Monday, January 17, 2011

that apartment thing again and new year's fortune paper slip

first something that upset me so much yesterday that i cried in public (which made my groceries-shopping quite difficult).
through an ad on one of those foreigner in japan websites i had found a canadian girl that was searching for a roommate. on sunday we finally met to get to know each other. she had already found a british girl, but was open to share an apartment with two people as well. everything went fine and so yesterday morning we went to an real estate agency together. the british girl seemed nice too and we started our hunt for a apartment.

the more we saw (we went to another agency as well), the less we felt confident of finding something that came even close to be ok and not totally overpriced. also, my senses wouldn't stop tingling, but i ignored them ... until (back at the first agency), the canadian girl's bitchiness reached a peak and i couldn't take it anymore. we exchanged some words, quickly leading to my decision that this would definitely not work and the sooner we parted the better. so i left that place, honestly glad to not have to put up with that girl anymore, but at the same time devastated because now i was back at the start of finding a place to live, which at that moment seemed impossible to me. and also, i'm not used to being attacked out of the blue by some emotionally unbalanced, rude stranger. yes, wahwah, but i just felt awful.

so, back home (after that awkward shopping trip), i threw myself to searching through those gaijin websites and i actually found some very promising stuff. i'm pretty positive one of those will work out, some already replied and asked when i wanted to see the apartment. phew.

but now to new year's eve (a bit late)!
to my deep disappointment, there's no firework on new year's eve in japan. instead, people go to a shrine and pray for the next year to be a good one. we (moto and me) went there a little after twelve (freeeeeezing cold!) and joined a swelling stream of people heading to the shrine. turning the last corner, we suddenly stood in the middle of a little festival, lots of people wrapped in thick jackets, a sweets and food area and of course a huge queue leading to the front of the shrine.

the queue leading to the front of the shrine

there was a stand where you could shake a big wooden thing and depending on which stick fell out of the hole on the bottom, you would get a slip of paper that tells your fortune for the next year. of course i had to try that! it took me forever to shake one of those sticks out, probably holding it wrong. finally i got it and moto translated it for me. my fortune for 2011 is a bit ma ma, i think there's five different levels, probably mine was nr 3. moto's was 2, so a bit better. i don't remember much, only thing that was very clear was that i should not travel west this year, any other direction is fine. so no visiting my family this year.
it also said my studies and my business situation would be difficult, but it will work out. hope so.


mini shrine on an island near the big one

 the next day we went there again and the queue was even longer!

back to recent events: i hope that i will get some real work soon at the office, till now the only thing i did was making copies, scanning wedding magazines and, not to forget, clean coffee cups, the rest of the day i had to myself. not what i call a fulfilling job, but i can't complain, at least at the moment. better this than cleaning dishes in a bar all night. and maybe it will change soon. it has to, at some point ... right?


Saturday, January 8, 2011

goodbye to kokokumaru, posing birds and china-street in kobe

soooo, i haven't made any real post in a while. i was really not doing much since from dec 29 to jan 04 everybody was on holidays and so moto and i mainly spent that time at his place.

tuesday 28th was my last day of work at kokokumaru. they sorted through all the books and stuff, i wasn't really much of a help and so the only thing i did was carrying bags full of old magazines and paper downstairs. takahashi san gave his books (a collection of old japanese medicine packaging (a rarity, the publisher doesn't exist any more), one containing all his work, the one that he and makiko made about the doll who was missing a leg and and a book about all the fonts he created) to me as a present and said that he really enjoyed having me in his office and that i could visit him anytime. aaah, so sad, i really didn't want to leave!

after everything was sorted, we went to have the new year's and goodbye dinner. and since makiko is leaving, too (she's going to tokyo, after working for kokokumaru for 11 years), it was a double-goodbye.
at the restaurant i saw something that 1st made me want to throw up immediately and 2nd made me sooo happy that i'm vegetarian. takahashi san ordered a lobster kind of thing. what came to the table was the lobster ripped in two halves, his legs torn out and the raw flesh wrapped around them. and it was still alive. this may seem like a perfectly normal thing to a japanese, but to me it was one of the cruelest things i have ever seen.
but anyway, the rest of the evening was very nice and then we finally said goodbye. müüüh.

and now to some pictures! on dec 30 moto and i went to kobe, his hometown, which is about 40 minutes by train from osaka. on the way we stopped in rokko to eat waffles in an original dutch wafelhuis. oh, they were good!

in kobe we took a futuristic train to one of the artificial islands in kobe harbor to get to a birds and flowers garden (kobe kachoen). the birds were flying past our ears, sitting on peoples outstretched arms and posing elegantly for the cameras.

on the way back moto and i received a lot of bewildered looks while we were trying to capture the ride in what in the late 70s was the future and which still is pretty impressive.

we didn't have that much time left, so we quickly walked through some otaku-stores (stores selling dolls, figurines and other useless, wantwantwant stuff) and china-town-street.

this was kobe. coming soon: the new year and the prophecy, that traveling west is really a bad idea for me this year.


Thursday, January 6, 2011


what am i doing here? what do i expect this to become? if it's not making me happy, should i change it? or just wait? i wanted to travel, see new places, meet new people and now i'm stuck waiting for things to turn out good, craving for a tiny bit of safety. i'm not done traveling. but i don't want to lose the chance of starting an independent life either. i can't always rely on my family's money. so what's happening now is not an adventure, but the real life hitting me in the face. i'm waking up. i didn't want to, but i have to. now.

and now, two hours after posting this, i get the mail from the design agency that i can start on tuesday and they will pay my rent and transportation! life, thank you.