Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The British Embassy and other peculiar events

The second time I woke up in japan I was feeling rather unintelligent due to the imbibing of vast quantities of low quality beer, but regardless, I ventured down to the 5th floor to enjoy an exquisite breakfast of chips, ham and grapefruit juice, then chose which workshops we wanted to go to. In the end we ended up sat at the back of a fairly tedious lecture on lesson planning giggling whenever one of us said “tittybar”. Yup, classy English gents abroad. We also did a sketch about gay men seducing each other in a bar to teach how to tell the time in English. It was deemed humourous, but ill advised.

After marching around the hotel and the workshops accusing every other countries participants of being ‘damnable colonials’ (which they were, apart from Lyle the american who gets an exemption for knowing what the word 'cunt' was in japanese), it was time for a bit of good old British hospitality at the Embassy. The embassy compound was huge, must be worth millions in central Tokyo. However compared to the hospitality the Japanese Embassy in London gave us (sushi and as much champagne as you can drink) the British Embassy was rubbish! We strolled in, they gave us CANS OF HEINEKEN and served us trays of onion rings and fishfingers with a big bowl of ketchup in the middle. Rest assured your taxes are not being spent frivolously here! Would it have been that hard to at least provide us with some newcastle brown ale? Where were the gravy drinking contests, burberry clad scallies and morris dancers?

Phil was pheelin phairly phurious at this point phil phans!

Next: Honjo

P.S Cunt = Manko (the gospel according to Lyle)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


After the initial mirth created by an overly aggressive toilet, we set out on our first night in Tokyo.

We found a restaurant and I had ‘sea urchin in a wooden box’. My god it was utterly disgusting. We had warm sake, pointed at pictures and said ‘gozaimas’ to get food, and our heroic linguistic efforts were rewarded with karaoke and all you can drink for 3 hours for £8. Maybe these prices aren’t designed for English consumption. But success! We had found food drink and entertainment.

The next day I walked to the main ballroom in a manner which can best be described as 'meandering'. Then came the speeches. And more speeches. Then in Japanese. Then in English. And on and on and on and on.

Then it finished! Right, more high quality boozing to do now. We ventured out into the streets of Tokyo once more, and dazzled by the bright lights we could think of no better way to pick a restaurant than go with the prettiest Japanese woman who asked us to enter her eatery. Not a euphemism.

I didn’t go for the sea urchin in a box this time, but instead went for deep fried chicken gristle. Results were disappointing.

After eating we took the opportunity to look around a bit more, trying to find a bar maybe. At one point I looked at the entrance to a building with no obvious sign as to what it was, and a scary old woman shouted at me ‘NO SEX! ONLY MASSAGE!’ Have to say I didn’t think I looked like a sex tourist, but there you have it.

Next we found a place called ‘BATTLE ARENA’ with lots of flashing lights and noise so logically had to go inside. After playing mariokart in an arcade for half an hour and spending about £50 trying to get a snoopy doll on a grabbing machine, we hit a whisky bar, and the evening descended into a tribute to decadent revelry as the Great British 'cultural ambassadors' continued to offend most americans we came in contact with. Her majesty would have been proud.

In the next instalment, the cultural ambassadors visit the British Embassy! What delights wait in store...

Pharewell phor now phervent phil phans!

19 Aske Avenue to Tokyo, and the greatest invention in the history of everything

First, an apology. I have spent 3 months in Japan at the time of writing, and my endeavourings to create a blog have only now born fruit, due to what you might call laziness. That and I've been having far too much fun. Last night we played with guns!

However I believe this chronicle should cater for the chronologically conscious (nice alliteration there), and as such this entry will concern my initial sojourn into the fine nation of Japan.

I woke up early on the morning of August 4th, ate what I now know would be my last bacon butty in years, and after hugging goodbyes to my brother, my sister, and the guinea pigs, I got in the car and set off on the 6 hour drive to Heathrow with my mum and dad. We listened to BBC Radio 5 on the way down. We stopped for a coffee at leicester services. We ate pizza in the terminal. God it was all so normal. Apart from the fact that when I hugged my mum and dad and said goodbye it would be a bloody long time before I could do that again. I'm not a man afraid of emotion, and will happily admit to the tears that trickled down my cheek that day.

I don't think anything could ever match how I felt as England disappeared beneath the clouds. Exhileration, trepidation, every emotion under the sun coursing through my veins. Up until now this whole adventure had been held in a few lecture theatres in east london, an interview in an embassy near harrods, and giggling at the rude words in a japanese phrasebook. 24 hours after hugging my brother and sister goodbye, as the skyscrapers of tokyo filled every field of vision, everything became a lot more real. Home comforts, friends, family, my every day routine, it all disappeared in one 10 hour flight. And my god it was awesome.

As we entered the 5 star hotel (god bless the japanese taxpayer) we found our room, and upon entering found the coolest thing in the history of the world ever.

There are numerous inventions, theories, that can all lay a reasonable claim to being the most impressive of our species' creations. Fire, the wheel, electricity, have all helped to make the human race a more prosperous society. However the true champion of human ingenuity does not reside within the intellects of Newton, Einstein or Da Vinci. It resides inside the brain of whichever GENIUS thought of making a toilet with a bidet SO powerful it could squirt a jet of water out of a hotel bathroom and into a wardrobe 8 yards away!

Seriously, how have we survived without toilets with buttons at the side that do stuff. First thing we did when we got into the room was start pressing buttons on the toilet and giggling like schoolgirls. Oh yes, truly, we were cultural ambassadors of Her Majesty. Mum and dad would've been proud.

Keep readin phil phollowers! More tokyo adventures to follow!

Philster out.

Herro Cooke Sensai!

Ok first entry. I am finally responding to the CLAMOUR OF THE MASSES and writing a blog. This is the first attempt at a blog that I hope will be remembered in the history of literature as the worthy peer of the works of William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and Tom Clancy. 3 months ago I emigrated to Japan, and now live in a small town on the Sea of Japan, in the rural north of these peculiar islands.

This blog (or in japanese, brog) will provide readers with a window into Japanese culture that will serve to illuminate a country and a culture that I can best describe as a bit odd. For instance, they don't have beans on toast. Savages. These are the kinds of insightful and pertinent observations that I hope will help in my wider aim of forging better understanding between nations, and will eventually THRUST the readership of this blog into double figures.

Right lesson time, nearly time for me to do what I can best describe as SOME SUPER AWESOME MEGA HAPPY EDUCATING.

So for now farewell. Coming up next, phil will tell a funny story about me, my sock, and a japanese toilet.

Later Phil Phans.