Sunday, October 30, 2011

Some time to relax at last

So with MBA applications out of the way for the moment, and my last project finishing up, this weekend has been really nice and laid back. Was planning to spend most of it just reading and catching up on sleep but ended up spending a fair chunk of it out and about, which was good too of course.

Not having something at the back of my mind that I have to finish is quite refreshing. Although I think I am already starting to miss the discipline: just this afternoon I went walking around Ginza and ended up in Zara, where I ended up buying a jacket I probably don't need (but I guess when the temperature drops it will come in handy).

One thing I did manage though was going to bed early on Friday night and getting up at 6am on Saturday to go for a run. Only problem was that I managed to snooze my alarm until about 8am, and didn't end up going running until closer to 10. But that said, I ran today as well so that's a lot more than I've run on any other weekend here so far.

Other highlights were:
- finding a reasonably priced hairdresser, who speaks English AND is only 5 minutes from my place
- drinking Yamazaki whiskey with a Yamazaki
- catching up with some old Keio friends: Satomi, Yuki and Akiko

And a few pictures to finish ...

Some nice whiskey to keep things nice and warm as winter comes round

Yakitori bento - delicious but a little lacking on the greens side :)

This is how the dinner delivery came the other night at work. Sure beats those plastic / foil trays back home. Downside is you need to rinse the stuff so that the restaurant can come back to pick it up later.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Another weekend in Tokyo

Today I managed to beat my record from last weekend. Not only did I not leave Ginza, I didn't even go out of my room. I did manage to get most of my last MBA application done though so that sort of makes it feel like it was worth it. But to balance that I actually went off to Ikebukuro on Saturday evening so I can't say the whole weekend was in Ginza this time.

Bit drained from the day of writing though so this is going to be short (with lots of pictures haha).

Highlights from the week include:
- A great dinner with Mum, Dad and Grandma in Nishi-Azabu on Monday night
- Wine party with Sohei and Hide in Ginza on Friday night
- Finding out Don Quiyote (discount department store chain) sells even more random stuff than I thought, such as AC power adapters for my wireless router
- Learning how not to get lost walking to my office in the mass of people that is Shibuya station in the morning

- Working past 1am and finding out a taxi ride home at that hour might actually be slower than a peak hour train
- Not being able to finish work early enough to take Mum/Dad/Grandma around Tokyo a bit more
- Spending Saturday morning wondering why I drank so much wine the night before instead of writing my MBA applications.

Some of the wine responsible for my ordinary Saturday morning. That said, it was really good wine.

A high-tech anti-earthquake device (my latest piece of kit from the Tokyo office - the Melbourne office found this relatively amusing)

Dinner from one of the nights working late - カルビ弁当 (short rib bento box)

Some of the really nice sushi at Gonpachi

The first course at Gonpachi - I have no idea what half of the stuff is, but it was awesome

Monday, October 17, 2011

A weekend in Ginza

After not actually leaving Ginza the entire weekend I can't believe Monday is just around the corner again. So just a short post with some of my thoughts from my first week on swap to Tokyo.

The good:
- meeting everyone in the office and finding them all fun, friendly and welcoming
- hanging out with old friends over the weekend
- finding out the trip to work is faster than I thought (about 40 minutes door to door)
- realising I have a grocery store and a discount department store basically next door
- discovering a great running track in Tokyo is about 1 km from my apartment (the Imperial Gardens)

The bad:
- getting rained on half way through my Saturday morning run, and coming back drenched
- being staffed on a relatively busy project from day 1 (and already having to work on a public holiday!)
- trying unsuccessfully to write MBA applications all weekend
- not having enough time to set up a bank account or proper mobile account

A couple of pictures to keep things interesting too.

Home cooked pasta, salad and beer ( 萌ちゃん、ありがとう )

Dinner in the office. Not ideal, but on the bright side definitely better than the Japanese food we get back in Melbourne when we work late.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Japan. Again.

It still feels a bit surreal to be back in Tokyo. Maybe the difference this time is I am actually going to be here for half a year. Or maybe the difference is because it is for work, and not a holiday.

Anyway whatever it is, I don't think I've quite settled in yet. My place is thankfully a fully furnished one, so my biggest issue so far has probably been what sort of rice to buy for the rice cooker. Well, maybe that and trying to work out where the closest supermarket actually was (it's only five minutes away if I actually walk in the right direction).

A few pictures to keep things interesting too (in reverse chronological order, just because that's how it uploaded for some reason).

The LEK connection: had dinner last night with Royston and Graham who have been holidaying in Japan. Being their last night we went out after to enjoy a few more drinks, and had good fun in some random bar/club in Roppongi (when we eventually managed to find it)

My kitchen for the next 6 months. The hot plate is actually quite good - but given I'm in a studio I'm not sure how adventurous I will get trying to cook things; there is a real risk of infusing everything in my room with some dangerously pungent odours (as I discovered stir-frying vegetables tonight)

The back of a seat on the Narita Express (train), which I took to get from the airport into the city yesterday.