I hear you poor, uncultured people say? It's genious, that's what it is. I've pretty much gone into a lot more detail about why I love it on my Deviantart journal so I won't go into too much here, but it's basically a Japanese Anime (animation/cartoon) series that I've fallen in love with recently. I highly reccommend it if you like shameful, disgusting, ironic, making fun of everything and everyone yet strangely moral, tear-jerking storylines. I even ended up joining the fanlistings for all the characters that are available.

Aside of Anime; film - 'Sherlock Holmes'.
I believe it came out a while back in England, right? In Japan, it came out in cinemas last month, and I went and saw it without any high expectations, but came out of the screens loving it. At first I casually thought, "Ah, it's just Sherlock Holmes cast all modern, action-hero like with cool stunts and a bit of fun, right?" which to an extent, it was, but it had so much more than that. The whole setting, the characters, the storyline, the script - wow the script - it was definetely my kind of film. I guess I'm a sucker for witty, intelligent, British men, haha  I would like it in my collection when it comes out on DVD.

Tonight, I'm off for a weekend of rehearsals for the Pantomime.
It's our last rehearsal before the real thing which starts next Saturday, and continues 2 Saturdays onwards. It has come together, yes, but I'm worried that this last rehearsal isn't enough practice for the real thing. It's working our arses off time, methinks.

Old Blog Entry: End of school year & Tokyo Jihen

{ Old Entry moved from my old Blog }

I'm so bored I think I might die.
I'm at one of the Secondary (Junior High) schools which I got to almost every Tuesday and Wednesday, and as it's almost the end of the Japanese school year, which ends in March and starts in April, the students have exams...which means they don't need me in the lessons. I had no classes the whole of yesterday and none today, as they're rehearsing for the Graduation Ceremony. Had I'd have known I'd be sitting on my arse all day I would've brought more things to do. I think I'm going a little crazy.

I went trekking round Hokkaido again at the weekend. This time, I was kindly taken to see the 'ryuhyo' (流氷)...except, there was no ryuhyo  The translation used for "ryuhyo" is "drift ice"; which is basically what it is; drifting ice across the sea. You can read more about it here. However, we had a sudden temperature rise last week and a lot of snow had started to melt, so the drift ice had well...drifted away.
Still, I'd never been to the place-near-the-sea-which-I-forgot-the-name-of, and as hotel bookings had been made and whatnot we still decided to go.
What we did manage to see, was the 'Aurora Fantasy' light show. Aurora, is when you can see natural light displays in the sky, which normally occur at night in the polar regions (see more here. Though you can't view actual aurora in Hokkaido today, it is said that many years ago it actually happened, and so representation is done through a show of electric lights and music in memory of it. It was actually pretty good, but quite cold sitting outside on the snow! And, as with all fantastic trips around Japan, there was onsen (natural spring baths, 温泉). I'm getting addicted to those.

Oh, and ZOMG GUESSWHUT11!!!111
I'm able to confess my undying love to the gorgeous, talented lady herself, Ringo Shena (椎名林檎), at her gig with Tokyo Jihen (東京事変) in April!!! sdfkjsdlfkjsdkfj After 8 years of fangirling over her and her music, my life is now complete ♥
Oh, and go buy their new album - it will rock your socks off.

I should really get round to adding photos to this blog...