Sunday, October 20, 2013


my bedroom in my mum's apartment

Things started to get weird in my Japanese school. I already mentioned a couple of funny moments on my blog and also on twitter. But there are still few of them which i haven't posted anywhere yet. So, now i want to keep them together.

Put the verb in brackets in the right form:

"A friend of mine told me that someone [to touch] her ass in the  train."

"A thief [to brake into] my house last night.
 What?! Did he steal something?
 He stole the money and.. the manga!"

"Sensei: A-san skipped school yesterday, right?
 Student: No, sensei, he was [to hit] by a car."

Then, these sensei-student dialogs that happened last week: 

"Sensei: Students! What do you like most, Tokyo Disneyland or Tokyo Disney Sea?
 Sensei: Well, as for me, I prefer Disney Sea. Why? Well, they sell beer there."

"Sensei: Students! Tell me, why did you choose our school?
 A girl: My mother told me to go here. So, I'm here.
 Sensei: Your mother told you and you just obeyed, is that all?
 A girl: Hmm, yes.
 later on, same girl
 Sensei: Well, how do you find your life here in Japan?
 A girl: I enjoy it.
 Sensei: Can you describe why?
 A girl: My mother isn't here."

my Japanese classroom

Don't know if it makes sense but I find all these small dialogs so much fun. I always write them down into my sketchbook (because  it's always open) to show them to Boyfriend after school.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

HOW'S IT [news post]

DR RUDY'S HERE! (s o r r y)

I've got a little bit bored writing about our journey to Bhutan. It doesn't mean I'll stop doing it but I just want to take a break for a while.

So, this one is going to be just stupid and funny:

like this video of me speaking enthusiastically about my sharks

oh this one where I.. agh

or "photos of the month" of me and Boyfriend

or just an old picture of me

or my latest drawings!

or this conversation in my Japanese class
So, the teacher asks if any of us have ever been to karaoke in Japan. And this girl and a boy next to her rise their hands. The teacher asks a boy if a girl has a beautiful voice. He says "yes". Then, the teacher asks a girl the same question now about the boy. She says "I don't know".
"How can you not know? You were in karaoke together!"
"Yeah, but he drank a lot and fell asleep."
"So, you were singing alone?"

Also, I saw this cute lady in a kimono drinking coffee in starbucks next to me at 8am

L-R: I'm on my way from school, and it's getting 
dark / a dead moth in a glass  elevator

L-R: a showcase in a cafe "waffles and beer because you deserve it, woman!" / a sushiaya somewhere near Nakano Broadway

L-R: coconut water / apple juice
L-R: a new member of our family aka YOTSUBA riding banana / sugarless 
chewing gums (persimmon, fruits in cream, chestnut and chocolate)

L-R: I'm / actually
L-R: trying to / DRAW

L-R: a baby pumpkin / a curved baby pumpkin
L-R: a boxful of baby pumpkins / a baby pumpkin swastika

L-R: hello / zines in a bookstore
L-R: my upgraded moleskine / another pair of zines 

Mm.. what else did I forget to tell you?..

My socks have ducks on them!, not that.

These socks have socks on them!


The next news will be about Japan. The strongest typhoon in 10 years came to Tokyo. 14 people were found dead, police are searching for the missing and the storm continues to flood the houses and cause a traffic chaos. The trains stopped, several flights were called off, and many schools are closed for today. Even my classes were cancelled

So, yes. Today we "refrained from going outside" and it was good. I, finally, put everything I wanted to put together in the post and drew without being distracted by anyone.

I wore a rilakkuma hat the last three days and that's what it led to. Sturbucks staff drew the bears on my coffee cups each time I went there. Now I'm interested in what's next. Will she continue drawing bears on my cups? Anyway, I'll definitely write about it later).

Monday, October 14, 2013

The kingdom of the Thunder Dragon: [Day 2]

 "We have to take courses and pass the exam to become a guide. But I am not stick to one company, I am a freelancer!" 

The day before our trek, we visited the Tiger's Nest. The monastery is really high in the mountains so it was more like a training for us.

the hiking path to the Tiger's Nest

As we were climbing up, our guide was telling us stories (I always feel skeptical when the unavoidable legends time comes but sometimes, when you're in the kinda "ah, let the guy talk" mood, it may be funny to hear them; that was that time) about the founder of the monastery. It turned out that some Guru guy came to Bhutan in the 7th century and felt that something was wrong with the place. Soon, he understood that people there didn't hear a word about Buddhism. And that helped him to realize that the town was full of the evil forces and so it was time to set things straight. 

"Did he forced people to convert to Buddhism?"
"No no, he just showed them the way.. And  subdued those who didn't like it."
"Every monk should visit it once in a lifetime to purify from sins because it's the holiest place, but I'm a guide so I have a great chance to visit it from time to time."

Well, I think, the Guru succeeded in his mission only because he could ride a flying tiger. Oh, wait a minute..

After we reached the Tiger's Nest, we found out that it was recently burnt down (the monks decided to lit up as many candles as possible to praise Buddha properly), so it had to be rebuilt (hi there, "cultural heritage preservation").

"Has Dalai Lama ever been to your country?"
"No. We are surrounded by China and aren't able to give him enough safety, enough guardianship to protect him from them. So, it's impossible for him to come."

we are close..

even closer..

whoa we're so close!

As it happened to be the time for the daily "let's sulk on Boyfriend", and the road turned so steeply down just before the temple, I got SO EMOTIONAL and even started to weep. But things got better when  we finally reached the temple. It looked very beautiful after all.

The next morning we were ready to start our trek.

P.S. Aww look at these baby stupas

Monday, October 7, 2013

The kingdom of the Thunder Dragon: [Day1]

Before starting our 2-weeks trekking we had two days in Paro where we visited the central street and a couple of shrines higher in the mountains. In the morning we arrived there by the "Royal airlines of Bhutan" (not to mention, they're the ONLY airlines that are allowed to fly to Bhutan).

the airport was small but looked very authentic

when landing, pilot have to navigate the plane
really low between the cliffs which I found
both scary and breathtaking

The first thing we noticed waiting in the queue for the passport control was a poster that talked about the gross national product but using the word "happiness" instead of "product" (later I read that Bhutan was rated the happiest country in Asia).

We tried to ask our guide Karma about it.

"What does it mean "Gross national happiness"?"
"Yeah, there are 4 pillars: good governance, economics development, cultural heritage and national environment. We have questionnaires which ask people "Are you happy?", "Are you satisfied?".."
"So, are you that happy?"
"Yes, in general. There is no torture, everybody is equal. Peace, no external disturbance, no corruption. Everybody gets safety and clear water.."
"But no electricity"
"And not everyone have to pay taxes."
"Yeah, if you earn less than 100 000 ngultrums in a year and you don't need to pay any taxes."

tea momo egg roll juma fried rice boiled egg koka

Actually, people with income over 100K are usually government workers. The government worker pays taxes and at the same time collect them. That doesn't make much sense, so the main income is still tourism, I guess. But that is not the only reason why it's so difficult and so expensive to get to Bhutan. According to our guide, people there just scared. The King is afraid of the situation in which there will be more foreigners than the natives in the country. And especially Chinese communists who will apparently destroy all the national culture like they did in Tibet.

"We have three open boarders with India but none with China. Regardless their constant requests, we say "no" because we don't want to lose our friendship with India."
"Are you afraid of a possibility of war with China?"
"Not really. We have India, it'll make them angry."

Actually, there is an official agreement between India and Bhutan against close relationships with China.

The second thing we noticed, was another poster that prohibited to export the antiques from the country. The excuse was that they were preserving the national heritage. However, I started to notice things which didn't come along with that statement. 

the superb lobby of our hotel in Paro. wood carving, paint.

Wiki says that most of the historic records were destroyed by fire in 1827 (but even if there was no a fire, the centralized country started to exist only in 17 century anyway). Moreover, wherever we went, we were told that there were several big earthquakes recently which destroyed like everything. Again. So, almost all the buildings we've been to were just restored copies in one way or another.

a view to the valley from the window of the hotel room

Also, we didn't find any antiques and it was difficult to find any traditional crafts in Paro. No goods even from the wool of Yak (we didn't even bring any sweaters with us)! The variety of local food was pretty poor, and I noticed that the imported junk food was in higher demand. We then saw how locals in the mountains were eating cup ramen, biscuits and other foreign sweets. However, there are two things produced by Bhutanese which are really valued among the natives and they are chili and koka. We saw many chilies drying under the sun on top the roofs and a lot of men with their mouths red from koka (the guide said, that Buddhism doesn't forbid drinking alcohol or eating koka).

you can see chilies in their natural habitat drying
in the sun on top of the roofs of the local shops

A chili from a chili farm blocked my way to the fortress!

That was surprising for me to know, that Indians teach them English and provide with several educational programs. The pilots are Indians too. So are the chefs. The Bhutanese don't even build the roads themselves because "they don't have the necessary skill level" in Bhutan! It's Indians who construct the roads for them. And his majesty doesn't really want to analyze the situation since it's easier for him just to hire the good foreign workers from India.

We're entering the Rinpung Dzong(=fortress) area

"We don't want democracy, we want the king. The king is not really a god for us but we worship him, and he trusts on his citizens in return. There is no opposition also as people there don't want any."

The funny fact is that in 2008 the democrats lost the elections in 2005 taking 2 out of 47 seats in the parliament.

then, we wandered around the main street (actually, it was the only street in town)and returned to our hotel where   we   spent  the  rest  of  the   day   online.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Village of the wild plum

Interesting stuff about the translation of the original name of Bangkok.

The elections in Moscow have come to an end (pretty depressing and suspicious end), so we packed up to head to Bhutan without feeling that we did something wrong.

On our way to Paro (the only town that has an international airport in the whole of Bhutan) we had a transit stop in Bangkok where we spent almost a day and had an opportunity to visit some shrines in the centre of the city.

We chose to go to the Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) because it was one of the famous and most attractive places in Bangkok according to Boyfriend.

It really was. As we got there, Boyfriend started to contemplate why the shrine complexes of Bangkok aren't really famous around the world, "it's not even protected by UNESCO". But soon, we started to notice the modern marble slabs at the temple's bases, the workers were painting the ceilings gold using paper stencils, and the modern glasses from the shrine's walls were falling off (the production of the original glasses was over in the last century). I read about the reconstructions of the complex: there were four restorations; the last one was like thirty years ago. Now I think that's the reason UNESCO don't want them. 

But the complex looked awesome anyway. It goes to show that even in the poor countries people are capable to follow architectural traditions.

When we came to another big shrine and took off our shoes leaving them before the enter, it started to rain so heavily (oh hi there the monsoon season!) that the downpour didn't stop for another hour or more.

For 5 minutes we were exploring the temple but then got bored and started to think over the escape plan. Why not to run out of this dry and warm place in a random direction without any idea where the exit is.

When we already were all thoroughly soaked, Boyfriend remembered that we actually had a map with us. So, after he studied it for some time, a brilliant idea came to his mind. "There!" he said and we were again running under the rainfall to the direction he chose. When we finally got under the roof, a guard man appeared just before us and with the words "NO EXIT" pointed to the just opposite direction. 

I already prepared a speech to deliver which should've started with "GIVE ME DAD MAP, YOU!" but then I remembered that that was a Boyfriend and Boyfriend is inviolable, so we just silently headed to the new direction.

The complex was 45 minutes away from the airport by car but it took us more than 2 hours to get back as we stuck in a huge traffic jam. I later read that the traffic problem is one of the things Bangkok is famous for. And that's funny because according to wiki
Bangkok is the seat of all branches of the national governmentTheGovernmentHouseParliamentHouse and Supreme, Administrative and Constitutional Courts are all located within the city. Bangkok is the site of the Grand Palace and Chitralada Villa, respectively the official and de facto residence of the king. Most government ministries also have headquarters and offices in the capital.
Frankly speaking, the one good thing they've done is the system of intersection bypasses and elevated highways. But it's built almost on the outskirts of the city and it doesn't solve the problem in the centre anyhow.

So what is the occupation of the king? Well, actually, I heard about a couple of the obligations of his majesty. Like to give the different types of orders..
On May 2010 there was a demonstration which ended with 92 deaths of armed and unarmed protesters and journalists.
And these kinds of things..
Only the Thai King is allowed to touch the statue of the Emerald Buddha. The King changes the cloak around the statue three times a year, corresponding to the summer, winter, and rainy seasons, an important ritual performed to usher good fortune to the country during each season.
"To usher good fortune to the country" because you must do this stuff somehow.

P. S. Airport photos!

3 am and "Goood moorning!"
from my backpack-kitten
cute-looking Thai coke

cute-looking milk which I didn't buy 

because I don't like milk

but I really like these tiny bottles >_<
cute-looking sunrise

and a cute-looking plastic capsule of water.