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It's been a long time.....

It's been a very long time since I touched this thing. I do have about ten thousand things to update on. But time has been an issue, also Facebook and twitter took over from blogging so I haven't had the need to update here too. I should do though, as now I have a shiney new ipad2 which I can type on anywhere and update anytime (social networks took over from traditional lj blogging).

So in a quick rundown, I'll name some awesome or maybe not so awesome things that shave occurred since last we met.


Belly dance has been going extremely well. I've performed a lot... I can't even count the number of times now... But I love it and I'll continue it as next I can.

I also went to New York with my international besties and had a great time!!!!!

Art wise...wow that's a big area of my life that's improved. I've been in many many art shows over the last 10 months. My favourites include a shrine in Inuyama where I made an installation of digital illustration work coming out of the ceiling and stairs. (this went down really well), and a cafe in the same building as the famous store Loft.

I also got through round one of a flag art competition in Gifu and my artwork can be seen at the station even now. I was picked out of about 200 applicants. I was so very pleased at that. I met the famous artist Hibino Katsuhiko and got through the presentation process without messing up (all of this is in Japanese).

Then... Last week I participated in GEISAI which is Takashi Murakami's art Market. This acts as a platform for new and young artists. I was very lucky to be allowed to participate as there's a strict screening process. I met some wonderful people, Takashi Murakami himself and also a few Japanese tv stars and Japanese artists. I've decided to also participate next year too. It's such an incredible process that not everyone can participate in. I was one of the lucky ones that could. I was also the only and possibly the first foreigner to do so and the only one with an entirely digital booth.

So yeah....art stuff is going fantastic. I never thought I would be able to where I am now, as being foreign its hard enough to know where to go, let alone be expected for national competitions and show work in Tokyo at one of the most powerful artists in the worlds art Market.

But....that is not at all what the purpose of this post was.... I have an even bigger change in my life.

I have attained the highest level of foriegnerness... I have gained the exclusive and super rare achievement of : 正社員 (seishain) in a Japanese design firm.

Now I probably should explain this a bit... In Japan you can work in a company but not be an employee of said company. You are a dispatched worker, or a temporary worker. Now these employees can have their contracts terminated at any time and the job security and benefits are not what you would expect.... Then there is part time workers and then support staff. Finally there are the company employees. These are a special breed... These are the employees that can go up and down the employee ladder, can get bonus, responsibility and a whole lot of company benefits.

To attain these positions is a difficult process of tests, interviews, second interviews and all sorts. For Japanese people it's a hard and gruelling process.

So imagine me, a Scottish girl, studying Japanese in her spare time, not at all Japanese, and hasn't taken a japanese degree.

I tried out for a design company that I wanted to work for. I went through the application process. I was taken aback because I sent my portfolio, cv, and picture and they still wanted me for am interview and test... I went for the interview...I thought, wow, this was a nice experience I can use in the future..

And I got the job!!!!!!!!!!!!!

......state of shock...

I got the job. I'm foreign, the odds were against me..but I got the job...

So, I'm starting work in April in a design firm in Nagoya. I'm so excited. It's hard enough to get a job in design in your own home country, but I we t and got one in Japan. Shocking especially as a I don't have that much experience too. It's the first industry job I've applied for, and Ive been successful too. Words cannot express how happy and relieved I am.

I'm really looking forward to starting work next year. But first, I have to study up on my design, Japanese and enjoy my last few months of freedom before I become an employee of a Japanese design firm.

Ps. The firm has real life size figures from Toy story and transformers trucks...and space invaders on the Walls... It's going to be awesome!

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Paris!

I haven't really been in updating mood, but I did get back to Japan a few weeks ago.  The flight was long and tiring but I got back. I really need to keep updating but I've been so busy recently.

Anyway, I did go to Paris when I was home. It was my first time going to France so I didn't really know what to expect.

The flight was really really quick and painless. However getting to the airport and trying to figure out what bus to get was really hard.

We finally got to our hotel area, which was right next to the Arc de Triumph, or Etoille in French (yeah, I had no idea it was called that either).  It was beautiful.



Stunning.



Everywhere there was scooters!!!!! So cute! I really wished I still had mine.



We walked down the Champs de Elesse. (can't spell!) and saw all the fancy shops. Louis Vuitton anyone? The head quarters!



We found a Christmas fair and had some extremely nice food.



Waffles anyone? They were really really tasty! Mum loves her waffles!! :D

We unfortunatly were bipased by the bus that we were going to take to sight see, but we did catch a river cruise down the seine. It was soo cold but stunning.



Notra Dam! Gorgeous!



Effiel Tower! It sparkled at 8pm. It was stunning.

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Merry Christmas

Going back back...to Scotland Scotland.

Time is going seriously fast and I have a to do list as long as my arm. However my christmas shopping has been completed and I did finish the JLPT N1 test last weekend.  So thats got me happy. However I look at my schedule and I see I have not one single free night until I leave and even so, the night before I leave I have my last belly dance rehearsal. ahhhhhh! 

So far, my plans for Christmas consist of :

December 21st - get home at 9pm and sleep hopefully.
December 23rd - Shopping with gran
December 30th - Edinburgh with mum, going to see Hairspray
January 3rd - 5th Paris France with mum.
January 10th - Go back to Japan 3.10pm

Thats it.  I'm a bit worried about all of this snow business just now. I hope it goes away so its easier to travel up and down to Dundee etc....  Hence why I haven't made many plans. Plus I have no idea where many people are or what they are doing. Anyones free to come to glasgow to see me though :D?? But that probably won't happen lol.

I must say though, this year I have killed it in the Christmas present department. However I shouldn't have, as all the money I have spent on Christmas totals about..........4000 pounds... eek. :( I wish I could save.... Please buy me a drink when I'm home...it might stop me from going bank rupt when I come back to Japan. I'm living on pennies and credit cards this winter... eeek....

Anyway, I better get ready for work now. Looking forward to going home.  Not looking forward to probably losing my voice again this year, or the jet lag from hell where I end up getting up at 5am every morning and to bed at 7pm... jet lag fail.

If anyone has any suggestions for the remainder of my time, please let me know. I'm at a loss. Better start looking at trains again! Why is Glasgow to Dundee so expensive? Its aweful!

Oh yeah, have a Merry Christmas card from me. Its being exhibited in Nagoya just now, but I'm selling these postcards off to visitors.  Already sold alot. :D Happy days.

F.A.E 25 2010

Last weekend it was the 25th Foreign Artists Exhibition in Nagoya.

After a really long week of prep and studying I got my stuff up to the center and sorted. Unfortunately I couldn't be in the gallery all week as I had work, but I did manage to go on Saturday and Sunday.



Me with my wall. 

I also had the opportunity to show my animation off.  We had a room on the 3rd floor and quite alot of people came to watch it. It was nice to see the reactions of others.  They seemed to really like it.



Animation Charlieeeeeeee! Yey.  The set up was rather nice.



Obligatory profile. Also saying that you could see my animation :)

I did some sketching on the Saturday so I got some new designs to work on. We had a bit of a quiet spell which was nice. Apparently 1200 people came over the week to look at the exhibition.



It was really fun to speak to other artists in the area and the public about their opinions.

On the Sunday I got visited by some friends and some people from Belly dance. Manaka gave me a lovely cookie set which was super tasty! I also got a lovely set of balloons from Yumi too. Balloons are awesome.



Balloons in Balloons. Very awesome.

I was extremely touched.  It was nice to have friends come and see the exhibition. I missed a few people unfortunately but it was lovely to read comments from them. I have a load of ideas for next year and the next exhibition which should be soon. Just gotta keep plugging on at it! 

Thanks to those that managed to come and visit the exhibition. It was super fun!


In recent events...

Its been a tough few months. The last 2 months Nagoya has been host to an art event called Aichi Trienalle. Every Tuesday I've been running off to help the supporters club and organise art stuff, see presentations, meet art people and generally just have fun. Its been a great time, but its been pretty busy, especially when I've had work during the week. However, worth it! I've met so many nice people and made some new friends in the art world.

Anyway, one of my favourite exhibits was Pip & Pop, which was made out of sugar/powder.







This was actually pretty small but there was so much in the area. It was really impressive.

On the last night of our supporters club we had a fancy dress event and danced and decorated the art cafe AT cafe in decorations. It was pretty fun.



Me and Haruyo, one of the other volunteers.

In recent events though, I've been super super super busy. The JLPT test (japanese test) is next month so I've been busy studying for that.  I also had to finish all my projects for the Foreign Artists exhibit. I went on Sunday to set it all up and they were kind enough to suggest that my animation was shown too. So for the next week my illustration and animation is up on show in Nagoya :) Yey! 



I spent alot on the frames, but I think it looks a whole lot better than last year. This year I've put only digital work up.  I'll be at the gallery on Saturday and Sunday to help out and see the reactions and mingle. Theres a closing party on Sunday that I'm looking forward to as well.

Other than art, and networking. I've been belly dancing like crazy. Last week was a belly dance show at the local culture center and then a few days ago at a shopping mall and then in a few weeks another show in another mall. Its been hectic as before it used to be a case of, a lesson a week. But I've found something I love doing and I'm actually kinda good at it. We've been learning dances like crazy, so now I'm up to 5 complete dances and yet more and more keep coming. Its fun!

I better sign off now and go teach some English, after that its to the gym and onsen (naked hot springs) followed by yet another night of working on art projects. Its starting to get cold here so its out with the blankets soon too...

Oh yeah, shall be home next month for Christmas. Really looking forward to that! 
Things have been crazy in Jenny land.  I haven't had the time to travel, update, do fun things or actually sleep for a long period of time.

Let me tell you why...



Yes, its that time of year again. I've been busy working on my artwork for the Foreign Artists Exhibition in 2 weeks. Oh but not only that, but I have to do a presentation on my artwork in Japanese at a PechaKucha Event in Nagoya. The website is : http://pecha-kucha.org/night/nagoya/ But the details aren't out yet. Theres a potential for alot of people to see my work there, so I am super nervous about it. Its a wonderful opetunity so I think I just need to go full on artist mode and get my work noticed. In Japan its not a case of looking for a job, applying and going through the interview process... its more of, go to a mixer, meet someone, get chatting, find out they have a friend with a job opening, and get to apply that way. So in a way, finding a job in Japan is 10000% times harder than back home. Add this to the fact I'm foreign, I don't fit into the social ladder of Graduate - job - sign life away and my Japanese is good, but not the same as another Japanese person. So yes, I'm at the severe disadvantage.

Fighting this feeling of being at a disadvantage is an uphill struggle. But I'll get over it. I don't really have an option. Until I get where I want to be, then I don't really have anything else to do but to give it my all.

Ah, I forgot. Belly dance is going insanely well. I've been dancing alot with the advanced classes and actually on Saturday I'm dancing in 2 songs in a show. One with Viel and one with, get this, feather boas. Its really fun. Hard work but fun. I've been dancing at least 3 times a week for practice and been having a ball. On Sunday I danced from 10am to 4pm... I was shattered. Monday was belly dance again, Tuesday a break and then tonight its back to belly dance. When I get back to the UK maybe I'll do some dancing for my mum and friends. Its super fun.

Other than that. I love my car. Its super cute. RIn is doing well too, but unfortunatly he had a lil car accident inolving a deer so he was a bit shaken up. I don't get to see him so much, but its ok as we're both super busy.

Lastly...I'm taking the JLPT N1 test this year. The top level of the proficiency test.  Recently I've been wondering, HOW DID I GET TO THIS LEVEL??? But I'm not going to think too hard, I'm just gonna study my socks off and if I pass I'll be the happiest girl alive for a few weeks. Japanese is really hard, in case you were wondering.. Its not easy... But I seem to be able to click with it. I don't get it. I guess I was a ninja before...

Anyway, thats my morning time up! I need to run to work now. Have a nice week! 

Hakone - full of evangelions apparently...

I abuse my journal...I really shouldn't... So its update time.

Summer has now officially ended, and I've still not updated about what I did.

At the start of Summer, Rin and I finally got to travel together! Because hes just started work as a teacher he hardly gets any time off and I never really see him. But we had 3 days off together! So we headed over to Hakone, which is over near Tokyo, or rather was but isn't so much.




First off was to Owakudani. Which is a gigantic hill with hot springs that smell like eggs and pretty much make you ill if your there for a long time.



Mmmm smelly steam.



Guess who is Asthmatic? Why yes...me! It was really really hard to breathe.



This water is really really hot.

The extremely famous part of Owakudani is the eggs....



These eggs are boiled in the water and turn black. If you eat one your life expectancy is extended. I don't actually like eggs but I thought a few extra years would be nice.



mmm yummy eggs. Also Naruto stuff everywhere there...

Next it was off to have a mini adventure on a pirate ship. It was a very one piece adventure.





The boat trip was so long though...so after a while we were sick of it.



Next up, Hakone shrine! woot woot. Possibly my favourite part of the trip as there was a gigantic gate that you could look at.



I was very calming and just astounding.

Later on there was fireworks, but the place was so crowded that we couldn't stop and watch.  It was the first time that I saw fireworks released from the water. The reflections were amazing.

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I should update but..

Its super hot here.

I don't have much motive to do anything as it is stupidly hot. Hot, humid and unbearable. Bring on the typhoons!

Anyway, I'll just post my biggest news. I passed my driving test. It was a complete struggle, but I passed it. Don't ever take your driving test in Japan! Its super tough.

To mark the test being passed... I bought my first car. Its a Nissan cube and its super cute. I've had it less than a week, and I want to drive it everywhere. I guess thats what happens when you get a car.







I also got an iphone4. Oh hello sexy phone, and my art stuff is just going pretty well.

However I will save that for another time. For now, I have updated some, and although its only 10.30, I am exhausted and will go to bed now.

Its so hot...just stop being hot Japan. Please. Especially Gifu. Hottest place in Japan...:(

25.....!

Last week it was my birthday. In fact it was my 25th birthday (hello to feeling particulary old!).

As it fell on a Monday, I had an action packed weekend filled with fun and friends and apparently Gundams.

To start it off, Migs came down from Nagano on the friday. Whilst enjoying some beers and yakitori, we decided to go in search of the Gundam bar in Gifu. Gifu isn't exactly that big a place, so for there to be a gundam bar there..is simply remarkable. After asking many people about it, and about directions, we made it there around 11ish. It was Gundam time alright!

The bars name was SIDE 6, and although expensive. Was amazing.

First off, some business men decided to dress us as gundam characters.




Matilda and Char apparently.




The bar was lined with gundam toys.




Giant Gundam anyone?




Being a character in a Gundam bar is awesome. Even if you don't understand who they are.




The barman likes to dress as a maid at the weekend. He looked pretty convincing as a woman...we were slightly surprised at his awesomeness in a maid outfit. They had just installed a new karaoke machine, so we spent until 3am drinking, singing and talking about how the ages of the characters in anime, never grow old and its strange to think about it now. It was generally a very very geeky evening, where I kinda wished I had watched more anime to understand...but meh I'm not that kinda girl.




But I am the kind of girl who will dress up as a gundam character.

After a little sleep, it was time for driving practice.. Its insanely hard to get a drivers license in Japan...so this practice was very very much needed. At night it was a certain friends wedding party which was fun, Spent a while making a video of her past pictures and videos from Gifu uni and messages from friends around the world. Also did some belly dancing too, which was fun, but super embarrassing. however the best bit for me was going back to mizuho city in Shimpeis RX-7 listening to the Fast and the Furious ost. Niiice. More drinking was had at mine, before birthday bbq!!

Shopping was done smoothly, as previously I bought lots and lots of meat from the meat guy in Nagoya. Of said meat, some of it was from Australia (crocodile meat...yummy!). We went to the shops and got roughly 30,000 yen worth of food! Unfortunatly not many people brought drinks.. BYOB doesnt translate I guess... but it was all good. Migs had given me a musical speaker bear so I used it to listen to music at the BBQ. There were also alot of jet skiiers at the river, it was pretty cool to bbq, swim and watch the jet skiers.




Lots of people managed to turn up. Although Rin had to go home early as he had a work event at night.




Shame, as he never go to go swimming! (dress was a present from my mum and dad :D)




I got presented with a pretty awesome 25 donut, donut cake!!







Trying to eat it with no hands was tough!

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Scootering it to Gujo

I've been lazy with my updates... I see this now.. woops..  I hope I can catch up with them.

We're hitting the summer period of hell now... currently its the rainy season. When they say rain, its more like monsoon... as the rain just falls down from the sky as if a bucket has been tiped over. Its pretty bad. Although its usually about 30 degrees at the least during the day. This will quickly go up to 40 degrees in a few weeks. Fun for all the family. August is usually the killer. Its extremely humid here... its pretty bad.

A few weeks ago I took my scooter on a tour of Gifu. When I say a tour, I mean I just took it to where rin lives. But that in itself was a 3 hour journey (ok so I managed to get there in 2 hours as I was speeding). It was a beautiful Friday afternoon and the roads ran right into the mountains. Very nice. The next day I took a ride around the town by myself on my scooter.



On the way up to the top of the mini mountain where the castle was.



Gujo castle.



The view from the castle. It was pretty hot and I ended up sunburnt. The oval shapped building is the gym in Gujo Hachiman.

It was slightly lonely but walking about Gujo Hachiman by yourself was kind of refreshing after a while.



The town is built around the theme of water. Theres lots of areas where you can drink the water going around the town (this is not as disgusting as it sounds).



This being one of said little drinking areas.



Plenty of fresh water.



This is in the main part of the town. Pretty nice view.



Lots of people like to go swimming and jump off the bridge into the river. I'll be trying that nearer the summer I think.



Also whilst walking down the street I found a deep fried godzilla (yum). I got talking to some of the store owners who were all pretty nice and were trying to get me to drink some free sake (I didnt!!).

Gujo is pretty nice, but I wouldn't want to live there. Theres nothing open past 8-9pm every night and theres not even a Mc Donalds (something that there are far too many off in Japan).

However, seeing as both Shimpei and Rin are up there now, I'm sure that I will be visiting them alot, or at least once a month. Thankfully shimpei has a really nice new car that I wouldn't mind going to visit!



My Scooter seems tiny in comparison! Nice new mazda rx7. I'm very envious.

Currently I'm studying for my driving test to take at the end of the month. The driving test here is insane, with so many tiny rules to follow and things that you can slip up. I'm taking it easy over the next few weeks. Most people pass on the 3rd or 4th time, and the process is very expensive. Heres hoping that I can pass it. I already have a car lined up (in the form of Shimpei's family's car), so I have the incentive to drive and pass the test. I really hope I can get it on the 1st or 2nd time, but then thereafter theres the 3rd part to the test where you have to do a paper test and a driving test (after doing the same earlier only on a track course). Japan generally is stupidly expensive when it comes to the basic things like learning to drive. All of my money is going into driving just now.. which is really annoying after paying so much out in the uk already..

Other than that, life is the same old same old. I'll update later, but for now..I have to get back to work! 1 hour to go and I want to get revising again in that hour (when I say work, I say study....because I don't have work to do at this school.).




Belly Dance, Scooters, and Mountains.

Whats the one thing that screams out, I HAVE to do this when I'm in Japan?

Why of course...its Belly Dance at a shopping mall in front of hundreds of people!

Yes... My life in Japan now includes dancing at shopping malls. In fact, I'm super suprised that my life includes...dancing! Its not really something I ever imagined myself doing. But I like it, and we should do the things we like yes? Within reason of course. So about 2 weeks ago, I was belly dancing at the local shopping mall at 3 in the afternoon in clear view of everyone.





Yes, That was me, dancing in front of alot of people. Some friends and some work colleagues. I was so nervous that I forgot to smile half of the time. But damn did I do a good job! I didnt stumble, fall or mess up at all! This is me...un co-ordinated girl here!



This is our dance group. I may appear large in this picture as true to form, Japanese people are tiny. Go me with my big fat foriegn body!

I had alot of fun, but it was so nerve wracking. The next dance is in August so I'm hoping to pick up a new dance for that. Its so much fun to dance and to learn new things. I really hope that I can get the hang of it fast and be an awesome dancer. It all takes time and effort I guess. Next month I may even buy some new belly dance outfits. But this is subject to money issues.

That night, we had Rin's birthday party! Well when I say party, it was more like a few friends round to celebrate. However Rin was very very fashionably late as he had work. First off, we made an awesome cake. In previous years I had made him some very strange cakes. One of the most famous being a green banana ufo type cake. This didnt go down too well, but it was memorable. So this year, going on the theme of erotic we made this;



A blue Icing cake with mushroom chocolate decorations, gummies, pudding chocolate and the crowning glory, A no skirt Evangelion Misato. :D



The back of which had a mario with snot :) Snot icing! This Mario lolipop is chocolate of course. All in all the cake outdone previous cakes which I'm happy about. I wonder what next years cake will be like!

Afterwards we headed to a yakiniku place (korean bbq) had some food  and me and rin drink alot of beers to celebrate. Overall I think he had a nice birthday. I even got him a tracksuit for work which he desperatly needed. In Japan teachers wear tracksuits to work. Not normal clothes, tracksuits. Its like NED teachers. Honestly. I of course don't wear ned clothes!

Last Friday I finally got to see the new SATC2 movie, which I was happy about. It was ok, nothing special, but I'm glad I got to see it. We usually get movies about 4-10 months after they are released abroad...so its really annoying especially with facebook and twitter etc.



Although when I went to see it, everyone laughed at the different parts...because of the subtitles. Strange how some jokes just do not translate.

In other news, Lush Japan has been making my life bareable. Almost everything I own is Lush now. Mainly because I know it works well and it won't bleach my skin like most Japanese products do. Only problem is that its expensive here... Its nice to know that you can get some things from home here.



Even if Irn Bru is not available...or mars bars.

Last week I didnt feel to great though... I don't know why but I've just been secretly very very lonely. When Rin was down we bought a PS3 together (yey I own a PS3 now!) so we're sharing it and I'm taking it up to his when I go so we can play together as well in his current job even going outside isn't possible as he has so much work to do. Its really frustrating. You would think that having a boyfriend alone makes it less lonely. But nope, it makes it kind of worse. But the PS3 will ease the pain in Winter hopefully! The JET year however is coming to an end and alot of my friends are leaving to go home and on to other things. Its kind of sad in a way. Relationships here are simply temporary. Usually everyone you get close to leaves to go home. I'm not saying that I wont be friends with them in the future, but theres a time limit on the things you can do with your friends if they leave in July... :( Its really sad to think that in a few months I won't be able to see such and such as they won't be in Japan any longer. Thus is the life of a foriegn person in Japan I guess. I am so lucky however to have friends like Shimpei, Ikue, Akina, Minori etc a I do see them on a regular basis and I know that they won't  exactly be running home as they are home! Its also nice to look forward to things with my international best friend Kylie :) We're planning on going to New York next year! Exciting! I must lose weight for that.

Becase I've been on my own alot more these past few months, I've been exploring the area on my scooter. Which I love! I'm planning on geting a licence for a car soon, so I'm enjoying the last few months with my beloved scooter. On Saturday I climbed a mountain on it. It was super fun!



This was taken at the top of Mount Kinka. Isn't  my scooter beautiful? Its so nice and easy and feels great to ride (I am turning into my parents...).



Gifu...taken with my phone.

This weekend I'm planning on traveling to Rins by Scooter. Thats about 100km on a 50cc scooter. I'm sure I can manage somehow...but its pretty long distance. Maybe 4 hours? Fingers crossed it doesn't rain!

Anyway its lunch time...better get my lunch on before the next class. Other than that, life is normal. I go to the Gym alot as usual, I draw and I watch drama's and socialise when I should be saving money. Its now 30 degress most of the time, so I'm looking forward to a nice hot summer. Fun times! I do miss Scotland occasionally though. Man I would kill for some Irn Bru!

Belly Dance Video and Random Ramblings.

So...recently I've been belly dancing alot.  So much so, that for some drunken reason I ended up dancing at a friends bar for their 3rd birthday since Opening.  I had a great time and I got to drink alot of tequilla which made me happy. :)  The performance in itself was nerve wracking, but once I got into it, I was fine.  I had friends around me and even Shimpei and Rin came down from Gujo to see me dance. It was a good night.

The entire routine I coordinated myself. The song was Shakira - Ojos Asi (eyes like yours) and well, it was fun. I unfortatly don't have a video of it to show you or many pictures, but I do have a video from the previous performance that I did with girls in my belly dance class. If you look closely, I'm usually in the background in the blue skirt with the white gigantic belly. Yes, thats me.

We'll be performing again at the end of this month, so its back to belly dance training this Sunday. Its a lot of fun though! I guess I found myself with a new and interesting hobby.





In other news, I've been working out at the gym alot, Belly dance has been going good. I occasionally go out and do things and I'm constantly worried about learning how to drive here. Its such a hassle to try and learn. I already know the basics so I'm trying other methods where I don't have to pay thousands of pounds to re-learn. My flat is usually clean, I cook my own food and I sit and watch True Blood and SATC whilst doodling. Generally my life is just the standard.

I also occasionally do silly things and go out drinking with friends. However now that the JET year is coming to an end here, I'm going to have to say goodbye to alot of friends here as they all go home. This is the worst part of the JET program. People leave and go home. So I'm ignoring that this will happen this year.  However this also coincides with my birthday..so its not going to be the overly fun 25th that I really wished for. 25 this year...thats a big age. One of those, you-should-be-getting-on-with-things milestones. Clearly I'm not doing that though. But I guess that can be my 25th birthday wish. I have alot of tough decisions on the way. Really tough ones.

Life with Rin is fine, but rather than life with Rin around, its more like Life without Rin at all. Hes Still in Gujo and hes still working all the time. Since the end of March, we've not done anything together.  I blame this partly on the fact that hes Japanese, partly on him being a teacher and largely on him being uneffecient. Which well, this is the boy that sleeps until well...I don't know actually. He never wakes up properly. So yeah, life without Rin is ok. But give me another year and if its still the same I'm sure I'll crack.

Thankfully its Friday now :D So I get to go home, then meet with one of my teachers families before heading to possibly get a hair cut, but I'm not sure at this point. However I do know I'm headed to Gujo to see Rin, and well as much as I like Rin, I don't like Gujo. So yey... un-fun times ahoy! The place doesn't even has a convience store thats convient. I don't even think it has a super market. Fun times. (well his area at least...).

For now...Sayonara!

Ikebukuro, Geeks, Clubbing and Gyouza!

Tokyo Part 3!

On the last-ish full day of our trip to tokyo. Martin was super hungover. So myself and David went to explore the local area.  We also went to try and get our fortunes at the Asakusa Shrine...but all we got was.



Bad fortune.... sucky!

Luckily in Japan if you have a bad fortune, you can just tie it up on a wire fence and forget about it.



So that is exactly what we did.

No more bad fortune!

A little walk on and we found the gegege no kitaro shop! Awesome! Some of my favourite characters.



Kitaro's father is his eyeball. I <3 this series.

Yet again another lucky find was...



A mini ninja show. Fun fun! The Ninja's were hot too!



But not this guy...

After some wandering and eating, we headed to Ikebukuro to go to Namja town. We stopped off at the park first. IWGP is one of my favourite drama's so I was happy.





Playing with the fountain. I am..very very white in this photo...

Click for some geek stuff and Gyoza Stadium!Collapse )
Its another Golden Week Update time! Sorry about taking so much time, but now I have the added advantage of being able to steal Martins photos and use them here :D (THANKS MARTIN!!).

The next day, us Geeks went off to Akihabara to see some crazy stuff. Now Akihabara is probably my least liked place in Japan. I hate the fact that its so crowded and I hate the weirdos, the porn and the maids. But this trip seemed fun. Bar some minor Maid problems....



I couldn't resist....I just couldn't.

Neither could the boys it seemed.



This screams...welcome to Akihabara...for sure.



So does a window with Sex dolls and maid outfits.



and Anime inspired lube...

And thus is why I dislike Akihabara.  I fell out of the "I like anime phase" in my 3rd year at university and went the complete opposite when I came here, in actually disliking it. I blame this particulary on akihabara and the fact that over here, Otaku is actually a bad phrase for people that make others sick half of the time.  Japan is weird in this sense. Theres so many social problems with Otaku and also hikkikomori (people that stay constantly in their parents or their own houses and never leave) that its hard to continue liking anime once you've tasted some of that aspect.  Otaku isn't as glamourous as everyone thinks it is in other countries. Its acually very sad.

But I digress.

After entering said sex shop (where photos are banned). We found the legendery Dirty Panties Gatch Gatch machine.



For a mere 2000yen you too could have your own Dirty panties! Yum Yum!

Luckily after a spot of shopping at the 8 floor sex shop, we went onto the main street and found a gigantic Rilakuma!



Rilakuma is quickly taking over from Hello Kitty in the popularity stakes. I particulary go for the bear rather than the cat.

After a spot of figure looking in the shop, we headed off in search of a decent maid to take us to their cafe.

However we spotted this cute one! So we decided to go there.



However she forgot to mention that there was the skankiest foriegn maids ever in the cafe...so we quickly ran away.. I don't mind foriegn maids. I do mind that they are ugly, skanky, don't have make up on, haven't brushed their hair and look stupid in maids costumes. I do think that maids in Japan are just odd and the whole fascination is weird, but somehow Japan's maids + foriegner maids = wrong.

We ran away fast from here...

Then we found it.. Pinky's cafe...

Click here to go to the Pinky Cafe website.

Where we had some burgers, had a cocktail of sorts and then watched a mini concert where one of the girls ParaPara'd (an extremely silly dance with over exaggerated arm movements), one Sang an extremely long song (where some of the members in the cafe joined in and tried to look up her skirt, and the other sang an AKB48 song (the akihabara band and  danced about).  We really couldnt have ran out of there fast enough once it had finished. But I do think we picked the best place to check out maids in their natural habitat.

After that Martin took us to a retro game shop.



Where he failed at mario.



This seat of cartridges was awesome though.



Solid Snake was also there.

More pictures and clubbing in Shibuya.Collapse )

Geek Golden Week - Harajuku and Shibuya

It was Golden Week last week (the main national holiday week :D) so I took the opportunity to go to Tokyo to meet up with Martin who was over for a holiday.

The surprising thing was that when Martin was checking into the hostel in Asakusa he Bumped into another traveler from my Computer arts course! So the three of us went around Tokyo together. It was pretty random as its TOKYO! Seriously! Stuff like that just doesnt happen :) But it was pretty awesome.

So first off we headed to Yoyogi park to see the rockers as it was a Sunday and they were out in full view.







Some of the rockers out in the park, it was pretty wild and there was a group of denim and leather rockers dancing it out.




This bulldog was pretty cute.




Some of the cosplayers on the bridge... lame lame and lame. Because the police put a stop to the cosplayers and the rockers, there wasnt as many as there used to be. But this guy in pink... wrong in so many ways!

We then headed to the Design Festa Gallery to have a look at the art work.




The art on display was good. Had some drinks there and then off explore.




There was plenty of far, wrongly dressed foreigners.



Off to Shibuya for some drinks. Darth Vader adverts everywhere.




The New Uniqlo store was awesome. One Piece T-Shirts ahoy.




We then went to the Lock-up which was a prison based restaurant. We headed in and there was lots of scary things jumping out at you and David and Martin were handcuffed by the hostess of the restaurant. We were then taken to a tiny prison cell for our meal.




Some of our drinks :D thats a mixing kit for cocktails.




Eye ball drink.




Yummy Yummy




Martin




David, the mad Scientist!

During the meal the lights went out and music came on and some scary monsters started came in and scared the prisoners. It was pretty cool. We has Jason come in and also some sort of werewolf type person. It was awesome. Even the food had themes to it. The salad came with dry ice dressing. It was coooooool as.

After the lockup we headed back to the hostel for a well deserved rest, in a capsule hotel!







Small and comfortable but super hot at night! Tokyo was 20 degrees at night! Back to normality then.

Awesome First day in Tokyo!

Naruto! and Belly Dance!

At the end of our trip in Shikoku we went to Naruto. (not the ninja).

Naruto is famous for whirlpools, so after getting up super early we headed towards the Naruto whirlpools.







These are the whirlpools.




There was lots of these narutos.

The sea was pretty blue too.




Jelly fish.. ewww...

Also...in Naruto...you could get Onion ice cream.



Which was disgusting and had to be thrown out pretty fast.

We only dropped in at Naruto as it was on the way back home. It was then another 10 or so hours that we got home!

Last week I took part in a belly dance show. It was the first time that I'd performed in front of people. It was pretty scary but there was a lot of nice people and interesting costumes. There was a lot of glitter on show and flesh. The dancers were really good, some even with balanced swords on their bellies and candles in their hands. It was really really good.

I ended up dancing with 8 other girls. The dance was to a song called Aiwa.




This was my costume. Unfortunatly I didnt have the guts to go without the black shrug. Maybe next time.




With my head dress.

The performance went well, but I did mess up a little. I was so nervous! Maybe next time I'll get it perfect. I think there will be a next time!

When I get a copy of the video I'll be sure to put it up. It was a great night, I didnt feel like I stood out like a big foreigner white girl either which was nice.

Lets go to Shikoku!

So....Rin and I went on our last trip with him being student. We decided to go to Shikoku!

As it was a 3 day weekend, we decided to go by car (shikoku is one of the regions in Japan, its down south).

We kind of failed on the traveling part as it took 12 hours to get there!

but it was worth it!



After a long time in the car we slept in a freaky almost horror film like hotel before waking up the next day to go to Naoshima, the art island.



Having fun on the boat with jumping poses.



This is Yayoi Kusamas famous pumpkin! It was huge!




This is the famous architect Tadao Andos toilet. It was pretty impressive.



Even the ceiling was impressive.

We went to see the House Art project which was a bunch of houses designed by famous architects from around the world. In one of the houses there was a big wide pool with numbers in colours that flashed. It was pretty awesome, pictures were forbidden but I managed to sneak one.



This was another one of the houses, which was my favorite. It was all over the place and inside there was a gigantic boat.



There was even a gigantic Statue of Liberty.

Read more...Collapse )

Live at Plastic Factory



Last Sunday, Raven, Rin and I played at a bar called Plastic Factory at their open mic night. :D

We'd been practising for alot beforehand but this was the first time that we got to play in front of people. There was about 30-40 people there and after a few long island iced teas we made out debut on stage.

Oh our band name is The Banana Muffins. We have a banana and 2 muffins in the band...thats why ^^




Rin was vocals for 2 of the songs.






Whereas I was bass.





One of the artists Kouhei drew us on the pc while we played. Which was kinda cool.




Some of the crowd.

We played 3 songs in all.

Blink182 - Always
High Standard - My first kiss
Green Day - American Idiot.

I was vocals for American Idiot, and even though I forgot most of the words I feel that I did ok! We had alot of people bopping up and down and also some people sang along too. Overall it was really fun and we got to have a good laugh. Rob also joined us and took these photos for us. We then got slightly tipsey and waddled home at 10ish to find the trains were stopped because of a death...but...we managed to get home regardless!

We had such an awesome time! I hope we can do it again!

Just a quick one.



Recently things have been a bit hectic so I haven't been able to post much. But big news first. I got myself an imac, finally! Its a bit difficult to work out at first but I'll get there. Next up is a MASSIVE graphics tablet.

Other than that my time has been spent crazily between, the gym, playing bass, drawing new illustrations, and belly dancing. Oh and of course work.

Next month I'll be belly dancing in front of a crowd! The dance is rather difficult but its fun and the song itself is actually kind of cute. I recently ordered some belly dancing outfits so I'm already sorted costume wise. I showed my belly off for the first time last week too, so I'm feeling on the whole positive about it. I've been doing belly dancing for...5 months now, so its pretty exciting to be doing it at a live event. Its a little bit daunting doing it in front of people and with extremely skinny japanese girls, but I'm getting used to it.

Band wise, I've been playing in a band with Rin and Raven, so we have plans to play at an open mic night tomorrow, which should be fun. We've been practicing for a while now. I hope everything goes well!

Works going fine, I've recontracted for another year so I'll be in Gifu as a teacher until Summer 2011. Then its off to get a new flat and hopefully a new job! Unfortunately Rin found out his position for work and its nowhere near me. So thats a tough one. I'm learning to drive again but everytime I go to book lessons its always super busy and not apparently you cant book lessons at all until april... So much for Japan being super convenient.

Anyway for now, its off to eat a buffet at a posh restaurant and....then karaoke all day :D Fun times.

Shizuoka Strawberries

It was a public holiday yesterday so a few of us went off to Shizuoka for the day on a trip to eat strawberries! We were up pretty early to catch the bus, but we made it and after a few stops we ended up at a wasabi store.



First off we found Wasabi Kitkats. Which...were rather disgusting but kind of edible!



Me and Rin had fun eating them :) Yummy.....not so yummy...wasabi kit kats.





This was the wasabi plant statue outside the store.



Wasabi Mayonnaise.



Wasabi potato crisps.



Wasabi cheese sausages.



Rachel enjoys some nori :P



After visiting the wasabi store, it was lunch time! We were off for all you can eat sushi :D!

Picking strawberries and fish!Collapse )

Trip to Hakuba, Nagano.

Last weekend was super random. We got a very cheap cancelation at a Japanese Ryokan (hotel) that had breakfast and lunch and a skii lift pass in Nagona for 6000ish yen. It was super cheap. So....Rin and I went off to Hakuba in Nagano (where the olympics were) in search of some snow and a place to snowboard.

So on Friday, at the grand time of 2am.. we drove up to Nagano...I slept most of the way, but poor Rin continued to drive and we arrived about 9am.



Wooo pretty mountains.

We got to the Ryokan and checked in. Then it was time to snowboard! Surprisingly in Scotland I never once Snowboarded or went skiing. So this was my 3rd time to go snowboarding. Lets just say I was kind of scared to be going again..seeing as the last time I went was a year ago.



Our ryokan.

After getting our gear sorted and passes...we went up to the skii slope and jumped on the extremely crowed skii lift.



Me in my extremely fancy snow gear (woo burton). After about 10 times of falling, I started to get my confidence back and managed to stay upright. I have a terrible fear of turning onto my front when boarding. Its more painful to fall frontwards than backwards.  It took a while to get over that initial fear, but half way through the day I got over it and managed to snowboard properlly.



Yup...thats me. You would never be able to tell right?

On one of the slopes it was just pure white powder snow.... So when in powder...have a snowfight!



I lost. This is me under about a meter of snow....



more recognisable now eh?

Nagano and reggae photosCollapse )

Trip to Nara.

2 weekends ago I went to Nara to see a festival called Yamayaki.

Its basically when the hills grass is burned off to mark the start of spring. Nara used to be the capital of Japan years back, and only 2 and a half hours to my house, so I really don't know why I didnt go before. It was nice to go away and see some more culture.



First off Laura, Jodie and I checked into our cheap and very lovely hostel before walking up the road to find some shrines.



This was one of the first shrines we came across, in Nara park.

Nara park is very famous for the fact that deer run around freely and you can buy special "senbei" (crackers) to feed them.



This was a little boy getting friendly with one of the deer.



We decided to get some senbei and try it ourselves.



But just as we got out the senbei we were approached by every deer in the vacinity.



They dont really leave you alone after you give them a senbei.....





We then headed off to see the Great Buddha which was situated on the other side of the park.

More pictures of NaraCollapse )

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I <3 Berlin

Just after new year. I went to Berlin with my Mum. Kylie and Jenny were and still are currently touring Europe, so seeing as we were both in the same continent, we decided to go to Berlin.

Early in the morning on the 6th, mum and I caught a flight to Berlin, with absolutly no idea what to expect.

The flight took 2 hours and soon enough we were at the airport. After a struggle we managed to get the train to Zoolichster Garten where we then got a Taxi to our awesome Hotel. In Germany, most people speak a little English, thankfully. The train system confused me to no end!

First off, time for some Beer!



Unfortunatly Kylie and Jenny were running late, so we had no option to sit and have a few beers in the hotel lobby before meeting them :)



Then it was off to Alexanderplatz for food and sightseeing.  It was great to see Jenny and Kylie again, aldo David (Swedish one) came too!



Kylie and David with the "beer tasting" set.



Mum and Jenny.



Sausage and Sourcrout... Sourcrout is...strange but edible. It was a very good meal. German Beer is pretty nice!



Followed by Gluhwein. Warm Spicy Wine. It was awesome.

Then it was time to walk about the area.  We found a frozen fountain.



Kylie and I went inside the fountain.



It was very haunting at night.



Sitting in the fountain.



This was a church. We didnt know this until we were turned away from it.

Berlin and a whole lot of beautiful graffitiCollapse )

Scotland Part 1 18th - New Year.

Good Afternoon from Sunny Gifu! (Sunny yet Snowy....)

After 36 hours of traveling ( I counted...how sad) I Finally got back to Gifu where Rin picked me up and we went for Ramen and I died.

The flight coming back was alot easier than coming out. I didn't seem as exhausted and the next day (after 4 hours or so sleep) I went straight to work.  I had a wonderful time at home.  A truely wonderful time.

As it was the festive holidays and alot of people were busy etc I didn't get to see as many people as I may have liked to.  But I saw alot of people that matter and for that I am truely happy.

I got back to Scotland on the 18th and after a few days of settling in and fighting the sleep deprivation that was causing me to be non functional at 8pm at night, I went to Dundee to see some friends. Walked around whitespace, bumped into Gregor, Went for dinner with Sensei and friends ( Martin, Malcolm, Chris, Kirsty, Rob, Pete, Nomi and Deji) . Drank at Dukes corner (the old Doghouse) met up with more friends (Amy, Mike, Neil, John, Iain) and then went to Amy, Mike and Cathals CASTLE of a flat where I scared Neil with my monster impressions. It was awesome. Especially the running around the stone pillars and the drinking the bottle of champagne and the eating of all the biscuits and then again with the running around the flat.   I also got to see Cathal in the morning before he was going home to Ireland and his Girlfriend which was nice. I missed friends!   I then went to have lunch with Karen before going back to Glasgow to maybe see Gemma but that fell through, so I didn't get to :(. But I did get to watch films with dad and crach out on the couch.

The next day we went to the Pantomime with  Chris and Bob.  It was like a Scottish Pantomime, with all the local Glaswegian accents and voices.  They even had Black Eyed Peas "I've got a feeling" as one of the songs.   We went to see Pinoccio, which was on at the pavillion http://www.paviliontheatre.co.uk/xml/shows/shows.asp?id=20091202

I don't think Robert really liked it...but that didn't matter! :) Afterwards we met up with dad and then it was off to dinner. Hunters Chicken and some Cider. Yum Yum. 

Then there was Christmas.



I had got these months ago for my family. How cute do we look :) I bet your Christmas didn't look like that!!





I don't think dad liked his so much...

After opening many many presents ( mine included Socks, Pj's, weird badges and things from my brother, bags, gloves, etc) we had Christmas dinner.



(Rin also got me a Tiffany's Key Necklace....very expensive and posh and loved!) I got lots of cool things like a Diary and just well...everything! Maybe didn't need so much chocolate though!



Mmmm Christmas Dinner.  I love brussel sprouts!!



Mum, Dad, Uncle Iain, Robert, Gran and Aunt Chris were all present for Christmas Dinner. We even watched Dr Who at the request of Aunt Chris.  Then it was time to say goodbye and everyone went home.  Me and Bob watched one of his Dvd's...I can't remember which one for the life of me now but I remember it was good.



Boxing day was spent in Dundee meeting up with the Kids and Karen. (The kids being my lil cousins Ewan and Emma). Look how Cute she looks there. She never tells you that shes secretly wanting to jump on you!!!



Me and Emma. On a rare occasion where she allowed me to photograph her.



Mum and Karen in the kitchen with the wine.



Dad asleep on the couch.



we then played party games.   This one was musical chairs. We also played musical bumps, pass the parcel and musical statues.

All of those games were lost....to the kids. But thats the way it should be! Its not right if I can win at Musical Bumps!!

Ewan and Emma were great.  We played War, Dress up, Ewan's ps3, james bond, football, skateboarding, and all sorts.. I had alot of fun with the kids. Even if they did think that Rin was a boobist!! We made him a video to tell him so too... he really enjoyed it.

The next day we got up, ate and had a round of bowling.



Emma, Ewan and Dad. I lost the bowling. Oh well!  It was nice to see Karen and the kids again.  I just wish I could have spent more time with them. But maybe next year.

We then  hurried back to Glasgow to meet up with Gemma, but I never got to see her, oh well. Then....it was off to see Cat and Tom in Edinburgh!

In the morning I went off on a search to get a belly dancing outfit...but got lost and asked at one of the wiccan shops...not only did she point me in the direction of the Belly dance shop...she gave me 3 belly dance outfits for free!!!!!!!!!!!!! So that was an unbelievable highlight of the day!

Then I met up with Cat and Tom :) It was so good to see them again. We went to the Jekyll and Hyde Pub first off for lunch. (stealing your photos here Cat).



Going through the Bookcase to get to the haunted Toilet!



We worked our way through the 7 deadly sin Cocktails :) I think we did fair enough!

Then we went to continue our pub crawl to the Frankenstein bar and then to another restaurant where me and Tom met our fate at the hands of what we thought would be a small-ish Pizza...



I mean...LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THAT THING! we had decided to go for a slice of pizza...but seeing as this was cheaper...then we went for it..and boy could we not finish it!

Then it was off to the last bar, in the old Cinema for Kahlua's on the rock and lots of knatter. We met up with various friends of Cat and Tom's but somewhere down the line they always disappeared O_o maybe we ate them.  Did get to see Miquette, Rob and Aoffie though too which was nice.

The trains unfortunatly were extrememly late..so we had to kick about for a while. Oh I got an awesome book about Themed Restaurants in Tokyo which is a new project I'll start on when I go to tokyo next. To go to them all!! :)  It was great seeing Cat and Tom though.  I wish Japan and London were closer.

(Cat's post on the day can be found here; Cat's Blog )

Then it was off to....I dont know..what did I do again? I went shopping again :D:D:D:D Then I headed up to Dundee for the last time (OH noes!) I went up and had an amazing Pancake place lunch with Louisa (YEY) where she gifted me in lavishes of Dior Perfume and frame sets and brushes and things. (I smelt awesome coming back into Gifu).  We went a little shopping and raided Monsoon for clothes. Of which we were successful. I met up with some of her other friends and then it was off to see Kirsty and Malcolm in the flat.  Kirsty was working on photoshot and Malcolm was being Malcolm and doing 300 things at once :P I brought up some wine for them as they got engaged recently (OMG ENGAGED!) So that was super nice. I like Kirsty's ring, it sparkles.   We hung out in the studio, drank wine and then headed out to Bert Wednesday (basically a night out for gamer type people).  I got to see more of Louisa and also Iain, Rob, Martin, Cathal, Mike, Amy and Neil. Then it was back to the flat full of cats and then to Lunch the next day with everyone.

The trip back to glasgow wasn't so bad as I was reading Twilight (oh yes...I've been reading it). Then mum and I picked up a Chinese before sitting down and eating it.  It was yummy. I love UK Chinese food.  Its nothing like Chinese I bet, but it still tastes amazing.  I think we ordered too much as we had stacks of the stuff left over. But it was amazing none the less.

New Year was spent at home with a few Neighbours round and Gary and Vikki, Leon, Gail and Aiden, Liz and some people I had never met in my life.  Then some of the neighbours from down the street came and suddenly an accordian came into the picture.  We went to bed about 3.30 and then that was it for New year.


Last post for 2009!

Hello from Scotland! I am having a wonderful time with friends and family and buying stuff! I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas and will have an even better new year!


I guess its time to do one of those round up's of 2009. While I'm stealing Kirsty's laptop of awesome, I shall try and remember what I did over the last 12 months. I'll probably forget something!

so....the best of 2009!

# I still lived in Japan (this will always be cool in my book!)
# I learned Bass guitar
# I played at a concert at the university (sang and played bass)
# I went to Hokkaido to see the Snow festival
# Australia!!!!!!!!!!!!
# Going crazy at the gym and losing lots of body mass...opps
# Started Belly Dancing Class
# Okinawa!!!
# Diving in Okinawa
# Taiwan !!!
# Tokyo !!!
# Rode the worlds largest rollar coaster
# Made lots of new weird friends.
# Met Rins mum (scary)
# Met Rins Dog (made me ill but was mentionable)
# Art Show in Nagoya!! (go me)
# Rock in Japan 2009!
# Saw Rize Live in Concert! YEY!
# Stood by a giant Gundam
# Met Haruna Ai in Odaiba
# Beach party in Tottori which was awesome
# Learned to snowboard
# Saw a giant Penis paraded round a japanese town
# Managed to meet up with Eubi and Migs and Kylie and everyone :D
# Went back to Scotland for Christmas
# realised I have alot of amazing friends <3
# Made a new awesome band :D

Sooo 2009 has been epic. Very epic. What will 2010 hold!! We shall see!

My plans and targets for 2010 are ;

- Perfect my portfolio
- Be more confident in my artwork
- Show my work more!
- Attend more art related events
- Stop drinking so much
- Save money
- Love my body more
- Eat more heathily
- Pass the Japanese Driving test
- Be awesome at Belly dance
- Travel more
- Go to Cambodia
- Apply for art jobs in Japan
- Create artwork for a book
- Go to Thailand
- Go to New York (in 2011 or 2010 with Kylie)
- Have awesome clothes and fashion
- Get Better at bass
- Have another concert ;)

Thats about it! Mainly should focus more on art and not going out so much. Also need to be careful and learn how to save effectivly rather than wasting money on booze, random things I dont need or on needless things. Hoping I get more into my belly dancing as I have a performance in March to look forward too! eeeekk

So...with that. I say goodbye to 2009 and hello to 2010!!

Goodbye Naughties! I have done SOOO much but what will the 10's hold?

ps Glasgow/Dundee is cold. Very cold!

Happy Hogmanay when it comes!

Nagoya Foreign Artists Exhibition Nov 2009

I'm getting super excited as I'll be travelling home on Friday.  Its sooo exciting!

I have a little bit of time at work today so I'll update on the Art show!

In November I was allowed the opertunity to display work in the Foriegn Artists Exhibition in Nagoya.   Nagoya is a large city outside of Gifu that is very city-esque and I think is the 3rd largest City, but I might be wrong on that one.  I was super excited about displaying my work!  I spent most of October making new work and framing and just generally getting used to showing more than 1 piece of work.



On the day of set up though...I realised that I had scratched alot of my frames in transit...so I didnt start off well...I also didnt have my new bussiness cards due to a mail strike in the UK...but other than that I got my work hung and ready to be seen.  I was surprised at the amount of work on show.  There was alot of talented artists on show.  I never realised there was so many foreign artists in Japan. But it was fun.



My Panel!



Complete with Bio and Comments book.



I also put some of my 4th year work up. But generally most of the work was new and created traditionally.  I wasnt sure if I could get away with all digital, but seeing as there was alot of photography on show, then I'm sure I could have.  Next year I'll try for a 75% mix digital, 25% traditional.



I was really pleased that some friends came to see the show on the opening day.





<3 Friends.



We took over the kitchen area for tea and snacks.



I even got a cool little tag for my name saying "artist" I felt privillaged and in a semi secret art club...but not really.

I did feel that I was very shy during the show....so I think I need to work on that for next year.  I met some wonderful people at the show and invited to a few events from the show. I recieved some good comments from some bussiness men, who think my work resembled an animation that recently won an award in Japan from a uk designer.  So I think I should try and submit my work to competitions and also get some new stuff done! I just need to stop being so shy and get on with it!



After the week had ended and I felt bad about not going to the show all week, there was an afterparty! Where people mingled and drank free wine.



I also got a certificate for participating.



Rae came from Mie to see the show! <3



and Charlie from outer space.

Overall the experience was great! I now know that I need to have more confidence in myself and just go with the flow.  I have about a year to create a portfolio and start applying to proper jobs so I'm going to take what I learned from this and try and apply it to job hunting! We'll see anyway! I think I'll be applying to show work again next year too. But for sure with different work.

Thanks to those that managed to come and see the show! It was alot of fun!

Inuyama and Takayama Matsuri Sep-Oct

Hello again, its been a while. I am yet again down on my updates, but thankfully I have a full day of no classes. Yey! Recently Japan has became very very very cold. But just before it changed to the freezing weather it is now, I managed to see a few festivals.

Japan is huge on festivals. Every weekend there is usually some sort of festival happening in Japan. In September, Rin, Laura, Rae and I decided to go to Takayama in Gifu prefecture to see the end of the Takayama festival.  This festival has been voted as number 2 in the ranking of best festivals...apparently. As we were going to the end of the festival then we didnt get to see the full thing, but in a way that was good.

We got up early and we headed in the car up to Takayama. It took us about 3 hours to get there.



Matsuri Lanterns means Matsuri! (Matsuri = Festival in Japanese)



Down by the river in Takayama. We walked through all the back streets in Takayama city to end up in the old section of the city.



First off, some sake frozen slushie type things! Absolutly yummy.



Yum yum.



Before picture time at the River. We met up with Sally on the way.

Inuyama and Takayama MatsuriCollapse )

Taiwan part 2! Last :D

Taiwan part 2!

Hopefully I'll get all of the Taiwan blogs finished today! I just realised I have a bit of a backlog!

After our day trip we went to a really famous dim sung place (steamed dumplings!)



And we ordered everything!



This was the main character guy! :) The dumplings were lovely.

We then went for a walk to find the Taipei 101 building.



as usual the scooters were crazy!



The Taipei 101 building was actually further than first expected.



Inside was a giant mall :)



The views from the top were beautiful.

More Taiwan PhotosCollapse )

Arty Farty Jenny :)



Next week I'll be submitting work to the Foreign Artists Exhibition in Nagoya and I cant tell you how happy I am to be doing so :) I've been drawing more characters and monsters and everything with the FAE being my port of inspiration. I think occasionally I need a little bit of motivation and this was perfect!

Fingers crossed that everything goes ok. I'll post pictures up when it starts.

Today I had a little bit of time on my hands so I decided to update my site and make sure all the information was up to date and ready to go.

I even made a Facebook fanpage. So if you have a facebook account then please add me and follow my work there.

Jennifer.Smiles Illustration and Animation

Become my fan! Please!

I also updated my site : Website

and updated my Deviant art and Behance Behance

So I have been really really busy today in just clearing things up slightly and putting new work up. Take a look and see.



I particulary like this piece :) It looks lovely framed in my room!

On the other front, I'm looking forward to coming home in December. I'm looking forward to it turning November so I can start drinking Starbucks Christmas Coffee and buy christmas presents for the people back home. If theres anything anyone wants specifically then let me know as I'm not bringing much back in my suitcase clothes wise. Of course I will want payment! But if theres some games/figures/manga, whatever that you want (or FF13 or anything) I can get it and bring it back with me on the 18th of December. Food/Drinks are ok too! Just make sure you get it from me!

I'll also be taking my mum to meet my very dear friend Kylie in Germany at the start of January. I'm really looking forward to it. I thought I had crossed off traveling in Europe since I live in Asia now, but a few days in Germany wont hurt I guess! I'm so excited about it. I better try and remember some german before I go, put what I learned at school into practice.

I've also been thinking about what I want to buy myself for Christmas (or rather to kick off my freelance career which I intend to try for). I never did get to buy the apple mac last spring due to some problems with guarentees etc, so I've been waiting for a while to see if the new imac will come out and well it did! Its just a better spec from the other one and quad core, but I've decided, come next spring, I'll have one and I'll be busy getting on with my digital work again.

http://www.apple.com/imac/

The biggest one please! Of course I dont know how to use a mac, but I like what I see and I'm sure I can find myself doing more work on that huggge screen!  I just need....210,000yen first...!!

I also need a graphics tablet! But I'm sure I can get one way later...:)

Anyways, I now have 20 mins left of work, so I better start packing up. This weekend is halloween, which I will hopefully be dressing up as a punk for. We shall see.

If anyone has any requests for things I should draw, then let me know. I've never done a commission and I would like to try and do so sometime!

Hope everyone has a nice weekend!

Taiwan day 1 + 2

In Japan theres alot of national holidays, in which mostly certain alot of the JET english teachers will go on holiday either in Japan or outwith in asia somewhere. With this in mind and an almost weeks long holiday in September. I went to Taiwan. A country I know absolutly nothing about and have never thought about going to. But as it was cheap and easy to get to from Japan and the company was good...I decided to go :) Shana, Heather, Anna, Chealsea and myself all headed towards taiwan for 6 days to stay in a luxuary hotel http://www.hsuanmeihotel.com/



after a short 2 hour flight, we arrived in Taipei airport where we were then excorted to our hotel by the hotel bus and a lovely bloke who we came to know as Alan.

When we arrived to the hotel we were....very very happy!



you could fit 3-4 people in our bath! There was also a TV set!



Playing Kung fu movies!

When we got ready to go, we decided to explore the area around the hotel and work out the money situation and the language situation.



We decided to eat here, on a street corner, where only the guy with glasses could speak a little english. In Taiwan, hardly anyone speaks english....we really should have bought a Taiwanese phrase book...oh well!



We had some sort of beef noodle thing...



and I think pigs skin and some kind of beans... this wasnt so yummy and just generally chewy! More Taiwan picturesCollapse )

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