Sunday, 31 January 2010

Shabu shabu

Last night we went for shabu shabu. It was Susan's birthday and she and her husband invited us out to celebrate with some shabu shabu and sake. It is a variant of hot pot, where thinly sliced meat and vegetables are put into a pot of boiling water. The meat is cut so thin and is of a very good quality so that it only needs to be submerged in the boiling water for a few seconds to be cooked. You can then dip it in a variety of yummy sauces. We went to a traditional restaurant where we had to take our shoes off before entering the restaurant and sat on tatami mats around a table with a beautiful copper pot in the middle. The "waitresses" were wearing traditional kimonos and knelt as they slid open the door to our private room each time they brought us food etc and were very attentive, applying the vegetables to the boiling water and guiding us on how it should be done. The food was delicious and it was a great experience with wonderful company.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Burlesque life drawing anyone?!

Well, this was a first! I have heard of "Dr Sketchy's" for a while and have been thinking of going, but never quite got the courage to go and felt it was probably best to go with a partner in crime. In this case, I went with Becky who was up for a laugh and to try something different. They call themselves the "anti art school" and meet once a month in a bar called the Pink Cow in Shibuya, using burlesque models in a relaxed environment - ie you can drink beer while you draw. It is against the law to serve alcohol in the same room as a naked woman (?!) so to get around this, they make it burlesque.... I have to say, I was expecting to draw a curvaceous exotic woman, but last night we had a man called Dragon. A martial arts, pilates and, oh yes, pole dancer enthusiast! He had an array of outfits and would do a little routine before he got down to the one minute, two minute and ten minute poses. It was definitely fun to do, but I don't think I'll be racing back any time soon, and I now have some "interesting" drawings in my sketch book!

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

January's warning

I got back to Tokyo just in time to see January's subway warning poster for those who go astray. This time it's aimed at those cheeky tikes who feel the need to play video games on the train and take up precious space by the door. I love the fact that with all these warnings they say "please do it at home". And look at the scarey people looking down on him with their googly, dead eyes!

Monday, 25 January 2010

Sunday meanderings

The jetlag meant that I was up pretty early on sunday, which is rare for me. After pottering around and doing some of my Japanese homework (which should have been done when I was in England but didn't quite get around to) we headed out to make the most of a beautiful day. We went to a stunning museum in Omotesando called the Nezu Museum. It has recently been renovated and has a very aesthetically modern feel, housing some beautiful old textiles and pottery from around the world. The garden was just as stunning and we wandered around that for a while, feeling very serene. On sunday evening we went to our first salsa lesson together. Neil had organised it, which is pretty impressive, and we really enjoyed it, even if we probably did look like a pair of wooden planks as we counted out our steps and trod on each other's toes!


I'm here! And it feels good - so lovely to see Neil after weeks of being apart and the weather has been lovely - blue skies and sun. After a day of relaxing and an afternoon snooze on saturday, we met up with Chris and Becky and a bunch their friends for leaving drinks at a beer hall in Roppongi. This friend of their's is heading back to San Francisco after being here for two years. We would never have found the bar without our guides, as it was hidden down some back alleys and upstairs. It was a raucous night, with many beers consumed, but good fun and a nice way to be welcomed back to Tokyo. I've just realised that neil and I look like we have some scarey head gear on! Neil looks like he's wearing a dodgy wig and I look like I have a tea cosy on my head - we're a classy pair!