Sunday, 29 August 2010

Yukata and Hanabi

Well, this was my first chance to wear a Yukata and it was great. Yukatas are the summer version on a kimono and they are much easier to put on!! A lady who I am doing some photos for very kindly lent me her yukata. Isn't it beautiful! We felt very lucky that we all had different coloured yukatas!!! Tereza put it on for me, it's funny because she is brazilian and she knew better than the Japanese! hehe

There were 10 of us and we had such a great time! We had Kakigori (shaved ice) and you pore a flavour on to the ice and then you can add milk to make it taste more like an ice cream or a milkshake. I didn't really fancy the melon or strawberry flavour so I ended up put some sort of blackcurrant spirit on and it was amazingly DE-licious!!!!!!

We went up to the roof to do Hanabi... I was quite exited about the Hanabi which are hand held fireworks, til we got them out and they were sparklers!!! Hehe, Well anyway, sparklers are amazing so all was good!!!!

I was amazed at the fact that when ever anyone lit theirs they would stand still and their hand wouldn't move and they were just so excited that there was a "Hanabi" on the end of their arm! I decided to show them how it's done in England - drawing picture and stuff - and everyone was sooooooooooooo excitable and everyone wanted to try...

Rieko's go...

Clint's go...

Then we played a game with a different type of Hanabi, you had to light it and then it would eventually have a fireball on the end and the last one to drop the ball wins! It was fun!

Everybody was very excitable and we had a laugh and lots and lots of fun!!!! :-)

Saturday, 28 August 2010

30th Asakusa Samba Carnival 2010

Well, what can I say, I had a well and truly GREAT (and knackering) day, I was teaching in the morning which meant setting off pretty early to get there! Then from school I went to Asakusa. I was sat on the train and it was pretty empty so I was think ah... maybe it won't be too busy, maybe it isn't as big as everyone was making out, and I was getting pretty excited about being able to take some awesome photos. I stepped off the train and walked to the exit only to hit a GRID LOCK of people trying to get in and out of this small exit/entrance of the subway station. All I was thinking was... at what point am I going to get out of this ridiculous crowd? After 5 mins of being right in the middle of it, being pushed from every direction there was no way I was going to be able to turn around and find my way back to the exit.. I didn't mind it, and I didn't panic (which I would have definitely done a year ago, hell - 4 months ago even!!!) the only thing I didn't like was when there was a small child or a small elderly person around you, because I didn't want to crush them - and it was hard work pushing against the crowd of people pushing you in the opposite direction!!!!!!

Eventually (after a good half hour - 45mins) I managed to squash myself in with the crowd that were stood still watching the parade! I couldn't see anything - there were a good few rows of people in front of me... ALL taller than me too! I stood there for a bit standing on my tip toes to see if I could see anything! I felt a tap on my shoulder and I turned around and an elderly Japanese man said hello to me and grabbed my shoulder and pushed me infront of him pointing at the parade through a big gap between the peoples head - as he had a good view, and bless him for the next half an hour he kept moving me infront of him when he had a good view so I could see and take photos!!! I really appreciated it, I wished I could have had a conversation with him!!! Really longing to be able to speak Japanese at the moment!!!! I'm trying to soak up as much as I can and I am learning at quite a fast pace I think... though still I can listen and understand alot more than I can speak!!! A couple moved from the front of the crowd and the elderly gentlemen pushed me saying "sumi masen" (excuse me) and moving people out the way... I felt very awkward being pushed, but when I finally got to the front I couldn't of thanked him enough, I had the best spot.

 I didn't have to sit down on the floor with the other photographers (they would get photos from the people from underneath which... lets face it - isn't a good look for anyone!!!!!!!!!!!!) and also I was in the shade the WHOLE time - which is so lucky as it was 38degrees!!! I stood there for a good 3 hours watching each group dance, sing and perform infront of us!!! I thought it was truly fantastic and I couldn't stop smiling at some of the silly costumes people had on! So that's enough waffle... here are some of the photos - they speak for themselves!!!!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Kita-Ageo, Saitama

This is just a very brief update... Me and Fran are both working now! Fran has been working very hard at his place, and at the moment I have 4 things that you could call jobs! I am having a great time though. I have just started teaching in a pre-school in Saitama. Which is pretty much perfect timing because me and Fran and moving next Wednesday to a place called Urawa in Saitama! At the moment from Kameari it is taking about 1 and 1/4 hours to go there, so when we move to Urawa me and Fran are going to be pretty much centeral between both my work and his!

I started at the new school last week and last night we went out for a meal, it was one of the Japanese assistants leaving meal, and me and one of the other newish teachers like welcome meal - we had to make a speech! hehe. If was really great... but I ate things I wouldn't usually!  Erm, I had steak... and thick bacon, they bought me a plate of vegetables and I was really impressed with the mango - I put it on the bbq like thing that was in the middle of our table to cook things... hm... I was like "this mango is well nice" and they were laughing at me because it was actually pumpkin!!! ahah silly me!!! But there was no chicken :-( So yes, I ate what I could... and scallops which came out of shells and pickles with a very very very spicy sauce on them! Well, it was so lovely and I was annoyed I hadn't bought my camera... I thought I was just going to work then coming home again! Ow, and I had wine in like a big beer mug - they said "Japanese style". It was great fun, and a great way to get to know your work colleges :-D
I took these photos from a place in Saitama caller Kita-Ageo where I had one of my interviews! It was beautiful and green!

So now we both have got jobs we are going to be enjoying our days off alot more than we have done. And by the end of September (when we both get paid) we can actually really start "living" in Japan. So here is what's coming up very soon in Vicki and Fran's Diary :-) hehe.
  • This Saturday day- 30th Asakusa Samba Carnival (Anniversary) in which Brazilian dancers flood the streets of Asakusa - Tokyo’s most traditional neighborhood. 
  • Saturday night - taking photos of a friend of a friend's Pilates Studio for advertisement (she is going to give me a free lesson at some point- wish me luck) 
  • Sunday night - getting together with a few friend from Leafcup - wearing Japanese Yukata (a casual summer kimono) and using Hanabi (fireworks) - very exciting!
  • Monday - me and Fran are going to go have a look around Shinjuku
  • Wednesday both me and Fran are off and it is MOVING DAY

And here is what's coming up in long term Vicki and Fran's Diary (^_^)

  • Nikko - when we move to Urawa, Nikko will only be about an hour away, it is situated in the mountains and it has some amazinly lavish temples and lots of wild monkeys. Also, have you ever wondered where the saying "Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil" came from... well... Nikko of course ;-)
  • September 20th - Me and Fran will have been together 3 years! So as a treat at the end of Septemer when we are both off we are going to Tokyo DisneyLand and/or Tokyo DisneySea.
  • We are planning to go to a place called Okinawa. Okinawa is an island in the South of Japan with beautiful white sand, clear blue water and palm trees. All the Japanese people tell us this is one of the places we have to go whilst we are here. We would have to fly and we don't know whether we can afford to go before xmas or after (we don't want to go when it's cold!!!)
  • Kyoto - we are going to go to Kyoto for 3 days, travel down on the Shinkansen (the bullet train) and maybe stay in some youth hostels. One of the ladies I work with used to live in Kyoto for a long time and she is going to tell us the best places to go :-)
So I guess this was a pretty long update actually!!!! Well love to everyone from us both! I will have LOADS of new photos by next week, and I will keep on top of the blog from now on!!!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Our amazing day in Enoshima!

We had a hard time deciding where we actually wanted to go on a day we were both off! Do we go to the zoo, or to Yokohama to see the Rainbow Bridge, Statue of Liberty replica and The China Town or do we go beach? We decided on the beach! But we didn't get the day we expected at all!!! It was way better!

We walked over to Enoshima Island. I thought that the beach was on the island... well I was wrong! After walking up the cute little street with small shops on either side leading up to an amazing shrine. We were both exhausted! It was 38 degrees and without sounding discussing, we were soaked from head to toe! We decided to chill in the shade and get some energy back. We decided that because we were on the island already, we should have a walk around and check it out.

There were beautiful shrines and temples all around the island. I just loved the bright red of the temple again the green tree leaves. I'm still not bored of the intricate detail of the temples.

There were sooooo many hawks circling around the island. Some of them came pretty close but no-one seems bothered by the hawks, I however was fasinated. Also, there were a few big black butterflies... the illusive black butterfly! I swear, I have been trying to photograph them for soooooooooooo long now... they never stop flying... EVER. I wish they would just fly slowly sometimes and maybe stop for 5 seconds so I can get a good picture of them... It is my mission to get a photo of a big black butterfly chilling out on a leaf BEFORE I leave Japan... that is a promise!!!!!!!!!

On Enoshima island there is a a observation tower. It was sooooo nice and peaceful up there, the sun was hot, there was a cool breaze, there were hawks gliding below us and the city haze over the horizon blending the sea into the sky. It felt sureal to look out and see the bridge leading to Japan.

I took lots of photos of the wildlife, nature and the stunning art of the temples on the island


This was the view we had of Enoshima beach... looks pretty crowded hey? Well this was at around half past 4 on a Tuesday... I can't imagine what it would be like on the weekend - I also don't intend to find out!

We walked the whole length of the island and visited the caves. To be honest we didn't really understand the meaning of the caves so we didn't really find them interesting. But it was great seeing the water crash against the rocks, and to look out and the sun totally take over the sky that it makes everything bright white!

After we had been to the caves we had some energy food and started up the 10000000000000 steps we had to take to get to the other side of the island. We finally got to the beach at 5:30pm, just in time to watch the sunset. It was beautiful. We had an amazing day, and so unexpected! We are planning our next day off together already!!! We would both strongly recommend going to Enoshima for a day! Great! :-)