Tag Archives: holiday

Back to Tokyo!

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Last autumn, we went on a very special holiday. I’d been looking forward to this trip for a long time. After 4 years I finally set foot on Japanese soil again and you know what!? It felt like I’d never been gone! I even managed to brush up my rusted Japanese while we were there. Since we did so many things and took tons of photos I’d like to share with you, I’ll split this up in several posts. I hope you’ll enjoy this as much as we did. So let’s get started with Tokyo, the place I’d called my home for a year back in 2009/2010.

Our trip didn’t start off as nicely as we’d hoped for. When we got to the airport in Frankfurt we learned that our first flight to London was delayed by an hour because it was too foggy for the incoming plane to land. Of course, there’d been nothing but clear skies the previous days. Oh well! Since we had 2 hours between flights we were still positive we’d make it in time. Until we finally sat on the plane and nothing happened. We had to wait for connecting passengers and by the time we got to Heathrow, we had only 10 minutes until boarding was closing. I was still hoping they’d wait for us like we’d waited for the other passengers, but of course they didn’t. The next possible flight wasn’t until 6 hours later. Bummer! But well, somehow we managed to kill the time and after a pleasant flight we finally made it to Haneda airport. We took the bus to Shinjuku station and while we were making our way into central Tokyo, so many memories popped up in my head and I was overflowing with excitement. I couldn’t wait to show M around, to take him to all the places that had been part of my life for such a long time.

From Shinjuku station it was a short subway ride to our hotel. This station can be a pain in the ass as its one of the busiest in the world with millions of passengers every day. It’s basically a maze and I got lost more than once on the search for the right train line during the first months. I’m pretty sure M had his first little culture shock there since we got there during the evening rush hour and I think he didn’t expect me to know what I was doing. But we made our way to the subway without getting lost, yay! The second cultur shock for M was when we saw the shoe box that was our hotel room.

IMG_2590I have no idea how many times we bumped into furniture or our suitcases while moving about, but that’s the way things are in Japan and we didn’t spend much time at the hotel anyway. Plus, since we were pretty high up, we had a nice view over the city.Desktop_01

After a very long sleep, it was finally time for sightseeing. First, we went to Meiji-jingu, a big shinto shrine which I’d visited many times before. Before we went inside, I made the mistake of sitting down at the bottom of a tree in front of the big entrance gate and immediately got whistled at by a guard. Ooops! Well, I was already pregnant at the time and needed a rest, so, sorry! At first, we took a stroll through the adjacent garden, a first time for me as well, then went on to the shrine itself. IMG_2723As a contrast to the tranquility of the shrine, we afterwards walked through Harajku’s Takeshita dori, a narrow street with lots of fashion boutiquesm some of them selling pretty extraodinary clothes (even for Japanese standards). IMG_2741From there, we walked down to Shibuya, a part of the city I’d spent a lot of time at since I’d worked there and had frequently gone out for after work drinks in the area. I’d always loved standing at the famous Shibuya crossing, waiting for the lights to turn green and then letting myself drift along with the crowd. Standing there again after such a long time was a very special moment for me, kind of magical. Desktop_05We walked around on Center Gai for a bit, a shopping street with colourful stores and neon lights, pretty popular among the youth. IMG_2810When we got hungry, I rembered a sushi restaurant I’d been to several times before and after searching around for a bit, I finally found it. It wasn’t the same chain as before, but a way cooler one. You could order your sushi via a screen and after a few minutes the food arrived on a little train. What an awesome idea! Since I was pregnant and in Germany doctors recommend not to eat raw food, I decided to stick to the non-raw and veggie options. When I saw M indulging in all the sushi goodness, I felt tempted to try just one piece, but I didn’t dare. Japanese women would probably laugh at me, but well, there were plenty of other great things to eat waiting for me on the trip, so it was ok. IMG_2779Since the cafe I used to work at was only a short walk from the restaurant, we decided to pay it a visit after dinner. But unfortunately I had to find out that the place had been closed down. I have to admit that this made me pretty sad since I had hoped to see some of my former colleagues. On the other hand, it wasn’t such a big surprise to see a place had vanished since Tokyo is constantly changing and doing so pretty fast. So we took the train back to Shinjuku and went for an evening stroll in the Kabuki-cho area, an entertainment district, and through the bar-lined alleys of Golden Gai. All in all, it was an awesome first day back in Japan.IMG_2816

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Back to life

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So, I’m on holiday this week! Big yay! This is probably one of the most deserved holidays I’ve ever had. And I had my last holiday just 3 months ago. I feel like from the beginning of September I got sucked into this crazy work schedule and have tried to get out of it ever since. Don’t get me wrong, I can sure take some stress, pressure and a heavy workload. But if someone would’ve told me what was lying ahead of me at the time I probably would’ve run away screaming. Instead I hung in there hoping it would get better. But somehow it never really did, except for a couple of days in between which weren’t enough to take a breath. Sometimes I felt like the only option I had to get out of this was to either run away or break down. I did neither, but there were times when I felt like I wasn’t able to go on much longer. It’s amazing to see that I actually could. But to be honest, I don’t wanna do it again. And I hope that things will get better. At least a little bit.
What I hate the most about the past weeks is that I feel like I didn’t have any time to live at all. All I did was work, work, work and when I didn’t have to work on the weekends I was so tired that all I wanted was to sleep. My apartment turned into a dirty mess because I couldn’t be fucked to clean it up. I still made time to make music though and that is probably what saved me. It was something to look forward to, the only time I could feel connected to myself. I get miserable when I don’t have enough time to myself, time to be me. I can’t tell you how happy I am right now that at least for one week I’m getting a break from all this. I can’t believe it’s almost Christmas already. In my head it’s still the end of summer. But anyway, I’m gonna spend this week doing things just for myself. Of course, I’m gonna make as much music as I can. I’m gonna organise the chaos that still surrounds me at home. I’m gonna visit my sister for a couple of days and enjoy some quality time with her. And just live. As much as I can in those couple of days. And then it won’t be far until the Chrismas break.

To all those people who are also having to deal with live’s crazy ways, I hope you’re making sure to take a breath once in a while. Take care of yourselves!

Refreshed

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Today has been my 3rd day back at the office after my holiday and I’m already feeling like I want to take some time off again. Sigh! Our trip to Scotland was amazing though and exactly what I needed. It was so great to spend some quality time with my sister. We don’t get to spend a whole week together that often anymore since we’ve both moved away from home. When we’re together we’re getting into the funniest adventures we will laugh about for years. We actually had the plan to convince people we met that we were twins because we get asked that a lot which I think is a strange phenomenon. I mean, I know we have a similar hair colour and cut and we pretty much share the same taste in clothes (we actually own the same shirt, but never wear it at the same time). But I just don’t think we look that much alike. Plus, I’m 4 years older, but hey, I know I look waaaay younger ;). Anyway, we never got around to pull that story. Instead

  • we got stranded in a little village on an island with no restaurant or supermarket where we could get something for dinner.
  • we bought a pizza at our hostel and made it in the microwave. It looked pretty awful, but pizza mash doesn’t actually taste that bad when you’re hungry.
  • we wanted to take the bus to a bigger city to take a look around (and to get proper food!), only to find out that the next bus was coming in 2 hours. So we went for a walk and got drenched despite carrying an umbrella. Why the heck does it always rain from all sides in Scotland? Rain has to come from above, you know!
  • I took part in a pub quiz and made second place. Yay, me! Ok, I actually think the handsome quiz host gave me a couple of extra points because I did terribly…
  • I convinced my sister to try Haggis with me and we both loved it.
  • when we were about to leave our hotel in Edinburgh, the fire alarm went off. My sister wanted to get out as fast as she could. Having had my experiences with false alarms, I kept on packing. (Ever had a fire alarm in the middle of the night which made you run down 15 storeys in pajamas only to find out that the exit door leads to the biggest street in downtown Sydney and that it was a freaking false alarm? Well, if you have, fire alarms won’t impress you that much anymore.) When we were finished with packing, we just walked out of the hotel getting strange looks from all the other guests that were waiting on the opposite side of the street, some in pajamas, with bare feet or non-matching socks. I’m sure people were freezing, but it just looked hilarous!

Oh yeah, we had a lot of fun in bonny Scotland. A lot of memories were made during that week. And realizations. I did a lot of thinking. I always do. So here’s what I came to:

  • I miss travelling. I miss it so much it makes my heart ache sometimes. Experiencing the different, the new, the unforeseen can be so inspiring. I get to do some travelling for my job, but it’s mostly just Frankfurt-Munich and back. And it’s totally different from travelling just for my own sake. So I want to try to travel some more. It doesn’t have to be far, even within this city there are plenty of things to discover.
  • I need to find a way to relax more in my everyday life. Over the past couple of months I rarely made a proper lunch break. I ate at my desk and either worked or checked private stuff on the internet. In my old office, people used to eat together and I really miss that. People here are a lot different. And when there’s a lot of work to do, I tend to skip the break, so I won’t have to finish work too late. I do know that it’s important to take a break, even a short one, to refresh your head, maybe take a little stroll along the river. I’m gonna try to force myself to take a break. And not just at work. With all my private adventures I’ve started, I always feel like I have to work on them all the time. I end up being busy until I have to go to bed which leads to my brain still being engaged with all these things when it’s supposed to sleep. Other people might not mind this, but I do. I need some quiet time to stay sane, so I’ll try to get some more of that.
  • And lastly, there’s something that’s finally become obvious to me. It’s always been there and I tried to ignore it. But I can’t deny that it’s there. I’m pretty sure I’m going to need a big change in my life again within the next few years. And by big I mean BIG. Shockingly kind of big so it will leave people speechless and shaking their heads. I can’t really tell what it will look like. I’ll have to figure it out, sooner than later. And I know that I’m already putting things on the right track now.

Oh and here’s some advice for all the people thinking about taking a trip to Scotland: Make Edinburgh the last stop of your trip. Anything you’ll see after will just seem ugly and boring in comparison. Trust me!