Monday, 4 February 2008

PostHeaderIcon Christmas and New Year 2007

It's finally time to write about my Christmas and New Year holiday. I don't want to write a lot though so instead I've just linked to lots of pictures. I signed up to a Flickr Pro account so when I get around to it ALL my pictures should be uploaded onto there. For now I have these:

Christmas Eve's Eve... Eve Hats, music, fruitcake and beer. Joey (2nd from left) has never had a 'proper' Christmas as he's an Aussie and they're weird. So later that night he opened most of Noah's presents.

Christmas Eve's Eve. I went up in the mountains for the night. In the morning I went to pick some fruit. My local area is famous for its Yuzu which is a yellow citrus type deal.

Here's me picking some with my bare hands as I'm all man. One of the Japanese girls said "Be careful... the thorns are posion". "Arrrrgh". It only gave me a rash.

Here I am in Kyoto about a week later. I headed up to Osaka with Andrew on the bullet train the day before. He met up with his sister who was visiting for about a week and I went out exploring. I found an awesome Mexican restaurant... and later cakes, coffee, ice-cream, pancakes, Guinness... basically non-countryside goodness. This picture features my morning coffee as I walked through the Imperial Palace grounds. It was really, really boring.

That night I met up with my friend Joey. He had left a few days earlier with Noah. This is yakitori (grilled meat on skewers in lovely sauces) and beer. A wonderful combination.


Joey and I are fine gentlemen. He is probably the most sociable guy I've met in regards to strangers. Each time I went to the toilet he had made new life long friends and got himself some free food and drink.

Here's me drinking Guinness... in a pub. They have these English themed bars in the big cities called 'The Hub'. It's pretty good and they have fish&chips as well. I saw this really pig ignorant thug of an Englishmen (England rugby top on) argue with a Japanese dude because he bumped into him. I wondered whether the place hired him for authenticity.

I bought a new camera in Osaka to replace my 4 year old one. I was testing out the settings when wandering about in some bamboo in a garden.

I wanted a clear shot through the arches but it was too busy. This area had some strange features like an aqueduct. I went walking along it and got into a fight with a (I'm gonna say North American as they might have been dirty Canadians) woman. There was this really steep edge on one side of the pathway. This couple were approaching me side by side so I moved out the way as much as I could whilst she didn't even flinch and nearly knocked me over the damn edge. I confronted her about it and enjoyed it far too much. 6 months of nodding and not wishing to cause offence might have built up in me.

It's almost like the cover of my guide book.

Oooh reflections

This is a really famous bit in Kyoto. It has old temples and shrines and all that jazz. I forgot the name but it was favourite area and is a UN protected heritage site. A quick look tells me it is the Kiyomizu-Dera.

This is me posing with Sakamoto Ryoma. He played an important role in trying to rid Japan of its feudal ways. I believe his actons contributed to the Meiji Restoration which brought major social and political changes in Japan (mid 19th century). Anyway, he was born in Kochi prefecture and everyone adores him here. I even found myself saying in bad Japanese to the girl who took the picture "He's from Kochi. I'm from Kochi!".

In eastern Kyoto there are loads of small and winding streets leading to some of the best temples. They are all really busy but I think it adds to the atmosphere.

This is at the bottom of the Kiyomizu-Dera. Apparently if you drink the water then you'll stay alive forever or something along those lines. Actually, mizu means water in Japanese... the whole place probably means spiritual water spring or something. Anyway, the queue was too long and had too many fat tourists for my liking. Maybe I should have waited on second thoughts...

I think this might be famous but I can't remember. I just like the picture.

Hello me. I was kind of lost at this point but walk anywhere in Kyoto for 5 minutes and you'll find a temple with a map.

I quite liked the smell of incense whilst walking about. I might buy some.

An old couple watched me take this photograph. They were too polite to walk past. Oops


I met up in Osaka on New Year's Eve with some Kochi people. It's socially acceptable to walk about with alcohol here. We drank and went to karaoke for about a day solid. It was Erin's (3rd from right) birthday the next day too so I sang Auld Lang Syne and Happy Birthday (in German, of course) in the queue for a club at midnight. The club turned into a bit of a nightmare for me. We had to wait in the queue for ages and then pay 5000 yen (£20) for an all you can drink affair. When we got in it was the busiest club I've ever been in my life, it was like standing at the front of a concert. Anyway, I went to get some drinks and ended up getting my backside thrown outside in the space of 3 seconds. The bouncer pulled me from behind by my elbow, drinks flew everywhere and I found myself outside in a flash. After much arguing and translations I still don't know what the deal was. It left me bitter and twisted and summed up my January.

A few days later Noah and I managed to capture a Daruma sunset. My blog header (or click on the picture) shows the setting sun refracted off the ocean. It only happens in this part of Japan at this time of year. Apparently my town is the best area to see it as well. I've talked to people in the area who have lived here all their life and still haven't seen it. I took a video of it too but it's really embarrasing because Noah and I just keep shouting weird stuff like "YEAH YEAH LOOK AT IT SET". That was the result of a few day's of failed attempts.

I had a lot of fun on my New Year holiday and spent lots of money on lovely things. I didn't like Osaka too much in general but Kyoto was an excellent city for the touristy trip I had in mind.

Whilst typing this latest entry I managed to spill hot chocolate on my kotatsu blanket. I then had to hobble about to clean it up quickly with a broken leg. I used a whole kitchen roll to wipe it up and as I have no bin bags left I stupidly stuck it in the toilet. This didn't flush of course so my toilet got blocked. I then had to plunge the thing forever. I had to do this in the dark because the light bulb blew last week. This is also happened in my shower room and living room... in the same week. Ach aye.

2 comments:

Slutty McWhore said...

Oh, I'm so jealous that you get to live somewhere exotic and exciting like Japan. A friend of mine is actually teaching in Tokyo at the moment. He's been there for ages already - maybe three years.

Good photos, by the way!

Anonymous said...

Love your pics.

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About Me

I am a 24 year old Scotsman currently teaching English to Japanese schoolchildren. I live in a small town on the east coast of Kochi prefecture.

Shashins