Sunday, 14 August 2016

Japan and Juice - Grapefruit Chūhai

So one of the best things about living in Japan is the fact that my local "convenience store" known in Japan as Konbini (コンビニ) is open 24/7! Take that Tesco Metro and your inconvenient opening hours. Now I've not tried this yet, but I think this means I can buy alcohol around the clock! And just for typing that my liver has begun to hate me. But hey! You can't keep me away from Chūhai (チューハイ), basically a canned alcopop.

I've always had a love for alcopops. In particular my old favourite Hooch. A classic 90s beverage for the British underage drinkers. So obviously I would develop a strong love for Chūhai, so I figured why not tell you guys about them. Because I need an excuse to drink more, obviously!

So welcome to my new series clumsily entitled Japan and Juice. Cos you know it's kinda hard being Roxi D-O-double-G. (God, I hate myself sometimes) I mean that and obviously thinking up creative blog series titles is not my forte. It was almost called "Diary of an Alcoholic" which is about as creative...

And now let me introduce the feature beverage, it's not just any old normal Chūhai , no, this is better, this is PREMIUM! Pink Grapefruit flavour. Now I can't be sure as my kanji reading skills are non-existent, however I believe this is made with 90% pure juice. 

Because it tastes like fruit juice, I could pretty much drink this all day long, which is dangerous. Although with such low alcohol content, I'm not sure I'd manage to get drunk on this alone, perhaps more high on the sugar content. However it is really refreshing and is a perfect Summer drink.

Now check out the picture of it in a posh glass... (just don't look at the stains on my shelf that no amount of scrubbing will clean.)

There's only 3% alcohol so it's actually quite weak, but what it lacks in alcohol it makes up for in flavour. It's smooth, real smooth, like drinking fresh grapefruit juice (unsurprisingly!) only slightly fizzy, with a faint hint of alcohol. 

In all it's perfect if you're not a big drinker, or don't like your alcohol to taste of alcohol. However in my opinion, whilst it's delicious, it would be an excellent mixer for adding a few shots of vodka, or sticking a few cans into a summer punch bowl as the "fruit juice mixer with a added kick!"   What can I say I like my alcohol strong!

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Boss Coffee

Working life can be hard right? Especially when you're so busy all the time. How's a girl with insomnia supposed to survive? In the UK my survival technique was tea, good old British Tea with milk and sugar. Here I've had to get myself onto something stronger and fast! Don't worry, it's nothing illegal, just coffee!

When I was first here I had a bad habit of buying Starbucks everyday but at close to  ¥400 (approx £3) and sometimes more per coffee I quickly had to stop buying Starbucks. I moved on to buying canned coffees.

Now having lived in Liverpool for a huge chunk of my life I couldn't resist buying coffees from the Suntory range of Boss Coffee. For those of you uneducated about a Scouser's use of the word "boss" it's generally used to portray something positive, something awesome. If something's good you'll often hear a Scouser say "Aw that's boss, that is!" So when a brand of coffee describes itself as boss, could I really say no?

Now here's the catch, Boss Coffee, well it's just not that "boss!" It's just your general run of the mill coffee, no better or worse than any other can/carton/cup of coffee I've tasted. In fact it's a little too sweet for me, that said I shouldn't really be blaming this on the coffee brand and more on my total lack of Japanese skills, I guess if you can't read the language there's no way to know if it has sugar in it or not!

The "boss" thing about Boss Coffee is most definitely the adverts, if you've not seen them before check these out:

Boss right? 

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Pokemon Go...

So as anyone who has access to the internet knows that pretty much everyone has suddenly been turned into a group of zombies walking around staring at their smartphones catching Pokemon...

Don't get me wrong, I'm not being a naysayer, most people were a group of zombies before; Only instead of Pokemon we were walking around sending text messages, checking in on Facebook, generally not paying any attention to. I guess nowadays people seem to be incapable of surviving without their Smartphone, myself included.

However this feels different, I guess as all the articles and many people are saying, it's a phenomenon, perhaps it will just turn out to be a fad, but even people I know who never expressed an interest in Pokemon seem to be playing.

In some ways it seems to be promoting a sense of community, or at least conspiratorial smiles between people playing the game, whether some of that comes from a secret shame, or just that happiness to discover other people have a similar interest to you. This alongside the fact that you pretty much have to go outside and exercise in order to achieve things in the game can only be positives.

Surprisingly it came to Japan; home of the Pocket Monsters, a little later than it did to other places, but when it arrived it seemed everyone was excited. After work on Saturday I walked around Shibuya before meeting friends for dinner. Everyone seemed to be playing it! And there was even a guy walking round dressed as Pikachu!

Now the following comes from an outsiders point of view, but, Japanese people don't often communicate with strangers, in general they're reserved and shy, however I saw groups of strangers communicating with each other, smiling, nodding, even talking to each other, people even smiled at me when they noticed I was playing too, it felt good to be part of something.

Another positive for me is that being new here I'm not sure of all the landmarks and places to see around me, but now with the Pokestops, I've been stopping and looking around trying to find these places of interest. I've actually been paying more attention to my surroundings.

That being said, personally I can already feel the novelty wearing off. The game is time consuming, and I fell like I don't have the time to devote to doing well in the game.

However, I've enjoyed my short time playing it, and I don't think I'll delete it, but I feel like I've done all I wanted to do with the game. I've explored my neighbourhood, I've got several Magikarp, what more can I achieve? World Domination? Not with those damn Magikarp!

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Old Habits Die Hard

Once again it's been a long while since I've posted. I came to the realisation that I've been in Japan almost 6 months now.

I'm loving my time here, but before I came I had ideas and plans, things I wanted to do and achieve, and whilst it's in my nature to be my own worst critic, and be really harsh on myself, there's no point in being harsh if you don't step up and change.

So perhaps this is being written for myself more than you, dearest readers, but it's about time I worked on achieving some of those things. So this is my pledge:

I solemnly swear that from today I will:

  1. Write one blog post a week.
  2. Spend some time each day studying Japanese, because it turns out you can't just learn the language by osmosis (unfortunately.)
  3. Spend some time each week working on the book I always promised myself I would write.
  4. Keep my damn room tidy!
This might change as I make progress, and I might add more, as time goes on and things change. But for now 4 things is achievable.

What about you guys? Anything you plan to achieve, anything you'd like to change about yourselves?

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Everything is Temporary

A few days ago I wrote a post about how I didn't really understand Cherry Blossoms and the Sakura Season, but I changed my mind.

I went for a walk around Kinuta Park with my friend the other day, the blossoms had started falling from the trees, it looked like snow falling (also known as Sakura-fubuki), and the ground was covered, it was simply beautiful.

And I suddenly had this feeling of melancholic peacefulness, and the thought that Sakura season is just so short, and that we should celebrate the beauty of it whilst it lasts.

It reminded me that absolutely everything in life is temporary, life itself is temporary and we should celebrate every single moment of it. Even the bad times are fleeting, feelings fade, and we should truly live in the moment and be thankful for everything we have.

A work colleague also explained that the sakura often represents the national character of Japan, it has a Samurai soul, a Samurai must live a beautiful life of honour, but be prepared to die at any time. Just like the cherry blossoms.
The beauty of that thought alone is enough to make me appreciate the Sakura Season.

I'll leave you with some pictures of my friends and the small Hanami we had.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

What Roxy did next..

Six weeks ago I arrived in Japan, after wanting to work abroad for so long I decided it was time to do it. I applied for jobs back in England and got a job teaching English. As I type this I'm sat in my tiny messy room drinking a Highball (Scotch and Soda) after finishing a long shift at work.

The change was a big change and has forced me to become a slightly different person. I feel a lot less shy than I did in the UK, yet I'm managing to be more socially awkward - not knowing the language does that to you.

But I'm loving my time here so far. I don't think I'll particularly write about events in any order but just as and when the creative bug strikes me.

So today's post... It's Sakura Season in Japan, which means all the cherry blossoms are out and the parks get super crowded and people have drunken picnics under the trees to appreciate the flowers (Or perhaps the alcohol?).

I must admit that while the cherry blossom is beautiful, I just don't understand why everyone likes Hanami so much. Perhaps I'm just some uneducated slob who can't appreciate the beauty, but it's just a load of flowers to me!

But for those of you that do appreciate it, I'll leave you to enjoy the few pictures I took of the Sakura around Ueno Park.

So what do you think? Just flowers, or is there something I'm missing?