Sunday, October 31, 2010

butt-biting deer, a huge buddha and a moss covered, myterious forest

saturday was the first day since i'm here where i did some touristy stuff. and i loved it! me and some guys i got to know last saturday went to nara (a little city 40 min by train away from osaka). it's a city full of temples and shrines, but also deer. they're everywhere, on the streets and in the forests, most of them just standing in the way, looking cute and waiting for food. but some are really agressive, there are warning signs all around saying that you should be careful cause the deer might try to eat your handbag or your butt or might chase you around. we saw one that liked paper bags a lot. they also made a really strange sound, a bit like a whining dog, only more disturbing. and one had a blind eye, which seemed to be staring at us. now i know what my next nightmare will be about.

we first visited some temples. they were all so big! in this one here there is a huge buddha statue - i mean HUGE - looking down on the tiny mortals.

a really angry guy

another temple area:

we then went to see a shrine in the middle of a forest. it was so nice to be surrounded by green again, to smell the earth and the leaves. it had a really mysterious atmosphere, there were moss-covered stones and lamps, raven croaking from the treetops and hardly anybody was there. somehow it really felt sacred.

i think we walked for three hours nonstop, but it was all so fascinating that i realised i had to sit down only when my feet were starting to really hurt. we found this house-thing, it's in the middle of a lake and relaxed a bit.

round 6 pm we went back and had dinner at namba parks (which are so beautiful at night, i've got to take some pictures sometime). at 10 pm i was home again and really happy. it was a very nice day and i finally saw something else than concrete.

today i tried to learn japanese, but i get distracted so easily. a youtube video here, an episode of "how i met your mother" there and time flies by.


Friday, October 29, 2010

ukiyo-e woman sliding crabstyle across the pool and THE sunset

i always thought that the women in ukiyo-e paintings look a bit strange and not very realistic. well, today i was proven wrong. i was lying happily in the hot tub of the swimming pool when i saw a woman sliding trough the pool in crabstyle , from one end to the other (must have been some kind of exercise, i don't know, but it looked hilarious). and there it was, the perfect ukiyo-e face. if you took a photograph of her and erased the shadows, there'd be nothing left to do.

after i had finished the romance clip at work, takahashi-san again gave me some books (for all of them i had to write thank-you mails, people send him stuff all the time. i'd love that, i wouldn't even have to pay for the newest books), one of them was by mark ryden, an american painter. you might know some of his work. i'm not really a fan, but there was one thing that still amazes me. it's the frame of one of his paintings. he sketched it out and had it made by some manufacturers. it just looks insane.

my boss and i both stood on the balcony of the office when we discovered this sunset, trying with every device that was at hand to capture it.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

tough decision between swimming pool and bath plus warmth

i start to get muscles on my back (of course i had them before, but also ... kinda not)! yay! i'm going swimming about five or six times a week now, it's really the first time i'm doing sport this often without being forced to. i'm afraid if i should move somewhere else, where there's no swimming pool round the corner, i might again be too lazy. but it's so cold in this apartment, when i wake up in the morning, it takes twenty minutes of convincing myself to get up and wash with icecold water (there's no warm water) from the "kitchen"sink. and then i'm late for work. argh, i hate decisions.

i dyed my hair today and this was an adventure in itself. since i didn't understand one single thing on the whole packaging but the colour, cause obviously there was an illustration of a black-haired girl on it, i just had to guess if it was permanent or not, if stays on for three days or eight weeks and if the thing inside was a conditioner or whatever. in the end, it all went well and i got rid of the black stains on my skin thanks to the highly chlorine-infected water of the swimming pool. but you never know, maybe my hair starts to fall out soon. oh, please not!

mmmm, i'm really looking forward to lunch tomorrow. since my boss always tries to find some new vegetarian meals for me, i have already had so many good meals in the past two weeks. on wednesday we went to an indian restaurant. best veggie curry i ever had!

this is one of the overcrowded streets that form the inner city of osaka. oh, it's so ... not beautiful, this town.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

pregnant pictograms falling apart and a neighbourhood full of hookers and love hotels

i spent all day making this clip for the design week in hong kong even cheesier than it was. but that's alright, cause now i at least can say that i did a good part of it. although i would have preferred to do something better than this, which i could actually be proud of.

anyway, i wanted to show you this sign since i first got to japan:

obviously, it tells you to give your seat up to people who are disabled in any way. but i just love the pictograms, especially the pregnant woman. she seems to break apart under the weight she carries around. i can't stop smiling everytime i see it (which must look quite idiotic to the other passengers).

and this is the mysterious building, now by day:

i seem to be living in a not sooo safe neighbourhood, cause there are like ten love hotels just around the corner, plus there seems to be a hooker-street quite close. and this evening when i came back from swimming i got asked for my passport by two policemen. i had left it in my apartment, so they followed me home and it was all fine, but when they said goodbye, they told me with very worried faces that i should be careful. ummm.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

golden shoes and icecold gales

i think these language courses really start to work. not that i could speak without five minutes of thinking beforehand, but the grammatical structure begins to to feel comfortable in my brain. it doesn't feel like i'm thinking against my usual way of thinking anymore (at least when it's not too complicated).

besides trying to transform my brains, i went to my new favorite shop (spinns) again and bought some new stuff to comfort my overworked mind. i never thought i'd buy golden shoes someday.

 ah and since it is so very beautiful, i wanted to show you my banana decorated kitchen:

and this, on a totally random matter, is a huge shopping slash i don't have a clue building. maybe it doesn't show so well on the picture, but it covers the sky when you're standing next to it.

yesterday i was running around in a t-shirt and still felt like tearing off my clothes because of the heat. and today it's frickin freezing. like winter not only stretched his fingers a bit before visiting, no, he just had to crash in and bury everything in icecold gales. even in the apartment my nose is cold, cause i don't want to switch on the air conditioner. the warm air would be gone in two seconds anyway, the windows aren't isolated. i'll just snug under my sheets and get some sleep.


Monday, October 25, 2010

a challenge at last! and night in osaka

finally there's something for me to do at work. and quite a good thing, too. there will be a huge international design event in hong kong at the end of november (bodw). the partner country for this year is japan and they asked hundred japanese designers (one of them being my boss) to make a 30 sec clip about romance to a more than cheesy song. these clips will be playing on hundred screens throughout the whole week. so this is quite a nice thing to do, but also really hard, cause we have to do something really outstanding and the competition is even harder. takahashi-san had already had an idea and we spent the last (work-)days making this clip. today i edited in after effects, but when it was finally done, we all didn't really like it very much. so we have to start again, which i actually think is great cause now i'm involved from the beginning, meaning maybe one of my ideas will become part of this clip. it's great and quite a bit of pressure.

i like osaka when it's getting dark, it is a totally different atmosphere when you don't see the concrete anymore and there are mysterious lights everywhere.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

partey on sat and nasal violance

before anything else i have to get this from my heart: I F*CKIN HATE (loud speaking and ridiculously high pitched (for a man) laughing) PEOPLE! at least if they dwell in the room next to mine and don't let me sleep in the morning or get my thoughts together in the evening.

so, having this said, i can now tell you what i did yesterday.
i was at a party! yays! for the first time in what feels like forever. the apartment-house i live in belongs to three other houses all over osaka, one of them is a hostel and two are shared houses. the managers decided to invite all residents to a party on saturday, which i think is a really nice idea, helping us socialize and providing endless amounts of beer and uuu so yummy food.
i wanted to go swimming before that and learn japanese, but i just couldn't get up, lazylazy, and so i did a tiny bit of japanese and slept from one daydream to the next until i finally had to get up to not be too late.
i met some really nice people and talked a lot with japanese and french people. there where a lot of french guys actually, i don't know why and they don't know either. france is secretly covering the globe with secret agents and one day they will take over the power. or something like that.

anyway, one of them wants to rent an apartment for a full year, so we decided that we could move in together in a two-room apartment. if this works out, it's gonna be great, A because it's a lot cheaper, B cause i'd have my own shower in the apartment, C i would be free to go when i want and not when some contract ends. wish me luck!

when the evening neared its end and i had drunken just a wee bit too much beer, i left to get one of the last trains. at the station, a guy is running up to me, apparently asking me something. after a short, confused, hands waving conversation i get that he wants to know which station i want to go to, so i tell him and he reopens the bars that had already locked the entrance to the subway. i run down the stairs and another guy from the subway staff is keeping the train up so i can jump in. lucky me.
very nice people, the japanese! but the last subway at 11:35 pm? oh come on.

today i spent on searching boots. the whole frickin day. but at least i got to see a lot of the city, some really nice shops and a lot of kawaiiiiii girls. maybe that's why so many french guys are in japan.

oh, and i was wondering all day what this more than ugly smell of puke was, until i realized that it's the fruit of the ginko trees. as nice as they are to look at, this is nasal violence.

my new favorite shop. they've got everything you could wish for. just not the boots i wanted. but i love it anyway.

blinkyblinkyfairyteary. once more i am surprised by the mass of uselessness and kitsch.


Friday, October 22, 2010

a fountain-bicycle and a fountain in the subway

there would be one or two things to tell, but right now i am really tired and i wanna watch the next episodes of how i met your mother, so i'll just put up some pics today, k?

there are bicycles EVERYWHERE
a really strange, huge building right next to where i work. i still don't know its purpose.
i still don't get how this works (these cars are new and seem to be in use)
the perfect amount of kitsch in the underground shopping mall that leads to the overcrowded subway entrances.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

van gogh wannabes and a bunny with a crown. and one shoe.

we found the museum (the one i was searching for on sunday)! it took claire and me only half an hour of circling the building until we found someone who finally knew where it was exactly.
in the exhibition it was fun to see that in a time (around 1920) when european artists had been highly influenced by japanese art, japanese artists were also very much influenced by european art. in europe you can find van gogh trying to imitate japanese woodcuttings, in japan there are some paintings which remind you so much of van gogh's that you could actually mistake them for some of his'.

from the museum we had a great view over the ... beautiful skyline of osaka. but you can't really blame them, this city has been destroyed so often by both war and earthquakes that the will of building something everlasting and beautiful seems to have ceased.

we went to a korean restaurant after the museum. claire ordered something vegetarian for me, she even asked if there was any meat or fish in it. they said it's only tofu. and what was it? clams. with tofu.

while trying to find some boots in shinsaibashi-suji, i ran across this guy:


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

stop working (or whatever it is you're doing), we'll go to the museum

i start wondering if all of this isn't all a bit too good to be true. yesterday i was thinking that i'd like to go to a café sometimes, to have coffee and some sweet stuff. today takahashi-san and i went to the osaka city museum instead of working for two hours. how cool is that? and we had lunch at the museum's café or rather i had pancakes and coffee. happy!!! the rest of the day i spent drawing and eating the cake and sandwiches makiko gave me. i feel like i'm in heaven, the only thing that's missing is someone to share it with (in person). well, i hope this lasts for as long as possible.

to the left: the museum. to the right: NHK, japan's first broadcaster.
inside the connecting bubble
another thing: while children in germany still struggle not to loose their drinking straw in the juice packs, japanese children have a clear advantage:

i was a bit surprised to see this huge ferris wheel on the top of a building:


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

my head bursts and my body says yay!

woah, i so totally speak japanese right now! no, i don't, but at least i visited two different courses today. my head is bursting! i really hope i'll be able to remember all the stuff i learned.

and the sugar-overkill is continuing. this was my dinner today:


Monday, October 18, 2010

how will i ever be able to work anywhere else?

i finally could do something at work! yays! although it involved half an hour of cutting posters and another half our of finding the perfect coloured thin paper, i could at least do a little illustration as well. but mainly i continued my grand œuvre (a bunch of drying tulips in pencil). coming to think about it, i get lunch (and makiko's daily treat of cookies or cake), the subway tickets and i have space and material for free, all day long, for one or two hours of actual working. great! i get so spoiled i'll never be able to work anywhere else! HA!

here's just something i wanted to show you: it's the first aid kit/thingy of the office.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

concrete church and sunset on dotombori river

it's so damn hard to get anywhere without speaking japanese and a sense for orientation. i just tried to go the museum takahashi-san gave me a ticket for, i circled the buildings, but without any luck. so i wanted to go back and do some shopping and it was after half an hour of walking that i realized that somewhere i had turned 180° and now was where i had never been before. and most certainly not where i wanted to be. but, as every bad incidence also has a good side, there were a lot of beautiful things on my way back, and, had i not made this long way across town, i wouldn't have seen a church crammed between two concrete houses, an old man taking his cat out for a walk and  the sunset on dotombori river.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

a hot bath and a sugarshock

i'm feeling so ... good and tired, you know, like after taking a long bath. well, actually, i did take a long bath this afternoon. claire and i went to an onsen, a traditional japanese hot water bath. getting there was a bit of an adventure, though, cause we didn't exactly know where it was, so we asked some people and i swear, none of them but the very last had even the slightest idea, but did they say that? no way, they just pointed in a direction, gave instructions which roads to take and after five minutes of walking someone showed us in the opposite direction. we passed a nice little shrine with some bronze cows, so this made up for the long way a bit.

the onsen was nice, very relaxing. the water was really hot and i had to get out quite often and pour cold water over me so i wouldn't faint, but it was fun. claire said that japanese people are used to this cause they take a bath in a reheating bathtub (42°) every evening.

i have been eating and drinking sweet stuff all day, starting with the cookies that makiko had left for me on my table, then some sweet bread and a super-sweet soda and, to crown the day, we went to shinsaibashi-suji (the enormous shopping arcade) and got two of those fantastic crêpes, which are filled with everything you could wish for. i didn't dare taking the fruit-cake filling and went for strawberry icecream with strawberries and syrup. NOM!


Friday, October 15, 2010

japanese monsters and lovebirdies crowding the place

my job isn't really hard to do, at least today. i was occupied by glueing and cutting stuff for about one hour and the rest of the day i spent looking at books which i randomly picked from the bookshelves or which takahashi-san gave to me. i discovered some nice pics of japanese monsters.

and some fluffy monkeys from a old japanese painting:

and i found this on my table in the morning: ♥ makiko

after work i was to meet claire and two japanese friends of hers, jagga and leo, but it took us 45 minutes of waiting on different sides of the same street and me desperately trying to call them from a mobile belonging to a total stranger until we finally found each other - or rather, i found them sitting at subway. we went out eating, which turned out to be even more difficult cause the restaurant didn't really have any vegetarian food, but after half an hour we succeeded in getting a more or less veggie okonomiyaki (the cabbage-stuff) for me. nomnomnom.
i'm so glad that takahashi-san thinks of my veggieism without me having to remind him, at lunch he at first searches for my meal on the menu and then chooses his.

we went to namba park then, trying to find some japanese crêpes on the way which, claire said, are stuffed with fruits and jam till they burst - njam! - but couldn't find any. at night the park seems to be a totally different place, calm and a bit mysterious and so pleasently cool. it's full of couples and lovebirdies.

later they wanted to bring me home and it was just like on the very first evening, obviously they had no idea where they were heading. in the end i had to guide them resp. google maps had to. but it was a fun evening, i really enjoyed talking to people at my age again.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

an endless shopping arcade and the statue of liberty

again, so many people! they somehow seem to crowd up in this one main shopping arcade which is i don't know how long. i guess i walked 40 minutes from one end to the other (not once stopping). or more.

and i'm still amazed by those highways overhead, crossing town in all directions. it just looks insane, like from an end-of-the-world movie. at least you can always figure out were you are thanks to them.

i passed through america mura again and now i now why it's called that way. there's a statue of liberty standing on one of the buildings! but noone speaks english, not even the guy in the piercing shop right next to liberty-building. i still managed to buy what i wanted, now i only have to find a way to fit it in my ear. ouuch.

like it?

ah, and i succeeded in getting the guy fom the korean video shop (which is right under my apartment, at least one part, under the other part is a mini-pub) to switch of the huge yellow sign next to my window - it was flickering like a stroboscope cause it's broken - by waving, pointing and even some scraps of japanese. hah! mission accomplished. let's just see how long it takes them to switch it back on, still unrepaired.