Sunday 24 January 2010

Hike and Lunch with friends, great!

Saturday we met our friends Kevin and Cecila and their friend Linda at Shinjuku station to take the train to Takaosanguchi. We hiked to Mt Takao, it took us about 70 mins of mostly up hill, I was really tired and really hot as I had put extra layers on thinking it would be cold in the mountains... but the sun was beautiful and the extra effort I had to put in to get up the mountain made me sweat!! :-) It was all worth it, the views at the top were just beautiful (almost as beautiful as Switzerland). We then started our way back, half way down we caught the cable car as we had reservations at Ukai Toriyama. This is a restaurant (!) more like little huts which is just fantastic! have a look at this article which says everything I would say (but better) :-) I took some photos so see my gallery too.

We were all very tired on the way home, hike, food, warm hut and the train had heated seats so nice and toasty, what a lovely day, it was really nice to get out of the city. It made me a bit homesick though as the beautiful mountains and out in the country reminded me so much of my "Home".

Tuesday 19 January 2010

If I can draw anyone can draw :-)

OK, a bit of background for those who don't know my art skills. Before this course my art skills were non existent.. I REALLY couldn't draw to save my life, ask Lisa who used to "help" me at school with any drawing and who used to find my stick men very amusing. So when Graham suggested we do an art class as a family I wasn't too enthusiastic as I didnt want to make a fool of myself. However, I knew how much it meant to Graham so I agreed. I just thought, Nothing ventured, nothing gained! and was quite interested to see if the class would really work. I thought if they can teach ME to draw then really anyone can.

The challenge was set, would we be able to draw after 2 days?? (9 hours to be exact), well the answer is YES!!

The first day was spent doing some drawing exercises, learning how we use our brain when we draw and proving that often, we draw what we "think" we see and not what we actually see. After a few hours we started drawing our own portrait and were all very surprised and VERY happy with the results, especially Gian who has been showing everyone his pictures and has been drawing lots more. Great!!

The course we did was based on the book Drawing on the right side of the brain by Betty Edwards

We went to the RBR school in Tokyo but this course is held all over the world.

We had a fantastic teacher Andy who was fun, interesting and most importantly patient! He obviously loves what he does and it shows, the kids just loved him and although Gian was a little shy to start with by the end he was chatting away to Andy and asking for help etc.

This was our first course (I have put more photos in my gallery but I am pretty sure it wont be our last.

Sunday 10 January 2010

Tim Ferriss

This video is amazing, the guy himself is pretty amazing but I love it as it is based in Japan and I just love the way he has shown just how the Japanese people are. Kind, patient, hardworking, etc etc... I am in the middle of writing a post just on that so wont do it now. Watch the video (is about 45 minutes long) but really interesting. Enjoy. x

No Man's Land

This is something I love about Tokyo, there is ALWAYS something going on. Today we went over to the old French Embassy to see an exposition. The embassy has moved so they are using the old one for artists to express themselves. I took some pictures and have uploaded them to my gallery. The day was free (well 1000 Yen for Mia and Gian to join the artists and make some hats etc) but the rest was free, really interesting so we had a nice afternoon.

Friday 1 January 2010

New Years Eve

First of all HAPPY NEW Year to everyone.

We were kindly invited to our neighbours flat for drinks/food and then we planned to visit our nearest shrine at midnight. We really wanted to see how the Japanese spent their New Years Eve so this part was important for us.
We arrived next door with Sushi (made by moi), Champagne and dessert and met some new people who were all French but all very nice (despite being French) :-) only joking Anne!!
There were 6 families so about 24 of us in all, everyone took something with them so dinner was lovely, lots of champagne was consumed and then we all left about 11:30 to make our way to the shrine. The kids are all about the same age so that is great, they all got along really well and had a lot of fun.
There were lots (and I mean LOTS) of people at the shrine but they were all very quiet and all in line waiting to go to the front of the shrine to prey. We didn't join the line but we did wait around and soak up the atmosphere. At midnight we all said Happy New Year and they had taken a bottle of champagne so we all had a glass of that (and were told off and asked to only drink outside the shrine) fair enough!! Got home about 2am and collapsed into bed. This morning we were invited back for lunch, everyone was abit quieter today, a few sore heads but lovely to spend time with them all again.