30 Aug 2011

Teddy Bears

In the summer on 1992, I was in the UK on an overseas study program for 2 weeks and I had several free days in London. I had a great deal of curiosity, and wanted to enjoy life in the UK not wasting one minute or second. I went to one of the greatest toy shops in the world, Hamleys on Regent Street, with my friends. It has several floors and every floor is filled with a great number of toys.

William Hamley, a founder of Hamleys, opened his first toy shop "Noah's Ark" in 1760, and he opened Hamleys on Regent Street in 1881. During the WWII, it was bombed five times, but it is still there. In 1938, Hamleys received its first Royal Warrant.

Anyway, we went to Hamleys, and I bought my first teddy bear as a memory of our first visit to the UK. It was Hamleys' original teddy bear. It was quite expensive, but it is still carefully preserved in my room. And after that, I added other teddy bears in my collection.

When we went to Ely yesterday, we found a lovely soft toy of panda in a shop window, and popped in the shop. There were very attractive items which get into a women's psyche, such as teddy bears, cards, cups and jewelleries. Once I tried to forget about panda, because I've already had some soft toys, but my gentle BF bought me a lovely panda. We've had a special fondness for panda character. So, now we live with this panda together :)

by Trendle Bears Company

29 Aug 2011

Ely

It was a bank holiday, and we had a very nice day trip to Ely in East Cambridgeshire. Ely means 'eely place, place where eels are found'. Eels are still caught in the River Great Ouse. It's a small city but there are nice shops and restaurants around the Cathedral and you can enjoy exploring the city. The beautiful and huge Cathedral had its origins in the 11th century. It's on the hill and called the 'Ship of the Fens', or 'Isle of Ely', because it was an island in the middle of the Fens, which remained largely under water untill the seventeenth century.

The cathedral is really splendid. If you look up the celling, you can see Victorian beautiful paintings, which shows all of history with Jesus Christ. Also some films were filmed in this cathedral, such as "Elizabeth", "The King's Speech" and " The Other Boleyn Girl".

Outside the cathedral, we went to High Street and had a lunch at the hotel & restaurant "The Lamb". It dates back to the 15th century, when it existed as a coaching inn. Now it looks modern and has a nice service. Seemed quite popular, there are many people inside from old couples to young families.

Ely Cathedral

The River Great Ouse

Are you sleeping...?
The Lamb Hotel

★i-ADNES' Recommendation★

Lamb Hotel
2 Lynn Road, Ely Cambridgeshire, CB7 4EJ
Telephone: 01353 663574

28 Aug 2011

Rainbow

In the evening, I went for a walk. Suddenly there was a shower and I saw a beautiful rainbow :)



Lucky rainbow!

27 Aug 2011

My Bad Day - LONDON -

The worst top 3 events of the day;
  1. A harvester
  2. Abstract film
  3. A sleepy BF on a date
My bad day started with a harvester. It's not about a person who gather crops but a kind of insect that looks like a spider with long legs! I found it in the bedroom this morning. Yuck! Actually, I hate insects in our world. I always can feel insects' presence as if I have tactile sense, even if I have bad sight. The other day, I found linty things on a laundry shirt and picked them up, and suddenly I yelled out. Because one of them was 'a harvester'! Yuck!!! I threw it off and ran into the bathroom to wash my fingers. I lost sight of it in our bedroom... And then, I found it again this morning. It was awful, just the thought we spent some nights with it in the same room makes me shiver!!!

Anyway, we got on a train to London. It was a nice at the beginning, because the weather seemed fine and we walked around the East End of London, the area of immigrants. I could see the Christ Church, Spitalfields. Also we went the Old Spitalfields Market. Market stalls were not ready because it was in the early morning, but we had a breakfast at the restaurant, The Luxe. I found lovely chicken-foot shaped hooks on a wall:) It was quite a modern and stylish restaurant with loud music, but I struggled with cutting a big bacon & egg sandwich with a blunt-edged knife, and also with stuck ketchup bottle... I was a bit annoyed about it because I was hungry. Great... that's OK. We found nice shops in the Market such as "In Spitalfields" and "Montezuma's". In Spitalfields, you can find lovely, modern and unique items from cards and furniture. I'm sure women like it. Montezuma's is a chocolate shop, you can find your favourite chocolate :)

Montezuma's Chocolates
We also went to Barbican Centre to see the Animation Show (15 Jun-11 Sep). The exhibit was nice, you can see some black and white visual representation films to Walt Disney's and so on. In the Barbican Centre, there is a nice garden as well, but unfortunately, it was closed yesterday. After finish watching the exhibit, my BF started to say he was sleepy... I was suddenly in a bad mood. Hey, it's on a date!

London International Animation Festival
After that, we saw the film "Six Pack Film Tribute + Dietmar Schwartzler Q&A" in the Barbican theatre. Do you want to know how I liked it? Oh, please don't ask me... Actually I couldn't enjoy it. It was not my cup of tea, honestly. I saw a couple left the theatre in the early 10 minutes and some people was dozing or yawning. Of course, there were people who were interested in it. What's abstraction? Come on, I don't have any sense of abstraction, and it was difficult to understand for me! Music sounded like noise and image was just like a poor TV reception for me. Sorry... Mr. Schwartzler, but I enjoyed your talk show:) The abstract film made me feel tired...

So we got on a taxi and went to the West End to explore and have a dinner. We popped in some bookshops and enjoyed having Indonesian restaurant "Bali Bali". It was a nice restaurant we enjoyed a spicy foods and dessert. I had "an orange sorbet" my BF ordered for me in mistake for "a lemon sorbet". Thanks...

Outside, it started raining...  it was a bad day but eventually I could see a rainbow from a train window on our way back home, so totally it was probably not so bad...

★i-ADNES' Recommendation in London★

The Luxe (Restaurant, Cafe, Bar)
109 Commercial Street,  London, E1 6BG
http://www.theluxe.co.uk/GroundFloor.html

In Spitalfields (Interior Design / Decoration)
Old Spitalfields Market, 13 Lamb Street, Shadwell, London, E1 6EA
http://www.inspitalfields.co.uk/flash.html

Montezuma's (Chocolate)
51, Brushfield Street, Spitalfields, London, E1 6AA 
Telephone:  0207 539 9208
http://www.montezumas.co.uk/

Bali Bali (Indonesian, Malaysian, Thai Cuisine)
150 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H 8HL
Telephone: 020 7836 2644
http://www.balibalirestaurant.com/

26 Aug 2011

Bookshops

One of the UK's bookshops - the Travel Bookshop, the one used in popular Hollywood film "Notting Hill" - is likely to close up  shop. The film is a British romantic comedy, released in 1999. I like this film and have the DVD. I suppose many Japanese women like this type of film. It's a real shame to hear news about a business closing, not just this shop. Although, I don't go to there to buy books, and I often use Amazon.com a lot. Also, digital books are increasing in popularity. Probably it seems to me irresponsible just to say "That's a shame".

25 Aug 2011

Japanese PM

Prime Minister of Japan Naoto Kan will likely resign on 30 August. The PM will change -again-, and it will be 6th in  five years! Nobody complains even if you don't know the name of the Japanese PM. Japanese government matters have not rated much of story in the UK. Rather, Libya conflict or football championship league are much more of a focus as of now. It's really a shame, but with regard to Japan, it seems to draw attention to nuclear crisis or financial crisis because of the strong yen. Seems like it's ridiculous that they must pick the PM from the politicians who have no leadership... Let's see...

24 Aug 2011

The Inbetweeners

Honestly, I've been hooked on the comedy drama series, 'The Inbetweeners' since last week. It's about the life of teenager Will and three of his friends. It's silly but quite funny. Will always brings a briefcase to school, and each character is unique and crazy, but impossible to hate. I really don't think it's suitable for learning or listening English, because they speak almost always in slang and young language. It's difficult to understand for me, but it makes me giggle. I saw The Inbetweeners Movie before watching the series, and at first I thought 'well, well, well... I couldn't understand...' but I think the series is much more better than the movie. It's super comic! Try to see it if given the chance!

The Earthquake in The U.S.

It was quite surprising news that a magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck the east coast of the United States. Seems there have been no reports of any damage or injuries as of the moment. If it were stronger, it might have been scarier because there are a lot of high buildings in New York, and probably earthquake-proof construction method is different from Japanese one. Just from knowing the magnitude, I can't imagine how strong it was, because they don't have the same seismic intensity scale like in Japan and Taiwan. Incidentally, The Great East Japan Earthquake which happened on 11 March was 7.0 in northern Miyagi prefecture. Just for reference, there is the scale below, but this classification doesn't apply to the earthquake in the US, because of the difference of building construction systems.

Japanese Seismic Intensity Scale (Shindo 0-7) by The Japan Meteorological Agency
  • Shindo. 0- Imperceptible to people. 
  • Shindo. 1- Felt by only some people indoors.
  • Shindo. 2- Felt by most people indoors. Some people awake. Hanging objects such as lamps swing slightly.
  • Shindo. 3- Felt by most people indoors. Some people are frightened. Dishes in a cupboard rattle occasionally. Electric wires swing slightly.
  • Shindo. 4- Many people are frightened. Some people try to escape from danger. Most sleeping people awake. Hanging objects swing considerably and dishes in a cupboard rattle. Unstable ornaments fall occasionally. Electric wires swing considerably. People walking on a street and some people driving automobiles notice the tremor.
  • Shindo. 5 (lower)- Most people try to escape from a danger. Some people find it difficult to move. Hanging objects swing violently. Most unstable ornaments fall. Occasionally, dishes in a cupboard and books on a bookshelf fall and furniture moves. People notice electric-light poles swing. Occasionally, windowpanes are broken and fall, unreinforced concrete-block walls collapse, and roads suffer damage. Occasionally, less earthquake-resistant houses suffer damage to walls and pillars. Occasionally, cracks are formed in walls of less earthquake-resistant buildings. A safety device cuts off the gas service at some houses. On rare occasions water pipes are damaged and water service is interrupted. (Electrical service is interrupted at some houses) Occasionally, cracks appear in soft ground, and rockfalls and small slope failures take place in mountainous districts.
  • Shindo. 5 (upper)- Many people are considerably frightened and find it difficult to move. Most dishes in a cupboard and most books on a bookshelf fall. Occasionally, a TV set on a rack falls, heavy furniture such as a chest of drawers fall, sliding doors slip out of their groove and the deformation of door frames makes it impossible to open doors. In many cases, unreinforced concrete-block walls collapse and tombstones overturn. Many automobiles stop because it becomes difficult to drive. Occasionally, poorly-installed vending machines fall. Occasionally, less earthquake-resistant houses suffer heavy damage to walls and pillars and lean. Occasionally, large cracks are formed in walls, crossbeams and pillars of less earthquake-resistant buildings and even highly earthquake-resistant buildings have cracks in walls. Occasionally, gas pipes and / or water mains are damaged.(Occasionally, gas service and / or water service are interrupted in some regions) Occasionally, cracks appear in soft ground. and rockfalls and small slope failures take place in mountainous districts.
  • Shindo. 6 (lower)- Difficult to keep standing. A lot of heavy and unfixed furniture moves and falls. It is impossible to open the door in many cases. In some buildings, wall tiles and windowpanes are damaged and fall. Occasionally, less earthquake-resistant houses collapse and even walls and pillars of highly earthquake-resistant houses are damaged. Occasionally, walls and pillars of less earthquake-resistant buildings are destroyed and even highly earthquake-resistant buildings have large cracks in walls, crossbeams and pillars. Gas pipes and/or water mains are damaged. (In some regions, gas service and water service are interrupted and electrical service is interrupted occasionally.) Occasionally, cracks appear in the ground, and landslides take place.
  • Shindo. 6 (upper)- Impossible to keep standing and to move without crawling. Most heavy and unfixed furniture moves and falls. Occasionally, sliding doors are thrown from their groove. In many buildings, wall tiles and windowpanes are damaged and fall. Most unreinforced concrete-block walls collapse. Many, less earthquake-resistant houses collapse. In some cases, even walls and pillars of highly earthquake-resistant houses are heavily damaged. Occasionally, less earthquake-resistant buildings collapse. In some cases, even highly earthquake-resistant buildings suffer damage to walls and pillars. Occasionally, gas mains and / or water mains are damaged.(Electrical service is interrupted in some regions. Occasionally, gas service and / or water service are interrupted over a large area.) Occasionally, cracks appear in the ground, and landslides take place.
  • Shindo. 7- Thrown by the shaking and impossible to move at will. Most furniture moves to a large extent and some jumps up. In most buildings, wall tiles and windowpanes are damaged and fall. In some cases, reinforced concrete-block walls collapse. Occasionally, even highly earthquake-resistant buildings are severely damaged and lean. Occasionally, even highly earthquake-resistant buildings are severely damaged and lean. Electrical service gas service and water service are interrupted over a large area. The ground is considerably distorted by large cracks and fissures, and slope failures and landslides take place, which occasionally change topographic features.

23 Aug 2011

Rain Rain Go Away

The weather has been gloomy all day. Seems that it was heavy rain in London this morning. The Met Office issued a severe weather warning yesterday. Gazing out the window, I am thinking what's the weather like tomorrow?

Rain rain go away,
Come again another day.
Little Johnny wants to play;
Rain, rain, go to Spain,
Never show your face again!



21 Aug 2011

Events

The annual music festival 'V Festival' was held during this weekend in Chelmsford (Hylands Park and also Weston Park in Staffordshire). I saw some young girls who wore pairs of fashionable rubber boots, and also I saw some boys. I didn't go to the festival, but enjoyed walking around and watching a film in Chelmsford. In the town centre, market was held yesterday, I saw some grocery, breads, fishes, flowers, hats and so on. Seemed nice.

In the UK, there are many charity shops. You can donate items which are in pretty good condition but you don't need anymore, such as books, clothes and so on. Also you can buy items from the shop for low prices. That's a nice and reasonable system.


 

19 Aug 2011

No Food Please!

I heard there was an earthquake (intensity 5 low) in Japan today, but my family and my house were fine. I wonder when it will really calm down? My life is now far from the lives of people in Tohoku region in Japan. I have peaceful days here but never free from worries about it.

Every day I go out. The small river was swollen after the rain last night, but not flooded. I walked the same as usual and went to the same cafe I popped in yesterday. There was the same barista. I ordered a white coffee and he added "small and semi, right?" That means small size with semi-skimmed milk. He remembered me. That's nice, it's probably a sort of my privilege here, as an Asian (easy to remember me), or maybe he  just has a good memory.

Glancing around, there was the same group of old people at the same table. I like this cafe. It must be  an excellent social occasion for local people. I can spend a few hours, concentrate on reading a book, and also enjoy people watching.

Later, I went to the library. It's a small library but one of the comfortable places in this town. I went upstairs and sat by the window. There are lot of English history books I like. Some are difficult to read, but I can view many pictures and illustrations. I was reading some facts in a history book. An interesting thing was that one of the reasons that Henry VIII had so many residences was because of the problems of sanitation. Places would become uninhabitable and the court would had to move on while the buildings were cleaned. But after the innovations at Hampton Court to supply fresh water, it improved the sanitation and therefore allowed a long stay. 'Aha!' I thought. I always see the historical buildings, but had never thought about such reasons. It was a new discovery and an interesting viewpoint for me.

Suddenly a man sat across from me. He put out a laptop computer from his rucksack, and opened it. I thought there were other vacant tables, but it was fine, he probably wanted to use a socket, but is it OK here? How generous... no, how can that be? In the next breath, he opened a paper bag rowdily and started eating chips! I was amazed. Hey, is it OK to eat in the library here?? Usually 'NO FOOD OR DRINKS ALLOWED INSIDE and BE SILENT' is the rule in the library but is it OK?? Should I mind??? But it was really a yummy smell... Soon, a library staff member came and gave him a few words of warning about it because of the smell and said to go to the lobby. See. He picked up his computer, rucksack and chips with mumbling complains and went out. It was the quite funniest and most amazing event of today.


Listening Comprehension

It had been a dull day with deep gray clouds. I went to the town yesterday morning and had a cup of coffee and a blueberry muffin at a cafe. Soon after I opened a book, a business man and woman came and sat near. They wore black suits and started talking loudly. Actually it was fun to listen to their talk rather than reading the book. Because they talked and talked from private to business matters with little time to breathe. Their speaking speed was fast, but a comfortable rhythm for me. I didn't mean to eavesdrop, at any rate, I couldn't understand them perfectly. Anyway, it was a sort of practice for listening.

And in the afternoon, I went to Morrisons (the chain of supermarket in the UK) to get some food. I'm pretty new to shopping here, so having trouble finding what I want. But basically it's fun. I am choosy about food and not a gourmet, and don't always miss Japanese food very much. I have no intention of cooking a fabulous meal, but I want to have a balanced life and also like to experiment with various recipes with the leftovers or adding something. The taste of my meals are good in most cases (hopefully), because I don't want to try to cook something too unimaginable.

At the cashier, an old man in front of me talked to me. I only understood it was about cat food he was going to buy, but I absolutely couldn't understand what he said (with a local accent). I just gave a special smile back to him... it's shameful though...I am annoyed with my English!!

17 Aug 2011

Events of Today

We couldn't sleep well last night, because an ambulance car came to us in the middle of night by mistake. I was half asleep but he went down and opened the door. I could see the light dully from the curtains.

It reminded me of the night after the earthquake. It was a silent night. Suddenly I could hear someone's scream, sounded like a young boy. He was running round, shouting 'Aaaaaaaah, aaaaaaaah.' in a mad frenzy. I heard his footsteps coming towards the road outside our house. My pulse was racing, because I was downstairs at that time and the room is close to the door. It was creepy and I felt scared. At the same time, I tried to call the police, who came quietly and took him into the car. I could see the shadow police car's flashing light through our shoji paper door, and heard the car door shut.

So, I was a bit sleepy this morning due to lack of sleep, but I got up and went out for a walk.
The river runs through the town, and the greenway is adjacent to it. There is a long path and it is called River Walk. I like to walk this path. You see someone walking their dog, groups of mums holding the handles of their babies' prams and chatting, old people taking a walk, people running and lovely animals as well. Today I explored a bit outside my usual range, and walked a lot.



mew.....

16 Aug 2011

Self Checkout

Nothing new, but I think people buy a lot of food at a supermarket here, or maybe packages are big. I see some shopping baskets piled with foods. Cashiers sit on chairs and scan the bar codes on packages. In Japan, the cashiers are always standing, so I was surprised when I first saw this in the UK long ago.

I tried to use self checkout at TESCO today. Actually I knew self checkout, some supermarkets have been installed in Japan too, but I've never used it, because there aren't self checkouts in my nearest supermarket. When I went shopping with my sister, I just watched what my sister does and I was struck with wonder, the evolution of the modern cashier... They are useful and convenient when you buy a few things, and also ease the burden of the cashier's work. Nothing is difficult, just follow the screen and scan the bar code. An assistant is always standing nearby.

In the future, all cashiers might be automated, just pass the scanner automatically and robot arms put them into a bag gently and safely. My niece's dream was to be a cashier at a supermarket, because she likes to push the button things. She had ordered a cashier toy from Santa Claus as a present a few years ago. In fact, she can use self checkout at the supermarket. In a sense, she made her dreams come true as a cashier. Now her dream is to be a trimmer, because she likes animals. She still believes in Santa Claus, and already decided to order a dog from Santa Claus this year. It's a thorny issue with my sister.

15 Aug 2011

Fiction

I got a new book at Waterstone's (a British chain book store) in Chelmsford yesterday. The book is "Mini Shopaholic" by Sophie Kinsella. She has already published this series of novels, and "Confessions of a Shopaholic" turned into the film in 2009. I don't like this film very much, but the story is quite fun and describes women's psychology when shopping in a humorous way. I think women like this kind of story. It's about a woman, Rebecca who is a shopping addict. I've already read this series, so I decided to read more.

Chelmsford on Sunday morning
©i-ADNES
And on Sunday evening, I walked the path alone near the house. There were a few people, a couple was sitting on a bench, and only one person passed by. There is an old church near by, but the door is seldom open. It opens for some occasions like weddings, funerals etc. In my mind, I assumed this church must be a mysterious haunted church, of course it's not, but the atmosphere gives me an idea. When I passed the church, the door was slightly opened and also I could see the light from the window. I took a hasty look inside, through the gap in the door, I could see a lady with beautiful white hair, who was talking with someone behind another door. Something like a hidden church service might have been held inside.

13 Aug 2011

The Differences

It was cloudy this morning, but now the sun came out. It's such a peaceful day. We walked on the path (River Walk) and had a hot sandwich and coffee at a cafe and read a newspaper. It's something we do on a lazy morning. What are the differences from my normal life in Japan? People, language - of course. Scenery - yes. Sometimes I can hear the sound of bells from the church - oh, nice:) I used to have skin troubles in the UK due to the differences of water, but now I don't have any skin troubles. In Japan, I used to drink white coffee a couple times in a day but now I drink tea more than coffee. But basically wherever you are, the life is the same, because it's your life. If you try to find the way to make things fun, you can enjoy your life. On the contrary, if you don't try to do it, it would be a dreary life. Doing something new makes you get some stress, but truly I feel comfortable here, and I'm excited by new things.

12 Aug 2011

Dedicated to the Spirits of Dead

Five months have passed since the horrible earthquake happened. It seems long ago because I am in the UK now. Last time I saw a small article about Fukushima nuclear plant in the newspaper here, but I seldom see an article about the earthquake anymore. People around the world saw that nightmarish view on TV or Internet, but did you know the fact that there were school children who were engulfed by the Tsunami on their way to escape the disaster, or people who had to let go off their parents or kids' hands helplessly, or people who still struggle to accept reality, or brave boys who try to tell their near-death experiences to keep the memory of the incident alive. In a local newspaper, you can still read about people's hard experiences. Every time I trace someone's life by reading an article, that made me feel very sad.

It's Bon Festival in northern Japan (13th-16th August), it's the Festival of Souls. We welcome back the spirits of the dead, and food and flowers are offered to the spirits of ancestors. We can't visit our ancestors' grave this year because of nuclear crisis. May your souls rest in peace...

I passed the church yard today and I heard the music of organ from the locked church. I also watched a horse and carriage for wedding passed by the road outside the house. Birth, marriage, death... every people and place has own history, and also time has flown steadily...

11 Aug 2011

Doctor Fish

Since I have come to the UK, I sometimes see 'Doctor Fish' shops or advertisements. I've seen it on TV before. You put it on your legs (or body) in a pool, where small fishes swim. They only consume the covered areas of the skin. Seems like it's popular here. Actually a new shop opened in Chelmsford. Why don't you give it a try? It seems a bit tickly though...

10 Aug 2011

Colchester

Colchester is the largest town in Essex and is known as the oldest recorded Roman town in Britain. 'Colchester' means 'Roman town on the river Colne'.  There are also two railway stations: Colchester (North Station) and Colchester Town. North Station is a complicated station, with little information about platforms, and also far from town centre.

Basically East Anglia is flat country, but Colchester town and the castle is on a hill, so it is considered that it was convenient to built fortifications. We popped in nice old book shop and had a lunch at the pub. You can have nice walking around the historical town and rest in a beautiful huge castle garden.




Town Hall


Colchester Castle (Museum)

Walton-on-the Naze

Walton-on-the-Naze is small seaside town in Essex. 'Walton' means 'village of the Britons', and 'Naze' derives from Old English 'ness' (headland). Walton-on-the-Naze is also known asa place of fossil remains. If you go to the beach, a lot of colourful small beach huts attract your eyes. It's a kind of small house for summer resort, people can take a rest or store deckchairs there. There is also a pier, it's long and there are amusements. It was a really nice view.

I liked Walton-on-the-Naze, it's a seaside town, has a more open atmosphere, but it was different from Clacton-on-Sea. Also in the distance, you can see 'The Principality of Sealand' in the North Sea. It was constructed by the UK as small fortified towers buildings during World War II, but now it is an independent sovereign state, it's not currently officially recognised as a sovereign state though.

Beach huts




The Pier is long...


Riots

The London riots have been the top news here. They have happened in different places - even another small riot has happened in my mind. What am I doing here? Sometimes I feel a bit guilty. I left my affected hometown, even I could do or help something. Am I selfish? Although having say that, I am doing the best I can do for my life. It's just bad timing... I saw the news this morning, about people holding brooms and waiting to clean up the mess after the riots. It was quite interesting. Let's clean up the mess and also bad feelings!

9 Aug 2011

Witham

I was sitting in a comfortable sofa in a coffee shop in Witham earlier. It's a small town in Essex. I passed the same man in the street maybe five or six times this morning. It was quite funny. Sipping a cup of coffee, I was thinking  there are many Sazaesan in the UK. Sazaesan is the main charactor of the oldest comic strips. It is very known to Japanese person from young to old. She is very cheerful, outgoing and talkative woman. People stop, chat, and pass by like Sazaesan.

To be honest, I have been a little bit lost a confidence in my English. This is nothing new, it always happen when I am in the UK. It's tough but I like to face this challenge, find a joy in overcoming. Everybody faces challenges, but certainly can overcome them. The important thing is that don't lose yourself, no matter where you are, whether in the UK, Japan or other countries.

☆i-ADNES Recommended Take Away in Witham☆
Ming's Chinese Take Away
15 Nicholas Close, Witham / TEL:01376 513231

War Memorial Park in Witham

8 Aug 2011

Clacton-on-Sea

Clacton-on-Sea is a seaside resort in Essex. It is about 10 minutes on foot from the railway station to the beach. There are B&Bs near or by the sea, a pier, arcades and so on. Clacton Pier is old, officially opened in 1871. It became longer and wider, and entertainment facilities added. You can enjoy riding a roller-coaster and carousel, having a tea, and fishing as well. I think it might be nice for a family to spend their summer holidays or a weekend. It was nice weather today and I saw some families were enjoying sea bathing.

If I was staying in Japan, I probably wouldn't go to see the sea this year. But in Clacton-on-Sea, the surface of the sea was glittering under the sunshine, and such a beautiful view dispelled my thought.

According to the Daily Mail, the average Briton will take 121 holidays in their lifetime, and spend some £168,000 over an adult lifetime. What about Japanese? Everyone has the right to freedom to live, but less freedom for having holidays.








7 Aug 2011

Chelmsford

One week has passed since I arrived in the UK. This morning, we were in Chelmsford, having a cup of coffee, sitting beside a window at a cafe. I was reading a newspaper, watching people and thinking about many things I have experienced. I felt as if I was in different planet for a while. Massive and old brick buildings stand side by side in the town, as if the mechanism that causes earthquakes doesn't exist in this planet. Was it a bad dream? I feel my memory of the fear is fading away, while I am here. It's a really peaceful town.

We sat on a bench in the Chelmsford Cathedral yard and enjoyed fresh air. The hot sun and cold air, it's an unusual climate for most Japanese. People here wear variety of clothes, some wear jackets and some wear tank tops. No matter what you wear, nobody gives you strange looks (probably).

Chelmsford Cathedral is not a big cathedral, but it is beautiful. The Sunday service was held at that time, so we could hear melodies of beautiful organs and singing a hymn. After the service, some old men and ladies came out from the cathedral. It was a nice Sunday.


6 Aug 2011

River Walk

We took a pleasant walk along the river this morning. We passed by the pond, many plants and flowers, beautiful trees, and a cricket pitch. And also we saw rabbits, fishes, ducks, a robin and some other birds. It's not big deal, but enjoying beautiful nature around here means I have breadth of mind in my life here. There are a lot of things which make me think...

5 Aug 2011

Norwich

We went to Norwich by train today. It's located to the northeast. During the 11th century, it was the second largest city in England (after London). Now it is still a big city, but nowhere near the second largest city in England. According to the book of English place names, 'Norwich'  means 'trading centre' or 'landing place', and it was an important river port for salt from near the sea. Soon after you get out the station, you can see the canal, and then you can see Norwich Castle and Norwich Cathedral.

We visited the Cathedral, which has stood for long long time. In the cathedral, there was a quiet air and it was so splendid. There is a famous Green Man. The Green Man is a sculpture which is representation of a face surrounded by or maybe made from leaves. The Green Man is possibly an ancient British fertility or nature deity, like a Japanese 'kami' (deity). Unfortunately I couldn't find it in the huge cathedral.

We explored the city centre and also visited UEA; the University of East Anglia. It was a huge campus, more than I expected. I used to work at a huge local university in Japan, but this was different. There are accommodations and even full pubs inside campus. We spent a lovely day there.

Some of the accommodations at UEA are called 'ziggurats' after the ancient Mesopotamian structures. This was a famous design in 1960s universities. You can see a picture below.

Norwich Station


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canal
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Norwich Cathedral; you can't see the spire though...
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in Norwich - this street is called Tombland
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The University of East Anglia - ziggurats
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4 Aug 2011

Changes of The Time

We went to Chelmsford in Essex by train today. It's a nice small town which is located northeast of London. We went this morning but the weather turned into heavy rain, so we couldn't walk around very much unfortunately. But had a nice coffee, bought some daily goods and passed through the shopping centre to avoid rain. Now, I'm inside having a tea and relaxing.

Since I came to England, I've enjoyed people watching. I think British people are very unique, whereas in Sendai, people are more conservative. It's fun to watch people, it makes me notice that the world is full of different people. It also inspires me and broadens my horizons.

There are many differences between this visit and my visit to the UK in 1992. Then, I could see classic doubledecker buses and black taxis. There was rubbish on the road, but now it's clean. The pound was strong against yen and currency exchange was almost double as of now. And the architecture is different - now there are more modern and unusually designed buildings. London has changed as other big cities have changed. Everywhere and always everything changes with times, for better and worse.

I'm growing with the change of the outside. In an increasingly globalised world, it is important for me to have flexible mind to understand other cultures and accept different thoughts. I can feel myself challenging it.

The Gherkin, a new building in London : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/30_St_Mary_Axe
Another one : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shard_London_Bridge
English eccentric people : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_Eccentrics_and_Eccentricities

3 Aug 2011

Sightseeing

Hello, I am in the UK now. My flight was OK. It was a nice view from the window and I could see thunder clouds everywhere like cotton candy. The plane jolted a little bit but arrived at the Heathrow airport earlier than usual due to strong winds which pushed the plane from behind. Honestly I don't like the Heathrow airport, because it is huge, and has strict immigration controls. In the past, I was always asked many questions and needed to show my return ticket and so on... So I was a bit nervous about that. There was a long queue at the immigration and I had to wait for an hour.

Hello, I am in the UK now. My flight was OK. It was a nice view from the window and I could see thunder clouds everywhere like cotton candy. The plane jolted a little bit but arrived at the Heathrow airport earlier than usual due to strong winds which pushed the plane from behind. Honestly I don't like the Heathrow airport, because it is huge, and has strict immigration controls. In the past, I was always asked many questions and needed to show my return ticket and so on... So I was a bit nervous about that. There was a long queue at the immigration and I had to wait for an hour.

Everything was ok, I passed through it easily this time, only one question; "Sightseeing?", "Yes, sightseeing." I replied - that's all! Truly I had the wind taken out of my sails... My BF laughed about that, he said young people are usually the ones who are asked many questions but you were ok because you were not, he even worried about it a little when he was waiting for me inside the terminal. (Hmmm... he wants to say I'm old then? - Never mind.)

Anyway, I spent a couple of days in London and I'm now a bit outside London, in a more peaceful area. It has been hot in London, about 28 degrees Celsius, but lovely sunny days. In London, we walked and explored around Piccadilly Circus, visited the National Portrait Gallery, and also saw the comedy film "Horrible Bosses". It was fun.

My holiday in the UK has just started, let's see!
☆i-ADNES Recommended Restaurant in LONDON☆
CARNEVALE; Mediterranean vegetarian restaurant & deli
135 Whitecross Street, London EC1Y 8JL / TEL:020 7250 3452