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!.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Anyone into Squidoo?

 I was just browsing the internet like I normally do and I found out about this website. It actually really caught my eye, its been around for awhile though so I guess I'm fairly slow. As a natural fan of squid related things and colorful drawing it really snagged me instantly.

Basically its like a big blog everyone submits pages to, pages can get likes from the website/facebook etc. Its interface is really simple too which helps. The interesting part of it though is that you can link in amazon products related to what ever you are writing about, and if any sell from your page (called lense) you get a small cut. 

Have a few ideas for some articles I would like to write for it, I tried making one about the Kaka(brown parrots) that live around my house if you recall my old post about them, check out my post for an example of it.

 Oh if you guys already use Squidoo, leave a link and Ill check them out later =)

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Exciting Apil and Good ol'fashioned trip to the Zoo.

 Well April 1st in New Zealand, this month is going to be a potentially life changing one for me. Back in October you may remember that I mentioned I had graduated university, around this time I also applied to be on the JET Programme. Seems like so long ago I applied, applications closed in November, interviews were in February and now in April the news of who got in will come out, goes without saying fingers will be crossed all month, but hopefully it will be in the next week or two.

Also it was Girlfriends birthday last week, since she loves animals we decided to go to the Zoo. Unfortunately the Wellington Zoo isn't very large or impressive compared to some of the other Zoos I have been too. However Its rarely crowded which is a definite advantage. 

You even get to feed the Giraffes if you want to, Im not sure if other Zoos offer that although I imagine that in really popular ones it would be hard to find the time for everyone to do it. My Girlfriend and I even held some branches in our mouths (dared to by the Zoo Keepers) and they took it right out of mouths before licking our faces haha all good fun.

 Also in a completely unrelated topic Iv mostly been playing Tribes Ascend
lately, its a load of fun and free to play. You can download it on the website or you can email and Ill send you a referral  for it.

Rember not to get fooled by anyone this April 1st too =)

Monday, 26 March 2012

Why you shouldnt take break late.

So now that I have a now have a job things have been very busy for me, time seems to just go by so quickly. I have been working very hard lately, and tend to take my breaks after just finishing a current load of work, so usually this means that I start and finish my break 3-5 minutes later than the rest of my work mates, instead of pausing it and just taking it straight away.

So why shouldn't you take your breaks late? Because you'll miss the chance to meet this guy.
Seriously, all my work mates got to meet Stephen Fry! I mean, Its not like I'm a big Stephen Fry fanboy or anything, but still I cant believe I missed him by just a couple of minutes. Such is life though, being able to pay rent is cool too...I guess.

Well anyway here is a funny like video someone made about him.

Other stuff update:
Well if you remember that I went to a casting call for The Hobbit I actually got an email from there, basically saying "Still interested? We just want to know if you are, not saying we have anything for you to do yet.." so that's kinda cool, might still get a chance to be in it =)

Monday, 19 March 2012

Life with a job update

First week over for my new job, things are fairly relaxed and its an enjoyable way to make money for the meantime. Only real complaint is the weird hours, 8:15 to 4:45 really? 9am starts give me another 45 minutes to sleep in the morning, doesn't help that I stay up till around 1:30am every night still though. Its nice that we can go home after we finish all the work though, so I usually finish about 3 and get to spend some time in the sun (pretty rare for me actually haha). We have a big storm on atm though, but before the storm started I was able to go down the seafront and snap some pictures of this friendly sting ray.
He was just siting there for some reason, some boats scared him away but 5 minutes later...
Smaller eagle ray stole his spot, I dunno why they love it maybe its comfy there...

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Almost Disastrous First Day of Work.

 So after not working in a couple Months today was my first day back in a paid role. The job is fairly easy and pays well working for the Department of Internal Affairs, unfortunately (for me) it starts at 8am. Now I'm the kind of person that routinely stays up past 3am so that doesn't give me a lot of time for sleep, so I thought to myself why not enjoy my last night of unemployment with some drinks and video games.

After a great time with my friend on Starcraft 2 team games, just jerking around but somehow still winning games I realized I was finally getting sleepy, and decided get some sleep...however I noticed that I had drunk around half my bottle of Whiskey already (1 litre bottle).
 Funny how it runs out so quickly when you're having a good time with bros over Skype on a Monday night. So after drinking some water and and setting my alarms for 6:30 I nestled in for a good 4 hours sleep. I awoke the next morning feeling strange, as 6f3in male I take my drink quite well but for the first time in a very long while I awoke with a slight headache and still felt partly drunk, which was interesting because the walk to work felt very relaxed. Hoping I wouldn't smelt of whiskey I went in to start my training.

Things were going quite well until around 10am, when I started to feel very queasy, I tried to put it out of my mind but the floor we were training on had a problem with the air conditioning and was rather stuffy. My mouth was starting to fill with saliva they way it does right before you throw up, I started to envision throwing up all over the office on my first day but tried to put it out my mind and continue working.

I excused myself at that time and said I was going out for a quick fresh air break, after entering the stairwell I saw the door to the male bathroom and felt on the verge of throwing up, I tried to enter the bathroom but it had a code lock door..

"Shit whats the code I thought" As I tore open my pockets looking for the piece of paper with the code on it. I started to type in the code, put it in and turned the lock. It wouldn't open. I did it again, and again and again. It wouldn't budge. "FUCK" I thought, "this is worse than defusing a bomb". I had no choice but to go back and ask for the code again, I tried to swipe myself back into the office but I couldn't find the thing you put your card against. I began to panic thinking what would I tell the boss if i throw up in the stairwell and had to bang on the door to let me back in. "This cant be happening, only retards in tv shows do this shit" I lamented.

 But then fortune smiled on me and someone came out, I asked them if they knew the code and they put it in for me and I was able to get into the bathroom I immediately went in and splashed water against my face, I stood there for about a minute and the coldness made me feel better. In the end I didn't throw up and was able to go back to work without incident.
Thank you merciful God.

Oh by the way, I had the right code for the door, I was turning the nob the wrong way.

PS: Ever notice how a lot of people right "paided" instead of "paid"?

Thursday, 8 March 2012

A hobo no longer.

 So after updating my CV a bit (pictured above) and getting a bit of luck I was able to land a new job and my extended vacation after studying. Technically this will be my first real job for the new year, and after eating and living very cheaply for awhile I am looking forward to being able to buy frivolous items again that I don't really want or need.

 Was tempting not to go to the interview though, outside the building there was a shop opening promotion that was giving away a lot of free stuff. While there I saw 3 people get new Ipods, but the line to spin the prize wheel was too long so I decided I would rather have a steady income for a bit.
  And in actually interesting news, an Amnesia the Dark Descent sequel is in the works! I'm fairly excited for this as a big Amnesia fan, the title "A Machine for Pigs" for the sequel throw me off at first, but what the developers had to say about it made it sound very intriguing. Hopefully they will remember what made the first game good, it was a true survival horror where you're only real defense was to run or hide from the creatures following, while the dark was easier to hide in it also reduced your sanity so you insensitively didn't want to go into it, leading to an feeling off dread and discomfort that amplified the other effects in the game.

All too often I see games labeled as horror, when really they are shooters with something that just comes out and says Boo, jump and shock scares get you for a moment but don't leave a lasting sensation of dread which is where Amnesia (and so few other games) have succeeded.
Average horror game.

Now if you look back to the picture for the cover of the next Amnesia game, you might notice something. While its called "A Machine for Pigs" this gives your mind the image of a slaughter house, and you assume the meat hanging from the chain is a pig, but if you look closely it could all just as easily be a human torso without any limbs. Your imagination does the work for generating the horror which is why Amnesia truly disturbs some people. 

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Weekend at the Farm.

 I love chickens

Well back from my weekend visiting my relatives, had a great time! My cousin was having his 21st, and I didn't get to see any of my family over Christmas so it was a long overdue trip. It was really great to see some faces I haven't seen in years, was only there for the weekend but we got to do a lot of stuff you cant really do in Wellington (since they live up North its really quite a lot warmer. They have a really cool property too, it has a river for swimming, room to keep horses, tracks to ride quad bikes on etc.
Waterfall too.
Really think the time out in the sun was good for me, I do spend way too much time inside but with the constant rain and wind in my town I don't feel very motivated to go outside most of the time. About the only part of the trip really was the bus ride there and back, going up was during the day and I went with my younger brother so it was fun (but 10 hours long) but the way back was really awful, I got the night bus back hoping to sleep through it but I ended up wedged between two sweaty men, and couldn't stretch out so was awake 90% of the trip, one of them got off the bus at their stop and I was able to steal their seat, but it was when we were 20 minutes away from my destination anyway.

Such is life though, all that time of the bus was well worth the trip.
Some of you might also remember that I went to The Hobbit casting call auditions, no word from that yet but on my form I put down that I was able to ride a horse, so I was pleased to see I still could. Honestly there was just so much to do there, they even had a trampoline so I made a short video of my brother, thing with my brother is he has red curly hair everyone loves so doing flips on a tramp is especially funny to watch.
Yep hes pretty good at them. 

Unfortunately all good things most come to and end, and Im back in Wellington and naturally its raining and windy all day every day again. Still, feel recharged a bit from the trip and a bit more positive day to day just holding on the memories. 
Did I mention I love Chickens?