20 November 2016 @ 07:24 pm
[Japan]: Food, souvenirs, facial masks, doujinshi and manga~  
Hullo again.

As promised here's the continuation of my last entry featuring some of the delicious food I got to eat and the stuff I bought this time.

Why so delicious?

Warning: food porn ahead! XD )

And don't even ask how many times I went to Starbucks!
They currently have a huge tea variation. That was new to me.
I fell in love with the yuzu tea. Had it many times.

The photo above was taken at one of the Starbucks in Harajuku (the one opposite of Laforet).
I like it because of the terrace on the roof which offers a great view of Harajuku's Omotesando. ^^

Yeah, sorry. I didn't take photos of EVERYTHING I ate.
I'm just too used to it, I guess, so most of the things are nothing special anymore, but I'm SO HAPPY that I got to eat the most delicious food in the world again.
Even just the breakfast with raw egg and natto in my hotel made me smile every morning. Had missed this shit so much! ;)

Shopping in Tokyo:

... is dangerous for your wallet! )

The reason why I had to drag 60 kg back home .... )

I really didn't like the series "No game, no life", but this figure is what actually made me wanna watch the anime.
I still love the figure, but I REALLY thought the anime was sooooooooo booooooring. T_T .....

Oh, and I was so happy when I saw this "Nagi no Asukara" artbook, but WOAH, look at the price. ;_; ....

I didn't buy either. ;)

Read more... )

Ok, that's all.
Hope you enjoyed this entry.

[mood]: chipper
19 November 2016 @ 08:17 pm
[Life]: Back from Japan (yet) again!~  
Hey! ^__^

I'm back from Japan.
Not sure if you even knew I'm going, but just like last year I had a business trip to Japan and just stayed a bit longer to have my vacation there afterwards.
This time I stayed there for 24 days, so about 3,5 weeks!

Read more... )

I also got lucky again to see Mt. Fuji while taking the Shinkansen.
As you know, I rarely get lucky with Mt. Fuji. Whenever I travel near Mt. Fuji or to places where you're supposed to see it, I rarely do. I think my success rate with Mt. Fuji is like 5% or so. T_T ...
But for some strange reason I almost ALWAYS get to see it from within the Shinkansen at least. XD ....

Yamanashi, Gunma and Nagano Prefectures this time! ^^ )

I simply love Shima Onsen! )

My time was filled with fun stuff because almost EVERYTHING you can do in Japan is enjoyable for me.
I've mentioned it several times, but here in Germany it's just not the same. It's hard to find things that are fun .... and then those are far away or difficult to obtain etc.
Returning from Japan made me think what the heck I'm still doing here in Germany.

Give me some time to get over my jet lag and think about things, ok?
But some of my friends in Japan already are convinced that I'm coming back soon. XD ....
We'll see.

[mood]: high
20 December 2015 @ 12:40 pm
[Japan]: Food PoRn - haven't done that in a long time! XD  
Hi again!

Just a quick warning, you probably shouldn't have a look at this entry if you're super hungry right now!

Read more... )

But I did not ONLY eat sashimi. I also went for gyoza, ramen, udon, tonkatsu, okonomiyaki and all the other things I had missed so much. ;P

Oh, less photos than I thought.
But I guess I've flooded you with enough photos in the past few entries, so it's all good. ;)

So sad that I don't get to eat any delicious healthy food for a while, but at least I know that I'll get another chance. :333
Hope you enjoyed the photos and are not too hungry now.

[mood]: hungry
[music]: 関ジャニ∞ - ワンシャン・ロンピン
18 December 2015 @ 10:52 pm
[Japan Buys]: Doujinshi, Cat items, Star Wars and more~  
Hey there! ^___^

So as you might know I recently went to Japan and couldn't resist to buy lots of stuff.
I won't only show you what I bought, but other fandom stuff that seems to be "a thing" in Japan at the moment. ;)

I failed big time as I couldn't hold back when I saw the sakura danboard portable battery for tablets / smartphones. I just HAD to get it. (*__*)b
There are so many cute ones, lots of Disney stuff, Star Wars, Hello Kitty etc .... why didn't they have those when I first needed one back in Japan. :( Booh! ;P

More photos ... I HAVE warned you! Don't cry afterwards ... ;P )

I really wasn't sure what to get. I only had two series noted before I entered Mandarake and that was Free and Ace of Diamonds. But what shall I tell you?
As soon as you enter Mandarake the rest just happens from alone, I guess. XD
I checked out most recent series I had watched and as always those were the ones with the most doujinshi. I didn't find ANY Captain Tsubasa doujinshi this time. ZERO! Like ... there was a marker in the shelf, but it was empty. ;_;
Also no interesting Dragonball doujinshi. Not many Bleach ones, either. It's a bit sad to see how older series are slowly dying in the douji world. But it's always been like that.

Not all of the covers are worksafe ... *^^* )

Ok, that's all for now.
Guess that was more than enough anyways.

Oh yeah and keep an eye open because most of the manga and doujinshi will be sold here on LJ again once I've read them. ;P
Though I really don't know when exactly as I don't have so much time to read them right now. I might be able to stock up on even more before finishing the ones I got this time in Japan. ^^;

[music]: Ikimono gakari - Hana wa Sakura Kimi wa Utsukushi
[mood]: high
16 September 2014 @ 12:34 am
[Japan]: Skincare Products and Tools  

As most of you know I'm quite busy at the moment, so sorry for the lack of updates, but I'm still around!

I've been waiting to write an update of my previous Japanese skincare products entry, but just didn't find the time to do so.

SK-II (Max Factor):

When I went to Hokkaido this summer vacation - and it was raining most of the time - I had a lot of time for shopping (too much) and I ended up buying a SK-II trial set.
I've heard about SK-II's Facial Treatment Essence on Youtube and ever since then wanted to try it.
The trial pack with an additional 20% discount on that day (yay!) was cheaper than the essence alone .... although saying "cheap" doesn't cut it. SK-II products are one of the most expensive skincare products in the world. (o__o'') ....

Anyway, whenever I use a beauty product somebody recommended and claimed to have seen changes, I usually never see any on my own skin.
Sometimes I like the product simply because of its texture, smell etc. .... but I can't remember ever using anything where even stupid ol' me could see a difference.

This time I could ... like immediately!
My skin looks smoother, more radiant and just feels much better overall.

But let me first tell you what's so special about the SK-II products.
Read more... )

After using the products for about 1.5 weeks I stumbled upon a SK-II counter in my local shopping mall. They have a tool called "magic ring" which they use to analyze your skin. It's completely free of charge, so I figured, why not try it!
I was a bit afraid to be honest. I'll turn 34 in a few months and I've already first fine lines / wrinkles around my eyes and I can see more are coming through around my mouth as well. (T______T) ...................

Plus .... I know that I've committed so many skincare sins without knowing until recently .... so I was expecting a really bad result!
I also saw that some beauty gurus who blogged about their "magic ring" experience got pretty bad results as well. So, I thought ... if those people who know so much about how to keep your skin healthy and young have already such bad results, I don't wanna see mine ......

After scanning my skin, that's what appeared on the screen:

Read more... )

Ok, that's it for now. I'll keep you updated.
I might go to do another "magic ring" analysis next month to see if there's any improvement. Would be funny if my skin condition got worse after using their products for a while. ...
[mood]: productive
28 June 2014 @ 02:09 am
[Japan Life]: Japanese Beauty Products and Teeth Bleaching  
Hey there!

It's been a while since I've last written a public entry. Sorry about that.
But I doubt there are many people still reading my journal who aren't on my f-list anyway.

In one of my previous entries I shortly mentioned that I bought a few Japanese beauty products based on recommendations like this or that.
I promised to write a short follow-up, so here it is.

Japanese Beauty Products

In the photo above you see some products I bought.

The Cure Natural Aqua Gel was recommended by so many. It's a great exfoliation product. Even for sensitive skin it works fine. It mainly consists of water and is very mild. You just rub it softly onto your face and you'll quickly see small pieces of dead skin coming off.
This works really well and I'm not breaking out after using it at all. No blemishes.
However, what I noticed is that some of the stuff is rather stubborn, sticking to my facial fluffy hair especially around the chin, but maybe that's just me.

Read more... )

Whitening Your Teeth

I also tried to whiten my teeth for the first time in my life.
At first, I tried it using natural ingredients such as rubbing strawberries and banana peel onto my teeth, but that didn't help.

I've also started oil pulling with coconut oil. That's supposed to get rid of all bacteria in your mouth, so you should do it first thing in the morning before you eat or drink anything. Keep the oil in your mouth and squish it around and through your teeth for about 20 minutes. Spit it out. DO NOT SWALLOW as it contains all the bacteria that were in your mouth.
I don't think it did anything in terms of bleaching, but my teeth feel smoother by doing so.
Apparently you can use other types of oil as well, but coconut oil has this antibacterial characteristics and is not disgusting at all. I can't imaging doing this with any other kind of oil.
Have you tried this yet? :)

Read more... )

How I whiten my teeth )

Hope you enjoyed this entry.
Thanks for reading! ^_____^
[mood]: okay
[music]: João Lucas & Marcelo - Eu Quero Tchu, Eu Quero Tcha
28 April 2014 @ 11:05 pm
[Japan Life]: What A Busy Life!!  
Hey there!

I haven't been able to update in a while.
Jeez, I've been so insanely busy! Not in a bad way, but still!
Sooooooooooo many things happened. It will take ages to update, so today's just a very short review.

I can't even remember the last time I was home where I really spent the whole day in my apartment without going anywhere.

Some time in February I went to the Sapporo Yuki Matsuri. Then I was busy with selling things here on LJ. In March I went to enjoy plum blossoms and was still busy with selling stuff, planning my next few vacations etc.
And since then things got really crazy!

Spring Vacation 2014:

I had 9 days off around the end of March / early April and some of you might remember that I said I didn't plan anything and that I had no idea where to go.
The first day of my vacation was rainy anyways, so I decided to stay at home. I ended up meeting [ profile] asahifirsa who happened to be in Japan and nearby at that time.
I came back in the evening, decided to go somewhere after all. Finished booking hotels, packed, crawled to bed and after only 3 or so hours of sleep I was off to Shizuoka.

more photos under the cut )

And once GW is over there are soooooooooooooooooooooooooo many things to do!
I procrastinated everything until after GW!! I need to restart my sales entries here on LJ and continue selling stuff, I need to prepare to move, I need to work on my blog, reply to e-mails and requests and and and .... phew!!!

Sorry for the very short update.

Hope everyone is doing well!
How was your spring vacation?
[mood]: sick
18 December 2013 @ 11:30 pm
[Life]: Permanent Pain is Ruining My Days  
I'm in permanent pain and it sucks so much!

I already mentioned it in my previous entry, but in the past few days it has become worse and worse.
AND I have no freaking idea what is going on!!

My neck and shoulders are stiff and hurt.
Well, that happens sometimes, right? I had that many times before and usually it gets better again after some time without me doing anything.

This time however it's not just my neck and my shoulders, it's also my back, my hip AND the inner side of my left thigh!!!! o_____O'''
The latter one really doesn't make any sense.

At first I thought I maybe had sore muscles, but it just didn't get better at all. In fact, it has gotten worse. And it's only the upper left thigh!!!

I researched a little and there actually seems to be a connection between pain in the thigh(s) and back pain.
However, if you have pain in only one of thighs on the inner side, then it usually comes from playing soccer. WTF????

I swear I haven't done ANYTHING recently that could have caused it!!
Maybe I'm sleepwalking?

"Luckily" my thigh only hurts when I walk or when I touch the muscle(s) there. It's ok when I sit.
However, the rest of my upper body hurts all the time, especially my shoulders and my back. I can't even tell if it's the bones or the muscles, but I guess it's all the muscles.

The issue is that I CAN'T go to a doctor / clinic anymore before I leave for Germany.
I have 3 more days at work and am also busy before work. Then, I have Sunday off and I'm flying on Monday.

I'm just worried how I can manage to survive in Germany with all that pain. It's not a strong pain, but I'm exhausted, cuz it's a permanent pain, no matter what I'm doing, it's always there.
Even if I could go to a doctor before I have to leave, I'm not sure if they could help me right away. And in the worst case I would be told to stay here and not to go to Germany.

Read more... )

I wonder why this has to happen NOW ....... I haven't been back home in 2.5 years, you know? :( .......
[music]: "Rihanna - Diamonds"
[mood]: crappy
20 November 2013 @ 11:41 pm
[Japan Life]: Teeth Issues - Japan (500.000YEN) vs. Germany (0€)  
I'm so annoyed!!!

I don't know what exactly is going on or how it happened, but it's annoying and it also starts to hurt!!

I'm talking about my teeth.
First of all, one of my teeth in the lower jaw moved quite a bit since I moved to Japan, so it looks like there's a tooth gap now.
This is a beauty problem. It never caused any problems and I didn't even notice it until I went back to Germany 2.5 years ago and my friends and family noticed at once! That "tooth gap" wasn't there before. At least not the last time they had seen me.

No big deal.

However, recently I assume some more teeth in my lower jaw have moved gradually. At least some teeth have moved over the time, but I think it's the front teeth of my lower jaw.
But it wasn't until a few days ago that I actually FELT something has changed. While they still look pretty normal in the mirror, they don't feel normal anymore.
I really can't describe it well, but when I close my mouth / my jaw, then at least one of the upper front teeth and one of the lower ones are rubbing against each other every single time.
One of them is "in the way", because it moved so far that it's "in the way" now.

I'm self-conscious all the time, because it's annoying as hell and all the rubbing has made my teeth more sensitive.

The solution might be a dental brace for my lower jaw.
Read more... )

JESUS, gimme a break please!
Why does that have to happen now? Can it not wait a few more years? T___T ....
[mood]: sore
24 August 2013 @ 11:34 pm
Dream vacation with minor obstacles  
Hey there!
How was (or is) your summer vacation?

I came back from mine less than a week ago and it was AWESOME!!
There were a lot of ups and downs, but compared to the majority of my previous HORROR trips, this one was actually quite good!

The downside(s) of my vacation. )

Apart from that I had a REALLY great vacation and here's why:

I finally got to see the beautiful turquoise color of the ocean in Okinawa! Something I wanted to see and experience so badly!
I went swimming in the crystal clear water (even at the beach where they shot the final of Hana Yori Dango - the second movie)!!!
I went snorkeling a few times, even saw a giant sea turtle (which is rather rare where we were snorkeling - at least that's what others told me). So lucky! ^^

Read more... )

I already mentioned that it was raining most of the time, so I decided to go diving because underwater the weather doesn't matter!
It was my first time ever and it was not planned at all! I spent a lot of extra money (I think this was my most expensive vacation ever), but it was totally worth it!

I'm the one on the very right in this photo, in the foreground!

I took a beginners' course and apart from me there was another young Japanese man (roughly 10 years younger than me) who had ZERO experience (as in: he has never even snorkeled before).
The air tank (or whatever it is called) was REALLY heavy, but as soon as you're in the water it doesn't matter anymore.
I was told that my breathing technique was already excellent (it's pretty much the same as for snorkeling), we just had to test if my ears can handle the depth of the ocean.
I can't remember exactly, but I think if your ears can survive 5m, you'll be fine.
My ears hurt, but I managed to "open" them again and again, so I was ready to go for the "real thing".

Read more... )

I already miss Okinawa.
The people there (especially on the small islands) are all so laid-back and the mix of things I know from back home (cows, goats, horses) with the beautiful ocean views is just beyond imagination!
I think I became a fan of snorkeling and diving as well.
I know that I will be back in Okinawa at some point. Can't wait to go again!
I won't forget the time where I rode my bicycle on one of the small islands with the greatest view of the ocean and fresh green all around me, accompanied by beautiful butterflies flying right next to me! ^____^
[mood]: lazy
10 May 2013 @ 12:50 am
My Golden Week Vacation 2013  
Hey! How's everyone doing?

I'm sorry that I've been silent in the past few days / weeks. I think some didn't even notice that I was gone for 9 days and was traveling around during Golden Week?
After all I didn't write about it on LJ, simply because I didn't have enough time.

People who follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram might already know where I've been and might have seen some photos, but here's a short review of my vacation! ^^

As I was so busy and so many other things were going on, I didn't have much time for planning. And most of you probably know that during Golden Week it can be quite crazy in Japan as almost EVERYONE is traveling.
Thus prices for transportation and accommodation or more expensive and you usually have to book far in advance.
Because I couldn't do that this time, I decided to go to Tokyo!!!

I haven't been to Tokyo ... meaning actually INSIDE of Tokyo ever since 2008, I think.
I've only changed trains and stuff, but never actually got off to spend some time there.
While I was such a huge Tokyo fan in 2007 and 2008 - and visited many times - I just had no reason to go back there.

My hope was that Tokyo would be rather empty during Golden Week, because everybody would get out of Tokyo to travel somewhere else, but I was wrong!
I guess all the people who live in the countryside decided to visit Tokyo! (T____T)

Tokyo is always crowded and it's one of the reasons why I hate big cities, but during Golden Week it's even worse!

Tokyo doesn't have so much to offer for a sightseeing geek like me, but my plan was to do several day trips and get out of Tokyo!
I had a great time and another reason to go to Tokyo was to FINALLY meet [ profile] hinoai!!!!! (^______^)b
Read more... )

I swam with dolphins on Mikura Island! )

One of my highlights was certainly THIS!!! I swear it felt like paradise!
I had this on my list for such a long time now and I was so worried because you know my bad luck with Mt. Fuji, right?
The weather that day wasn't perfect. People were complaining about the few clouds that were covering Mt. Fuji, but that's MUCH better than what I'm used to, so I was sooooooooooooooooo happy!!!!

Read more... )

What did you do during Golden Week? :) (And yes, I realize that GW doesn't exist outside of Japan XD ...)
[mood]: content
14 April 2013 @ 12:44 am
[Japan Life]: Magnitude 6 Earthquake  
Hi everyone!

I hope you're all doing fine.
Just a quick update. If you follow me on any social network platform you probably already know about this, but I was awakened at 5:30am this morning when everything suddenly started to shake, my smartphone's alarm went off and outside there was also a loud alarm.
I jumped out of bed immediately, but had no idea what I should do!!!
I saw the big shelf next to my bed shaking like crazy and things kept felling down from it. All that shaking plus the two loud alarms just made me really anxious.

I quickly walked under my far too thin door frame.

I can't remember how long the quake actually continued, but when it finally stopped I crawled in front of my laptop to check what was going on.
I wanted to know how strong the quake was, where the epicenter was and if there's a tsunami warning.
As I don't have a TV or radio at home that was my only option.

Once I saw where the epicenter was, I was really shocked. It was almost the same as back in 1995 for the Great Hanshin Earthquake where parts of Kobe were destroyed and over 6000 people died!!!!

The earthquake was a lower magnitude 6, the one that killed many people almost 20 years ago was a bit over 7!!!!!!! (T____T)

Read more... )

Here are some articles about today's earthquake in case you want to know more:

Experts say there will be a big earthquake by 2014 in Japan and that Mt. Fuji will erupt soon.
North Korea is also getting on our nerves.
It's just not very nice recently, is it?

Hope everyone else is safe!
[mood]: blank
31 March 2013 @ 05:23 pm
[Japan Travel]: Drama, baby!  

So, my short spring vacation of 6 days started as of today.
And I'm quite sure I don't have to explain this to you, but usually I'm out of here ASAP!

So far I left with pretty much the first / earliest train on my first day off on EVERY SINGLE VACATION I can think of in the past 5+ years here in Japan!
Sometimes I even extended my vacation so that I came back on the day where I had to be back at work (in the afternoon).

I always tried to use every single second, every single day - to the fullest!

There are / were several reasons for that:

  1. I knew that I'm not going to stay in Japan forever, so I wanted to see as much as possible in my limited time.

  2. In my first 4 years in Japan I only had 3 weeks of vacation per year (1 week in April, 1 in August, 1 in December / Jan), so my travel time was very limited. On top of that I lived so isolated that day trips were almost impossible. Thus I was always very happy to get OUT OF THERE as soon as I could. That's one reason why I eventually decided to move.

  3. I just came to love traveling in Japan. When I first came here that was not my priority .... it just happened! ;)

But this time it's different. It's already my first day of vacation today and as you can see I'm home!
(Well, it was supposed to rain today anyways. In fact it's only cloudy and very windy, but whatever...)

You might have noticed that I was traveling a LOT this past year. It was really crazy! First of all I had much more vacation than before - almost 3 more weeks per year! And then I also have public holidays off, so that I sometimes am blessed with a 3-days' weekend - giving me a great chance to do some minor trips - and I did! A lot!
Because of moving to Kansai, I'm now very central and day trips (even to Kyoto, Osaka or Nara) are not a problem! And I've done a few of those day trips already.

On top of that I got sick before ALL of my previous vacations last year (I'm sure some of you remember). And I was also extremely unlucky with the weather every freaking single time!
Last April I was hit by a typhoon, in May again - followed by horrible weather for many days. And the top of it all was my vacation in Okinawa this winter! TWO WEEKS OF BAD WEATHER!!!!
I was really frustrated.
Of course I still enjoyed traveling, but now that I have achieved one of my goals (visiting all 47 prefectures), maybe it's time to calm down a bit.

This photo is from last week when I met [ profile] amvn in Himeji, but that's a story for another time! ;)

I've not started planning my short vacation until a few days ago. Read more... )

Sorry, I guess I just had to get this off of my soul! :/ ....
[music]: Cherryblossom - Dive to World
[mood]: cranky
16 January 2013 @ 06:18 pm
[Japan Travel]: I'm back from parad... hell!  

First of all HAPPY NEW YEAR
I hope you all had great holidays!

I'm sorry that I didn't write anything until now, but I just came back from winter vacation last week and then I also had to prepare for the wedding of a former co-worker which was this weekend.
I've been insanely busy!
Hopefully it's getting a bit more relaxed from now. I don't plan any trips until early March, I hope I can stick to it. I really need to relax for some time. It's been a crazy year!

So yeah, I'm back!
And first of all we need to celebrate because now I've officially been to

Unfortunately I was EXTREMELY unlucky with the weather (again).
Almost all 16 days were quite bad. My first days in Saga Prefecture I spent out in the cold snowstorm and from there it was strong winds and rain the whole time.

Remember how much I was hoping to get at least 1 or 2 sunny days on Okinawa?? :( ...
Well, I didn't.
Read more... )

I can't even imagine how beautiful this must be in good weather with actual sunshine!

Yet Okinawa was GREAT!!!!!!!
I really fell in love with Okinawa although I've only been to three islands. I definitely want to go again and explore some more (hopefully next time with better weather!).

more photos!! ^-^ )

Well, that's it for now!
Actually there's so much more to tell you, but I really have TONS of other things to do.
My blog is almost dying. I haven't had time to post anything in ages. I have millions and millions of photos to look through since last summer vacation. I need to renew my work visa this month.
I just bought a car navi, so hopefully I can explore the prefecture I'm living in now a bit more by car (after my "travel hiatus" until March).

It was really a crazy, busy year. Can't remember that I've ever been so busy before!
Especially since November when my family came to visit, I barely had any breaks at all. I need to make sure my body gets some good rest, but I also need to get back into blogging!

Hope you're all doing fine out there!
[mood]: blah
03 December 2012 @ 07:39 pm
[Japan Life]: Busy life and future plans  

I think some of you have already guessed it, but it doesn't look like I'll leave Japan in just a few months (February / March) as planned.
Well, of course it also depends on whether I'll get my visa renewed or not, but if I do, I guess I'm here for another year or so.

It's really hard to describe.
My life since I moved in March has gotten extremely busy. It's not bad, because I travel so much, it's almost insane!
Just looking at the list of places I've been to in the past year makes me realize just how busy I must have been!

Read more... )

It's like ... the longer I stay here in Japan, the less I feel comfortable with going back to Germany.
I just can't see myself leading a happy life in Germany. Of course, I could be totally wrong ... and of course, I miss my home country and I wish I could go back and spend a few months there!
There are many things that are better in Germany and that will become more and more important the older I get (like the social support system, the health system etc.).

On the other hand, I wouldn't be able to keep my current lifestyle at all! I would have to live with the bare minimum of money.
That is because in Germany you'll only get back about half of your salary after taxes. HALF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I doubt I could live comfortably like that.

Read more... )

It's like .... sense is missing in what I'm doing right now.
I enjoy my trips ... I enjoy posting about them ... I enjoy sorting my photos .... but doing JUST THAT doesn't seem to fulfill me (yes, it keeps me busy and I enjoy doing it, but that's just not the same, right?). On the other hand I don't have the time to put anything new into my life.

And in reality .. Read more... )

[mood]: anxious
03 December 2012 @ 12:10 am
[Japan]: November 2012 - Autumn colors and family  
Hi everybody!

Hope you're all fine?
It surely has gotten cold recently - even here in Kansai.

I'm sorry that I haven't been around much, but as I told you in one of my previous entries it's the busiest time for me right now - until the middle of January.
It's mainly all good things, but I'm still insanely busy because of them!

My family came to Japan for (only) one week.
It was the second time for my brother (as some of you might remember).
I was busy creating a good travel plan for them. My brother mainly wanted to see Kyoto and Osaka as he didn't see anything of Kansai last time he came.

I could only spend 4 full days with them because of work. I even took one day off to have 4 consecutive days, but I also did day trips on my working days where I had to leave them in the early afternoon. Extremely busy and exhausting I tell you!
I was the first one to get up in the morning to make them breakfast, then guided them around, then had lunch with them, then rushed to work, worked for 8h, came back home to make sure they had everything they needed, made a list with train and bus times for the next day for the time I wouldn't be around so that they knew how they could come back to my apartment .... and was thus the last to go to bed. PHEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Read more... )

It was dangerous to pass Togetsukyo (the famous bridge) as there were so many people and cars ..... once across the bridge you could observe people taking boat tours, though! ^^

moar photos!~ )

All in all I hope they enjoyed Japan and the autumn leaves!

My printer stopped working and I was about to buy a new one, but my brother managed to fix it.
I miss having people around me who can do things I can't and can help me out when needed! ;____; .....


There's still some cleaning up, laundry and stuff to do now that they're gone, but I decided to take a break this weekend!
Before they came I was in a rush to finish booking all the flights for Okinawa ... and the hotels .... and I barely finished. It was 2am by that time and I had to get up at 4:30am to catch an early train to Kyoto and meet my family.

In 3 weeks I'm already off to Okinawa and right after that is a wedding of a former co-worker.

On top of that I also need to renew my ARC (alien registration card) - or rather get the new residence card ... and renew my visa ASAP!!!!!!!

I really hope I can relax in February for a bit. This year has been crazy!!!!

And how are you all doing?

[mood]: full
12 November 2012 @ 12:24 pm
[Japan Life]: Staying warm in winter  
Hi again!

So, winter is approaching and it's getting colder.
This will be my first winter in my new apartment, so I don't know yet what to expect and how cold it'll really get.
It's already as cold as 16°C inside in the morning when I wake up, so I expect it to be around 8-10°C inside once it's getting really cold.

Luckily I have an A/C with heating function in one room. And that's the room I made my main room (bedroom and working room). It's a bit crowded, but the A/C was the very reason why I decided to do so.
In summer it's easy to keep it cool, in winter it's easy to keep it warm.

I also have a new kotatsu (part of the apartment, not bought by me) that I won't need to use at all. Kind of a pity.
I always enjoyed using my old kotatsu in my previous apartment!

One thing that I noticed, though, is that it gets EXTREMELY dry inside, especially when turning on the A/C heater.
A humidity level of 40% or lower is not considered healthy anymore. It's easy to get dry skin, itchy eyes and a sore throat - and all of that has already happened to me.

In my old apartment I used to have a great humidifier that was also an air-cleaner and a fan heater at the same time.
I knew those thingies were quite expensive so I was happy that the school provided one. As it wasn't mine, I couldn't take it with me when I moved.

Now, I'm struggling every day with the dry air in my apartment and I NEED to get a good humidifier.
However, there are so many to choose from.

Of course, I could go with a very cheap version for about 3000-5000yen. Those are usually quite small, but the size might be enough as my room is pretty small (~ 6 tatami mats -ish ..) and I would only use it in that one room, my main room, after all.

Read more... )

You have to keep in mind that this is probably my last winter in Japan and I won't be able to take the device back with me.
On the other hand I want a good quality product as it's something I'm going to use every single day and night for quite a few months!

Do you have any experience with any of these?
Any suggestions / recommendations?

Thanks a lot in advance!
[mood]: hot
21 October 2012 @ 03:46 pm
Smartphone: Galaxy S3 (Docomo version)  
Hey again!

As promised I try to update LJ a bit more often again.
As some of you know I really longed for a smartphone and a cat.

Well, I think I have to give up on the cat idea for now, but I finally got a smartphone!
It was a long way. I spent so much time researching. Not which smartphone to get (I knew after some research), but which provider I should go with was the big issue.

As some of you might know it's very common to have 2-year contracts only in Japan with providers like Softbank or Docomo and if you break them you have to pay roughly 10.000yen cancellation fee.
On top of that you can't use your phone once you leave Japan because all Japanese carriers have locked their devices, so no other SIM can be used. Most of the time that SIM-lock can't be broken.
To cut a long story short. I found out that Docomo unlocks some of their newer devices for a small fee (3105yen).
I also tried to find the cheapest carrier (with an unlocked Docomo phone I can basically go wherever I want), but after doing a lot of research I changed from Softbank to Docomo.
Docomo is the most expensive carrier, BUT as I bought my phone online and not with Docomo it's already mine and I don't have to pay installments or worry what happens if I leave Japan before the 2 years are over.
On top of that Docomo offers a contract to people who bring their own device that can be cancelled anytime without having to pay a fee! The monthly fee is a bit higher than for the 2-year contracts, but it's a great deal!

In the end I didn't have to pay any cancellation fee to Softbank as I stayed with them for almost 5 years, never getting a new phone.

After a few days my smartphone seemed to be broken and I had to spend a whole day at the Docomo shop. I lost all my data and in the end they gave me a new phone.
I lost so much precious time.

Anyways, that was a very short version of the story how I obtained my new phone.

The Galaxy S3 Docomo version has more RAM and uses LTE (4G).

Read more... )

And here are some Instagram photos, most of them taken with my phone:

A rainy day. The rice fields are empty again as they just cut the rice plants recently. View from my balcony!

Read more... )

If you have an Android phone I'd love to hear what apps you can recommend!
Not only photo related, but in general! It can be totally random apps as long as you like / enjoy them!

+1 more photo )

That's all for now.
More updates to come.

I is busybody ....

[mood]: okay
20 September 2012 @ 11:55 pm
Smartphone: But which one?  

This is just gonna be a quick question to anybody who owns a smartphone and especially to those of you have had different ones and can compare.
I'm not 100% sure yet, but I might get a smartphone after all (see my last entry). Thanks a lot for all the great comments!

In the past few years whenever I was traveling I wished I had a smartphone ... GPS, Google Maps, and an internet connection ... as well as the option to just take random photos on my way and share them on Twitter.
With my current Softbank phone I can check train connections and take photos and send them to Twitter ... which I tried once and then I came back home after a 1 week vacation of doing so to a bill that was almost 20.000yen!!! NEVER AGAIN!

So far I didn't get one because you have a 2 year commitment with any cellphone provider in Japan. I never knew if I would stay another 2 years, but I always was wondering and wanted one.
I also hate the fact that you can't (legally) break the SIM-lock and so the phones can't be used outside of Japan. Once I go back home, it's useless!

I posses an iPod Touch already. It's already quite old. I bought it 4 years ago.
I have a few applications on it that I bought (mainly for studying Japanese back then) and lots of free ones (that might not be available for free nowadays anymore, though).
I like my iPod touch very much, but as I cannot access the internet with it unless there's a free Wifi spot somewhere, I rarely use it for anything but card games and as a music player.

I sometimes show photos to friends or students on it.

HOWEVER, I hate how long it takes to sync that thing especially if I want to get a lot of photos or videos on it.
I hate that I have to convert the videos first.

And I hate that I can't use Flashplayer with iOS!!!!

I have ABSOLUTELY no idea about other OS systems such as Android or Windows (Mobile).

My OS is and always has been Windows, so maybe an iPhone is not the best choice?

I'd like to stay with Softbank Japan, so there aren't that many smartphones to choose from.
You can see what is currently available here.
I heard and read good things about Galaxy smartphones, but they're not available via Softbank it seems.

First I should decide which OS is best for me and then which brand.

Based on what I told you, what whould you recommend to me?

Thanks a lot in advance!
[mood]: busy
15 July 2012 @ 12:29 am
[Japan Life]: Post Japan?!?  
Hi everyone!

You've probably seen this entry coming, huh?
And yes, we've had posts like that a few times already a la "once every year"?!

It is a difficult topic.
And the more time passes, the more difficult it actually becomes.
You'd think that it gets easier, that I would come up with some awesome ideas or future plans, right?

I still have no freaking idea what to do once I leave Japan.

1. Leaving Japan:

I mean, that's for sure. I already wanted to leave 2 years ago after 3 years of being in Japan, but couldn't bring myself to.
And then, last year, I thought I maybe should try and move to a different city to see how life would be there and hopefully get some new inspiration, ideas and whatnot.
It's been quite obvious for a while now that I need to leave Japan.

I'm done. I can feel it. I can't really describe it well.
At least I need a "Japan hiatus".

About feeling lonley, going back to Germany and possible alternatives and more... )

5. And what do you want to do back home?
I will never be able to answer you this question.
I think it would be perfect if I could do some freelancing stuff that lets me live on the countryside (I'd die in a big city for sure!) and gives me enough money to live comfortably.
I have no idea what this freelance work could be.
And my father keeps asking me if I already found a "real job". I would have to listen to that every single day once back home ... probably until he kicks me out ^-^; ...

Recently so many people told me that my graphic design skills are so awesome. Yet, I've never learned anything about it.
I just started out years ago playing around with icons and Photoshop and stuff ..... I love doing that. I love pretty things and I love creating graphics and designs.
I was wondering if "graphic designer" would be an option. But then again .. I'm over 30 and would have to start from zero ... and I also want to keep using my knowledge about Japan and Japanese somehow.

I guess my dream would be to find a job that lets me live in a small apartment in the countryside with 2 cats (or so), enough money to live comfortably, not too much stress, enough free time and a job that lets me put my experience of living abroad in Japan to use somehow.

There are so many inspiring people, too!
Jenya, Jamie, Ashley, Koichi, Ciaela and so many more!
I know that I need to find my own way .... but I have no idea where I wanna go ... and I'm also not sure if I'll ever make it.
For example, despite having no time I applied for Tofugu's internship this year. I also made it into the second round, but that was that.
I guess my writing skills are just not good enough.
Yes, people do send me e-mails asking for collaboration or online newspapers ask me to write for them (of course without getting any money from them) ... and I once even earned a bit of money with some advertisement, but that's going nowhere I think.
My talent is that I have no specific talent at all that I could utilize, but that I can do a little in many different fields .... unfortunately that doesn't seem to be very useful.


Read more... )

P.S.: Ok, now I'm going back into "lazy mode" and watch some Asian movies and stuff ... not like I have a million other things to do ... *ignore*

Thanks for reading!!
[mood]: blah