Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mission accomplished

Our trip to Japan had a purpose, besides fun, it was for Yasu to renew his driver's license. 

His Japanese license expired when we lived in the States. We could not renew it from there, so we both took an American driver's exam and passed, easily. We were going to swap our American licenses for new English ones, but unfortunately, the UK does not regard the American license good enough. I guess someone has told them how easy the exams are in the States.

Thankfully, it is possible to swap Dutch and Japanese licenses for English ones. I have a Dutch one and now Yasu has a new Japanese one. Soon we'll have English ones.

Now that the official part of our trip is over, it is time to enjoy all that Japan has to offer: food, friends and fun!
Since the license renewal is in Akashi, we started our food adventure with eggy octopus balls (akashiyaki). Look at the joy in this boy's face when eating his country's delicious food:
Dinner was chicken wings (tebasaki) from an old Nagoya favorite, Yamachan, which finally opened up shop in Osaka as well. So good.

We have a long list of people to meet up with here and tonight we met up with Natsuko and Tomomi, two old AEON coworkers. It was lovely to see these two ladies again.
And we did purikura!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Back in Japan!

Today we traveled. First to my home country and then to his home country.

We got up in the middle of the night to take a bus to Manchester Airport, where a plane to the Netherlands was waiting for us.
We spent a few hours in Amsterdam, ran a few errands, bought a few Dutch groceries, and took a plane to Japan.
We've been so excited to go to Japan, we haven't been there since we left in 2010 to move to San Francisco. We miss so much from Japan and we can't wait to indulge ourselves in anything and everything Japanese during the coming two weeks. So we need a lot of yen!

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Living in the park

We've been living in the park for about a month now, and so far we're loving it! Our new "street" is so beautiful and peaceful.
Even the steps up to our place on the fourth floor are pretty. Yes, we're living on the fourth floor again, just like in the States. But in this building we get to enter on the second floor, so we have to climb one less flight of stairs, which really does make quite the difference.
I've been unpacking after work and on the weekends and I'm finally ready to welcome people in to come and have a look. So let's go in!
For some reason I  really loved the long hallway in our old apartment on Corbar Hill, and when we went to view this place I was hoping for another long hallway. I was not disappointed, and this hallway is even longer.
The doors have pretty glass windows and there's a long ladder in the landing, that can be used to enter the attic. I have not been up there because I am afraid of getting on and off ladders, but Yasu has been up there and it's huge. It even has three skylights, so technically we could turn into another room, but for now it just holds our moving boxes.
I am happy to report that all the pretty doors actually close, which is a nice change from the other apartment.
The landing is so large, we kind of consider it another room and we're currently using it as our dining room.
Our favorite room right now is probably the living room.
It's because this room has the big purple couch which is just super comfortable.
We like relaxing here together in the evenings, during and after dinner. Even though we have a dining room now, we got into the habit of eating dinner in the living room in the old place, and we still like doing that here. We really ought to be using the dining room though.
I love the little round wall in the corner next to the door.
The bedroom is right next door to the living room.
This room comes with lots of built-in storage, which is awesome.
Our previous bedroom did not have any storage so we bough a huge wardrobe and a drawer chest. We brought it over to the new place and now have way too much storage! Perhaps we should buy more clothes.
The hallway to the landing is on the inside of the living room's round wall.
The bedroom is on the park side of the building, so the view is spectacular.
We have so many rooms in this place, that besides Yasu's office at the university (which is just a 5 minute walk from here) he now gets to have a home office as well. He doesn't have a lot of furniture yet, but he loves his room nonetheless.
This room comes with another built-in wardrobe, so we have even more space to store stuff.
Yasu may not have a lot of furniture now, but he does have a beautiful view from his desk.
We had two bathrooms in the previous apartment, but we only have one here. Which is more than enough, because we never seemed to want to take a shower at the same time anyways. Having two toilets was nice though, but we'll get used to having just one again.
We're glad this bathroom doesn't have a bath, because we are shower-ers.
Our new kitchen is a lot bigger than the old one! We now have two ovens and even space for a microwave again. 
We also love our new washer-dryer. I do not miss going to the laundromat. I used to do that in the States and it was such a waste of time.
And last, but not least, my new studio. Which comes with a decorative fireplace, just like the living room.
This room is very big, the previous tenants even used it as a living room. I don't have enough stuff to fill it up, but I don't mind, it's very spacious now.
Lots of light in this room because it has two windows.
This apartment is probably the best thing about living in England. No matter how much I would like to move back to Japan, I don't want to leave this apartment. Especially, since apartments in Japan are so tiny and so expensive. So for now, we are thoroughly enjoying the enormous amount of space in our English apartment, because who knows where we'll be in a couple of years.