12 April 2014 § Leave a comment
One of the key differences so far between my life in England and my life in Japan: my work now requires most of my energy. Day trips and adventuring are not as frequent as a result. When I have time to do whatever I want, that ends up being staying in in my pajamas. I admire the other teachers from abroad here who take full advantage of their time off by exploring the UK and other parts of Europe. A part of me, though I hate to admit it, was more motivated to see Japan on the basis of it being Japan (England, you’re still cool though! Don’t take it personally!).
More than anything, I’ve been trying to take advantage of being in London, of being in a big city. A trip to Royal Albert Hall to see Pixar in Concert, seeing Canadian band Walk off the Earth in Shepherd’s Bush, a poetry event at the Southbank Centre to listen to five poet laureates, film screenings in Soho, improv comedy at the Comedy Club, overpriced ramen, a long walk around Kew Gardens.
Along with enjoying London, I’ve been trying to figure out what I actually want to be when I grow up. After having spent four years studying English literature at University, I find myself leaning towards specializing in maths, particularly where students with weak numeracy skills are concerned. This has come as somewhat of a surprise to me.
Nonetheless, I want to continue exercising my writing skills. I’ve written a couple of film reviews for The Film Circle Reviews (for Under the Skin and the new Robocop). Poetry has been sparse, however. I’m hoping the two week break I’m enjoying now will bring me some inspiration that isn’t solely related to teaching/education.
Every now and again I am reminded that I’m not from around here, especially when I hear words I’m not familiar with, or words being used in a way with which I’m not familiar. Hard graft. Todger. Yorkshire “pudding”. It was fun when we were in Canada, having it the other way around. Tom tried on some clothes at a store. Upon coming out of the changing rooms, a store clerk asked, “How’d you make out with those?” Tom: “Sorry? That’s not what I do with my clothes…”
13 February 2011 § Leave a comment
A fun day exploring today. It was one of two consecutive days off. A nice break from training. I decided to go check out one of the close by parks – Tennoji Park. Unfortunately, to access most of the park, there is a fee, but there are also other paths that are fenced off from the park that sort of still go through it. I took a stroll through there, and then we ended up in another shopping district, but I can’t remember the name of it. It was neat. I took pictures. Wandered from there into Den Den, which is Osaka’s electronics/manga/anime district. Not being too much into any of those things (except some really outdated manga and anime), we didn’t wander into many shops, though did accidentally walk into an adult DVD store, thinking it was a regular DVD store. Saw an old man walking a cat on a leash. Walked past a large cemetery and temples.
Finally went out for dinner to a really cool restaurant. I have no idea what it’s called, but everything on the menu costs 299 Yen (and a few Yen on top for tax, of course, but not much!). It was sort of like tapas, I think, though I’ve never actually had tapas. We chose a bunch of items and shared them. Tapas-y, yeah? Anyway, amazing. Had some sushi, gyoza, a couple noodley dishes, little shrimps, edamame, and what we think was little breaded bits of octopus. We will definitely be going back.
We had to wait awhile to get in there because it was so busy, so we had just over an hour to pass beforehand. We wandered around the area and eventually found another really nice restaurant. It was one of those restaurants where you have to take your shoes off, and you sit on the floor on a cushion, and you’re in an enclosed room with sliding doors. The type that you hear about or see in the media somewhere but don’t see around much, at least in Southern Ontario. We all agreed that that was one of the first things that made this feel more like the Japan we all have in our heads. Being in Osaka is sort of like being in any other big city. And even though none of the four of us speak the language, we are all able to get by fine because a lot of Japanese people here can speak a little bit of English.
It was a pretty cool day.