Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Where I would like to be right now

On this beach, with a stack of books.

Monday, March 27, 2006

A cold encounter

Tonight I was walking home from the station at about 11pm. There is one section of my walk home that is particularly dark, and there aren't very many people out and about on a Monday night. As I was walking down that particularly dark stretch, I noticed six men in suits arguing hotly about something, no doubt fueled by alcohol. "Annoying drunks!" I thought as I walked all the way to the opposite side of the street to avoid them.

A few yards later I was waiting to cross at an intersection when I heard three of the drunks come up behind me. I immediately stiffened and put my eyes and ears on full alert. My years in Manhattan and even my years at home have taught me to always trust my instincts, and though they may be drunk, a woman wearing a skirt and heels who hasn't been to a gym in years and is exhausted from working 12 hours today would be no match for three men.

The men stopped about five feet away from me and one asked in Japanese where the station is. The station in my neighborhood, mind you, is not hard to find - just walk toward the lights. "A likely line," I thought. I kept my expression stiff and gruffly pointed behind me. "That way," I said and I focused my eyes on the traffic light, waiting for it to change so I could cross. The men then realized I was foreign and said, "Sorry. Thank you" in heavily accented English and continued on their drunken way.

As I briskly made my way to my apartment, I was suddenly overcome with feelings of guilt and self-reproach. I could have at least given them a little kinder directions, directions with more details. I could have smiled. I could have said "You're welcome" to their "Thank you." They were drunk and probably honestly lost. Since when did I turn into such a cold person?!

But then I remembered that I was walking by myself alone on a dark street at 11pm at night. I was right to be cold. I did after all, tell them the correct way to the station, didn't I? So I did my duty. They were drunk and probably harmless, but you never know. Better safe than sorry, right?

That's what I keep telling myself. But somehow I can't help but feel guilty.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Sumo wrestlers in Ginza

I was walking through Ginza when I saw a couple of sumo wrestlers walk out of a movie theater. It's easy to forget that they lead normal lives like the rest of us!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

It's the little things...

This is the hot chocolate I ordered at Dean & Deluca a while back. The rabbit was of course completely unexpected, and it brought a smile to my face!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Celebrity sighting!

I went to a cafe in Shibuya last night with two friends. It's a very casual and inexpensive yet "hip" place - in other words, very Shibuya. I went straight from work and I felt very out of place in my tweed skirt suit. (As a side note, I have a love/hate relationship with Shibuya. Too many people! Yet there are so many great restaurants, too... As a result I go about once a month or so but no more.)

Anyway, my two friends and I were sitting at a table next to the cash register, and as we were talking I noticed a man approach the cash register who looked very familiar. I then realized it was Tadanobu Asano!! I haven't seen too many of his films (he's in many, including "Zatoichi") but I do see him a lot in commercials and magazines. (By the way, he is married to the singer Chara.)

I wasn't sure it was him, and I think I stared too long because he looked over at me. I felt embarrassed, so I smiled and bowed my head ever-so-slightly in an attempt to both show that I know who he is and to apologize for staring so much. He smiled and gave a slight bow as well. He looked like a nice, friendly guy!

It was kind of fun to see a celebrity in Tokyo... I haven't had a random celebrity sighting since Paul Simon was sitting at the table next to me at a super-cheap Japanese restaurant in New York (and that was almost seven years ago!).

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Loop

I love books. I really do. I have since I was a child, but during high school and college the love waned because I started to associate books with studying and subsequently felt guilty about reading something for pleasure. Then when I was living in Sapporo I couldn't justify the high price of English-language books, so I barely read novels. But then I came to Tokyo and discovered

It changed my life.

Now I buy books up like they're going out of style. I have them piled in my living area/bedroom. I love passing them on after I've read them, unless I have come across that rare book that was so good I might feel the need once in a while to pull it off the bookshelf and read a certain passage that makes me giggle, cry, or sing.

Every time I buy a new book, however, I have to remind myself that in only two and a half months (eek!) I have an exam coming up that I have barely studied for and that I desperately want to pass. I have no business reading novels!!! But it's impossible to resist slipping one in my bag for the train ride to work.

I wasn't expecting much from "The Loop" by Joe Coomer. I had read on the Internet that it was a bit wacky (with it being about a talking parrot and such), and I tossed it in my bag one brisk February morning on my rush out the door to work because it was thin and would fit nicely in my purse. But once I started, I could not put this book down!!! I don't want to say too much about the plot, but I will say that it's all about searching for something and the unexpected things you find on the way. This was an exception piece of writing - clear, humorous, fast-paced, unique, and more than anything else, it made me think after I had finished it.

It looks like the book is out of print, so you might have trouble getting your hands on it, but if you do find a copy, buy it!! It's worth a read, and if your taste is anything like mine, you'll like it!!

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