Samstag, November 04, 2006
This was done very quickly, lots of short interviews, and most of the editing was done in a day, so no criticism on any technical issues, lighting, sound or picture quality. I really miss the place, and Tokyo as well. I left a bit earlier than planned, and I wish I had done some more travelling, but some day I hope to go back and I'm sure at least a few people will still live there. Stay in touch! And if anyone from the house wants a DVD copy of the film (PAL, should play on every PC, and on European and Australian DVD players), get in touch with me or Ben, who will have a copy very soon.
I don't really know whether the film interesting for people who haven't llived there, but have a look - and be warned, it's long, without a broadband connection you won't be able to watch it.
And again, a big thank you for the music we were allowed to use, the first song is
"Memories" from the album "Poetrymusic" by Orixa,
while everything else is courtesy of mango + sweetrice, www.sweetrice.com, thanks to coppe'
Jedoch bleibt die Frage, wer den Kampf diesmal gewonnen hat, noch immer offen.
Sonntag, Oktober 15, 2006
We, and even more so our shoes, lost. But only the first round. Lost
the battle, but won't lose the war, as they say. We won't be
defeated, at least I hope so. We can't really afford to. But let's
start at the beginning.
Once upon a time, when Maren wrote our last blog entry, we were in
beautiful Bundaberg (Bundy to it's friends, i.e. not us). Since then
we've been at quite few other places, which you can see if you click
on the new link in the sidebar. All kinds of animals, from Koalas to
Whales, But still haven't made further than Brisbane. Two months in
Queensland, so far. Most imoprtantly, we visited Sonia and Lee, two
friends of mine from college times, who now live in Noosa, and put us
up in their own bedroom and moved to the lounge. Sometimes Ozzies are
just too nice to be true. Finally we were able to show off our
surfing skills, on a borrowed board, which means that now we have to
earn some money to buy our own.
After hanging around for weeks, without doing much travelling, we
decided it was time to find some work. Easier said than done, as it
turned out. After having been told that there were "heaps of jobs"
in Bundaberg (quote Shane, who's number we were given by the
government's "harvest trail" hotline), we rode a few hundred Ks back
up the coast, and waited around in the sun on our campsite, made
loads of phone call. For some strange reason, all these jobs had
suddenly disappeared, the only thing being on offer was working in an
abattoir, skinning and gutting and working towards a long-term
career, which we politely declined.
Finally we were offered a day of picking zucchini on a small farm, in
order to see whether we are made of the stuff that makes a good picker.
Despite all our enthusiasm, apparently we are not.
After about 5 hours the so far unfriendliest Australian I have met
dimissed Slow-Hand Pete and Bud-Slicer Maren (aka The Blind-Arrow)
without even looking at us. Some of the others we were working with
had been growing up picking z... and were for some obscure reason
faster and more careful not destroying the newly growing fruits. On
the positive side our back muscles are now much stronger, the cuts
and spots on our arms have stopped itching and have almost healed,
and the shoes are almost as clean as they were before that fateful
encounter with the evil Z.
Anyways, that made us decide to leave that nasty village and move on
to bigger and better, namely Brisbane (Brisy, BrisVegas...don't ask
me why), and find something that we do well. Sitting in front of the
computer or answering the phone. Preferably something unskilled. What
we do best.
So here we are, 4 km from the city centre on a campsite with WLAN
(for 11 $/day!!!), finally civilisation, very exciting, suddenly
people don't wear muddy boots and crocodile dundee hats....at least
not all of them - that film was my first impression of Australia, I
hope I'm not the only one, and so far it kind of proved to be a true
representation, only it never mentioned the Japanese tourists. I
guess that means it's time to leave Queensland behind. Or stay for a
few weeks of hard and honest work, slumped in a chair in front of a
screen, somewhere in a basement, just like the good ol' times. We'll
...what will happen next? Will our heroes find what they desire? Will
the car battery finally run empty? And are thongs really flip flops,
or was it all a cruel joke?
Sonntag, September 17, 2006
In der Regel wird man in der früh von einem Konzert verschiedenster Stimmen und Laute geweckt. Unmengen an diversen Vögeln kreischen, singen, pfeiffen schon mit dem allerersten Sonnenstrahl um die Wette und führen ihre Konzerte den gesamten Tag über fort. Ich kann mich nicht erinnern in Deutschland aufm Land so viele verschiedene und laute Vögel gehört zu haben. Doch geade sitzen im Baum hinter mir drei große, quietschebunte Papageien und sind laut.
Neben diesen schoenen und ungefährlichen Tieren gibt es in Australien eine weitaus groeßere Anzahl an gefaehrlichen und angriffslustigen Tieren. An allererster Stelle sind da die Lace Monitors zu nennen. Diese ca. 1,5m langen Echsen haben uns beim Frühstück im Bush (die meiste Zeit campen wir auf sog. Bush Campsites, ohne Strom, alles ganz öko und dafür sehr billig oder kostenfrei, je nachdem wie ehrlich man ist) schon angegriffen und mich mehrfach erschreckt und von meiner gerade verrichteten Tätigkeit - essen - abgehalten. Ich mag diese Echsen nicht, Peter findet sie jedoch ganz possierlich. Aber er hängt sich ja auch Schlangen um den Hals. Womit ich bei der naechsten Sorte Tiere angekommen bin, die meiner Meinung nach voellig unnoetig und totbringend sind. Wie es laut Murphys Law immer so ist, treffe ich mit meiner Phobie natuerlich ueberraschenderweise auf extrem giftige Schlangen. Die erste beim Bushwalking entlang eines nicht sonderlich oft genutzten Tracks - schwarz mit gelben Bauch, sehr giftig, armdick und fast 2m lang. Ich bin schreiend in die entgegengesetzte Richtung gerannt, die Schlange ins Gebüsch. Die nächste war grellgrün, 1m lang und lag mitten auf der Straße - sehr zu ihrem Pech, denn ich saß am Steuer unseres Busses und konnte/wollte beim besten Willen keine Vollbremsung fuer ein Tier machen und uns dabei in Lebensgefahr bringen. Zwar löste diese Aktion einen kleineren Streit mit Peter aus, aber nach ein paar Kilometern war dieser angesichts der schoenen Landschaft um uns herum wieder beigelegt. Wie beruhigend und versöhnlich eine Autofahrt durch Postkarten-schöne Landschaft manchmal sein kann.
Die naechste Begegnung hatten wir mit einer weitaus gefährlicheren Sorte Tier. Dem Urgestein unter den Tieren. Dem Krokodil! Auf in freier Wildbahn lebende stießen wir bei einer Bootstour auf dem Daintree-River. Mit seinen 5,2m und 1,2t kamen wir selbst im groeßeren Boot nicht naeher als auf 10m heran. Was ich naemlich nicht wusste, Krokodile koennen springen und zwar halb so hoch wie die Länge ihres Koerpers bemisst! Unsere zweite Begegnung war dann etwas entspannter, dafuer trafen wir auf einem Schlag auf tausende Krokos. Beim Besuch einer Krokodilsfarm besichtigten wir diverse Krokos, davon sehr viele kleine, die nur wegen ihres Fleisches und der Haut innerhalb von 3 bis 4 Jahren auf 1,8m gezuechtet und dann geschlachtet werden. In einem weiteren Teil der Farm befanden sich Krokos, die in der Umgebung in freier Wildbahn gefangen wurden und nun bis ans Ende ihrer Tage - so an die 100 Jahre und ueber 5m lang - eingesperrt, dort kein Unheil mehr anrichten koennen. Interessant, aber ganz schoen ungeheuerlich diese riesigen alten Viecher.
Neben diesen ganzen Tieren existiert noch eine aeusserst große Anzahl an Insekten und Spinnen. In der Regel muss ich Peter vor diesen Getier beschuetzen, aber er weiss sich mit 'Fast Knockdown - Insect Killer Spray' gut zu verteidigen.
Vor zwei Tagen haben wir zum ersten Mal lebendige Kängeruhs gesehen - auch noch zum Frühstück! Welch eine Aufregung.
Wir werden weiterhin beobachten, filmen und fotografieren, alles was kreucht und fleucht festhalten und ich bemuehe mich nicht immer gleich erschrocken zu schreien und wegzurennen. Dann sollte eigentlich in kuerzester Zeit eine beachtliche Anzahl an spektakulaeren Fotos in diesem Blog erscheinen.
Ich weiss nicht so genau welcher Tag heute ist, aber seit etwas mehr als drei Wochen bin ich nun schon mit Peter in Australien unterwegs. Naja, sonderlich weit sind wir noch nicht gekommen, gerade wenn man sich die zurueckgelegte Strecke auf der großen Landkarte anschaut.
Aber erst mal der Reihe nach. In einer Zeit von drei Wochen kann viel passieren. Und wie das so bei Peter und mir immer der Fall ist, begann schon der erste Tag ereignisreich. Nach ungefähr 30 Stunden Flug, die im wesentlichen aus essen, schlafen, film schauen bestanden, erreichte ich voellig muede und erschoepft am Nachmittag Cairns - ganz im Norden Australiens im Bundesstaat Queensland the Sunshine State - und wurde dort ueberraschenderweise (ich hatte es so sehr gehofft, aber er hat mir nix versprochen) von Peter am Flughafen abgeholt. Noch am selben Abend besuchten wir ein von unserem Herbergsvater veranstaltetes BBQ mit Kängeruh- und Krokodilsfleisch als wohl australische Spezialität für alle Traveller. Netter Empfang, bloß wurde ich zusehends mueder, hatte wenig Hunger wegen der Mästung im Flugzeug und das Kängeruh war mir viel zu zäh. Als Peter auch endlich seinen dritten Teller Nachschlag verputzt hatte (der Arme hat in Japan nichts ordentliches zu essen bekommen und somit bestimmt 20 Kilo abgenommen) hatten wir keine Chance mehr dem nun folgenden allwöchentlichen Spektakel zu entkommen - dem Didgeridoo-Kontest. Fuenf der Teilnehmenden wurden ausgelost und hatten das Glück, sich vor ueber 50 Zuschauern komplett zum Horst zu machen, da natürlich niemand ohne zu ueben ein Didgeridoo blasen kann. Und mit meinem Glück der letzten Zeit oder war es einfach Murphys Law? wurde ich ausgelost und musste mich mit blamieren. Letzten Endes stellte ich mich doch nicht so daemlich an und war so die drittbeste. Eigentlich muesste ich mir jetzt ein Didge kaufen, aber die wirklich schoenen kosten ueber 200 Dollar und ein selbstgebautes aus einem Abflussrohr (jaja, das funktioniert auch) scheint mir wuerdelos. So wird wohl aus einer moeglichen Karriere als begnadete Didgeridoo-Bläserin nichts werden.
Die folgenden Tage vergingen nicht weniger ereignisreich. Nach 14 Stunden Schlaf und Stadt anschauen - schafft man an einem halben Nachmittag, da Cairns unglaublich langweilig und unspektakulaer ist - planten wir fuer die folgenden Tage: Tagesausflug nach Green Island am Rande des Great Barrier Reef zum baden und schnorcheln, Zwei-Tages-Ausflug nach Cape Tribulation im Daintree National Park gefolgt von einem weiteren Zwei-Tages-Ausflug mit dem Segelboot Rum Runner ins Great Barrier Reef zum tauchen. Nachdem uns das Segelboot im Hafen von Cairns wieder wohlbehalten an Land gebracht hat, war seit meiner Ankunft in Australien noch keine Woche vergangen. Erstaunliches Pensum, wenn man bedenkt dass ich eigentlich erst einmal Urlaub machen wollte nach den letzten Monaten in Berlin.
Auf jeden Fall haben wir in unser ersten Woche in Australien schon einiges gesehen und erlebt, Geld ausgegeben wofuer wir jetzt keines mehr ausgeben wuerden und schlussendlich auch die Person getroffen haben, die am Ende seiner Reise angelangt uns sein Auto verkauft hat. So sind wir innerhalb von zwei Tagen zu unserem kleinen, weißen Schätzchen gekommen, einen Ford Econovan, Baujahr 1995. Ausgebaut und voll equipped - Zelt, Bett, Fächer (alles von IKEA), Angelausruestung, 2 Schnorchelausruestungen, 2-flammiger Kocher, Geschirr, Sonnendach, Boogie Board, div. Saegen, Stühle, Tisch, Bibliothek und Büroablage - ist sie (das Auto ist von uns als eindeutig weiblich identifiziert worden) unser aeusserst komfortables Zuhause fuer die naechsten Monate.
From now on this blog isn't just mine anymore, but ours, which means Maren and I will both be psoting mails, at least every now and then. This also means, that quite a few will be written in German, so those of you who need a translation can get a rough one from google language tools, from and to pretty much any language. Simply go to google, and click on language tools, choose the languages and then enter the website address you want to have translated. (http://www.google.com.au/language_tools?hl=en)
. Enough about that more about us, we're in Bundaberg, getting closer to Brisbane, slowly running out of money, which means we'll have to find jobs fairly soon. The winter over here is great, hardly any rain and it's almost always warm. You can even sometimes reach us on the phone. Seen most of the animals there are to see, our car hasn't broken down yet, and as long as we don't play cards, we don't even fight too often. And now Maren is going to fill you in on the details:
Montag, September 04, 2006
Montag, August 14, 2006
Samstag, August 05, 2006
We started the climb at about 22:30, and after going a bit too fast, and even after slowing our tempo down a bit, we were still way too early to reach the summit in time for the sunrise. So we waited at each of the stations on the way, talked to some of the other gaijin we met. The higher we got, the more crowded it was getting.
The Japanese seem to love queueing, maybe even more than the English. It ended up being a "take few steps, wait a few seconds" kind of ascent for the last few hours! Luckily it was a weekday, I wouldn't wanna queue up that mountain on the weekend.
Then Dan started to get a headache, and didn't look too good anymore, and when we reached the top (beautiful sunrise, a few hundred meters above the clouds, lots and lots of people still coming up, at least a few thousand, and all kinds of souvenirs, food stalls and even beer, which wasn't more expensive than beer in Tokyo) after having a bowl of ramen/ udon, Dan had to lie down for a bit. That gave me the time to round the crater, try and make a phonecall, which didn't work, but only because I didn't have any credit, really good reception up there, and take a few more pix (soon) with my great disposable camera.
Then I woke Dan up, but his altitude sickness was just getting worse and worse, so we slowly started our descent, Dan starting to feel nauseous, while we were crawling down the mountain. A few hundred meters and some painkillers later things started to look a bit brighter. In the end, Dan was almost jogging down, while I was trying to keep up, so that we could still get tickets on the first bus. Which didn't quite work out. The first 2 busses were already sold out, so we had to wait for more than 3 hours, during which we slept a bit on the stairs next to the bus stop. Und wennse sich nich gestorben sind, dann wartense noch heute....something like that anyway
Mittwoch, August 02, 2006
And now I've gotta go, gonna climb Mount Fuji tonight, will hopefully get to the top tomorrow for the sunrise, so more to tell and maybe a few nice photos when I get back!
Well, for a start, I've been
pretty lazy, not doing too much sightseeing, been to a few museums though, the most interesting was definitely the Yushukan war memorial museum, next to the Yasukuni shrine, which even the people who don't knwo anything about Japan might have heard about. This is the shrine the current prime minister (Koizumi, who is going to quit his job in the next few months) is visiting on an annual basis, which apparently is one of the main reasons for the bad relationships between China, Korea and Japan as a few "class A war criminals" have been enshrined there sometime in the 70s. The shrine was built to honour those wo have died for their country, and a couple of million people are enshrined there. I guess if Germany was to build something in honour of Addi, Goebbi and a few of their mates, and Angie would come for a visit once a year and maybe put some flowers down at the memorial, it would a have a similar impact in Europe. So I guess I can understand the rest of Asia being a bit pissed off.
Anyways, even more interesting is the museum, which shows the long history of wars that were waged in and around Japan, from the Shogun fighting the emperor, to fighting the barbarians (Europeans and Americans) to the wars with China, Korea, Russia and obviously the WWs. What's interesting is the perspective, quite different in some cases to what I learned in school. And although a lot of it is supposedly very toned down in the English translation (obviously I couldn't really tell), some of the suggestions and "truths" about e.g. WW2, such as Germany not really having a choice but to attack the rest of Europe, Japan only trying to establish peace when they invaded China or that the US forcing Japan to attack Pearl Harbour where a bit worrying. I'm sure there is a bit of truth in these aspects, but whoever built this and is responsible for the texts on exhibition, has definitely a very different way of dealing with their past.
Most Japanese I've met here have never been to the museum and have no intention of ever going there for precisely these reasons, and because they know what to expect, so I'm not saying that this represents Japan as a whole, but quite a large number of people must still see it this way, and quite a few of them seem to be in power. Though a few of the new canditates for the post of the prime minister are already distancing themselves from the shrine. So I guess there's hope.
On a lighter note, I also went to Disneyland with Ayako, who's still working there. Hope she'll send me some pictures.
And to Kamakura, which used to be the capital of Japan around 1200. And that's where the big Buddha is. Bought myself some disposable cameras, so from now on there'll be a few pictures every now and then. I'll also upload a few more to my photoblog. They also have a few hundred shrines in Kamakura. Or at least that's what it felt like. After getting a bit bored of those, and going on a little hiking trip with a Canadian guy (Alex) I met on the way there (also waiting for him to send me some pix), we just went down to the beach and watched the surfers. Obviously we didn't watch the girls. And I managed to take a beautiful little picture. In the background the guy with the tiniest speedos I've ever seen. Pretty hot!
Donnerstag, Juli 27, 2006
Just an old pic, but better than nothing.....
I didn't really expect it, nor plan it, but my stay here will be a lot shorter than anticipated. Not such a bad thing.
What happened? Well, for a start, Maren decided not to got to China, after finishing her degree, which she is now pretty close to achieving. For those of you who don't know, she's studying "City and regional Planning", or "Urban Planning", or whatever you wanna call it, and now has only one oral exam left, her "Diplomverteidigung". So far so good. As we were planning to meet up in Australia sometime before the winter starts, as winters in Tokyo are suposed to be horrible, even worse than the summers, we basically decided to meet up a bit earlier. I will have spent 3 months here, mainly in Tokyo, which is obviously not long enough to learn the language, or do enough travelling, or really get to know the country or the people. But flying out to Cairns on the 11th of August, Maren arriving on the 14th, then hanging out on the beach, doing a bit of diving, buying a car and then crusing down the coast towards Brisbane, Sidney, Melbourne and maybe trying to learn how to surf and do a bit of work on the way doesn't sound too bad.
And long distance relationships, as we all know, are a pretty stupid idea. We should be able to survive the last couple of weeks, but six months or maybe longer might not have been so great.
Well, that's "the plan", if you can call it that. Hope we'll find sopme good jobs on the way, maybe a place to stay a bit longer, and mainly I'm waiting for Maren to kickstart her career, so I can concentrate on surfing. Well, we'll see.
While I'm waiting on the island for my plane to get ready, I have a few weeks left to do some more sightseeing. More about that later though, when I get a few more pictures from other people.
The Gaijin (foreigners) in my house in contrast seem pretty much the opposite. Somebody's always ready and willing to keep everyone else awake, as the weekends are different for each person. Which is mostly good fun, maybe not for everyone ... for example when Dom found a little Casio kind of keyboard and decided that 4 in the morning was the right time to check out the preset rhythms, improvise a bit and sing along beautifully. There were other people present, I just couldn't tell who it was.
However, soon enough you will be able to find out more about my lovely housmates, as Ben and I have decided to shoot a little documentary about Parkside House. We finished shooting a few days ago, and are now starting to view all the footage, about 8 hours, in order to edit a little 20 minute piece of art, which it will surely turn out to be! Don't know if it'll be interesting for anyone but the people in the house, but I'll put it up on the net as soon as I can. We have about 2 weeks to finish it.
Read the next mail.....
Donnerstag, Juni 15, 2006
I'm not really that interested in a career in teaching languages as such, but over here it's a good way to earn a living.
Let me start with the beginning. Emmett, one of my American housemates, went to Germany on Saturday. For the worldcup. He actually managed to get tickets for the three US football matches. "Soccer" is what he calls it, but then the Americans don't really know what they're talking about, as anyone who saw the US play the Czech Republic would know. Anyway, football is another topic, sometime soon, when it gets a bit more exciting.
He went off, and asked me to be his substitute at one of the language schools, that he's teaching at. So yesterday was my first full day of teaching English. It's a lot easier finding English teaching jobs than German ones. And it's a lot easier to teach, grammar and all. It was mainly small groups of elderly housewives, who like travelling. Emmett had already taken me along to a few of the classes, so could meet the students, so this week everyone had a few questions about Germany, food, how the reunification had influenced my life (has it? well, I guess otherwise I wouldn't have been able to live in Friedrichshain or meet my sweet Ossi-girl....), what I thought of Japan, why I had come here, what I was doing here, whether I had a girlfriend. And in almost every group there was someone who wanted to introduce me to their daughter... Teaching wasn't really very difficult, everyone's motivated, and it's mainly conversation. A bit of grammar and a few excercises. And I'm even earning more than I was at J****
I also had an interview at GABA, the second biggest language chain school, one-on-one teaching. Managed to go through that and through 2 days of training last weekend. And now I can pick my schedule and work any time I like. As long as it's weekends or evenings. During the day it's not very likely to get enought students. So at least for a start, I'll be working every weekend and maybe 2-3 evenings a week. See how it goes, be starting on Saturday. I'll keep you updated, if I'm not too lazy. Fucked up my camera, so for now, there won't be any new pictures. Hope I can get it repaired quickly.
Working weekends is actually OK, in Japan, there's not much of a difference between weekdays and weekends, as all the shops are always open, as are the bars and even some clubs. But as clubbing is so expensive (between 30 and 50 euros just to get in, then another 6 maybe for a beer) I won't be doing too much of that.
I'll rather be "helping people to achieve their most audacious goals". And who can claim to do that. Definitely not J****. Teaching will be really strucured, just follow the designated book, do one lesson in 40 minutes, give some feedback, do whatever the student wants to do. Every booth in the "language studio" (not school! very important!) will have a laptop, which has informations about the student and his aims, bio, level, preferences and hobbies. Also, there are additional exercises and grammar explanations. Everything already prepared for you. Easy as pie.......don't know where that came from....
Well we'll see on the weekend, I'm sure I'll still be a bit nervous. The most annoying thing about the job is that it's suit and tie only. For the summer I don't necessarily have to wear a jacket and tie, as it'll be close to 40 degrees soon, but as soon as autumn comes, I will have to. See if I'll hang around that long.
Looks like my planned holiday didn't last as long as I was hoping, but I just had to take the opportunity to work. Money gets spent very quickly in this town. You can quite easily save some, especially if you work a lot, but it's even easier to spend it.
So I figured if I started work now, I might still have some left, when I leave for Australia, or Thailand, or Indonesia, or wherever we're gonna go next. Hopefully Maren will finish with her exams in time, the dissertation is already done, so I'm pretty confindent, and then she'll turn up here, and we can do a bit of travelling in Japan first. We'll see. It looks like China's not an option anymore, but anything's possible and nothing is decided.
Oh, and finally, thanks to all those, who are writing to me, I'm not that good with replying to emails, one of the reasons for starting this blog, but I'm always happy about hearing (or rather reading) the latest gossip or anything at all from all of you!
Mittwoch, Juni 14, 2006
But we found out why, soon enough, when we later found one of the Japanese girls, that had been assigned to Monika and Christin as artist management, passed out behind a dumpster. I think she had about half a bottle of champagne. Had to take her to the first aid station, where she was allowed to sleep for the rest of the night, while the rest of us kept walking from one stage to the next and back. They only had 2 stages...best performance was definitely by Tucker, if anybody's going to the Sonar festival, check him out, he is going to be there, I think.
The whole thing ended at nine in the morning, on the second, pretty strict timetable. Quite short if you consider the price. When I turned up at the tent, my Japanese companions where fast asleep, though Gen had earlier said, that he was only quickly going to check what the situation at the tent was. Never returned. Luckily, I was able to go back to Tokoy on the artist s' coach. And Christin had organised some entertainment. 99% pure chocolate, for Stefan (Koze), who wasn't too happy about the present, but made everyone try anyway. If any of you ever come across this stuff, give it a try, it's going to be an experience you're not likely to forget. And when the Germans (all 4 of us) in the back of the bus had finally relaxed and calmed down a bit, everyone was able to go to sleep. Und wenn sie nicht gestorben sind dann feiern sie noch heute...
Nathan Fake and his entourage
Dienstag, Juni 06, 2006
Well, wasn't quite the same night, but hey, better late than never. The story goes:
After Christin arrived, we went off on a little shopping spree in Shibuya, there wasn't really a lot of time, 'cos we had to meet the others for dinner, so we just stayed in that area. I guess it's quite a good representation of Tokyo. Probably one of the craziest areas, but also one of the most famous. And all you can do there is go shopping, drinking or partying.
Which is exactly what we did.
That's one of the rare pieces in street-art, for some reason in German, which Christin and me found that afternoon in Shibuya. I guess the police are a bit more present here than in for example F-hain, Berlin. It's now almost starting to become some kind of a routine, izakaya, lot's of drinks, weird food, though this time I wasn't the tourist, or at least not the only one. Starting to feel at home. Well, maybe not quite, still can't read the menu, but at least I recognize most of the food that turns up when someone else orders. Later on we went back to Womb, supposedly one of the best clubs in town, but nobody was really up for partying, so we only stayed for a drink. Had to get up early anyway, in order to make it to Nagano, where the festival would be the next day. Just realised I didn't really explain the reason for the visit. That group of tourists on the picture consists mainly of DJs and organizers, actually everyone except for me. Taicoclub is the name of a one-night festival in the Nagano prefecture, not actually the city, somewhere up in the mountains. And that's where we all went the next day. I went with a friend of one of the guys from my house, who had a spare seat in his car, but more about that soon.
Montag, Mai 29, 2006
a guesthouse near Inokashira-koen park.
The coordinares for google earth are:
Just add a new placemark and input the coordinates, it's the big house with the blue roof.
I have an address now as well, just check my profile. You're all welcome to send me presents, postcards, anything really, or just come over and visit.
Really close to Kichijoji, which is not extremely central, but a sort of center itself, lots of music, bars, restaurants, shops etc. About 25 people in the house, only 2 Japanese, as far as I can tell, and most others are Americans, some Australians, French, Canadians, English, Scottish.
Whch basically means speaking English all the time, hardly any Japanese at all. It seems I will have to study on my own. And go out to meet some Japanese. Here are two pictures of my room, just after I moved in. Hasn't changed much since then, since I don't have any furniture. More pictures of the house soon, maybe even a video. Really nice people in the house, some have been living here for six years. Went out for one of the guys birthday and some drinks obivously on my first and second night. After that I decided to stay home for a bit. Feels like everyone is on a really long holiday, though pretty much everyone is teaching English, but that only seems to be incidental.
My room's about 10 sq.m. big, which is enough, and the rent is below 400 euros, which I think is pretty amazing for Tokyo. Plus electricity. Since then, I haven't really done that much, met up with Mayumi, but didn't take any good pictures, maybe next time, and went to an English class with Emiko, just to find out some more about English teaching. Shouldn't be too hard it seems. Now I just have to start applying for jobs and get some proper clothes. Shirt and tie seem to be the standard. Anybody's got any stylish ties?
Well, I guess I'll have to go shopping again...
More stories and videos of my fellow inmates (bit of a strange and sterile school/prison flair here) will follow soon. Some interesting people in the house.
you can also see everything from my point of view...kinda high up, compared to everyone else...
Montag, Mai 22, 2006
Went to a (religious) festival as well yesterday, Asakusa again, but this time soemthing like 1 billion million zillion people. So I left again pretty quickly.
And I started to listen more to stuff on my iPod while travelling on the underground, gives me bit more space somehow, at least in my head. For some reason my bloody external hard-drive with all the music on it won't start up (currency problem maybe? Definitely the power supply, which should work with 110V, but no light coming on), so I'm stuck with one music playlist and a few audio books. Oh well, have to figure it out soon. After I've moved. Now I better get on with my Japanese studying. Haven't really started, not much time so far, though I'm learning something every day. Need more self-discipline. Maybe some "corporal mortification"? A whip?
...started listening to the "Da Vinci Code", which I don't really like, but can't stop anyway. I hate books like that. So that's the news for today, not particularly exciting, sorry, and I doubt much more is going to happen today. Well, check out the pictures I'm about to upload.
My guidebook (Lonely Planet) said, that the mountain is covered in clouds almost all year except for early mornings, and maybe if you're lucky in spring or autumn, most of the time you can't see the top from a hundred meters away. But for some reason as we arrived at the lakeside, the cluds around the peak cleared off completely. Only lasted about 1 hour, and as we were about to leave, clouds started covering up the mountain, as well as everything else, and it started to rain again. Pretty lucky.
Next off to a nearby shrine, from where the trail up to mount Fuji starts. Not sure whether I want to start from there, as it's about 17 km, all the way up to almost 4K. Might take the short route, startin about halfway up the mountain.
Then we went off to some caves in the area, which have all been created by the eruptions of Fuji-San. The last one was almost 300 years ago, so hopefully it'll stay dormant , at least while I'm here. One was the Ice Cave, which was used to store ice for the emperor during the summer. I don't think they still do that anymore, he's probably got a freezer like veryone else for his caipirinhas. Although there was lots of ice still down there, so who knows...The second one was the Wind Cave, used to be used for storing ice as well as silkworm eggs.
And as if that wasn't enough we went to an Onsen, natural hotspring, kinda like a few big bathtubs, natural water what with loads of minerals coming straight from the ground. Bathe naked, men and women were seperated in this one. Sadly, the beattery of my camera was flat by this time, so no pictures of Yoshi and me in the bathtub. Next time maybe, or maybe not.
One was at about 42 degrees, the other one a bit cooler. So it's kind of like a sauna, though the others were a bit surprised when I had a cold shower afterwards. Not something the Japanese do, but otherwise I would probabaly have collapsed as soon as I got out, low blood pressure and all the rest. Pretty busy day. I'm starting to realise how the Japanese can do Europe in a week. Had some local speciality, noodles, soup etc. I think there's a different type of food evry 50 km or so, something you won't get anywhere else. Or at least not as good. I'll have to do some more travelling, and if it's just for the food!
Freitag, Mai 19, 2006
The good thing is though that if it's bad fortune, you can fold the paper up and tie a it to the metal bars in the red wooden frame on the second picure and that should reverse the prophesy, which I obviously did. So I hope I'll be OK.
later we went on a little boat trip, crappy weather, but nice view anyway. Arrived in Odaiba, which where the next picure was taken, actually a few of them I stitched together, not very professionally. Tokyo skyline in the rainy foggy weather that seems to normal around this time of year. So now it's almost rain season, after that comes the really hot and humid summer, and then it's typhoon season. And then autumn and winter, a few earthquakes and maybe if I'm lucky a tsunami or two thrown into the mix. Great place to be, will definitely not get boring.
The Fuji Television Network Building was also quite impressive, and we wandered around a kind of exhibition in there, sets from all kinds of TV shows I'd never heard of. When we came out it was already almost dark, went of to Roppongi, the place with what seemed like the highest percentage of tourists. Nightlife, bars, restaurants, clubs and so on. Have to check it out in more detail some other time, when I'm less tired. The best thing about the whole day was (sorry Ayako), that she was at least as lost as I aalway am on the underground. Didn't know which line to get, which map to look at, which ticket to buy and into which direction to walk as soon as we were underground. So it's not just the language and the writing, it's just a confusing system for everyone who's not used to it. I am starting to accept now, that, wherever I go on the trains, I will get lost somewhere along the way. In some underground station most likely. I'm a lot more relaxed now travelling. Probably not the best solution, but I doubt there's any other way.
Donnerstag, Mai 18, 2006
These steps are probably neither complete nor completely correct. It's just what I remembered. I am always open for correcting comments, and I can correct these steps at any time, so let me know.
Step 1: Don't step onto the piece of wood across the entrance gate floor.
Step 2: Wash your hands, little kind of well + ladle is normally supplied, near the entrance to the "court".
Step 3: Light a bit of incense in the cauldron-like container, under the roof in the photo, in front of th shrine. Bring your own incense. Then inhale the smoke. I think.
Step 4: Throw 50 (5 is ok for good luck as well)
Step 5: Go to the steps, stop in front of them, put your hands together, maybe with a clap?, and that's the prayer. Or one way anyway. This shrine was closed, couldn't get in there.
Later on we walked to down one of the posher shopping streets, and not that I would or could have bought anything back in good ol' Europe, but over here it's even more impossible (well, impossible, more impossible, most impossible......I guess you know what I mean.
Mittwoch, Mai 17, 2006
Met two Americans at the guest house, and we walked around a bit and went for a drink. Told me about a website, which I thought I ought to share: www.couchsurfing.com. I reckon, moving into a guesthouse would help me a lot, once I start travelling, but if I want to learn more about the culture and language, living with at least a few Japanese is definitely better.
This was also the first time, a girl came up to the three of us, saying something like "Please, can you teach me English". One of the guys was quite happy to take on the task, but as Emiko said later on, it's a job you should actually get paid for. And I've got me luvly gal back home. So I guess I will avoid free English lessons, unless it's for friends. Also, this whole English/ Japanese learning seems to be part a strange and dodgy dating / mating ritual. Yesterday, I found an ad on one of the accomodation-offering boards on the net from someone offering free English lessons, and pretending to be a native English speaker (but with quite a few spelling and grammar mistakes in the online ads) posting things like: "Subject:Hajimemashitte! Nice to meet you! I am young male from Toronto, Canada teaching English in Tokyo, looking for serious girlfriend! ..." When I tried to find the ad today, they had all been taken off the different boards and forums, so I guess most people are aware of this stuff. Maybe I'll contact the guy the next time I find an ad like that and meet up with him. Could be romantic!
Dienstag, Mai 16, 2006
When I met the couple that's advertising the room (for a change it's not an agency), it turns out that he's a camera man and she's a director, and they do their productions at home. Might even need someone who does editing, animation and dvd authoring. That would be a perfect match. The flat is small, quite an old house, but actually a bigger room than the others I've seen advertised so far. About 9 sq.m. Huge actually. They'd be sharing the other room, which is bigger, and then there's a kitchen with a little table and a sofa. I think we got on really well, so I hope they're gonna let me stay there. It's even just below my 500 €/month pain threshold. Apparantly a bargain for that area. Will have to wait until the Sunday, because they just started advertising the room.
On my way home, I stopped in Shibuya, shopping district, had a little walk around. But again, a bit too much for me, I guess I will still have to find the nicer areas, supposedly ther's lots of little shops in that area, but all I found was video screens, pachinko parlours, hostess bars and huge CD and cloths shops. Next time maybe.
Well, not quite a BBQ, more like lots of stuff on a hotplate in the lounge. It was raining anyway. Apparently this might be the start of the rain season. Until a few days ago I didn't even know that Japan had a rain season. Looking around on the internet (which I'm doing almost all day, evryone here has 100Mb lines it seems, and I still need to find a room), it said that in Tokyo the rain should really start in the beginning of June. So maybe this isn't the rain season yet. Well, it's raining again today...
Great food, again, Emiko's brother and a friend of hers came round. I'm still really bad with names, I think it was Tatsu (that's how his name started, there are still 2 syllables missing, but I think it's the short form for stupid foreigners) and Kiriko. Sorry if they're not quite right.
This time no surprises, except for lots of veg and mushrooms on the "grill". Not like a proper German (or for that matter English, American, whatever) barbecue, where veggies are excluded. And some kind of soy sauce, rather than mustard and ketchup. Makes a nice change. Again, we managed to finish a few beers, and apparently my very German ability to drink more than the rest of them impressed. Shouldn't be too proud of that, but then, by "western" standards, it's not really that impressive. Know a few people who can drink me under the table with one hand tied to their back. No need to mention any names. And then there's the "asian flush". Anybody who's interested can google or wikipedia it. And apparantly Germans drink about twice as much as the Japanese - http://www.aim-digest.com/gateway/pages/trends/articles/trends_new.htm
Enough about alcohol, gotta watch it. During the course of the dinner, Kiriko mentioned, that they igth have a room I could rent, but it's in the basement, insect infested (she killed about 500 of them last summer) and there's a ghost living there. She only met him once, apparently some kind of clown, who made her run out of her house to a friend's place. I wouldn't mind the company of a ghost as much as the insects. So unless they get some professional help, I reckon I'll give that a miss. I guess her future is not in sales.
And Tatsu(...) said that he might know two stewardesses, who could use some English lessons. So finding a job does not seem too complicated. For the time being, I don't really want one quite yet. Well, if he gets back to me, I guess I'll take it on, a bit of money on the side is never a bad thing. The whole dinner ended quite early, and I went straight to bed. Well after a bit of skyping. Maren is currently always reading something to me while I fall asleep. How great is VoIP. Then I woke up later and we started talking again. So maybe it's not such great thing. Or maybe I should just shut down my comp when I go to sleep. Hope I didn't keep everyone awake all night, as the walls are pretty thin, more like sliding doors, half made of glass. Traditional, old Japanese, hence the size of the doors, the mirror cutting of my head and all that. I'll post some more photos soon.
Enough about that.
Later I went out to get some food, same result in the supermarket, half the stuff I didnt't know, and definitely couldn't tell from what's written on the packaging. So I bought some vaguely familiar stuff for some pasta with tomato sauce. And some beer! Did some cooking with my new found flatmates, and it ended up havin quite a different taste to what I intended. Not bad, just different. Not that I don't like Japanese food. Luv' it. Just don't know what to do with the ingredients. Another thing to learn.
Next morning I managed to get up a bit earlier, nice rainy weather less than 15 degrees, and went to a place with Emiko, where people concentrate on being nice to foreigners. For free. So if I stay in this area, I could get language lessons almost for free, from really friendly people, migth even get paid for teaching a bit of English or German. And somebody migth even find me a room to stay. Not for free though. Then I went off to see the first 2 rooms, one being in Nishifunabashi, easy to remember, like everything here, which turned out to be part of Chiba, so completely on the other side of town. 2h on a couple of trains, and I'm there. Surfer/Skater dude, who's the manager, shows me the place, 25 people share one house, nice relaxed, but a bit far away maybe. depends on where you wanna be. Which I still don't know.
Next one is back in the west of Tokyo, this opne is only for about 15 people, and only one shower, not really for me, though I like the area. A hippie girl in tie-dyed jeans tells me how cool it would be if I moved in, and that there had already been a German from Hmaburg in this house, once upon a time, and if I wanted to play on my electric guitar, I'd be more than welcome. No idea where she got the idea about the guitar from. But then again, she's been lining in that house for about 4 years...
Also went to Akihabara, Electric City, earlier that day, just check out the photos on the left. That'll be another chapter some time soon.
and in the evening we went to an izakaya, traditional japanese pub/restaurant....check the photos...there'll be some more soon, cause you can get all that stuff in any supermarket. Might send anyone who's interested a pack of fresh gristle (Knorpel). a few beers and off to bed....seems to be arepeating theme...hope I won't finish every blog entry this way....
Montag, Mai 15, 2006
Freitag, Mai 12, 2006
Landing, no ones clapping, low hanging clouds, drizzle, but at least 21 degrees. not really nice. Going through immigrations and actually getting into the country is really simple and quick, not queues, no questions, I've got my visa, getting another few pieces of paper added to my passport, and I'm in, faster than the Japanese. Picking up my rucksack (22 kilos...) and I'm out, my hand luggage must weigh at least 10, so I'm covered in sweat before I'm in the main hall. As soon as I'm in there, 3 Japanese come up to me, one with a camera. Asking me, if they could take a picture of me for a travel magazine called "Coyote". They do, give me some stuff to fill out, where I'm from, what I'm doing here, and so on, you're so tall...and so on. Maybe I should think about a modelling career in Japan. We'll see.
Then I got myself a MOBILE!
Number is: +81 - (0)80-350 79 832, apparently the cheapest option of calling from Germany is adding 010017 in the beginning, about 10 cent a minute. or you can reach me on skype, name's peter.mirecki
Cash machines work as well, so no problems there. After that the next challenge, finding the right train line into the city. And even more problematic, buying the right ticket. But after about 2 minutes of staring at timetables, a guy comes up to me and offers to help, so he shows me which ticket to get, where to change trains, tells me that he is a machine designer and just came back from a business trip to Frankfurt. We ride into town, well really really big town, but first it's a biut of countryside, ricefields, kind of traditional buildings and even a shrine or two.
At Nippori station I have to change, which isn't too difficult, cause all the names arealso spelled out in English. Then it's off to Shinjuku. Neon lights, noise, everyone seems to be dressed up, Pachinko parlours (slot machines, etc.), shops, department stores, looks like a red light district, but I couldn't spot anything sleazy. What a shame... Met a girl from Slovenia, and together we went up on the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, 45 floors, boring uo there, but nice view, even when it's foggy. Cheesy greek?-style restaurant up there, so we went back down, into Shinjuku. Got some cheap food and a beer, after all it was about 3 o'clock in Tokyo, only about 8 AM in Berlin, so the right time for a beer. Got really tired, so I sat down and tried to figure out my phone. Now, a day later, I still don't know how to send text messages. Some day...
Phoned Maren, who rang me back. Still covered in sweat, which is why I look so good on the photo. A bit later, I picked up my luggage again, which I had locked up in Shinjuku station (only took me about an hour to find the lockers), bought another 2 train tickets, as there's lots of different lines, you need lots of different tickets, kind of obvious, don't know why the BVG in Berlin hasn't figured that one out. And of I go, only one change, and then on the second line, I can't see any English writing anymore, so I'm really happy I remembered the Kanji-simbols for Tanashi, which is my stop. As soon as I come out, Emiko, a friend from college is there, and we go home to her place, where they I meet her flatmate Yoshi, and they have spare room. Apparently Japanese don't usually share flats. Only foreigners do that. They've got W-LAN, raw squid cut into slices, beer and even a futon, which is all I need. And most importantly a shower! Pretty tired as I only slept for 3 hours on the plane. The futon is about 1,60 long, and the doors are about 1,80 high. But I'll get used to that. I can stay here for a week, so I better start looking for a flat. Or at least a room. more photos and videos soon. Stay in touch, always happy to hear from any of you!
Well, on the plane, dry sandwich, crossing the alps, Milan Malpensa, which is about as much a part of Milan, as Lübeck of Hamburg, Stansted of London or for that matter, Narita of Tokyo, as I found out later. Milan, boring, 2 hours, fast forward, next plane, at 15:20, here customs weren't intersted at all in my rucksack, even though I'm sure they couldn't tell at all what kind of bomb-making materials or guns for that matter were hidden between all the technology.
A plane full of Japanese, maybe 10 out 300 are not Asian. Might have been some Chinese in between, I'm not very good at spotting the differences. Choice of Italian and Japanese food. I figure there's going to be more than enough Japanese food in Japan, so I went for the Italian. For more photos, just click on the link on the right, that's my Photo-Blog. I think I'll manage to put some on there tonight. For now there's not much new stuff there. During the whole flight, the sun doesn't go down at all, I guess we're too high up, feels a bit like Lappland...well, maybe not quite, but you know what I mean. Then I went to sleep, at least for a bit.
Freitag, Mai 05, 2006
Donnerstag, Mai 04, 2006
Tja, und mehr und mehr, wer alle photos als 20 MB Quicktime sehen will, kannse hier runterladen, einfach auf den titel klicken. dauert allerdings ne weile. Leider is die Kamera um dreiviertel ölf schon ausgegangen, hat aber immerhin bis dahin alle 5 min n foto gemacht. naja, wieder was gelernt. an dieser stelle nochma danke und tschüss, ich hab mich ja dann doch um 1:30 schlafen legen müssen, aus irgendeinem unerfindlichen grunde überkam mich eine plötzliche müdigkeit. Überraschenderweise solls auch ohne mich ganz nett gewesen sein.
Und das aufräumen ham wir (d.h. die WG plus WG-Gäste minus Maren, die eleganterweise ausser Haus genächtigt hat, danke an Tiina, Miriam, Elke, Thomson und Alfred) dann auch noch geschafft. Dann mal weiter im Text. jetzt fehlen nur noch ein paar Details, z.B Bewerbungsunterlagen, Lebenslauf, packen, usw. Werd schon merken ob ich alles hab.
Samstag, April 22, 2006
Mein erster Blog-Eintrag is ne Einladung:
Wie der Grossteil von Euch sicher schon gehört hat, hau ich am 10. Mai ab gen Japan, für so ca. 6 Monate. Danach geht’s weiter nach Australien auf unbestimmte Zeit.
Um das zu feiern, oder auch Abschied zu nehmen, würd ich mich freuen, wenn Ihr Euch alle (also eigentlich wirklich jeden der diesen Blog hier liest, sondern eher die Leute die ich auch kenne) am
Samstag, den 29.04.06
(nächste Woche also) auf dem
zwischen U-Bahnhof Wahrschauer Str. und Ostkreuz,
Hinterausgang von der U-Bahnstation und dann immer geradeaus die Rudolfstr. bis zum Ende gehen,
so’n kleiner grüner Platz
einfindet, und zwar zum fröhlichen Grillen
bis spät. Früher kommen sei gestattet. Das spätere Abendprogramm ist noch offen, wird sich wohl was finden lassen…
Für den Fall, dass das Wetter suboptimal sein sollte, hat sich die WG Stralauer Allee 23a, 4. Stock links (oberste Klingel oder auch Maren, Thomson, Tiina und Elke) freundlicherweise als Ausweichmöglichkeit angeboten. Is ja auch umme Ecke.
Also denn, n paar Sachen, z.B. Bier, Salate u.Ä. werden vorhanden sein, aber was mitbringen kann ja nie schaden. Wir werden mehrere Grills am laufen haben. Wenns drinnen stattfinden sollte vielleicht auf Dach oder Balkon, mal kieken, aber keine Garantien.
Wichtig: ab dem 27.4. hab ich kein Handy mehr, mein Vertrag is gekündigt, d.h. ich bin nur noch über email (email@example.com) oder bei Maren übers Festnetz (030 – 427 4693) zu erreichen. In der Rudolfstr. 16a wohn ich ja schon länger nicht mehr.
Weitere infos und Neuigkeiten aus Japan gibt’s dann irgendwann in hier im Blog.
Und noch wichtiger: ich hab natürlich lange nicht alle email Adressen oder Handy Nummern, deshalb soll das hier als offene Einladung funktionieren. Bitte leitet sie an alle weiter, die ich so kenne, die mich so kennen, oder auch nicht, hauptsache nette Leute. Damit sich keiner hinterher beschweren kann, dass er oder sie nicht eingeladen war.
Na denn, ich würd mich freuen!
Was genau is dein Plan?
Erstmal nach Tokyo, da hab ich n paar Japanische und n paar Deutsche Freunde, kann erstma ne Woche bei ner Freundin wohnen, dann werd ich mir was suchen müssen, Ausländer guesthouses sind nicht allzu teuer. Mal sehen ob ich in Tokyo bleibe, werd auch n büschn rumreisen, ist nix festes geplant bisher. Im Dezember ungefähr will ich dann weiter nach Australien, oder eventuell einen Monat oder so in Südostasien verbringen, tropische Insel oder so. Sumatra? Mal gucken. Ich hab sowohhl für Japan als auch für Australien jeweils ein 1 Jahr gültiges Work & Travel Visum. Kann also arbeiten und reisen so lange wie ich will.
Und deine Freundin / Was macht Maren / Was sagt die dazu?
Maren macht erstma ihr Diplom (Statdplanung), und weil sie damit sowieso keinen Job in Europa findet, will sie nach der WM nach Shanghai um ne Weile da zu arbeiten. Wir können uns dann gegenseitig besuchen (Shanghai – Tokyo = 3 Flugstunden). Um Weihnachten herum treffen wir uns dann wieder, wo genau steht noch nicht fest. Vielleicht macht sie ja Karriere in Shanghai, dann lass ich mich da aushalten. Wird schon gut gehen. So toll is so ne fernbeziehung sicher nich, aber wir schaffen das!
Wann kommste wieder?
Weiss ich nicht so genau, vielleicht hab ich nach 3 Monaten genug, und will garnicht mehr nach Australien, oder wir wandern endgültig aus und kommen nur noch alle 5 Jahre zu Weihnachten nach Deutschland.
Was machste da?
Erstmal Tourist sein, nach ner weile wird mein geld weg sein, und dann werd ich mir wohl nen Job als Sprachlehrer (englisch und deutsch) suchen müssen, oder wenn das klappt, für irgendeine Video Post-Production Firma arbeiten. Wird wohl eher schwierig, da ich dann fliessend Japanisch sprechen müsste. Wenn mir jemand helfen kann, für Tips / Connections etc. bin ich immer zu haben.
Kannste denn Japanisch sprechen / schreiben / lesen?
Nur extrem wenig. Auch garnicht so einfach: Bitte Danke, Hallo Tschüss. Usw. Aber das wird schon, ich werd mich da irgendwie auf englisch durchwurschteln, und nebenher Sprachkurse machen.
Was machste mit deinen sachen?
Sind alle verschenkt, verliehen, verkauft oder bei meinen Eltern eingelagert.
Und dein Job?
Is zu haben, war 2 Jahre bei Jxxxx!, das is lange genug, hab immerhin n büschn Geld angesammelt um die ersten paar Monate zu finanzieren, die suchen jetzt Leute die sich mit Motion Graphics und After Effects auskennen. Wer also n super spassigen kreativen job sucht, sollte woanders hingehen.
Na denn ich hoff ma wir finden noch ein paar andere Gesprächsthemen!