Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Today I was supposed to be at work an hour early but I felt ill so I called and came in late.

I took my time coming in and was starting to feel better, so I was in a great mood when I walked through the office door.

Until, that is, I found out that due to a miscommunication in the office, I sent five million dollars to the wrong place. Fortunately it's not my one told me that the plan had changed, and neither one of the two people who signed off on the forms noticed.

But nonetheless....uh-oh. This is going to take a lot of phone calls to fix.

I think I need a latte.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Sick, sick, sick

I think I have a problem. My boss called me in the conference room today to tell me he's going to hire another person to help me out so that I don't have to stay so late any more. While this should have me jumping up and down for joy (which it did, temporarily), he finished by saying that he would make sure that person is very good with balance sheets and accounting because that doesn't seem to be my forte.

Now I'm feeling quite territorial and not so happy about the situation.

Of course, maybe the benefit of being able to leave work before 9pm every night will cancel out these feelings. Who cares what your boss thinks when you can actually make evening plans again without having to worry about cancelling them all time time, right?!

Saturday, May 27, 2006


I survived the week! It's the weekend!!!!!

Worked 9am-9pm on Monday. 9am-10pm on Tuesday. 8am-11pm on Wednesday. 9am-midnight on Thursday. And 9am-11pm on Friday.

Oh how I wish I got overtime pay! My bank account would be so happy.

Too bad it's going to rain this weekend...

P.S. I had only one Starbuck's latte this week! I'm doing better than I thought I would.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Current fives

I was tagged for the first time - yay! I guess this means I am now "officially" a blogger! Thank you, Mande, for taking the initiative to make your own original tag. Here goes:

5 musicians that I currently listen to:
- U2 - I can't get enough of them recently!
- Our Love Is Here To Stay: Ella & Louis Sing Gershwin - one of the best albums ever made
- Jason Mraz
- Beyonce
- Eric Clapton - I love this man

5 movies/DVDs that I have watched recently:
- Charlie & the Chocolate Factory
- Finding Neverland
- Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
- Bend It Like Beckham
- Under the Tuscan Sun

5 TV shows that I tend to watch:
Recently, not that much :-( because work is sucking the life out of me, but if I were home at a decent hour more I would be watching:
- The West Wing (I'm watching this on DVD right now - fabulous show!)
- Sui10 (a show on Wednesday nights at 10:30 with funny people and laughable skits)
- Ai Nori (a show where strangers pile into a bright pink bus and go on a round-the-world trip with the goal of falling in love...ridiculous but addicitive)
- 99 Size (a show with Okamura Takashi - my favorite comedian in Japan)
- Matthew's Best Hit TV (unfortunately I don't get home from work early enough to watch this show anymore, but I highly recommend it - utterly laughable nonsense)

5 restaurants I have visited recently:
-Yakiniku restaurant in Shimbashi
- My regular yakitori restaurant in my neighborhood
- BLDY, a overly smoky "family restaurant" down the street where you can get the drink bar for 294 yen and stay all day
- The Indian curry restaurant by my office
- Shaved noodle ramen shop in Toranomon

5 foods that I currently enjoy snacking on:
Are there any food I don't enjoy snacking on?! Ha.
- Almonds
- Chocolate - any kind. Dark, milk, white, you name it.
- Applesauce - yum!
- String cheese (too bad it's so hard to find and so expensive here!)
- Mini chocolate croissants (yum!)

I am tagging:
...and four other people as soon as I can figure out who to tag!
Unfortunately most of my friends don't have blogs (and Ali is the only friend I've told about mine!).
I'll upate as soon as I think of the four others.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


In work. Haven't left the office before 9:00pm for the past two weeks. I really need a haircut, but no time to go.

Starbucks latte update: broke down and had one on Sunday, and it was oh-so-good!! Might need one to get through today, too. *yawn*

Friday, May 19, 2006

Starbucks latte withdrawal, DAY FIVE!



There were times of weakness, and times when I wasn't sure I would make it, but I somehow managed to pull through.

I think this calls for a treat on Monday - i.e. a Starbucks latte! :-) From now on I'll allow myself two a week at the most. Moderation in everything, right?

City on the sea

Sounds like I'm going to Shanghai next month!

It's only for three days, and it's for a conference so I doubt I'll have very much free time, but I am SO EXCITED!! Better get that visa paperwork done.

There are so many kinds of food that I want to try in Shanghai... I think I'll need to sneak out of the conference dinners and go explore on my own. It would be a waste not to!

Oh, and I'll have to compare Shanghai's Starbucks lattes to Tokyo's. Ha ha ha.

(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Starbucks latte withdrawal, day four

Day four passed without incident, but just barely.

Unfortunately day four of my Starbucks latte withdrawal also happened to be the day that I was at the office until 11pm. Around 7:30pm I could have really used a latte. But I resisted the temptation to head downstairs and plop 340 yen in shiny coins on the counter. Must not give up yet!!!

One more day.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Starbucks latte withdrawal, day three

I survived!! I made my own latte, and then for the rest of the afternoon I downed multiple cups of lemon tea.

Thanks to a hellish day of work I was able to keep my mind off my craving for that frothy, sweet, satisfying Starbucks latte.

Only two more days to go.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Starbucks latte withdrawal, day two (and a change of rules)

Well, I've nearly survived day two without a Starbucks latte. YAY!! This morning I had to be at work an hour earlier than normal for our weekly telephone conference with New York, and I was soooooo tired I didn't think I would be able to survive today. But it looks like I have more willpower than I thought - yay!!!

However, I must announce a change in rules as of today. In yesterday's post I said that I would not set foot in a Starbucks for five days, but hereby that is changed to "I will not buy a Starbucks latte for five days." The reason for this change? I was starving this morning after our telephone conference ended, and because there isn't a convenience store within a distance from my office that it is "convenient" (despite being smack dab in the middle of Tokyo!) my only option for getting a snack was Starbucks. I was truly starving, so it was a matter of life or death.

Two days down, three to go. Tomorrow I think I'll bring my piggy bank (thank you, Mande, for the suggestion!) so I can see how much money I am saving. Might help me get through to Friday...

Monday, May 15, 2006

Starbucks latte withdrawal, day one

My goal this week is to not set foot in Starbucks for five days.

So far I've been successful today. I made my own latte and I've been downing tea like crazy, but I've resisted the temptation to go downstairs and plunk down 340 yen for the tall cup of Starbucks froth that I love so much.

Of course, it's only 4:30pm. The day is young.

Why am I doing this? Mainly just to test my own will power, as well as save a little money for the week. I calculated how much my daily Starbucks latte habit costs me a year, and it was shocking.

We'll see how long it lasts. Words of encouragement are always welcome.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Am I the only one who enjoys this show?

Does anyone else watch Chimpan News Channel at 12:35am on weeknights on Fuji TV? This show cracks me up! It's only ten minutes long, but I look forward to it every night recently. It's a parody of CNN down to the logo and the music, but with a talk-show twist. Oh, and a chimpanzee hosts it! The opening of the show is in English and has a narrator talking about how there are more pets than children in Japan today, so there is a greater need for shows about animals made by animals than shows geared for children. A very serious problem indeed, but a hilarious take on it.

Monday, May 08, 2006


One place near my apartment where I frequently study is a fast-food restaurant with a smoking section in the back that is completely separated from the rest of the seating area by floor-to-ceiling glass walls. (That's one of the reasons I choose to study cigarette smoke to breathe in! Yay!) The restaurant also happens to be next to a hospital, and I see an alarming number of people in there who appear to be hospital patients. They shuffle in wearing their bathrobes and pajamas, order, and then walk back to the hospital. Of course, being hospitalized in Japan is very different than in the US. You are often kept longer than you would be in the US, so toward the end of your stay it would be perfectly normal to be walking about the neighborhood on your own.

Tonight, though, I saw something that really threw me for a loop. A young man walked in pushing his own IV, and he had a large scar on the back of his head. Guessing from the way his head was shaved, he probably had had head surgery. Two men in very yakuza-looking suits came in with him, and after they ordered they headed straight for the smoking section. I could see the top of the IV over the frosted bottom half of the smoking room glass wall amid a cloud of cigarette smoke. After about an hour, however, the three men came out in an entirely different formation: the young man who had been hooked up to the IV was talking on his cell phone, and one of the men in suits was now pushing the disconnected IV with the needles dangling.

I can't figure it out.

Lastly, though I don't why that man is being hospitalized, I'm sure smoking cannot be good for whatever ailment he has.

P.S. Fabulous "smoking manners" advertisment (which was actually used on Tokyo trains for a while) courtesy of JT. You can see a whole gallery (all five pages!) of these ads here on JT's bizarrely named "SMOKERS STYLE" page.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Feelin' groovy

Groovy is actually the name of the restaurant where we ate this cake. It was fabulous! A chocolate role with raspberry flavored whipped cream inside and two real raspberries on top. Yum!

Friday, May 05, 2006

A thousand wows

Once in a while you have the luxury of reading a book that you just can't put down, and then haunts you for days on end.

A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley is precisely that kind of book. I bought it because I had enjoyed one of her other novels, and seeing as this is a Pulitzer Prize winner I was curious. Wow! All I can say is wow.

The plot is apparently a modern interpretation of King Lear, and I think she does a fabulous job with this. Many of the reviews on Amazon said that she carried it too far and the plot twists were "over the top," but I disagree. In fact, the fascinating thing about this novel is how a natural progression of events set into movement by one small catalyst can lead to such "over the top" developments and how all of our lives can change not only in an instant, but also in a very slow, methodical way that is so subtle it's hard to detect.

A fabulous read, with deliciously deep and complex characters.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Johnny Depp is brilliant

But then again, everyone knew that already, right?

I have been a Johnny Depp fan since Don Juan DeMarco came out, though I must confess it was less because of his acting talent and more because he was so hot in the film. Then I started to discover some of his other work, too, and my appreciation of him grew to include his incredible acting ability. Now, he has been in some films along the way that I think he would have been better off without, The Ninth Gate being one of them, but I have always admired his willingness to try roles similar to nothing he has ever done before, and then have the discipline and talent to really succeed at them.

That is exactly why I had high expectations for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Johnny didn't let me down. A brilliant film!! Bizarre, zany, and fun. Johnny Depp was at his best - a slightly dark, always weird, yet strangely endearing characterization (that at times bore such a resemblance to Michael Jackson that I had to laugh).

Once again Johnny Depp pulls it off, and wonderfully. The more films he makes, the more I feel justified in being a fan. Now I can say it's because he's so talented, not just because he's so darn good-looking. Hee hee.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

At the zoo

I went to visit R in Ibaraki a couple of weekends ago, and both days we were blessed with beautiful weather! It seemed a shame to stay inside during the day, so we decided to go to the local zoo.

Zoos in Japan are often too painful to be enjoyable so I tend to shy away from them. Animals in cages that are way too small with just a cold concrete floor and nothing to keep them occupied and other outdated facilities are very common. But I enjoy animals and zoos, so I gave in to my curiosity and we decided to go.

I was very pleasantly surprised! The enclosures were fairly large, the caretakers were friendly and knowledgeable about the animals, and despite it being a beautiful Saturday afternoon the place was nearly empty. And only 500 yen to get in! I think I'll go back.

The hippos were some of my favorites to watch. I love this photo of the hippos basking in the warmth of the sun. They looked so comfortable and relaxed!

It was also fun to watch them take a dip in their pond.

One of the zoo's residents was a rhinocerous named Maki who would come right up to you if you called her. Her caregiver said that she gave birth to a daughter at the zoo.

There was also a very vocal goose whose name was, for some reason, Kitayama-san. I'm sure there's an interesting story about that.

The zoo had quite a few peacocks, and I was so excited to see one open his feathers while we were there! It was really quite beautiful.

We were also treated to a great view of the Pacifc Ocean.

All in all, a very fun and relaxing day. It was so nice to be outside in the sun and be at a place where you don't have to fight crowds. Hooray for the zoo!

template by