26 December 2013

( ´ ▽ ` )ノ Merry Christmas!!

To all my lovely blog readers, Merry Christmas!
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! 

I spent Christmas this year with my Boyfriend, so it is my first time being away from home; family and the UK. So I am not shy to admit, yes it's been emotional, and yes I do miss the Christmas festivities of my UK home. Please excuse any emotional outbursts!
A couple weeks ago we went on a date to Yokohama because there was a Christmas Market - it was as usual German themed but mostly just food stalls which were identical to Oktoberfest. The tree however was magnificent! It's not exactly cold either, I'm pretty sure it's par-level with the UK right now.

   Speaking of trees, it's not super common at all in Japan for households to own a Christmas Tree and thus some weird anxiety developed. It was quickly solved and we found a tree, after I refused several times; one for feeling guilty, and two -- we don't have space for a 5 foot + tree!!

   We found an adorable Disney Mickey Mouse themed tree at Toys R Us, although I am not a super big fan of that Mouse, it was perfect non the less, (wow I sound so ungrateful). 

   We also purchased some silver and purple tinsel and once decorated at home I placed Stitch at the top! He fits perfectly, size and colour. 

Christmas Cards from Home!
I eventually received my "surprise" Christmas parcel after WEEKS of it being sent from the UK. It had been stuck in Shanghai customs for some time and my Parents had been informed and asked to contact me, which lead to MORE complications. My Parents shipped with ParcelForce, who EVENTUALLY responded to me the same day I received my parcel to say; 'We got your e-mail and are sorry about your parcel being delayed. Please contact_____' TYPICAL? Thankfully before all this my Mother contacted them via phone with my details, which were then exchanged over to Japanese FedEx -- as a result, my Boyfriend had to respond because the e-mails were all in Japanese. BUT they were so quick at responding.  
The parcel is definately worth it. I also FINALLY got my cheki camera back. I dumbly forgot it which is strange for me, it never used to leave my bag. 
So much FOOD and CHOCOLATE and CALORIES. Yes there is a tub of gravy, I was sent two and WOW I think my Boyfriend was more happy to see a tub of gravy than he was the entire box!! When living abroad you do slowly start to miss such things that they do eventually become a luxury treat if - and if - you can find them. Cadbury does exist, in small and expensive quantities. Teabags obviously are easy to come across, but you cannot say no to a familiar British brand! Fact.
I also received mince pies, truth be told; I don't enjoy mince pies THAT much, but of course once you are in a land where things like mince pies (apparently) don't exist, you are going to end up craving it -- no doubt!! Of course they were a bit battered in transit but they taste just as sweet and sickly as I remember. Good! It was my Boyfriends first taste and he was surprised at the flavours as a lot of people expect a MINCE pie to be MEAT. No!
My Father keeps sending me photos of my Cat (even though this one is old) I can't resist decorating the photos I receive. WEH I do miss my Cat so much however. Next year I will celebrate with my Family again as a promise. It also saves me from cooking, but I enjoyed it with the help and support of my Boyfriend. We hosted a Christmas Eve party which I had to produce 'English Food' which weren't actually THAT English? But everyone enjoyed the food and no one died in the process - cooking and eating. So it has actually been a wonderful Christmas 2013. I look forward to 2014. Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!!

6 December 2013

Kamakura + Enoshima Cave

Last Sunday I was taken on a 'surprise' date to the beach. Surprisingly, the weather was nice and being a thick skinned Brit I was confused at the amount of well wrapped up people in Winter clothing complaining it was cold. Well; it wasn't cold enough to stop the surfers. I love Yokohama, it reminds me often of Cornwall in the UK and it's Surfer theme. Yokohama has both Surfer and a Hawaiian take, (in the right areas).
It was my first time being at the coastline of Japan, so we wanted to make the most of it. After a few hours driving through a really nice town we arrived at Kamakura. Parked up the car and went on our way, well not so soon, I was stopped by Children screaming which made me look back to the car park. I saw two cats, and two boys; both with sticks. I'm not sure if it's the fact I'm some "scary foreigner", or the fact I shouted at them - I couldn't stop myself!!
(_ _|||) But they quickly evaded the scene like guilty little buggers and one cat remained.
Assuming she was a she, she was really tame and instantly approached us which made me wonder if the young boys used the same technique? Either way I got to stroke a cat before she happily went on her way to watch the people fishing close by.

We went on a boat ride to visit Enoshima Caves, which I swear was a mental test since I HATE open waters, I HATE boats like the one we traveled on and I just wanted to cry the entire journey.
My Partner is fully aware of my phobia of open waters - especially the ocean, but did nothing but record the journey and my (possibly) constipated and scared face full of dread and fear. To make matters worse, I was in charge of keeping all our belongings and my instant mindset was to panic and to clutch my bag till my knuckles turned white. (T A T)

Enoshima is a small island, aprox. 4km which we walked from one end to the next - including small touristy things like visiting the ACTUAL caves which was really fun and thankfully some of the signs were in English so it was educational too.
It was REALLY warm - despite this being the 1st of December, I really have not adjusted to this climate yet.

View from inside the caves.
After a long-long walk, and a halfway point for beer and a magic act we headed back to the car and stopped off halfway to pick sea shells on the beach. (Which I still need to clean, oops) Then we headed home; well I assumed so, but we stopped off at Toys R US to buy a Christmas Tree!!! Super happy, even if it is tiny-small-what. My Partner favoured purple over the traditional green and red decorations, so we got some purple tinsel to keep him satisfied.

28 November 2013

☆ November in a Nutshell.

Well, it is ALMOST December, so I'm going to round up November as a whole. It also prevents me leaving the apartment; and trust me, I do not wanna go outside in this weather. Hot and windy? UGGH. However I've not been outside in a few days now, totally a hermit!
Mt Fuji in the distance during sunset.

   I am finally settled into our new home. Albeit a few things I am nitpicking at like storage boxes, and I avoid one room here like the plague, which I am basically leaving it up to my partner to rearrange. Men and their gizmos!! For someone who suffers from OCD it's rather difficult setting a new 'routine' with someone who just... likes to destroy any order I have created. (_ _ ||)
We celebrated D's Birthday a few weeks ago, actually D is the 'last' of the Birthdays this year - in Japan - because my Father's is next. So I hope to send him something back home on time! There was a large-ish earthquake during the celebrations, and everyone seemed keen to see my reaction. I'm strangely never phased?

   My Partner and I have been congratulated endlessly over the month, and finally was the end of my visa application which had been granted! (*^ω^*) It was difficult, but not impossible? I will write a more detailed blog about the entire application etc soon!
Disney GOAL!! Christmas Stitch!

   After finding out Yokohama has a Disney Store I pretty much demanded we went to find it. Traffic was insane for a Sunday which always seems to be deemed a holiday. I'm glad we have a car now.. even if I have to put up with One Direction. ( ̄□ ̄;) But the shopping center is full of Christmas spirit which I love! We visited a couple "Import Stores" as there is a current mission to find... gravy? We ended up with chocolate and C-R-I-S-P-S. It's (unwisely) agreed we learn British English and not American English, thus it's crisps not chips.
   We also went out one evening and I was introduced to a couple more Friends and I was actually the youngest in the group. ( ´艸`) We ate okonomiyaki which was my first time eating it and then we went to karaoke which was horrible because due to health reasons (another topic) I can't drink, so while EVERYONE else was drunk I was just so quiet and timidly on the verge of an anxiety attack.
I post photos often to my Instagram, however my account is currently private.

8 November 2013

★ DIY Memo Board!

Being left home unattended, I often get 'itchy paws' and my creativity ideas/thoughts just seem to spew out uncontrollably. I had seen this DIY task before and since I had the free time I thought I would take the challenge in my own way!

( ´θ`)ノ What I used:
♪ Memo board; cork is recommended.
♪ Decorative tape. I used two types of tape.
♪ Ribbon!
I also used:
♪ Black felt.
♪ Glue & Pins.

(*‘ω‘ *) Total cost:
★ 735 円
-- all items were purchased from 105円 shops making this a really cheap but creative craft.

First have a nice dedicated working area, usually a floor is best or large table depending on the size of your memo board. I first taped around the edges of the frame using a patterned masking tape. Any kind of tape will work obviously depending on your theme even electrical wire tape will work! 
It is such an easy and simple task! So easy that anyone can do it. At this point I had a blank edge which bugged me and my OCD ways - so off to the store I went again and purchased another tape with a similar theme and some black felt. 
I had some minor issues with purchasing glue - who knew it would have been THAT difficult? I settled for wood glue, considering cork and wood are similar. (´;ω;`) RIGHT? Actually most of the products had pictograms of what the glue can be used on. Shoes. Plates. Car. Bike. MEMO BOARD?
(I forgot to rotate the picture, but) I finished the sides of the frame with ease and started to cut the felt to size. Yay! Using felt isn't actually necessary, many people leave the cork for show. 
FINALLY; attach your chosen ribbon in whatever pattern you like. A lot of guides wrap the ribbon around the board and pin it that way but I cut the ribbon to size and then pinned them down. I used the remaining ribbon for the hanger, which isn't strong enough so my next mission is to find a sewing kit and sew the knot in place. 
Bad point alert!! (╯⊙ A ⊙╰ ) The pins were too long for the board and as a result ended up sticking out the other side. Having thought the felt would help pad it out more and prevent this. I'm going to attempt to hammer/bend the pins around so it avoids damaging the wall when I go to hang it.

And there you have it!! A easy and simple creative task that anyone can do. If it wasn't for the second trip to the store (and the glue drying) this is easily accomplished within 30 minutes.

31 October 2013

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!!
Just another cliche Halloween blog to join the rest posted today. So what did I do to celebrate? NOTHING. Unless I am suddenly dragged out within the next few hours remaining of this Halloween. Current time: 18:00. Woo! 
Spooky GETS! -- okay so the SCREME EGGS are from the UK and don't count as actual GETS I suppose. But yum~ Cadbury. Seriously I am having withdrawals. The Cat is actually a tea-light holder, but I am behaving and resisting the urge to buy candles due to being pyromaniac and the apartment lacking ANY sort of extinguisher. Great.
I am actually not a huge fan of Choco Pie, it has such a bitter taste, but that is coming from a Brit who grew up on sweet chocolate. ANYWAY; Japan is always crazy with themes, so the usual Choco Pie packaging got a spooky design. (I actually can't remember what regular Choco Pie packaging looks like..) Japanese stores don't do horror like the UK does (even though we suck and copied American style) I'm not sure if it's a good thing or not, but my teeth are rotting from all the happy ghosties and pumpkins.
This was a cute purchase from a 100yen shop. I think the Boyfriend is relieved that I'm so cheap to shop with, although I don't believe it's right to call myself cheap either? To sum it up: I would rather have two felt coasters I will NEVER use for 100yen, than a bag of Halloween shaped pasta for 10x the price which I would HAVE to consume eventually with major regret. 
Today I went on a walk, I was HOPING to get discounted items which I found nothing, apart from cake. Strangely all the stores have taken or moved aside most of the Halloween stuff and gradually replacing it with Christmas items. (Which BTW; in the UK Christmas items have been on the shelf in Tesco since September).
I did see a House which was really decorated for Halloween, buntings, Pumpkins, little swinging ghosts -- actually I was nervous about walking by it because I was partially expecting something to jump out at me!

23 October 2013

Where have I been?

I am becoming really bad at blogging again. \(°■。)/ But my excuse is it's mainly due to the fact the internet connection here is really bad some days! Also I have to upload photos from my phone so I encounter even more problems because hah I don't have the Godly amazing iPhone.

Quick catch up:
☆ My Boyfriend visited the UK around the end of September. Within the first hour this is what happened, yeah that lovely photo of my knees, (please ignore the filters as my legs are not my best asset) I threw myself on the floor at Heathrow Airport, in front of EVERYONE.
(´;ω;`) Luckily, my Boyfriend didn't see me doing my Penguin impression.
☆ We did a lot of sightseeing, but not enough at the same time. There is a lot of the UK he wanted to see, but we couldn't cover it all. We did go to London with my Parents! My Parents had never been to the places I took them to but for me it felt a bit boring. But it was super fun, in fact the whole time my Boyfriend was here it was fun.
☆ There was also a lot of food to be eaten! I think some of the food we ate inspired him too. Either that or shocked his arteries. We also had a Party to welcome him, so he got to meet the rest of my Family, which was super nerve wrecking for us both.
< Cream Teas x Big Breakfast x Kebab x BBQ x Pizza x Chilli x Toad in the Hole >
☆ My Boyfriend finally bonded with my Cat! It actually took Mia some time to become convinced he was no danger to her (or me). It was heartbreaking that she wouldn't come into my room while he was there. But they eventually made Friends and it was super cute.
The days he spent in the UK were super fun and the weather was surprisingly good too! We did a lot of shopping and he even treated me to a couple things, b'aww. Traveling really knocks it out of you, we visited the seaside which was FREEZING. But it was so-so good to snuggle up with him again, and all that mushy stuff. Eventually my Cat decided to share the bed with us, which felt more like playing a game of Twister, but I wasn't complaining.

2 September 2013

☆ September Start ☆

It is already September, I am a little shocked how fast this year is passing by! Next month it is my Birthday month! As well as Halloween month! Yes!  \(^O^)/
This post is going to be a little mish-mash, I have been meaning to post these things awhile ago but unfortunately, two other items are still in the post, and by the time they arrive I not have the motivation - and will probably have erased the photos from my phone. 

Anyway a long-long time ago I went to visit my Friend, Sako. I am on a major hunt to find shorts, and NO WHERE is selling any within my price range. Even Primark are selling these odd 'carpet attachment pube tassle' shorts, gross. So we gave up, but I did spot one or two things but the queues in Primark are horrible and long, and full of Children and loud People, so no. I decided to go shopping in my home town and I found all the items I wanted, plus more, well - still no shorts. 
 Footless tights, which are slashed looking. I have similar leggings but maybe tights will be more comfortable. I also found 'knee high' socks. I've worn one pair, washed said pair, and they pretty much shrunk in the wash to mid-calf/ankle high, what the hell. (_ _ |||) Yeah I actually shouldn't be spending unwisely on items, but it's so difficult to resist anything with polka dots or cat faces. ( ´ ▽ ` )ノ
/insert iliterate keysmash and demonic sound

Isn't it so cute?! Okay so Primark are falling on that bandwagon of over using Cat faces, Unicorns.. WOT. There are so many pieces I want from Primark, and I'm just sat sniffling at my bank balance. Which is dead.
I did also buy myself a new book, which is really useful for anyone learning Japanese and can't quite grasp particles. Which within the first page I also learnt there are over 70 particles featured in this book. EH?! Luckily there are over 200 examples of how to use said particles. ‹‹\(´ω` )/››‹‹\(  ´)/›› ‹‹\( ´ω`)/››

What books do you find useful for studying Japanese?
[Personal] Oh and also, I am not dying! Σ(゚д゚lll) I have good news after all! Aside from weight gain which I cannot gain because my metabolism is so.. good? I discovered there was a cyst near/on my ovary. Apparently these are really common in Women (well, who else?) and mine had become inflamed and rather angry. Apprently 'he' was 3CM, which sounds small, but dude it's scary!! I'm happy that it cured itself too without any operation, as they naturally come and go, a lot of women aren't even aware. So Girls, always consider going to your Doctor if you feel or think something is not quite right? (T 3 T) Weh~~

5 August 2013

☆彡 Green Fingers! ♡

I love home grown produce! This year I actually managed to persuade my Mum to agree to growing an organic garden. However with the typical British weather it was hard to find the correct time to plant as we don't own a protective shelter or green house. Meaning our seedlings were open to the elements. Luckily we managed to grow, peas, beans and an assortment of flowers, sunflowers and sweetpeas. But never managed to pot the chive, carrots or onions! I was sad because fresh carrots taste the best too.  
Yesterday I harvested the last of my peas, they're super sweet to eat raw. We ended up eating them with a Sunday dinner. To feed a Family of four I need to grow more plants, we had eight plants in total but not enough! Of all the pods I have picked I found two bad-gross-eugh ones. But no wiggly friends, good job!
I recently managed to pot my Strawberry since they are.. multiplying? Each 'Parent' pot has two plants, and two of the 'Baby' pots have twins. I have ten Strawberry plants?! Actually I have fourteen in total but they aren't pictured. Everyone should love fresh strawberry! I adore them, and so do the birds. So luckily the plants not pictured were a good distraction as the birds seem to enjoy pecking those pots in particular. There was a good harvest this year, better than last year and had some really huge fat juicy berries! Yum.
Old Man!
I grew Sunflowers!! For the third year in a row! Although these were terrible, my first attempt was amazing, they grew so tall and the stems were thicker than two of my fingers. These ones are only a little taller than me, and I'm small. Boo! But the weather didn't help at all, they were slow to flower this year and the heads are tiny in comparison to the leaves, which bugs find yummy.
Oh yeah, and very typical as the rain snapped around half of the sunflowers, I have three others in jars of water. Once these die off I will hang the heads to dry out (unless it rains) and let the birds eat the seeds. Last year we had a squirrel visiting us, he was fun to watch.
My Mum really promotes a 'wild garden' that or she's a lazy gardener?  Behind our shed is a wild garden, we had wild poppies growing with full pompom flowers which are beautiful and so delicate. Here's another gripe about the rain: it destroyed these within a matter of minutes.

I love my Garden, but I don't love rain, or bugs - especially spiders. So I suck majorly at actually Gardening once I see something move. I am also really excited because my Boyfriend agreed and said I could grow something for him back in Japan! I wonder if he will tend to them? So when I next go we will pick something fun and easy to grow! Do any of my readers grow anything in the Garden? Actually this post was slightly inspired by another Blogger who is growing so many things herself!

28 July 2013

☆ Castles in the Sky ♬

Because we haven't been on a traditional Family vacation this year, we decided to visit various locations in England, well, sticking mainly to the East of England. The weather is always better, okay? England is full of decent history, full of fairy tale scenery and -- as long as the weather permits, beautiful blue sky and greenery.

We went to visit Tatershall Castle, July 9th to be exact. I have been here once, but this was close enough to twenty years ago (gross, am I showing my age yet?) It's rather depressing that my first thought is: How many people died here? Thus giving you that spooky aura of walking over graves, being followed by spirits and BLAH. But the day was too nice to even have negative thoughts! Here is a photo:
Many people expect castles to look how they do in Disney movies, big and luxurious. Looks tiny from the outside in my photo, but it is HUGE inside with plenty of rooms inside that makes you wonder what happened in that room, and what it was used for. The first room I discovered was actually a toilet, which was just a hole in some brick-seating, I suspect the toilet seat had been removed and filled with cement to stop people actually using it!
We climbed the bazillion thousand hundred million steps to the top, well 150 steps to be roughly accurate, no I didn't count. The view from above was stunning! It shows how flat Lincoln is too, no tall concrete jungles, the only things piercing the skylines were Churches. This is one of the few things I miss while in Japan, is lush greenery of open fields with a skyline that rolls on forever with nothing blocking your view.
Then we walked all the way back down to the bottom again! I took a photo but to fit as much in I had to squat down and it still doesn't capture everything hoped for. Once we reached the bottom, we did venture into the cellar, which was just a rather large open space probably used as food storage - but also a prison during the Civil War. Creepy! It was eerily cold and not really a very happy place to be in. After escaping prison we went and had a picnic under some trees looking out across at the castle. It was so scenic and I really-really enjoyed it. Afterwards we headed to the coast, since Skegness is just a hop skip and jump away.
Yay! Blog extras: Mm, ancient graffiti, some graffiti was from the 1800's which was pretty impressive, especially the typeface they used! Even their graffiti was artistic back then, proudly signed and dated:
 'H.Babington M.R Phillips 1849'. 
I'm easily drawn and attracted by such things, it's almost mesmerising but then something always spoils it.. of course graffiti from 2000's, mainly consisting of a badly scrawled penis, and 'fuck off' by the lesser intelligent of society.