sobota, 21 lutego 2009

from LJ note: February 4th, Cockfosters, platform 9 ¾ and chipolatas (LONDON)

February 4th: Cockfosters, platform 9 ¾ and chipolatas (LONDON)

Let’s start from the beginning. So, my flight was cancelled and I rebooked for the next day. I am really bad at packing and true a master of procrastination, these two hand in hand are usually in for a disaster and so was the case this time. It started light and great but ended up as a total tragedy.

February the 4th started with a 14th repacking (completed about 1am). The trouble with luggage on BA is that a checked baggage may be really large but it can weigh only 23kg, whereas the hand luggage needs to be small and also can weigh up to 23 kg but cannot contain liquids and sharp objects (is a battery “propelled” toothbrush a sharp object? I know that a guitar is a dangerous object and cannot be carried on board). Bearing that in mind and equipped with samasia’s scales I tried to make everything work out, which was pretty much impossible. I ended up removing most of my shoes (three pairs left plus sandals), loads of clothes and one bottle of booze that was supposed to be a present (there was still 1 left). After that, I tried to clean my room and my old comp but it was also not too much of a success. When I woke up in the morning the real mayhem begun. Anyways, all could be described by saying (or singing... which I did – I actually came up with a tune for that... a smash hit!) “One bag’s too heavy and the other is too small | I’ve repacked 20 times and I’ll do a little more”.

Packing havoc, mayhem... name is at you like

Skipping the part when my parents and I got on each others’ nerves big time and I forgot many important things, let’s head to the Warsaw airport (commonly known as Okęcie) terminal 2. After searching for a person responsible for wrapping luggage in plastic and checking in (I should also mention that BA offers check-in via Internet, which is really useful since you can view the scheme of the plane, see what’s for lunch and check if your flight is not cancelled – which I did earlier). I said goodbye to my parents and samasia and was in for a really long walk to my gate (preceded by a visit in a tax free liquor store).

I don’t really get what was the whole snow hustle about. When I arrived in London it was just cold. No snow! None! And the coat on the fields around London was thin (well, ok Marta’s backyard had some snow). Before I got onto “Piccadilly service to Cockfosters” I got a chance to see the new Terminal 5 of Heathrow airport. It is really... pretty and getting around is not that difficult, since everywhere there is staff ready to guide you around. The whole terminal is BA only so the runway is pretty monotonous. I went to a leave my large luggage at the company called “Left Luggage” which confusingly enough for me but not for the person who guided me there was on the right (LEFT not LOST). Then I went upstairs to do the check-in for tomorrow and after an hour of doing all that I made my way to Kings Cross.

London and snow on board of BA flight from Warsaw

I think I’ve never in my life had such a sense of freedom. Never mind the forgotten hat and some of the tea thing I left behind. It was great! Through all these years I’d forgotten how small the Tube’s cars are. When last time in London I’d always wondered how on Earth the funny small doors do not cut people’s heads off. On the 5th station from Heathrow an Irish guy got on the train and said that he would like to play a show for us. He took out his violin and started playing some Celtic tunes and then the James Bond theme but he did it in a Celtic manner. This was great! That really made my day.

Getting to King’s Cross took me another hour. I wanted to see St. Pancras and go to see Platform 9 ¾ I was supposed to wait at a local Starbucks for . The renovated St. Pancras is really nice but Platform 9 ¾ was nowhere to be found. I wondered around with my luggage getting heavier and heavier. I was getting really tired and getting a bit restless to find the platform. I started thinking about asking someone to show me the way, but that, I thought, would be one of the dumbest questions one might ask “Excuse me can you tell me where the platform 9 3/4 is?”. And then I realized that this sounds all so familiar. I finally gave up. Looking for it was fun too... I think I felt really close to what a muggle born Hogwarts student with a heavy trunk looking for the ruddy platform might feel like. So I went to get some coffee and something to eat (sticky toffee cake might sound great but it’s nothing special).

St Pancras

and some more

Meeting Marta was great. I really miss her. She was one of the people I looked up to on my year, she always spoke her mind, which was driving some teachers crazy and she was really, how to put it? Courageous? Well, she had enough guts to just quit ILS. We got to her house in the Turkish/Greek neighborhood. I really loved it. Especially the atmosphere of so many people living together and not bothering each other unnecessarily and at the same time being very close. Marta treated me with bagels (I hadn’t had these in ages) and some weird British food (I always found British cuisine strange and sometimes even a bit off putting). After that we went to a Turkish place to have some really great Turkish pizza and iran. Then we visited a bar which had a real jukebox. British bar, Czech style. Finally I got to sleep in Nadine’s room with a white furisode hanging in the window.

Oh, and about chipolatas – we had none :)

Tire Swing - Kimya Dawson


I'm in Japan and since I didn't have to much time to update I will gradually do that later. I will also include the details of obtaining a CA and visa, the flight options etc. Before that however I would like to share with you some personal details of my journey to Japan. More details can be found on my LJ.
So just as an introduction: first of all my original flight to London was cancelled due to the 'heavy' snow, so I had a one day delay. So my journey started on February 4th not 3rd.
So in the posts that follow a detailed account of my trip.

sobota, 3 stycznia 2009

Films about Japan

明けましておめでとうございます。 皆様のご健康をお祈り申し上げます!

I found some really interesting movies about Japan on, so here are the links:

Japan: Robot Nation a really interesting program from Adam Yamaguchi about the demographic prospects for Japan in the coming years. Do you know anything about Brazilian minority in Japan? Or that there are special host bars for women? Or princess cafes? Well, I didn't. Really amazing documentary. And Adam Yamaguchi's films are done with skill!

Jozen in Japan a short, 8 minute program about Jozen, who is an English teacher in a small town of Toki, Japan. Very interesting from my perspective.

Suicide in Japan Adam Yamaguchi explores the suicide culture in Japan.

Suicide chat rooms in Japan another one from Adam Yamaguchi.

Tokyo homeless town a short story about homeless in Shibuya. Ever since I saw pictures of homeless town in Joanna Bator's book I wanted to know something more about that.

Goths & Lolitas a VC about
Harajuku fashion. I was always (as an observer) fascinated by it but it gives me creeps.

A bit of Xmas in Japan So something more than just クリスマス ケーキ. Not a really good video IMHO but gives you some basic idea about Christmas in Japan. Dave is also a teacher and he also had a delay with getting the documents, like practically everybody I know who went to Japan. He also has a longish video about why he likes Japan. And I got a decent answer to that question, long but decent.

wtorek, 11 listopada 2008

The first one

The first post is always the dumbest and no matter what you write after a while it makes little sense.

So here it goes

This blog shall be devoted to my trip to Japan, where I will be working as a trainee in HR department and as an English teacher, intermingling with Japanese culture and people, experiencing the all-famous culture shock and finding out whether all these things I learnt from all these smart books and lectures have anything to do with truth and real life.

I hope that for those of you who stay tuned this will be a fun thing to read and I also hope that it will help those of you who don't want to stay in one place and want to get prepared for a trip to some distant land on the other side of the planet (and those who already did that will help me).

Pierwsza notka jest zawsze głupia i bez względu na to, co się w niej napisze, po jakimś czasie wydaje się bez sensowna.

Więc raz kozie wio.

Niniejszy blog będzie poświęcony mojej podróży do Japonii, gdzie będę praktykantką w dziale HR i nauczycielką angielskiego, gdzie będę chłonąć japońską kulturę, poznawać nowych ludzi, doświadczać owianego sławą szoku kulturowego i konfrontować z rzeczywistością wszystkie rzeczy, których się dowiedziałam z bardzo mądrych książek i równie mądrych wykładów.

Mam nadzieję, że dla osób, które postanowią śledzić tego bloga będzie to miła lektura i że pomoże on tym, którzy tak jak ja nie chcą zbyt długo pozostawać w jednym miejscu i chcą przygotować się do podróży w nieznane, gdzieś w jakiś odległy zakątek globu. Mam też nadzieję, że Ci, którzy mają już to za sobą pomogą mi w razie kłopotów.

A w związku z tym, że jak się okazało pisanie po polsku sprawia mi niestety dość duże trudności, nie obiecuję, że wszystkie notki będą pisane również po polsku.