Posts Tagged ‘calligraphy’

Life in Nagoya is very laid back compared to London – it seems like there are always people around, but they don’t rush in the same way that Londoners do. Even in Sakae (the heart of Nagoya where we all hang out, go shopping etc) the piped music makes it feel like toy-town or Disneyland! (It certainly solves the problem of ASBO kids playing music on their mobile phones!)

This weekend I went to Sakae with a girl I met at a welcome party (so many welcome parties!) and we went for tea and cake, and purikura. Purikura is a kind of photobooth where you take between 5-8 photos with various backgrounds and you can then pick the ones you like and decorate them with writing, glitter, stars, and other images. You then get a sheet of them printed out on sticker paper so you can decorate folders/files etc with them. Ive done a few before but late at night when they are pretty quiet. So it was a great surprise to see the purikura room at its fullest. Matching outfits, fancy dress… I saw two girls dressed exactly the same in Pikachu outfits (from Pokemon). This is no simple pastime – this is a serious endevour! We did some and you can get them sent to your phone so here they are:



I also went to Nagoya Castle which was really nice, worth a visit. Hopefully going to do some more sight seeing next weekend too. So much to do and see!

My only gripe so far: I never thought I would say this but I am really missing vegetables and Im almost sick of meat, ramen and yaki soba! Vegetables are really expensive here – ¥260 (GBP 1.50) for ONE courgette!! Not really sure why, but apparently all vegetables are all organic and produced in small quantities due to the lack of space. On the other hand, a portion of fresh noodles are 15p so hopefully all the maths will work itself out!!

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I’m already feeling very settled in my new life here, I cant believe its only been a week. Settling in has been very easy as the Japanese students in my dorm have made me feel so welcome and helped me all with getting to grips with everyday life. Some things are incredibly different (like recycling) and other things are surprisingly similar.

Yesterday I went with a few others to get registered as an alien (still makes me giggle a bit!) and to get health insurance. So now I am officially allowed to be here and once I receive my 外人カード I will be able to do a lot more stuff like open a bank account. After that we went to get our 携帯 cell phones. Although it is essentially a very simple process (you pick a phone, you sign a contract, everything works) it was made so much harder by the sheer variety and choice of phones on offer! They all come in about 5 colours and have so many features that I’ve never seen before. For example, on my phone, the screen rotates 90 degrees to the right to make it wide screen which optimises TV viewing. It has a camera with a macro and a standard lens, it subscribes to Asahi news which scrolls across my screen every couple of hours with the news headlines, it can play music, blue-tooth, and if I wanted to pay extra, I could use it like an Oyster card at convenience stores or on the subway. But the best part is how cheap it is; it works out as around 5 pounds per month on a contract which I can cancel at anytime for free. Now I no longer have to rely on fate to meet up with people since calling all my friends on the same provider is free! We even got given a free 1GB memory card and a whole goody bag – if only getting a mobile at home was so easy!

I’ve registered for my classes and other than the compulsory language classes, I’m taking Hanga (woodblock carving) , Shodo (calligraphy) , a seminar on War and Peace from a transnational perspective, and Japan and American foreign relations. I could have taken another class (or even done one less class), but I decided that would be enough for the moment and I will see how it goes. Tomorrow I actually start classes, and Im excited to see what its going to be like.

Right, well I’m off to the cafeteria for a bowl of ramen. GB 1.50 cant be wrong! It feels slightly extravagant eating out so much but when its so cheap AND delicious…!

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