☆ → Ghost | Kyuu | The Small One
♫ → Counting Crows | Ellegarden | Green Day | Kajiura Yuki | Newton Faulkner | Orange Range | Rufus Wainwright| Siam Shade | Taku Iwasaki
♡ → Pugs | Stingrays | Watermelon | Writing |
アニメ → Angelic Layer | Bleach | Bubblegum Crisis | Cardcaptor Sakura | Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion | D.Gray-man | Fullmetal Alchemist | GetBackers | Heat Guy J | Neon Genesis Evangelion | Tokyo Babylon | Noir | Sprited Away | Mononoke | Mononoke Hime | Yami no Matsuei | Yuugiou
漫画 → Cardcaptor Sakura | D.Gray-man | Bleach | Death Note |
AIM: Exorcist Allen
Sat, 24 Jan 2015 14:18:40 GMT
It occurs to me the last post I made was during our second day in Japan and that was back in mid-April and since then I've neglected to make any posts at all. Hm.
Well, partly I blame living on plurk because it's so quick and easy to update life things and chat on there, but I also I blame life, and I blame being mostly buried in the RP side of DW.
That doesn't mean stuff hasn't happened though, and I suppose the big one was actually being in Japan for a month. I've been pining wildly periodically since we got back, so in a bid to get some of this stuff out of my system I figure it's high time I did an update about it.
We flew out from Heathrow, landed at Narita airport, went from there to Asakasa, took a train from there to Hakone and to our first hotel. We stayed in a lovely little ryoukan in the mountains and spent our first few days touring the area, going on cable cars and a big boat across a lake, and visiting hot springs at Yunessun.
After a few days there, we went further north, via Tokyo, to Nikko and stayed in a beautiful converted cottage provided by Nikko Inn. We stayed in Sakura and it was so incredibly lovely, I want to go back. The area of Nikko is incredible and has some of the most famous shrines and stunning natural beauty. It also has the most delicious manju, I was in a constant state of wanting fifty of them constantly, they were so good.
After that, we spent eight days in Tokyo, Ueno specifically, and I've become incredibly fond of it as a city. We met with Skyler's friend Shiori from his MA cohort who was there renewing her visa while she's doing her PhD in the states and she's the most lovely person, I'm so glad we got to meet her. During that week we spent a fair bit of time in Ueno, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, Akihabara, and Shibuya. We were also lucky enough to be in Tokyo while it was hosting Rainbow Pride and it was incredible to get to take part in the parade, it's quite a different animal to what we do for Pride in the West, I'm so glad we got to do it but next time we might want to watch itself. We had a lot of Mister Donut in Tokyo, Japan does donuts well.
I miss Tokyo a lot.
We then travelled to Shikoku and stayed in Matsuyama, which was utterly charming and we wished we could have gotten more time there, but we did accidentally stay in a love hotel (which was pretty interesting, actually) and visit Matsuyama castle and the views were breathtaking. There's also a very old bathhouse there, that the bathhouse in Spirited Away is based on. There are also several small, public footbaths dotted in the area and an amazing animated clock..
We then took the ferry from Matsuyama to Miyajima, where there are friendly residential deer everywhere, the floating tore, Itsukushima Shrine, incredible mountain views and Buddist shrines. We stayed in another amazing little ryoukan overlooking the sea and it was incredible. I miss it horribly and the grilled oysters.
After that, we went to Tottori and visited Iwami, the tiny town where the anime Free! is based, but the whole area is utterly stunning. Beautiful coastline, amazingly quaint, just utterly wonderful. It was one of our favourite spots and not just because of its relationship to the anime, it was amazing and the people were lovely--we got caught out in a storm and randomly rescued by a couple of old women in their car who took us back to the station. It was so kind of them. We took a whole lot of photos too because Iwami is the town that Iwatobi is based on in Free!, so some of the locations might be familiar to anyone who is into ridiculous swimming animes.
From Tottori, we went to Kyoto for a few days and it was again a very unique experience, but actually Kyoto wasn't our favourite place. It was nice and everyone raves about it, but overall we'd just seen so many amazing things that Kyoto felt lacklustre and like a real tourist spot--we saw more other foreigners there than anywhere else. We did, however, see a kabuki performance and it was the most striking, incredible thing. The actors and vocalists were stunning. We were the only Westerners in the whole place. We also went to the Manga Museum connected to Kyoto University, and to Kyoto Animate store.
Finally, we went back to Tokyo for a few more days, met up with Shiori again and her friend Miyuki, had dinner, drinks and karaoke. Miyuki is a speech therapist and said that my Japanese was beautiful. I have never felt so incredibly complimented in my life. She and Shiori also gave Skyler and I nicknames--since Skyler sounds a bit like skylark, he's Hibari-chan and since yurei is the Japanese for ghost, I'm Yu-chan. It's very cute. Miyuki and her friend Aiko recently stopped by London and we played tour guides to them for a day, which was both excellent and really exhausting. They've been sending us letters and gifts since and we're preparing to send something back.
Overall, I was very nervous about going to Japan. I was scared that after many years of wanting to go that I'd be disappointed, but it was amazing in ways I'd never expected. I'm glad I went at this point in my life and not when I was 18 full of Orientalist fantasies and expecting to find the world of animus, because while it was great to get to find that sort of stuff the really wonderful stuff was more ephemeral that that. I miss it terribly. I miss the food and the atmosphere, I miss that my language skills improved exponentially in such a short space of time, I miss a whole lot of things that I just can't very easily put into words but I know don't exist anywhere in the UK or America.
After that trip, I came back for my final week of work. I don't regret not running for a second year.
One of the more difficult things that happened during my last month was that I was assaulted while I was getting lunch in public. The actual event hasn't left any lasting marks on me, but I reported it to the police because the guy was still hanging around the area. The aftermath of that leading up to the court case and dealing with the police is one of the most stressful things I've ever done. I'm not going into tons of details here so much as I'm making this as a note for myself to look back on later, but I had my reservations about going to the police because they have a very poor history of handling LGBT cases appropriately.
The long and short is, while the police decided to charge the guy and take it to court, due to a mishandling on the part of the police and the Crime Prosecution Service over the nature of the charge, I was unable to testify as it would result in me giving up some of my personal rights and, ultimately, lying under oath to fit the charge. Unwilling to do that, the case was dropped after an incredible amount of unacceptable behaviour on the part of the DC handling the case. It was really horrible.
That aside, the leaving-do for work was one of the most awkward events I've ever attended, but it seemed a very fitting way to end a very difficult year, all in all.
In July, we moved out of London to Sussex since I'm doing my MA at Sussex we needed to be closer to the campus, so we're now living in a much cheaper place with a livingroom that has a direct view of the ocean and the horse stabled only a ten minute drive away. I love it, but I do miss London. It also means we're getting to bother annephoenix a lot more and that's excellent.
The other good news is while I don't have a job anymore, I applied for and was awarded a scholarship toward my MA tuition fees, which has cut the overall price nearly in half and taken a huge weight off my shoulders.
I'm now just starting my second term of the MA and it's been quite mixed. I submitted my first two papers a couple of weeks back and I'm anxious about the outcome, but now I only have two more pieces of coursework to do and then the thesis and I'll have completed my MA. So already, I'm starting to think of PhDs and where/who I'll study with. It feels very daunting. But it seems like my focus is heading in the direction of HIV/AIDS and Japanese popular culture.
We also went to America to visit Skyler's folks over Christmas and got to briefly see pseudorca, but it was such a short trip and so much of it was taken up with writing papers that it didn't feel like a real visit at all. I think I felt overall a bit ambivalent about America this trip whereas in the past I was more excited. We did go see a live basketball game though (Atlanta Hawks v. Milwaukee Bucks) and that was really quite fun.
In nerd land, still kind of stuck in Sports Hell in terms of anime, still enjoying Kuroko no Basuke, very disappointed with season 2 of Free!, we got into Haikyuu!! which is adorable, and we recently started watching Yowamushi Pedal. So all the sports. I also watched the first season of the Fate/Stay Night remake and I just don't find it as exciting or interesting as Fate/Zero, for so many reasons.
Otherwise, I've been playing way too much Guild Wars 2 and need to tone it down and get back to working properly... But I just sorta like my cute losers a whole bunch. It's been nice to think about OCs again a bit :') Plus, with the GW2 Heart of Thorns announcement coming today my hype feelings are high. Must have a healthier relationship to this game though, it's a thing that must happen.
So yeah, it's been a busy, mixed year with lots of travelling and work and studying.
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