Tokyo: Days One and Two

A few things that I’ve missed about England: proper bacon, not having to work on a farm to be there and of course, Nando’s. I found out that the international terminal at the airport has a Nando’s; I’ve walked past a few in Melbourne CBD but not really bothered as I’ve heard that it’s not the same. If I flew into Australia and that was the first thing I’d eat, I’d consider not leaving the airport and getting a flight out of the country, it was that bad.

The flight to Tokyo was just under ten hours long. I was pretty knackered as I hadn’t really slept well for two weeks prior to coming here; some of it self-inflicted, some of it from working two six-day weeks back to back. Despite having a baby sat in front of me, I managed to watch a movie and slept for the rest of the flight.

First impression of the country was spectacular. As my back is buggered I only brought my work bag and am just going to do my laundry two or three times whilst I’m here, all I really need is clothes and toiletries which fit pretty easy into the bag. The customers officer let the five or so people in front of me go pretty easily, but when it was my turn started asking about my luggage and how long I’m here for, then took out a folder with pictures of drugs and bars of gold, asking if I was carrying any of that on me. Of course, I wasn’t, but I wasn’t too sure whether or not to be offended or amused.

I’m staying in a capsule at the moment which is pretty cool, although technically is a dorm bed/glorified drawer. It took ages to get to as the metro here is hard to get to grips with, but after arriving and freshening up I headed towards the Sensoji Temple, first getting some food and having a look at some of the shops. The temple itself is alright, it just seems that the meaning of it has been lost and caters mainly for tourists. I did, however, take a fortune telling where you pay 100 yen to shake a box of sticks and one comes out a small hole, assigning you a drawer to pull a fortune out of. Naturally, a combination of figures assigned me to the drawer that I was supposed to open so I’m hoping that I’m not dyslexic in Japanese.

After, I looked through the market then headed to Shibuya, around half hour away on the metro. By this point I was absolutely knackered, so had a quick look around and decided that it was time for a nap. After, I headed for some food – a ramen shop next door which was bloody good. I don’t know who made the rules here – it’s illegal to smoke walking down the street, but the woman in the restaurant can have a crafty smoke whilst doing her job. After I walked back to the temple then returned to bed.

Today, I went to find some food, and ended up having a taiyaki – a stuffed pastry. I had the choice to have one shaped like a fish, or shaped like a pokemon – I ended up with the fish as it made me feel more like a grown up. On the way to the station to head to Harajuku someone came up to me and started speaking to me in German. Which isn’t the first, second, or even third time that it has happened since I arrived in Australia.

On the way to Harajuku, I stopped at the Meiji Shrine, it’s nice but just like the Sensoji temple, just seems to have lost its meaning a bit.

After, I went to Harajuku which is like Camden Market on steroids. I didn’t take pictures whilst I was there as it’s pretty much a lot of shops. However, there is this one thing called purikura, where you go into a themed photobooth of your choice with your mates (or not in my case) and you just pose for a picture as some models do on the screen. The Japanese girls were looking at me like wtf – it probably is something that I wouldn’t have done a year ago but I just thought it’d be funny so I did it.

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I went back to Shibuya after to experience it, this time not trying to stay awake. First, I had some ramen at a restaurant where you place your order on a machine, then gave the ticket to a staff member who brought the meal to me. Pretty tasty.

There seems to be this thing with arcade games and there’s heaps of arcades here; it is a bit uncomfortable being in the room with so many people being so into losing their money but I guess whatever makes them happy. I went into one with claw machines and so narrowly didn’t win a prize – it was hanging onto another toy by just its tag.

I went to Ueono, then off to Shinjuku afterwards to see what the fuss is about, and it’s just like any other place in a big city with heaps of lights. I ate in a few restaurants, had some gyoza, fried chicken, and the name of the meat on sticks I can’t remember. I managed to end up in a restaurant in an alleyway that had room for just the bar and some seats with a tiny BBQ.  Here’s some obligatory food pics:

Tomorrow, I’m off early to the fish market and will probably end up having a sushi breakfast, then off to Akihabara, and from there will decide what to do for the rest of the day.

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Quitting Work to Travel…. Again

Yesterday I finished my last day of work – it really has been nice today not worrying or getting messages whilst I’m not there. I wasn’t going to go out after work, then I thought sod it and go for a couple. I ended up going to bed at 8am, woke up at a friends house wondering why there was a dog on me, then had the realisation that I had told the property manager of the flat that I live in that I’d show potential roommates around. To be honest, I don’t know what would have given the better impression – giving a tour of the place whilst absolutely trollied or turning up late.

Over the week I moved into a new flat; I’ve had it to myself for now but I will have to share the room. As far as sharehouses go, this one is probably the nicest one in the area as it is brand new so I’ll hopefully be happy here for the next couple of months at least.

Tomorrow I’m travelling to Japan and have very little prepared for it. Normally I leave everything until the last minute, but I’ve been non-stop at work so it’s hard to fit in buying and remembering stuff. I’ll post a couple of updates in Tokyo.

Last Friday I handed in my notice, and was asked if I could possibly work an extra few days. Haha no. Last Saturday was a bit of a drunken mess to celebrate, and Sunday I missed the last tram home from work so I ended up at the pub and Maccas on the way home and in bed an hour and a half before I had to be up for work. Definitely not my finest idea.

My last day is the Wednesday after next, chilling out on Thursday and then I’m at the airport on Friday night to land in Japan on Saturday morning. Can’t bloody wait. There’s also a Nando’s in the international terminal at the airport – it has definitely been too long since my last one

Over the last week or so, I moved out of the house share to a hostel as I was supposed to move in with someone who I did my farm work with. Over the first three days she decided that she hates it here and the weathers shit, despite spending three days in bed and she’s moving to Sydney. It’s pretty easy to guess how less than impressed I am – luckily the property manager of the house share said I can come back, and I’m viewing a flat with my own room tomorrow so I have somewhere to move to.

This coming week I have to work, but it’s going to be nice to count the days down.

It’s been a while…

It’s been almost a month. The finger has healed fine and I don’t really have much to show for it besides a dent in my thumb if you look closely.  Its taking some getting used to as I can feel what is now missing whilst putting pressure on it.

Japan has now been booked up; I’ve said heaps of times that I want to go. Over the last month I’ve been consistently pissed off with my job as it isn’t letting me enjoy Melbourne and my job role is actually something that I hadn’t fully agreed to. It’s not a story to put on the internet as I’m pretty sure that I am no longer in the good books, but it feels really satisfying to have said that I simply cannot be fucked anymore. Tomorrow I’m handing my notice in, my last day is on the 27th, then I have a late flight to Japan that week.

I’m staying in Japan for ten or so days, planning to hit up Tokyo for the best part of a week, then I think I’m going to Fuji early in the morning and leaving the next day to Kyoto, then back up to Tokyo to catch the flight back here.

You Live and You Learn – Or In My Case, You Don’t

Once again, I have sick note for work. And yes, it’s because I cut myself.

I was promoted at work a couple of weeks ago to run the kitchen at work; I kind of see it as the same job I had in London – just on a bigger scale, people to manage, and more shit to deal with. The next couple of weeks are going to be challenging, but if I can get my shit together and turn things around with a team behind me it’ll be great.

Last Thursday I managed to sprain some of the joints in my neck (I don’t know how) which I worked with for five days (again, I don’t know how). On Tuesday morning I was tired to the point of not being able to hold a conversation for more than two minutes and was pumped for a day off, which I was told I looked like I needed one – there hasn’t been a day where I’ve not been at work for three weeks. I was at work, cutting a block of palm sugar which is pretty tough and cut the sugar as well as part of my thumb off. To be honest, it didn’t look or hurt that bad so I just had it bandaged up pretty well and worked on it for five hours before getting sent to the doctor. I even managed to make a plate of gnocchi which ended up on the instagram page during the time I was bandaged up. The thumb was pretty well bandaged up to stop the bleeding which took around a day, but have a sick note to reduce the amount of work I do which hasn’t exactly been abided to.

The next few weeks are going to be work heavy – it’s a good career opportunity that is in front of me, and in a while I’m going to see if I can get sponsorship. I’m working upwards of 50-hour weeks at the moment; it’s tough but if I work towards the goals that I’ve been set then I’m pretty sure that I can do a good job of it.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve not done a lot so it’s a short update.

Last week over my days off, one which I spent in bed, I went to the Aardmans Exhibition at the ACMI which was pretty good. There’s a few things that Aardmans have done that I’ve not really heard of, and have only really watched Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run –  it’s quite interesting to see how they develop the characters. Since I started travelling, I’ve met some people from up north and I wonder what their accent reminds me of. It took me watching Chicken Run to realise that the accents remind me of the movie, so now every time I meet someone with that accent I struggle to keep a straight face because all I can think is “I don’t want to be put into a pie… I don’t like gravy…..”

 

I also really could not be bothered to cook one night last week so I went about 40 minutes out of my way to Queen Vic Night Market – there’s a lot of food there, and mulled wine, but for me it’s more of a place to stop by for some food on the way home from work.

Over this weeks days off I was intending to do something productive and touristy. One day I shit you not, I slept for 18 hours, and Thursday I managed to sprain some of the joints in my neck whilst doing nothing which I’m still recovering from. It’s not ideal to be recovering from that with work, especially with being advised to not move my neck. I also got a promotion this week at work after being there for three weeks which is great, just heaps more responsibility.

Not Missing the Days of Melon Farming

I’m pretty much going back to working a lot. I’m now on my third week, love the job but I seriously struggle to get out of bed before midday now. As I have been working since February with no holiday, I feel as though I need to go to Bali or somewhere, lounge around and get sunburnt.

Other than work, on Wednesday I went shopping – I got paid so it’s nice to be able to buy some winter clothes. I’m definitely missing the weather, the people and just the shit that we got up to in Ayr but a lot better off down here, even if it feels like the joints in my knees are going to freeze over. Thursday, there were a couple of friends from Ayr who were visiting Melbourne, so it was nice to catch up with them over a $5 pizza, just like the Sundays up north.

Over my days off this coming week I’d quite like to do something productive, although it’s a bit hard to get up in the morning after five days straight of 7 to 12+ hours on my feet. I’m going to try and get into the habit of sleeping in when I start work late – midday/3pm and doing something on the days off, rather than having a repeat of this weeks. I’ll make it to the Aardmans/Wallace and Gromit expo over the next week, the Queen Vic Night Market and one or two other things. In a week or two I may go to Wilsons Prom – the most southern point in mainland Australia (I think) with the tour operators who I did the Great Ocean Road and Grampians with last year, just hoping the weather is good for it. I also want to make it to the Mornington Peninsular, meant to be one of the best hot springs in the world.

Work Work Work Work Work Work

Since last Sunday I have worked every day besides Wednesday and it seems like the perfect career opportunity. It seems as though things have figured themselves out to get me into Melbourne at the time of this job opening – I could afford neither Bali or Japan after my farm work that took way too long and on the street that I’m living on one of the chefs in a restaurant directed me to the Facebook page of where I found my job. Hopefully this is a sign that I’m in the right place and things will work themselves out for the best here.

The new workplace I’m optimistic that I’ll enjoy my time and make some career progress – my trial shift involved me cooking steaks and I didn’t know I could cook them so bloody well. There’s a lot more responsibility for me as the job came with a promotion from my previous position in England; tomorrow I’m running dinner service.

Today was my “day off,” meaning that I covered a shift for someone that I know, then went back to the St Kilda area and went straight to work. I should have two days off in a row coming up so one day I’ll go to the market, see what ingredients I can get and see if I can get a dish on the specials at work. The other day off I should be meeting up with some friends who I haven’t seen in a while.

 

First Week Back in Melbourne – Time to be a Grown Up

This week has probably been the week that’s put everything that’s going to happen until January into place. The job hunt has been successful, I’ve settled into the house and drank a fair bit of wine.

I was looking to work with the agency again but as it’s winter they’re not busy so they’ve said to look elsewhere and to keep in touch just in case. To cut a long story short, I got a job which I’m so impressed with – it’s a really respectable position in a great restaurant, the team seem to be great and I know I will be able to save a decent amount for travelling next year. It’s a lot more professional than my previous jobs – more responsibility than what I’ve been exposed to before. It seems now that the places that I’ve worked previously are starting to get me noticed and the placements and work experience that I did when I was younger are starting to pay off. My hand is still buggered from a drunken injury from a few weeks ago – will probably take a fair few days to finish healing so the next few days will be interesting.

Today, I worked a shift that I saw advertised on Facebook. It was a short shift in a cafe, not difficult at all and really laid back. I’ve mentioned before that my job pays well out in Australia, especially in comparison to the UK. I would’ve been happy with $20/hour and was expecting around $22. It ended up being $50/hour; I seriously thought they were bullshitting me at the end of my shift. This time in Melbourne I’m going to be a bit more grown up with my money; todays shift is enough to pay for a flight to Bali and still have money leftover.

Outside of work related things, I met up for breakfast with one of the girls who I met in Ayr and had a 50 day Snapchat streak with. It was really nice to see her and to be able to shit-talk about Ayr. When she’s in Melbourne for a while we have plans to get pissy on a wine tour of the Yarra Valley together which I’m excited for, we’ll probably do a fair bit together. Tonight I think I’m going to go out for a couple of beers, but as I start a new job today this literally means a couple of beers and nothing like the average night out in Ayr.

Back in Melbourne

It is so cold here.

So on Wednesday last week I flew back here. It’s a long story but a few of us figured out that our money-grabbing hostel owners owe us a fair bit of money which quite conveniently took far too long for them to sort out. So now I have to keep in contact with Ayr to see if I can get like $200 back. Cheeky shits.

I spent the first night here in the same hostel as before; apparently I’m dubbed as the “super guest” as I’ve spent a lot of time there. My first full day I looked at a flat I had arranged to see last week. It didn’t look too bad on the internet, however, the only way I can describe it is something that I really shouldn’t say on the internet. It was a two bed apartment, there was no living room because there were two beds in it – the size of the two bedrooms and living room was comparable to my studio flat in London that just housed me, and this flat had I think twelve to fifteen people living there. Absolutely no chance was I going to live there.

After returning from the CBD to St Kilda, I had a look on Facebook and had arranged a flat viewing for the same day, and I’m living in it now. I’m sharing a room with two other girls, I think there’s around twelve people living here which is alright. If I were living out here full time, I’d like at least my own room, but this is better than what I’ve been living in over the past five months.

When I was younger, a girl in my year 5 class moved to Australia, and I have her as a friend on Facebook. I messaged her in the airport the other day, she invited me to stay the night round hers and have a few (several) drinks with her partner and neighbour. It was great to see her, a bit strange to hear her accent, and to find someone that can swear more than I can. I enjoyed the night and we’ll be meeting up again.

Apart from that, I haven’t done much over the past few days apart from going to buy some winter clothes because it is so bloody cold. I’m talking cold as in I wouldn’t be surprised if a penguin walked through the front door and made itself at home. One of the things that I’m looking forward to seeing in the CBD is the Wallace & Gromit expo, though it is on for a further three months so it’ll probably have to be done on a Tuesday or something in the middle of August. There’s also a Van Gough expo at NGV, but I won’t pay $30 for it.

There seems to be no work available for me this week which is a pain in the arse, and if I don’t get a phonecall on Friday for work, I’ll have to start looking to get a job in a restaurant nearby as I can’t afford to sit on my arse and not get paid for it. It’d cock up my plans for going to Japan next month if I do that, but will have to wait and see what happens.