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Tuesday, November 06, 2007


I'm still alive, despite mid-nearly end (thank god) of term trying to kill me...Have started vaulting over here which absolutely fantastic! I'm already learning a lot and I can't wait for it each week! This is my new club--Sky Vaulters... I'm starting to do bits and pieces in vault and its sooo fun!!! I'll also be starting gymnastics at Omega soon, (home gym of Gail Mackie for those 2 or 3 people who actually follow Canadian gymnastics!) so I'm excited about that as well--I was meant to go tomorrow, but Sasch and I decided today to take Toby to the Whitecaps vs. Galaxy Game tomorrow night, where David Beckham is playing. It's at BC place which should be fun--50, 000 people or so!

I also, after reading on this morning that it was 'make a friend/join a club month' for me, improbably found the Japan club at SFU and made two sort of friends in the process! I was on the bus and couldn't help but overhear a very lively discussion between a a couple of girls (I think the whole bus was listening!) I heard them say " the SFU..." but couldn't hear what they were saying... We got to the skytrain station, and on the platform, I went up to them (pretty uncharacteristic for me!) and was like "Umm I heard you guys talking about something about Japan at it a club?" They looked pretty shocked, but happy when they heard I wanted to join, and were very interested to hear about my trip over there...

It was only as I was walking home from the station that I remembered I was meant to join a club this month...

Slightly weird I say....slightly weird!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

So it's all been a bit 'more of the same' around here, with tons of work and school...We have a BAB going to print in about 2 weeks, but luckily already have quite a bit of stuff in and to me, so we should be fine for it, fingers crossed! I also have a recorded assignment, essay, observational assignment, and midterm next week, plus a tutorial presentation the week following. Therefore, today is supposedly a big work day! However, I didn't get started till noon and now I'm blogging, but it WILL pick up, really!

Of note was October 15 a couple of days ago--one year exactly since I got on a plane to Japan; wow! I remember that pretty clearly, but going back through my blog, its interesting what I've already re ordered a little bit about that year... The trip is also very much split in my mind in January,which makes sense since we left Japan for a couple of weeks in late December, but also, moreso, because of starting at CPI January 10. So it's basically pre and post starting at CPI I guess...

Speaking of which, I should get back to BAB and also to school stuff :s... I'm ready for semester to be done! 6-weeks to go, alas...


Monday, September 24, 2007

Went out to vaulting BCs yesterday in chilliwack and got to see cyd there competing with her team, which was great--she is getting so grown up and she did really well! Everyone came and so we all got to see her which was cool :) Vaulting was great too--I didn't get to compete, but i did get up on a barrel and mess around a bit in jeans, including a couple of back tuck dismounts (can't wait to be adding the 1/2 twist to that!) and talked to susan about starting to vault with sky soon :)

Spent this morning playing with Toby's new bday present I proxied from fun! It's a big 8x10 foot foam floor thingy with a hockey rink painted on it, and then a set of blowup boards and nets so you can have a great game of miniature indoor floor hockey going! Other than that, not too much--just staying here and trying to work.. I feel like I procrastinated all weekend, but I guess I did get a fair amount done:

street snaps layout, last 40 pages of crash changes inputted and ready for potential submission, japanese lesson, assignment, recording and quiz, reading of 2 articles for cmns 110, a chapter for anthro, the rough draft of an essay for humanities, reading an article for cmns 130, and half of the subsequent analysis... about to round that out with some reading of wuthering heights which should set me up nicely for bed :)

hope everyone is well!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Well, amazingly, I've been back for a month. Actually, I'm not sure why that's amazing, but I haven't been blogging much at all since I got back, so maybe the fact that I'm blogging at all is what's amazing (or, more likely, you're all going, "No...not again")

Regardless, I got home a month and a day ago and in a lot of ways, it feels as though it was
a year ago. I was thinking about it yesterday and its really no wonder I feel a bit disjointed these days and no idea for which city I should be homesick--this newest place marks four cities in two countries and on two continents in which I have lived in the last 2 years... For someone who doesn't like change, the relative chaos is fairly impressive! (For those keeping track: Toronto (September 05-April 06), Victoria (April 06-October 06), Tokyo (October 06-August 07), Vancouver (September 07-present). That's kind of cool actually!

Its too bad transfer credits are such a bitch to do properly, or I could knock London and San Francisco off my list on my way back to Tokyo...hmmm (no, no, I can hear you all groaning from all corners, but I need to stay on track here!!)

School is going fine, and once again, I'm lucky to be in such a great situation living wise--It's fun having my 'own' place, more than ever before actually, and of course having family upstairs cuts down on the lonely!

I'm taking 5 courses, Japanese by correspondence (its a bit weird, cause I've done the first half of the course, quite literally (I was using this textbook in Japan!), but I don't know enough to go into 110, so I'm spending time procrastinating on a Japanese kanji website until my class catches up, which will be in just a couple of weeks now (how sad is that!) The kanji, incedentally, equally infuriates (so let me get this straight, I need to learn two readings, several meanings, a bunch of strokes, and who knows what else for each of them?!) and thrills ('big' 大+ 'learning'学=university大学? how cool is that!!) me.

Other classes include Communications 110, Communications 130 (so far, nearly one and the same despite both professing to be vastly different!), Humanities 101 (HARD readings, but really interesting, cool prof), and Anthropology, which is very interesting as well... So that's all good, it would be a bit of a big(er) mess if I hated my classes!

Anyway, I'm off to bed, but there's a very short round up of what I'm up too... I really need to start exploring more soon! I haven't been ANYWHERE yet, which is ridiculous! But one step at a time, I suppose... off to UBC tommorow for coffee with a friend and a long work day, I have so much I want to get done! (Because, as my CMNS 130 prof so astutely put is, "days are for getting stuff done") Good to know!

mata ne!

PS - if I didn't post them already, some photos of SFU/my apartment

Saturday, September 08, 2007

A mixi message; in three parts:

1. What I wrote:

2. What I think it *might* vaguely mean:

Good evening! Are you well? Yes, I'm studying Japanese, but it's hard, yes? Was your weekend fun? Talk to you later!

3. What Altavista's Babelfish thinks I said:

It is dense, it is, it is the わ! The げ it is going back and forth? It is, the わ it is the ほ it is the べ it is the sewer does the っ, with, the む it does tilting, it does, the ょ! Your palpus well it is it is the present? In addition don't you think?!

Oh dear God!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Pecha Kucha Night, which you should all be familiar from due to several blogs of fun nights at Super Deluxe, turned up at the top of my gmail news stream today-sugoi!

From Wired News.

(in part):
Let us now bullet-point our praise for Mark Dytham and Astrid Klein, two Tokyo-based architects who have turned PowerPoint, that fixture of cubicle life, into both art form and competitive sport. Their innovation, dubbed pecha-kucha (Japanese for "chatter"), applies a simple set of rules to presentations: exactly 20 slides displayed for 20 seconds each. That's it. Say what you need to say in six minutes and 40 seconds of exquisitely matched words and images and then sit the hell down. The result, in the hands of masters of the form, combines business meeting and poetry slam to transform corporate clich into surprisingly compelling beat-the-clock performance art.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Moving towards my last couple of nights in Victoria, which is a bit weird, except that I'm coming home on Thursday anyway, so I'm not too concerned about it-I started looking for where my classes and everything are, of course, Tuesday had to be the only day when I have an 8:30 class, and I only have a vague idea of where I'm going, but that's ok! It will be an adventure!

Just discovered its almost a 3 hour trip from SFU to the ferries though, that's a bit crap!

Spent the day working on mom's website while she worked on Crash for me, and then we went down to the barn and she got on Ringo a couple of times while I pretty continuously fed him bits of carrots. He was more interested in where his next carrot chunk was coming from than anything, which was good!

Came back up to the house and had a quick chat with Helen before heading downtown to meet Mayu for dinner. we both agreed that it was very weird to see each other here in Victoria and that it felt like we were in tokyo rather than here. It's quite funny as she can't understand why I'm so desperate to go back to Japan, and I can't understand why she makes yearly pilgrimages to Vancouver and really misses it there ;) We had a good time though--went to Earl's and sat at the bar, where I had to cough up 2 pieces of photo id in order to get a diet coke! Random!

Anyway, back home now, around 11pm, and waiting to get some final work to do on BAB before sending it over for the final time... Mom and grampa have gone to a movie I think, so it's all very quiet around here...

Anyway, mata ne!
As I'm sure most of you have figured out--I'm back in BC!

I wasn't blogging because I knew it would be super grumpy, and I didn't want that, so, suffice it to say that I'm homesick, if that's what you call it after livisiting...'second'homesick? maybe? Anyway, I am SO happy I'm still working on BAB since that kind of keeps me connected to Tokyo, and of course with skype, facebook, msn, email, etc. they really can't escape me!

It was great to see everyone when I came home, of course, and I've actually done fairly well in terms of catching up with people...two weeks was a nice amount of time to be home, and then I'll be back for weekends anyway, so that's nice!

Things that were weird when I came home:

Tipping (was *this* close to not tipping but luckily the TIP: thing was on the receipt so I remembered...I probably wouldn't have had I paid cash...
Tax-which should be built in! (I got SO confused the first day at Starbucks because the tax wasn't built in, and I had the change all counted out, but then of course the price changed, and I was all flustered and had yen and CDN mixed together and it took me forever to pay--I think she thought I was hungover or something)
The number of questions I get asked when, for instance, ordering fast food. It begs the question: "Are things just simpler in Japan, or do they simply not bother to try it on with me?"
How freaking empty it is!!!!!!!!!
How early everything closes!!!!!!
Sketchy dudes in dumpsters, violent news, being worried about me and my schtuff (sux!)

Highlights of the trip back:

seeing mom and grampa, hanging out with navina and planning with joey ;)
vaulting!!!!! (they got a great new horse called Kit--I'm a big fan! She's a registered canadian warmblood--a TB/Holsteiner X or something like that...very cool, I like her a lot!)
gymnastics!!!!! (I started working on an arabian, which is a back tuck with a half twist), and also got my back tucks off beam back
hanging out at bolens--I can read all the books!
seeing David and Sue up here; finally!
working for BAB

I still miss Tokyo A LOT though! best trip/experience ever!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Aoyama/Gaienmae fireworks from Thursday--12,000 booms!
Some randoms from the last few days....Unfortunately none of this series turned out, but it would have been great! from l-r: dave, andrea, kong, jordon, mike, jen, helen...on our way out after the party
chocolate cake with peanut butter in the middle....soooo oishii!
a frozen lamb carcass, with trotters, from Nissin
super cool eye-testing glasses from Zoff
Whew, busy last few days, as one might imagine! I had my goodbye (for now!) lunch at work on Thursday, since there aren't so many people in the office on Friday, so we all went down to Suji's, of course, and it was really nice! I got the sweetest card from everyone and they also bought me a really really cute Anna Sui wallet, which I love! (And I'll be thinking about you guys everyday when I use it!)

That night, Helen I went, MELTINGLY, to the Aoyama/Gaienmae fireworks which were the last ones of the season and also one of the bigger ones of the season with around 12, 000 'booms' as they call it. Beautiful! They went on for about an hour and were very cool--so many different types of fireworks! We went with the Tokyo Gaijins, so saw some people that we'd climed Fuji with, and met a Japanese woman who is just coming out of a divorce and seems to be completely making the most of her 'second life'. She was in yukata, and SO cute! She must have been absolutely dying in it, given that it WAS Tokyo's hottest day ever... (keep in mind when reading that those would be air temps, not 'feels like' temps, which go up a LOT in the 70-80% humidity that we also had... It was basically disgusting!

Anywaaaaay, after we sweated through the massive crowds at fireworks (it was great fun, actually) we took a bus up to Roppongi Hills (I, btw, had SOO much crap, including a bag that was disintegrating because of the sweat/humidity (yea, gross, but true!) and I dumped my stuff in a huge locker at roppongi eki (the last one!) That was an adventure, because it was a pasmo locker, so you don't get a key-you just put your crap in a locker and push the button, and then the machine knows which is yours, and codes it shut, plus takes your money, all of your pasmo. (IC/train card). IC cards are great! Now about 30 pounds and three bags later, we headed with most of the other gaijins back to the HUB and spent a few hours laughing and drinking there...We rand into one someone Helen knows through work (sort of) and he was absolutely hilarious--had both of us in bits for the last hour or so before we dragged ourselves home. great!

All too soon, Friday rolled around and I headed in for my last day of work-Kieron and I were in the office in the morning because Helen was at home greeting Caroline!!!!! Now back after five weeks, which is great :)

I went out for a nice and long (oops!) lunch with Anthony at Va Tout, and then when I got back, Helen was in the office. Later in the afternoon, Kieron had to go pick up his (lucky!) sister who was coming in from Narita that day--here to work at one of the international schools for the next couple of years. So Helen and I closed out my last day at work for the next 8 months, which somehow seems a little bit fitting. I cleaned out my drawers, turned in my key, and we headed down to Suji's for a couple. Just spent a quiet night at home--we both decided we were too knackered to go out 3 nights running...

Saturday, we went to Zoff so I could sort my glasses situation, which I did in a big way! I had a really entertaining vision test where I had to say if the horseshoe was up/down/diagonal/etc. Pretty funny! There was a kana test, which would be the same as our eye charts, but since I could so easily confuse ro and ru or wa and ne etc anyway, we decided against that one!

I've decided Zoff is just like IKEA - you go in, pick your frames (all are one of three prices including lenses), and in 45 minutes, they're ready-in that time, they give you a 50% off drink coupon, and you can go get that at the cafe in the shop while they grind down your lenses. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to do that as we had some food shopping to do at Nissin in the meantime, so we headed back there (oh yea, peter drove for the first time yesterday!) to shop while they made my glasses.

By the time we got home and I showered, Hitomi and I only had 1.5 hours to get all the food prepared before people were supposed to start showing up. Luckily, just about everyone was late! It was not a huge group of people, but it was a great group, very fun! We had the 'lets give Dani her first drink' experience, where Jordon and Helen decided to give me chu hi as as beginners drink and Jordon gave it to me in a martini glass, which was so sweet-the two of them were so funny making sure I was ok and monitoring every sip I took. Helen was very careful to make sure I didn't bolt anything, not that I would have anyway, and there was a 1 small martini glass of chu hi to 2 bottles of water ratio. Everyone was gathered in the room watching this with interest, and laughing at how slowly I was drinking-Mike was like "I've never seen such moderated drinking-Jen could be drinking like you!" and Jen's like "Yea, me and the baby, we'll take you on!" It was "Helen's proven program of drinking for beginners and babies" Anyway, very entertaining!

We all left around 11:30, abandoning poor Peter and Hitomi with all the mess (sorry!) and while everyone else headed home, Helen and Jordon and I headed to Shimo Kitazawa to a really cute bar she knew about.... We just stayed for a couple of drinks (or well maybe a 1/3 of a weak rum and coke and water for me) and then Jordon headed off and the two of us headed to La Fabrique in Shibuya to meet up with that girl we'd met at fireworks, but after a short time, we headed off to another club she knew about in Aoyama.

We chilled out there for the rest of the evening, chatting and people watching, and running into some friends she knew from a few years ago... After a quick dance and an improvised song played for me by a saxaphonist who told me I was very kawaii and that he was 'playing my feelings' we headed out for some coffee and food and at about 6:30, said our goodbyes at Shibuya eki.

I came home for a couple of hours of sleep, and got up at about 11:30--called a couple of people at home, packed a bit, chilled out, etc... Can't believe I leave tomorrow. It's been such an amazing 10 months, and I hope that everyone knows how much I appreciate everything you've all done for me! I will miss you all soooo much!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Back at work the last two days which has been lovely--mostly working on moving stuff over to my laptop so that I can get organised for working from home, which is nice, because I think knowing I'll still be involved (BAB layout, women of the world, inevitably some writing) is really nice!

The goodbyes, have, of course, started with a vengeance--on Tuesday, I went up to Peter's office after work, and said goodbye to the guys that happened to be up there, and then yesterday I had dinner with the girl that I went wakeboarding with and her friend which was really nice. We went to Suji's and had a long dinner there. I may actually see her in Victoria in a couple of weeks as she will be there the same time as me. She's taking a whale-watching boat from Vic-Van (Prince of Whales) the same day that I need to for school, so I'm kind of considering doing that with them, depending on Saanich Fair and everything.

They were very sweet, and since I got there a couple of minutes after she did, she had a chance to pre-arrange a cheesecake with sparkler delivery to the table whereupon 'Thank you Danielle-san" was sung to the tune of Happy Birthday. It was super cute!

Just eating breakfast now (thursday) and then heading into work... Today we're doing my goodbye lunch at work and then Helen and I are hitting up some summer fireworks in Jingumae (the fireworks are a big deal around here all summer!) so it seems like a good, Japanese/summer thing to do.

And yes, there was an earthquake last night, and no, I didn't feel it. Which surprises me a bit, actually, since it was close and shallow and 5.3. I guess I was tired as I slept straight through it!


Monday, August 13, 2007

So kind of a long and not-so-fun day today, but it picked up later thanks to good friends and also Peter and Hitomi getting home from Hawaii which is always nice :)

I took the day off work today to start packing, and am finding that I have too much crap and not enough space--no surprise there! I have packed one bag that will be my 'don't open this till you get to Vancouver' bag, and then have a pile of stuff for the next week here and two weeks in Vancouver... I'm a little worried about it all fitting into my big backpack, but whatcha going to do? I can hope! Or maybe pay excess baggage and take a third bag home, thus not stranding my other big suitcase here, which would be nice!

Its weird having to pack 'winter' clothing for at home, but with the entire weekend being '30C/feels like 40C' or even hotter, (40C=104F!!) and I swear hotter in the sun, whereas Victoria is '18C/feels like 18C' I'm sure I'll be grabbing a hoodie the first few days that I'm back! Actually, it will be lovely, esp. for vaulting and riding and stuff... Peter and Hitomi even said they noticed a difference when they came back from Hawaii, not exactly a traditionally cold place!

So anyway, a basically boring day of getting organized to go, which of course, is not high of my list of fun things to do! The rest of the week is shaping up with fun events though, and as I don't leave until nearly 9pm next Monday, if not all of the packing gets finished this week, then I can always shove things in then...I think, however, that I'm going to end up with three bags to check, which, along with my rolling carry-on, is going to be a bit of a nightmare to handle on my own in the Vancouver airport since no one is coming to pick me up! That's what luggage carts are for, I guess!

Just chilling out for a bit now, and then heading to bed--back to work tomorrow :)


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Went omiyagae shopping in Yanesen today (walked from Sendagi to Nezu to Nippori) and then ended up getting stuff at Oriental Bazaar in Omotesando! Doh! Saw the very lovely Nezu shrine though, and had a great experience in a 7 and i holdings--was asking for directions to a store, and i had the address and phone number but didn't know where it was, so I asked the guy, who clearly had no idea where it was, but he ran into the back and I think, called them, then five minutes later, came back out with a lovely map. It was hilarious, helpful, and just so not likely to happen in a 7/11 at home!

Came home, meltingly, around 5, and was working on another project for the evening, before heading to Orijin for a tonkatsu bento (so good! going to miss them!)...Have been working and watching Friends all evening, along with doing laundry in preparation for packing tomorrow (ACK!) I'm going to sleep now in order to procrastinate that whole packing process, but in the!

(The above are all from the NACT in Roppongi--from yesterday--followed by Midtown and then today's trip to the Nezu Shrine)

Ugh, sorry about the sideways photos...not really sure what happened!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

So my last weekend here without set events and I have no real plans--a bit of a bummer, but not a total disaster by any stretch... This morning, I headed to shimo kitazawa and got a couple of pairs of jeans to take home with me from UNIQLO--you just can't beat two pairs of nice jeans for about 65$ CDN (and hemmed in half an hour as well!) I grabbed a quick lunch while I was waiting for them to be hemmed and then also wandered around Shimo in some backstreets I'd never seen before--I saw some cute cafes and shops and stuff, but was reluctant to spend too much time there as it is SO freaking hot these days! Today was 'feels like 42C' and I was melting! I feel like I can't even function without a drink in my hand these days--thank goodness for AC!

I came home in the early afternoon, dumped my clothes and laptop (working lunch, SO loving the mac!) and then went back out again, this time to the National Art Center Tokyo near Nogizaka which is a VERY VERY cool building (all curvy glass and the such) to see the Skin and Bones: Parallel Practices in Fashion and Architecture exhibition they're having through Monday. It was pretty interesting and very cool to see all of the actual couture clothing they had there-some of it was really sculptural, which, I suppose, was sort of what they were trying to get at through the exhibition. There were lots of different designers represented, and it was cool to see the different items, as well as movies and sketches.

The mueum itself is a really nice space as well (HUGE!) and is intersting because it doesn't actually have a permanent colelction, just a few big temporary exhibition spaces. I took lots of pictures, especially of the cool raised restaurants and exterior glass wavy-ness, which I'll post ASAP... They also have a very nice art-bok library, which anyone can use, for free. It also includes lots of art magazines, so I had a great time reading id, which I haven't seen since I got out here.

Headed back home after deciding it was way too hot to go see the fireworks or Bon-Odori with zilions of other people, and basically just chilled since--I've been doing tons of laundry in preparation for starting to pack soon (YIKES!), made burritos for dinner, worked on mom's website (again/how annoying!) for a bit, and watched some Summer Sonic program on TV which was a bit odd as it was billingual, so about half was interesting, and half went straight over my head...looks like a GREAT show tho!! I'll definitely be trying to get tickets next year I think--if the lineup is half as good as this year (Modest Mouse (!!!!!), Gwen Stefani, Black Eyed Peas, Avril Lavigne, etc) it would be totally worth it. Unfortunatly, they were sold out by the time I decided that for this year... Ah well, shogunai!

Just waiting for my computer to die now (cycling the battery) and then going to take Venus out for a quick walk in the not-quite so-blazing heat before getting an early night's sleep--tomorrow is futsal (well a big maybe to that, its so hot these days!), and a trip to yanesen for some omiyagae shopping...

Friday, August 10, 2007

We have a long break for Weekender because of Obon and a long break for BAB because August is a five week month, so this week has been a big deep breath and catch up week following our crazy last couple of weeks, which has been good cause I've had the chance to have dinner with a couple of people and start slowly tying up loose ends...

Karin headed off to Vietnam yesterday, so we had dinner at the pink cow on tuesday, which seems like a fitting place for the two of us to eat. It was great--I really love that space and am glad I discovered it,(er, well, finally リンクwent) even if it was 7months into my trip! We chatted about writing and stuff, and I had my computer and subsequently got totally hooked on AvanteGarde and Media Bistro--great writing resources and fun articles...
I also ended up at the pinkcow with sarah yesterday, whom I haven't seen for ages, but we had a nice catchup and chat...

Other than that, haven't been doing too many exciting things--Venus and I are along in BMT this week as Peter and Hitomi have headed off to Hawaii, and are back after the weekene, which should include both some packing, and hopefully, some FUN! I refuse to do nothing on my second-to-last weekend here
speaking of which, we're about to head down to suji's for a friday evening drink...

Monday, August 06, 2007

So, Mt. Fuji.

We all met up at Shinjuku at about 10:30 and boarded a big bus, all 45 or so of us, ready to head up to the mountain, a few hours away. We stopped part way up at a big rest stop and got ramen, which we ate outside while we met two of our fellow climbers--an English teacher living in Saitama-ken, and her boyfriend visiting from San Francisco.

We continued up to the mountain while Helen had a pre-hike nap, and we got increasingly apprehensive as the oxygen and headlamps were handed out and we got a glimpse of Mt. Fuji, with the summit somewhat obscured by clouds. Hoping desperately for good weather, we we praying to the sun to come out so we had a hope of a sunrise.

At 3ish, we got to the 2500m bus stop, and and hung out there for 20 minutes before driving the next few minutes up to the 5th station. It's one of three or so places where you can start hiking up the mountain. We got water and checked out the shops, buying our official walking sticks, and acclimatizing to the altitude a little bit in this very mountain-lodge like area...

At 5, we all grouped up for a briefing, stretch, and group photo before heading up the mountain at 5:30. Helen and I were 'buddies' and headed up together, with our front-of-the-group leader, Anton. The beginning of the hike was as you might expect--hardpacked path and gravel and all uphill... A little while into it, we befriended two guys--one who work at the Serbian Embassy and another who was his friend visiting from Belgrade. They were so sweet--buying us kit kats, helping me with my bag, hiking with us, etc.

About an hour in, we reached the 6th station, and kept hiking from there. It was actually much more rock-scrambly than either of us had imagined, and was quite fun, but definitely a challenge, especially when it got dark! I was kind of worried about getting pulled backwards off the path (maybe I packed too much!) so I went for the hands and knees thing as we both scampered up the mountain...

Luckily, we took regular breaks, and it was great to have a guide to tell us when to stop and when to start. We stayed right up at the front, which maximised our breaks and kept us heading up at a pretty swift break. It was very cool at the 7th station (well one of them, there are actually a bunch of each station!) when they started setting off summer fireworks in the valley by the five lakes and we were above them, which was pretty great to see, as were the stars--STARS! I haven't seen stars for like 8 months!

We got our sticks branded, had an onigiri at one of the last 7th stations (remember that point!)
and headed on. By the 8th station, I started feeling kind of nauseous, but brushed it off as exertion, or my something diabetes-number related, or a touch of altitude sickness... Unfortunately, the feeling didn't wear off, and I started feeling REALLY ropey! The oxygen wasn't helping, and we started having to stop more and more as I struggled up. Helen was doing an amazing job getting up the mountain, and was VERY helpful in getting me up it too!

We summitted, in one of the first pairs in our group, at about 1:30--a fairly fast ascent at 6 hours, and then tried to get some sleep in a sheltered area. We were really lucky there was no wind, and were basically not freezing, although it was cold. I still wasn't feeling very good, but I figured that some sleep would help things, so we curled up and tried to sleep. Unfortunately, at about 3, I started shivering uncontrollably, and feeling REALLY REALLY crappy! My shivering woke Helen up from out of any sleep she might have been getting, and eventually, we got Anton, the group guide, and told him. I actually though that I was dehydrated, b/c the only time I'd felt like this before, that's what it was, be everyone also thought maybe I was cold, so I bundled into Anton's spare jacket and Helen tried to keep me warm, calm, and un-shivering.

At 4, still working on the assumption of being dehydrated, we went into the absolutely NUTS ramen shop, where you have to fight for a spot sitting on a group bench, and then put your hand out when they call out what you want, and then basically fight for it, b/c they have no idea who ordered what and people are so hungry and cold and tired they'll just grab it. I finally got my ramen, and the smell of it made my stomach turn to the point of being sure I was going to throw up...Helen convinced me to try it and every sip made me gag, but since I thought that liquid and salt was going to help, I made it through most of the bowl of ramen, during which point the sun started to rise, so Helen went out to take photos, and I was struggling through my bowl while trying to protect hers beside me. One of the hut guys came up to me and barked something at me and pointed at the ramen, and I was like 'my friend' and pointed outside. He was like blah blah blah TABEMASU!! (eat) and I was like 'hai hai hai!'

Just a moment later, it all went terribly wrong and I sprinted out of the ramen hut to puke infront of literally thousands of people watching the sunrise. Go me. Embarrased, crying, and feeling utterly crap, and people just pointed and laughed. It was pretty brutal! I did feel instantly better though, which led me to believe it was not diabetes, not altitude sickness, not dehydration, not hypothermia, and not exhaustion, but that stupid tuna onigiri from 5 hours before. THIS is exactly why I didn't eat fish for eight years! I hadn't felt that sick for a couple of years at least, and owe A LOT to Helen for taking such good care of me and making me feel a little bit less like death!

After sunrise, around 5am, I was feeling much better, if not exactly genki, so I staggered over to find Helen and watched the sunrise, which was lovely, and then we fought through the Yamanote-train like (and aggressive!) crowds that had gathered at the top to go get organised to leave. Unfortunatly, we didn't make it to get our sticks stamped, to mail postcards, and in my case, to see the crater. Thus, Fuji 08 is a distinct possibility!

Unfortunately, the way down was much harder than the way up--scrambling down in deep, loose volcanic gravel which was very slippery and hard going, especially in the hot sun and huge crowds. It seemed like the switchbacks kept going and going, and it took us probably 4 hours to get down, stopping for fairly frequent but short breaks, as we just wanted to get off that mountain by that point!

At the 6th station safety centre, we saw the horses you can ride back to 5th station (about a 45 minute walk) and I almost rode one back, except it was Y10,000 (about 100$)! Yikes! Thusly, the four of us slogged down under our own steam, staggering into base camp around 8am. Helen and the guys headed out for breakfast, and I got water before heading back to the concrete area where we were meeting, and passing out on my backpack for two hours. I was feeling pretty rough as I was on a mission to go get everything from the locker, which was literally 30 meters from where I got water, and I didn't have enough energy to do that--I had to go back to rest up, but that proved to be an hour long pass out til Helen got back from breakfast.

We had to wait for people to come back from the trip down (first up, first down for us), and while we were waiting in the bus, found out that four people didn't summit, and that one person was actually lost on the mountain. (After making contact with her, we actually ended up leaving her as we needed to get going back to Tokyo, a rather long proposition!)

One rest stop and some interupted bus sleep later, we pulled into Shinjuku just somewhat worse for wear! I got home around 4:30, just in time to send peter and hitomi off to the airport for their Hawaii Vacay followed by a crashing on the couch and approximately half an OC before falling fast asleep. I woke up at about 1, just in time to feed Venus and grab a half a bowl of cereal before going back to sleep around 2.

This morning, I got up at 6 and went to work for 8 to help get Weekender to print. Karin and I had lunch--I just had chicken soup and rice as I was still feeling not so great, and then I headed out of work early, around 4, and have basically been chilling since.

Overall, Mt. Fuji was much more doable than either of us had anticipated, and we would both do it again. You definitely need headlamps, walking sticks, chocolate, and a basic level of energy, but it's totally doable, especially the getting up the mountain part--coming down was a bit of a nightmare!

Very cool to do though!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Fuji pics; part two (these are all courtesy of Helen)...
So I'm back from Mt. Fuji!! Helen and I both successfully summited--she basically trotted up that mountain, and the two of us made it up in the first 6 or 8 in our group, at 1:30 am (a 6 hour ascent). Anyway, I've just woken up from a 7-hour nap, and I basically want to get straight back to bed, so photos part 1 tonight, and tomorrow, a proper blog...

Friday, August 03, 2007

Wow what a crazy couple of days! Yesterday (Friday), we sent BAB to print, after an insanely long day at work the night before, and then spent the afternoon getting weekender together, as that goes on Monday... Between Thursday and Friday, Helen and I were in the office something like 26 out of a possible 34 hours...We both crawled out of there at around 7 or just after last night I think and then I headed up to Orbitune to meet Peter and cross a 'to do' item off my list--visiting Royal Host, or roy-ho, one of the big fami-resu's here. It was tasty, and had a few great only-in-japan surprises, like this splatter guard for protecting yourself as you pour gravy on the hot stone plate thing, and this cell phone charger, where you can pop your phone in a locker and charge it for 20 minutes as you eat...
After dinner, we headed back to Orbitune, where I finally managed to reconcile the 3 different chunks of the office and their relative locations in my head--when I go, I always just go into the kitchen, or Peter's office, or to the part upstairs where the dart board is that they used to have when I was 9... The new bits of the office that they've gained since, I'd only seen once or twice since I've been here, and once was my first day, so it was all VERY fuzzy! Peter gave me the grand tour and I think that now, two weeks to go before I leave, I finally know where stuff sort of is!

(wire trough behind the servers...yikes!)

Anyway, its now Saturday AM and I should get going, as Helen and I are meeting in an hour and a half in order to go climb Mt. Fuji! Expect lots of pictures and a very very very tired Dani tomorrow night!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Wow, August already, how did that happen? Its been a pretty busy week at work this week because we have a BAB going to print on Friday, and a Weekender going next Monday, with a jaunt up a mountain in the meantime...Yikes!

Helen and I had a fantastic lunch today at a new little cafe called 'Eat More Greens' which is an additive, coloring, meat, egg, and fish free restaurant for lunch today--we were reviewing it for Weekender, and we both loved it! We sat outside, but the patio is down a little side street kind of, so you are off the main road, and in the shade, and it was very pleasant--just what we needed! We both had lunch sets--mine was cold corn chowder, salad w/ avocado, and tomato and tofu dressing, and bagel, and then after, we had organic coffees and a small dessert--very yummy and surprisingly filling!

After work today, Karin, Marie (+2) and I headed up to the Goethe Institut near the Canadian Embassy to see Michael Martin speak. He did an amazing slide presentation including 1,400 pictures, 50 music tracks, and him speaking, in very good English, about his crazy trip across the deserts of the earth. He traveled with his partner Elke for 900+ days, and many many thousands of km, on one BMW bike, with no support team. It was crazy! The photos they took were absolutely gorgeous, and so different despite all being deserts-you could certainly see how they were all different.

We saw everything from a sheik's 150,000 falcon (he also has a treasury including concept cars and an originally Louis XIV coach. I was dissapointed to not see any horses though--I'm sure he must have had some amazing arabians and thoroughbreds!) to the kids in nepal who were trekking across freezing passes with younger siblings on their backs and barely any clothing.

Pretty fascinating! Learn more by clicking on the book cover below...ok, off to bed now--lots to do tomorrow!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

So I know that I keep forgetting to blog, but at least here are some photos from this very busy weekend! First from Saturday's wakeboarding (dirty, disgusting, scary water, sore arms, slightly sunburnt, a bit frustrated at my inability to stand up, but with the potential to be a lot of fun and I want to try it again in Hawaii where the water isn't scary and the instructor speaks English) and Sunday's trip to Kamakurayama for roast beef with okada-san and his wife, a visit to (and into) a very large buddah, and an absolutely gorgeous shrine themed around hydrangeas.

busy busy week ahead...only three left...a little bit stunned at that actually.
Sooooo cool!!! For a week, IKEA visitors were able to stay in IKEA like a hostel, (in Norway) and eat meatballs for dinner, and stay on the beds... Sugoi desho! I really really want to do it!!!!!

Friday, July 27, 2007

So one glass of wine lands Paris in jail, but until this week you could be pissed and still fly a....shuttle? Um Houston? I think we have a problem! In part:

"Alcohol is freely used in crew quarters," the report said. "Two specific instances were described where astronauts had been so intoxicated prior to flight that flight surgeons and/or fellow astronauts raised concerns to local on-scene leadership regarding flight safety. However, the individuals were still permitted to fly."

After work today, Helen, Marie and I headed down to Suji's for a quick drink which was good fun--we haven't done that for awhile (Friday after-work drinks) before we all move on to our other friday night engagements.

I headed down to Shibuya and had a quick look through the incredibly busy and chaotic 109 building (loads of little boutiques in an 8-floor shopping complex) before heading to the crocodile in Shibuya (a live house/event space) to meet up with Kong, Jordon, Suzi, Hiromy Nina, and a couple of others to watch the Tokyo Comedy Store.

It was really funny! The second half improv was my favorite part--they were really good! Improv is SO hard to think that fast, but these guys did a really good job and were really funny as well! Stand up comedian 'Cloudy Bong Water' was also good--he sang a re created version of the Canadian national anthem with the new title and theme of "Oh Cannabis" pretty funny!

After that, there was a vaudeville/cabaret type singer who was also pretty entertaining! I've ne
ver seen anything quite like this before--she was telling some pretty cheeky stories with her musical numbers :)

We left around 11:30 and took roughly last trains home where I heard about Peter's exciting night climbing through Venus' dog door after having forgotten his keys in the office. Oops!

Fun night & good start to the weekend :)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

So another very long day today! I got up at six and headed to the gym at about 6:45 and worked out till 8. I tackled the stair master for the first time in honor of Mt. Fuji in 8 days, but I think it may well be a serious case of too little too late at this point! Ah well, I've heard of lots of people not training and making it up to the top.
After that, I headed to work, via Starbucks for breakfast (nothing like neutralising any benefits of the gym within an hour of leaving the place!) and got into the office around 9 or just after maybe, followed shortly by Karin and Helen--we sent a Weekender to print today; slightly stressfully, but in the end I think everything is OK! We'll see next week! Spent the rest of the day working on BAB, mostly, bit didn't feel like it was a particularly efficient day, which sucks! Hopefully tomorrow will be a bit better!
We got to see Anna at lunch today which was really nice--her little Jack is getting so big! (she went on maternity leave just as I joined CPI).
I had to leave the CPI office at five today to head over to work at the pink cow from 6-11.
I was kind of whining about it, at least to myself (and maybe karin, sorry!) today, because I kind of wanted to sleep or do something as opposed to work, but in the end it definitely turned out to be a fun night--it was steadily busy which was nice, not too stressful, but I didn't feel as if I were standing around doing absolutely nothing all night either.
I ran into a guy from futsal, and both of us were like 'do I know you?' and then figured it out at basically the same time. Clearly I need to go back if we're all forgetting each other!
I also had a really random experience when I gave a girl her food she was like "I think I know you", but I wasn't really sure where we ever might have met, and to be honest, she didn't look familiar. But she kept thinking and then she was like "Hey, I think you know one of my friends. Do you know Jordon?" I was like "yea!" turns out we were briefly introduced to each other way back in October that first night when I went to see the Molets play and dragged Peter along because I was convinced I was going to be carded and tossed out (ha!) Her memory is crazy good to be able to recognize me from that and in this totally different context and put it all together!
Its always good food, but I also had some very interesting and tasty food tonight cooked by Goldie, the sous chef--she's from somewhere in South East Asia (Myanmar?) and cooked some of her traditional food for us; a chicken and rice noodle dish over rice (kind of spicy) and then a delicious soup with chunks of onion, meat, and seaweed in a seriously oishii broth.
Despite having drinks spilled on me and dying in the heat and coming home smelling like a bar, it was a good night! I got home a few minutes before Venus, rinsed off the heat and alcohol from myself, and then took V. for a walk, with both the two of us plus Peter and Hitomi all geting home around 12:30... Just doing this now, and then heading to bed--have to be up in 5 hours, which I think you'll agree, is just not enough hours for a decent beauty rest at all!


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Today was a fun day--morning was fairly average--proofing (Weekender goes to print tomorrow) and laying out BAB... Lunch at ZEST again today--the beef jambalaya is endlessly tasty, and then this afternoon went to see Ocean's 13 for the magazine. It was really full! I ended up on an office chair perched on a stair in the aisle! Nuts! It was great--two hours of slick, shiny, hollywood/vegas escapism very much in the vein of the firs two. Being a supreme wimp, I love how its just a totally fun crime caper without a hint of scariness. Besides that, it doesn't really need a story--watching the cast is good enough to fully entertain the female portion of the audience! :)

After the movie, I headed back to the office, and--nothing like a deadline--wrote the first two hundred words in the three stops between the theater and the office! I scribbled a few more thoughts walking back, and then abandoned that idea after nearly being taken out several times, so just finished it off back at my desk.

Helen dropped it in while I had a quick look over the magazine, and did a little bit more work on BAB...We left the office at around 8:30 I think, and I headed up to super deluxe for Pecha Kucha night, which was absolutely packed!!!!! I stayed for about two hours and saw some pretty interesting stuff, including the current world bmx champion jumping over Mark from KDA with his bike, as well as some other guy's head as he sat on the floor; a 17-yr-old swedish guy who is interning at KDA an wanted the job so much that even after they said 'hell no' to his request for the position (he applied from sweden) he got his mom to call on his behalf. Basically, KDA hadn't taken him because they were like 'what if he dies or something?' and his mom, an architect, was like 'if he dies, i won't blame you, now give him the job'. So he's been with them for a few weeks, and is heading back soon, but it sounds like a good holiday experience for him!

I don't think this was the best Pecha Kucha night I've been to, but it was definitely entertaining--I really think they need to come to Vancouver! Its in about 100 cities at this point, including Lagos, so I think Vancouver could certainly fit right in!

Anyway, off to bed now--have to be up in less than six hours *yawn!* (isn't school going to be so relaxing?) ahhh I love it though!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

So I'm now blogging on hour 35 without sleep (and certainly lagging a bit!) but I'm not actually quite as dead as I might have imagined! I think an early night will sort me out and be ready for the week ahead (we hope!)

After a very quiet day yesterday, just after 7pm I cooked a stirfry for Peter and myself and then went to meet Helen at Ebisu eki just after 8, and then we carried on to Dubliners in Shinagawa where we went to see the end of the European music festival that Kieron organised. We got there in time to watch him (Cashell) playing, and that was great--its the second time I've seen him play, and its really fun to see him and support him, and he's great too, which always makes us more up for going out to see him ;).

Anyway, around 9ish, one of Helen's former roomies from London plus her boyfriend--the two of them are busy travelling around the world and are in Japan for the next couple of weeks. We watched the rest of the set, and then watched Japan beat Australia in PKs in the quarters or semis of the Asian Cup. At that point, Clare and Aaron needed some sustenance, and we tried to get something in Shinagawa, but there wasn't anything open and appealing in the station, and none of us knew the area, so we ended up heading to Roppongi and TGIFridays. Given that we got there at 11, I think we basically knew we weren't getting our last train :)

We ended up eating and chatting and leaving around oneish and heading to Propoganda for a drink, and then Castillo for a drink and a lot of teasing about me never having heard lots of the 80's songs, and never having put an LP on, and not having a clue about games you had to load up for three hours before you could play (?) etc. It was pretty entertaining. Helen and I are used to this "Please tell me you've heard of this ____" and then me being like "" but it was funny because in the eighties bar, I'd barely heard any of the songs, except maybe in commercials (I think that statement was viewed as fairly shocking as well!)

Castillo was really entertaining because of this sign:
Almost tempting to test the point!

After that, close to threeish I think, we headed to the New Lex--Edo, and saw Bill before heading inside to be among the pretty pretty people in the newly redesigned Lex. It was good fun; and this time I knew about 95% of the songs... We were hanging out and chatting and dancing a little bit when this guy who said he ran a clothing label and his side kick, who in various turns was a proffesional golfer, soccer player, and skateboarder, invited us into the VIP area and bought drinks and bottles of Moet. (They were entertaining a few tables, and the bottles were just flowing between everyone). When it came out that I don't drink the guy who was claiming to do all the sports looks at me and goes "You don't drink at all? You are like a princess. But that's OK. I'll be your prince." and then proceeded to get me a coke. It was pretty sweet. Actually, the two of them both seemed pretty nice and made sure we were taken care of.

We left at about 5:30, and were NOT happy to find that it was totally light out and raining...The whole coming home in the light thing is a bit traumatic! Fun night, though!!!

I got home around 6:30, but realised that I had to leave at 9 to teach, and that I would be a total mess if I slept for an hour, so I called Navina instead, read for a bit, and jumped in the shower before staggering back down to Shibuya to teach. Both of us were pretty tired (no surprises there, from either side!), and then I came home around 11:30, and wasn't actually feeling too tired, so I basically hung around here before heading out to Kichijoji for 3:30 to meet a girl that I teach and 4 of her friends. They'd planned a cafe day for us to go to a cute little cafe and get cake sets and tea... Then we wandering around a couple of the fun local shops a little bit before I headed back home...

Actually, what as really funny was that I was wandering around killing time before I went to meet them, and I came across a big kimono shop with a few photos outside, and then I went up to look at them, and was like "hey, it's coming of age day" "...hey it's me!"
It's very random as I didn't get my kimono from that shop, and I actually rented it from Shimo Kitazawa, not Kichijoji. Strange.

Anyway, headed home and got back here around 7:30, and tried, basically in vain, to write something for Weekender. Actually, what happened was that I passed out for half an hour, and Peter took photos of me fast asleep with my fingers still on the home row on this here mac.

At just after 8, Mibu came over, and we've been hanging out, burning fries and crab cakes, eating edamame, and watching crap TV--the singing bee and Letterman...

Probably will be heading to bed soon--its just after 11, and I got up at noon yesterday, which is many hours without being in a bed! Worth it though.


Friday, July 20, 2007

So just wrapped up another busy week at work--Obon in August is pushing up Weekender deadlines, plus BAB is coming up again in two weeks, so it feels like we're about to get on the crazy part of the monthly roller coaster--when two magazines are happening at the same time, except worse, because the other Weekender is so soon afterwards as well!

Anyway, we'll worry about that next week!

Yesterday the new Weekender came out, with the Michael Martin feature (the BMW biking guy) and I think it looks good (but I'm not biased, or anything!) I can't wait to go see his presentation on the 1st; it should be really interesting!

Today was a bit weird--I was soo tired after fighting only vaguely successfully with SFU and course planning at 2am last night (time differences), and so I was dragging a bit all day in the office, along with a still-jet-lagged Helen...we were a bit less genki than normal today!

About halfway through the day, I went to the house of our next BAB cover girl, which was a totally huge apartment building near our office (5 minute walk) and helped with the photo shoot. It was fun, and I'm excited to see the photos on Monday... I love getting the covers for BAB, especially since I can take the color and run with it in terms of layout throught the magazine... Turning everything from black or grey to a color is a bigs step towards having a magazine!

Anyway, left the office at 6, and the day took a turn from generally a bit 'grey' to completely bizarre and a bit scary. As I walked onto the sidewalk from the office, this 30ish Japanese guy sstanding around kind of looking like he was waiting for a cab. I glanced up at him, and he looked like he might want to say something, but I wasn't interested and kept listening to my ipod, and didn't look at him, and kept walking, but I could feel/see him intensely checking me out in a smarmy way, and so I kept going past him, but then he ran up from behind me, and went a few paces in front of me and turned around and started staring at me (and my chest) more, so I got my phone out to pretend I was texting or something (just to look busy) and stopped at Suji's to chat with one of the waiters who was having a break outside... I didn't go in, b/c I thought the guy might follow me in and sit down with me, he was acting that strange and like he wanted to speak with me.

I watched as he crossed the big crossing and figured I'd lost him and then after I finished chatting, went to cross myself, a couple of minutes later, but when I was walking, he darted out from around the corner, and trotted in front of me again, and then kept looking at me, but also looking pretty nervous and weird. By this point, my 'spidey senses' were seriously tingling, even though this sort of thing doesn't generally trip me out tooo much, especially in broad daylight with tons of people around, but I called Helen, originally with the plan of keeping her on the phone while I walked to the station, but then as he popped out yet again, and was all shifty and staring at me, I changed course into the AXIS furniture shop (he didn't see me go in) and watched as he walked past through the glass. Meanwhile, Helen called Kieron who was still at the office to come collect me, and walk me to the station. I'm sure I would have been fine on my own, but it was very nice to have everyone looking out for me! Thanks guys!!

Meanwhile, as I was waiting for Kieron to come collect me (and probably looking so nervous and pacing so much that the store was on the verge of calling security on me!), the day took a turn to the very very very much better as a quick flurry of emails and phone calls between Jordon, Peter, and myself established that we could go get my macbook tonight!!!!

So I went down to Ginza and met Jordon at the apple store, and we chatted with the orbitune office rep and then I got it!! It's sooo pretty! White macbook, dual 2.16 processors, 2MB ram, 120GB drive (didn't have 160GB in the country, but it should be plenty), etc. I was very very happy to take possession of it! We also went and visited the Genius Bar so that jordon could get a small battery-related glitch worked out with his macbook pro, and then an hour later, we parted ways in Shinjuku, and I headed up to the office in Mejiro, laiden with apple bgs and very excited to break into them! And that's what I've been doing the rest of night--playing with and setting up my purdy new machine :) Which I'm going back to right now... :)

(PS--falling asleep as we speak--if soemthing doesn't make sense, that's probably why!(

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

So right after work today, Kieron, Marie, her boyfriend James, his friend from work, and I headed all the way out to Saitama Stadium 2002 (it was built for the world cup), which is FAR! Anyway, it was worth it, as we went for the Saitama City Cup, AKA Manchester United (almost full team) vs. The Urawa Reds.

We had open seats (open to the elements, too!--very surprisingly cold and not so surprisingly rainy all evening!) and ended up standing through the match, which was fine, as we were with the Urawa supporters in the only rowdy(ish) section of the whole thing. It was a bit ridiculous actually, as there were probably about 60,000 fans (an almost full 63,000 seat arena) and it was soooo quiet! I actually had a cell phone conversation with Peter where I didn't really need to raise my voice at all. How bizarre, hey?

They also had Sir Alex Ferguson and Bobby Charlton carry out the premiership trophy at the very beginning of the game-it was very shiny! It was a fun match--never been to a stadium that big before, and it was pretty cool (could have done without the crowded trains both ways though (although we did some tricky maneuvering and got seats on the way back!)

The soccer wasn't great, but wasn't totally terrible either- a couple of the goals were quite nice, and despite being outsized by most of their opponents the Urawa Reds did a good job, and well in to them for tying it 2-2. There were some definite moments of good soccer, but the whole experience of going and hanging out with everyone and watching the amazingly organised chanting (and singing of anti-German British war songs) was the best/main part of the whole experience for sure

I took quite a few pics--it's a very cool stadium! See them by clicking on the photo below.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Well first of all, we didn't get rattled around too badly in the earthquake today. That said, it was a pretty serious one, and we all felt it! It was a wavy one as opposed to a shaky one (technical, I know), and it was pretty long! It was just after 10am this morning, and even as recently as 11pm tonight I felt a fairly big aftershock-enough to get liquids moving around in a glass.

The other big news of the day was the BBQ we had for 40-50 of our closest friends :) It was the rescheduling of Peter's birthday, plus a bit of wedding stuff, plus just a fun excuse for everyone to get together. Most of Orbitune came, plus everyone from CPI who is still in Tokyo (Helen, Marie+1, Karin +1, Kieron, and Andrea+1) which was fun--everyone finally met Peter, if only very briefly, which was nice--two worlds coming together a bit! Hitomi also had a few friend and some office people over, so it was quite the full and mixed house, and even included a bunch of kids who had a great time playing on Venus' ramp while Venus was otherwise occupied and being naughty stealing food out of everyone's hands!

Actually, even Venus had a guest over, since our neighbors, who have a super cute little shiba inu named Ichiro came over (wearing his very appropriate Mariners jersey!) They were quite adorable together (basically the first time they'd spent any time together actually) and it kept Venus' mind off the cheese for a moment or two, anyway.

Anyway, that's basically how we spent today--getting ready for the BBQ and then having a steady stream of people around from 2-11ish...Lots of fun!

PS-today was Monday, but it was 'marine day' so its a holiday we were all taking advantage of, hence the kind of early start-end time of the whole affair--we all gots to get up for work tomorrow... *yawn!*

Saturday, July 14, 2007

God, bad blogger me! Smack bottoms all around I think! Ummm anyway, let's see... Wednesday (can't even remember the last time I blogged, how horrible is that?) Weekender went to print-it's our Auto issue, with Michael Martin on the cover. Michael travels around the deserts on his BMW bike taking AMAZING photographs--a bunch of us from the office are going to see him speak and present his images at the Goethe-Institut on august one, which I'm looking forward too-his book is likely to be amazing if the photos we saw for the magazine are any indication!

Thursday, I went to the gym, and then at work, BAB came back from the printers which was really exciting--I think it looks good, and so far, I haven't found any glaring errors (which always terrifies me after they come back from the printers). That said, that being scared to look at it thing always means that I basically just flip through it to reassure myself that none of the scary boxes came back or anything, and then I can't look at it in any more detail. Especially this one!! I'm sure I'll get over it and be able to look properly soon, but for now, I just take people's word for it when they say they like it :)

Thursday night, I went to work at the pink cow with Karin, who ended up helping out in the kitchen b/c she actually hadn't been supposed to come in, and then it turned out to be pretty quiet as the event wasn't really promoted and therefore quieter than hoped for --Karin and I talked about writing and stuff, and then we left an hour early, at ten, which was nice--early mornings/long days/nice to get home at 11ish instead of midnightish!

Friday, Helen was back which was exciting! Lovely to have her back in the office, although she was more than a little bit jet lagged and probably wishing she was still in rainy old England as opposed to rainy old Japan! We had a nice catch up over lunch though and then headed to Donki to take some photos for the beating the heat feature--there are some great 'only in Japan' products going in, such as a -40C bug killing spray (cyrogenics, anyone?) that basically freezes the life out of the poor suckers on contact. We also found these ridiculous 'mouth slimmers' that look like dental aids of some sort, with like a rubbery cross piece and then two rubbery C shaped bits that go in each corner of your mouth, and then you kind of make fish faces, working against the tension of the rubber (there's three different hardnesses) in order to make your mouth slimmer. I wonder if it helps with snogging? or would just make you seem really aggressive?

Anyway...Friday night was quiet-just me and Peter, I made us dinner to try and make some room in the fridge for the insane amounts of food he's laid in for the BBQ on Monday (he went to costco with Risa when I was at work on Friday)...

Today (Saturday) I slept in and then went to teach at 1:30, and came basically straight back as it was pouring (typhoon in the general area), and then chilled at home for the afternoon while Peter was at work--watching old episodes of the OC and trying to pick my classes (very frustrating, but I'm getting there) before Peter and Hitomi turned up around 9... We ate dinner mostly from the shipment of McCain frozen foods that turned up today (Hitomi used to work there), with crab cakes, mango, and peaches, and cherries for dinner (random by tasty)

While we were eating, we watched some more OC (current to us episodes) and Peter and I figured out what computer I'm going to be able to get--really really soon as is turns out!! sooooo excited! I'm going to get a dual 2.16Ghz mac book, 13 inch, 2 mb of ram, 160gb HD, should be pretty nice!!! Just have to head down to the famed Apple store in Ginza sometime this week to get it--will get them to switch out the J keyboard for an English one, and I'll be all good to go! *squeal!*


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I dont really know what to say... in summary, I suppose, July 10 saw me celebrating six months at CPI, and also getting Weekender ready to go to print, which it did, this morning. I'm torn between thinking it feels like I've been there forever (not in a bad way), and that six months, if you just told me that, really wouldn't sound like that long at all!

So far this week, mostly work--that weekender went off fairly smoothly, especially to what I was expecting Monday and Tuesday to be like! BAB comes back tomorrow--I'm nervous and excited... I can't wait to see it, but I also don't want to look too carefully incase some overly obvious at this point but nobody ever saw it before mistake jumps out at us at this point. Hate that!

Other than that, its been very weird/nice to have a couple of relaxing nights at home--not working late, not teaching, just chilling and watching crap tv and struggling with the rubix cube that is my schedule for next year. Trying very hard to give it the nescessary amount of attention even though right now the last thing I want to think about is school, because I know in the fall, if I screw around with it now, I'll only regret it all year at SFU. Also took V out for a 40-minute walk today after it cooled down a bit, and listened to an old 'the current' cbc podcast--about Dr. Yunus, who Marie got to interview today--total coincidence! He won a nobel prize for his work in Bangladesh administering microcredit loans. It sounds fascinating, and kind of reminds me of that CAPP project in gr 10. Despite all of the other interpersonal issues that came up with that, we did prove that you can turn $6 into $1500 in like 8 months...

Beyond that, not a whole lot to report--working at the Pink Cow tomorrow night after CPI... Karin is also working so it should be fun--there's a Refugees International Screening, which is interesting, b/c I really wanted to go see something, so this is a great chance to at least see glimpses of one of the films, and a kick in the butt reminder to get going to other ones while the festival is here!

In the meantime--go read Maggie's blog about her trip to Ghana. Much more interesting than mine, and actual involves another culture, something I don't exactly do these days! PS-how was Oakville CIS almost 10 years ago! That was shocking to read her mention on that blog!

anyway, off to bed-alarm in 6 short hours... blah!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Saturday was VERY relaxing! I actually worked hard at not working--I wasn't teaching, and Hitomi and Peter were off at the Ritz (photos) which sounds as if it was rather nice--a gorgeous corner suite, spa treatments, Japanese dinner, champagne brunch, etc.(they had some rather nice views from their rather nice suite!)

Meanwhile, Venus and I went to the conveni and stocked up on food and then came home and moved from one couch to the other, a total slumber party for two. We read, napped, moved from couch to couch, finished Season Two of the OC, and thought about working but quickly dismissed that idea as silly. It's been quite awhile since I did absolutely nothing for an entire day, and while it was lovely, I have to say I was a bit bored with the whole decadence thing by about I just headed to bed :)

Sunday, I had to teach, at 10 and 2, and in between, went to get ramen for lunch (yum!!) and then pretty much the business profile for the July 20 Weekender. Came home around 4, and found Peter and Hitomi home as well as Hitomi's brother, sister in law, and super cute two year old nephew, who was regarding Venus with some suspicion, so I took Venus out for a bit of a walk, and then came home to hear all of the tails of the mini-break at the Ritz.
Peter and Hitomi caught up on the OC for me (cliff hanger!) while I worked on the July 20 feature and then made pancakes for dinner. Fairly early night at today--


--got up early and got to work just after 8, to finish up the feature and businness before Karin got in, only to find that our internet wasn't working. Marie also came in early, and we only got the net back at about 10:40, so it was a bit frustrating that we'd gotten in but not been able to research stuff (or when proofing, check all of those pesky words you think you know but really don't - infact--one word or two? etc) Spend the day proofing, finishing those two articles, doing the calendar, chasing up content, and generally trying to get organised to go to print Wednesday morning. Luckily, no major crisis yet! Knock wood! Left with Karin just before 7 and went with her to Shibuya, where she was meeting a friend, and I went for more ramen (gotta get it now while I can!) before walking home... So not to exciting, but not to long and/or stressful either, which is always a plus as well :)


Friday, July 06, 2007

So two things of major note happened today...First of all, BAB July went to print, and by all accounts so far, successfully so. We had some initial pdf hairiness and freaky-freaky boxes (to use the technical term), but the proofs came back looking good, so, should all go to plan, we'll have a large quantity of magazines dropping into the office late next week :)

I left work right at 6 today (it's been a long week!) and headed up to Mejiro--haven't been to Peter's office in ages, so I saw the huge new TVs in the meeting room (pretty sweet), and Peter and I played some electronic darts on Aki's's a really good one and we were having a good time (especially me, as I was just barely ahead!) when the cab driver showed up and we headed home...

Hitomi arrived back to ours at around 10ish, and we had some popcorn hanging out in the living room, and then....big event number two happened--Hitomi and Peter got married! Omedetou!

Basically, July 7 is tanabata, which is a romantic holiday here in Japan, something to do with star-crossed lovers, and since it is 070707 this year, they decided it would be a good day to get married. We were planning on heading to the kuyakusho (city hall) at about 1 tomorrow, but when they went to get their paperwork checked over, the woman said it was likely to be busy during the day, so they pushed it up to just after midnight, as did several other couples-it was busy at the 24-hour marriage hanko-ing cubby hole down in the basement!

Before the marriage bit, we went to ZEST across the street for a nice dinner, and I gave them the wedding present that Mom, Grampa, and I got-- a hand carved Haida box, carved napkin rings, and a penny which has been cut in half, but the way it is cut in half is a design with two four leaf clovers that fit together, so they each get a half.

After dinner, at about 10 past midnight, we wandered across the street to the kuyakusho where we were somewhat suprised to see that after we descended into the slightly grotty basement, there was already a line! As far as we can guess, they were the fourth Shibuya-ku couple to be married on the 7th, and theirs was processed at 12:30! The little guy in the room was hilarious, with ancient furniture, a sink from many many years ago randomly behind his desk, and off to the side, a tatmi room, sliding doors shut, with a TV blaring--you could see the flickering screen through the doors. The place is 24-hours, and we're sure, that with very few exceptions, you really don't get too much work in there at 2am, except for a day like today!

Anyway, we were in and out pretty quickly, stopping only to be shocked and entertained by the girl's shirt that said "F*ck you, you bo-- sh#t head", but with nothing remotely censored out. SUCH a hilarious shirt to wear for a wedding! We decided we needed a photo, and Hitomi went back in with me (they were queing up) to say that I was writing a story about weddings on tanabata for a magazine in canada, and that i wanted a was great!

Came home, did a quick family portrait, and less than three hours after we left the house, all the excitement is over! There's lots of pictures here and a few below...

wandering down to get hitched
looking a little bit concerned at ZEST
but genki in the family pic after the fact
the entrance with the lovely gomi and old brick
in the queue...

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

So, wasn't overly interested in blogging today, as it was another long day at work (yesterday, I went to the gym and got to the office around 9:30, and then finally left at 12:15am just in time to catch my last train home! It was actually quite funny because I was just in prime "I will actually growl at and or punch you if you try and sell me your drink specials" while I walked through Roppongi on my way down to Nogizaka, and one of the big club promoters took one look at me, and actually with seemingly genuine concern was like "you take care of yourself tonight". jeesh, I must have looked in rough shape!)

Anyway, today I got out of the office around 10:20, after sending a 90% complete pdf of BAB July to Helen, Caroline, and Helen, and after getting to Yoyogi Uehara eki decided to be naughty and stop for mcdonalds... I managed to draw the person who spoke not a word of English, so placing the order was a bit complicated, but I finally got everything ordered and confirmed, and thanks to a third party translator (a manager or something) ascertained that the nuggets were going to take 4 minutes to cook. I thought that since it took me ages to order and then awhile for them to pack it up, and then they handed it to me, and it is so not likely for them to forget anything that it would all be good.

But, when I got home, there were no nuggets. We checked the receipt and I had ordered/paid for them, but they weren't there. Now, if at home, this is where the story ends. But, when Hitomi walked in a second later, Peter asked her to call McD's, as apparently, when they forget something like this, they deliver it! I thought he was joking, or making an undue fuss, but apparently, there is nothing particularly out of the ordinary about the embarrassed manager walking 10 minutes from the eki to deliver the nuggets! I guess Hitomi basically said 'we tried to order nuggets, and we didn't get them ' and he went 'ok, I'll deliver; want anything else?'

I was in mild shock, and just for laughs, would love to try that conversation at home... I can't see getting very far with it anywhere in North America!

You gotta love Japan,

Monday, July 02, 2007

Happy late Canada Day! (I taught, and then we took Venus to Neil's for a BBQ--Peter knows him from the CCCJ, and he's basically our neighbour now--he lives beside the UNIQLO shacho's massive house/driving range. I came back after a couple of hours with Venus, and then Peter stayed for a few more hours. While he was still there, I worked on the July 20 feature for Weekender and watched some OC).

Yesterday, I went to the gym and then to work, and then after work, met Jordon to go to the Mori Art mueum to check out the exhibit about Le Corbusier. It was really interesting! I only really knew his name, as an architect, before we went, but I wouldn't have been able to pick out any buildings or anything (perhaps because very few of his large-scale proposals actually got made?) but we discovered that he is actually an architect, painter, sculptor, urban planner, automobile designer, furniture designer, etc. It was a very impressive range of creativity displayed! One of the coolest things was the fact that they'd built 3 full-scale models you could walk through; you got a much better sense of it than just with the architectural models! A lot of what he was designing in the 20s and 30s would still be considered very modern today, and with one building, all that made you realise it was designed back then were the little people in their victorian style dresses and the drawings of old cars in some of the renderings.

After the musuem (and a super quick spin up to the foggy and smoggy city view) we headed to Suji's for dinner (its like a magnet or something!) and had a good time catching up...


Saturday, June 30, 2007

Ugh I've been horrible about blogging, as certain people insist on reminding me of by email, but anyway, I'll try and catch up a bit..(this is post #300, by the way, and I can't wait for the last post! This is the only way in which the rest of my time in Japan, so hideously short, seems like its going to stretch out for a long time!) Anyway, since I don't want to be the girl who abandoned her blog 3/4s of the way through (not that it matters, really):

Friday: was a long and weird day. I was still can't quite decide if it was a good one or not, but I'd have to say that bits weren't not so good! I got to the office around 8, and spent the day working predominantly on BAB, since that's the first magazine of the two to go to print. It's actually mostly in design at this point, which is good! When I finally got out of the office just before 9 that night, I had a low res pdf of where we were all ready to go with a very few blank pages.

In the afternoon, I met Caroline at the British Embassy to go to Lindsay Ann Hawker's family's press conference. It was incredibly sad, as you can imagine! He mum, dad, and sister (who is my age) were there, speaking about her murder at the end of March, and the suspect, and what the police are doing, etc. They also mentioned the t-shirt campaign that BAB is starting The family seems so nice, and all things considered, they seem to be handling everything OK, but I found the whole experience a bit depressing (the actual press conference itself was interesting to be at though).

Incidentally, since we launched the t-shirt campaign on Thursday, it got picked up by the Sports Paper on Friday, and as a result, the phone was ringing off the hook in the office, and we even had researchers from three or four tv stations coming to the door looking for info. Very interesting! Since I don't' watch Japanese news, I have no idea what got picked up or not, but it seems to be stirring up interest!

So came back to the (quiet!--Just Kieron and me) office, and kept working on BAB, had a chat with Helen in the early evening, and then after sending the pdf around 8:30 or 9, headed off to meet the girl that I teach at a Northern Lights (Canadian club) party. It was in a cute little bar space near Roppongi, and everyone was really friendly, and most people spoke pretty good English, although really I should have been practicing my Japanese, but ya know! Met a few of her friends and we chatted till around 10, when it ended, and then went to KOOTS by Roppongi with two of her other friends, and they proceeded to feed me a couple of traditional Japanese sweets--one of which has mochi in the name, but isn't the pounded, grannnies choke to death on this rice of new year's which shares the same name, rather its like tasteless blocks of chilled gelatin or something, that you then sweep around through syrup. It's pretty tasty, as the syrup is really sweet and the other stuff has no taste, so it works out pretty well.

We also got 'service' (free food) from KOOTS, which was like little balls of rice wrapped in something red and doughy (I guess usually its red bean paste, but not this time). Anyway, taste was ok, but texture was so similar to playdough I couldn't quite get over it! It was quite funny, because the girl that I teach was talking to one of her friends, in Japanese, and said she didn't like it, which I understood, and then just before I was about to eat it, I was like "So you don't like this, huh?" and she was like "OMG how did you know?" It was quite funny!

Anyway, home around midnight and then bed pretty early-was desperate for a lot of sleep, which I basically got, not waking up till like 10:30 on


Headed down to teach at 1, and that was fine--we can usually make it through an hour without too much difficulty these days, and then I just basically went home--it had cooled down a bit so I walked home, although it was still pretty hot hiking up the big hill by our place!

Pretty soon after I got back, Peter's friend Emiko showed up and so we all spent the afternoon chatting with them catching up on olllllld FMA gossip and the such, and we had a tasty BBQ with chicken and ribs. At about 10:30, I went down to Dubliners in Shibuya, to meet up with Kieron's party crew and to wish him a happy birthday. There were a few familiar faces from the What the Dickens night of about a month ago, but I just stayed for a quick drink, especially since Kieron actually went home not too long after I got there, and was, improbably, home by 1. Which was actually probably a really good thing, since I'm tired enough now as I get ready to go teach the taxi guy who stood me up last week...


PS--Happy Canada Day!