Another Busy Week

It’s been another busy week, worked around 55 hours with a 14 hour shift too.

Monday was my day off so I went out with a friend for a few drinks and had quite possibly the worst game of pool that Chapel Street has seen in a while. Tuesday, I was invited for a drink or two which turned into an absolute bender and had an early start on Wednesday at work. It’s a miracle that I was only two minutes late and didn’t chop another body part off.

All I’ve really been doing this week besides going out is going to bed and going to work. It was confirmed the other day that on the 26th I’m moving, hopefully rent-free, away from Melbourne for a bit. In the past three weeks I’ve only had three days off, I (hopefully) have two days off next week, and then should be working six days a week until February. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, though and will be taking my time on a roadtrip down the west coast afterwards.

The weathers meant to be really nice over my days off next week so I’m going to go to Mt Dandenong to do the 1000 Steps Walk – been meaning to do it for bloody ages but either the weather’s been shite or my feet hurt.

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In Need of a Rest

I’ve had a really busy week: my workweek runs Sunday to Saturday, for which I worked just over 60 hours, and today I worked another six. Most of the drinking, not getting much sleep, pissing around and working heaps has now caught up with me – I’ve definitely burnt the candle at both ends and now I’m just absolutely knackered. My sprained neck has flared up again this week, both my feet are buggered, my back hurts, even my chiropractor can tell that my liver isn’t happy. At some point soon I need to have a couple of days where I just relax – my only day off for the next week is tomorrow and possibly out after work both Tuesday and Wednesday so maybe that’ll come on my next couple of days off. For sure it’s been a fun and crazy few weeks but I seriously need to rein it in a bit.

I’m also hopefully moving in a few weeks for work – a month to six weeks or so, and then heading off on my travels. It’s meant to be a really nice place that I’m heading to so hopefully I’ll be a good enough driver to take a few day trips in the area. It’s not in Melbourne, but in the grand scheme of things, pretty close by anyway.

The start of this week isn’t looking too busy for week but come Friday it will be insane – I’m expecting something close to 60 hours again. It’s all hourly pay too, with extra pay on Sundays so I work all the hours that I can get, only a couple of weeks and the Christmas season will be over, then hopefully on the coast for a crazy-busy-hourly-paid few weeks.

Working through the Melbourne summer

The past week I’ve been trying to take it easy. The drink or two I went for last Sunday turned into more like a drink or eight, then got asked to come to work on my day off the following day. That wasn’t fun. There’s been a fair bit of work over the past week, 46 hours over five days then this coming week is meant to be the busiest week ever with me working over six days. Every day bar Sunday should be around the ten hour mark, but I’m expecting to be put on at least a couple of 15 hour shifts.

Today I had a driving lesson which went alright – I think I just need a few more hours on the road and then I can take a few trips around Victoria. Around/after Christmas I’m hoping to do some trips to Phillip Island and the Mornington Peninsula, but I don’t trust myself to drive back from a wine trip to the Yarra Valley.

With Christmas coming up, we’ve had some Christmas music blaring out of the kitchen. Thankfully not the kind of music I’d be listening to on the radio, but instead I’ve had Mr Hanky the Christmas Poo stuck in my head a fair bit. With the hot weather last week, the kitchen hit the 35 degree mark, the same as what I was planting melons in. It’s meant to piss it down the whole of this week, then we’ll get some nice weather next week.

I’ve decided that I’m going to take a trip, probably for around three weeks, around some of Eastern Europe, and also Iceland before I bugger off to Asia for a long term trip. Last year I had two winters, so it’ll be nice to have two summers next year.

From now until Christmas I am working a lot more than usual, so not really up to much.

Last week I managed to burn my forehead at work, but besides that and the amount of Harry Potter comments I received, my new job is going pretty well. The job is getting prepared for functions and dinners so definitely not so stressful – I’ve had a fair few comments now from friends about how chilled out I seem compared to a couple of months back.

Apart from work, I’ve caught up with some friends – been to a rooftop bar, some places around the city and to a friend’s place. Last weekend I went out for “a quiet one” and ended up going to bed at 4pm the next day – it took me a good five or so days to recover from that one but was well worth it. During the week I saw a friend who’s going back to the UK next week so was nice to have a catch up and to have dinner in China Town with her before she goes and I’ve also been to the pub a couple of times as well. Yesterday, I went to a Spring Festival Market in Ballarat with some friends which was really nice, today I’m meeting a friend in the city for a drink and tomorrow I’m just going to chill.

 

Work Work Work Work Work

I’m halfway through a 11 day workweek.

For Monday, I said I was going to be a tourist for the day. I woke up at 1pm so that wasn’t really going to happen. Went to the CBD instead and did some shopping for when/if it becomes summer this year. It looks hopeful though, as today and yesterday were pretty hot. Tuesday, I started working with a friend of mine who I worked with last year which has kept me busy for most of the week.

Wednesday was my second shift at the races and it was actually quite fun. For the first time since March I had to put suncream on before my shift, for which I worked at an open bar and thankfully not planting melons. It’s fun until you realise how you wish the roles were reversed – drinking at the open bar instead of working for it, but it was a nice workday. And I went home and cracked open a beer so it was all good. My social life is actually starting to pick up now as I have a fair bit of time outside of work.

As I have a lot of time off, I’ve been wondering what to do with myself as I don’t want to go back to just working and sleeping. There’s a rock climbing place around the corner which I think it’s aimed at children; despite the fact that I am still sore and bruised to shit two days later it is pretty good and I can make it up to the top of a few of the walls so I’ll be making a habit out of it.

After finishing work today I thought I’d pop to Abbotsford Convent and the park nearby – I didn’t stick around for long as I’d get sunburnt but it’s definitely a place that I’ll visit on a day off and not in black skinny jeans.

 

For the week ahead, I’m working every day until Saturday – I have the next few evenings off so I’m going to be out for a couple of them at least. Thursday morning I may climb up a few walls again before work, Friday I’ll chill before work and I’ll find something to do on Saturday.

Back to Melbourne, Back to Work.

Had a few nice shifts last week – Monday I came home from Tassie, Tuesday I had off then worked straight through to the weekend, having Sunday off and spent the evening down the pub. It’s been one of the weeks where I earn enough to cover rent/food/wine and to put some money away, but I’ve gotten myself a second job working for a friend – it means not many more days off for the rest of the year but for sure I’ll be able to take January off and to put some money aside for Asia.

I also managed to finish watching Stranger Things on Netflix. It took a good couple of days commitment but was bloody good.

The plans for January are the Australian Open and to see the Foo Fighters and Weezer. I want to do a roadtrip from somewhere in Western Australia to Melbourne, driving Adelaide through to Melbourne via the Great Ocean Road, but anyone who has seen me behind the wheel would know that I need some lessons. Summer would probably be the worst time to visit Uluru but at least I won’t be planting melons in that heat, then I might go to Tasmania again but we’ll see. Between January and the time my visa expires, I want to do a trip to the Northern Territory then visit Port Douglas and the Whitsundays when the weather is good.

As it’s public holiday tomorrow, some places in hospitality pay you extra to work certain hours and days, resulting in a 100% chance of me being off tomorrow. I have a few things in mind as to what to do as I probably should do something other than sleeping but it just depends on the weather.

Working in Cradle Mountain

After being back from Japan for a day, I received a phonecall asking me to go to Cradle Mountain in Tasmania for a couple of weeks work. It’s the kind of place where people pay a lot to travel to and visit so I thought why not. Two weeks was enough for me though, and I’m happy now to be able to spend the next couple of days chilling and watching Netflix as I have not really had much of a day off in the past two months at least.

Work was pretty easy and well paid. During my days off I did some of the bushwalks – one of the walks did get fairly dangerous at one point; you pretty much had to do the walk then climb your way out of it. Probably should have done it either with phone signal or with someone else.

During my time there I managed to cut every fingertip but one on my right hand doing the same bloody thing and it hurts to type, so just going to keep this post short and sweet.

Fuji & Kyoto

After Tokyo I went to Fuji via bullet train. As my luggage is tiny, I straight away bought a bus ticket up the mountain to go around the lakes. Well, it well and truly pissed it down for at least twelve hours; with a laptop and kindle in my bag there was no way I was going to risk getting them wet. And once at the last bus stop, I found out that there was no bus downhill for four hours. Marvellous.

The next day I went to Kyoto. One thing that I have to say about the transport system, in particular the Metro, it is so confusing with private railways. I was confused enough on my first day in Tokyo but Kyoto has been on a whole new level and is actually better to get around via bus.

 

I ended up going to a temple that I can’t remember the name of then went off to the Fushimi-Inari shrine. Since arriving in Australia, I have picked up a fair bit of the Australian-English: I find it difficult to say ‘yoghurt’ like you would in England even after having a good think about how to say it; I swear a fair bit more if anyone thought that’d be possible and I say ‘heaps’ despite spending my whole first year taking the piss out of it. The only way to describe the amount of people there would to say there were heaps, and I think the amount of people ruins it a bit.

Yesterday, I went to Nijo Castle – not too sure about the history of it but it was pretty cool. I spent an hour or so there and in the gardens before going to the Kinkakuji Temple, or if like me you can’t remember the name – the Gold Leaf Temple. It is one of the things that you have to see for yourself – definitely one of my favourite travel pictures, but like Fushimi-Inari, there are too many bloody people. I then intended to get the bus back to the station, but it stopped at a train station that connected with the JR Line to the Bamboo Grove, which was nice to talk through.

For dinner I went to Gion as it’s meant to have some bloody good food. I was knackered and just wanted a bowl of ramen for £2, but the restaurants were charging around £20 for a meal. Instead, I stopped at this restaurant that had a big line outside and an open kitchen with one thing on the menu. It was a tempura pancake filled with food that I either don’t like (egg, shrimp) and food that I have no idea what it was. It was actually pretty tasty.

This morning I went to Kiyomizu-Dera Temple. It was alright but I’m pretty over temples, having to take my shoes off and dealing with big crowds, but this one provided a nice view over Kyoto, despite being way too crowded. It was quite a trek to get there – a 30 minute walk, a fair bit of it being uphill, in 30 degrees.

Expectations vs reality

After getting to Kyoto station, I somehow navigated the trains to get to Nara – famous for having a deer park and a few more temples, and it’s quite a nice place to walk around.

Tomorrow, I’m off to Tokyo for one night and then I’m back to Melbourne. It’s been quite a nice trip, I think it’s what I needed after the shit time I’ve had over the past couple of months, and I’m going back home where it can only go uphill from where I left off.

A lot of people speak of Tokyo as though it’s the place you go to, then you compare it to everywhere else you go. For me, that doesn’t work out as I feel as though Tokyo is just a crazy version of London which is more or less what I’m used to. From now, every place I go I’m sure that I will compare it to Budapest. Kyoto has been nice, there’s a lot to see and do, but I feel as though a lot of it has had a negative impact due to tourism. A lot of places here are UNESCO World Heritage sites, yet it seems as though a lot of people go to these sites without having the respect for what they are seeing. For sure, I’m glad that I came here but feel as though it’s somewhere to go with someone else.

Tokyo: Days Five and Six

Had a pretty chilled couple of days. Yesterday, I went to Mirakan and got inside this time – I saw the famous little robot in action which is pretty cool to see, another which is borderline creepy and got to step onto a spacecraft. As a whole, the museum is pretty interesting but gets a bit boring when it comes to the physics exhibit.

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After, I popped to Akihabara again and looked around the shops – floors and floors of anime and various character toys. Also went to a massive electrics shop, straight to the toy section – most of my time was spent in the Marvel and Pokemon sections. After, I went to one of the arcades with six or so floors and played heaps of games – probably threw £10 at least away, but it was fun.

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There’s a few travel blogs that I follow, and every time I visit somewhere new I always check them out before as someone has already been there. One of the recommendations was to go to the basement in Asakusa main station and try some sushi – it’s such a popular station, but I did not see another white person eating. I ended up in a small restaurant, being served sushi by someone who spoke no English which was pretty neat. In the past, I’ve never really had fish sushi unless it’s salmon as I’m pretty sure that I can’t stomach it too well and I was right – I can handle glass after glass of wine (or I like to think so) but I can’t handle mouthful after mouthful of fish. Truth be told, that’s the way I’d prefer to keep it.

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Afterwards, I headed to Shinjuku and went to the park there, via a 7-11. There’s this thing, and I’m not too sure if it’s just a backpacker thing or just everyone in general, but in Asia you should go and pick up something strange from there and try it out. You can get whipped cream and berry sandwiches here, but I opted for this green tea dessert and it was so gross it was fascinating. It was a green tea jelly stuffed with whipped cream and dusted with green tea powder, and had the consistency where you had to slurp it to eat it.

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This evening, I had a ticket for the Robot Restaurant – pretty pricey, but well worth it. Just sat there wondering what on Earth was going on for an hour or so; it just gets to the point where you wonder if it can get any weirder and then it well and truly does. For dinner, I didn’t actually eat at the restaurant because I’ve heard that it’s not worth it so instead I opted to go to Golden Gai, had some Karaage chicken which was pretty good as well as a few other snacks, before heading back to the hostel.

Tomorrow, I should be off to Fuji for a day before heading to Kyoto for the rest of the trip, before nipping back to Tokyo to get the flight back. I’ve heard a lot about Tokyo being out there and just crazy which is the opinion of people who haven’t lived in a big city. For me, it has been a lot like London – nothing that I can’t handle, just a bit more crazy, though with that said I have enjoyed it.

In hindsight, I probably should have rested a few days from work before coming here, or just not have had such a crazy night when I left work as I have found myself very tired over the past few days. This trip so far has been the reminder that there is more to life than work and my priority should be just having a good time and not worrying about text messages or phonecalls about bloody microherbs on my days off.

Tokyo: Days Three and Four

Over the past couple of months when I’ve had two days off work in a row, I’ve slept for at least 30 hours over two days and can really feel my body just wanting to do that. I’ve tried to power through, but the past couple of days I have really felt it so haven’t really done a lot.

Yesterday, I started the day at Tsukiji Fish Market. I really had my hopes up for it being great, but had seen better markets whilst travelling through Europe – La Boqueria in Barcelona, for example. It was alright, but nothing spectacular, so I moved onto try and find some sushi in Ginza but couldn’t find anything that I was up for. Instead, I found a conveyor belt restaurant but have had better in Sushi Hub on Swanston Street in Melbourne CBD.

I then went to Akihabara, walked past the worlds biggest sex shop and popped in for fifteen minutes or so – couldn’t really help myself, then went through the electric city. When you’ve seen one shop, it’s kind of all the same, so feeling underwhelmed, I went back to the hostel for a nap.

During the evening I went to Tokyo Tower. I was under the impression that it would be surrounded by places to eat, like you would find in Europe, but apparently not. I found a place round the corner that did food in a Japanese tapas kind of style which was great. I also wanted to have a look around Shibuya during the night but as it was raining I just picked up a bowl of ramen.

Today,  I went to Miraikan, supposedly an insane science museum. I say supposedly because it was shut, so I’m going back there tomorrow. I went to the Imperial Palace after which was nice to look at but didn’t really fancy going on a guided tour of the grounds as I was wearing all black and it was bloody hot.

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When I returned back to my bed/drawer and had a google as to what I could do this evening, though I had already decided that I would mainly chill out. On google, I found a restaurant that specialises in Onigiri (rice balls, or rather, triangles) which is Tokyo’s oldest Onigiri restaurant. To be honest, as someone who has been known to be late to work because I can’t find a matching pair of shoes, and someone who struggles to find the combination of phone/purse/keys, it is one of the great mysteries of the world as to how I found it. It seemed as though they don’t regularly have people from western culture in, and the sushi I had there was bloody good.

Tomorrow, I’m planning to go to Miraikan and actually get inside this time, then not too sure what I’m doing afterwards. On Thursday, I’m going to end my trip with a visit to the Robot Restaurant and have my mind blown in a ‘did I really just witness that’ way.