New Item – Shoulderbag

I finally got my hands on a super cheap bag (actually 2) – if you happen to be in Busan check out their shop. All kind of bags go for 10.000 won (roughly 10 dollar) each. Mine had even a small shoulder-bag included!Both come with zipper + small pocket. [I heavily used both for over 2 months and it’s perfectly in shape as of the first day I bought it]


 10.000 won only
+ made in Korea (!)
+ fake leather but very high quality
+ fits a lot (notebook, some books…)
(shoulder-bag even fits my huge purse, keys and smartphone)

Random – Gokiburi(tale)

So, as you might have read in my other post I’m quite a -souji- (cleaning) lover.
Due to asthma and dust allergy – I already wrote about how to keep those things out of your house (which is quite tricky in Japan; especially on laundry days.)
I got rid of cockroaches, so I thought, but after a nice crispy cold winter they were back again.


Gokiburi-season starts around march/april when the first sun rays warm up your apartment over 20C. I kept thinking and reading and following advice from more experienced japanese people. Here is what I did [»yes, we actually caught a handful huge beasts and made sure they will never enter our apartment again.]

Lavender
the basic advice is “smell”. But it is primarily to prevent “re-appearance
(keep garbage outside, no water-access, use lavender-based air freshener/soaps/oil, clean regularly…)

Poisoned Baits(ホウ酸 ダンゴ)¹
You know beasts are there, but cant find them? Lay out (very affordable) poisoned baits. They work! [» Jump to: Experience]
One important point is those beasts take the poision home, die and as they feed on each other a whole nest will be destroyed (if any) – baits are small and last 6-8 months. Some key-areas where you mostly forget to put them:

  • under/behind kitchen. Japanese basic kitchens are like a set box. Imagine there are holes (sink pipes) where they enter and leave as they please.
    ⇒ open the sink-pipe cover, put a bait and also seal all holes with THIS
  • ‘inside’ (under) your bathtub. Japanese bathtubs are kinda covered with a square-sized frame.
    ⇒ there is one area to access the pipes. Open it, put a bait in and your done.
  • breaker box! Yes, this little plastic thing is connected to all wires which directly leave the wall through a huge hole
    ⇒ ours was big enough to put a bait. If not, keep at least the breaker box hole sealed so they will never be able to leave.
  • kitchen ‘exhaust/range’ hood. In japan unfortunately its simply a hole in the wall covered by a fan.
    ⇒ clean it thoroughly (especially after moving you might find 10 years of pre-owner cooking fat pasted there) and lay a bait on the “outer” area too

Seal, Seal, Seal
Seal holes (after!) putting baits. If you’re the DIY kind of wife, like I am, all you have to do is order “these 3 things². If you’re not, there is this “easy-seal³ – very simple and good for the work you wanna do. [ –removing old seal– part is a bit tricky, but these handy thing will help you (or your husband/boyfriend/person you bribed effectively)]


›REAL LIFE EXPERIENCE‹^
As for our home – I haven’t seen any gokiburi for over a month now. I laid out baits, practically turned over all our kitchen while cleaning with this great “renji cleaner” spray that melts old fat and all you have to do is wipe –brown sauce- off (basically) anything [my kitchen sparkles again *woot woot*]

• Regarding baits, they DO WORK

⋅→ first night. They apparently ate from the baits, as there was fresh poo (black long stains) everywhere in the kitchen (maybe those baits kinda made them not hold it any longer *gross*)
⋅→ second night. I caught a huge beast drinking water, that I didn’t wipe off our sink – but the poison made it less fast (easy catch …for my husband though)
⋅→ third night. we were happily watching our TV show in the living room, when another huge beast walked in kinda bored….as if it wanted to say…(totally high) “yo, folks…kitchen is so dark and silent…wanted to check you guys out here” (another easy catch ….for my hero-husband)
⋅→ forth morning. I check the baits and saw one sitting under our oven in the kitchen…not moving, but still alive (this one had definitely an overdose ….Mr. Cucaracha could just take and dump it with eyes half-closed)
⋅→ the fifth night. was a bit gross as two mega-monster drowned themselves? One in our shower drain (which is covered by a net to prevent hair from plugging the pipes…still a mystery how it got there.) whereas another one was going for a swim in the toilet but too high to leave? (my –now I know why I married you for– husband was pleased about less work)

… hopefully this will be the end of our La Cucaracha- Fairytale.

P.s. as my husband wasn’t aware of the fact:
La Cucaracha is spanish for cockroach.
Yes, it’s not a love song for a girl named cucaracha (korean version!)
↑ that one actually made my day *LOL*


¹[Housan-Dango]^
²[Silicon Remover] [Silicon] [Silicon-Gun] ^
³[Easy-Seal]^

Random -Hands Cafe

Visiting my hospital¹ located in Omotesando did end in finding one of my Top 3 Cafes in Tokyo. Even my husband enjoyed the food there. And in case you are familiar with Tokyo prices you will have the same happy endorphine-like feeling like I had when checking out.

It has a great atmosphere, good reasonable food and though crowded it`s less nosy and suffocating than certain other places.  And [especially for you gluten-free branded people] it has  a delicious desert 1/3 of the original price when you order it as Lunch set

⇒ this desert is  ❤PORN<3
[Whipped cream, Mangos, Mango sauce, Shiratama, Vanilla Icecream, Plums]


[Hands Cafe, Tokyu Plaza Omotesando – Lunch Set with Drink & Desert  1050 yen]

Random – Osouji

There is this thing called “big cleaning” comparable to our “spring cleaning” in Germany. Japanese lead a less ‘sanitary’ life as we tend to do in Germany, so the big cleaning at the end of the year here is a must to make those good new year spirits not run off far away but actually -enter- your home. [I do believe if they would clean their houses like that 2 or 3 times a year, all Japan would feel much more cosy and comfortable.]


I finished all before our big holiday on the Islands (→ Start with this post) so had this “come back into a 200% clean home after a stressy holiday” feeling and spend Xmas together (which, lucky us, is a weekend this year – as you might know that Japanese people don’t get days of for this event.) I even cleaned our entrance and staircase which surprised me the most ⇒ “wow it’s white…when we moved in it was black

•This post reminds me of an older one that I recently updated. DUST in Tokyo. If you like your home to be clean there is the only option to actually clean it everyday. Unfortunately. On the other hand I do enjoy our minimalisic lifestyle even more as it makes cleaning much easier.

Travel – Kagoshima

kagoshima004Our trip back [from Amami / Tokuno]to Kagoshima was by boat or to be more exactly with “A-Line” (Ferry)¹ my first trip ever on water.. And I totally love the smooth ups and downs…..makes me feel I`m sleeping on Totoros Belly


Luckily I could have a glimpse into one of the 1st class rooms. Add a kitchen and you have our 2LDK in Japan *sarcastic laugh* as for me I actually had booked the cheapest dorm -tatami-side-by-side- place, which I think is enough (you can walk around anyway) …it`s like a little hotel with reception, restaurant, places to sit etc. Very comfy I totally recommend the boat trip at least in one direction.

Kagoshima is lovely. A big city but I had the feeling it is less suffocating than Tokyo. If I had to stay for longer it would be on my top 3 list for sure. Why it`s not my first choice might be based on the fact you sleep right next to an active vulcano.  Also, the blog title rather be –24h in Kagoshima

»from ferry to hotel » to some 3h exploring the city » to Hotel / sleepover / and right to the airport after a delicious breakfast.

This area is famous for certain fruits and (as you can see on the pictures) for Kurobuta [berkshire pigs] – they still have a Tram system which reminds me of Germany a LOT. As for the hotel I stayed, it was the first timeever– that I felt like a place offers “european sanitary standard” ; Japanese tend to be quite dirty especially about dust and mold.
⇒ Totally recommend ‘Richmond Hotel(if you are lucky as me you can catch one of the 11. floor corner rooms for only 50 bucks)

kagoshima001


[A-line Ferry information]

¹Important: ^there are TWO companies providing rides every other day, so basically you can come/leave islands every day!  Be aware of the ‘timeshift’ as one ride from/to kagoshima/okinawa and vice versa includes a change of dates (made me miss my boat once!)

Health – Hatonomorihachiman Shrine

nikko001


What a name! I ‘ignored‘ this shrine a lot last year, passing by without even looking more closely. But yesterday work brought me and my husband there and we took the chance and enter the shrine area.

It is quite small but has a very calm and beautiful atmosphere [one of the reasons why there is this glass building for Weddings and other celebrations]  Winter is finally over and the first colors appear. I`m sure you won’t regret a visit (as the area where it is located is also famous for being so different to Tokyo — it`s a bit upper class (similar to Aoyama or Daikanyama) and you can see many unique buildings and eat unique food.

 


[鳩森八幡神社 Hatonomorihachiman, Sendagaya]

Travel – Tokuno Island

tokuno020Though this island is smaller than the one I have been before (see this post: Amami), it definitely feels bigger. Here, again, I recommend to get an international drivers license to be able to rent a car, which you need if you wanna see more than your hotel. As for my stay I was lucky – my husband staying for business provided me free stay and him being the driver – [Part THREE here]


Many foreigners are more familiar with –Okinawa[the ‘last stop’ of your island-hopping trip] which might be nicer in general but Tokunoshima’s flair is based on the fact, that I was the only “western” person wherever I went.
»By ferry it takes quite a while from Kagoshima and I definitely recommend the propeller-adventure from Amami to Tokuno with JAL/JAC. (“US-President visits foreign country descending the airplane stairs” – feeling included)
Our resort were we have been staying is one of those relaxed “we are all family” kind of types. If you are here during winter like we were, you might be sharing this facility with a bunch of Korean and Japanese marathon athletes, who come here to train as the mainland is way too cold for such activities [it`s not bathing weather but still shirts and a light jacket does the deal, as well as dipping your feet into the crystal clear ocean.]

tokuno023

The food is great, there is a Sento (public bath) and Sauna, as well es direct access to •Y0nama Beach•  where (again a big plus for off-season holidays) you have all the good view for you alone.  The resort itself is located right next to the airport (and within walking distance in case you don’t feel like renting a car) whereas the “city center” is on the east-side, an 1h drive through fields of sugar cane and bull farms [2 landmarks] of this island. There you can enjoy delicious food in Izakayas, and for the penny pinchers you got some Family Marts as well.


We actually spent a great day at one of the sightseeing spots called “Spectacles Rock”  I was more than surprised with the actual impact this place had on me. Not only have we been the only ones there, but the washed-out cliff scenery was more than stunning.
» Strange plants, mysterious shells, heart-shaped waterholes, and the feeling of being a superhero  ↔ I do love to talk but I believe pictures might deliver the message better:



I know my pictures might represent maybe 30% only of its actual “impact” —- I mean, hello!? You are practically sitting on a tiny island within the big blue ocean (well,  it`s maybe just me, who grew up in southern Germany, to develop such feelings)

tokuno026

I could sit and sit and stare at the ocean.
Listening to the sound of  waves as they come and go.
» Damn, this is LIFE !!!«