Category Archives: Japan

Joker Game ~ Review

Joker GameNow this is going to be a true Kame Fan girl post. I’m not even going to apologise for it. The only people I will apologise to are my friends who went with me to see it. The fan girl in me couldn’t hide away from such fan service scenes.

 

Please be aware, there are spoilers and I don’t have the tags in use, so please at your own risk.

 

This movie is based a novel with the same name. Its set during the Second World War where a man sentenced to death is saved by a mysterious guy and is asked to become a spy. Now, my reasons for watching the movie, apart from all the smexy Kame scenes were to see what his English would be like. I haven’t seen his baseball movie yet, but from what a fellow Kame fan said, he didn’t really appear much and I’m not really a baseball fan anyway, so it doesn’t matter.

Compared to other roles that Kame has played, this was the first time I’ve seen him in a more serious role. He has been in comedies, romance drama’s etc. But this is the first movie where he gets to do cool fighting scenes, run about, and of course, the torture scene (if you don’t understand, then you clearly haven’t seen the trailer for this movie).

I have to say that I was also surprised to see Koide Keisuke. He has been in a few movies I’ve seen but I wasn’t expecting to see him in Joker Game. But it was a nice surprise.

I do have to say, that I wasn’t really impressed with the female lead, Fukada Kyouko, I felt like she doesn’t know much expression.  There was too many mysterious things about her and even I couldn’t understand how she suddenly changed clothes when they weren’t even around it. I had no idea where she hid them…… I haven’t read the novel so I can’t really tell if they were meant to appear out of thin air or not. I know that Spy’s are meant to have many hidden techniques, but it was way too strange,

Now, I am still not too sure about Kame having his hair sleeked back, but at least it allows for many neck porn shots and he does pull off wearing hats well. Even more so when Kame is in a suit, When Kame is in a suite, nothing can go wrong. That and Asian guys pull of wearing a suit better than western. It just doesn’t fit a western guy as well as Asian guys, which is a little strange. But I am not complaining. I am surprised as to how Kame can keep a white suit, white. Its hardest colour to keep clean, yet to see Kame running, jumping, hiding and getting his smexiness on in the suite, I do wonder if the cleaners really like having to keep washing it all. Yet, when it came to the Kame torture scene, I failed to keep my voice down and boy was that a hot scene. Kame with dripping wet hair, tied up with rope….

I really couldn’t contain the fan girl inside and I am sure my friend were worried I would hyper ventilate. But Boy! That was definitely one of the best scenes!!

Overall, the movie was interesting to watch. Even for someone who hasn’t read the novel. It was great to see Kame have a little romance, but it wasn’t the main part of the movie. Instead it was more about him trying to find something of importance and getting chased by the villains (which for this movie, just so happens to be a British guy…. Well we do play the best villains.).

It’s definitely a movie to watch if you are a Kame fan. It’s refreshing to see him in a different role and genre of movie where isn’t the main focal guy in a romance drama. So watch it when you get the chance. I am going to have to buy the DVD when it comes out or my fan girl side will hate me for ever!

Spring Vacation

 

I can’t believe its Spring Vacation already. Its already been a bit of a roller-coaster.

To think that I’ve finished two years in Japan. I’m loving every minute and I’ve still not had the thought of really not wanting to go to work because of some people I work with. The students still make me laugh. But this vacation has been very relaxing being able to spend time with my family.

Starting my vacation was two days in Tokyo. I arrived after renewing my contact with Interac. In Tokyo, I went to Shibuya to see more of the shops and wonder around to see what was there. This time not being ill compared to last year.
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The only downside, was that I went back to my favourite place in Tokyo – Ikebukuro – to see Sunshine City and try to find food. Only Ikebukuro was too busy on both days, so I only ate quickly at any fast food restaurant I could find. But I went shopping really on the first day. Because I had a list of things I wanted to get and thought it would be best to buy in Tokyo as the stores are bigger and things are easier to find. Except in Tower Records in Shibuya, where they have 7 floors and I eventually found the things I was after. To only have to down to the first floor to collect my posters. Which does make sense, it was just difficult because there was going to be a LIVE event on the first (ground) floor and everyone was crowding round.

For the second day, I walked around with my camera and went to Akihabara to see what it was actually like. I think you really need to go with an Otaku friend and walk around the shops. I think I only went into their small Animate store. Before going back to Ikebukuro because its a great place.

The only thing that made me feel uneasy, was when I was at the airport and instead of going to JAL gates, I was directed to British Airways. But I went straight to the desk, I handed my ticket and passport (plus resident card, just in case). I kept replying in Japanese out of habit and got my window seat. I was so happy to have things sorted out quickly.

I arrived back in England safely and I surprised my Parents as they weren’t looking in the direction I entered. After a long almost 13 hours flight, my parents walked me to the car as they drove me back home. It was so strange to notice the real differences between Japan and England. The fact that I could understand most people threw me off a little. Even the little things in Japan I missed. Like the organised queues on the escalators and being able to find vending machines everywhere. You think I would find it strange the other way around. But living in Japan is more like a home. I guess I just adapted a lot more.

Since being in England a lot has happened. I’ve tried to spend time with the friends that I’ve missed. I even had to get new glasses to get a stronger lens for my right eye. I even celebrated my 29th Birthday with my parents and my best friend and her family. I had really missed my best friend. The year has gone by quickly, but it felt like forever since I saw her last. Her little princess has grown up so much. She is so cute and she has grown up so much since I saw her last year.

For my Birthday treat, My mother and I went to Harry Potter Studio Tour in London, UK. I was so gutted last year when my parents went soon after I returned to Japan. It was amazing! I loved seeing parts of the sets, costumes, props and creations used for the movies. We spent almost four hours just walking around and taking 376 photographs. I took a lot of selfies with my handy selfie-stick.

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Yet, something’s don’t happen as planned. Last week, I was spending time supporting my Mother as we both spent time with Grandmother before she sadly yet peacefully passed away. All of her family, only a few members who weren’t able or respectfully had space, were with her.

 

There are a lot of moments that surprise you. But others you will treasure and never forget for the rest of you life. You will always have those who support you. Who will be a shoulder to cry on. Who understands how you feel. You just have to be there for each other. Because you never know when one might be too stubborn and fight OR give in and let go. But waiting for that peaceful moment is the hardest. As you don’t know when things are going to happen. Yet words are always hard to find.

 

At the moment, I am waiting to hear news about possibly getting funeral dates, which might not get sorted till I have returned to Japan. I am also waiting to hear about my year schedule for this year. I hope it hasn’t changed much, but I only know that my schools haven’t changed. But I am looking forward to meeting the new students this year but it will be the last year I see the students who were in their first year when I arrived. To see them graduate will be something special next year.

るろうに剣心 伝説の最期編 ~ Review

Rurouni Kenshin 3rd movie Sorry it has taken me a while to get round to writing this review T__T

Now I have got to say, I’ve never been so happy to have two movies so close together. But I was so excited to see this movie and that didn’t help by the fact you could buy Kenshin merchandise before going into to the cinema.. I probably spent more money than I should have.. but when you have a Hello Kitty cosplaying as Kenshin.. what else could I do 😛

I am so glad that they did three live action movies for this amazing manga. I wasn’t able to finish reading it before going to see the final movie. But I could understand what was going on without the subtitles. So I am proud of myself for that. But I had watched the anime many years ago, so I could understand what was going on.

The fighting scene’s in this movie were amazing and I hope the DVD has many bonus features of the practise sessions with Satoh Takeru. I would happily watch all of them and I might start picking up a few moves 😛

I was really curious to see how they would end the movie and to be honest.. right now I can’t really remember it well apart from singing along to ONE OK ROCK’s awesome “Heartache”, to which I am still waiting to hear again… I have to wait next year for their next album, which I was buy asap!

If you have watched the previous movies, then you had better watch this one because it definitely won’t disappoint. The fights are amazing as the previous movies, if not better. You get to see Takeru with long hair that is not a pony tail.. which really didn’t suit him. It looked too girly for Takeru. But it was still kind of cute.

You seriously have to watch all three of these movies!! Be sure to buy the DVD’s and sit in awe of Satoh Takeru’s amazing performance.

るろうに剣心京都大火編 ~ REVIEW

Rurouni Kenshin Kyoto taika henI am so glad I finally went to see at the cinema today here in Japan. It was definitely worth the wait.

For manga fan’s, the action scenes are definitely the best and Sato Takeru does an amazing job at playing Kenshin. I am so glad he was chosen for the role.

I was wondering how this follow on from the previous movie and which parts of the manga would be skipped. There was some chapters that I would have liked to have seen in the movie and other’s were put in later on. But it didn’t confuse you and you still saw how things progressed to the actual fire in Kyoto (as the name suggests).

This movie really did follow Kenshin more as he travelled to Kyoto. It didn’t show how Kaoru and yahiko got to Kyoto. But then again, it gave less chance to show an annoying Kaoru like in the anime. In the manga she is okay. It also didn’t show Sanosuke’s travels to Kyoto, so I wonder how they are going to incorporate that in the next movie, if they are going to add it at all. Its not like they can show all the manga in the movie….

Its definitely a great adaptation and I cannot wait till next month to see the third at the cinema!

So in Toho cinema’s you can also buy merchandise for the movies they are now showing! How cool is that. I really wanted to buy most of it, but had to restrain myself and ended up buying two posters, a pamphlet and  a sketch book.

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るろうに剣心 ~ REVIEW

Rurouni KenshinI cannot believe I failed to review this when I first saw it in August 2013.

I am such a bad person!! But seeing as I plan to see the second movie this weekend (or in the near future), I am writing it now.

Before I get started, My wonder friend Lydia (Bluesnow – you know who are!) got me into the anime back in 2009. OMG! Its been so long since I saw that anime and the OVA’s but I clearly remember them. That is how good it was! Honestly! Watch them!

To the movie..

When I first heard who was playing Kenshin, my heart stopped, I fan girl screamed and became overly excited. Sato Takeru is one of those little gems that you find once in a blue moon. I first saw him in Bloody Monday (which I did write a review about a few years ago, but it got lost when I wasn’t able to export all my entries to back them up). He was good in the drama next to Miura Haruma, that I went in search for other drama’s he had previous been in. He was great in Rookies with his wild dread-lock styled hair. Then I found the first drama he had been in, Princess Princess D, which to this day, refuse to remember what it was like because I couldn’t bare to see him in a lolita style dress. Stick to just being awesome as you Takeru-san!!

The rest of cast was well chosen. Although, some I had not seen before, other’s I had seen and not realised it. Especially, Takei Emi (Kaoru Kamiya in the movie) who I found out played Hibino Tsubaki in Kyou, koi wo hajimemasu.

I was really interested in seeing how they were going to shoot the action scene’s. Because Kenshin is  a badass with a sword and has great agility. I had watched the trailers for the movie many times and sang along with my favourite J-Rock band ONE OK ROCK! The movie scene’s really didn’t disappoint.

It was great to see Takeru running around in this sexy way avoiding swings from well choreographed sword fighting and knocking them down with Sakabatou (thats the name of his sword for those who don’t know). With his sexy calm collected facial expression to the small polite, yet cheeky smile when he is talking to Kaoru-dono.

Sexy Kenshin

If you are a Kenshin fan, then this is a must see movie! It is great to see the characters come to life as an actually person. And I am sure Sato will forever be remembered for such his great performance as Kenshin for the rest of his life. But its definitely not someone to be ashamed of. Its a great movie, has great fighting scene’s and blood splats every where with the one of the most sexiest Japanese actors playing the main role.

What is there not to love about this movie?!?!
(thats a rhetorical question, BTW!)

Defending Japan!

Ox Tongue
Ox Tongue Set Meal

I don’t mean to offend, but…

Someone posted a video about a women eat Frog Sashumi and said “The Japanese are a sick and twisted community”. Now I am going to defend this wonderful country that is my home!

I am not going to link to the actual video, but I feel that people would hate me for it, so google it yourself if you really want to watch it!

Sashumi literally means “prepared alive”. Now in Japan, you can get lobster, squid, shrimp, fish and octopus prepared this way. This a delicacy in Japan and can be very expensive to eat. I personally am not a big fan of sushi (raw fish), I have tried it here in and there is some that I like, but the herrings eggs was a little too much for me.  It really boils down to personal preference and no one is really forcing you to eat this kind of food. Its on the menu, you choose to buy it or not!

I feel that someone misunderstand this wonderful country and their taste in food. I have eaten food I never thought I could actually eat. So far I’ve only really tried Eel, which is made by my wonderful friend Ruri-san, and Ox tongue, which I tried when out friends at a local restaurant. But I will get round to trying Sea Urchin, which is my city’s local speciality. Its just that sashumi is quick and easy to prepare and is best served as fresh as possible. The only way to do this with raw food is to kill it when the customer asks for what they want.

Personally, I don’t see anything wrong at all with people killing the food and preparing the food there and then. If it means its better, than so be it.  We see it all the world where animals kill their prey and then eat them. How is this any different? We are killing are food with a swift blade before eating it. At the end of the day, its still food.

But its a different country and culture. You might not understand why they do this, yet it doesn’t really call for such strong use of words.

I just don’t like it when people see a video and then actually make assumptions that every where and everyone does that. I guess I’m just annoyed that people don’t fully understand this countries culture and diet but are very quick to judge.  This country I now consider my home and I just want people to have the correct understanding about this country.

First Day Back

Well it’s the first day back to the grind stone. I know I’ve only had 3 weeks off. But it has all gone by so quickly.

 

I thankfully arrived back in Japan with no problems, my flight wasn’t overbooked and I didn’t get delayed a whole day. The only down-side was that I wasn’t able to sleep as well as I would have hoped. I was one of the few who were fortunate enough to be sitting with an empty seat next to me. So after a while, I gave up trying to be polite and try to sleep in one chair. But I really needed to sleep to help with jetlag. It was just that finding a comfortable way to sleep was difficult. I was seated in the middle 4-seat width column on one side, while on the other side; the person didn’t seem interested in sleeping at all. He was far more comfortable reading his book with the light on. I think he did sleep for a little while, but it wasn’t very long. His light was bright and it didn’t help that I was sat near the toilet in the middle of economy. So I also had the light to show that the toilet was vacant or occupied shining on me. I didn’t really fancy wearing a night mask, so I tried blocking the light with my hands in front of my face or just throwing the blanket over me to dim it out. Overall, I think I got a few hours’ sleep, but it clearly wasn’t really enough. I slept more on the train from the airport to Ueno Station, the shinkansen and the bus from Morioka to Kuji. I guess I was more relaxed than on the plane even though I am sure that it would have been better to sleep on the plane because I didn’t have to worry about missing my stop. Oh well, it’s just one of those things I guess. I am just glad to be back in Kuji safely.

 

Friday was so hectic. It didn’t help that I had bad jetlag and felt dizzy most of the day. But in the morning I had to meet the new school principals and head of English, which finished at 11:40am. Then I had to go home and then go to Morioka for a health check and to sign my contract. When arrived at the office, I just saw a bunch of smiling faces and frantic hands waving at me. It was great to feel welcomed, but it seems that most of them wanted to talk to me. I didn’t get that finished until around 5:40pm. Then I really wanted to make the most of being in Morioka and near my favourite shop “The Body Shop”. Although google maps hated me and I almost went to the wrong Aeon mall, which was in fact a super market. But it took a fair bit of my petrol while trying to drive around on roads I don’t really know. But once I stopped at a Lawson, and managed to find where the right Aeon mall is. Once I got there, the mall was quiet and I was able to get what I wanted in the Body Shop and then I went to Tower records and found Super Junior M’s Swing mini-album. After that, I went to get a quick snack before the drive back to Kuji. Although, I tried to save the little battery power I had in my phone and not use the GPS to help me find my way back. But I was getting annoyed by the lights of the car behind me instead and ended up turning when I wasn’t meant to. Luckily I didn’t go far and was able to turn around and get back on route. I didn’t do too bad and got back to Kuji in two hours and thirty minutes. It would have been quicker if I had not taken the wrong turning and gotten stuck behind a really slow driver.

 

Thankfully Saturday was a little bit more relaxing. I did have an Eikaiwa (Adult English Conversation Class) in the morning. I felt a little bad by just leaving instantly. But I was given a Bagel to try and I really enjoyed it. Then I noticed someone was watching Finding Nemo, so I was intrigued to listen to it as it was in Japanese. Afterwards, I was finally able to go shopping and buy all the food and drink that I needed. I arrived too late on Thursday to go shopping and I was also exhausted. Then I definitely didn’t have time on Friday, so I just had to wait. When I got home, I was also finally able to clean the mess that I left before going on holiday.

before After

As you can see, I really did leave it in such a state. In addition, as it was finally warm enough to sleep without using a heater on a timer, I could move my bed back into my tatami room and make way for getting a better sofa into my apartment. Even though I only moved my bed into the room just before Christmas, it was strange to be back into the tatami room.

 

Today was my first day at a new High School. It was really nerve wrecking to have to start all over again. There isn’t a teachers seating plan, so I can’t try to learn all the staff’s names as it’s a huge staff room and so many faces to put the names to. Luckily I only had two classes to teach today and the students were shy, but I think I managed to get them to open up, even if it was only a little. However, I am still nervous about teaching them from their text book. Although I might know the second years textbook as Taneichi is using the same book. I might be lucky and be able to use the same ideas for the different schools. I am hoping I can get away with that.

In Jolly Old England

20140320_104233I am back in England!! I arrived last Thursday, so I have been here for a week now. It was a long flight of around 14 hours. But I landed in the UK, without any problems.

My little stay in Tokyo was amazing. I was able to visit all the places I wanted to go to. Ikebukuro was just as amazing as the last time I went there. Sunshine City was huge and I was almost tempted to go to the cinema and watch a movie. But I would prefer to go with someone.

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It was just great to actually look around and see what was there. I wasn’t in any rush, so it nice to leisurely stroll around. I even went to the big shopping mall. Had lunch there and spent ages in the Hello Kitty Sanrio store. There was so many things I would have loved to had bought. But I limited myself and only got things for friends before looking at what I would have liked to have bought.

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Then going to Shinjuku. There is only thing I was searching for there. And I finally found it on my own!! This sculpture took a while to find, but with the help of google maps on my phone, I was able to find it. Its such a beautiful, famous piece of art, that I had to find it. I know its been one of the popular places for drama’s, movies to film near here. Which is why I had to find it and take a selfie with it in the background.

Then on the last day in Tokyo, I met up with my friend Annik and we went for a walk around Asakusa and the Asakusa Kannon Temple. It was busy when we went in the morning. But it was still exciting to see. I even got my fortune, which I have some where in my things. But I can’t be bothered to look for it right now. It was only a small fortune anyway.Asakusa Kannon Temple

Then on my journey to the airport went really smoothly. I am so grateful that in Japan, everything runs like clock work. I thought I had missed my train from Usuguidani to Nippori station because my suitcase wheel was really no in place again, so I was trying not to rush and cause any more damage to the suitcase that was broken by British Airways when I arrived in Japan. Yet, when I got onto the platform, as I memorized which platform I had to go, the train was just pulling into the station. I thought I had missed it because this suitcase was heavy, and I didn’t get any help carrying it up the stairs. The only thing that caught me a little off, was walking to the Sky Liner platform, as I had to find the escalator, as I too tired to try and carry it up a long flight of stairs, buy my ticket near the entrance, and go up another escalator to right platform and get on the train just before it was about to leave. SO I had timed everything really well.

Although,I had to pay for my suitcase being 3Kg over weight, the flight was okay. I had a lot to eat and drink. I took full advantage of the in-flight entertainment and watched 5 movies; Thor: The Dark World, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Worlds End, Grown Ups 2 and Wolverine Samurai.

Even though my flight was delayed an hour when arriving in London, I went through customs fine even though I was a little nervous, which I don’t know why. Went to collect my heavy suitcase and walked through the doors to the arrivals lounge and spotted my Mother franticly waving and pointing at me before she starts to cry. But I told her to stop before giving her a hug and then hugged my Dad. Then driving back to the Isle of Wight.

Now, this weekend, I am off to Plymouth to meet a friend who I have missed so much since I graduated University. Its the long awaited catch up!! Then next Thursday, I am off to London with my friends Keith, Helen and my Mother for a day trip. See the sights, take lots of photo’s and enjoy the company.

Now In Tokyo!

In Tokyo!I have arrived in Tokyo!!  I am just waiting for my hotel room to warm up while I really plan where I want to go here.

Tue. 18th March: Ikebukuro, to walk around the shops and try and find the cinema such as this:
Durarara!!If you have watchedデュラララ!! then you will understand. Its definitely a great novel, manga and anime.  ROFL! Well its not often that I get to go to Tokyo, so I might as well do an Otaku thing LOL

I am sure I will looking around the shops and seeing if I can find a Hello Kitty store for presents for friends. But I am going to Shibuya, so if I can’t find what I’m looking for, there is bound to be something in Shibuya!

Then go to Shinjuku, to see if I can find the sculptures I’m looking for. There is one that I want to take a selfie next to! Just to show I’ve been there hahaha

Wed. 19th March (Optional): Going to Shibuya just to see what’s there and try to walk across the famous crossing!  Really, if I have time, I might try to go to Shibuya on Tuesday before I meet up with a friend to have a meal for my birthday.

Wed. 19th March: Visit a temple and see any other sites before going back to my hotel, to sleep before leaving in the morning to get to Narita Airport.

Some Things Must Come to an End

Donghae & EunhyukI’m having a horrible week and bought this CD to cheer me up. But I really can’t believe that the past year is almost ending. I know some things must come to an end. So my first year Japan is ending and its Graduation for the 3rd High Schools students here. I am very lucky to have been allowed to join the ceremony this year. I didn’t actually ask, I just left a post-it note on MY desk, and the JTE saw it and asked…. I was totally going to ask today as I left the post-it note to remind me to ask. I was saved the trouble I guess.

Its just going to be strange to say goodbye to all the 3rd year students. Although, I only teach two classes out of the three. They are still interesting students who have spoken to me outside of classes and have seemed to have taken an interest in learning English. Even if some don’t like the JTE. I felt accepted by the students because they seemed to talk to me and even though they would sometimes ask non-topic related questions during class, they still eventually did the worksheets I set them.

I know I am never going to forget the students I taught for the first year of teaching. But I also feel a little guilty for getting attached to them. But if I don’t get close to my students, how am I meant to understand them and figure out what works for them when trying to learn what I’m teaching. I guess its just a downside to teaching.

Its been a great year, although with some awkward moments and I hope I don’t get any more horny students making about my body shape. But I think I’ve settled into my role a little more and I can handle the students if it gets out of control.

When I arrived I didn’t know what to expect at my schools, what the teachers were like, if they would accept me and if they would talk to me. One of the best choices I made, was asking to join the Brass Band Club. Though I feel bad for not going as much as I should, but I was in the staff room working on things. So its not like I was missing it for a lame reason such as not really wanting to go. It was the perfect opportunity to get to know more of my students and keep playing the flute.

As much as I would like to have my third year students again for another year, I can’t keep them behind a year. I can only wish them the best and hope they do what they really want to do. I just have to make sure that I don’t start crying when its time to say goodbye to them. Though its going to be hard, as my small class of 9 were amazing students and I got on with them really well.

Its just a little shame that there is going to be more changes than I hope in the future. But I guess its going to be a new challenge and one I will have to face.