Monday, August 03, 2009

Losing Kei

I finally read "Losing Kei" by Suzanne Kamata. Wow!! What a great read. The description of family life in Japan was pretty spot on in my opinion, and I liked how the herione didn't do much complaining about life in Japan but was quite accommodating until she couldn't take it anymore. I think those of you who have lived in Japan for a while and/or have Japanese inlaws or almost-inlaws will probably read this and be both amazed that it is so realistic and scared because of the very real subject matter (lack of joint custody and what happens in Japan when parents divorce). If anyone is interested in reading this, please leave me your email address in the comments and I will be happy to send you this book!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Desperately in need of sleep

I have never had problems sleeping. I have always been the one who can sleep anywhere...planes, trains, floors, literally anywhere. But for the past two weeks I have not had a single night of satisfying sleep. I either have trouble falling asleep or I sleep so lightly that I wake up in the morning feeling as though I have been run over by a steamroller because I am so tired.

Of course it doesn't help that things at the office have been busy and last week I didn't get home until 9:30/10:00pm. Eating dinner at that hour and trying to sleep well is impossible! OH, and then my boss had the gall to tell me that he wants me to get to the office earlier because "everyone else does." What a load of crap. So being stubborn me, I decided I will do my best to get there five minutes earlier than I do more, no less. I am there on time and considering how many of my evenings the office gets they certainly don't need any more of my mornings than absolutely necessary.

Anyway, I should try to go to sleep now. Hope everyone has a great week!

Monday, June 29, 2009

This commercial always brings a smile to my face

Partly because I remember it and partly because it's just so sweet.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


I grew up in the midst of the Michael Jackson mania. He dominated most of the airwaves of my childhood, and I remember several friends who decorated their binders and peechees (now there's a word you don't hear any more!) with Michael Jackson stickers. I was never a huge fan, but given the era I grew up in, it was impossible to *not* be a fan.

Despite all of the controversy and all of the bizarre stuff he did, the world has lost of its great performers. RIP. I hope he is in peace and happy.

Sunday, June 07, 2009


R and I have a party to attend tonight and there is going to be lots of food, so when we got hungry around lunch we wanted to eat something light. Because it's such a nice day, we decided to go to the McDonald's nearby with outdoor seating and get just a single hamburger each.

After we ate I headed back inside with our tray to dump our garbage. As I approached the garbage can there was a woman with her back to me standing right in front of it. At first I thought she was throwing something away, but she was actually just standing there, so I said sumimasen (excuse me). She didn't seem to hear me, so I said it again. That time she heard me and looked back at me. Then she proceeded to take two steps back right into me, the whole time looking me in the eye!!!! The woman purposely walked right into me, in other words.


I got angry and just pushed past her, but it bothers me. I have had these kind of things happen to me SO MUCH in Japan....the idiotic woman on the train who took one of my gloves that had fallen on the floor and purposely dropped it between the platform and the train (on the tracks!) as she got off, with me saying "Sumimasen!!!!" the whole time, for example. Oh, that made me angry!!!!! I have no idea why people do these things...generally there are people (99% of the time women!!!!) who I have had no previous conversation or interaction with. ARGH! This type of behavior would be unthinkable where I am from.

SO angry! Had to get that off my chest!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Vivir lo nuestro

I heard this song this other day in a Thai restaurant in Tokyo, of all places, and it brought back memories!

This was on a CD I borrowed from a friend way back when, and it is a fabulous version of this song. India looks great, but Marc Anthony looks like he belongs in Akihabara (nothing against Akihabara). Anyway, ignore the video and enjoy the song!

I'm alive.

Thank you, Illahee, for checking in! I am alive and things are ok. My lack of blogging has been partly because of my laziness, but mostly because it's been busy around here. Some of the fun has included:

- my birthday!
- crazy, crazy times at work, with lots of meetings starting at 6:30/7:00pm (which I absolutely detest), sometimes on the same day that we have had meetings starting at 8:00am. UGH. This week is another crazy week. Any suggestions on how I can get my boss/coworkers to realize that working efficiently is just as (and probably more) important than how many hours you are at the office?!
- studying for a test that I am supposed to take on June 7th. It's on financial concepts, and given that I am only 1/3 through the reading I somehow doubt it will even be worth my time to go. Better aim for the next test date in December (sigh...)
- etc.

When I list it up it really doesn't seem like much, but given that my job takes the bulk of my days and nights, that right there leaves me little free time. (Sorry to complain! But I am starting to get tired of work, work, work....)

I will try to be better about blogging! How has everyone been?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Fun bento site

I have been trying to take a bento to work once a week for both health/financial reasons. I did a little research on the internet for bento ideas and I found this site:

Click through the pages to do a "bento simulation." Kind of fun!

Sunday, March 29, 2009


I am going to a cooking class with a friend today. I have been to cooking classes in Japan before and have generally not liked them because of the emphasis on doing everything "right": the "right" way to cut veggies, the "right" way to hold things, etc. But when my friend invited me I thought I would give it a try.
Cooking classes here require you to bring an apron, and I didn't have one so R and I went to the 100 yen store yesterday and bought one. The picture above is R modeling it in his pajamas.
How does everyone feel about aprons? I had never seen a person in real life wear an apron (even on fingerpainting day at school we wore smocks, not aprons) until I came to Japan. None of my female relatives wore them, and even if they did I'm sure they wouldn't wear one in public. But in Japan housewives wear them a the supermarket, to the bus stop to drop off their kids in the morning...etc. It seems to be one of the many "uniforms" Japan has. A lot of women in my office wear them all day at work, though I honestly have no idea why...the dirtiest things people in our office handle are their computer keyboards.
I grew up viewing an apron as nothing more than a symbol of female oppresion and outdated gender roles. But the lack of negative connotations associated with the apron here in Japan has forced me to reexamine that. I will never wear one every day, but I am no longer against wearing one when cooking something messy or when cleaning. I do think, however, that aprons should not be limited to women only, which is why we bought an apron that is unisex enough for R to wear, too. :-)

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Yet another high-level government official resigns. It's becoming a trend in this country!

I'm really not sure what is "borderline" about this at all. An elected government official sells $6 million worth of stock in a company his brother owns in a private deal at almost twice the market price, all while he is supposed to be prohibited from trading stocks because he is a ministry (of finance, no less!) official? Sounds pretty clearcut to me. I do find it funny, however, that there is no penalty for breaking this rule...

I might start taking bets: "Which high-level official will resign next?!" Anyone up for it? Ha ha.


Testing mobile blogging

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wonder what they'll do for Easter? :-)

There is a super old kimono shop near our apartment that is always empty. I am amazed that they stay in business.

I love walking by the shop, however, because of the display window:

Valentine's Day:


How cool is it that they have a Halloween window display?!?!
If I ever need a kimono, I am definitely going here.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Random things about me #22-#25

22. Japanese TV simutaneously disgusts and delights me. There is some great stuff, and some really awful stuff, and not much in between.

23. I *still* don't understand why central heating is not standard in Japan. Can someone please explain this to me?!

24. My ideal Saturday afternoon is a brand new magazine and a warm, frothy latte in a sunny, quiet cafe.

25. I miss my family and friends in the US and I am truly thankful for all the technological conveniences that allow me to keep in touch with them!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Random things about me #19-#21

19. For some reason people in Japan always tell me that I look like Meg Ryan or Winona Ryder. I don't think I look anything like them.

20. I have an "outtie" bellybutton.

21. So far the most amazing place I have been to is Cambodia. Incredible things to see, friendly people, yummy food and a laid-back pace of life that was such a welcome change from Tokyo.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Random things about me #17-#18

17. I lived in Sapporo for three years and it was a fabulous experience. Friendly people, awesome sights, incredible food, and some great friends. The city also gets 18 feet of snow a year, and surviving three winters of snow, snow, snow and ice, ice, ice was a great learning experience. People can truly adjust to just about anything.

18. I had numerous babysitting jobs from middle school throughout college, and I really enjoyed them. I taught day camps for four-year olds during summer vacation, nannied at Halloween parties, worked in a church nursery on Sundays, etc. I am also a Red Cross-certified babysitter and have the ID card to prove it. :-) I often wonder about the kids I babysat and what they are doing now.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Random things about me #14-#16

14. Living in Japan was at first a bad influence on my body image because I couldn't find clothes/underwear/shoes/anything that fit me like it should, but I have stopped worrying about this and have found ways to get around it (certain stores with clothes cut to fit me, shopping in the US/Guam, etc.). I now have a much better body image than before.

15. When I am hungry I get cranky. Very cranky.

16. I used to hate coffee. Now I have to control myself.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Random things about me #11-#13

11. I work in a field (finance) I swore I would never work in. This has turned out to be quite challenging and interesting, though, and I somewhat enjoy it (despite myself).

12. The movie "Nothing to Lose" makes me laugh no matter how many times I see it.

13. I started pilates a year ago and I love it, but I am the least flexible person in my class.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Random things about me #10

10. My family always had pets when I was growing up, and I love dogs and cats. We bought a TV recently with a hard disk recorder and the first show I programmed it to record was "Pochi Tama," a show on Friday nights all about pets (last week's show included a French Bulldog who uses a wheelchair, a toy poodle who could do slam dunks, and a 28 year old cat named Kuro who is still as healthy as ever). I am a sucker for this stuff.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Random things about me #7-#9

7. I can't stand blood and guts in movies. I cover my eyes. I also can't take horror movies.

8. I am horrible at keeping up with email. Most of my friends already know that.

9. I am an only child.

Random things about me #6

6. I played the flute from third grade through high school graduation. I still have my flute, but I just don't get the chance to play it, mainly because I don't think my neighbors would appreciate that. I'm sure the pads in the keys are moldy now, and it pains me a bit every time I see the case. I wish I could practice somewhere without worrying about neighbors.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Random things about me #5

5. One of my fondest memories from elementary school was getting free tickets to a Phoenix Suns game (we were living in Phoenix, AZ at the time) because I participated in the "Principal's Challenge" and recited all 50 states and their capitals.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Random things about me #4

4. I excelled at math up until high school graduation. I was one of five people in my high school who exhausted our school's math class offerings by junior year, so our senior year of high school we took math at a university nearby. I don't know what happened after that...but now I can only remember the basics.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Random things about me #3

3. Until I went away to college I could always see mountains in the distance from whatever house we lived in. After going to college in New York City I realized how much I missed seeing mountains, even if they were far away. Now we have an awesome view of Mt. Fuji (especially in the winter) from our apartment, and the first thing I do every morning is to look outside at Mt. Fuji.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Random things about me #2

2. No matter how tired I am I take a multi-vitamin before I go to bed. I always used to forget to take my vitamins, and then I challenged myself a few years back to taking my vitamin every night for a month. Now I don't even think about it.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Random things about me #1

I can't seem to keep up with my blog, so I have decided to try to give myself a bit of a chance to "catch up" by republishing something that is going around on Facebook (anyone else on Facebook?). I will try to publish one item from my list every day (please bear with me if I fall behind...). Warning: some of these are really random and not very interesting! :-)

1. I am perpetually late, though I have gotten much better about this in recent years. I do somehow manage to make it to work on time.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bits and pieces

- Happy New Year everyone!!! May 2009 be a fabulous year!

- My year-end trip home to the US turned out to be more complicated than I thought... I was looking forward to 14 hours in Honolulu, but the weather was so bad in Seattle that a gate agent recommended I fly standby to Seattle ASAP and not risk getting stuck. So I flew standby to Seattle, but unfortunately I couldn't get any flights out of Seattle to my final destination. A friend from college put me up for the night (a lifesaver!) and early the next morning I went back to the airport to find an absolute MADHOUSE. Security lines of more than 90 mins long just to get in the airport (backed up to the parking lot!), crazed people (understandably) who wanted out of the airport after some of them had spent three days waiting for cancelled flights, etc. And unfortunately the NWA staff in the US were *nothing* like the friendly, helpful gate agents at Narita who really went above and beyond. I am definitely going to write a letter to NWA to compliment their Narita staff!

- My trip home was good, but I was sooooooo tired. I had a lot of fun, though!!!

- Work since I have been back has

- R and I did a major clutter cleanout this weekend, and now our apartment is finally shaping up! The living room is so clean it feels a little like sitting in someone else's apartment! But now the real challenge is to keep it this clean.

- Today a professor at Chuo University was stabbed to death. Awful. This professor was actually a client of R's, and R just met with him last week. He said this professor was an incredibly warm, friendly, and kind man, and he is shocked that something like this happened. I feel sorry for this man's family. How awful.

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