Monday, December 22, 2008

The journey begins

Well, my decluttering rampage over the weekend was somewhat successful. I still have a ways to go, but I think I made a dent! Better than nothing, right? :-)

I am now at Narita Airport. I was supposed to have left four hours ago to go home to the US, but my flight was cancelled because of bad weather on the west coast. After a run-around with the Northwest Airlines customer service number (who told me I had to contact my travel agent to find another flight) and a frustrating call to the travel agent (who told me only Northwest Airlines could help me!) I finally got excellent help from three wonderful Northwest coutner agents who took an hour and a half to try to find an alternate flight for me. I will definitely be sending NWA a customer comment card about how helpful those three were!

In the end I can leave today, but I have to spend 14 hours in Honolulu and then another 11 hours in Seattle! 14 hours in Honolulu normally wouldn't be bad at all, but considering that I am dressed for ultimate winter weather and wearing ankle boots, I wish it were under different circumstances! Oh well. I also called a friend in Seattle, and it sounds like she might be able to come meet me at the airport! So this little unexpected trip might not be so bad after all.

I have a long journey ahead of me, so I bought two extra shirts at the Uniqlo in Narita. Too bad i won't be able to shower for more than 48 hours!

Any tips for things I can do in Honolulu in 14 hours wearing ankle boots and a turtleneck while suffering from jet lag?????

Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Decluttering madness!!!!

Our apartment is definitely not tidy. It isn't dirty, but it is very cluttered. Part of it is because it is too small (like 99% of the apartments in this country, so I can't use that as an excuse), and part of it is because we both have too much stuff.

With the new year coming up, I am going to try to do something about this! I won't get the whole apartment done today, but I am determined to make a dent. I found this great list at the site:

Things to ask yourself as you get rid of your clutter:
- Do I love this item?
- Have I used it in the past year?
- Is it really garbage?
- Do I have another one that is better?
- Should I really keep two?
- Does it have sentimental value that causes me to love it?
- Or does it give me guilt and make me sad when I see this item?

Wish me luck!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Favorite websites

Hope everyone had a great Tuesday!

I was thinking last night about the websites I usually visit and how I tend to have a few that are my favorites. There is so much out on the internet that sometimes it can be overwhelming, but here are my favorite sites that I check regularly!

I am wayyyyyyyyy behind with uploading photos, but I love Flickr! It's so much fun to share photos with family and friends this way.

- and
I use for books as much as possible to save on shipping costs, and I have been able to sell quite a few used books on there, too! For everything else, though, I look at These two sites get way too much of my money...

I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook....there is so much cyberdrama that happens on there. But it is a great way to keep in touch.

I check this site before I buy any new makeup products to see what people are saying about them! I love the product reviews, and I have written quite a few myself. Great site!

I love to "window shop" (ha ha) at this site because their jewelry is so adorable! Very creative designs. My friend has the wishbone necklace and it is so sweet!!! Perfect place to daydream.

Hmmm...that is my list of the top of my head. What are your favorite sites?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The two posts below

The two posts below are two designs I made for a digital camcorder that I want. Which design do you like? The photo I took on the beach at Phuket or the photo of my favorite dog in the world (my mom's dog). You can click on the photos to see bigger sizes...though then you will also see the price, which is definitely not cheap...

Flip Mino Camcorder

Flip Mino Camcorder with Personalized Design - Available only at Check out this unique Flip Mino design. The Flip Mino camcorder combines remarkable video quality in a pocket-sized package. Now personalizable - create yours

Flip Mino Camcorder

Flip Mino Camcorder with Personalized Design - Available only at Check out this unique Flip Mino design. The Flip Mino camcorder combines remarkable video quality in a pocket-sized package. Now personalizable - create yours

The experiment has already failed

So far my experiment has already failed seeing as I didn't write a post yesterday - oops! But I have an excuse...I was at the office until 8pm and I had an awful migraine, so I just came home and crashed.

And tonight it is unfortunately already past my bedtime so I think it is time for me to turn off the computer.

In other news, has anyone read any good books lately? I read Then She Found Me by Elinor Lipman, and I really liked it. Apparently it is now a film with Helen Hunt and Better Midler...wonder when it will come out in Japan?!

Monday, December 08, 2008


Unfortunately this blog has become somewhat of a monthly update since I am so bad at updating! So I have a new strategy for today...I have lots of things to update on, but I am going to do only one at a time in the hopes that I will come back tomorrow and update again! We'll see if it works.


Guam in November was AWESOME! Really, truly great. I can't believe I didn't go sooner. American stores, American prices, and best of all, American sizes!! All just three and a half hours away. R and I had a great time shopping, snorkeling, and eating, and just enjoying the beautiful weather.

Thanks to Gina's blog, I had a list of places I wanted to go, and we were able to hit nearly all of them! Micronesia Mall was GREAT! Thank you, Gina!

Our hotel was the Guam Plaza, which was by no means luxurious. But we were barely at the hotel anyway, and it was in a fabulous location for first-timers to Guam. And because the hotel wasn't luxurious, we were able to score a really cheap package plan through HIS! So no complaints at all!

We will definitely go back. Even R, who claims to hate shopping, had a great time at the stores and of course on the beach. Can't wait to go again!

P.S. To any fellow Shu Uemura addicts out there....the price of Shu Uemura cleansing oil at the DFS Galleria in Guam is HALF the price you pay in Japan! Definitely cheaper than anywhere else.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Another wild Saturday night

It's 11:00pm on a Saturday night, and here I am the computer surfing the internet and watching DVDs in my pajamas while drinking a beer. R is in the next room trying to catch up on some zzz's because he hasn't been able to sleep well the past week and is exhausted.

Yes, it's another crazy Saturday night - ha.

Actually, I haven't had a beer at home by myself in a long time....a very long time! But I found out today that the sharp pain I am feeling in my neck when I turn it a certain way is actually a sprain, and the doctor told me I had to take it easy. "Your disks in your neck aren't in great condition anyway, and I'm guessing you got really tired this week and then this happened. You can't get yourself this's going to go straight to your neck every time," he told me. I have been seeing him for five years, so I trust his judgment.

So not being one to disobey doctor's orders, I "took it easy" tonight by having R meet me at the station after my doctor appointment and whisk me off (in his tiny little power blue car...I love that car - that's a topic for another post) to our favorite Indian restaurant. We stuffed ourselves with curry (which gets better every time we go there!) and samosas, and then once we got home I immediately plopped myself on the couch with DVDs.

Without going into too many details, last week at work was hellish, though miraculously I got a lot of work done so I have quite a bit to show for all of the overtime hours. Next week promises to be even MORE hellish (as if that were possible!) and I have meetings starting at 6pm or later every day except Friday. ARGH. Meetings starting at 6pm means that if I am *lucky* I get to leave the office at 8pm. ARGH.

There aren't enough hours in the day.

But Friday I really *must* leave early because....we are taking a spontaneous trip to Guam!!! Yay!

Hope everyone is having a good weekend.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Where's the beef?

So I read an article about how Eva Longoria is apparently now "defending" her "new, rounder figure" (as if she is its lawyer or something....). The photo offered as proof of this was:

Hmmm...I see nothing here that needs defending. In fact, if she is getting crap for looking like this, I am surprised I haven't been arrested by now for disturbing the peace.

Sick, sick standards of beauty for women!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Another great video

Another too-funny TIna Fey video. I especially love the "lifelines" bit! :-)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Too funny

This video cracks me up!!! Tina Fey is hilarious.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


On my way home from work tonight I noticed an unexpected thing. In the middle of the packed train, I found myself admiring how pretty the lights on the buildings passed looked as they hit the surface of the river as the train passed.

This is unexpected because for most of the last four years I have been in hellish jobs, and my evening train rides home were most often spent trying to calm myself down from the stress and frustration of my day and push all those work-related thoughts out of my head so my evening could be as relaxing as possible. I almost never succeeded.

My current job is certainly not perfect, and there are some things about it that are highly stressful and frustrating. But for some reason I feel like I have more capacity to enjoy things now than I have had in a long time. Maybe it's not just the job...maybe it's just that the stars are aligned right...maybe it's just that I've gotten older and learned how to deal better. But despite all the work-related stress of my new job and all of the non-work-related stressful events that have happened over the last year and are still not over, I finally am able to stop and smell the flowers. It's as if my mind has room to breathe. I just have to learn to maintain this through whatever other stress that comes my way. I still have a lot of flowers to smell.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


It's been a busy couple of weeks! Lots of changes: R is changing jobs (more on that later), I am still getting used to my new job, etc., etc. So how best to deal with these changes? To take a super cheap trip to Hokkaido! :-)
R and I both lived in Hokkaido (that's where we met) and it is super relaxing for both of us to go there and hang out. This time we spent some time in Sapporo and some in Hidaka. Beautiful, amazing weather the whole time and fabulous food made for a great trip. We spent a night at an onsen (and a cheap one at that!), went horseback riding, went to a lake, and more. So much fun!

Blue, blue sky

Wide open spaces and flowers


P.S. The photos above were taken with our new camera!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Quick reminder

A quick reminder to all Americans living overseas to please register to vote! It is very easy to do from this website:
Deadlines are coming up, so please act quickly!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Where did my three-day weekend go?!

Well, the three-day weekend is almost over. Hard to believe it went by so quickly!

R and I had a nice weekend. We ran errands, did some shopping, ate at a couple of our favorite restaurants, and cleaned up around the apartment a little.

I also (finally) finished embroidering a towel I had been working on for a while! I'm still a beginner embroiderer, so my work isn't very precise, but it was a lot of fun. The designs are from Sublime Stitching.

An apple jumping for joy. I don't know what she is so happy about, but I would rather have a happy apple than a sad one.

I am actually not a fan of onions, especially when raw, but I do think they make a rather yummy pair with carrots, especially in stews and soups.

These two citrus characters just brought to mind retirees in sunny Florida learning the cha cha and having fun in the sun.

I also embroidered a tomato, but it has a small stain next to it on the towel and the picture isn't very pretty.

So it is back to work tomorrow, but it's a short week! Yay! Hope everyone had a nice weekend.

P.S. My thoughts go out to everyone who works at Lehman Brothers. It's gotta suck to have your company file for bankruptcy and then be left in the lurch. I emailed a friend who works there and his response was, "It's a sad situation." I know Lehman has a lot of dedicated and talented employees, so it truly is a sad situation.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

In a funk

I don't what it is, but lately I have really been in a funk. Is it because the past two months have been incredibly busy? Is it because I'm tired and I am trying to adjust to a new schedule getting up earlier for work? Is it some kind of post-job change stress catching up with me? Not sure, but I wish I could find a way to recharge myself. This weekend is a three-day weekend, though, and it might be just what I need!

In other news, H&M opened in Ginza today! I was actually in Ginza to meet some friends and was tempted to go, but I talked myself out of it. I knew it would be ultra-crowded and I wasn't in the mood to go be pushed around by strangers. But all the people in Ginza with H&M bags made me really, really want to go! I *really* hope they have a decent selection of sizes.

Today I met up with my former boss and two former coworkers. He has left the company and will be moving to northern Japan for another job. We dished about the rumors and gossip we have all heard about people in the much has happened at that place! It's truly like a soap opera, and I am glad I got out. It was not a healthy place to be, despite all the amazing people who are there. I did make a lot of really great friends there, though, so I don't regret working there at all. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right? :-)

Monday, September 01, 2008


I'm watching the Prime Minister declare his intention to resign on TV right now, and I really don't get it. What happened? Just today he was in a light grey pantsuit promoting disaster awareness! Why doesn't he just dissolve the Cabinet if he's not happy with the LDP?

Another Prime Minister without a backbone??

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I'm a horrible blogger.

Ugh. I am such a horrible blogger. So much has happened since my lazy days of summer in June making sun dried tomatoes, but instead of writing about that I will write about something totally mundane: broccoli.

This is a photo of broccoli out on the town. Back in May before I changed jobs, on my way to work I transferred to the Hibiya Line at Hibiya Station one rainy morning. As I walked down the crowded platform I thought I saw an empty seat on the bench, which I was determined to get because there are never any open seats at Hibiya Station in the mornings. But when I got closer I saw that it was just some broccoli hanging out. Broccoli at 8:30am in a station that has absolutely no supermarkets around it... I wish broccoli could talk so I could ask it how it got there.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Gyoza galore

Gyoza galore
Originally uploaded by deena_in_tokyo
R and I were on a short road trip this weekend and we drove through part of Tochigi last night. Tochigi is famous for gyoza so this was our dinner. Yum!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Some of the best buys I have ever made

1. My region-free DVD player that I bought on the internet for 5000 yen. It is made by some no-name manufacturer that I have never heard of and it is mainly flimsy plastic, but it has seen me through over four years of almost constant use. Buying this really expanded my options DVD-wise and has allowed me to see a lot of shows not available on DVD in Japan. Thank you, cheapo DVD player!!

2. Diner Dash 2, a computer game I bought at WalMart in the US for $10. This has provided hours of mindless (and I mean really mindless) but great fun. I love this game!!

3. My clothes dryer. I bought this used for 10,000 yen four and a half years ago, and it has been well worth it. It is getting old and could give up the ghost at any time, but it has made my life so much easier, especially in the rainy season! Of course electric clothes dryers aren't exactly environmentally friendly...but my sanity was worth it, especially when I lived in Urayasu in a little tiny shoebox with no room to hang clothes. Thank you, clothes dryer! I look forward to more years together.

4. Our dishwasher. It takes up a lot of counter space and it wasn't cheap, but it has more than paid for itself in reducing the number of arguments R and I have about the dishes!! Unfortunately it is not as high-powered as I would like and sometimes we have to wash a few cups twice, but it has made things much more peaceful between us when it comes to chores. Worth its weight in gold!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Pleasant surprise

Until last week I had been using the same Toshiba Dynabook laptop for five years, and every time I had used it in the past year I wanted to throw it out the window because it was so slow. One of the mouse buttons on the computer (hard to explain) broke, so I could no longer do right-clicks. Then one day last week it took me several minutes to open Internet Explorer, and that was the final straw.

R and I headed to Bic Camera and found that the computer I had my eye on for a while had gone down in price! It still was a large chunk of money, though, so we tried to negotiate with the sales clerk to get the price down further (tacky, I know), but all we got for our efforts was a 1GB memory stick and a Toshiba note pad (not bad, I guess). But I went ahead and bought the computer anyway.

I took a week to transfer data and clear files off of my old computer, which took an unbearably long time to do. When everything was complete, we took it to Sofmap to see if they would buy it. It was dirty, and as I said one of the buttons was broken, so I told myself I would be happy if they would just take it off my hands for free. Much to my surprise, they paid me 22,000 yen for it!!!! Wow...completely unexpected, but very welcome.

Needless to say, dinner was on me today. :-)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

In a tomato mood

Tomatoes are everywhere right now. I am not a vegetable (fruit?) expert, but they must be in season.

The tomatoes I see in the supermarket have all been so beautiful (and on sale to boot!) that I can't resist buying them.'s tomato week at our house!

Yesterday I made curry-flavored tomato ratatouille for dinner. Today I got inspired by a TV show I saw this morning and decided to try my hand at making dried tomatoes. The results looked like this:

The one I sampled was quite good!

Dinner will be spaghetti with olive oil, garlic, parsley, guessed it! Dried tomatoes.

I also made tomato bread, which I think we'll be having for dinner as well.

This was shot to hide the slice at the back that I cut off because I couldn't resist taking a sample. I wish I could link to a scent, because the aroma of this baking was fantastic!

Unfortunately I am not skilled enough to turn tomatoes into a dessert...any ideas? :-)

P.S. Thank you for the wishes for my friend. She had a 13-hour surgery last Thursday that was apparently more complicated than the doctors aniticipated. She is doing well, however, and sent me an email today from her phone!

Monday, May 26, 2008


Well, yet again it's been forever and a day since I have updated my blog. I won't even try to make excuses.

My friend who found out she has a brain tumor is doing ok. She was hospitalized for a while, and she is now at home resting until her surgery on June 5. She is understandably nervous about the surgery, as I guess with brain tumors the doctors don't really know how bad it is until they get in and try to take it out. The doctors can't give her any guarantees about paralysis or anything else that might result. We'll see. She is a really positive person, thank goodness, and it is really amazing to watch her go through this with such grace.

In other news, I am changing jobs. My last day at work is June 3 and then my next gig starts on July 1. I'm nervous about the new job, but it's no use looking back now that I have made my decision. Wish me luck!

On an unrelated note, I read with sadness that ex-TBS announcer Ako Kawada commited suicide today. I really didn't know who she was, but I do recognize her face from TV. The article said that her blog had been filled with entries for the past few weeks about how down she was feeling and about how she didn't want to even go to work anymore. I can't help but think that this woman probably suffered from depression and her life might have been saved if someone had encouraged her to get help. Of course, it's very possible that someone did try and she refused, but either way it's sad.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

With wishes for a friend

I have been at my current job for a year, and while it has its ups and downs and I'm not sure how long I will stay, I will never regret joining the company because of two wonderful friends I have made there, S and T. All three of us joined at the same time, and we hit it off immediately. We support each other, cheer each other up, and encourage each other to take on new challenges. It feels as though we have known each other for years. We are truly great friends.

Today one of those friends (T) got some bad news.

I wasn't at my desk when it happened, but apparently this morning T was suddenly unable to see out of one eye and felt nauseous and collapsed. S (who sits closeby) rushed to her desk and called an ambulance. T was rushed to the hospital, the right side of her body numb, and vomiting and unable to see the whole trip. S went with her and called T's family.

This evening T's mother called to let us know that T would not be staying overnight in the hospital. However, an MRI showed a brain tumor...

A brain tumor?! How is this possible???? T is still in her 30s and one of the most genki and healthy people I know.

T is going to have more tests done on Friday to determine if the tumor is malignant or not. While it is of course too early to know what is going to happen, S and I are shocked.

My birthday is coming up and R keeps asking me what I want. I couldn't decide on anything, but after today I know the only thing I want: for T to get well.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Cambodia, day three highlights

Our third day in Cambodia started leisurely. We got up and enjoyed breakfast at the hotel (included in our package) and then hung out at the pool!

Besides for the two obnoxious old men there, we had fun just hanging out and swimming.

After lounging at the pool, we headed for Tonle Sap, the largest lake in Southeast Asia. It was about a 30 minute drive out of the city on extremely bumpy, dusty roads. I'm glad we were in a car and not a tuk-tuk like most of the other tourists we saw on the way!

Tonle Sap has a floating village with over 5000 people living on the lake. Most of them make their living from fishing, but I imagine most of them are extremely poor.

The lake is fairly popular with tourists (though there weren't nearly as many as at the other sites in Siem Reap), so boats with villagers selling drinks and souvenirs pull up next to the tourist boats and try to pressure them to buy something. This was a boat that was just leaving ours. Notice that the little girl has a snake around her neck! She wanted people to give her money for taking pictures. The little boy rowing the boat was old enough to be in school and it was a weekday...

The lake also has a place with crocodiles!

It was hard to capture it on camera, but the lake was a really beautiful place.

On the road back to the city we passed numerous houses. This was a typical one (albeit a nicer one), and I think it speaks for itself. Cambodia is not a wealthy country. In fact, according to JICA, 80% of the population lives on less than $2 a day.

We then went to the Old Market in Siem Reap (forgot to take any pictures!) and then headed to dinner. We decided to splurge at a really nice place, but even then it was only $11 a person for a full-course meal, including this amazing fruit salad.

Unfortunately that was our last day, and after dinner we headed to the airport. We had an uneventful flight to Seoul, but the Seoul airport was freezing and the five hours we had to wait in the Seoul airport (from 4:30am to 9:30am...that's what you get for buying a cheap ticket!) were very, very cold.
My impressions of Cambodia: some of the friendliest people I have ever encountered, fabulous food, unforgettable sights, and a reminder that there is so much in this world is that is unfair. I would love to go back, and next time maybe for a short-term volunteer opportunity instead of just sightseeing.
It was hard to go back to work after this vacation...

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Cambodia, day two highlights

Day two started with breakfast at the hotel, and then it was off to see more sights!

We spent most of the day on the outskirts of Siem Reap. This was a scene from the road out of the city after we got past Angkor Wat. Buses, donkeys, elephants, bicycles, etc... you see anything and everything on Cambodian roads.

We then climbed Pre Rup, a temple older than Angkor Wat. It was still early in the day and the climb up the temple felt great in the sun.

Next was a visit to Banteay Samre, a temple built almost like a smaller-scale Angkor Wat. This was a fun place to explore, but what I remember most is the little girl outside the gates trying to sell scarves. She couldn't have been more than seven, but her smile and her enthusiasm were signs of natural-born charm that set her apart from all the other kids we saw in Cambodia peddling stuff to tourists. I wound up buying a scarf from her for a dollar, though I later wondered if I should have just given her a dollar and told her to go to school. Dilemma.

Last on the itinerary for the morning was Banteay Srei. This was an amazing place because of the beautiful, intricate carvings that cover it. Hard to believe these carvings have been around more than one thousand years.

It was then back to the city (Siem Reap) for lunch. We had amok fish, a steamed fish dish that is at nearly every restaurant in Cambodia. We were lazy so we ate at the restaurant in the hotel, which was quite overpriced. But even at ridiculous hotel prices, we had fish, curry, rice, and drinks for $8 a person.

After lunch we spent some time at the pool, and then headed into the city for shopping and to search for a restaurant for dinner! We got there in a tuk-tuk, a motorcycle-powered rickshaw. This was the view from the back. Unfortunately this picture doesn't capture the crazy traffic that we were in the middle of...lane lines that are more suggestions that rules, horns blaring, dust, people crossing the street right in front of cars....I LOVED it!!

As we headed into town in our tuk-tuk and watched the sun go down over Siem Reap, I almost felt like bursting with joy. I had *finally* made it to Cambodia, a place I had been wanting to visit for so long. There I was with R on a warm night, enjoying ourselves immensely and amazed at the youthfulness and energy of this country that had undergone such a remarkable transformation. I felt extremely lucky to be there, and more than that, unbelievably happy.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Cambodia, day one highlights

Rather than starting another blog post about how I don't post enough, I thought I would go ahead and just jump into some photos of our trip to Cambodia!

The morning after we arrived, we got up early and went to watch the sun rise over Angkor Wat.

It was a clear day and so warm....such a nice change from the wind, rain, and cold in Tokyo:

We then went to Bayon, which was truly an incredible place. Amazing reliefs showing daily life, huge towers with faces representing the 49 cities of Cambodia that existed when Bayon was built, and just really amazing architecture.

This group was posing for photos with tourists, but I liked this picture of them talking together better.

We then had mango shaved ice. It was much bigger than we expected, and very yummy!

Next was Ta Prohm, a site that has apparently been left in pretty much the same condition it was found in. This place, with trees growing over the walls, gives you a sense of just how old the ruins are.

It was then back to Angkor Wat for a full viewing of the site.

We watched the sun set from Phnom Bakheng. The best part of the place was the view of Angkor Wat in the distance, and the fabulous people watching - there were lots of people waiting for the sun to go down. The climb up the hill was pretty tough with the steep steps, and the way down was even harder!

I have lots more photos of day one, but those are the highlights. Oh, and here's a bonus shot for anyone interested:

While walking around I stepped in cow dung...and it was fresh...and green! This photo was taken after I wiped off as much as I could. I washed my shoes after I got back, but I'm afraid my shoes will never be the same. A little souvenir for myself?!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

It's been a long time

It has yet once again been forever since I've written anything on my blog. I'm surprised I even remembermy Blogger password!

Things have been busy. My boss told me I need to "work more overtime," which is absolutely ridiculous as I already work more hours than are necessary, not to mention the fact that I get to the office every day before anyone else in my section (not that it's a content or anything, but give me some credit!). Work just generally sucks. Time to make another move? I haven't decided yet, but I do know that there is no light-waiting-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel where I am now. It's this or nothing.

One very bright spot, though, was the trip that R and I took to Cambodia last week! I will be posting photos for sure. If you haven't been to Cambodia, I highly recommend going!

Monday, February 25, 2008

I'm in love.

Back in December I had time to kill at Narita so I stopped in one of the duty-free shops. I saw the Shu Uemura counter when I walked in the store, so I decided to take a look around. I wound up buying a mini-size bottle of their cleansing oil since I had read so much about it in magazines, and I must has made washing my face fun!

I have always had slightly oily skin so I have shied away from oil cleansers, but this is different. It makes my skin feel so smooth and soft after I use it, and it removes makeup easily and completely. And there's no need to cleanse again after using it! Perfect. I am in love.

The only problem is...*ahem*....the price. It's an expensive habit, so I had better not fall too far.

Friday, February 01, 2008

It's February

Given that it is now past midnight on Thursday, January 31st, it is now officially February!

This past month has been challenging, and all the stressful stuff that has been happening at work has given me a stomachache (literally, unfortunately...I hope this isn't the beginning of an ulcer).

But!! One must look on the bright side. I think R and I might go to Kyoto this weekend (haven't decided yet). We have an trip to an onsen with friends planned this month. And every day of February is another step closer to spring.


Every year around Valentine's Day I suddenly panic. Why? Because, as those of you who live in Japan know, Valentine's Day is (mysteriously) a day when *women* give chocolate to *men*, including men they work with but have no romantic feelings for (which is called "giri-choco"). At my last two jobs all of the females in the office banded together and said we would not buy the giri-choco, which has eliminated much of the headache that Valentine's Day used to be for me. But one source of panic remains.....what to get for R?!

Although he is slowly developing an appreciation for sweets, for the most part R is not a huge fan of chocolate or candy (as I write this I have to wonder how we have stayed together, because I could LIVE on chocolate and candy and be perfectly happy). If I buy him chocolate on Valentine's Day he thanks me, but then it tends to just sit around with only a few pieces eaten (in symbolic thanks, no doubt). I then feel upset that the chocolate is being wasted and that I wind up eating the chocolate that I bought for him, and I always feel more upset that I can never think of something better to give him that he would like but that would still be Valentine' s Day-ish.

Hmmmm....any suggestions? A couple of weeks ago I made carrot cupcakes and he gulped those down like they were going out of style, so I could make those. Decorating them with hearts or something would be cute, but come to think of it, although he loved the cupcakes he didn't like the frosting I made because it was "too sweet." *Sigh* How did two people with such very different tastes get together????

Monday, January 28, 2008

The dinner problem

Yes, once again I have gone forever without blogging. I have no excuse and therefore I won't even try making one.


Things have been good since R and I started living together in October. We work well as a team (for the most part) so I can truly say it's been a fun experience to get settled in, work out where to put furniture, etc. The apartment is of course a work in progress (and probably will be for a while), but it's coming together.

The one thing we haven't worked out yet, though, is dinner. Both of us work, and unfortunately both of us work in offices where it is considered a slow day if you are able to leave at 6pm. I have really gotten fed up with this mentality (as has R), but I will save that rant for another day.

But since neither of us can really leave the office until 7:00 or so, it is usually about 8:00 when we get home. And the prospect of coming home and then starting dinner, meaning that we won't eat until around 9:00, is not appealing for either of us. (And that doesn't even figure in time to stop at the store and buy ingredients...)

So what is the solution? We have pretty much been eating out every night. This is of course not entirely economical, but our neighborhood has a lot of cheap restaurants. But more than that, I don't think it is very healthy. We need to eat more vegetables and fresh foods and reduce oil and fat, which is hard to do when you eat out every day.

What does everyone else do? Make meals ahead of time and freeze them? Use a crock pot? I'd like to hear your ideas!!

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