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Elspeth [userpic]


July 2nd, 2012 (10:15 am)

current location: Japan, Chiba-ken, Sanrizuka

Wheeee! At Narita Airport waiting to go back to jolly old England to spend the summer at home!! Looking forward to all the Olympic excitement.
Japanese food and karaoke withdrawal anticipated.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

Elspeth [userpic]

First Saiyuki fanart in...forever (Hakkai/Sanzo)

June 28th, 2012 (10:30 pm)

Recently I have been obsessively reading the amazing hotness that is evilchuckles's Saiyuki fanfics. I've never really considered or shipped Hakkai/Sanzo before (I really couldn't see Sanzo as anything other than dominant) but she has completely turned my view around. For the past couple of days my body simply would not let me be until I drew some Hakkai/Sanzo fanart. 

Claimed (Warning: Kissing, bare-shoulders)Collapse )

Elspeth [userpic]

(no subject)

January 17th, 2012 (08:09 pm)

Anyone watching Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou (The Daily Lives of High School Boys)? It's so hilarious it's killing me!
Wonder if my own students are like that when they're alone...

Elspeth [userpic]

New art of 2012

January 5th, 2012 (05:57 am)

Happy 2012 everyone! I hope that this year will be full of success, blessing, and happiness for you all <3

To celebrate the fourth season of Natsume Yuujinchou, I have drawn Matoba/Natsume because I can see myself hardcore shipping this pairing :P

My Beautiful Shiki (PG13 for bare shoulder)Collapse )

In other news, I think I'm coming down with a cold. I never get colds in Japan but as soon as I go home to the UK for holiday I get sick. Why is this?

Elspeth [userpic]

(no subject)

October 3rd, 2011 (10:04 pm)

Oh sigh! All of my favourite anime from the summer season is ending (Natsume Yuujinchou! Blue Exorcist! Usagi Drop!), and I'm not particularly attached to any from the new season so far. I feel so sad. Whatever will I watch whilst eating dinner by my kotatsu table now?

Elspeth [userpic]

Gintama Art :)

August 21st, 2011 (05:32 am)

Huzzah! Finally a Gintama fanart. I'm thoroughly enjoying this anime at the moment. There are too many characters that I want to (eventually) draw, but I couldn't resist doing Kamui and Takasugi first. 

Two of a Kind (Takasugi & Kamui)Collapse )

Elspeth [userpic]

Update and a painting

August 18th, 2011 (11:51 pm)

I have officially finished my contract with the JET Program. It has been 2 years of pure amazingness which, years later when I look back on it, I suspect I'll always remember it as a golden time of fun; no real job will ever be as good, or as easy. 

I'm in Oxford at the moment, enjoying some quality time with my parents and old friends, and escaping the sweltering heat of Japan.
A couple of weeks ago I had my graduation ceremony. The ceremony was two years overdue (we book our own dates for graduation at Oxford, but I wanted to delay mine so I could have the ceremony on the same day as my friends). The whole thing went really well and I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful weather. 

I'll be returning to Japan next Wednesday. After all the panic of job hunting, I got offered a full-time teaching position at a private high school in Chiba, so I'll be doing that for the next year. Never taught high school students before, but if they are anything like my junior high kids, I'm sure we'll get along fine. 

One Summer NightCollapse )

Anyone following Gintama? My students told me to watch/read it a long time ago but I never got round to it. I started watching the anime last month and am now hooked! I need to get some Gintama fanart out of my system soon!
Also, I suppose I should worried about the fact that I'm enjoying the same anime that my students enjoy, if not more because of the adult humor in it, but I'm not :P

Elspeth [userpic]

Decisions are scary

July 8th, 2011 (06:08 pm)


Am about to turn down a job offer. Hope I'm not making a mistake.

Elspeth [userpic]

So lost...

May 9th, 2011 (07:17 pm)

I never knew job hunting could fill me with such relentless, cold panic. Sometimes I wish I was a high school student again, naively satisfied with getting straight A's and believing everything will be O.K so long as I had a good academic record.
I finish my JET Program contract in less than 3 months and still haven't found my next job. Rather, I still have yet to decide what to do about my future. Do I go into teaching for real? Or go back to science? Or go into accounting/finance-related work? And do I stay in Japan or go back to England? So many questions and I can't answer a single one. I would love to stay in Japan, but that depends on my finding a suitable job, which is not going smoothly so far.
Added to my job stress, my parents are keeping up a steady pace of urging me to go back to the UK because they are still worried about the earthquake and nuclear situation. I just don't know what to do right now. I wish there was someone who could dictate the course of my life for me. It would save me so much trouble. 

Elspeth [userpic]

1 month since March 11th Earthquake

April 11th, 2011 (11:21 pm)

It is now exactly one month since the devastating magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck Tohoku Japan. I have now returned to Chiba, having taken a temporary break back in England. I wouldn't say I was 'well-rested' (I seem to have developed a conditional reflex where my entire body tenses up every time I hear the wall/floor/door creak), but I think taking the time away from Japan was a good idea. 

I start my very last school (of my two years on the JET program) this Wednesday. My two other friends started today, and said their schools held a minute of silence in memory of the March 11th quake. Both friends told me they had evacuee students in their school from Sendai and Fukushima, one of which lost his entire house. 

On the night I moved back to Japan, we had the biggest aftershock (magnitude 7.1) since March 11th. Not once during the 3 weeks I was away from Japan did a big aftershock occur. My boss joked that it was Japan's way of welcoming me back. 
Then, tonight, there was another big aftershock (on land, near the coastal side of Fukushima), followed by many smaller ones, which eerily echoed what happened one month ago. We had a tsunami warning but it was called off soon afterwards.

Aside from these recent aftershocks, everything else is slowly getting back to normal. I try to go out like I would normally do and not let my life revolve around anticipating the next quake. The only thing I'm watching out for is not drinking tap water or milk. There's a one bottle per person limit on mineral water so I have to go out and buy water every day to get enough for drinking and cooking. I may be over-reacting with not buying milk (it was reported to be contaminated a while back) but I'd like to play it safe for a while. 

All in all I'm trying to stay positive. The weather has been lovely and warm, and all the sakura (cherry blossoms) have bloomed beautifully. I pray for spring to come to Japan in every possible meaning. 

Elspeth [userpic]

How the earthquake alarm on TV sounds

March 23rd, 2011 (08:21 pm)

For anyone curious about the earthquake alarm that I was talking about in my previous posts, here's an anime that was aired a few days ago, which got interrupted by the alarm in the middle. It happens at 09:36. It turned out to be a M3 tremor that Chiba (part of the highlighted region) would have felt. 
On the night of the big quake, I had my TV turned on (high volume) the whole night and this alarm just kept going off.

When I was watching this anime, the alarm seriously gave me a heart attack. For a moment I totally thought I was back in Japan watching it live on TV!

PIMP: help_japan : my auction thread is here

Elspeth [userpic]

Offering art for help_japan 

March 22nd, 2011 (12:08 am)

I am back in my home in Oxford, well fed (my mum made 昆布(kelp) salad and grilled fish for dinner, both of which are high in iodine, haha), and well-rested. I am feeling calmer on the whole, and will post a more detailed account of the last few days in Chiba before leaving Japan in the near future. 

Right now, I wanted to let you know that I am offering one digital art for help_japan . With the unplanned leave, I can no longer help with relief work that I had planned on doing for Asahi, one of the worst-hit areas within Chiba, and so I want to do anything I can to help from this side of the earth. 

My auction post is here

Please place a bid and help Japan! 

Elspeth [userpic]

Earthquake update 3

March 18th, 2011 (01:43 pm)

current location: 34.4285,135.2350

I'm sitting on a plane that is bound for London. The past few days have been so emotionally draining, I feel as though I'm in a bad dream. Even though I'm leaving only temporarily, the friends, co-workers around me behave as though they don't believe I will return. I've never felt so saddened, or so tortured by a decision.
I pray that my leaving Japan was an over-reaction, that come April something, anything, will have happened to improve the current situation, so that I will be able to return to Japan just as the sakura is blooming to welcome the spring.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

Elspeth [userpic]

earthquake update 2

March 13th, 2011 (05:40 pm)

Thank you all so much for your kind words following my initial post. I really, really appreciate the moral support and would have liked to keep you posted sooner but, given the circumstance, it was impossible.

It is now day 2 after the earthquake. On the first night of the quake, I barely slept a wink. Another ALT stayed over at my house because both of us would have panicked the whole night if we were alone. We both packed an emergency bag and kept it by our bed. We slept in our clothes, had our shoes close by in case we had to quickly evacuate.
I kept the TV on the entire night, and every single channel was talking about the quake, showing the horrendous scenes of the 10m tsunami wave washing away hundreds of cars like they were Lego bricks.

There were, literally, an aftershock every 5 minutes or so during that entire night. Some were not so big, others sent us running under the table in case it became serious. Whenever an aftershock occurred and was detected, the TV would make this alarm sound, and all the prefectures affected (and the magnitude) would be shown on the screen. In addition, whenever a large tremor was predicted to occur within the next minute or so, the TV would make a different alarm sound (which gave me a heart attack every time), and the news reporter would shout the names of all the prefectures within range and tell the viewers to be ready and brace themselves. This went on all night. Both myself and my friend were a mental wreck, constantly on high alert for aftershocks and for our city name to be called on TV, which happened regularly given where we were (and no kidding, there were about 3 times where not only Chiba city, but Chiba city, central ward, which is where I lived, was listed! We laughed over the preciseness of it).

Everyone (mostly JET ALTs living all over Japan) was going wild over Facebook that night, asking if everyone was ok and updating new information. I had some friends living up north (Fukushima, Sendai, both of which are part of the worst hit areas), so I kept scanning their statuses to check they were safe. Some of them spent the night without any power (no light/heat, no info from the TV about what's going on), others were in evacuation shelters.

The next morning we were told (again through facebook by our city advisor) that there will likely be a food (and power) shortage so we should prepare enough food for the next 3 days. We went to our local supermarket and the shelves for bread, bento (Japanese packed lunch) and onigiri (rice balls) were completely empty. Thankfully there were still a lot of ramen (cup noodle) left so we stocked up on that and other snacks.
During the day I tried to get my apartment back in order. Considering all the things that fell from a decent height, I was shocked that nothing was actually broken. Since it had been a day since the earthquake, I guess all the mobile service providers became freed up, so I started getting a flood of mails/calls that didn't reach me the day before.

As the day progressed the aftershocks became noticeably less frequent, so it provided me some mental relief. However, new worries about the nuclear power plant in Fukushima, and the rumor (spread via mobile mail, which I also received) about toxic waste floating in the air of Chiba city as a result of the oil refinery explosion not far from my area kept me on edge until it was confirmed as a prank (who the fuck would do that in a time like this?!) over the news.

Today I've only felt a handful of major aftershocks so I'm much calmer, but I'm not sure what's going to happen for the next few days. The latest report by the Japanese Meteorological Agency say there is a 70% chance of an aftershock of magnitude 7 or more occurring within the next 3 days. I guess the only thing I can do is to go about my normal routine and just be really alert and prepared.

Apparently they have changed the original 8.8 magnitude to to a 9.0, and experts are saying that a plate-boundary earthquake of this proportion in Japan occurred only once every 1000 years (I sure picked a good time to be in Japan right now!). Apparently the force of the quake was so big that it shifted the Honshu island by 2.4m (8ft) and tilted the Earth's axis by about 10cm!

It's going to take months for things to go back to normal in the north. The pictures of entire towns getting washed away, and reporters reading out list of names of newly confirmed dead is heartbreaking. I can only imagine the shock and pain of those who have lost homes and loved ones. I'm so grateful that Chiba city wasn't badly affected, and so SO thankful that everyone I know within the earthquake's range is alive and coping. 

Some pictures I took of ChibaCollapse )

I think (touch wood) that the worst of this disaster is over now. The next pressing problem is the power shortage in the north, which a rotating power outage in the Kanto region starting tomorrow is trying to help. My thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims and survivors in the worst affected regions :(

Elspeth [userpic]

earthquake update

March 11th, 2011 (09:14 pm)

Letting you know that I'm ok! Really shaken up (literally), but ok. 

Some of you may have heard by now about the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that hit north Japan Friday afternoon. My city (Chiba) isn't the worst hit but it's still on high tsunami alert at the moment. 
I've never been so scared in my life. I had just got off the train when the earthquake hit. The whole place was shaking badly, and then the lights started flickering and going out. Of course this made everyone panic and run, which really scared me. The whole walk home everyone was on their phones trying to find out what happened/contact their friends.
I didn't think it was a good idea to go to my apartment (it's a really old 5-story one) so I hung around outside the nearest elementary school (and also evacuation centre) for like 2 hours, along with many other Japanese people. 
By then my phone was dying so I HAD to go home to charge it. I went into my apartment, which looked like someone had raided it, and then heard this huuuuge bang (I thought my window was going to shatter from the impact), and the sky outside my window turned bright orange. It turned out that a nearby oil factory had exploded.

I've packed an emergency bag in case I have to evacuate any time. Hopefully I don't have to. Because the Chiba peninsula is more inland than the rest of the north-east coast, we should be sheltered from the tsunami. I'm just on edge, because I keep getting aftershocks every few minutes so I can't relax at all.

Facebook has been a life saver. My phone does not work at all, so the only way I communicated with everyone was through Fb.  

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