Sunday, 28 October 2012

Tokyo Orientation + Crazy (awesome) Cat Lady

Here is a video of the lady I saw with a cat on her shoulder =)

 Anyway, cat ladies aside lets begin the story of how my life in Japan is going. We landed in Narita August 5th, leaving New Zealand which was about 10 degrees Celsius the jump into 35-40 (104 Fahrenheit) and around 100% humidity was quite a shock, not to mention carrying bags too.

 Everyone was naturally excited but unfortunately we didnt get through customs and into Tokyo city till after sunset, so we couldn't see too much of the city but were greeted with a great view of the lights from the hotel. Wellington in New Zealand while the capital is a very small city with around 400,000 people, Tokyo has over 12 million so the shear size of it was very daunting.

 The people from out group were lucky enough to stay in the Keio Plaza, which is located right in Shinjuku.

 It was a shame we only were able to stay in Tokyo for 3 days, since we were busy with the orientation we only had the evenings to explore the city.

 Something that I didn't expect to see was the amount of homeless in Shinjuku, but also that the homeless were quite clean and looked just like normal people with clean clothes, just living in cardboard boxes. Apparently some of them just crack under the pressure of city life and become homeless but their families will bring them things. One of the more interesting people had 10 cats living with him, which he was feeding at the time although understandably he did not want his photo taken.

 Probably my favorite part of the city was the architecture of some of the buildings and a mix of cute restaurants like the one above and the tall office buildings with amazing designs. 

 The above being the definite favorite.

 The fun thing about wandering aimlessly around a foreign city is you tend to stumble upon things you might not otherwise see if you were headed straight to some location, and during one of my nightly wanders I found something I had always wanted to see.

Cat Cafe!

 When we walked up to try and get in we were very disappointed to hear it was closing in a few minutes, but when one of the patrons left lots of the cats ran out to greet us. Even though we missed out that time I have seen been to one which ill talk about in more detail another time.

 Sadly our three day trip was coming to an end and we all split up to go to our home prefectures. So we boarded the bullet train (shinkansen) and speed across the country to Kyoto. But the adventure had only just begun...

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Still Alive

  Well well well, what do we have here? Holy it's been a long time, was just about 3 Months ago I made my last post. Now I will admit that when it comes to updates I a bit slack, in fact amazingly slack. However this time I have a good excuse! As you may remember I landed a job in Japan as an English teacher, and I simply haven't had a computer to actually post from.

Holy Tokyo!

Its been an amazing couple of months so far, in fact I have so much to write about that I'm going to have to take some time and write them in retrospect, so I guess this is sort of to be a bit of teaser while I sort out what I want to talk about first. Briefly Ill go over whats been happening I think then Ill go into details in following posts to be able to fully give justice to the experiences.

  Our trip begin in Tokyo, about a thousand people from around the world (although mostly America) came for orientation before heading out to designated prefectures. We were only there for a few days, never really having been to a super large city before it was quite over whelming, combined with jet lag and 35-40 degrees heat and 100% humidity it exhausting, but still amazing. 

New Home
 After leaving Tokyo our group headed to our prefecture, Shiga. So far it has been pretty good, its only 30 minutes by train from Kyoto as well =D. Admittedly I had never heard of this particular area of Japan, so I came here without any expectations which I think has allowed me to enjoy it all the more. Of course it helped that our first night in Shiga we were able to view the best fireworks festival of the year by the lake side.

I arrived in Japan with around 200,000 Yen ( around 2.5k USD ) and immediately had to pay 130,000 in just rent. My first pay check wouldn't for an entire month, and after factoring in money for trains and necessities I found myself with 50k (around 600USD) Yen left, however I literally had nothing in my apartment apart from a futon. With a lot of surprise costs showing up in the first month I was down to around 50 dollars the night before my first pay, so things were a bit tight for that first month. Although I still don't own any tables.
Cat Cafe
However I did have enough money to do some fairly unique things, such as going to a cat cafe! It literally a cafe where you have some coffee or cold drinks while pats walk around and you play with them and stuff.

Cats are naturally very popular over here, I even got a video of this woman who had a cat riding her shoulder while she was going for a bike ride.

Again I have been very brief and will go into more details soon, just after I decide how I want to format the content, if you guys want me to look into something specific while I'm over here let me know! Cheers.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Much to say, here is some Penguins.

Wow looks like its been a couple Months since I posted anything. What happened? Well a bunch of stuff, first I started a really boring job to raise some money for a trip and then I went on that trip, fortunately I was able to visit Granite Island in Victor Harbour, South Australia. Which is home to one of every ones favourite animals, Penguins!
Too adorable
Granite Island is really an amazing place, its a tiny island that you can take a horse drawn tram to, and then walk around and look for those adorable little birds. 
Iv been fortunate enough to see these Little Blue Penguins around my town in New Zealand as well as in Australia. But for an unknown reason their numbers are reducing on Granite Island, when I visited as a kid 10 years ago their were over 2000 on the Island, now there is less than 100.

Hopefully when I visit next their numbers will have increased, the thought of their being no Penguins on the Island would make me a very sad man. 

 Naturally I didn't spend two months just looking at Penguins, I have also been visiting family in South Australia. It must have been over 12 years since I last saw them so it was really good to see them all again after so long. Some quality time was much overdue, and we all went to a see some more native Australian wildlife...
 (I did warn him about that Emu, but unfortunately missed the inevitable bitten finger.)

 Although I should have visited sooner, its always hard when you are a poor student, this trip was also extra special because I was attending a wedding.

Also, I heard there was free drinks.
 It was my Fathers wedding, so I now strangely find myself with a couple extra adult siblings and some extended family, but everything went really well and a good time was had by all. I cant imagine the cost of the whole thing though, bringing people over from another country. Fortunately (for the cost) it was held at my new uncles house, which is an amazingly big and breathtaking place.

The biggest piece of news is that after what may be the high score in The Waiting Game I have succeeded in landing a job over in Japan. I had been waiting and hoping I would get this job for months so naturally I am thrilled to be heading over there in less than a weeks time! I will do my best to conduct myself in a professional and dignified manner while experiencing a new side of life.
And drinking all the grog.

                                                                 Have a good one all!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Not much to say, here are some parrots

So not much to say, on the way to the gym I got mobbed by a pack of friendly Kaka.
Fortunately I was hoping to get some shots of them since I missed them when I went to the bird sanctuary the other day. Even got some vids of them.


They love getting attention so much the fight over it.

This one was the Bitey one.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Anzac Day

So today in NZ it is a public holiday for Anzac so my friend and I decided to go to the bird sanctuary that is near my house to take some photos since it was a very nice sunny day. Here are some of the photos I took.

 New Zealand Tui
 This bird was probably what we saw the most, Tui's are black songbirds with two white feathers under their chins and they sing most of the day when they aren't eating what ever these tasty tasty red mystery berries are. 
They also had some native Geckos at the start of the sanctuary, never actually seen one of these in the  wild, however I saw a lot of brown ones in Australia around my Nans place.  

The sanctuary was actually converted from the old water reservoir, which works out well because a lot of endangered native Teal ducks stay in there as well.

This was probably the bird I enjoyed seeing the most, a New Zealand Bellbird, they puff themselves up and become almost completely round which is very adorable to see.


Lastly, the reserve was also part of the old gold mining area they have kept part of the mines open and you can wander in there with a torch and hardhat to explore in around 25 metres into the hill. However when my friend and I got in there we realized the roof was covered in these Wetas. These ones were about 3-5 centimetres long. I can imagine that this would quickly turn into some nightmare if they stood up in there and became completely covered in these...

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Youtube Partnerships for All!

 In a recent blog by YouTube Creator they announced that effective immediately (in selected countries) that partnership status is now granted after you successfully monetize one video. This is an amazing thing for small channels, in the past you needed to have a certain size (around 1k subscriptions) before partnership was offered.

What this means to you:
Basically, lets say you recorded a super hilarious video of your cat doing something like this.

Well now you could immediately create a new Youtube account, monetize the video and link it to your ad-sense. If your video went viral or was popular you would immediately reap the rewards of it.

The Bad News:
Unfortunately, the main perks to being a Youtube Partner were that you could add a banner to your channel, and most importantly select the thumbnail you wanted from your video. The Thumbnail is one of the most immortant parts of a video sadly, people do judge a book by its cover and all the new Youtube partners will be stuck with the old system for now, so the partnership is really like being a Youtube Partner-Lite.

All and all this is an amazing step forward for small time Youtubers, such as myself.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

The Waiting Game

Whelp, good news and bad news. The bad news is that I was wait-listed for the JET Programme instead of shortlisted...which means I get to wait till someone else drops out (apparently fairly likely) and get to wait between now and December. Well that's going to be fun since I have been waiting since February already, but I guess such is life. I actually handle bad news quite well, or maybe it hasnt hit me but for the moment I am fine with this and still confident Ill get a spot before August, and in the mean time I get to look forward to stuff I have lined up for the near future.
What does this picture have to do with anything?
Oh the good news? Well I found 15 dollars on the way home, how about that eh? I mean finding 10 or 5 dollars is common, but the combination of the two? First time in my life. Well guess I dont have much to say, if I get that job then Ill have many wonderful stories to tell in the not to distant future, if not then I grow fat playing video games for the rest of the life. Since I don't have much to say here is a picture of a cat.
Happy mid April all!.