2 June 2016

Oh, hello!

I have not updated this in a LONG time. I really should've documented the process of the biggest transition that has happened in the last year or so... I moved back to the UK!

It's not been easy, they tell you about reverse culture shock but I honestly thought it would last a month or so and then I would settle- this is not true. It's a long process and a year later I'm still working through it.

I was thinking about what to change the title of the blog to, as I am not longer living in Japan, but to be honest...it still feels like I'm down the rabbit hole... just a different one. Where do I belong??

Or maybe I want to go back to Wonderland?

Anyway, for now I will keep the title as I try to navigate life back 'home'. I do wish I had written during this whole year but I guess I was kept busy writing essays for school. I think I'll try and write past posts about the experience in a completely random way as I think of them. We'll see. I've missed blogging and I'm thinking of starting a new 'topic' based one- it I can find the right topic.

Lots of ideas, lots of ideas... most with not come to anything but that's the way isn't it?

23 June 2014

Japan Nailist Test Level 3

Recently I took the Japanese Manicurist Test at the beginners level. 

I've been doing nail art now for about four years. I first started at a community centre once a week and when that class was cancelled because there weren't enough members I started going to the teachers salon once a month.

(Usually I work on nail chips)

Last year my teacher suggested that I try for the Level 3 test. I'd never done nail care before but I thought it'd be interesting and a challenge!

The test has two parts, practical and paper. For level 3 you can take the test in Japanese, English or Chinese. I decided to do it in Japanese. In for a penny, in for a pound!

For the practical you need to bring a model with you. Before the test you paint their nails bright red. During the test you have to remove all the polish, file the nails to a certain shape, do cuticle removal, repaint the nails with base, red and top coat and do one nail with nail art. The theme was flowers.

(My teacher helped me improve my design)

You're graded on your technique and speed, you're also graded on using the tools correctly. For example, holding the nail file at a 45 degree angle. And you have to have all your tools labelled and set out correctly.

(I set up my kitchen as a salon!)

The paper test is easier, it's a multiple choice test with things like order of nail care, filing shapes, illnesses and treatments. There's a few weird questions though. Like 'How old must the model be for the test?' 

It's literally testing you about the test, not nail care. I actually got that one wrong because I knew from the start my model would be old enough so I didn't need to know the exact age requirement...or do I thought!

Speaking of models, I had a bit of a disaster with mine! You have to have nails longer than 5mm but my model broke two nails to the quick two days before the test! It meant instead of practicing or studying I was freaking out trying to find someone! Luckily someone I knew was free. Her nails were shorter than they needed to be but I had no choice!

I was so nervous during the test. Because it's hard to get people to practice on I had actually only done nails properly four times before the test, and I had never done taking the polish off before properly. It's my own fault for not wanting to put people out by asking for too much help. Anyway, the polish off took too much time and was messy, and with my hand shaking the polish was a bit messy too.

After the practical, the nailists go into another room to wait and study for the paper test and the staff examine the models' nails. Then we went back in and the models were told they could leave and we packed up our stuff and took the paper test. That part wasn't too bad do long as you have the JNA book to practice from and past tests.

Afterwards I met my friend to take photos for my teacher and remove the polish for her. I sent the pictures to my teacher and she just said "Did you not have enough time?" So I knew I'd failed then. :(

(The nails from the test)

The results came through and I passed the written but failed the practical, which I  already knew. I feel bad but I don't really pass things first time usually so I was  prepared for it. I think I will try again in October, hopefully I'll pass then!

10 June 2014

Coca-Cola Name Bottles

I saw these on people's Facebooks at home and wondered if they'd come here.

They did and they are doing both first and surnames. Obviously my name isn't going to be available so I had to make of with 'Arisu' (Alice)

11 April 2014

Reverse Gifts

Here's one of those things that makes me feel like I'm very far down the rabbit hole.

A teacher at my school was hospitalised for minor surgery so he was away for almost a week. Unfortunately it was the first week of term and he has a first grade class and at our place the first grade stay over at a nearby center for bonding. So it was kind of tough for everyone to cover but can't be helped because the guy had emergency surgery.

He actually came back on Friday, which I thought was too early, and he had bought us all chocolate gifts to apologise for the trouble! Note that neither the school nor the kids sent any kind of get well gift or flowers, and I was looked at strangely when I asked if we were!

"If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense"

3 April 2014

Dance Show

My dance studio had its annual performance last week!

We've been working on the routine since last October but I still feel like I didn't have the hang of a couple of moves. Still I managed to smile this time which is a huge improvement!

The music was a mix of Talk Dirty and Love More.

I was going to wear a baseball cap borrowed from a co-worker but in the end I just clipped blonde streaks in my hair instead.

My teacher has left the class now which is very sad :( I'm nervous about the new teacher coming in.

Here's a pic of us after we performed...

29 March 2014

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis in Shibuya

It was my birthday last week so I went to Tokyo. Back in January I found out that Macklemore & Ryan Lewis were going to play a show in Shibuya on my birthday so I had to get tickets! Turns out Ryan's birthday is the day before mine which is pretty cool!

The show was really really good, they had so much energy and the crowd had so much energy it was hella fun. (I will try not to use the word hella again!)

I hope they come back to promote the next album. 

23 February 2014


Last week I went with school to see a version of A Midsummer Night's Dream. 

It was in Japanese and had a few differences from the original. The play that the Mechanicals were performing was Alice In Wonderland which made me really happy! And the four lovers didn't end up together in the end but in a way that made sense.

The set was awesome, made up mostly of newspapers, it had swirly trees and a moon. Reminded me a little of Burton.

The drama workshop I did a while ago was with the same group and the guy who lead the workshop played Puck. I went to say hi at the end and he remembered me. He was really confused until I said that I had come for work!

It made me remember how much I love theatre and I really need to see more.