Day 2: Tokyo, Akihabara & Shibuya

Day two was a busy one, we decided to try and find the nearest cat café to have brunch in before getting onto the metro and heading off for the day. Unfortunately, Kyle had some money issues with the weird Japanese ATMs and we also had to head back to the hostel for warmer clothes (it was actually snowing a little and we weren’t prepared for a day out in the city in the cold!). After a bit of a frustrating morning, and a trip to our local bakery, we got down to the metro and headed to the world renowned Akihabara.

We didn’t really have a set destination in Akihabara; it was more of a place we just wanted to experience. There are 100s of themed cafes in Tokyo and we knew of a few in the area that might be worth a visit (and the entrance fees). We wandered around for a bit, and then a bit longer, and then even longer, until we eventually stopped to try and get our bearings as there was nothing of major interest on the streets we were meandering down… Turns out we’d been heading in the wrong direction for god knows how long, so about turn and back to our original starting point we went. Once there, we continued in the right direction and the difference was insane. The buildings were huge, streets were crazy, and the shops were infinite. There were sooooo many figurine shops selling everything from cute little creatures, to giant complex beast figures, and yes, unfortunately, even sexualised cartoon characters in skimpy little outfits in provocative poses. We had a look around a few, amazed by the vast amount of things on offer, and then, we happened to stumble upon somewhere we had Continue reading

Day 1: HK & Tokyo

It still seems crazy to me that when searching through SkyScanner for the cheapest flights, I have the option of selecting my departure location as either Guangzhou, or Hong Kong. This time, it actually worked out cheaper to get the ferry over from Shunde to HK and fly out from there, rather than leaving straight from Guangzhou, which to me seems mental. So on Wednesday 18th of Jan, that’s exactly what me and Kyle did. We grabbed a quick Subway sandwich, had our rucksacks on our backs and off we went…

I won’t spent too much time chatting about the transport and our few hours in Hong Kong, I have a habit of describing every detail of a trip, and if I don’t get out of that habit for this post, we’ll still be here in 2018 listening to how me and Kyle had 3 seats to ourselves on the Ferry, a coco-pops McFlurry from Kawloon Park, or about how we enjoyed a sausage roll and a cider on Lan Kwai Fong… Anyways, I’ll skip straight ahead to the crrazzzyy city that is Tokyo….

hk - tk.jpg

The flight was only about 3 and half hours and we landed at roughly 4.30am (local time). It was freezing, we were tired, hungry, and low on battery, so we sat down for a while to recharge our phones, and ourselves. We soon hopped onto a metro after a very friendly and well-spoken guy helped us with our tickets, and off out into the world we went. The closest metro stop to our hostel was Asukasa (A18), we walked over the bridge, heading towards the SkyTree, and a curious looking building which throughout the trip we

Continue reading

My Pre-Travel Blog, Post

[PHOTO: everything I travelled with over the 3 weeks; the rucksack I use for work, and a mini rucksack that just about holds my camera and purse]



So, I’ve been struggling to decide how to start these next 3, inevitably looonngg, blog posts about my Chinese New Year travels… I guess it would make sense to start at the beginning right? I mean, “let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start..” But these tales aren’t bookended by a musical do… they start and end with a mixture of excitement, worry, and uncertainty. One constant throughout my trip however, was that I was constantly learning. They say travel is the best form of education, life education that is, and I definitely did a lot of learning over the past 3 weeks. From doing research on my destinations, managing my money in both China and the UK, learning how to travel with a variety of different people, learning how to take my trip into my own hands, and so much more… (I also learnt that I’m not as good at the limbo as I used to be, but I’ll come back to that sad fact)

Well, my trip was clearly and easily broken down into 3 solid sections:

  1. Tokyo
  2. Seoul
  3. Thailand

So this is how I’ll be forming my travel blog posts. It’s going to take some time for me to get everything down, I can see it being over a month before I wrap things up and get to type up the words “and then I was back in my teeny but homey apartment in Country Garden.” But I don’t mind too much, it’s always nice to re-live the travel experiences and this will be a good way to prolong the feeling and memory of travel. Plus, it will mean you guys, my few but reliable readers, don’t have just one HUGE post to read, which would inevitably bore you to death.

At this very moment, I’m typing this up (on my phone) on Saturday at 9am… no I’m not at home in bed with a cuppa, I’m sat in one of the school theatres, while someone stands on stage, chattering away in Chinese, and all the international staff sit here with headphones in listening to some poor Chinese lady try and translate as quickly as she can. To my left, is another international teacher looking through photos on her laptop. To my right is a Chinese teacher reading a children’s English book. All around me I can see everyone on their phones, reading books, on their laptops, or just outright sleeping…

Anyway, this is a pointless blog post so I’ll cut it off here before I woffle on even more. Thanks for reading folks, and I look forward to sharing my travel adventures with you “all”.

Peace out!

Cling – 11th Jan Promp

[PHOTO: Taken at Bodnant Gardens sometime a couple of years ago.]

Cling – hold on to tightly.

People cling onto everything. We cling on to people, places, things, memories, dreams, and ideas. Some people cling less than others, some people like to live a very minimalist lifestyle and have no room for things that clutter up their life. Others are the opposite. Others are like me… I’m going to try and keep this blog separate from my “Getting lost in documentation….” post that I wrote way back in June, but, I feel I need to make some form of connection before I can move on… I cling to a lot. Not so much people, I’m not a person who needs to be attached at the hip to others at all times and cling to them and their every word, I’m much clingier to things… Back at the house (36) I have roughly 5 boxes full of “things”, bits and bobs and random crap. I cling to them and what they mean, what they represent, and I’m not very good at giving them up. Up until this summer I even had an old Sprite can in a bag, in a box with a really badly drawn love heart on it from high school. I have ticket stubs, old corks, my Emrys ap Iwan swipe cards, bookmarks, notes etc. etc. … all collecting dust and weighing down the rafters. I hold tightly to things that once upon a time meant something to me, whether it was something that made me smile in the middle of class (thinking here of a 2 inch piece of paper that Aysha threw at me one Chemistry class), or a token memento of a really good night… no matter how big or small it was, if it was even vaguely significant to me for more than 6 seconds, it’s probably in a box somewhere.

So, imagine my upset when Continue reading

Is it enough?

[ PHOTO: the view I had when leaving work the other week, sunset and flags over Country Garden]

I’ve been at a loss for words recently, blog wise anyway. Despite having gone through the festive period and New Year’s, I don’t feel like I’ve got much to report on. My last post was a pretty big and it talked in depth about a kind of ‘light bulb moment’, so I’ve not wanted to just tap away meaninglessly about my monotonous daily life as a teacher for its follow up.

I feel like people often expect my life to be so much more than it is. They expect each week, each day to be filled with crazy experiences and adventures that will produce even crazier stories; whereas in fact, it’s not that at all. I don’t even know if I’d want it to be that, it sounds tiring in all honesty. Yes I live away from home, but I’m not travelling, I’m not living on the road, I’m not exploring new places each day and meeting new people. I’m working… I’m living in a small cosy apartment. I have a small group of friends. I have a fridge I try and keep stocked. I have a bus commute to work. I have laundry to do, dishes to wash, bins to empty. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I’m thoroughly enjoying my life out here. But at times, it doesn’t really feel too “out there”. During the work week, when I barely have time to cook my own meals or get home before dark, I could be anywhere… I could be living in some remote town in England, Germany, America, Wales… anywhere that I don’t have family or childhood friends. Anywhere that I don’t know the backstreets or the roads like the ones I do in Abergele.

Speaking to family and friends over the last few weeks has been amazing… but also a little disheartening… People have been Continue reading

What next…?

[Photo: tegalalang rice terrace, Bali from mine and Shelb’s travel this summer]

Planning for the future is a scary thing. Making decisions about your life is a terrifying concept. What if you make the wrong choice? What if you end up missing other opportunities due to the path you chose? It’s inevitable that you’ll always look back and say “Ow, I wish I could have been there for that.” Or “Damn it, I should have done this instead.” You can never cover all the bases that you wish to. You’re always going to have to choose one side of the coin. My coin currently has a few sides; it’s more like a triangular dice, or cute little (intimidating) cube…

A co-worker sat down with me the other day and discussed in great lengths her options and thoughts for the end of this academic year. It sounded exciting, adventurous, and fuelled with purpose and passion. I guess it helped that there was a love interest thrown in there to help aid and focus her attention, but still, she had a plan (vague as it was), and it could work [for her]. It was so easy for me to sit there and encourage her to follow this dream, to book the flights, to plan her trips. “Just do it!” I cried, “What have you got to loose!?”… Why is it so much easier for me to have that much faith and trust in someone else’s life and travel plan, than I have in my own? I have very little/no faith that the decisions I make at the end of this academic year will lead me to exactly where I’m supposed to be. I feel like I’m being torn across the globe. Pulled in all directions… I have to go there. I have to be back for this. I should think about that. I need to do it…

In all honesty, I feel selfish for what my thoughts and possible plans are. I can’t call them plans; they’re, at best, ideas. I know people repeatedly say “Your 20s are your selfish years. Do what you want. Go where you want. Be who you want.”… but I feel like I have to have some sort of structured plan right? Like, I don’t want to get to 29 and suddenly be like “Oh crap, I’ve had a great 8 years, but what now?! I’m not qualified to do anything; I’ve got no money to start my life. Is it time to whack out the old Maccies uniform and cap?!” I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, I feel like I’ve Continue reading

Shower thoughts.

[Photo: The desk and creative station of a tattoo artist I met on Sunday]

The word prompts have [to me] been lacking in inspiration or interest recently. There have been a mixture of words, some of which I’ve had to look up, and others I’ve sat and stared at, wondering how the hell I would form a beefy, meaty blog post out of it. I was thinking about this in the shower this morning, after 15 minutes of trying [and finally getting] my hot water to kick in, my brain was all over the place, and I kept coming back to one word. One word that instils fear and dread into most people my age or of my generation…

C O M M I T M E N T

The fact that I’ve been toying with the idea of sitting down and writing about this, because it’ll take a while and I’m not 100% sure where it’ll end up, is just one example of the commitment phobes my generation of become. When most people think of commitment or people who are afraid of commitment, it usually refers to relationships and taking them to the next level. This isn’t what I want to focus this post solely on, but it’s a big enough factor that I can’t really ignore it.

“So is he your boyfriend?” “Are you two going out now then?” “Is she officially your girlfriend?”

Nowadays, these questions pose BIG worries to the ones stood there expected to answer. Before any kind of solid answer can be given, an even bigger and scarier conversation has to be had between Continue reading