Sunday, March 27, 2011

fukuoka & nagasaki

I'm currently waiting for about 14 files of a design project left to upload to an FTP and if I leave my computer for any extended period of time, the connection gets disrupted soooo I thought I'd take the time to write about my belated trip to Kyushu in February.

Since November I'd been planning to meet my friend Becka down in Nagasaki where she JET's in a small coastal down. Since I had to transfer to a different line in Fukuoka, my friend Liz and I planned a small meet-up as well.

By the way, when traveling from anywhere to Fukuoka (i.e. the Shinkansen) ask for Hakata-eki, not Fukuoka-eki. That will take you somewhere out in Toyama-ken. Not the same. Definitely almost made that mistake.

Bourdain; the love of my life

lynch. lynch. lynch. Aka My 葉月 love continues

After I arrived in Hakata after a 6 hour shinkanesen ride, I met up with Liz so we could go to lunch. We ended up at a place called Ocean's Ono. The main requirement to work here? You must be male, and you gotta be イケメン (ikemen = good-looking) as hell. 

This whole spread was about 850yen!

The boys were just as good-looking as the food. Like an all senses buffet. It's about an 8-minute walked from Tenjin Station so if you live in or around Fukuoka or you're planning on making a visit I highly recommend it!

After that we made our way to one of the malls (can't remember which!) for some purikura. Obligatory cloudy!Fukuoka pictures.

Favorite puri with Liz!!

After that it was time to get on the Midori No. 9 line that would take me from Hakata to Haiki where I would transfer yet again to the Seaside Liner which would take me to the small town of Kawatana where Becka teaches. Headed to small family restaurant by her house for a very late but nostalgic dinner.

Hamburg nom

Coffee + dessert!

After we walked back to Becka's, we proceeded to stay up until 5:00am and sleep until 2:00pm. Catching up with a BFFL takes a lot out of you and the two of us are talkers.  I think we only made it out of the house the next day to go to Gusto for dinner.



We'd planned on going back into the same pattern from the night before but instead thought we'd pop into the snack bar Himawari that she lives above. 3-4 hours and several drinks later, we'd managed to sing some Gackt, Green Day and amass several old man fans.

Maybe I should start a cover band after all?

The next day we were successfully and magically up before 2:00pm! Which meant we could actually do something.

I think we managed noon?

Oh oh! But it started snowing! 

Not that it stayed...

The river on the way to her school

Sooo pretty!

Ironically we still didn't plan anything huge because Becka and I are the kind of friends that--since we met almost 4 years ago--need practically nothing to have a good time together. We talk. A lot. So we planned to head to Sasebo to have lunch and shop around a bit.

The bay Kawatana sits on
On the way to Huis Ten Bosch

Kawatana is literally right on the coast and it looked absolutely gorgeous in the daytime with the hills coming right up to the water. The water is also aquamarine up close! I'm weird and really like water and mountains when it comes to landscapes. Don't ask.

Sasebo! The US military base is here so lots of foreigners

Sasebo Burger! Life size ed.

Sasebo is famous for their Sasebo Burger--as can be seen by this person-size replica in the station. Soooo...naturally as Becka and I are both not-so-closet food-junkies, we had to.

Becka!  It's cute, don't kill me!
Derp face :B
The very delicious Sasebo Burger makes its debut

Delicious coffee in a cute cup & saucer

The coffee + burger set was about 1000yen but so worth it! I can't even tell you why the Sasebo Burger is special or unique but it was and it was delicious. The coffee was also perfect; almost as good as Puerto Rico's coffee which is my long-standing favorite.

We walked around for a while and both ending up dropping about 5000-7000 yen in a cosmetics store and Tutuanna. I needed new lashes and a lipstick and legwarmers. And by need I assume that can be loosely interpreted. No pictures because I forgot.

But we did ended up at Starbucks with one of the cutest barista boys ever. He was probably younger than both of us but we ignored it and happily enjoyed his flirty charm. Cheeky kid.

Caramel Machiatoooo

We headed to the bar again that night and sang more Gackt, more Green Day a bit of Motley Crue and a song or two from the Gazette. Found we were surprisingly decent at singing 紅蓮 until we reached the end.

The next day we'd planned on going to a dog cafe in her town but woke up too late so ended up at Gusto again. There were two Rooster boys* at the station in Kawatana. One of them had a purse. Sadly I did not get a picture.

Valentine's Day hamburg-steak

It was a looooooooong trip down to Nagasaki; in hindsight if I had looked earlier I should have tried to find a cheap flight to Nagasaki Airport or something. A 6-hour trip to Hakata by Shinkansen and then about another 2-hours to Kawatana is not easy. But! I'll do anything to see a good friend; especially one that I hadn't seen in a loooong time.

I love living in Tokyo but to but honest, when it comes to visiting places, I really like going to places that not everyone goes to. The hidden places, the smaller towns. You get to see a side of Japan and of Japanese people that you don't always see in bigger cities like Tokyo or Osaka. I'm so proud of her for doing so well down there and it was so good to see a best friend; even if we really didn't do all that much.

Due to the quake + tsunami + reactors, I don't know when my next trip will be but I have traveled a lot and I thought about posting about some of those trips? Osaka, Nagoya, Tokushima, Niigata, Sendai etc.

Does anyone have any places they'd like to see? Or questions about traveling in Japan?

* A Rooster is either a host boy or a boy who looks like a host boy. (i.e. モリモリ (big) hair, pointy shoes, etc). My roomie and I coined this last year and it's stuck ever since. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

3.11 tohoku earthquake

I know most of you have heard enough about the Sendai earthquake on Friday and frankly, I've heard almost more than I can handle so I'll make this brief.

When the first one struck at 2:45pm on Friday, I was at work. I stumbled out of the bathroom and into a shaking room full of half-panicked people and half-I'm gonna work until this building crumbles to the ground type people. Our building is new and strong but we still felt the up-and-down jolting.

The bad kind of jolting.

If it sways, it's probably fine, if it goes up and down there's danger. Myself and two other coworkers ran down the fire escape but two people smoking on the ground floor apparently hadn't felt it.

We walked back upstairs (7th floor) and were shaken up but otherwise fine.

Until the second main quake hit. The first main aftershock which was a quake in and of itself. Some people tried to keep working but most of us just stopped and kept trying to use the phones/check news reports and the like. This--and near constant--tremors happened until 6:00pm when I finally left the office with two of my coworkers who also live in Ikebukuro.

Trains were down, grabbing a taxi was near impossible. Even if you got a taxi it'd take you just as long to get back.

So we walked from Kojimachi to Ikebukuro. About a 6mile walk which took about two hours; nothing compared to the 7 hour walks people I know had to go through, though.

It was terrifying when it happened but I'm really, really thankful I was at work when it happened; surrounded by people who cared about me and an incredibly concerned staff of superiors who made sure everyone else was okay before making preparations to return home themselves.

When I returned home I was beyond relieved to fine my roommate safe and our apartment shaken up but mostly okay.

So this was the basic state of my room. My bookshelf moved about a foot away from the wall, stuff fell over, my glass mirror jumped off my shelf and onto my bathrobe (thankfully!) and one of my frames jumped off my wall above my bed. Needless to say nothing is hanging over my bed right now.

The damage in Tokyo is minuscule compared to what Sendai, Aomori, Iwate and others suffered. We were very, very lucky. I love Sendai, love Sendai and I can't believe that this has happened. 

But the danger isn't over. My friend has been mailing me since Friday asking if I was okay and to continue exercising caution. It was really sweet and at first I wasn't too worried. Until he sent me a message around 2:00am this morning.

There's a 70% chance that a 7 could hit again within the next three days. My mentor/boss called me and said that our division head had contacted her and that work was "come in at your own discretion tomorrow". She is easily one of the hardest working people I know and she's decided not to come in. I told her we were probably going to Nagoya for a few days. 

So we are to stay with a good friend of mine. Just in case. 

My mom wants me home; part of me wants to go. But I'm not ready just yet. If it gets worse, at least I have all the stuff I'd need to leave the country. 

But I hope & pray it doesn't come to that.

To everyone here, please please be safe and if you aren't here but know somebody that is or even if you don't, pray for them, keep them in your thoughts, even wish for their well-being. It's all we can do. 

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

birthday haul

Oooh my gosh, the time the time! Where does it go? I've been doing a lot lately but sadly nothing interesting enough to post about on here. Plus some good things may be happening by way of my dreams actually coming true but I'll have to post more about that a bit later; when things are more concrete least.

For now, I'll post my birthday haul! I am in no way made of money and neither are my parents but my mom got me a lot of really lovely things for my birthday.

Make Up For Ever
NARS in Isolde and Silk Road
M.A.C in Woodwinked
Urban Decay Primer Potion
Kate Spade Makeup Bag
Betsey Johnson Keychain
Juicy Couture Necklace
Juicy Couture Earrings

So so so happy with my haul. Love my momma! :3
Gotta get to bed early tonight but I'll try to reply to comments this weekend!
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