[Saturday, June 26, 2004]

It's the first real official day of work and I've got deadlines as well as a stack of stuff to get through before tomorrow morning. And I'm trying to figure out how to see Japanese text on my original Enzai game. (Thank goodness for the Internet--you can find anything online . . .)

Got to get work done, got to get work done . . .

Yeah but it's really *porny* . . . and the fandom is porny and warped (one has to be if one is already in that fandom) because some people actually *like* Durer (doubtlessly because he's pretty).

Travel Log: "Hida beef . . . so good you could even eat it on it's own."
16/06/2004--Nagoya to Takayama
Got up early to leave for Takayama by the JR line. The view from the train improved as we got out of the city areas and into the hills and mountains.

Ryokan was lovely--pity we could only stay one night. Lunch served as a reminder of how fresh everything was in the semi-countryside. (I didn't even like watermelon but the one they had in the set was amazingly sweet and cooling.) Honestly cannot say when these city-bred bones have had stuff that fresh before.

Set out after lunch to go to the Hida Takayama Folk Village, a collection of authentically rustic village houses. (Outside the main entrance and in front of the gift shops was the largest lucky cat figure I've ever seen. It's waving paw could probably send a grown man to his knees. I think Ange has a video clip of it somewhere . . .)

Will post pictures of rustic houses and rustic weaving looms and tools and wells and the like, once I get WSFTP set up here. (Unfortunately, at least two schools were there--a local design school and an overseas exchange group--hence it was not as quiet as it could have been.)

Had a combini dinner in preparation for tomorrow when Sabrina and I would go for a beef dinner. *rubs hands in anticipation*

18/06/2004--"Atsuiiiii . . ."

Arrived at midmorning for the morning market by the river. Should have bought them vinyl umbrellas when I saw them (I have crazy friends who want vinyl umbrellas--and they were the normal ones too).

Then we went off for walkies. Through the roads and up the hills. We saw the house with the best view of Takayama. We wanted that house.

Hida beef shabu-shabu--which is like steamboat only no seafood and no fishballs anywhere--rated amongst my top 10 meals ever. And we didn't even have the premium grade Hida beef, having settled for normal average grade Hida beef due to the prices. Did not regret the 1980yen for the shabu-shabu though. *sigh*

First real ofuro as the ryokan we were staying in had a common public bath for ladies. No comfy adjusting of the temperature in the personal tubs like before. I think I know what a boiled lobster felt like. (And they weren't kidding when they said that you could get faint after five minutes.)

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[Monday, June 21, 2004]

I have Internet in the room at last! *dances*

I had to take my mid-term test today--I fear it's not going to be good . . . *sniffle*

Travel Log: "They have God in their vending machines!"
15/06/2004--Tokyo to Nagoya
Took the Shinkansen to Nagoya early in the morning to meet up with Ange and Sabrina again. Plans for the day were to visit Nagoya Castle and, if time permitted, the Tokugawa Art Museum.

Time and aching limbs did not permit everything (and it was very, very sunny and hot). Was very impressed with the moat at Nagoya-jo.

Went to see the TV Tower and the shopping district around the Central Park instead. (Yes, the 9-floor Mandarake there probably had something to do with it . . . I was spending in moderation--not yet 30 dj in the bag . . .)

Buggered off back to the hotel to do a tonne of laundry.

16/06/2004--Daytrip from Nagoya to Inuyama

Walked from Inuyama Station on a route that would take us through most of the temples, samurai houses before getting to Inuyama castle.

This was also the day Ange found God in a vending machine and bought a can. (This spawned lame semi-sacriligious jokes that lasted the entire trip. Whenever someone looked at a vending machine, another person would say, "Are you looking for God?") Apparently, God was rather sweet. We took God to the temples and the old samurai-era houses. Then Ange made me put God into the recycling bin so that she could take a picture.

Inuyama-jo was excellent. We had an English-speaking volunteer guide (mainly because we got there before the tour buses did) and he was such a nice guy. Climbed up all the way and saw the view.

We had bought the pass for most of the main attractions in Inuyama. And it was good because we got admission to the castle, the cultural artifacts museum, the festival float museum and the Dondenkan for 600yen.

Tripped off to Jo-an in time for the last tea ceremony. Met a Japanese singing teacher who was nice enough to speak with us over tea. Promised her a postcard after she was nice enough to sing us a traditional song.

Back in Nagoya, I managed to get a soak in the bath. (For this, poor sad tub-deprived me brought bath salts.)

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Travel Log: "Pots!"
Museum of Oriental Ceramics: My taste run towards the older stuff. Celadon looks much better to me despite the fact that it is an older kind of pottery. And the copper-painted Ming Dynasty basin looked much more delicate than the bright blue cobalt-painted ones too. There was a Gennai exhibit of Tokugawa Era pottery in shades of electric green. Very pretty indeed.

Shopped at the Shinsaibashi Arcade all the way to Ebisubashi-suji. Book-Off and K-Books are all along Shinsaibashi-suji. Namba area and Den-Den Town next. (Found book stores very easily. I don't know if it's the maps I got or the dj-radar though Ange swears it's the porn-radar. I've even found a Death Note doujinshi in the first shop I stepped into.)

Shinkansen to Tokyo from Osaka. Activated JR Pass. Met up with Ange and Sabrina at the hostel before running off to Shimokitazawa to recreate that lunch we had in December with Ange's friends. Ran off afterwards to do the doujinshi run.

Completed the dj/manga/game run in about 6 hours: Shibuya --> Harajuku --> Nakano --> Ikebukuro (to meet up again with Ange and Sabrina)

Ange bought FMA dj. This is the start of a long and dark road, trust me on this. (It usually starts with denial.)

K-Books still has the best value for money, followed by Meikido. The KAC Shop and Mandarake are getting a tad expensive. (And I bought significantly less dj this time around, really.)

Ate very cheap hot-plate food for dinner near the hostel. Ange and Sabrina had to run to catch the bus for Nagoya so we had to split up again and meet the next day.

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Kyoto, Palace Side Hotel:

Met up with kit and kit's family in Shin-Osaka yesterday. Ran into a spot of bad weather in Kyoto today. A little damp but still okay. Free Internet! (It helps a lot, it does . . .)

Bought lots of omiyage. Must keep better track of trip as I have only two and a half days left. Reading the manga Death Note right now (as I've already read Ange's copy of The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown in three sessions and N.P. by Banana Yoshimoto on the train--I have to learn to slow down a little when reading -_-;;).

The laundry's cycling and this place provides drying racks, bless them for their foresight. Have to call my mother or else she will freak. (She would freak even more if she knew about the dark streets from Shin-Osaka station to the hotel that I walked down alone.)

Dear Bravenet, take your damn counter and your pop-up ads with you and don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.

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[Saturday, June 19, 2004]


Kanazawa, Freaks Cybercafe in Katamachi (Cos I will be a freak until the day until the dawn . . .):

Met Ange and Sabrina in Tokyo. Have been touring smaller towns between Tokyo and Osaka. Scenery is gorgeous, food is amazing and most people were kind to us confused foreigners.

Hida beef--Sabrina and I have waxed lyrical over you. No beef can ever compare. The shabu-shabu dinner was a tad expensive but it was worth in the end.

Watching Ange as a Travel Nazi makes life interesting. ^^

(Yahoo! has upgraded my mail. Whoo-hoo! More space for the spammers to fill up with crap about enlarging my non-existent schlong.)

Buggering off now until I can get to the cheaper cafe in Osaka again . . . and hopefully less smoky.

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[Saturday, June 12, 2004]

Internet cafe above Book-Off in the Shinsaibashi Arcade. (Not bad for 200yen an hour, despite the Japanese interface.)

Transits are hellish. Double transits even more so. Made to Osaka in one piece. Staying in Awaza. The hotel rooms here have the amazing ability to make my former hostel rooms look spacious.

Went to the Museum of Oriental Ceramics--antique jars, basins, ewers, vases and plates. (Which would no doubt lead to the following conversation later on:

Ange: We watched PoT on Sunday. So what did you do?
Me: I looked at a lot of pots.

Going to walk around the rest of Shinsaibashi and maybe even Amerika Mura. But first to K-Books . . .

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[Tuesday, June 08, 2004]

HP3: Yay! A real HP movie at last (i.e. under two and a half hours with all the important bits happening very, very neatly)! Hermione rules and most of the boys . . . don't even have her balls.

. . .

Oh all right, there was Lupin/Black. (Yes, Lupin/Black. Wolf bigger than doggy.)

Did I mention how Hermione outclassed everyone else in the show?

Sole compliant: Needs more Snape.

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[Monday, June 07, 2004]

On course. It's not tedious--huzzah, huzzah.

When my gran is not watching Zhen Qing, it's Qi Tian Tai Sheng Sun Wukong (basically Seiten Taisei Son Goku) at 7pm--a series that is, in it's own special way (rather like Saiyuki), an AU of the original Xi Yu Ji with a title that fits well. (Yes, it's really all about the monkey.) It's got the usual beating up of demons (which Sun Wukong does with a great deal of style and cheeky flare) and all and sundry out to eat Sanzang (who is thankfully a lot more composed and doesn't cry every half hour or so) . . .

And today's episode had the Bull Demon muttering to himself about giving up womanising and staying with the wife because women are trouble. You've got to love all those variations of Journey to the West, yes . . .

Whereas Saiyuki is somewhat special because Son Goku is not permanently in the spotlight and Sanzo is not a weakling. (And one winds up pairing Hakkai and Gojyo together, but that's not the main point here . . .)

Sun Wukong was very nearly a Mary Sue because he was awesome and almost unbeatable despite being an arrogant prick who knew he had more brains than everyone else in the story. But everyone loves a winner, hence the Adventures of the Monkey King and a dozen other serialisations (my favourite being the 80's production of Xie Yu Ji).

Not bad for a 16th century satire about being too smart in a rigid, traditionalist, parochial society (i.e. you get squished--hard--before being reformed) with the religious schism theme thrown in (evil demons dressed up as Taoist priests trying to eat a Buddhist priest) for good measure.

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[Saturday, June 05, 2004]

Work today. (We hope that the whole "until 5pm on a Saturday" thingy doesn't happen on a regular basis . . . Eh, no guarantees there. But tea was *excellent*, all things considered.)

Archived--I am currently archived at an embarrassing number of fic archives (categorised as the generic ff.net account, the adult archives, the ones I get invited into, the original stuff I will not talk about and homebase). Booked hostels, phones . . . Need to settle JR Pass and train schedules. (Can always save Hokkaido and all manner of hot springs for another year when I have more than 12 days leave . . . *lower lip quivers* *sniff*)

Wrote soft porn for Saiyuki.

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[Tuesday, June 01, 2004]

Dead tired.

Whoever thought up standardisation meetings should be shot.

And I wish they wouldn't start changing the passwords on my sites without any prior warning because I haven't have any earlier notification about file tampering no matter what they said . . . Hence the leave away from blogging--not that anything interesting happened in the middle of day-long standardisation meetings.

Have got leave. Have got ticket to go to Japan. This is a bit of a rush . . .


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