月別アーカイブ: 2015年9月

Steel Rail Blues

Kichijoji StationThe daily grind on the Chuo Line.

I can think of no better way to enjoy a brisk autumn day than a bike ride, especially if it ends at the park, paired wonderfully with wine and cheese. I have been an avid cyclist my entire life, foregoing buying a car out of principle , instead dreaming of the parts I could buy for my next bike build. Tokyo seemed like a cyclist’s dream, and for the most part that statement holds true Yet ultimately we must face certain realities: the geographical vastness and frenzied pace of life in Tokyo.

If I leave for work an hour earlier, I may be able to cycle there in time. But what if there’s a meeting in Yokohama? That’s another two hours, I’d never make it home. It soon dawned on me with a crushing sense of defeat that, just like almost everyone else in Tokyo, I would have to use the train and subway systems as part of my daily commute.

Japan Rail, Keio, Tokyu, Seibu, Tokyo Metro, etc., there are almost as many operators as there are rail lines. The Greater Tokyo Area is home to the world’s largest transport network, and over half the population uses it a primary means of transportation. An overlay of the metro and rail maps reveals a chaotic spiderweb of transfers, routes, and cross-stations. Upon my arrival it all seemed a bit too labyrinthine, but there is an odd method to the madness when you realise the sheer volume of daily riders most stations have to accommodate.

Below I’ve outlined some of the core tenets of riding in the GTA, so learn from my blunders! Navigating the rails will become second-nature (whether you like it or not).

  • ▸  Plan your route ahead of time. A trip that would be fairly direct via car could be quite complicated using railways, especially heading towards the centre of Tokyo. Although, delays are inevitable, the monitors above each railcar door communicate pertinent information. Sites like Jorudan and Google Maps (Along with their respective smartphone apps) are invaluable tools.
  • ▸  Do not be surprised if the fare price is ridiculous. If you intend on working in Japan, discussing travel accommodation from your employer is reasonable, if not expected. Price is determined relative to your distance from your destination, unlike the single fare you I would expect on a Western transportation line. If it’s not too far, it can sometimes be cheaper and faster to walk.
  • ▸  Ditch the paper tickets after you’ve gotten your bearings. A PASMO / Suica charge card may only offer a two-yen fare discount, but save you the hassle of carrying fistfuls of coins or worrying about losing your paper fare. Losing a ticket between stations could turn into a complete nightmare, transit officials regard it as a major offense. PASMO cards are also accepted as debit in shops around stations and combinis.
  • ▸  Wait in the demarcated lines and queue up on the platform. Allow passengers to deboard before filing in (do not cut the queue!). The Japanese are too well-mannered and soft-spoken to call out your misstep, but rest assured you are not doing anything to help the gaijin cause.
  • ▸  As a gaijin, do not be surprised or offended if some passengers go out of their way to avoid sitting next to you, even if there are plenty of empty seats, Maybe your beard is too big, your clothes too loud and colourful, or you’re showing too much cleavage – maybe there’s a gaijin pheromone our noses have not adapted to yet. It happens.
  • ▸  Talking at any length for anyone over student age is frowned upon in direct proportion to how crowded the car is. Keep the murmuring to a minimum and phonecalls for emergencies only.

    train_aloneA rare glimpse of solitude.

  • ▸  Tokyo is a vertically integrated city, and space comes at a premium The same applies to the train. Occupy the smallest amount of real estate possible, even when standing or trying to grab a quick nap. Bring extra baggage only if absolutely necessary. While it may be tempting to sprawl out after a long day at work, remember you are but a Tetris piece on a moving puzzle. Comfort yourself with reminders that a hot shower and warm bed await you at home.
  • ▸  In a work culture like Japan, someone nodding off and falling asleep on your shoulder is fairly routine. Many people have grueling schedules that involve lengthy commutes, it might be their only time in the day to get some rest. More specifically, you are guaranteed to fall asleep on someone else at some point during your stay in Japan.
  • ▸  If possible avoid the larger stations directly after the end of the workday, as everyone will be rushing to get home. Riders are literally poked and prodded onto cars in an effort to pack each car like sardines in a tin box. Unless you enjoy body contortion, a sudden sense of claustrophobia, or the odd elbow in your back, grab a cup of coffee and take the train twenty minutes later. Your muscles will thank you.
  • ▸  The bilingual intercom will switch to Japanese-only after 6 PM, especially along the older or less populated rail / metro lines.

    train_pushIt feels worse than it looks.

  • ▸  Signage is important, and very often not in English. Take the time to learn the Kanji and Hiragana / Katakana symbols for your most frequented stops. I can more easily recognize ‘Hachioji’ now out of a list of stations than its English spelling ( Hachioji Station).
  • ▸  Passengers will blatantly stare at whatever you are reading, drawing, playing, or attempting to write (there were at least four sets of eyes on me as I scribbled the first draft of this article into my notebook). To salvage what little privacy remains , or avoid embarrassment most Japanese people will cover their literature in a nondescript material. If you err on the more clandestine side, by all means follow suit. Personally, I find it strange and counterintuitive, a small glimpse into one of the larger problems in modern Japanese culture. It is a topic of contention among members of the sharehouse, where opinions and reasonings for ‘The Great Covering’ are greatly divided.
  • ▸  Last but not least, pick a station at random, a station not on your usual route and make that your destination. Traveling (and getting lost) on the web of rails is one of the easiest ways to discover little corners of Tokyo you would I have never known existed.

    train_self

  • Send help!

If you have anything to add, or just flat-out think I’m wrong, I’d love to hear your opinions. My contact information is below.

日刊SPA!で新連載開始♪

(注)リンク先は最下段です。
全画面キャプチャ 20150922 212005

全画面キャプチャ 20150922 213717

僕の世代が大好きなあのSPA!
そのWEB版である「日刊SPA!」さんから、新連載のご依頼。

3ヶ月前だったか、2冊目の出版と同時に、週刊SPA!さんへ掲載させてもらった。
その流れで、サイト版へ連載が動いた。
「いつか書きたい」と僕のリストプランに入れていたら、いきなり現実に。
それも1回の記事を狙ってたのに、まさかの連載っすょ!
本氣で光栄すぎて、いまマジで涙目♪

ここまで到達できたのは、オークハウスのメディア露出に使ってもらえたから。
このおかげさまな部分も大きいかなと。
何回、テレビに出して頂いたんだろ?
有名サイトも何度か出して頂いたし。

オークハウス社さんに感謝しています。

せっかくのチャンス♪
SPA!さんのとこで、氣合にて最高の文を世へ書き出します。
もしよろしかったら、サイト先にある各ボタンを押して、拡散して頂けると、嬉しいっす。
いつもありがとーございます。
↓連載第一弾↓
http://nikkan-spa.jp/941826

Booking.com 広告になってます★渋谷・品川・東京・新宿・大阪も行くよ。

へへへ。

Booking.com の動画&ポスター広告になってます。

IMG_8018

今は渋谷・品川・東京駅のそれぞれで

けっこうだいだい的に飾られててうれしいです♬

ありがとございます!!!

とまこ

下記の日程と場所で公開されてゆきます。

大阪もあるので、よろしかったら、

西のみなさま、どんな風になってるのか教えてください~。

bookingcom800

9/21~27
●東京駅(中央通路)

●品川駅(中央改札内大型フラッグ・自由通路)

●渋谷TOQサイネージ

9/28~10/4
●大阪 阪急梅田D-st

●大阪阪急百貨店前デジタルサイネージ

●大阪梅田デジタルサイネージ4K3階コンコース

9/28~10/11
●ディアモール大阪 柱巻き広告

10/1~15
●新宿西口ブライトサイン

bookingcom渋谷800

これ、撮影がむっっっちゃ楽しかったんですよね。

本気女子会でしたwww

くっだらない話ばっかりしてあたいらメスだな~としみじみww

さゆりとゆうととまこ

ともあれ、ご覧いただけたらうれしいです★

IMG_8027

IMG_8026

SR蒲田がTVに&辛いイベ

ソーシャルレジデンス蒲田こと、SR蒲田。
遊びに行ったとき、テレビの取材を受けた。
そして、そのオンエアーが先日あった。
チラッとでも映っているか?見よーと思ってたけど・・・

オンエア同日に、SR蒲田の友達が辛い食べ物イベへ行くと張り切ってる。
(facebook上でだけどさ)
辛いモノにまったく興味はないけど、
みんなとは逢いたい。
特にアラフォーの逢いたい2人が企画者だったのでさ。

01

02

なので、参戦。
僕は見た目だけ辛そーに♪

03

04

この人達、変態さんか?ってくらい、辛いの食べてるょ

こさじ一杯でも激辛で、お口の正常化へビックル半分必要な辛さ。
いや♪間違いなく変態さん。
変な汗をかきながら、食べてるょ

05

06-001

07-001
んで、テレビの話に戻ると・・・
後から行った仲間に画像をもらったっす。
ちらっと写ってたっす。

08

SR蒲田は、テレビ撮影もひんぱんにある大人気物件っす。

大浴場もあるし、日本最大シェアハウスな280人の出逢いがなによりも財産。
以前50人待ちだった大人気物件。
たまたま空きが出た今がチャンス。↓ソーシャルレジデンス蒲田↓
http://www.oakhouse.jp/house/465

Europe Train Trip Movie♬

電車旅ホント好きです。

ながれる景色を自動的に提供されて、やることは車窓眺める(=ぼんやりする)こと

音楽聴くこと、写真や動画など手元の作業だけに限定されるという。

普段、いろんなことに手を出したくなるわたしは、

上記3項目はもーーー大好物だけどいろいろ気が散るんですよ、動ける環境だと。

だから、強制的に集中できるあの空間がホントに好き。もうオフィスは電車にしたい! 

ヨーロッパの鉄道乗り放題のユーレイルパスがあればずっと乗ってられるしねw

そんなわけで電車動画〜

★ベルギー

★ドイツ

★ブルガリア

住民と一緒に映画鑑賞&語り

一緒に住んでるソーシャルレジデンス仲間と、facebookでも繋がってる。
そんなひとりがどっかのサイト記事の「見たい映画リスト」をシェアしてた。
読み進むと、僕の大好きな「INTO THE WILD」が
( ↓ 我がソーシャルレジデンス花小金井のムービーシアターにあるポスターっす)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

「みんなで見て、語ろう」と、書き込み。すぐ開催決定♪
そして、いさかマネージャーに
「みんなで観賞して、語る会をやるから借りて欲しいっす」とお願い。

たまたま返却予定のものがあったとのことで、すぐ借りてきてくださる。

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

( ↑ すてき女子住民作 ↑ )

みんなで地下のムービーシアターにて見ようと思ってたけど、
すてき女子の提案
「今なら、リビングで見たほーがみんなで見て、語れる」
実際、大当たり。

もともとの来る予定だった方々が、次々遅刻やキャンセルになったので。
この遅刻とかドタキャンとか生じるのが、一緒に住んでると起こりがち♪
まぁ、しゃぁーなし。
最後は7~8人で見てた。

11917312_10207245303748200_551512522_n-002

ちなみに奥は、美人姉妹。
ちなみに手前は、イケメンの韓流男子。

あぁ~♪男女どちらでも幸せなソーシャルレジデンス花小金井♪

見終えた後は、みんなで語りまくった。
ステキな言霊が数多くあるので、刺さった言霊が異なるのも興味深かった。
深い映画で、とても大好き。

みなさんも良かったら見るか・・・
一緒にみるため、引っ越して来てちょです。
美人姉妹と、イケメン韓流男子と、(ついでにギャンブラー)がお待ちしてまっす♪

↓ ソーシャルレジデンス花小金井 ↓
http://www.oakhouse.jp/house/808

Kichijoji Station

The Guests’ Arrival

One does not simply cross the street in Tokyo.
Out of the Frying Pan …

“Douzo”, uttered the customs officer as he swiftly guided me into the proper line, the first Japanese word ever directed at yours truly. A brisk spring morning had turned into warm afternoon at Narita Airport, I was bleak and bleary-eyed among the sea ​​of ​​new arrivals. With no working cellphone and armed only with a Japanese phrasebook I searched frantically up and down the terminal for my escort. I rushed to the information desk and motioned for the intercom, but the clerks just smiled widely and shook their heads. In a fit of desperation, exhaustion, and hunger I yelled her name at the top of my lungs. Strike one, my first major faux-pas, and I had been on Japanese soil for less than six hours. Nevertheless a small figure emerged from the crowd.

Mio, my escort-savior was a godsend in every sense of the word. She happily took one of my overstocked suitcases in tow and paid the train fares. The barrage of new smells, signage, colourful wall-to-wall advertisements with strange pictograms , it was strangely (and briefly) invigorating. I fumbled through the phrasebook in search of smalltalk, but as we neared the city center the trains grew crowded, forcing us to separate. Cheerful automated teleprompter aside, the train cart was eerily silent. The passengers made no attempt to converse, heads bowed in what seemed a solemn vigil. I was so accustomed to the controlled chaos of the Montreal and New York City subways, this new quiet was alarming and awkward. Before I could rest my eyes, Mio nudged me in the ribs and motioned to hop off at the next stop.

We arrived at Inokashirakoen Station under cover of darkness, the Oakhouse manager waiting patiently in the moving van (we were two hours late), he laughed. “You look tired.” -. I suppose the expression is universal I had left Montreal in a different darkness, and as I sat atop my luggage I assessed my current temporal juxtaposition. The flight had traveled west, yet time now slingshot in the other direction, settling on a total travel time somewhere between forty hours and three weeks. We stepped out into the night air of what could have been literally Anywhere, Tokyo. After explaining the general lay of the land, the manager mercifully guided me towards the nearest mattress. I kissed Mio on both cheeks (the shock!) and slipped into coma.

Finding your Footing on the Other Side of the World

“Where am I!?” Is not uncommon to say or think when waking in a strange bed, but it was now a genuine concern. The course of events over the last few months suddenly seemed so slapdash and haphazard. At the start of 2015 I had given myself the ultimatum to either enter medical school or ‘finally do that Japan thing’. As a young lad I voraciously consumed anything ninja or samurai-related, keeping the ideal that Japan is nothing but bucolic mountainside complete with tatami mat houses and . Shinto shrines, or light-years ahead with robotic servants and self-driving flying cars Back home, my design business was spinning in circles ;. I had settled into a very comfortable little rut Montreal has such a wonderful abandon, with its bars, cafes, huge parks and general ‘laissez-faire’ attitude all neatly packaged within walking distance. I had been offered a job in Japan with a reputable ESL company in 2013, but quickly found that were I to ever make the move, it would be for a position with more autonomy.

Hachioji Tokyo University of Technology’s Hachioji campus.

Through no effort of my own, I was contacted by Tokyo University of Technology, and one long Skype interview later had signed my life over to them for the next year. I had six weeks to surgically dismantle my Montreal life, rid myself of all earthly possessions, and find a place to call home for the next year. This would be my first time in Japan, with any information anecdotal at best. The concept of a Tokyo apartment was daunting because I knew nothing of the city, its geographical layout, or cultural hotspots. By leasing out a shoebox (what I would be able to afford after key money), being potentially ‘locked in’ to an area I disliked or would make my commute a nightmare could ruin the Tokyo experience entirely.

Pick a Direction and Start Walking

Sharehouses work because many of your co-inhabitants have struggled with that exact thought process, and found solace in uniting the effort (or diffusing it) under one roof, a ‘We’re in this mess together’ attitude. The price of admission are the sacrifices (and benefits) of communal living. Even if you are fiercely independent and covet your personal space like I do, the potential for cross-cultural interchange and reconciliation is boundless. On a much more humble scale, Tokyo is a monolithic mass of fourteen million, the sheer volume of humanity at any given moment can leave you feeling small and invisible. It is reassuring to come home to a familiar face and hear a warm “okaeri” (“welcome back”, roughly).

While sharehouses may be waystations for travelers from all walks of life, the constant influx of fresh faces keeps the group dynamic from growing stagnant. In most cases, there are a core group of ‘veterans’ who are ready and willing to help complete lost causes like myself. Become a veteran, and you will soon have a second family.

The first weeks were largely lost in a hazy, jet-lagged daze, slowly acclimatizing as I settled into a proper work and travel schedule. One of the lasting moments from that tenuous first month I was walking with a housemate through Inokashira Park, a horseshoe slice of heaven Cloven in Two by the Kando River, on the Tip That the local Donkihote (an Indispensable one-stop Shop) Could solve my Amenities problem.

20150402_163417_Richtone (HDR)

Hanami in Inokashira Park Hanami in Inokashira Park.

It was only after my substantial purchases that I realized a grave overestimation of my conversion skills, having left Canada with $ 200 instead of $ 2000. It would be two very lean months, quite literally. On the return trip a very Japanese “Bonjourno! “Rang out amidst the perpetual hum of the crowd. The cherry blossoms were in bloom and the park completely covered by picnic blankets. An older Japanese man with a sake bottle in the one hand flagged me down with the other. He introduced himself only as ‘Chris’, despite his wife Aota and brother Takeshi.

“There’s no sake in Italy”, he remarked as he refilled my cup and Aota offered more sushi. Chris had not the least concern for my financial woes, only with making sure he had introduced the full spectrum of Asian booze. We drank through two life stories, occasionally interrupted by children who wanted to take photos with ‘the bearded man’. Looking back some months later, the afternoon seems trivial. Yet in that brief moment of despair, Chris and his motley crew meant the world.

As someone who has lived in many countries across the globe, Tokyo is and will remain a difficult place to exist in. Our Western notions of Japan and the Japanese people are utterly antiquated or misdirected, and an open dialogue needs to be established and maintained. I invite you to stick it out with me and our Oakhouse family as I write about Japan, daily life in the sharehouse, arts and events, and anything in-between.

Cheers for now.

フライト動画劇場〜(=゚ω゚)ノ

YouTubeターキッシュエアラインズシリーズー♪

飛行機だいすきすぎて、ぜんぜんじっとしてられないんですよね、フライト中。

なかなか忙しいですよ〜

一眼で撮って、iPhoneで録って、空に浸って、

浮かんできたこと書いて、映画観て、PCで仕事して。

一番おろそかになるのが現地情報みとこうかな〜というやつ。w

だから、着いたとたんいろいろ起こるのですね。w

ターキッシュエアラインズは、ほんっと大好き!

女性はスタイルよすぎてびっくり、

男性はのりよすぎてゆかいすぎ、

ごはんなんて、地上にレストランあったら食べにいきたいくらいおいしい。

間違えなく航空会社No.1だと思います〜!

そそ、動画はスマホのめちゃ簡単デコ動画アプリ『viddory』で。

旅とちゃちゃっと操作の動画アプリは相性そすぎて感動です★

Suntory gave us tons of beer for free!

IMG_4888

I guess this is one of the things you can expect living in a share house. Suntory, one of the major beverage companies in Japan, just released its new brand of beer called “The Malt’s“. What’s amazing is that they decided to give out tons of beer exclusively to share houses in Tokyo. Our house, Oakhouse Kichijoji 2, got 5 cases (120 cans). There are about 20 people in the house so it’s 6 cans per person. That’s enough for a party, right?

IMG_4866We picked a date and wrote down the detail on the white board, as usual.

Here’s a tip. Living in a share house taught me that BYOF(Bring Your Own Food) style works the best. Tell people to bring their own food. If it’s a party with a big group, there are always some people who decide not to show up at the last minute. This results money crises as in some people (usually the chefs) fail to collect money. You want to avoid this because no one wants to be a debt collector for the people who didn’t even come to the party.

Anyway, having tons of free beer makes everyone happy. The only problem we could find was… we had too many beers. So we came up with an idea…

IMG_4881

“The Malt’s” has a clear taste which matches with almost any kind of food. I like it that it doesn’t really make you full. Perfect beer for beer pong.

IMG_4880

8月Welcomeパーティ

キタ━━ヽ( ^ω^)人(´∀`)人(^Д^ )ノ━━!!

いつの間に、このブログのタイトルの見える文字数が
9文字⇒13文字へ変身してた件♪
今まで無理くり、9文字のタイトルにし、読みやすくしていたっす。

そして、「nobuki arai」という僕の旧友しか知らないフルネームから
「プロギャンブラーのぶき」という、ぐーぐる様の検索的にもヒットしやすい名へ。

ウェブ班のさりげない変更は、たえず動いてくださっている証♪
ありがとーございます。

そして、先月末もまたまたWelcome Partyを開催。
主催は、我らが、いさかマネージャー。

今回のパーティー雰囲気は・・・
写真で伝えちゃいます♪

01

02

03

04

05

ほぼ毎週パーティーかイベント続きの
ソーシャルレジデンス花小金井。

大規模なシェアハウスで様々なチャンスあり。
コンビニは目の前だし、電車の混雑率は低め。
新宿からの帰宅は、始発なので待てば座れるし。
大浴場もあって、最強シェアハウスへ・・・
ひとつ足りないとすれば・・・

m9っ`Д´) ビシッ!!

↓ ちみの加入まつ♪ ↓
今なら、最初の管理費3万円が無料
【ソーシャルレジデンス花小金井】
http://www.oakhouse.jp/house/808