Sunday, July 31, 2005

Claire's last day

After elbow-greasing scrubbing my bathroom, cleaning and vacuuming, I met up with Cheryl and Claire in Sanners and we headed to the Kobe City Museum.

The exhibition was 'Masterpieces of the Museum Island, Berlin - Visions of the Divine in the Sanctuary of Art". It was very interesting and featured paintings, statues, limestone carvings and an Egyptian mummy case. The condition and detail of some of the works were simply amazing.

We went to the stand-up noodle bar for Claire's last tempura udon there. (But she will be back, we've been told).

I really appreciate how Claire made the effort to make us feel more at ease when we first came to Japan. Giving us advice, gardening enlightenment (maybe just me moreso), heat rash cream, useful pointers about where to buy things, recipes, her barbeques, healthly exercise schedules and other survival tips.

Thanks Claire! I'll miss our afterschool cuppas and chats (but not the 5 flights of stairs to your apartment). Will see you back home!

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Saturday in Sanners

With the countdown on, I headed into Sanners to buy presents for family and friends.

I met up with Cheryl and Claire and we headed to this random shop (sorry I forgot the name), kinda like a big shop that sold everything and anything. It had food, alcohol (really cheap mind you), shampoo & conditioner, branded goods, perfumes, toys, halloween costumes, stationery, electrical name it, they had it. Say, how about a school girl uniform? yep. Hmm and a karaoke dog that starts singing when you blow on it? yep. Inflatable bondage chair with hardcore S&M toys? yep, right next to the plush Winnie the Pooh cushions. I kid you not. We were dumbfounded at how easily accessible these were to little kids, especially right next to the innocent toy section! Shocking, amusing - sorry folks, no gifts from that place for yous.

We met up with Lisa and she took us to a Turkish Restaurant. The course set was very filling with a variety of dishes. Walking off dinner, we found The LockUp. I'd heard about this place but have never seen it before. It's a themed restaurant designed like a spooky cave with monsters and skeletons, where you get handcuffed and taken to your 'jail cell' room. The staff are dressed in black & white striped prisoner outfits, with some of the chicks in patent police uniforms complete with hat and knee high boots. There's scary music and sounds playing in the background and most importantly, the drinks are served in beakers, test tube sets and pipetes - just like high school chemisty.

Very interesting day, perhaps too much for one day.

*meltdown* Posted by Picasa

Lisa the mad scientist Posted by Picasa

Claire & her beaker Posted by Picasa

me & my crackling fairyfloss drink Posted by Picasa

Cheryl with Dr. Jeykell & Mr Hyde Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 29, 2005

Friday night festivities

Today I dropped by Claire's house after school.

It'll be my last time there with Claire in it. It was so clean and empty. Usually we always have a good chat and a few laughs over a cup of tea. But this time she was getting ready for her farewell party with her teachers and I was picking up some stuff (damn girl! how many books do you have?! hehe) to help lighten her load.

I headed to Sanners to meet up with Kaz. He took me to 'Aarti', a lovely little Indian restaurant with tasty food and thick, mango lassis. After dinner we had dessert and coffee at the Deli Cafe and this time I tried the Strawberry Pannacotta.

After saying goodbye to Kaz, I headed to Polo Dog for Sammy B's birthday. They had started up at an tabehoudai-nomihoudai izakaya and were winding down at Polo Dog. Congrats on getting black belt & Happy Birthday Judo-master!

me & Hana Posted by Picasa

me & Sammy B Posted by Picasa

Judo-chop! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Reaping the fruits of my labour

So today I finally picked all 3 ripe cherry tomatoes from my balcony garden (which is slowly dying because of the heat).

I ooohed and aaahed at their firm, brilliant sunset red, juicy looking goodness - then chopped them up with some of the supermarket variety and tossed them into my pasta. So my tomatoes are small, a lot smaller, than those I buy at my local store but mine were oh-so-sweeter!

Okay I lie. Mine were actaully quite sour but I ate every last bit there was, even if it was with a squinty-eyed, frowny, lip pursing look. Hmm Mmm homegrown goodness.

My tomatoes VS Supermarket tomatoes Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Knock Knock...

...Typhoon #7.

It seems typhoon number 7 of the year spun through Japan but it didn't really thrash Kobe as expected. However it brought much welcomed rain and cool winds. I didn't think I'd be so grateful for a typhoon but this summer heat and humidity is ever so draining.

Today I was invited out with some teachers for lunch. We went to this amazing Chinese restaurant at Maiko Villa, beautiful hotel overlooking the Akashi Bridge and ocean (where my school had the Welcome/Farwell party). Four of us sat on a big round banquet table with an amazing view of the Bridge and Awaji Island. Kendo master-sensei was treating me because of the English lessons I had been giving him.

The food was very tasty and impressively presented. We had a set lunch course of dim sum dumplings (they like to eat their dim sum with mustard! eeeks! I tried it but everything just tasted like a hot dog), scallops and chicken cold platter, prawns and eggplant, fried rice and dessert - I had the mango pudding and mini sweet potato pie - Yum! I was so excited.

That evening the Bakamono club went out into Sannomiya to an izakaya. It was the same place that I went to for my first ever Bakamono-kai and the night of the really crazy typhoon about 1 year ago. The one which nearly ripped apart my umbrella and that stopped most of the trains so we had to take the subway and one of the teacher's wife drove us home.

I only just found out that 2 of the teachers who managed to get to their train that night, ended up being stranded on the train till 3AM because the train had to stop mid-way because of the typhoon.

As with all bakamono-kai's, I really enjoy hanging out with those teachers in a relaxed environment. They are such a riot. Even though I have to concentrate really hard (that doesn't last very long with alcohol) to understand what they are saying, it's good practise for my Japanese conversation ability. They will try to speak English and interpret things for me but mostly I just sit back, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy their company.

Part-time maths-sensei & me with his "not real look smart" glasses Posted by Picasa

Green tea roll cake with adzuki beans and chestnut Posted by Picasa

Bakamono club members Posted by Picasa

On the train with baseball-sensei waving goodbye from the platform Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 25, 2005

Only in Japan


Infamous Japanese beer vending machines located everywhere! Posted by Picasa

Giant bug my teacher found - I think it's somebody's pet. Posted by Picasa

Me & Rui were torn over about getting this top Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 23, 2005


Tonight was the Hyogo AJET annual Sayonara Party at the Kobe Sky Buffet.

It was a great opportunity to catch up with and say goodbyes to those who are leaving this year.

After the all-you-can-eat and mix-your-own-all-you-can-drink session, I headed to Becak then ended up at Sally's.

It was my first time at Becak and it was quite nice. Good music and drinks. They also have a variety of Indonesian dishes on the menu.

Will miss you guys! All the best! Thanks for the good times!
(sorry I didn't get a photo with all of yous)

Zack, me the dwarf, Charlie, Tez Posted by Picasa

Curtis (Congrats on getting hitched and scoring CIR!) & me Posted by Picasa

Dan & me "Australia is very BIG" Posted by Picasa

Brendan, me & Josh Posted by Picasa

Fay (All the best!), Mei & me Posted by Picasa

Byron & Cody - too hot boys! Posted by Picasa

Twista - Rockin' thru the night - buy the album NOW! Posted by Picasa

Katie, Shelley & their boys Posted by Picasa

me & Lisa - the dancing queen Posted by Picasa