Thursday 31 December 2009


OK I have found this information about Tokyo and New Year so thought I would share it. We are off to our lovely French neighbours house for drinks and then we will all go together to a Shrine at midnight. Looking forward to it. Will update on what we did tomorrow. I would like to wish all my friends and family a fantastic new year and look forward to seeing you all again Very Very soon. I miss you all x

"Tokyo, the capital of Japan has its own way of entering the New Year and bidding farewell to the old one. “ Dezomeshiki” and “ Special Opening of the Imperial Palace Grounds” are some of the activities that are part and parcel of the New Year in Tokyo.From praying to partying, New Year in Tokyo are one of their own kinds. People in Tokyo pay holy visits to temples and shrines on the occasion of the Japanese New Year called “ Shogatsu”. New Year in Tokyo are known for the exciting Dezomeshiki, New Year's Parade of Firemen. Traditional acrobatic stunts are performed by the firemen of Tokyo in the parade during New Year in Tokyo.Another major attraction of the New Year in Tokyo is “ The Watch-night bell ”. The night bell is striked 108 times on the last night of the passing year at the temples all over Japan.
This ritual has a myth behind it, according to which, the bell is striked 108 times to get rid of the 108 worldly desires. "

Wednesday 30 December 2009

3rd Visitors Mum and Dad Shand, UK, 18 - 30 Dec 2009

It is 08:15 and I have just put my mum and dad into a taxi to take the to Tokyo Station where they catch the train to the airport to go back to the UK.

They arrived on the 18th December, the last day of my sushi course and Mia and Gian's school for the holiday. Perfect timing. Mia and Gian were so happy to have them here (as were Graham and I) and it made Christmas really special for us all.

We showed them alot of Tokyo and I know they liked this big city. My father, however, is totally obsessed with the Japanese toilets and has even taken a video to show his friends back home, you have been warned. :-)

Like all the visitors we have had so far we have really enjoyed seeing them, showing them our new (temporary) home and sharing some lovely times. Thank you so much mum and dad, we will miss you. Thank god for Skype.

Sushi Course

Details to come.... please wait :-)

Saturday 21 November 2009

2nd Visitors Mum and Dad Cunningham 6 - 21 Nov 2009

Less than a week after our 1st visitors left our 2nd visitors arrived. Graham's parents arrived on the Friday. Straight into Golf on the Sunday for Graham and his dad and Wyn came with me and the kids to try some sushi and see the girls at Harajuku. (not sure she enjoyed the sushi but am sure she enjoyed the experience). They spent lots of time with the kids which was lovely, (and gave Graham and I a chance to go out one evening) :-) Mia and Gian really miss all their grandparents and are so lucky that they will all visit us and experience our adventure with us!

We took them to some of the major tourist attractions and they went to Kyoto on the Bullet Train, I think they enjoyed seeing another city in Japan. I hope they enjoyed their time here with us, I know we did.

Next visitors (mum and dad Shand) arrive on the 18th December to spend Christmas with us.

Christmas lights

I am going to make a photo folder with all Christmas lights as they are soooo pretty. Starting with the ones from Tokyo Dome. Photo taken very "Japanese" with the V sign :-) :-)

Monday 16 November 2009

preparing our New Years cards...

Today we went to Harajuku to have some photos taken for this years Christmas cards / New Years cards. more to come......

Sunday 8 November 2009

It really is a small world...

Today, Graham and George (Grahams dad) went to play golf so I thought I would take Wyn (Grahams mum) to the Meiji Jingu shrine in Harjuku, this is a very famous shrine in Tokyo and is also famous for the Harjuku girls who dress up.

Anyway, when we arrived at the station in was packed and there was some sort of festival/ parade/demonstration going on, there were so many people so I suggested we waited abit before going to the shrine. After about 40 minutes we decided it would be OK as the crowd was better than before.

It was so beautiful walking through the trees, there were lots of little girls dressed in the most beautiful Kimono's. We were just talking and enjoying the views and someone said, "Lindsey"!! I looked over and it was a Danish friend Susanna from Switzerland!!! OMG it was so weird... Helen had briefly told me she was coming over but I didn't know when, where she was staying etc etc and in a city of 12 million people what was the chance of us bumping into each other.... wow!! well we had a nice chat and laugh and then went our different ways. She was leaving the shrine and we were just going in.

About 2 hours later we were having lunch, looked up and yep you guessed it, 5 spaces down.... Susanna :-) it really is a small world!! Fantastic to see you Susanna. :-)

Saturday 31 October 2009

Happy Halloween

Last night at 10pm I received an email asking if Gian and Mia wanted to go "Trick or Treating" with the French kids, well Mia thinks she is too old :-) but Gian was up for it so we had to then find him a costume. Well that wasnt easy, not in America now :-) but we found a mask, anyone who knows Gian will also know he is Michael Jackson mad at the moment so we thought that would be appropriate. Anyway the RDV was 4pm in the lobby so I sent Mia with Gian so I could stay to give out the sweets, 2 mins later they were back... there was only 2 other (small) girls going so Gian was "NO WAY"!! I managed to convince him to come with me and we went down. After 10 mins there were about 6 kids but we picked some up more from the flats on the way and by the end there were about 15... Gian has just come back with his friends Nicolas and Jonathan and asked if they could go to some other buildings, good luck I say as the Japanese don't really seem to into it... oh well a bit of fun for the kids :-)

Friday 30 October 2009

1st Visitors - Helen, Jacob and Pauline 18-30 Oct 2009

My dear friend Helen (and Jacob/Pauline) left us today, they are flying as I write this. We had a fantastic 2 weeks together. Thank you all for making it so much fun, it was a pleasure having you here.

They arrived on Sunday 18th October and we went straight into sightseeing, showing them Ginza and Ichigaya. Everyday we did something, the beach at Odiba, amusement park at Tokyo Dome, fish market at Tsukiji, temple at Asakasa, bike ride to Ueno etc etc. We had so many laughs, many at my expense :-) last night me, Helen and the kids all went to do some Karaoke, how much fun is that!!! excellent!! please be aware all our visitors that this is not optional and EVERYONE must sing along,. They say laughing is the best medicine, well me and Helen are definitely not under the weather. :-)

We already miss them terribly, it was very strange having them here, felt like I was in Switzerland somehow. I now realise how much I miss all my friends "back home".

Oh well I am going to tidy the flat, go shopping and make the bed up, next lot of visitors arrive in 6 days.

Wednesday 14 October 2009

Tokyo Marathon 2010

The number of applicants for the marathon and 10km race in Tokyo 2010 exceeded the quota just two days after the registration had started. Therefore, they said all entrants were to be decided by a lottery system. I am happy to say that Graham got an email yesterday to say he has a place so can run in the Marathon. yea!! we are all very happy :-) Now he has to start really training although he still has time, the race is in Feb 2010.

Friday 9 October 2009

Typhoon hits us, nobody hurt all OK!!

Well we are having fun experiencing the different weather in Asia... Earthquakes, typhoons... I will miss so many things when we have to leave this wonderful country but that isn't one of them...

We are all fine, the kids had the day of school as their school was closed so they were happy!! we stayed in the flat and although at times it was loud it wasnt too bad if you just stay inside. I hope that is the last Typhoon I see while we are here....

Tuesday 6 October 2009

Cooking course

Today I went to Omatesando to do a cooking course, this is organised through the AFJ - Association des Français du Japon it was an easy morning, watching Akiko prepare different sauces etc for the meals. She showed us how to do some of it and then we helped. I was expecting to be doing alot more "cooking" but I still really enjoyed it and then we ate together. There were 5 of us in total, 3 ladies I hadn't met before who were all very nice and my lovely neighbour Anne. It was useful and interesting to find out a bit more about some of the sauces, ingredients etc as it is hard knowing what you are buying sometimes.

We made Riz au thon (sashimi with rice and a lovely sauce)
Furofuki daikon, pot au feu de navet "oden" à la sauce miso (Japanese radish again with a good sauce)
Glace au thé vert (yum but I cant make this at home as we don't have an ice cream maker but really tasty and good for you... ish)

Kyoto 2nd - 4th October 2009

Metro - Tokyo

I will try to take some photos the next time I go on the metro before 9am as it is unbelievable... it is sooooo crowded but still organised... very Japanese...

more info to come soon..

Tuesday 29 September 2009

Wednesday 23 September 2009

Another day in the park.... literally

Today Graham and I decided to go for a bike ride. We rode to Kappabashi-Dori to buy some stuff to practice making sushi before I start my course, you know me, cant wait for the course I have to already be able to do some of it!! :-)

We then rode to Ueno Park which is soooooo beautiful. We went to The National Museum of Western Art, which neither Gra or I knew is the home of "The Thinker" by Auguste Rodin, there is a hall with about 8 sculputures by Rodin including Adam, Eve, The gates of Hell etc, really beautiful! There was also a hall with some beautiful Monet, I love Waterloo Bridge in London and we both loved Snow in Argenteuil but not sure if that was just because it was snow and reminded us of Switzerland :-) There were some other good halls and some .... not so good halls :-) cant like / appreciate it all!!

We then rode through the park watching all the street performers before heading home to see the kids... (always the best part of the day)!

Tuesday 22 September 2009

Sumo Wrestling

Details of the day to follow......

Saturday 19 September 2009

While in Japan, make sushi....

Graham and I decided to do a one day sushi course together. I could then decide if I wanted to do the 1 month diploma course. I have decided yes!!

Before I explain about the day course I want to express how impressed I am of the sushi of my good friend Maja in Switzerland. Her sushi is fabulous, it always looks great and tastes delicious, after doing the one day course I have realised just how hard this is, it really isn't easy! Also I want to say that Maja's sushi is up there with the sushi we have had in Japan! totally excellent!! (Maja you can pay me later) :-)

OK... our course, Graham and I turned up at 10am to the Sushi Academy, Tokyo. After being asked to change our shoes, put on the white apron and hat, wash our hands and take off all rings, watches etc we were ready. They had the rice all prepared and we were shown how to take the rice and mold it for the nigri sushi, looks easy, just roll no?? NO! In Japan they teach you how to do this in 7 steps, of course our "sensei" did this in seconds (1 I think) but Gra and I took abit longer and it didn't look the same as his. We had to weigh it too as in Japan the rice has to weigh exactly 18g... OK we were making 25g :-) we practiced this for quite a while, chatting to the sensei and the assistant (Gra to the sensei in Japanese and me to the assistant in English). Then he said we could try to cut some fish, even that isn't straight forward, holding the knife in a certain way, slicing (no sawing) the fish etc, again it has to be weighed and has to weigh 12g, maybe Gra and I were not exact with this either...

We then watched how they made the rice which again was a very interesting process and not just put the rice in a pan and cook for 20 mins...

After this was on to making the cucumber rolls, for this they didn't even let us near the real ingredients to start with, we had a cloth for the Nori and chop sticks for the cucumber.. we made a right mess and the sensei had a good laugh, after he said we were ready to make these so we made 1 roll and cut into 6 and then were given fresh rice and we made the nigri sushi with the different fish. After this we had to present it nicely and then we all ate it for lunch, my was "gorgeous" :-)
We watched the Diploma course for a while as they were being shown how to make the omelet it looked really hard so I wished the American and Swedish guy good luck with making that :-) my turn in November.... cant wait!!!

Saturday 12 September 2009

Tired, wet and cold but far from miserable...

Ok, my day started at 7am with me looking at my phone to see if Pascal had sent me an sms from the Gotteron game... No.... so I guessed that meant that we lost... yep! 4-1 to Bern!! not happy!! but C'est la Vie!! hope they win tonight. OK that is the hockey out of my system so on to the day we had ahead of us.
I had booked us on a bike tour of Tokyo and had been looking forward to it all week. We were due to meet at 9am at a hotel about 45 mins from our flat, then we had a 6 hour tour of Tokyo ahead of us, great! BUT if the weather isn't good they cancel the tour... the weather forecast wasn't great but it wasn't too bad either so they asked if we wanted to still do it, we said YES!! OK, it didn't just "spit" it "pi**ed" it down (sorry mum)!! on our 45 minute ride to meet them it started, we were nearly there (but lost) and we were going down a hill, the path was really wet and Very slippery and poor Gian put on the brakes and the rest was history... he went flying and the bike landed on top of him, I was behind him and I slipped too but managed to stay on my bike, poor boy was very shaken up but no cuts so we told him to get back on the bike as we were going to be late :-) (joking, I gave him a hug first and then told him...) :-) bad mum!!!
So we finally met up with the others, our guides Yukiko and Masa and the other people on our tour Mandy and Geoff from Hawaii, and Eric from California, they were lovely and very understanding (for us being lost and late) so off to a good start! The rain was getting harder and harder so we stopped so they could tell us about the trip and then it really chucked it down so we had to stop again and go into a shop, we looked like drowned rats!! we had a typical Japanese "sweet" it was an American style pancake with anko (see link above) inside.. yum... not!! very strange and I wasn't sure nor were the kids so Gra had 3 :-) Had a look outside and still raining so decided we would stop the tour :-( we said we would go to the fish market, have lunch together and then finish the tour.. WOW!! the fish market is amazing!! huge and very interesting. Gian didn't like it when we saw the live crab but the rest the kids enjoyed.
We went into a sushi shop in the fish market so as you can imagine the fish was out of this world, so fresh!
After lunch we decided to make our way home, very wet, cold and tired. But we have already booked on the tour for next Sunday to see the Sumo Wrestlers and then will do the Saturday tour another day.
Graham is now in bed... 4pm.. hot baths were had by all and a cup of tea... lovely.....

Friday 4 September 2009

Earthquake at school

This was the picture in Mia's school today when they had another earthquake....

This afternoon the kids were both at school and Graham and I were in Roppongi (see pics), I felt something move and lost my balance abit but nothing too bad. When the kids came out of school they were both very excited and Mia was pleased as they missed 15 minutes of French as they had to sit under their desks covering their heads until the earthquake passed.... oh the joy!!

Tuesday 1 September 2009

Karaoke Time......

Today was soooo much fun, we went to one of the famous Karaoke clubs. We paid for 4 people (2 Sfr per person per hour, plus you have to buy 1 drink from them too so a total of 20 Sfr for an hour, not bad)!! You go into a small room with a TV, huge book to choose the music, phone (to call to ask for more drinks or food) and the big remote to pick the music oh and 2 microphones.
I started with Eternal Flame by the bangles (me and Lisa used to sing this as kids) :-) sorry Lisa!! at first I was laughing and thinking how bad my voice was but after 5 mins I really thought I was Susanna Hoffs :-) Mia then had a go at a Hannah Montanna song and Gian sang a Michael Jackson song while moon walking!!! Gra then had a great moment singing Ben by Michael Jackson and then we did a duet of American Pie, god we were....awful!!!
Well Simon Cowell would laugh us off the stage but we had such a great time, all visitors start practicing your favourite songs as we WILL be going back. I am looking into how to start this up in Fribourg!!


when we arrived at our new home we obviously didn't know who are new neighbours were or if they had children etc, (Graham was however very excited to see some gold clubs outside one of the apartments so hoped that person was nice) :-)

It wasn't long before I met a lovely French lady in reception, she said hello and we started talking, worked out she lived on the 4th floor too and yes she was our neighbour, great she had 2 boys aged 12 and 9 exactly the same as Mia and Gian, result!!

Graham soon met the other neighbour (with the clubs) and they are a Japanese family with 2 children Moe (10) and Anna (6 months) and a very noisy (and scary) dog :-) After talking to Taichi for a while we asked where he had learnt his very good English, he replied Reading, UK, (about 20 mins from where I grew up), small world eh!! Anyway, these are our neighbours (the 4th flat is empty), we feel Very lucky as they all seem lovely!

Sunday 30 August 2009

Bike Ride to Ueno Park

We decided that we wanted to go for a bike ride so went from our flat to Ueno park, not too far, took us about 45 minutes to get there, very flat roads so not a problem. In Japan everyone rides on the paths, this is good in one way (safer for kids) but it is also a bit of a pain as you are always weaving in and out and having to stop and start.

We stopped off on the way at a little shop to buy some food he had outside, chicken (I think/hope) and some fried prawns for Graham.

When we got to the park the kids wanted to go on the Swan boats so being nice parents we said OK (we had 30 minutes of peace while they had fun, perfect!!)

Whilst riding round the park we saw a man with a puppet, (see photos in gallery) very good!
In the pond there were these huge lillies, when we were here in April they were only small but now they are HUGE!! a really spectacular sight to see.

Wednesday 26 August 2009

Japanese Language

Graham has now started his Japanese class and is having 3 hours twice a week and then when the kids start school he will increase to 5 days a week. He is doing well and seems to be able to hold a conversation, really impressed!

Mia and Gian are trying and can ask for 1 or 2 cokes or hot chocolate etc. and then there is me... OMG!! it is sooooo funny! I am really trying but for some reason I keep getting "hello" and "thank you" mixed up so in total Delboy style (only fools and horses for those non English folk reading this) when I have paid for something and they give me back my change I then look at them and confidently say "Konnichiwa" the look they give me is soooo funny and Gra says afterwards "you did it again"... we have laughed so hard with this... oh dear easily pleased!! :-)

First Haircut in Japan....

Mia and I decided to have our haircut today so went into a salon that the sign outside was in English and said "all the way from London"... hummm NOT!! When we went in not 1 person spoke English but it was very hard for us to leave (they had shown us to chairs and I couldn't say I wanted to leave even if I wanted to).. anyway, I decided to play safe and just have a "trim" and Mia wanted a "trim and curl" meaning, when drying and styling at the the end, put a little curl in... again, not understood and Mia now has a PERM!!! classic!! my hair doesn't look much different but Mia's does, (pics in the gallery). When she showed me to the sink to have my hair washed she sat me down and put the chair right back (not like in CH or GB) quite comfortable actually but then she put a cloth over my face and blankets over my legs.. apparently the cloth is because the Japanese are shy and they come very close to your face when washing your hair so this is to avoid embarrassment and the blanket it to protect the girls from showing their pants (the skirts are very short here) :-) anyway the girl then spent 20 mins washing my hair and I thought she was trying to kill me, it really hurt!! not very gentil. But she was very sweet and has done a nice cut so I wont complain.

Sunday 23 August 2009

New Bikes - Great!!

Well what can I say... WOW I have a new bike.. it really must be the BEST bike ever!! I feel like a 10 year old who has been given her first bike, I love it!! I have the Cannondale Quick 1 now how sexy is that!! I can lift my bike with 1 finger.. cool!! (because I know it is a necessity to do that)!! anyway I am Very Happy!!! thank you Grammy... :-) Graham has a new bike too (not as sexy as mine) but at least he can ride up a hill without stopping... I need a bit of practice but I will get there!!
PS: Iva/Pen we are trying to keep up the good work :-)

Trying out the Japanese health care system...

If our life isn't exciting enough, poor Graham was rushed to hospital at 4am this morning with extreme pain in his left side and vomiting.
It started about midnight and got worse slowly to start with but by 3:30am he was completely restless and pacing the bedroom (in between vomiting). I convinced him (not too hard as he was in so much pain) to call an ambulance, of course nothing for us is straight forward at the moment, so searching for the emergency no (119 by the way, mirror image of the American 911 for ease..) was our first port of call, then trying to explain in Japanese (whilst in pain) the symptoms and where we live. 15 mins later the ambulance arrived and took him away. I was petrified, I didn't know where he was being taken, what was wrong with him, when he would be back... fortunately he sent me a sms pretty quickly to say it was Kidney stones... clearly very painful but luckily treatable and not life threatening. He is now home, on pain killers and other tablets and will go back to the hospital tomorrow for more tests and treatment. We are so happy he is home and OK, spent most of the day in bed, hey what are Sundays for??

And our adventure continues ......

Tuesday 18 August 2009

Gians 9th Birthday

Gian is 9 today and we have just got home from Disney Tokyo. What a day! We woke up and Gian opened his cards and presents. (thank you very much for everyone who sent a card/pressie). He had a lovely new camera from his godfather, money from grandparents and "aunts" so he can now treat us to dinner :-) We then went to Disney for the day. It only takes 37 mins on the train so we were there in no time! We told the lady on the front desk it was Gian's birthday and they gave him a birthday sticker and everyone we passed clapped their hands and said "Happy Birthday" it was lovely and Gian liked all the attention (apart from the man who asked if he was 6 today) :-) oops!! It was very hot and humid and it seemed that everyone chose today to go to Disney, the queues were a nightmare!! We had to wait in line for 2 hours for Splash Mountain and it lasted all of 5 mins... We got the "fast pass" for space mountain so that wasn't too bad (apart from I hate roller coasters but said I would do it for Gian's birthday, so queued for hours for rides I am scared of) :-) Anyway.... we had a FAB day and left about 6:30, just as all the people arrived for the evening (1/2 price after 6pm) so were glad to get out!! I have been to Disney in Orlando a few times and have NEVER seen it so busy, there were people everywhere, all with Minnie ears on (the Japanese girls love that, young or old)!

Gian wanted to go to Tony Roma's for dinner, it is an American place that does pretty good seafood and fajitas. He still had his birthday sticker on so the girl said Happy Birthday and chatted a bit to Gian, at the end of the meal she brought an ice cream/cake with a candle and we all sang happy birthday, she then took a photo and put it in a card for him, really sweet. We now have to go for Mia's birthday...

When we got home he had a few skype sessions and was really pleased to chat to his good friends and family. We are all off to bed now, shattered!!!!

Saturday 15 August 2009


Baseball is the no 1 spectator sport of Japan and they are no 1 in the world so not surprisingly Baseball is huge over here. We have already been to the batting cage to hit (or try to hit in my case) some balls, then we have been to watch a few Sunday friendly games which is fun. We are going to book some tickets to see a professional game and join in with the over excited Japanese screaming! Tomorrow we are going to have some more practice at the batting cage.... Sunday will be our baseball day for a while... until Sep when I want to see the sumo...

Friday 14 August 2009

The unbearable humidity!!

Just realised that anyone I have spoken to has heard about the unbearable heat/humidity we have here so thought I had better share on the blog!

Well it is bloody hot and bloody horrible..... ok I have said it!!

You see a lot of girls with umbrellas to shield them from the sun... what sun!! there is no sun!! just grey sky and HOT!!! you walk out the door and sweat! women shouldn't sweat, its just not nice.. choosing your clothes in the morning is "what can I wear today that wont show sweat stains" hummmm nice!! Anyway... alot of people carry a flannel or handkerchief to mop up the sweat, have bought myself one of these and a very stylish fan.... only another 6 weeks of this.. yea!!!

Tokyo Dome

The Tokyo Dome is a stadium for baseball (no 1 sport here in Japan) and it also has held lots of concerts including Madonna and Michael Jackson. There is also so much more to do there which we are finding out. We are really lucky that the Dome is just 20 mins walk from our apartment, so really easy to get to. We went there one evening to go bowling with the kids, boy do the Japanese know how to have fun, there were about 30 lanes nearly all taken with big groups of business men and women (mostly young girls, maybe assistants) and older men but all looked very cool and comfortable with each other. Every time one got a strike they all gave "high fives" very funny!!
Another day we went to the amusement park. It has lots of different rides etc and you can either buy a wrist band and go on everything or pay per ride (I should have done that). The kids definitely got their moneys worth, Gra just made it and I was pathetic... I went on a few rides and one was so funny, it was called the "sky flower" A parachute-type attraction going up and down from a height of 61 meters to the ground, commanding a magnificent view of city streets and buildings, not fast or anything so I thought I would be OK, OMG 61 meters is very high!!! my legs turned to jelly and I couldn't look!! very funny though, guests will have to go on it!!!!
We are going to get tickets to go and see a baseball game so hopefully that should be fun!! will keep you posted.

3 earthquakes in a week..... Help!!

Before we moved here to Tokyo we were told of the earthquakes and Typhoons and anyone who know me, also knows I have a really bad fear for wind so my main fear was of the typhoons, I even said to Graham "oh the earthquakes don't worry me, how bad can they be" well the answer is VERY BAD!!! 3 in one week.... what!!!

Sunday was the first one, we were on skype to Grahams parents in the UK and we felt some movement, at first I thought it was kids downstairs running up and down the corridor and then I looked at the coffee I had made and it started moving and then coming out of the cup, and then the whole building started moving, side to side as if someone was shaking it. I was very scared and all I could do was sit on the floor and wait for it to be over. I felt sorry for Grahams parents as I couldn't even talk so Graham had to hang up the call and come and sit with me. Then Gian came running in, saying "WOW that was the best thing that has happened since we have been here" typical!!! I wasn't going to scare him with the "what could have happened" it didn't and we are all fine. This was rated at 7.1
Tuesday was the 2nd one, we were all set for a trip to Kanazawa to visit the family Graham stayed with last year and also his old school and so he could show us around. We were booked on the night train due to leave at 11pm, we got to the station at 10pm (like to be early) :-) to be told that due to a typhoon warning the train was cancelled and we could go and get our money back. The children were tired and very disappointed but I was glad we didn't go as the thought of being on a train in a typhoon didn't exactly thrill me. So we home and went to bed. At 5am in the morning, we were woken by the room shaking again, I said to Graham "oh god here comes the typhoon, and he responded, don't worry I think it is just another earthquake" he was right, this time a 6.4.
The last one was on Wednesday, I remember thinking, 2 earthquakes in 3 days, hopefully that is it for the time we are here, but NO!! 8am in the morning, the same rocking, shaking of the room and it was 6.6.
As I said before we are all fine, everything around us seems fine and hopefully that is it for the year! Please!!!!

Noisy Bugs - Cicada

The first day we were in our apartment there was a really loud noise, I thought that someone in another apartment building was playing the guitar (badly)!! we then asked someone and realised it was a bug called the Cicada. These bugs are really interesting if not a little loud!!
It is said that Cicadas in Japan live only two weeks in the trees while they live underground for seven years until they come outside on the ground. Casting is such an exciting moment. Even its little wings are still wet and shrinked. His round and large dark eyes are cute against his white body. By the time the wings get dry, the color of a newborn cicada turns to dark. Then it's time to fly. Good luck! Live up your life!
I have posted a link so you can hear the noise they make, a lot of people hate them but I actually like the noise now as it is a noise that will remind me of Japan.

New Apartment

We moved into our new apartment on the 6th August 2009, it is a great place and I know we are going to be happy here. We have 4 bedrooms, 3 normal size,one has 2 single beds in for the kids, one has 2 desks in and the 3rd has a sofa bed and the TV will go in there, (guest room) the last bedroom is ours and is HUGE twice as big as our bedroom in CH, it is beautiful but we only have a bed and 2 bedside tables so looks funny at the moment but don't want anymore furniture in there so it will be fine. We have 3 toilets, and 2 bathrooms that are fab!! Japanese style with a room for the shower (bigger than our small bathroom at home) and then a bath in there too, it is great!! the toilets are the all singing all dancing kind and poor Gian had a shock the first time he used it as it flushes automatically when you get off, he thought one of us had flushed it from another room :-) he wasn't amused!! (the rest of us had a good laugh)!!

We have a reception down stairs with three lovely Japanese girls to help us out if we need anything, they weren't too happy when I decided to try out the security system (without reading the instructions) and set the alarm off, this also went to a central security centre... oops, we had 1 girl and the manager in our apartment trying to sort it out and Graham kept saying "sorry it was an accident" while I was just sooo embarrassed and kept out of the way, while sniggering a lot!!

Tuesday 11 August 2009

Arriving in Tokyo, Japan - 4th August 2009

We arrived into Tokyo in the morning after a 12 hour flight, unfortunately we didn't sleep so all very jet lagged! We had to queue for about 1.5 hours to get through immigration, not fun when you are tired but nothing you can do, not any worse than entering America!! Bags were there when we had finished so we went straight away to catch the bus to the hotel, very easy and cheap enough, we all slept on the bus as soooo tired.

We stayed at the Tokyo Park Hyatt (the hotel from the film "Lost in Translation") for the first 2 days before we moved to our flat. what can I say WOW!! what a fab hotel, it is HUGE for a start and just soooo beautiful, our room was great with a big bathroom with TV, I could get used to that! :-) On the Wednesday morning we went for a swim in the lovely pool and then on to breakfast which was one of the best breakfasts I have EVER had, very simple but everything was so fresh.

Leaving Switzerland - 3rd August 2009

This was a really hard day for me, leaving my home and my fantastic friends. I know I am going to have a great, once in a lifetime adventure with the people I am closest to and who mean the world to me, Gra, Mia and Gian but I am still going to miss everyone back home and will think often of them and beautiful Switzerland. I will be back!!!