Tuesday, June 20, 2006


I completely forgot to file my US taxes, which were due on June 15th for overseas residents. Oops.

After a little research on the IRS homepage, I found out that you can get up to a six-month extension if you're overseas. Whew.

The Bear Went Over The Mountain

I bought this book after reading about it on the Internet. Warning: although the title makes it sound like a deceptively simple children's book, it is not!! This is not one for the kiddies to read.

This was an exceptionally entertaining tale of a bear who finds a novel manuscript in a briefcase under a tree in the forest and takes it to New York and makes it big as an author. Written by William Kotzwinkle, who also happens to be the author of ET, this is a funny and endearing parody of the publishing world and what it means to succeed in the human world.

A quick read that makes you laugh and makes you think. Definitely worth checking out.

Monday, June 19, 2006

World Cup feeeeeeeever

I love the World Cup.

As many know, the World Cup is really not that big of a deal in the US. Nearly every time there's a conversation about soccer, a Japanese person asks me why soccer is not more popular in the US. I really have no idea. Any theories? I hear a lot of snide comments like, "Americans have no interest in sports they didn't invent," etc., but I like to think there are other explanations.

But I truly love the World Cup. I have very fond memories of the 2002 World Cup when it was held in Japan and Korea and R and I got tickets for the Japan team's three first-round games. I was in Sapporo and he was in Ibaraki, so it was crazy meeting up in Saitama, Yokohama, and Osaka for the games and then going back to work for a few days until the next one. But it was so much fun!!!! (Well, except for me slipping on a wet staircase in Osaka and getting a huge cut along my spine, that is - ha ha.)

Japan hasn't been doing that well this time around and absolutely has to win the game against Brazil coming up in order to advance. The US is holding its own, though it's hard to tell if they'll advance either. But I'm having fun nonetheless.

P.S. The photo above is of one of the amazing saves that Japan's goalkeeper Kawaguchi made during the game against Croatia. I'm personally a fan of Narazaki, another goalkeeper who is on the team but whom Zico doesn't use, but I have to admit Kawaguchi did an amazing job!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Thank you.

To the woman from Lexington, Kentucky tonight who asked me for directions in Tokyo Station while I was waiting for R to come out of the restroom: as we parted ways after our nice conversation, I heard you said to your husband when you thought I was out of earshot, "She was cute!" Thank you! Talking to you and your husband was one of the most pleasant exchanges I've had in a while.

I hope you found the store you were looking for, and I hope you enjoy the rest of your trip. I really wish we had exchanged email addresses because you and your husband seemed like such nice people. You really made my evening. Thank you!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Shanghai photos

This awful cold had me flat on my back at home yesterday, and it has taken me longer than I thought to upload some Shanghai photos. Please start at the bottom and scroll up if you're interested. Unfortunately my photos really don't do the city justice!

Comments are always appreciated. :-)

Shanghai photo 12 - Maglev coming into the station

The Maglev coming into one of its big, beautiful stations. Apparently the Maglev is not generating as much revenue as many had hoped, but I imagine it will stay in operation nonetheless as a symbol of China's progress and development.

Shanghai photo 11 - Starbucks are everywhere in Shanghai

Even smack dab in the middle of Old Town.

Shanghai photo 10 - Entrance of Yuyuan Garden

I was late for a meeting and didn't have time to go into the garden itself, but this is one of the more than 30 buildings in the garden.

Shanghai photo 9 - Traditional medicine store

I walked in and took a look around the inside of the store. Wow! Any kind of ginseng you could want, and lots of exotic things, too, like a whole preserved bird's next with eggs (that had a price tag of nearly a $1,000). Very cool.

Shanghai photo 8 - Central Henan Road at night

This is close to the hotel where I stayed. Even at night the place was incredibly crowded, and the department stores stayed open until 10pm! It was great.

Shanghai photo 7 - Shanghai Hooters waitresses in a group photo

I was walking to a meeting when I passed Hooters. The waitresses were outside taking a group photo for some reason. I took this photo on the sly, which is why it is such poor quality.

Shanghai photo 6 - Oriental Pearl Tower

The Oriental Pearl Tower in Pudong, Shanghai.

Shanghai photo 5 - Crowded Tuesday afternoon on the riverbank

The bank of the Huangpu River was very crowded with tourists even on a Tuesday afternoon.

Shanghai photo 4 - The Bund

Older buildings on the west side of the Huangpu River.

Shanghai photo 3 - One of my unsuccessful attempts to take a photo of myself

As you can tell, I'm not very good at self-portraits.

Shanghai photo 2 - Pudong from the other side of the Huangpu River

The famous skyline of Shanghai.

Shanghai photo 1 - Maglev from Pudong Airport

This is the inside of the Maglev train from Pudong Airport. The train goes up to 431 kilometers an hour! I couldn't get a clear photo of when it said 431. :-) (For American readers, that is about 267 miles an hour.)

The train is not actually a "train," but instead it floats on a "track" of magnetic field. This site has a good explanation of a Maglev.

Monday, June 12, 2006


Was fantastic!!! I just wish I had been able to stay longer, and I wish it had been for fun and not a business trip.

Will be uploading photos soon. Unfortunately I've caught a cold...

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

I'm off

I'm off to Shanghai today!! Too bad it's only for three days and chances are I won't get to see anything in the guidebook because the conference I'll be attending will take up most of my time. :-(

But nonetheless, I'm excited. My first time in China!

Hope everyone (yes, all three or four of my readers - hee hee) is well! See you later on in the week.

Monday, June 05, 2006


I had what was truly the perfect weekend. R and I put together a dresser that finally arrived from Ikea (thank you for your help, R!), we relaxed and watched a video over popcorn and chu-hi on Saturday night, we tooled around at Ito-yokado and had fun looking at the new keitais that are out, and we ate lots of good food like pizza and oyako-don. No stress about studying or work (though a deadline for a project is fast approaching and I'm a little worried about meeting it), but just relaxation and fun. Truly the perfect weekend.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


I just can't get enough of this album.

Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong apparently did a lot of music together, but this is the only CD of the two of them I have. And it is fabulous!! I have been listening to it every day for the past month, and I'm still not tired of it (and I've owned this CD since 1998!).

Two geniuses performing the music of another genius. Highly recommended.

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