London Adventures and Aquiring a Japanese Visa

Japan DIaries


In my previous post I talked about the stresses of preparing for my year abroad, and how I in particular was stressed because I was still waiting on my Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to arrive so that I could Go to London to go get my Visa ( as I took a risk and Booked my flights before my COE had arrived you can read about that and the stresses of getting ready here) but thankfully, my risk paid off and my COE Arrived, I squealed loudly when It was confirmed it had arrived and all my family celebrated, because after all this time, and these years of study, it was finally becoming Real, my last hurdle was to get my Visa ( and well to actually pack, but that is another story) and so I headed off on the train proudly towards london. Still a little bit anxious, still filled a little with doubt, what if it went wrong, what if my Visa got rejected, these were still legitimate fears that I held.  but onwards I went, the words of Dr Seuss in my head:

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

I was bought a copy of Oh the Places you will go when I started uni, and it will be coming with me to Japan. When I feel the pressure is too much, or a little home sick I read this book and it reminds me that I can do this even when I reach a slump.

Arriving in London was a whirlwind, I met my Friend at Oxford Circus, and we traveled onwards together to the Japanese Embassy, Your not allowed to take photo’s inside but here is a little photo of the sign outside of the Embassy


as you enter the embassy you are met by a security guard who will ask you why you are visiting the embassy, I told them I was applying for a Visa, showed them my passport then had my bag xrayed and had to go through a metal detector and then up the stairs to the waiting room, it reminded me a little bit of being in an airport, but the building and the decor was much fancier, I took a ticket from the machine, and waited to be seen, it didn’t take long, within ten minutes, my number was called up, and I went into the room, where desks stood, It reminded me of a bank with all the workers on the other side of protective glass. I passed through my documents, and Visa application form. The man checked them over and then told me to return in 4 days and gave me a passport retrieval form. It felt strange leaving my Passport behind as if I had left behind an important part of myself.

I had four days to wait and it was going to be cheaper to stay in london that travel back home and then take another trip to london again, so I stayed in a hostel, a magical place that all travelers know. this would be my first experience of staying in a hostel so I was afraid. Of course I had heard all the horror stories, Things stolen, what if i was kidnapped or someone tried to do things to me while I was sleeping. but these  fears were far fetched, the girls I spent the next few nights with were lovely, some only there for a night others there longer, each night a new cast of people, a new cast of friends. I had a wonderful experience. each day going out into London alone. something a few years ago I would have been too afraid to do.  I explored the museums, The Tate modern, the V and A the Science museum, I walked from London Bridge to tower bridge, went shopping and explored all the sites, turning this trip from something bureaucratic into a mini holiday before my biggest adventure yet. Japan.  you can check out some of the things that I got up to in my Vlog
Below. ( If you want to check out my YouTube channel my username is EmiDot you can get to it from this link here  don’t forget to like and Subscribe :) )


The days passed quickly and soon I found myself saying goodbye to the hostel. I checked out and headed towards the Embassy. I Hadn’t even had breakfast yet, I was far too nervous! I got to the door and was once again met by the security guard. I went through the same procedure, Bag Xray and metal detector before taking a ticket and waiting to be called through. being so early in the morning there wasn’t anyone else waiting and a meer 10 seconds after getting my ticket my number was called up and I went through to collect my Passport. I handed over my form and my passport was retrieved, the man at the desk opened the pass port to show me that I had been granted the visa and explain everything that it said, I Paid the admin fee and Left.

I Had done it.
The Last hurdle was out of my way.
I would be going to Japan.
All that there was left for me to do was fly.

This is it everyone, I will be going to Japan. It all starts here.

Words and Geeks Book club September: Skyfaring, A Journey with a Pilot

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Well, As I am Flying out to Japan in this coming month, I thought that an airplane based book would be a good choice to be reading as I sit back and fly half way around the world.
Skyfaring is a Non-Fiction book, the story of Pilot Mark Vanhoenacker and his love of flying.


Blurb: Think back to when you first flew. When you first left the Earth, and travelled high and fast above its turning arc. When you looked down on a new world, captured simply and perfectly through a window fringed with ice. When you descended towards a city, and arrived from the sky as effortlessly as daybreak.

First Lines: I’ve Been asleep in a small windowless room, a room so dark it’s as if I’m below the waterline of a ship. My head is near the wall.Through the wall comes the sound of steady rushing , the sence of numberless partials slipping past, as water rounds a stone in a stream but faster  and more smoothly as if the vessel parts its medium without touch.

Isn’t that just so poetic? I have always loved flying myself, ever since I was a child of 5 or 6 and got to take a School trip to the local airport, watching near a runway as a plane was guided out to take off ( something health and safety would never allow for in this day an age!)  I didn’t actually fly for real for many years after that, I was 14 the first time I flew for real and I loved every moment of it, the take off, the landing, the turbulence, I was obsessed with the science of flying, I watched programs like Air disasters not for the planes crashing but for what they learnt from these events and how the science has developed from there. I have a very curious mind and love to know how all of these things work. I am excited for my long haul flight to Japan and I think this book about flying and the love of flying from a pilots point of view will only echo my passion further.

I am debating waiting to start this book while I am on the plane to Japan, However, I know once I land that my new life will be beginning and chaos and excitement will follow, and really want to try to keep my posts on time this month  between packing and everything else my schedule is full to burst. so I might read this book in those quiet moments, as I check I have packed my socks for the 500th time or freak out about where I have left my Passport.

Because this is a Non-fiction book it is hard to say what I think my Expectations for it may be other than I look forwards to sharing my own love of flying along side the author and those of you who are reading this book along side my self and Emma from Wandering Words ( Be sure to check out her posts and thoughts about this book through out this month)


Words and Geeks Book Club: Norwegian Wood Review

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Oh Murakami, Murakami, Murakami, What have you done to me. I Have just this moment put down the book Norwegian wood and my head is reeling. this is a book hangover and a half and It feels like it has flown past me so fast that I am not even sure what has happened.


Lets start off by pointing out something which was pointed out to me, that the front cover is not trees at all. but legs, three pairs of legs, to symbolises the three main Characters  (Look they even have feet!) How could I have missed something as simple as this?

I think seeing the cover in this way does change how I feel about it as a  whole. now the story is over and I can see each of the character dynamics within the symbolism of the minimalistic cover.

Norwegian wood is very much a story about loss, and dealing with it, and the turmoil you face growing up, the fickleness of life, the brief encounters that we all have, people who come and go, and how each of these relationships change us.  Norwegian wood did not make me cry, but it did make me feel. The story may be tragic, but I found myself more wrapped up in the termoil of life than the sadness of loss. I am unsure if this was the intention, after all it is quoted very early on in the book, That “Death is not the opposite of life but an innate part of it. By living our lives, we nurture death.” and I wonder is this why I am not sat here crying like I have cried over other books, ‘The fault in our stars’ and ‘FEED’ Or has something been lost in the translation. I would love to be able to read the original text and see if I get a different feeling, another insight into this story from reading it in its original language.

It is after all Norwegian Wood that pushed Haruki Murakami unexpectedly to fame there has been a previous english translation, but it was intended for Japanese People learning English and included Grammar notes, and this edition is the first English edition to be approved for publication outside of Japan. It was Translated in 2000 and this edition was printed in 2003. the Original text in Japanese was Published in 1987.

I Have Had to read the final passage of the book multiple times. the ending caught me off guard, I Messaged Emma from wandering words ” That Ending?!?! Discuss!!” To which I am sure she was laughing, She had finished the book long before me, after all I am running a little late this month. She had mentioned in a comment that the ending had taken her a back slightly. and even after rereading, and analysing the text I still feel at a loss as to what exactly has happened but I suppose that is the mystery of it all and the not knowing just makes me want to reread it again and look for clues.  Maybe I am overlooking something overly simple, but to me this ending was designed to keep us guessing and never really knowing how the story has ended.

Have you read it?
What did you make of the ending?


Emily By Novala Takemoto A collection of Gothic Lolita stories

Emily By Novala Takemoto Published 05.08.16

I love short story collections at the moment I can’t get enough of them, from Zoo by Otsuichi to The Color Master By Aimee Bender (as reviewed by Wandering words)  I find short story collections hold so much potential to surprise you and open your reading journey up to weird and wonderful things which you might not get from a full novel. So when I came Across Emily, Another Japanese short story collection, on NetGalley, I just had to request to read it.  Emily is only the name of one of the stories in this collection, the others are  “Corset” and “Readymade” so, lets read the description and

description: A lonely high school girl finds nowhere she feels at ease, so every day she visits a famous shopping mall in downtown Tokyo, wearing the only clothes she can relate to, Emily Temple cute, a Lolita designer’s brand. After school she hangs out in front of the Emily Temple cute shop, identifying herself with that brand. Then she meets another lonely soul, clad in another designer’s brand. But this turns out not just to be an ordinary boy-meets-girl relationship. Both kids have their own miseries. They might look like quintessential Japanese Otaku nerds, but they’re only too human. Their awkward friendship builds as they each suffer from bullying and harassment, as well as worry about their futures.

The First story in the book is called Readymade, it is about the relationship between to office workers, it is written as an internal monologue of the female character, who is in love with the male character, although he seems to have a hard and cold demeanor. it is short but shows love from one side, the male’s motives, well, I will leave you to make that decision for your self. is he just as cruel and cold hearted as his outer shell shows, is there more beneath the surface. is the girl just obsessed, unable to look past any flaw. Is this love or infatuation. these are all questions that this story has left lingering in my mind.

The second story is called Corset, now this is a very difficult story to read, It is talking about suicide in different ways, first of all a suicide pact that only one person went through with, the guilt that the other person has to live with, Longing for someone who is at peace with themselves, only to find that they too are trapped with loneliness. Although I was not as Keen on this story there was a quote that stood out to me which kind of illustrates the whole theme of this story “The act of living means being restricted”  Depression and suicide is a difficult subject to write about in the first place but the author does well writing about such difficult subjects the way they are approached is diffrent to other stories I have seen about the subject. and I wonder if this is due to a difference in social and cultural norms between western societies ideologies about suicide and death and Japanese Ideologies about Suicide and death.

The Third story, holds the name of the book “Emily” Is about social outcast-ness this was the hardest of all three of the stories to read, (Trigger warning: Sexual abuse) mostly because of the topics that it deals with, the main character has a flash back of her being sexually abused while working for a children’s TV show, the other Character is Gay and is bullied for being gay and is also manipulated in a sexual way this story left me feeling sick and anxious for a while afterwards, this is not what I had expected from the story at all.

Although the last story was incredibly difficult to read it did fit in well with the theme of this collection of short stories. all the stories are well written and the writer has a way of opening the reader up to read about these hard hitting topics. Although the stories were difficult reading I would still recommend this book to those of you who are willing to explore these topics, if these topics are upsetting or triggering to you I would not recommend that you read these stories as they do hit home hard.

over all I feel that this story deserves a 4 out of 5 stars as the stories are well written and it was definitely an interesting collection of stories




The preparation of a year abroad.

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Year abroad, they say , is going to be the most exciting fun time of your life. I can belive that, after all the excitement of moving to a new country for a whole year, new friends, new places, new memories, Yeah it is going to be something pretty special ~ what they don’t tell you is how stressful getting prepared for a year abroad can be ( now this is based on my experiences on getting ready for going out to japan as part of my university programs, but I am sure some elements will be applicable to people on gap years or going on working Visa holidays)

The clock is now ticking down rapidly and within the next month I will be touching down onto Japanese soil. I have my suitcase and a mountain the size of mount fuji to pack – how on earth am I going to take everything that I need for the year in one suitcase. something you need to consider is what is the climit going to be like when you get to wear you are going, the area of Japan I am going to is known for being hot and humid, but cooler in the winter months, to about the temperature of a normal british winter – this means I am prioritising cool clothes, things that are light and comfortable for when that hot weather hits me I am going to melt like an ice cream. I am only packing a couple of winter things, Two thick Jumpers, a light weight style jumper ( i will pick up a hat and scarf while I am in Japan)  most of my clothes are going to be versatile all year round, leggings, t-shirts, skirts and dresses that are all suitable to be layered up when the weather gets colder but also gives me a varsity of things to wear. My major problem is shoes.  I have large feet (UK8) so buying shoes in japan where a UK6 is usually the biggest size stocked for girls could be difficult.
(Pro tip: Look up what your size is in the country you are going to different countries have diffrent sizing numbers in japan shoes are done in CM Diagonally across the  foot from big toe to heel and I am about  27cm)
Until i get to Japan it will hard to tell if I can acquire my shoe size but reports from other bloggers make out that it is difficult. so Shoes are going to be a main bulk of my luggage.

There are other things you need to consider, are you taking electronics, can they go in Hand luggage or do they have to be checked in,  ( when you do pack them in hand luggage make sure they are accessible and charged, as they will have to be taken out of your bag to go through the scanner if they think that your electronics are suspect they may require you to switch them on to show them that they are okay. not to mention, the text books I need to take ( have you ever seen the size of a Kanji dictionary they are huge!)  and of course those few home comforts and a couple of little gifts for your new friends/ host family/ language partner. Make lists and tick everything off as you pack it, you don’t want to be half way to the airport to realise that you forgot to pack the one thing you really need

for those of you who are going to Japan for a long period of time you will know that you require a certificate of eligibility (CoE) for certain Visa’s I am still waiting on mine to arrive so that I can go get my Visa. It is due any day now, and the waiting is so stressful ( Sundays are the worst – no post on sundays)  As soon as I have the CoE I can go get my Visa.  different countries will have diffrent Visa requirements Make sure that you have checked what you need to do for your year abroad)

Now I Have taken a risk~ Our Uni told us not to book our flights before the CoE Arrived as it can take a little while to get your visa and if you don’t have your visa in time you can’t go on your flights however I found an amazing price for a flight landing on the days told to me by my Japanese Uni that I should arrive ( so everything should come in time) . The price of the flight was too good to miss out on – after all being a student money is tight and flight tickets to Japan don’t come cheep.
so I have taken a risk, and am praying that I made the right choice and that it will all work out okay. ( each day that passes I am increasingly more anxious about it arriving) But I have faith that it will all arrive in time. so in this instance maybe don’t do as I have done, unless you are confident that you can get everything sorted out in time. but I am being honest with you because there is no point me preaching “don’t book your flights till you get the CoE” when I have done the complete opposite – do what feels right for you and I hold no liability for your own actions.
(Pro tip – Make sure you passport will remain valid for the entire year abroad – some Visa’s will have different requirements for how much validity will be needed on your passport)

So to summarise, I have a suitcase to pack, forms to fill in and a Visa to get and the day I leave is getting closer and closer ~ Japan I may be disorganised but I hope you are ready for me because I am coming your way really soon.

( If you want to take a year abroad in japan and it isn’t part of your University degree, all hope is not lost, you still have a few options.

If you have a degree in any subject  there is the JET program where you can live and work in Japan for a year applications open in October I belive  to go out to japan in the summer of 2017

There is also a working Holiday visa depending on which country you are in you can apply for a 1 year long holiday visa which gives you a permit to work in japan to fund your trip  – I have a friend who went to japan using this method and had a very good experience.

Of course if you are at university you can see if your university offers a Year abroad option.

But if you wanted to go for a shorter period a large amount of countries are able to enter Japan for up to 90 days without having to apply for a Visa ~ I did this a year ago  it is very straight forward – providing you are from one of the eligible countries you can just fly to japan and they will stamp your passport on arrival )

Oh Joy Sex Toy Comic Volume 3- Reveiw

Now, those of you who are easily offended by sex, or anything related to it you may just want to close your web browser / Mobile app down now as the following review under cut bellow contains talk of sex, sex toys, sexual education and other such things  due to this posts nature, it is also NSFW (not safe for work) Unless maybe you are a dominatrix . so read on at your own digression

Little’uns avert your eyes, this Comic is not for you ~

Oh Joy Sex toy, is a comic written by a couple the comics are available to read online, this link is also NSFW (Here ) they review sex toys and explore and aim to educate about different forms of Sexuality and different sexual preferences. it is a light hearted comic  and is ment to be taken lightheartedly.  If you don’t want to know any more about this comic, you can stop reading this post now.  but if you want to delve deeper into this world, keep on reading

The review is under the undercut,   view at your own digression  again, this is not safe for work and I can not be held responsable if you do keep reading while at work and get into trouble ;) you have been warned.


The Japan Diaries: Wanderlust Special

This post was first featured on Wandering Words for her Wanderlust Week that runs annually in the first week of August. It is a week of travel related posts and you can also submit your own travel adventures to be featured on her site!

I am currently In the run up to starting my Year abroad in Japan, so watch this space for new comics soon

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Words And Geeks Bookclub: August First Impressions

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Wow, you know I must be tired when I forget to even tag my post (this is referring to the review for One last night) this is a reminder folks don’t blog while sleep deprived. So august is here, and that means two things. One That means I fly out to Japan next month and that is terrifying, watch this space for more Japan diary comics and musings, and secondly ( more importantly) it is time for the start of another Words and Geeks book club. This month we are looking at Norwegian wood By Haruki Murakami. Now I really can’t claim to be a good student of Japanese having never read a Murakami book now can I?

murkami.jpgMurakami is known to be one of Japan’s most popular Authors world-wide, his books have been translated into 50 different languages, and if something gets lost in translation, then Murkami’s books must have been out of this world in the original Japanese language. Now, my japanese skills aren’t quite high enough to be reading a novel of this caliber, ( although I would love to read the original japanese text one day) and so Like Emma and anyone else joining us I will be reading along in English, but feel free to read along in any of the 50 languages that suit you – it would be exciting to compare notes.  so shall we take a look at what Norwegian wood is all about  here is the blurb.

When he hears her favourite Beatles song, Toru Watanabe recalls his first love Naoko, the girlfriend of his best friend Kizuki. Immediately he is transported back almost twenty years to his student days in Tokyo, adrift in a world of uneasy friendships, casual sex, passion, loss and desire – to a time when an impetuous young woman called Midori marches into his life and he has to choose between the future and the past.

unlike a lot of books we have read for  words and geeks, this book is venturing outside of the world of YA books a slightly more adult sounding read even if it is about a world of casual sex in the teenage years, It will be interesting to get another perspective upon these teenage/ young adult themes from an ‘adult’ book

from the first lines we already get a sense of the tone of narration:

I was 37 then, strapped in my seat as the huge 747 plunged through
dense cloud cover on approach to Hamburg airport. Cold November
rains drenched the earth, lending everything the gloomy air of a
Flemish landscape: the ground crew in waterproofs, a flag atop a squat
airport building, a BMW bill
board. So-Germany again.
I feel that the book is going to have an amusing tone, ( this made me laugh just from the way that he described landing in germany, however, it does hold a sadness too, the gloomy air, and pathetic fallacy, feels like the setting the tone for the book over all. humours, but drenched in sadness Already. I am wanting to know, why germany, why again, why do I get the feeling that this place is unsettling for Watanabe ( A quick note, if none of you have read a japanese novel or no nothing about Japan, often the surname is used to address people unless you are close, so our main character will be refered to by Watanabe his surname or Toru by close friends and family members – just to spare you any confusion)
The cove gives the book a rather eerie feeling and I wonder how this will carry on through the book, the blurb suggests that Watanabe has to choose between the future and the past. a theme which is often filled with difficult topics and/or feelings.
I am looking forward to finally reading a Murakami book does this make me a fully fledged  Japanese student now?
Head over to Wandering words to see what Emma’s first Impressions of Norwegian wood by Murakami are and as always, Leave a comment and let me know what you think of it in the comments.

Words and Geeks Book club :July Reveiw

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This book. Yes, this book right here has skyrocketed its way up my list of my favourite books. This month Words and Geeks Book Club was reading One by Sarah Crossan. and it was something special. from the way the book was presented in poetry style verses, to the characterisation and the themes that the book dealt with all came together to make this book something I would love to read again and again.



One was a very quick read, I read it in a day, and it was not put-downable, I had to keep going to find out what was going on in the lives of conjoined twins Grace and Tippi. the story was emotional beautifully written, for those of you who didn’t read the introduction post on the 1st of July or if you haven’t read along this month here is the blurb for you to get a little bit of a taster

Grace and Tippi don’t like being stared and sneered at, but they’re used to it. They’re conjoined twins – united in blood and bone. What they want is to be looked at in turn, like they truly are two people. They want real friends. And what about love?

this book covers all the bases, the usual teenage difficulties, and sisterhood issues, but also looks at the medical difficulties and the personality difficulties that the girl face, the story is well paced never dragging and leaving you with all sorts of emotions. the story is told from only one of the twins point of view, and I think that this works really well, you can see how the actions of her sister are affecting her and how she struggles with the choices that they have to make.

This book has moved me in a way that I haven’t seen in a long time, for me this book is a 5 star over and over again.  I can not sing this books praises highly enough.

but if you want a second opinion head over to Wandering words and see how Emma got on with this book

30 Days of confidence – Time for a catch up

30 days of confidence

Hi Everyone, How are you enjoying your summer and our 30 days of confidence challenge,
I haven’t posted for a little while so I thought I would give you all an update of what I have been up to and how this challenge is going for me.

I have learnt a great number of things while doing this challenge; first of all producing daily content is really tough! I admire those bloggers who sit down to make content for us all every single day.  I have learnt that long term daily content at the moment really doesn’t suit the way I am running this blog. I have been so stressed this past week for having not posted anything to keep you all up to date with what I am doing for this challenge that ended up just postponing posting longer and longer.

Secondly I have learnt my confidence can and has grown in the space as little as a month, not only have I increased my body confidence ( I wore a bikini to the beach for the first time in my life and felt comfortable doing so) I am more ready to get up and go do things, taking the first step is the hardest part.

Thirdly although this challenge was just set in the idea of fun, it is amazing the difference that just 30 days can make. There have been ups and downs but overall looking back I feel like I have actually achieved something. There are 4 days left of this challenge, and although I won’t be posting daily for this anymore, it will still be in the forefront of my mind. And my biggest challenges of going abroad still lay in wait (Lets not think about how scary flying around the world solo is shall we let alone moving to a whole new country)

How far has this 30 days taken you?