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4FINGERS x God of War

Friday, April 20, 2018 / No Comments
The dawn of a new era descends upon us as 4FINGERS collaborates with God of War in a month-long epic journey.

Join father-and-son duo Kratos and Atreus in a mighty battle against higher powers with 4FINGERS from 20th April to 20th May 2018.

To celebrate the highly anticipated release of the latest instalment of PlayStation® 4 video game God of War, 4FINGERS Crispy Chicken will be having a month-long promotional event complete with game demo consoles, photo backdrops, and giveaways.

Organised by 4FINGERS and supported by Sony Interactive Entertainment Hong Kong Limited Singapore Branch (SIES), the 4FINGERS x God of War campaign will kick off in 17 outlets in both Singapore and Malaysia. The 30-day long gaming bonanza will allow game fans and chicken-lovers alike to get their fill of critically-acclaimed gameplay and crispy chicken, as well as a chance to win exciting prizes.

The collaboration with the long running God of War series resonates with 4FINGERS’ brand values. Kratos and Atreus are in unforgiving Norse lands, and their upward march despite overwhelming challenges reflects 4FINGERS’ resistance against the establishment.

Hardcore gamers and non-gamers alike will enjoy themselves at their outlets, which have been equipped with consoles, and will feature other interactive activities to let everyone experience the magic of God of War. Whether you’re a God of War superfan or you’re devoted to crispy chicken, there’s something here for everyone.

Diners in Singapore and Malaysia will be treated to an immersive experience, featuring an impressive line-up of lucky dips, gaming booths and lots of chicken. All diners who purchase 4FINGERS’ “Wings of Power” Combo meal will get a chance at the Treasure Chest lucky dip - with a grand prize of a paid trip to the famous Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) gaming conference in Los Angeles. Other prizes include Limited Edition God of War PlayStation® 4 Pro consoles, copies of the God of War game, and other exclusive merchandise.



In Singapore, the Marina Square, Northpoint City, Orchard Gateway, and Tampines 1 outlets will be fitted with GAEM mobile console machines for customers to try out God of War. The Jurong Point outlet will have a PlayStation®-branded booth where customers can experience the game as well. “Runes of 4FINGERS” is a weekly clue-based hunt, where participants will have to find and creatively pose with a hidden “rune” at Northpoint City for a chance to win God of War merchandise, Nokia 3310 3G mobile phones, or even the latest Apple iPad (2018) Wi-Fi 128GB. 

The Marina Square and Northpoint City outlets will also feature a photo backdrop, where participants can snap powerful poses for Instagram and Facebook using the hashtag #WingsOfPower. The best posts will be rewarded with exclusive prizes.

Please visit the 4FINGERS facebook page for more information.

Written by Max

Netflix Anime Review - Sword Gai: the Animation

Thursday, April 19, 2018 / No Comments
Netflix has become the anime-chicken poppin' out anime-eggs here and there. Some eggs are golden (see other reviews) but some eggs are rotten from the core. Unfortunately, Sword Gai: the Animation was lacking in cohesion of the storyline, art, and well basically everything for me. Spoilers ahead..



The Story: Repetitive and Inconsistent

The story is about weapons that are 'alive' with demonic powers which compel humans to become uncontrollably bloodthirsty when they touch it. Then it can go two ways, they become a Busoma, where the person is taken over by the weapon and has 'lost' itself with no humanity left in them and go on a killing spree. Or they become a Chrysalis, like a 'cocoon' where they can still be the human being but still use the weapons' powers. One catch: Chrysalis' final stage after the cocoon is not a butterfly, but Busoma, so eventually they will also lose themselves to the weapon. Therefore they are being put in a sort of cryogenic sleep where they can be awakened whenever they are needed by an organisation called Shoshidai. This organisation 'hunts' for these weapons to keep them safe and therefore also hunt for Busoma.


The Shoshidai is apparently run by these floating mask thingies


 In a certain facility (we don't really get to see much of) the Shoshidai puts the weapons away

.. and do some research on the Chrysalis and their weapons, which can apparently be seen on scans

The story is set in Japan in modern times, there are cities and modern technology exist which don't seem too advanced, so around this age seems about right. The Chrysalis' lives change drastically, as they are put in cryogenic sleep and awaken sometimes even 16 years later to a fully changed world. This leads to some interesting storylines. (Well, actually just one semi-interesting storyline.)


To the contrary of what the title would make you believe, we see not only swords, we also see spears, hammers, chakram (Xena anyone?) flying around on our screens. So the title would only refer to the main character named Gai. The first episode introduces the Shoshidai during a hunt for one of these weapons. They find the sword but the superior is drawn to the sword Zsoltgewinn and eventually taken over by it. 

The Busoma Zsoltegewinn in its final 'knight' in shining armor form

In another thread there is a different sword called Shiryuu that is being 'cleansed' which doesn't really work out and Shiryuu takes over people and goes on a rampage. Eventually we see a happy couple talking about their soon to be born child, and the man is killed. In a rage the woman touches the sword and kills the man's killer. She then goes to the woods, give birth and kills herself by hanging from a tree (I got flashbacks to Berserk). We don't know in what order because we see Amon, a sword-smith, whom finds the baby with Shiryuu clutched in his precious little hands.


This little boy turns out to be Gai, the main character in this story (well, the title of this anime would make you believe this, the rest of the episodes don't convince). Gai is saved and raised by Amon and lives together with this swordsmith and his daughter Sayaka, and some other disciples in the mountain forests somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Sayaka loves Gai, but Gai is a cold-hearted guy who doesn't want to get close to anyone. One night, while doing a ritual to cleanse the Shiryuu, one of the (jealous) guys whom resents Gai looks at the sword. Sayaka is taken over by the sword, and while trying to kill the guy, Gai saves him and loses his right arm. Amon replaces his arm with a (functional?) metal arm made from the sword that is Shiryuu. 

Instead of being thankful to Gai for saving his life by losing his arm, he becomes a Busoma 

Amon makes the Shiryuu into Gai's arm

But obviously not before Gai stabs his mother's grave (???) a bunch of times of course. Obviously.

So that's Gai's story. The sword becomes part of him as his arm. Shoshidai wants to get him to work for them and during all of this, nothing really interesting happens to Gai, as well as no real character development but a boy that wants to be alone and repels everyone that loves him like Sayaka. This does not get any better over 12 episodes, and makes one wonder why in the hell is this crappy little boy the main protagonist. The rest of the time we are thrown into an amalgam of different parties and characters dealing/being dealt with by these weapons, which have no coherent storyline and don't go anywhere.

Seriously though, who ARE these people??

We are introduced to two main organisations, the abovementioned Shoshidai that hunts down/experiments with the weapons to come up with cures or more weapons, and one that denies all weaponry and believes in the human body called Gabi to defeat the Busoma, which didn't really work out for one of the guys..

Auch, that must have hurt

Shoshidai seems to be the 'good guys', but throughout this series we see some questionable things happening. For example, one of the Chrysalis called Naoki gets a relationship with Mina, whom works at Shoshidai. Ahw, how cute, you'd think. After he is on the verge of turning into a Busoma, Mina tells him he's fine and when he is put to sleep he is instead destroyed (while being conscious of this). Cold hearted, you'd think? 
 Time to be put to 'sleep'

Mina basically killing her 'lover', or puppet I guess is more accurate to describe their relationship

Then one of the new members Naoki brought in called Marcus gets a new counsellor, which is Mina whom changed her 'mask' into Marcus' great love, and starts being 'very' nice to him. This all is making me question the ethics of this company. Also, they create artificial Busoma looking robot weapons, which make me think the research of a 'cure' they have mentioned to help the Chrysalis turn back into weapons might not even exist and it's all a ploy to make more weapons.

My favourite character of this show is Seiya, he gets a bit more character development and we delve deeper into his story. He is put to sleep on and off, seeing his loved one grow old in an emotional episode (well for him at least). Seiya is the one that is ordered to pick up Gai for the Shoshidai, and when he meets Gai he is at a temple with a priest. Gai is in a childlike state at this point, which made absolutely zero sense. We get some very welcome comic relief with the random old priest that somehow knows about everything, and Seiya.




 I can't really blame the priest though..

And then there are characters that didn't get enough screen time like a lady that sharpens weapons apparently, and goes crazy (horny?) for them.


She isn't even possessed by one of the swords at this point..

So, random characters aside, I would love to delve into a deeper plot now. I would, but there is none. And random characters and stories is what this anime is about. So therefore my review doesn't really make much sense and is incoherent as well. Sorry about this, I blame this anime!

 Just keep on eating that treasure you found honey

Juuuust keep on eating it.

So in my attempt to still review this, I would say the faults in this anime lie in the fact that during one episode there can be too many storylines going on without actually doing anything with them. So we have a lot of characters, something happens to them usually with the sword --> misfortune --> kill kill --> Busoma --> kill more or fight with other Busoma/Chrysalis. This is the basic circle this anime is stuck in. Sure, there are a few interesting characters thrown in there like a lady that has multiple weapons inside so she casually hands one to a barber whose sister she had killed before. Nothing happens with these characters. They get a few scenes but we mostly don't know what happens with them after or before these scenes. And then we get a casual mention of the Gabi that uses the body instead of weapons to take down Busoma, and a certain Lady Himiko, whom we only see a few minutes. I assume she is the head or strongest one in the Gabi, but I have no idea to be honest. However there is a lot of potential there, still. Trying to be positive here people!

 Seriously, introducing them in the last episode?

Seriously???

Another thing that is a missed opportunity in my mind, is that they should have brought more variety in the Busoma. All they want is to kill and fight. Instead of hearing "kill, kill, kill, kill" over and over in their minds, what happened to weapons used only as an ornament or in religious practices. Or just to build something, like hammers. One of the hammers was a sword-smiths' hammer and it became a weapon. So why not a fruitknife? It would have had a nice comedic factor. The old man that humped Seiya combined with a Busoma that thinks "fruit, fruit, fruit, fruit" instead of "kill kill kill" the whole time could have had me more interested in this show (personal preference heh heh). The slapstick humor aside, it could have been interesting to see Busoma totally devoted to religion because of their initial usage, or a very vain Busoma that only cares about its looks stemming from a weapon that was an ornament.

Ya ya ya we get it, weapon wants kill, weapon wants blood. Hulk smash, Hulk bash.

Throw in a random Grim Reaper, believed to be the first Busoma, and this comedy is complete. No explanation at all and he shows up shortly throughout the show, finally appearing in front of our protagonists at the end of the show. Sorry I didn't have a better recap of the story! It's all just random and not making any sense. If I had to say, I would think that nope I have no idea what they wanted to do with this anime.

During this final battle, this grim reaper does look awesome though, but WHAT HOW WHY WHERE? I got lost.

Zsoltgewinn and the legendary (?) first Busoma

Art & Animation: Passable, not impressive


The art was alright to me, I really liked how they did the different styles of art and animation when they delved into the backgrounds of the swords, explaining the legend and history of it. This is what intrigued me about the show and made me finish it and not walk away from it halfway through.

 Story about a hammer weapon in ancient Greece and gladiator fights

Story about two men in love with a fairy but one kills her eventually. Why so much misogyny though

During the battles the fighters sometimes changed into an armor, which was CGI, and had particular features so you could tell them apart. I liked Zsoltgewinn (did I spell it right?) and the Grim Reapers armors, they looked impressive. But other than that, I can't really tell them apart. It was a good thing some of the weapons had a specific feature, like 'fire' or a shape.



I liked the style of this anime overall, but I missed a bit of the landscape and background aside from some buildings or the same piece of forest. I like getting an overall picture of backgrounds, settings and landscapes, something like B: The Beginning does extremely well. In this anime it is very forgettable, and too focused on all the different (random) characters, which are to be honest also quite forgettable.

Final Score

If this show were a bit more cohesive and actually gave us a real plot, it could have been nice. The only thing I liked about this show was Seiya, who as a typical macho fighter is surprisingly tender as he cried during a sad backstory of the Shiryuu. Also, the little backstories of the weapons were really interesting and reminded me of Fate Stay Night, as it is the history of the weapons and in Fate Stay Night it's the history of the heroes whom are being used as weapons. But the battles could have learned a bit from Fate Stay Zero, we needed more dynamic and interesting battles instead of the same things over and over. The idea of these possessed/possessing weapons is not really a novel concept. Eventually it doesn't even matter, as long as they carry out the story well and give us compelling characters. However, it fails in every aspect for me and these 12 episodes feel more like a prelude to an anime that could span over 50 episodes. I am not sure if it will get the chance to build upon a faulty base with a flimsy main character. If it shifts the focus to Seiya (and didn't kill off Naoki) as well as delve deeper into the different organisations and characters, it might have a chance. There is a lot of potential here, hopefully they will tap into that IF there will be a following season. If they do, I will surely tune in.


Story & characters: 2/10 (1 point just for Seiya)
Art & Animation: 6/10



~Written by Devi~




「Dearest Japan」Is the "Boys' Love" genre considered porn?

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One of the perks of having a degree in Japanese Studies is that you are constantly exposed to the weirdness that is Japan, alongside with several eccentric BL-loving accomplices that join you on your daily rambling about gay 2D men... as well as start a new series titled "Dearest Japan", for you to ask all your pressing questions regarding Japan and for me to do some research!
While the most debatable question remains as "why do you even ship men together?" which is most likely targeted at fujoshi who ships every man in a room together to form complicated relationship trees, I am not one of them and neither are the fujoshi I personally know. We love to stay close to our OTPs, thank you very much.

But jokes aside, let's begin with a little background context and some content from academic sources!
   
The genre for BL is created by women, for women's consumption, and this genre took shape from as early as 1970s in post-war Japan and appeared as a sub-genre in Shoujo manga. As incredible as this sounds now, the works started out rather platonic and lived off the basis of it being a "passionate friendship). 

It was only in the late 1970-80s that sexual content started to be incorporated into the genre. Hence, BL moved  from only encompassing the platonic relationships between two men to a larger scale, where it takes sexual relationships between two men into consideration as well. Around this time, magazines devoted to this particular genre started appearing in the market too.
The term Yaoi was coined in late 1970s and was an acronym for 「山なし、落ちなし、意味なし」suggesting that there was no peak, no fall and no meaning to the genre. Yaoi is, by default, only used to refer to works that primarily focuses on the (explicit) sexual escapades between two men. This holds true even in modern days when we think about all the porn without plot (PWP) fanfiction on the internet.

On the other hand, the term shounen-ai depicts the romantic and loving relationship, typically omitting sexual content. 

Take down notes here so you won't get your terms mixed up when speaking to a fujoshi. Most wouldn't mind but I'm sure you don't want to appear (too) stupid when you call root beer as coca-cola just because they are all grouped under "soft drinks", do you?
So now that you know that the different terms mean, let's move on the most possible reason why BL was even created. And that brings us to the long historical partnership Japan has with homosexuality.

I hope that you know that Edo Japan (1603-1868) had its own fair share of homosexual men and same-sex relationships were celebrated in some ways back then.
These male/male relationships typically consist of a younger beautiful man, wakashu, and an older influential man and the status of the older man is somewhat "elevated" with a wakashu at his disposal while his wife, who is considered a older woman, would be lacking in the looks department in comparison (shaved eyebrows after marriage).
Fast forward to the Taisho period, schoolgirls were enrolled into girl-schools where platonic relationships between an upperclassman and a junior were tolerated and viewed as a passing phase where the junior was "practicing" before graduation when she will then be married and be in a proper heterosexual relationship. They were also expected to stay pure (virgins) until marriage, and women were still oppressed in Japanese society then.

Hence, it is actually concluded by extension that the BL genre came about to help women cope with the stress of being a part of this oppressive society. BL became an empowering tool whereby it gave women an outlet for their sexual urges (porn for women?). Using the male main character, they were able to engage in sexual fantasies without having the guilt that they were sullying their own purity. They were also able to get away from the weaknesses that come with being a female, such as rape.

Thus in a way, BL and especially yaoi was created to be a form of "porn material" for women back in the 1970-80s. In fact, some academic papers actually claim that most early BL works can serve to liberate women and popular works typically feature androgynous main characters (example below) for these women to imagine and empathize with the main character. 

Due to the works being written by women, they also have an added shoujo-manga flair to it which does not encapsulate what gay men and relationships are in real life.

What I personally think is the starting point of BL really strikes me as being made as porn material for women when I look from the perspective of the women as well as the authors of the academic papers I've read through. However, I think that it is also crucial to note that most works nowadays do not usually feature androgynous characters anymore. 
Popular works like Junjou Romantica, Sekaiichi Hatsukoi and 10 Count all have both the seme and uke designed such that we can clearly identify them as male... so perhaps the dynamics of how BL serves as porn for women has changed (because we all know that yes, yaoi still is a thing.)?

So, what do you think? Should BL really be considered porn for women in the past? How about now?

Do comment any other questions you want me to research on in the comment section below :)

~ Reina-rin

References (for text content):
Welker, J. (2006). Beautiful, Borrowed, and Bent: "Boys' Love" as "Girls' Love" in Shoujo 
     Manga. New Feminist Theories of Visual Culture. 31(3): pp. 841-70.
McLelland, M. (2005). The World of Yaoi: The Internet, Censorship and the Global 'Boys' 
     Love' Fandom. Australian Feminist Law Journal. 23(1): pp. 61-71. 
     doi: 10.1080/13200968.2005.10854344
Zanghellini, A. (2009). 'Boys love' in anime and manga: Japanese subcultural production 
     and its end users. 23(3): pp. 279-94.

Devi's Japan Travels Part 14: Tokyo & Kamakura Reunions

Wednesday, April 18, 2018 / No Comments
On the Shinkansen from Kanazawa to Tokyo, I watched the beautiful landscape pass by. I thought about the busy times I would have in Tokyo, literally and figuratively. Literally because it's very crowded, and figuratively I would have to coordinate meeting up with so many people that my head got crowded with all the information. I guess most people reading this blog have some knowledge of Tokyo already, but my experiences are more of a personal nature, as I stayed with my friend and met up with other friends. So I won't write about the Tokyo touristic stuff, but more of my experiences there which will include Kamakura with my teacher (whom is a local from there, descendant from samurais even! Very proud awesome lady) from my time I studied in Fukuoka 10 years ago. My teacher from my first year as a student back home whom moved to Tokyo a while back. Some of my best friends who live here and more. My last week in Japan I will spend like that - enjoying lunches, day trips, dinners, and hangouts with friends.



Shinkansen life!


 Beautiful mountains on my way to Tokyo



As soon as I arrived, Tokyo slapped me in the face with its pace. I am so not used to this anymore, after weeks of countryside and roadtripping! I will get used to it of course but man, what a fast-paced place. My friend Aya, whom I met in Osaka 5 years ago during my internship, picked me up from the station and we had some soup as dinner, a small quaint soup place which is similar to The Soup Spoon. After we walked around Tokyo Station a bit and looked at the nice architecture, we went back to her place which is quite far from the center but nice and quiet.

 Arrival! The ever-bustling Tokyo Station



 Yummy soup! From the Soup Stock



 The last remnants of sakura

My cozy little corner at Aya's place

Tokyo Day 1: Reunions at Todai

When I woke up Aya had already left but had prepared me breakfast, I am so lucky to have such nice friends! Japan really feels welcoming and home.
Itadakimasu!

I went to Todai to meet up with my teacher from my Leiden University times. She was my Japanese language teacher in my first year, and might I add, a damn good one. I hadn't seen her in 12 years so it was really nice to catch up! I really couldn't speak Dutch anymore after not speaking it for a week. It's so strange that language ability goes away so quickly, so not fair.. Or maybe I'm just an old auntie (stop laughing!). Nowadays she was teaching at Tokyo University, or Todai, so I went there to meet up with her and also check out the campus a bit. We went to a donburi place near the main gate, which was an awesome place. I ordered a salmon-tuna-avocado don, you could even order extra sides so I ordered extra salmon and negitoro (negi = green onion plus toro = fatty tuna, this shit's da bomb!). The place was packed with students and people were waiting in line so we couldn't really talk because it was noisy. We decided to go to a cafe afterwards on campus and we had some herbal tea in the sun. The weather was amazing! Not too cold, not too hot. Sakura season had already passed in tokyo. There were some sad looking treas with wilting sakura, which makes me feel a bit nostalgic knowing life is fleeting like sakura. Beauty is fleeting. However, the green leaves were taking over, so there's still life after sakura. I will call the green leaves 'wisdom' after the 'beauty' of sakura, heh heh how deep is that?? I just ruined it with the last comment, didn't I. Darn it, I need to learn when to stop in order to sound a bit smarter.


A Korean friend of mine from my Fukuoka days happened to be studying at Todai, so I met up with him as well. We went to the Starbucks and of course I had (my gazillionth) soy matcha frappuccino. Walking around the campus I saw the main building, represented in Chobits which I watched when I was around 14. Since then I always wanted to go to Todai to study. At least I got to see the main campus! After hanging out with him I went to Shibuya, saw Hachiko again (never get tired of it somehow). I tried to find this gallery a friend of mine was supposed to have an exhibition, but I found one exhibition about calligraphy instead. I continued to Roppongi Hills to meet up with a friend and saw the spider statue for the first time. As he works there he took me up to the tower and I saw one of the most amazing sunsets from there.




We decided to get something to eat before meeting up with other friends. We saw this kebab place, Mamo Kebab, and the guy working there immediately started speaking Turkish to me. I was kind of shocked how he knew! After eating the kebab we went to Hub, a pub style place which is a chain. A Turkish guy started talking to us again so it was a very Turkish evening. Two other friends joined us and we walked around to get some more food and drinks. There were a lot of lovehotels in Shibuya, I never really noticed before. At last we found a Kushiage place and it was a very nice, small and cozy place. We did an Omakase, which means that someone else would decide for us ergo the chef's recommendation. So the deal was that they would keep on bringing skewers until we said stop. We weren't even that hungry but it took a while for us to stop as it was so yummy! We had stuff I never tried before in really amazing combinations like skewers with tartar sauce or tomato sauce. With every stick the waitress would explain how to eat it, with or without sauce, with salt only or just like that and etc. That was an interesting experience. One friend gave me a really cool present, I hadn't seen these friends in 10 years, since my Fukuoka days, so it was really nice catching up with them.

 I loooove Kushikatsu!


After a long commute back to Aya's place standing for an hour I got home dead tired. The only thing I don't like about Tokyo is how crowded it is. So comfort is lacking every now and then. Despite all that, people stay polite and respectful, which really amazes me every time. This is what is interesting about Japan, in my home country people would fight for seats (lol).

Back home I had an ichigo daifuku (yumm!) I got on the street from my walk towards Roppongi. I had one with some green tea and talked with Aya about all kinds of things like how Japanese people don't really exercise in general for example. Things that even amaze her despite being Japanese herself. We also talked about the difference in culture between Osaka and Tokyo, for example on the escalator people stand on the left side and in Osaka it's on the right side. Or people don't say ikemen to handsome/cool guys in Osaka but use the word otokomae. After our long and interesting talk it was time to sleep!

Tokyo Day 2: Reunion in Kamakura

I feel this time Tokyo is full of long-time reunions. Especially the 10-year + ones. I got up really early and Aya made breakfast again but this time we ate together. Sitting on the train updating my notes for this blog I realized how fast time went by, I still only had four days left in Japan but still so much to do and so many people to see.

I met up with my teacher Shimizu-sensei whom was the head teacher 10 years ago for the Japanese Language and Culture Course (JLCC) at Kyushu University. She also became my thesis supervisor and we had a lot of contact. She had resigned in the meanwhile and is living in Kamakura.  It was so nice seeing her again, we visited some temples and of course the Daibutsu. Most entrance tickets were around 300 yen. For 20 yen you could even go inside the big buddha, but I didn't do that. We started at the Engaku-ji near Kamakura North station (where I got off), then we went to Kotoku-in (great buddha), and at the end we visited the Hase-dera.

 Going to the Engakuji, with beautiful sakura trees still in bloom, nearing the end..





 Cute turtle




 We saw an archer practice 



After visiting the Engakuji temple grounds we had some lunch

Shimizu sensei had made reservations at a traditional Japanese restaurant and we had some lunch there. I had the tempura set and you could get a lot of extra veggies at an open buffet. We talked a lot about the classmates from back then and wondered what everyone was doing now. The thing that was very nice about this meeting was that she was no longer my 'strict' sensei, but a friend. We laughed a lot together and told each other about ourselves like friends while enjoying the parks and temples and a view over Kamakura and the sea.

After eating we went to the Kotokuin

 The big buddha, it's big alright!



 For a small fee of 20 yen you could go inside

Of course the usual picture of the Great Buddha with sakura, I couldn't leave without taking this of course!

Following this, we climbed up to the Hase-dera, which had beautiful gardens, temples, and views over Kamakura and the sea. We sat there and talked about life while gazing over the sea. It was very nice and calming. I love temple grounds because they are always so peaceful. Until big groups of tourists come in of course.


Hase-dera with some sunshine, the weather was beautiful that day

 Beautiful flowers in the temple gardens




 How quaint is this?? 


 Beautiful sakura tree

The Benten-Kutsu, a small cave with a lot of little statues dedicated to the god Benten. It has a very low ceiling and I don't recommend it for people who are claustrofobic or have back pain as you have to bend down going through it.







 After sightseeing we talked while gazing over Kamakura and the sea

After all that walking my sensei walked me to the station and it was time to go back to Tokyo. In the evening I met up with Aya and we went to a foreign exchange student party at Waseda University. My friend Judith whom I also know from my Fukuoka days (and also had not seen in 10 years, see a pattern here?) was teaching at Waseda University and invited us to join the party for some drinks. It was really a student party, plastic cups, bottles of soda's and alcohol to mix yourself, and chips in paper bowls. The students were mostly post-graduate or graduate so it was very nice talking to them as the age difference wasn't that big and people came from all over the world, from Thailand to Mozambique! I introduced Aya to Judith and together with a friend of Judith we all went to get some Chinese food. I was really in the mood for mapo tofu and there were a lot of Chinese restaurants around Waseda which was very surprising to me. 

Judith knew a Mongolian friend of mine whom I also hadn't seen in 10 years and he didn't know I was in town so he decided to come to Shibuya station to see me even for half an hour! It was very nice seeing him again and I got all nostalgic about seeing all these people I used to see very often. We only had a half an hour as we had to take the last train back. Aya and I got some inside jokes about the train, and laughed about that. Tomorrow I will have to get up early because I will go to Fuji five lakes with my Dutch friend. Stay tuned for LOTS of Fuji-san pictures :))


~Written by Devi~