Sunday, 10 February 2008

Back Home!

So... I'm back in Adelaide. I know i got slack with this Blog when i was over in japan, hbut after 8 months of living in Tokyo, i'm back in Oz. I start a new winemaking job tomorrow, which will be a change from English teaching. I miss Tokyo/Japan but i'm also excited about getting back to my career...

Thats about it!

Ja ne

Friday, 21 December 2007

I've been slack

Yeah i'm still alive and still n Japan but i have been very slack with my Blog lately...

I'm working for NOVA again, but at a different branch (Koiwa). However, i still go to my old branch (Kinshicho) on Fridays, which means i can catch up with old staff and students.

So, i've been working 20 hours a week again. I had survived the NOVA break financially by teaching private students, but i have handed most of them to a mate.

Since my last post, i have been surfing a few more times (it's bloody freezing now), went snowboarding in Niigata and had a snow onsen, and have ben going clubbing most weekends...

I fly back to Oz on Feb 7th and i have a pretty full schedule until then. We start NOVA holidays next Friday and i'm going with some friends to Niigata for a few days, where we will stay in a hotel and go snowboarding. In early January i'm going on a surfing trip to Taiwan for 4 days (short i know!) with some Japanese friends. I go back to work on the 7th of Januarty and on the 14th i have a mate from Australia visiting me. He leaves on the 24th and on the 25th, my mum and sister are coming to Tokyo! They are then staying until Feb 7th, which is the day i fly out too...

I finish work on Jan 31st and am planning to travel to Kyoto and Nara for a few days with my mum and sis.

I start my new job on February 11th. I'll be working at a McLaren Vale winery called Kangarilla Road Winery. Not sure what my plans are for next year yet but i may head to Europe or back to the US for a grape harvest.

I will miss Japan but i'm sure i will return in the future...

I'm sure i will post again before i leave, but if not, Ja ne (goodbye!)

Thanks to those people who sent me emails and questions, hope my blog or answers helped you out. If ur one of those people who missed out comig to Japan because NOVA folded, don't fret, they will probably be recruiting overseas again in no time as business seems to be improving under guidance of the new company.

Ok, Take care.

Bai Bai

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Park Hyatt Hotel bar a.k.a. That bar from the movie 'Lost in Translation'

One of my housemates, Abdul, had a mate visiting Tokyo last weekend. His name is Fred and he is a good bloke. We went out to dinner at Shinjuku, then went to the Park Hyatt Hotel and had a few drinks at the bar. This bar is shown in the movie 'Lost in Translation'- it's the one where Bill Murray usually goes to drink Whisky and look depressed. This bar was not cheap, we shared a bottle of Californian Pinot Noir and, and Fred graciously footed the bill. We then finished the night off in Roppongi. A bit of a step down in class but fun none the less.

In othe news, NOVA has found a sponsor. However the sponsor is not the saviour everybody was hoping for... It is another English teaching company but much smaller than NOVA. Apparently they plan to open blocks of NOVA branches gradually, so not all teachers will go back to work straight away. Because of this, i have decided to go back to Australia. I will go back in February and return to winemaking. I love living in Japan and have met some great people and have had a fantastic experience, but English teaching is not a long term career for me. I take the whole NOVA fiasco as a sign that i should back to Oz and get stuck into my winemaking career. Who knows, maybe i will return to Japan one day with a wine related job. I will never forget my time here and Japan will always hold a special place in my Heart. I will definately come here for a holiday in the future! At least i will have my chopstick skills forever...

So mid Feb i get back to Oz. I will do vintage and then work out my plans. I have spent more than half of the last 3 years overseas and have visited many countries, so it might be time to stay put for a while and earn some coin when i get back... Will see what happens.

Anyways, enough of my ramblings. Below are some pics of me, Abdul and Fred on our Park Hyatt night.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007


I'm watching the surfing World Championship Tour event in Brasil and Mick Fanning has just claimed the world title.

Great stuff Mick! Congrats!!

The title goes back to Oz!

In other News- Apparently NOVA has found a sponsor.There should be an announcement soon...

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Vending machine costume for protection

A mate in Australia emailed me this link. Check it out, it's the type of wacky thing only the Japanese would think of.

Haha, only in Japan...

I wondered why the drink machine outside my apartment kept moving...

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

NOVA sux

NOVA officially declared bankruptcy last Friday. They were granted bankruptcy protection by Osaka District Court and the company has one month to find a sponsor that can provide financial backing and ultimately take them over with major restructuring. Internet company Yahoo is listed amongst the potential candidates.

An official announcement has been put on by newly appointed interim trustees responsible for finding a buyer for NOVA. They also have a Q & A sections regarding the current situation but they do not sound overly confident that a buyer will be found. If no partner is found within the one month time frame, the company will follow through will bankruptcy proceedings.

All branches are closed and business operations suspended until November 5th. It turns out that NOVA has rejected partner ship offers in the past and many companies are now reluctant to become involved with NOVA because of their enormous debt (50 billion Yen or something ridiculous). The huge loss is mainly blamed on the president of the company, who in recent years, over-expanded the company and made some bad business decisions (some of which were illegal). The president was actually forced to stand down by other board members on Friday, which came hand in hand with the bankruptcy declaration. he is being investigated by the authorities and may even end up in jail.

So i havn't been working for the last two weeks and i am owed about $3000 AU by NOVA. Some teachers are being evicted from NOVA rented housing, but so far, we have had no knock on our door telling us to leave. I have picked up some private lessons, earning enough money to keep going for a while. I'm planning to stay till January/February and then head back to Oz for vintage. Even if i just break even for the next few months i don't mind. As for my owed salary, everybody is hoping a buyer is found and salaries will be paid, but this is not a given. All we can do really is wait and cross our fingers. Despite all this, i've still had a good time in Japan and will have many fond memories when i leave and hopefully, one day, will return. Prehaps this time for a wine related job rather than teaching.

Well, thats all i have to say about that..

P.S. So yeah, i turned down the ski resort jobs offers. The timing wasn't very good to tie in with vintage, so it was a case of either going back this January or waiting a whole more year before returning home.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

NOVA update

Payday was supposed to be on the 15th but noone has been paid yet. A lot of people have been callingin sick and refuseto go to work until they are paid. The company has promised to pay us on Friday, but i, along with most other teachers, don't believe this.

I am not going to work until i am paid. It costs me 900 yen per day to get to work (we are usually reinbursed for this in out paycheck) but i'm not prepared to cover this everyday because we may not receive another paycheck.

I have just landed a job in a ski resort in Hokkaido, starting November 19th. So, i just need my funds to last another month. The job is as a resort host- taking guests to their rooms etc. It is from November 19th till the end of March. We have the option of staying longer if it is a long snow season. Afterwards, i may return to Tokyo, i may return to Oz, or i may head to Europe for a vintage (grape harvest).

The pay is ok, not fantastic, but it includes a season lift pass. Needless to say, i'm looking forward to 4 months snowboarding- It's sad to leave Tokyo and the friends i have made here, but it will nice to see another side of Japan.

What am i doing on my days that i'm not going to work??

Going to the gym, studying Japanese, organising a few things and trying not to spend money! I am also going surfing tomorrow... Just what i need to get my mind off all this stuff