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January 6, 2011

Happy New Year!! from Tamanegiontour! yeah its a little late but i:m here! So 2010 is over and i think my post today will be a good chance for me to reflect on the year and what I achieved.

2010 was definitely a year I wont forget, now i:m gonna do a run through over my year!

From the beginning, on Jan 1st 2010 i was in Beijing for the New Year, i stayed in Beijing on holiday until February then I flew back to Scotland. I stayed in Scotland for a few months and went on to take and pass my Online TEFL course, i took the 30-Hour grammar and 50-Hour Teaching courses. This was my first step into teaching abroad. So after that i got a few job offers in Beijing and decided to get a flight in the summer from London to Beijing. The decision to fly from London was based on the stupidly expensive prices for flying from Aberdeen and i opted to fly from London Heathrow for a better price, so after a 10 hour bus ride from the deen to Heathrow, i then proceeded to take another 10 hour flight to Hong Kong and theeeen to Beijing! Fun times!

So after arriving in Beijing i went looking for teaching jobs anywhere i could. I had some basic interviews, some good, some bad, trial and error. Then i came across a company called First Leap so, i went for an interview near Dongdan i believe (might be wrong) ended up doing a demo class using Amanda as my student, lol! The lesson was about what animals can and can:t do. The key here was to act as over the top as you can and work around a relatively simple topic. A few weeks later i had to do a second interview with the company themselves, basically the same stuff but with more people giving me that, “Come on then, show us what you got” look…but after all the interviews i got the job.

After i had a secured job and got my Visa all sorted out i went hunting for my own home finding one in Changhong after a long search…. sadly its a shared house but all that matters to me is i had finally made it, i was out of Scotland and living independently in China, not my people my age can make a claim like that! Job done! and the doubters ho said i couldn’t do it or my idea was too crazy, well they just fueled the motivation inside me and i actually kinda thank them for that, they gave me that extra push of “Ill fucking show you all!”So after getting the job, it was time to do the training. I was training in Jingyuan for a few weeks and taking trips to Wangjing. I found my time at Wangjing centre to be the most beneficial to me and i still use some of the tips and advice i got from there in my Teaching today. After all of this training for a little over a month it was time to begin work in my new centre in Changhong! This is a brand new centre that had nothing inside when i began and now after 4 months we have about 7 classes signed up with 10 kids per class, hell i think we deserve a drink to that!

I did quite a bit of travelling this year also including, going back to Scotland, London, Beijing, Tianjin, Panjin, Xingcheng, Juhuadao island andTanggu! and if were wanting to seem more adventurous we can add Paris and Hong Kong airports aha! hey! now i WAS technically there….just… in the airport and couldn’t get out. Back to the point…. out of all the places i went this year, nothing stands out but i did enjoy my trips to Tianjin, Panjin, xingcheng, Juhuadao Island and Tanggu, as they were all done in 1 week, so that was pretty cool and i got to see some areas close to Beijing, in future im wanting to travel further outside Beijing.

Im still looking to continue my travels in 2011 with my first trip already booked for Jan 31st to Japan where i plan on visiting, Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Nara!

So the aims for 2011 are more travel and adventure based, i want to travel alot more this year and really see China, Im planning on this being my last hurrah in China and i want to see as much of it as i can from Shanghai to Xi`an! before i pack up and try my hand at life in Japan…………………… hopefully.

Ill edit this post and add more to it later as i cant recall all my stories of 2010 and im sure you all dont want to read a damn Autobiography.

All the best for 2011 you fools!


Chinese Phonetics

December 19, 2010


As the title says “Chinese Phonetics“, well ive finally decided to commit myself to learning some Chinese (Mandarin) ive picked up one or two things while ive been here and never had the motivation to learn as ive been so focused on my Japanese studies, but i feel i have an awesome opportunity to pick up possibly a 3rd language ontop of my Japanese here, just with the environment and being around Chinese all day everyday for a year.

Dont get me wrong here, Japanese is still my no.1 and primary focus, in my language learning but 1 hour of Chinese a day will do nothing but help me in my daily life, as i am in China after all, also there is just something about learning a new language and putting them peices together that i love doing and i get excited with this new commitment and setting goals for myself. So the goal for Japanese is to be fluent, the goal for Chinese (Mandarin) is to just get by in my daily life and make things easier. Why not, right?

So as the title says Chinese Phonetics is where im begining, im trying to get the pronunciation down as that is the hardest part of the language i belive. This however is not easy its a right pain in my ass and ive only just begun. Also ive been trying to start simple by learning Pinyin which is the English Romanization of Chinese, sounds easy but belive me its NOT!! There is already 4 different styles of this, or some shit, i may be wrong. So pronunciation thats my first job, just keep chippin away at it in my spare time.

speaking of other languages, my japanese has been improving quickly as im getting to grips with it now and just adding and adding to what i already know, im confident ill be ready to take a Japanese test sometime next year, thats my plan.

hmmm… on the topic of Japan… I bought my tickets to Toyko, ill be flying from Beijing on the 31st of January for 2 weeks, Im still deciding what to do, my only plan so far is to travel out of Tokyo, got my eyes on Kyoto, Osaka and Nara, but ill see what else i can do, that would be more then enough for me!! Just pumped to be going at all!!!

Works going well, just gets repetitive and im working on muscle reflexes half of the time, just going through the motions without even thinking about it. Got some of my classes recorded actually so im gonna store them and keep them to watch in the future 😉

Not much else on my mind right now, missing driving alot these days and ill get another update for you fools ASAP!


December 8, 2010

A lot has been going on with work and so on but It’s time for an update on life in China! I’ll start with the weirdest story.


So I just finished work at about 8:30pm and was waiting for the bus after work (In Sanlitun) then this woman comes up to me, prob in her 30’s and STALE! and says something, I cant hear as I have my huge headphones on listening to music, so I looked over and thought “wtf? I can’t hear you I got my headphones on”, so I shrugged it off as my bus was coming anyway and I need to get home to eat. So after I get off the bus at Ritanlu station, I walked to the traffic lights then this w comes over again and says “hello, where are you going?” I take my headphones off, sigh and say, “home…. of course” then she replies with “Can I come with you?”….wtf…um…fuck NO! this creepy old ass woman was following me all the way from work on the bus, to my home, wtf, that’s just plain creepy…and I set the bitch straight.. random story but it’s funny to look back on, ohhhh china!


In daily banter, im off to Japan on the 31st of Jan, PEK -> NRT at about 10:30am I think, ill be in Tokyo about 3 or 4pm, can’t remember the exact times. I’ll return on the 15th Feb at 10:00pm so im pumped for this trip and im starting to plan out where ill go and what ill see in my time there, the only thing that I know I will see is some super Autobacs, that’s a fukin no brainer, one of the first things ill do is get myself to an Autobacs and get some snaps! I seriously miss the car scene as there is none in china really, well there is but It seriously blows. Going to be such a relief to get to Japan, words cant describe that.  On another note, work has been going good, I got about 7 months left on the old contract and I’ll decide what to do after that. Rent is coming up this month, urgh and im saving all my money for the Japan trip.


Been sending a lot of stuff out lately too, family was the first to get gifts and im gonna be sending out some more stuff so if your interested in anything let me know and ill send it out, it’s a reward for reading the “tamanegiontour” blog! Haha! 😉


Hm, last thing is ive been reading a lot of books lately and I think there pretty interesting so ill give you readers a look at what I’ve been readin and I advise you to read them yourselves…


DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor’s Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences.


Author: Rick Strassman


From 1990 to 1995 Dr. Rick Strassman conducted U.S. Government-approved and funded clinical research at the University of New Mexico in which he injected sixty volunteers with DMT, one of the most powerful psychedelics known. His detailed account of those sessions is an extraordinarily riveting inquiry into the nature of the human mind and the therapeutic potential of psychedelics. DMT, a plant-derived chemical found in the psychedelic Amazon brew, ayahuasca, is also manufactured by the human brain. In Strassman’s volunteers, it consistently produced near-death and mystical experiences. Many reported convincing encounters with intelligent nonhuman presences, aliens, angels, and spirits. Nearly all felt that the sessions were among the most profound experiences of their lives.

Strassman’s research connects DMT with the pineal gland, considered by Hindus to be the site of the seventh chakra and by Rene Descartes to be the seat of the soul. DMT: The Spirit Molecule makes the bold case that DMT, naturally released by the pineal gland, facilitates the soul’s movement in and out of the body and is an integral part of the birth and death experiences, as well as the highest states of meditation and even sexual transcendence. Strassman also believes that “alien abduction experiences” are brought on by accidental releases of DMT. If used wisely, DMT could trigger a period of remarkable progress in the scientific exploration of the most mystical regions of the human mind and soul.

Food Of the Gods

Author: Terrence McKenna

“Why, as a species, are humans so fascinated by altered states of
consciousness? Can altered states reveal something to us about
our origins and our place in nature? In Food of the Gods, ethnobotanist
Terence McKenna’s research on man’s ancient relationship with
chemicals opens a doorway to the divine, and perhaps a solution for
saving our troubled world. McKenna provides a revisionist look
at the historical role of drugs in the East and the West, from the ancient
spice, sugar, and rum trades to marijuana, cocaine, synthetics, and
even television –illustrating the human desire for the “food of the gods”
and the powerful potential to replace abuse of illegal drugs with a
shamanic understanding, insistence on community, reverence for nature,
and increased self-awareness.”

Other books I’m reading are, Fingerprints of the Gods, Message of the Sphinx, both written by Graham Hancock. And the Genki Japanese study books, when im studying.


OK, that’s a decent sized entry, check out the books if you got time and till next time, catch you all later!


Study… =A=” !!

November 26, 2010


I don’t know where to start so I’ll just dive right in. Everything has been going smooth, bar my impatience to just work and live in Japan, speaking of which, It has been confirmed by my bosses that I have a 2 week holiday beginning Jan 31st àFeb 15th, so I will be going to Japan in this time, FINALLY! I can’t wait to get there after all this time waiting. I already have the money for the tickets and will be buying ASAP, there pretty cheap too, costing around 270 pound (2700 Chinese Yuan)


In my attempts to eventually move to Japan I have been really getting down to my Japanese study and I’m even going to show some of it here as I would love to look back on it in a year or so and see the level I have reached, also anyone interested can see some of what I’m learning right now as we speak. The goal is to take the JLPT 5 or 4 tests next year (most likely JLPT 5 but nothing wrong with some ambition!)


So fist I’m just running over 80 Kanji that I know trying to imprint them in my skull so I never forget, countless drilling and revising…jeez it can get boring….especially when some kanji have about 5 readings or more!


These are the aforementioned Kanji I’ve been drilling.


一 二 三 四 五 六 七 八 九 十

百 千 万 父 母 友 女 男 人 子

日 月 火 水 木 金 土 本 休 語

年 午 前 後 時 間 毎 今 何 先

上 下 左 右 東 西 南 北 外 名

高 中 大 長 半 分 学 校 生 小

山 川 白 天 雨 電 気 車 国 円

食 読 出 入 行 来 聞 話 書 見



Next up is the long list of vocabulary I have been learning, this example here is from page 1-8 of my Japanese vocab. Book. (There is 34 pages in total)




































































































































That’s a lot of revision let me tell you, I have sooooooooooo much vocabulary to learn and when I look through the pages of my vocabulary book it scares me to see how much there is to learn… o   o !!!! the fun of language learning eh?! Oh not including the writing of all of these and the speaking and pronunciation too, we can’t forget that hell!! =A= “!!


Some of the books I’m using, “Random House Webster’s Japanese-English Dictionary” “Genki-1: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese” “Japanese Visual Dictionary” there is much more incuding websites, if I had any advice for someone beginning Japanese learning, try that’s where I began but use other sites and books, never just rely on Jpod101, it’s not enough I feel.


Gotta stick to it, and I’ll make another update tomorrow about my Chiner adventures!


Peace ladies and gents!


Working on my Japanese and planning ahead

October 30, 2010

Yep, i made another update, who’da thunk it?

So recently time has been flying past, it doesnt feel like i got paid almost a month ago, shit is going really fast. My week just began and now its over…

I just recovered from feeling like utter crap, I was in work and suddenly just came down with vomiting and migraine and dizziness, in the span of 15 mins’, on the way home my taxi crashed too…you just gotta love you’re luck sometimes, seriously.

Also, i just rejoined the gym and seeing if i can get back into shape, so day 2 and my arms are already soooo jacked i cant even fully extend my left arm.. now try that while you teach at a kids school and have to be active, jesus its seeeeeriouly painful… note to everyone, when you go to work out STRETCH you’re muscles before AND AFTER you’re workout and get a small massage if you can, don’t do something as stupid as me and cripple your damn left arm for a day..

Not much to say, just trying to keep the blog active and get myself writing more often and doing something constructive with my time…speaking of which… I’ve just gotten back to studying Japanese for the last 2 months,  been studying by textbooks now and not using websites like JapanesePod101..i found my Japanese is improving, leaps and bounds recently. I can even read 80 Kanji now and all of there meanings and readings, for those who dont know. THAT SHIT IS HAAARD TO LEARN!!! especially at first, until you get better. Planning ahead, im planning to go to Tokyo in January or very early next year (If i can get holidays off work, that is = ‘ = ) Hoping to catch the Tokyo Auto Salon as ive been dying to go there for like 5 years now? 4 years? So we will see if i can make it…saving money sucks… cant do anything or eat anything good…


wow…. random entry =/ ……. i’ll put something more interesting and better next time.


Random Interesting Shit #1 : Katsushika Hokusai

October 23, 2010

Katsushika Hokusai is an old Japanese artist I have recently become really fascinated by, his work is so fukin’ good to look at, I can’t think of any over the top, artistic words to explain his work, just see it for you’re self, seriously, I recommend checking out his work. Especially 富嶽三十六景 (Fugaku Sanjūrokkei = Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji)


I’ll give you some information that I think is really interesting to read.

(these are not my words, they are copied from various websites, i just find them soooo fukin’ interesting, so i’m posting it here for any of you to read, personally i think this shit is interesting, so check it out…)

Katsushika Hokusai (1760 -> 1849)

was a Japanese artist, ukiyo-e painter and printmaker of the Edo period. In his time, he was Japan’s leading expert on Chinese paintings. He was actually born in Edo, Japan (Craig: That’s the old name for Toyko for those whoo don’t know 😉 ) , Hokusai is best-known as author of the woodblock print series Thirty six views of Mt. Fuji (富嶽三十六景 Fugaku Sanjūroku-kei) which includes the internationally recognized print, The Great Wave Off Kanagawa (created during the 1820s.) (Craig: This is probably the most famous work he did, there should be NO Japanese, who don’t know of this piece, especially if you show it to them)

Hokusai created the “Thirty-Six Views” both as a response to a domestic travel boom and as part of a personal obsession with Mount Fuji It was this series, specifically The Great Wave print and Fuji in Clear Weather, that secured Hokusai’s fame both within Japan and overseas.


OK, i’m not gonna bore you all with his life story here, ill just put up some small facts that i think are the most interesting about him…

Hokusai was known by at least 30 names during his lifetime. Although the use of multiple names was a common practice of Japanese artists of the time, the numbers of names he used far exceeds that of any other major Japanese artist. Hokusai’s name changes are so frequent, and so often related to changes in his artistic production and style, that they are useful for breaking his life up into periods..

After a year, Hokusai’s name changed for the first time, when he was dubbed Shunrō by his master. It was under this name that he published his first prints, a series of pictures of Kabuki actors published in 1779…Upon the death of Shunshō in 1793, Hokusai began exploring other styles of art, including European styles he was exposed to through French and Dutch copper engravings he was able to acquire (Craig: yep, he was influenced by Chinese and Western styles,so he isnt some super 100% pure, Japanese style artist)

Hokusai also changed the subjects of his works, moving away from the images of courtesans and actors that were the traditional subjects of ukiyo-e. Instead, his work became focused on landscapes and images of the daily life of Japanese people from a variety of social levels. This change of subject was a breakthrough in ukiyo-e and in Hokusai’s career

By 1800, Hokusai was further developing his use of ukiyo-e for purposes other than portraiture. He had also adopted the name he would most widely be known by, Katsushika Hokusai.

In 1820, Hokusai changed his name yet again, from Hokusai –> Taito —> Iitsu, a change which marked the start of a period in which he secured fame as an artist throughout Japan (though, given Japan’s isolation  from the outside world during his lifetime, his fame overseas came after his death!)

It was during the 1820s that Hokusai reached the peak of his career. His most famous work, 36 Views of Mount Fuji, including the famous Great Wave off Kanagawa, dated from this period. It proved so popular that Hokusai later added ten more prints to the series. (Craig: So actually the 36 Views of Mt. Fuji had 46 pictures) Among the other popular series of prints he published during this time are A Tour of the Waterfalls of the Provinces and Unusual Views of Celebrated Bridges in the Provinces. (Craig: You dont need to check these unless you’re overly interested, 36 views will do you fine, you don’t need to see more if you cba.)

Let’s skip some pointless information….

annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd………Then he died on May 10, 1849, and was buried at the Seikyō-ji in Tokyo (Taito Ward)

Well I’m finishing work and can’t be bothered typing more information so if for some reason you’re interested like me then you’re all smart, you’ll find more information online. Check it out and ill post a link where u can see all of the paintings of the Fugaku Sanjūrokkei.


Check out this website to see the paintings of the Fugaku Sanjūrokkei. I recommend you check them out, if you’re interested in  Japan or just interested in Art in general.


Right, i’m out!



Back again ?!?

October 23, 2010

Ok, I have finally gotten back to my blog, ugh.. I always get bored of my blog. I’m going to keep updating as much as possible, about any random interesting things I find or come across, also about my daily antics and what I’ve been upto. Now that’s over, I’m back! ………………………….again… (this is like the 5th time I’ve been ‘back’)

Anyway, it’s time to get this place active and plug it on my facebook 😉 as you do!


So I’ve been working here in Beijing now for a good 5 or 6 months now. Work is going awesome, got our first classes started, after being so awesome that people joined our company 😉 I’ve been busy alot lately, paying bills, workin all day and studying Japanese HARDLY! ive been at it alot, ill talk about it more in another post. Anyway, I’m back!

Expect updates son!