Not a lot to write home about this week.
I've mostly been trying to organise lots of admin things for my year in Japan. It's so exhausting but I think all the paper work and phone calls will pay off when I'm in Japan every day living the gaijin dream.

Last week instead of studying for my exams I was writing huge to do lists and going and seeing films at the Sydney Film Festival. I saw: Boyhood, Mothers, Happy Christmas, Palo Alto, Tamako in the Moratorium and the new Zach Braff film, Wish I Was Here. Most of the films I saw were kind of underwhelming, but lovely. (I KNOW YOU CAN BE OVERWHELMED, AND YOU CAN BE UNDERWHELMED, BUT CAN YOU EVER JUST BE WHELMED?) Anyway, because I saw all but one film alone, it meant I always got a fairly great seat. It also meant that no one was there to hold my place in line when I needed to wee or really really really wanted a matcha frappe with extra cream from Starbucks...

I saw TWO films at the State Theatre aka the most beautiful building in Sydney.
It was so beautiful and felt like a real treat to be there. I felt pretty fancy.

Cute girl is cute.

Jess, getting a Religion Studies boner.

This was my favourite of all the evangelical signs! It reminds me of The Jetsons and makes me wonder why God isn't depicted more in a cosmic sense. I like it.

Something that was pretty exhausting about seeing SFF films was that they were all in the city. This meant a lot of waiting at Town Hall and cold walks home from the station where I ALWAYS think I'm being followed or am about to get murdered. Seriously. I have to walk past a handful of old churches on my way back from the station and the whole vibe is just plain creepy in winter.

However, it did give me a good excuse to people watch.. These guys better be best friends and or twins.

After I saw Tamako in The Moratorium I met up with Alex-kun. We went food shopping and then we (mostly he) cooked shabu shabu for dinner!

While we were waiting for dinner to cook Alex let me smell all of his bottles of cologne and I told him a story about how I preempted that a man getting on the bus would smell good so I took a deep breath through my nose when he walked past me only to be confronted with the foul smell of BODY ODOUR :'(

This day I decided to wear a pair of jeans I hadn't worn in over a year. Big mistake. I learnt that night that I'm now too much woman for those jeans to handle. They were so tight I felt actually ill, especially sitting down. After a while I got used to the feeling of my organs being crushed and enjoyed sitting on the floor and feeling Japanese for a little while.

Just yesterday I met up again with Shino and Suguru and spent the day shopping together. It doesn't matter where we go or what we do together I always feel so engaged in conversation when I share time with these two.

Other than that, things have pretty much stayed the same around these parts.



So last week I found out that instead of going on exchange to Japan for one semester, I'll actually be gone FOR A WHOLE YEAR! I'm not sure how this huge detail of my overseas university exchange managed to sneak through the cracks but when I found out I was so beside myself and maybe even a little upset. My initial thoughts were: "who is going to water my plants?" and "who is going to take care of the garden?"....  That night before I went to bed I actually felt sad that I would be gone for so long. I had really made myself super comfortable in my house and I hadn't planned to be gone for such a long time. 

The next morning I woke up and felt so excited and happy! Now I can't wait to get over there and I kind of can't believe my luck. Anyway, now that I know I have only a few months left in Sydney, I've been taking the time lately to really appreciate my little life here. Here are some photos I took around my home:

But first,

Now that I'm going on exchange I can finally draw in the second eye for my Daruma doll!!! My pseduo Japanese dad bought this for me in Takasaki at a temple we went to last year. You buy them with the intent of setting a goal or achieving a dream for yourself and colour in one eye to give your doll a 'vision', so to speak. When you reach your goal you colour in the other eye and restore your daruma's sight! Apparently in the 90s, human rights groups protested the practice of making the Daruma blind as being discriminatory against blind people...

I like ice creams things.

One corner of our little living room.

Ok so this plant is apparently a tropical one. It's been pretty cold lately and I've been worried that it won't live long in our house (it's cute but freezing) so I've been taking it into the shower with me of a night in the hopes it will soak up some humidity and moisture in the air. I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing to be doing?

Our latest little edition to the living room is this record player. One of my housemates good friends has gone away to America so we inherited a lot of his things (for a while, anyway). In the short time that he was hanging out at our house he fixed my bike and pumped up the tyres, lent me a bike light, fixed a wobbly chair leg or two and replaced multiple light bulbs that none of us could have reached. It's really nice having a tall person around who can fix things.

Some cats live the best lives.
Sometimes though I think this particular cat has some hard days. There's a really mean cat next door whose name is Kayla (we call her Kayla Cat to avoid confusion) and she always tries to fight Lucy. This cat is THE WORST. She always sneaks into our house and eats Lucy's food or will just come in so she can bash up Lucy the cat. Lucy is only one and is kind of a beta cat... When Kayla Cat approaches her she just lies on her back in defeat and it's SO SAD. Once I had a dream that Kayla Cat pretended to hug Lucy Cat but was actually peeing on her. And recently I dreamt another dream that Kayla Cat had made a cat gang and came around to our house to terrorise Lucy AND to make matters worse, Kayla Cat had gathered all the cats owners and they began terrorising US! It was the worst.

I bought this adorable chair for FIVE DOLLARS from Gumtree.

Not a bad view to have during your morning pee.

Our weird little house name. There's one plum tree in the backyard that makes for a good marshmallow roasting stick or two but I'm not sure that's enough to say we're 'plum crazy'.

Every week when I get paid I go to Bunnings and buying a few dozen of these little 'steppables'. With all the rain lately they've grown so much! I can't wait until I get back from Japan and see that they've all joined up with each other between the pavers.



Last weekend (or maybe the weekend before) I attended the Other Worlds Zine Fair in Central Park Shopping Center. Other Worlds is the ethical alternative to the MCA Zine Fair which is sponsored by a company called Transfield.
Transfield is a corporation that operates service contracts in the detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru. Manus Island and Nauru are terrible and disgusting places where the Australian government continues to detain asylum seekers and breach international law regarding human rights.
Anyway, a group of zinesters in Sydney decided to boycott the MCA Zine Fair as a sign of protest and I decided to tag along as well. My book isn't really a zine but I thought I would go anyway. It was a great day and I felt so inspired afterwards to make things!

Jez, doing his best impersonation of me..

I felt so lucky to have been seated next to this wonderful lady, Mechelle B! She was selling so many cute things at her table but something that really caught my eye were her collection of zines entitled, The Joys Of Public Transport, which are so funny and sweet. I really liked that our table was so centered around public transport and I don't think I could have sat next to anyone cuter! I felt so inspired looking at all her cute things all day. I'm just waiting for the semester to end now so I can start some new projects! 

After the weekend I met up with my friends, Shinobu and Suguru. I met Shino when I replied to her poster at uni wanting someone to speak English/Japanese with. I always learn new things when I hang out with these two because they always have really different opinions. After they both tell me their opinion they look at each other quizzically and then proceed to argue a little bit in Japanese and come back to me with a united opinion. Like an old married couple.This day we had an interesting discussion about 本音 and 建前 which are two words that describe the contrast between one's true feelings and one's public opinion. Japan is often thought of a nation where people say things they don't necessarily mean, as a way of saving face, being respectful or avoiding conflict. The whole conversation made me rethink a lot of what I think I know about Japanese culture.. because how can you deduce an entire nation down to one generalised idea of social etiquette or very specific social values? And don't we do that in the 'west' as well?

Leaving the pub we saw this AMAZING and GIANT cat sitting in the sun. This cat was like, the size of a pillow. I can't wait until Lucy the cat gets huge and fat like that.

My friend Steph came to stay on the weekend. Her face says: "Really? You want to take a photo right now?"

This is a big tree outside of my house. I took these photos quickly this morning before I took the camera to the processors. I am so happy to be done with this disposable camera.