Hello and welcome back to another installment of my travels. I thought my travels were over for the time being when i stepped off that plane back from Central America, until i landed here, curtosy of Paul Smith!
Im over here after wining a sponsorship from Mr Smith through my university, so i am a very lucky girl indeed. Having only been back in the uk for a matter of weeks - (well 2 and a half months really), it was time to get that suitcase out again and get back on a plane heading east.
So here i am, in Japan. Its pretty crazy and everything i thought it would be, mad, bad and crazy. Its like the city that never sleeps with its endless flashing lights and an unhealthy shopping habit which even i cant understand, and thats saying a lot seeing as i work in Fashion! But anyway, i have been quite impressed with a whole array of Japanese gadgets. Like the singing toilets that have music of toilets flushing, to hide all sorts of noises, and off course all the buttons on the seats like air freshners and a seat warmer. Brilliant idea! Why didnt i think of that, oh yes, off course because the Japanese did. They have litrally thought of everything. Theres no need to shake your umbrella when you come in the rain and wet the floor of a shop because you can shake it in a umbrella shaker gadget. Coming from a country that is known for its rain, it makes me wander why we dont have such things. There are umberella holders whereevr you go, so you can lock it up while meandering in a musuem. So many clever things.
So, the city of Tokyo, is constantly frantic. Its like this choatic hub of people who just bustle past each other in a concrete metropolis. The skyline is like no other i have ever seen. In fact its like i have taken off in little rural England and landed in the future. There are loads and loads of skyscrapers and when the day turns to night it just glows from all the flashing lights. Its quite a view. Ive been up many of these large skyscrapers to take in the enormatity that is Tokyo. Although, i did catch a glimpse of the Mount Fuji on the horizon which i hope to get closer to. Im not going to do anything crazy like climb up it, just get a closer inspection, maybe by train or something.
So apart from anaylising the city life, i have been pretty busy with studying. I mean the whole reason im out here is to broaden my horizons, for my Masters. Well, something like that, and soak up the culture. So, ive been going to quite a few fashion shows, private views and the odd gallery. Ive also managed to meet a few famous designers, like Jimmy Choo, Diane Von Furstenburg, and off course Paul Smith. He was our favourite, which off course i bound to say, but he really was so approachable and friendly. We were invited to his private show and then again to meet him at the Paul Smith party. That was all pretty cool and had a wicked night in Tokyo, not strolling in until the early hours. So all in all, its been pretty mad here.
My favourite thing is the Karaoke though. Its hilarious. I never thought it would be so much fun to go into a room and sing your heart out. Theres absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about as everyone sounds pretty awful, but i think i have master how awful you can really be. As its not until the next day when ive looked back at my singing talents on a video that i have realised the full extent of my talent - and its bad - in fact, that could be my next song!
Other than the music, the other very Japanese thing is off course the Harajuko girls. The Tokyo fashions is simply C R A Z Y! I dont even know where to begin. Well, at first i thought it was cool to see such differences in fashion than i had seen over in Europe. I mean it reall y is over the top, and i quite liked that. But when you see it day in day out, it does start to become a little bit predictable. They are girls who look like grown up dolls. But the guys are known to be a bit like it too.
I have managed to do most of the sights in Tokyo such as some of the beautiful Japanese gardens and attended a Tea Ceremony in one of the biggest ones. It was such an experience. I was sat down, and given a sweet (although im not quite sure that id call a pumpkin, sweet) and then given some very very green tea, which i spun three times before sipping it three times. It was fun and, i especially loved seeing all the japanese women wearing the kimonos. Its amazing to see so many people wearing them in everyday life.
Another highlight of Tokyo has been the fish market. A huge market hall of freshly caught, squid, tuna, octopus, mussels and anything that moves and is fish like. It was so full of colour, and textures. The Tuna were just gigantic, the size of people. So i thought, what a better way to celebrate being at a market at 6am, than to go and eat sushi when i was done. So i did, a whole plate of it. It was so fresh and delicious. Not sure, id like it every morning but it was nice for a change than the normal cereal. In fact, seeing as i cant understand Japanese television, i tend to watch it for the whole time it takes me to eat my cerael in the morning,and to understand what symbols are showing, and then take a guess. Ive been pretty good at it so far!
One of my other favourite experiences of Tokyo so far, is one about a octopus, who goes on the train for the day to Tokyo. Its an artists work i saw at one of the many musuems ive visited, and its called ' then i decided to take an octopus to tokyo for the day' - its so funny. This guy, goes out fishing one morning with a local fisherman, and chooses the perfect one from a whole catch of them, and takes him in a cool box on the train from Osaka to Tokyo. He gets there, and takes him to the market to meet other octopuses from Tokyo and then takes him to see Tokyo tower (abit like eiffel tower but red) - then, after he's seen the sights, he goes with his octopus who is being kept in a bag in water in the cool box on wheels, to an area called roppongi. The locals however, think he looks delicious, put he manages to get away and the man takes him back on the train to Osaka. He's lost his pinky colour by then, but it soon comes back when he is set free back into the sea. Isnt that a lovely daft story. Whats the point? There is none, but thats Japan!
So, im going to leave you there with those lovely thoughts on this weird and wonderful country that i have explored so far, and will write some more soon.
Im off to explore the rest of the country after being in Tokyo for the past 4 and a half weeks, im looking forward to the country air.
x x x