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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

This morning got off to a completely ridiculous start! Luckily, I'd already arranged to go into work late, as I knew I'd be staying late, and I needed to go to the ward office to get my gaijin card updated with my new passport information, as well as go to the library (I really don't want to deal with fines here, that just seems like it would be much too complicated!). Unfortunately, at the ward office, I realised I hadn't refilled my pump, and didn't have enough insulin for the whole day/evening (yea, I know I should have a spare bottle/reservoirs on me, but I didn't; doh!) so I went from the kuyaksho (sp?) to the library and then biked home, filled my pump, and jumped on a train to get to work, about twenty minutes after I'd said I'd get there, which wasn't so good, but actually no one really minded since its a) pretty flexible, and b) busy today, and c) I got everything done.

At the library, it was funny b/c I tried to leave my bike up at the top of the big hill and walk down, and the traffic guy kind of came over to me and was shaking his head, so I gestured towards the bike, and asked him 'daijoubou desu ka?' and he was like 'blah blah blah questioning gesture, why?' so I told him I was going to the toshokan, and he's was like 'ah. Ok desu', and let me park there. Then after, I saw him walking down the hill, and he kept saying stuff in Japanese, and I'm trying to tell him I don't speak Japanese, and then randomly, he was like 'san gatsu', and I was like 'oh! March!' (no idea why that was relevant to whatever he might have been saying!) And he was like 'yes, March. Have a nice day', and walked off. Very random!

Anyway, did eventually make it to work, and had a busy day filling in a few gaps for BAB, and finishing the 'Things to Do' section for Weekender. Most of us went for lunch at Suji's today, which was really good-we almost all got one of the lunch specials which was a cobb salad sandwich... My lunch from today was relegated to the fridge for tomorrow, but I hear plans afoot to go to Suji's again tommorow (beef stroganoff or chicken parm sandwich are the specials), which is very hard to resist!

This evening three of us ended up at Suji's again though, as Grace Kim, whom we featured in the sports section of the Chinatown issue of Weekender was sweet enough to take us out for drinks (and nachos....mmm!) I really want to take some Tae Kwan Do classes from her and her new company, 3 Step Defense. It was funny because my blog came up a lot today, talking about blogs, people who get book deals from blogs, and also, at lunch, how such a high percentage of the search terms coming of people coming to my blog have been about Suji's, and then today, Grace mentioned she'd found my blog by searching for Suji's, so tonight when I got home, I googled 'Suji's tokyo' and I'm the first and second listings on google, (I'm also number 3 and 4 for 'shiba koen futsal') which is pretty crazy! (Maybe I should start selling them ad space on here ;).
I didn't quite make it to Pecha Kucha night as we hung out at Suji's for quite awhile, but that's OK - its every month, and it was lots of fun tonight so I wouldn't have wanted to bail early!

Got home around 10:30, had some pasta, and blogging, still waiting for Peter to come home, though Hitomi has just walked in the door. I have started thinking about what I'm going to do with this blog, because it really has to end soon! Increasingly I think it's bordering on the self serving drivel that people then to complain about when discussing blogs.

I'm also tired of how much I do have to censor myself, and how little I can say about work, etc. We were kind of talking about it today, which made me start thinking about it more, I mean, I'm careful about what I say about work, but what if something slips out of whatever... Honestly, I'm getting tired of the self censorship, but its also not like I'm going to actually say how I feel on here...But on the other hand, I do like having a record of the trip, so not sure what the best solution would be.

I was thinking it might be interesting to write a novel on a blog, like the same kind of length as I write on here each day, and then you'd have like a serialised novel with built in fans, and incentive to write every day, but maybe I should finish CRASH first ;) Or, I could just blog when something interesting happens, but that has the potential to become less than sporadic, or, I could start a second, pass word protected blog and just dish in there, but that seems a bit weird, I don't necessarily want or need my personal diary (not that I've ever kept one!) online...

Who knows? Blogging is weird!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Peter had an early meeting (well, 10am) out near Haneda this morning, so I managed to score a ride to work, which was great :) It also meant, that since we left at 9, which is a few minutes before I have to leave to take the train, or right around when I have to leave if I'm biking, I ended up getting down to Roppongi about half an hour before I was supposed to be at work. I went and got a drink at Subway and read some of Angels and Demons, which has somehow taken me this long to get to!

I managed to pull myself away from Rome and the Illuminati to pull into work right on time, which was handy, as Helen had lots for me to do :) BAB is about to go to print at the end of the week, so there was lots to do in terms of tying up lose ends - writing a 'things we love' blurb, writing an advertorial, adding some text into women of the world (did you know that 40% of women in rural India have never heard of AIDS!), etc.

After Anthony came in, we had a late content meeting with Caroline, and I also worked on the kids pages for Mar 16 (what I want to be when I grow up) with Karin for awhile, before ending the day by putting in a couple of hours of work on the Things to Do for the Mar 16 issue, which I need to get typed up and submitted
tomorrow - This issue goes to print in ten days, but it all needs to get to design ASAP. Its crazy how fast each two week cycle seems to fly by! The calendar was a bit of a challenge this week, because for some reason, I was a little thin on the ground with press releases, but also, all the stuff kept happening on the same days! Very frustrating as we only put one event per day, so there was some tricky shuffling going on! I think I had one event per day penciled in (and crossed out, moved around, and highlighted over!) before I left. It was crazy how fast work went today, I looked up at the clock and was totally shocked to find that it was already 3:55! I left at about 4:30, but it still seemed like a short day, which is great I guess! The new intern wasn't there today, I think Helen said she's not in until Thursday now, but I'm sooo curious!! I want to meet her! I'm also curious how we're going to start dividing up the work between the two of us, although I suspect there will be more than enough to keep both of us as busy as we want to be ;).

Spent my break reading more Angels and Demons (I have to get it back to the library tomorrow), and then went to teach, which also went surprisingly fast. The girl had lots of homework which helps pass the time, again, I went to check the time and was shocked that it was already 7!

Came home on some very crowded trains, bah! Walked in the door and made a
huuuuge vat of spaghetti for dinner (and dinner, and lunch, and lunch, and maybe another dinner or so). It was pretty tasty - Hitomi's trick of adding some Clamato juice to the sauce is definitely a good one! Thins it out a little bit and adds just a hint of a kick; good stuff. Venus and I curled up on the couch, and I finished my book, which is good, I've been realising that since TiVo (and biking to work sometimes), I've been reading way less, averaging only about 1.5 novels/week, which for me is nothing! I have to try and cut back on the TV and ramp back up on the reading; I miss it!

Finally, in the 'well this is random' category is this website I found with some Japanese phrases on it. Everything is going along as expected (
konichiwa, gan batte; good afternoon, good luck, etc.) until you get to the la la land section, aptly named, which has such phrasal gems as:

What is the meaning of my bellybutton?
Ohesotte nani?)

I am too barbaric to eat a Japanese breakfast.
Nihonshoku o tabesukete inai yabanjin desu.)


How honorably shrimp struggle as they choke to death!
Ebi no idaina saigo desu!)

Oh those shrimp!


Monday, February 26, 2007

Whew, today was a pretty good example of just a little bit too much of a good thing! Jordon and I trekked out to Shin-Yokohama with two of his friends to go to the ramen museum. It was pretty oishii! The museum itself is pretty limited, and largely in Japanese, so we didn't see that part very much (just a tiny bit at the end), but the downstairs two levels are great - themed like the city streets in 1958, they hold eight ramen shops (plus a bar, standing bar, and bakery) representing different types of ramen from around the country. We tried four different kinds of ramen! Luckily, they had 'mini' bowls, which weren't exactly small, but meant that we managed to make it through. (I don't think I want to see noodles for at least a day or two though!) The first kind of ramen we had was from Tokyo and called Harukiya.
(the kind of taupe colored things in the bottom left part of the bowl are bamboo shoots, which I've never had before, they were good - kind of crispy and chewy at the same time, and didn't have a really strong tast of any kind, but I liked them)

It was really good! I think it was my favourite! It is a handmade, hand-kneaded noodle in soy sauce flavoured fish broth. According to the guidebook "The bowl looks simple, but when you sip at the soup, you feel multiple levels of complex flavor and richness combined with fish aroma excite your brain. You would not come to yourself until you finish the whole bowl." It was indeed exciting!

Next, we headed to get some Komurasaki, which was quite good, but not as flavorful. It is from Kyushu, and includes garlic chips (which I think Kazumasa san said were fried in horse oil, after we ate it!! I'm not 100% sure though!), and a mild broth based on pork bones blended with chicken bones. It smelled really good, but didn't quite live up to the tastes of the first ramen we tried.
After that, we took a bit of a ramen break, and wandered around the two stories of the 'town', unfortunately, it was next to impossible to get pictures! It is really low lighting, so Peter's little camera was having a hell of a time trying to sort itself out, and I couldn't get it out of a really slow exposure, which wasn't helping things at all!)

We also got stopped by a entertaininly heavily made up policeman, who was incredibly friendly, and let Jordon take some pictures with him (and his gun). Then, randomly, he whipped out two hula hoops and the two of them had a competition. After that, I had a hula competition with the cop (I think we tied). It was random, because somehow the cop had it in his head that Jordon's name was Danielle, so then when he asked me my name I was like 'uhhhh Jordon!'.

We went upstairs, and went into the old style candy shop, where I got some thin wafers where you put tonkatsu (pork cutlet) style sauce in the middle. Very weird, but not too bad. Everyone else got these little tubs of super vinegary (but slight sweet) liquid in which two Japanese style plums were encased. I tried a little bit of Jordon's and it was intense! Verrry vinegary! An acquired taste to be sure! (Can't you just see the love on their faces?)
We also had some sugar coated fried dough (basically donuts) which were good, but in retrospect, maybe a little bit extraneous, because after a quick visit to the game room (old spinning tops, juggling, ring toss, etc), it was on to part two of the ramen excursion. I tried to give our third shop, the spicy Ryushanhai a miss to save room for our fourth bowl, but they said everyone in the shops had to eat, so I had to be a 'trooper' And get some of the ramen from the Tohoku Region. It is a miso based soup, with fish and shell fish flavouring, and a big ball of spicy miso paste in the middle that you can dissolve at will. It has "a firm yet bouncy textured noodle well worth mentioning". Actually, the noodles were really good, but I don't think this was anyone's favourite. Kind of a weird combi, with the spicy aspect and all.
Since we couldn't leave it at a low note like that, we dragged ourselves across the courtyard to get some Fukuchan from Hakata. This one was really good as well, it was too bad we were all so collectively full after that! This one was interesting, because they had 'add it yourself' garlic on the table, you could add garlic chips and also press whole fresh cloves of garlic into your soup, which was did, and was tres oishii! It smelled sooo good as well, I love garlic!

I'll end with some general shots of the museum, it is pretty well themed in the food amusement park part - they also had audience participation stuff like a 'rock, paper, scissors' tournament, and performances of the oldest types of Japanese manga, where a guy stands by a little stage and tells the story as he shows various still images (paintings) of what is going on in the story. Each of the ramen shops was also decorated differently (to show the different areas maybe?) Though all of them used the super simple and convenient ticket vending machines. They have a really good English guidebook, which isn't always the case with places like this and we learned that there are over 200 000 ramen shops in Japan; wow!

It's too bad its so far from here, or we could get memberships to let us get in and out on an unlimited basis (otherwise, its a Y300 entrance fee for the museum and stuff before you can get down to the ramen shops), but it was a tasty field trip! Next: icecream town or Sweets Forest!

gotta love food amusement parks!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

I got up insanely early (6:30) this morning in order to go watch the gymnastics classes. It didn't really go overly well, but we had a mis-communication from the beginning I think, so that's fine. I guess he assumed that I had lots of coaching experience, and wanted to come and coach, whereas what I was 95% interested in was finding somewhere to train, which, because of them having to set up/take down immediately before and after each session, its probably not going to work out. I think neither of us was that enthralled with the idea of me as a coach by the end of the day, but I might be helping him out with his book, so there you go; that would be a much better fit!

I went to lunch with them at TAC (the American Club), which was pretty nice - I've never been to the club before so it was fun to see everything they have - an outdoor pool, bowling alley, American style diner (where we ate), restaurants, health club, beauty salon, Foosball, games, etc. It's popular as part of the 'ex pat package' and there were lots of kids there and stuff - looks like it was probably a pretty fun place to have growing up! These ex pat kids live in a bit of a bubble over here! It would be v. cool to study in an International School, etc!

Anyway, after lunch, there was just about 2 hours before soccer, and since I was in the neighborhood anyway, I figured it didn't make any sense to go home, so I went to Suji's for a drink, which was great, as usual :) Got to chat with Suji a bit, and tried to convince Maasa (sp?), who used to be a soccer player in Italy, to come out to our soccer sessions sometimes! Was very happy to see that they were really busy, which is great, we want them to stay right where they are - feet from our office! It was pretty funny because about ten minutes after I got there, just as I was cracking open the old nihongo tekistu books, Jen walked in the door! She was hosting a baby shower for her friend at Suji's, and they were about to take up a big section of the place. I told Suji about how big a proportion of the search terms for this blog are Suji's related, and scored some extra chocolate syrup in my iced mocha as a result :)

Wandered down to soccer (taking some random keitai pics on the way; see below), and played for a couple of hours. There were only seven of us, which means that we were playing 4 on 3, and then after someone had to leave early, 3 on 3. It was pretty tiring, but I was actually in a relatively low level of pain; YAY! I did spray myself down with the Air Salon stuff I got last week, and it was pretty good. It was definitely a bit different from the stuff I'd borrowed last week as there was a massive amount of menthol related freezing in it (I smelled like a stick of spearmint!), but there was also pain killer I think as well, it was all very encouraging how well it went today! I've emailed a couple of other groups about their futsal/soccer, so maybe I can get a couple of other sessions per week in which would be nice!
(It took me awhile (and a double take or two!) to realise that this handsome creature is actually a robot, and not a flag person. After the course I took about flag waving, I can certainly see why they would want to have fake people on the job!)

(survey day in Hibiya station! tons of these very studious/taking their job seriously guys were tracking the traffice through the eki today, with like 3 counters each - quite the operation from the looks of things!)
(Tokyo Tower)

(interesting child like statues at a huge temple near Tokyo Tower/the Tokyo Prince Hotel/Shiba Koen. I had no idea this temple was there until I walked past it after getting slightly lost on my way to soccer today. It looks amazing, and I'll definitely have to go back there to check it out properly later!)

When I got back, Peter was still at the office, so I just showered, made some food, and researched freelancing possibilities. I'm thinking there must be an article in the whole food amusement park thing somewhere! Since we're hitting the ramen museum tomorrow, it seemed like a good idea to keep in mind.

Hope everyone had a good weekend! Happy Oscars!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Taught two people today, chatted with Grampa, and took a few pictures of 'street snaps', including one of the Icelandic Ambassador's daughter, who seemed very nice, and one of an editor from Player Magazine, which Peter and I had just recently been chatting about. Came home around five, hung out for a bit, watched Gilmore Girls, drooled over on-sale and refurbished macs (online), and then eventually we ordered pizza and watched 'The Queen', which I'm going to be reviewing for work. That about sums up the day, so I'm going to take the rest of the regularly scheduled blogging time to review 'The List' by Tara Ison before I forget what its all about!

The List
Tara Ison
March 07

When I originally agreed to review this book, I clearly hadn't read the cover blurb very carefully, as what I was expecting was not what I got! Al and Isabel are two lovers who can't quite break up and decide to go on ten perfect dates as a way to to finally bring closure to their relationship. I got about that far on the cover blurb, and then ASSumed that they would fall in love again over the course of the dates and it would be a total pink book.

Clearly, I was wrong, but the novel was good, so there you go! Al, who was a movie director who had one cult hit before giving up the silver screen in favor of professional slackerism and clerking at a video store meets Isabel, a highly driven med student at a midnight screening of the aforementioned hit. The two of them fall into a relationship driven more by physical attraction and an undeniable carnal connection than anything which seems deep and long lasting.

Indeed their relationship (we are told, as we enter the story in the truly dying stages of the saga) has ended several times, as Isabel repeatedly seeks solace in her best friend, the seemingly perfect surgeon Van, and Al couch surfs back to his brother Griff's house, while seeking solace in his own best friend, outspoken lesbian Julie. Finally, the pair decide that enough is enough and decide to put an end to the troubled relationship once and for all. The theory is that if come up with ten things which they have always wanted to do, put it on a mutually agreed upon 'list', and then systematically cross off all of the things on said list they will be able to end the relationship once and for all. The list of activities is eclectic, ranging from smearing themselves in baby oil and having sex on sheets in a cheap motel (ewww greasy!), to doing some 'shrooms while at the Planetarium, to having a candlelit shower.

Instead of allowing them to move past their relationship, however, the list seems to serve only to pull them deeper into a mutually destructive relationship which pulls at them and at their lives as they remain unable to split up, and continue to fight against one another while simultaneously remaining unable to move outside of their relationship.

The book is certainly interesting, and I felt it was pretty realistic how Ison dealt with a struggle between two people who are inexplicably drawn to one an other yet realise they are not the best match for each other. However, I felt that the psychological aspect could have been drawn out a bit more - if she wanted to make the two of them dangerous to each other, I think that could have been pushed a little bit more. Interestingly, I didn't care particularly for one character over the other, but was more concerned for the two as a couple. I don't know if this was intentional, but it worked well within the context of the plot and was probably quite challenging to write like that - I can't imagine that it would be easy to write two characters with a similar level of 'likeability'. Alternating the voice between the two of them in alternating chapters probably helped though.

I think the List was an interesting and completely fresh approach to looking at a crumbing relationship. Nearly free of reproach and recrimination from within the relationship (though those around the two main players have a lot to say!), the story is free to explore the relationship at will. I'd recommend this to the YA set and up, especially if you are looking for a completely different portrait of a doomed relationship!

Well, I'm off to bed, I have to be up ridiculously early tomorrow to go check out a gymnastics class (just watching unfortunately)...


Friday, February 23, 2007

I went to check out Sophia University today, unfortunately, it was very rainy and grey, so I didn't spend too much time actually checking out the campus, but it seemed OK - not overly inspiring, but not overly depressing, kind of typical Tokyo architecture; square and efficient I guess. Anyway, I managed to get application information for there, the only wrench in those works is that you have to take the SATs which is a bit ridiculous, but you can take them here, so if I need to I can (and um, be completely screwed in math!) Unfortunately, I wouldn't be able to transfer any credits, because for some reason, you're only considered a transfer student if you have finished two years of uni... (Sophia has an English speaking undergraduate program)

After that, I trekked way out to Odaiba, to check out the Japan Association for Foreign Students (or something like that), and picked up their big booklet on studying in Japan, scholarships, the different types of schools in Japan, etc. This would require a year to eighteen months of intensive Japanese language study, plus sitting the university entrance exams known the world over for being brutally intense, but would have the side benefit of fluency in Japanese.

Alternately (and this is my favorite option at the moment), I might try and swing the visa thing so I could stay here yet study through Athabasca, Canada's Open University, which would be great, lots of English classes, more than one major to pick from, flexible, cheaper, etc. I know I can finish correspondence courses if I put my mind to it (and hey, its a great reason to get a laptop!), etc. So, we'll see...obviously nothing is decided yet, but there are options (which knowing me, is a bit of both good and bad, but really, mostly good in this case!)

After picking up the info, I headed across Odaiba to Venus Fort, which is this themed mall targeted to women, its pretty amazing, and I took lots of pictures, so I think I'll just mostly let them do the talking!

It's a themed mall, designed to look like an Italian city, with the fountains, and the cobblestone streets, etc. Its also for women, so the canned music is all Enya-esque, and most of the stores were of very little interest to me (like the Barbie clothes for adults store), etc. But the mall itself was pretty cool! The sky actually changes from day clouds through to evening clouds which are quite dark, it's interesting! There's also a square where you can get married and stuff, pretty interesting just to wander around in even if you don't get up to too much shopping!
(marriage square)

After I'd basically seen the mall, I headed downstairs to get a coffee and read and wait for Peter, who was driving out to Odaiba after some meetings. While I was there, I tried to get a woman to let me take her picture for street snaps for BAB, but no dice, I need to find some people tomorrow in Shibuya while I'm teaching, I had no luck today - I'd been planning to do it at Sophia, but I think the rain drove everyone away, I didn't see anyone!

Anyway, Peter and I went to have a 'quick' look through Venus Fort, as he'd never seen it, and ended up getting very sidetracked! First we exclaimed over the 'Roppongi worthy wear' at the slutty kiddy klothing shop
And then we wandered over to the huge Toyota showroom/amusement park/activity centre thing, called Mega Web, where we saw tons of cars, some cool simulation games, vending machines for car catalogues (the Prius, at 200Y is the most expensive), and took a magnetic car ride around a track, which was so cool! The car was so cute, a little smaller than a mini, and totally drove itself. We did have to wear seat belts though, (it went about 12k/hr), and wouldn't have been allowed on the ride had we been intoxicated or over exhausted.

(kids had designed a lot of the cars, so they were very cool and colorful!)

We also went to the free car museum,called History Garage, because Peter wanted to see some of the old school cars. I was happy because I got to sit in a Messerschmidt, I've heard rumors that during Grampy's London art school days, he used to sit in the back, with Oma, while his friend tooled the little three wheeler around the fantastic! It was actually really comfortable though - squishy seats! If a little small. The museum was really well themed as well, with different street scenes from 1950's America, etc. Funnily enough, they had a well decorated '50s diner/soda fountain, which sold, of all things, curry and pasta!
Finally, on our way out of the mall, we stopped in a random crap shop, where, among other things, Peter got friendly with some stuffed boobs (yes, this is becoming a familiar sight to loyal blog readers!) and I tried on some kicking glasses!

Our plans for a late movie were thwarted by the fact that the last movie had started around eight, so we went to La Boheme, the Italian version of ZEST and had a nice dinner and talked about school possibilities and stuff which was good.

Drove home, and that about wraps up the day! Lots of photos for you, I love being able to upload straight to flickr from my keitai!


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Biked to work today since it was a gorgeous day, so that was if not nice, at least not too unpleasant! I'm looking forward to the cherry blossoms coming out in Aoyama cemetery, that will be really nice! Managed to listen to my This American Life Podcast, which is still downloading, although some of my other podcasts (Rick Steves, DNTO, All in the Mind) aren't which is really weird/worrying/crappy! This computer is almost totally full though (15GB, not so much!), so that might have something to do with it? LUCKILY the metpod is still downloading, so I can listen to that tomorrow when I go to Sophia University...It looks like a nice long one as well, which is awesome!

Work was good today - I finished up the women of the world section, and I think I managed to find some good articles for that - its amazing what you can find when you just 'google news' "women". What would we do without the Internet! I've been reading a lot about the story I used for the slightly longer 'featurette', which is about the Marianas islands. It's pretty shocking! The islands are are a Commonwealth of the US, which means that they are mostly American, except that they don't have the same minimum wage, and they don't have the same immigration act. This has basically led to tons of factories setting up shop with a low minimum wage, and recruiting tons of women from remote areas of China, Thailand, etc to work for them.

The women go over there hoping to be able to finance educations for themselves and their families, but in order to get there, they have to pay up to $7000 to a recruiter to get themselves a one year contract. Under current rates, they would have to work 58 out of a possible 52 weeks in order to just break even! The recruiters threaten their families back home, and it is very stressful! Many of the women are forced into prostitution, and can't feed themselves properly or anything. One of the women they interviewed in the article said her teeth bleed all the time because all she can eat is a bit of rice and a few crappy vegetables. The US is considering passing a law to change the minimum wage, but some people say that if that means the factories close, it will cause even more problems as their only legal source of income will evaporate. Incidentally, all clothing made in this area, which includes Saipan, can be labeled 'Made in the USA', which gives many people, me included, the impression that the clothes have been made with some level of human rights in mind! Interesting stuff! Ms. Magazine has been covering the story in detail if you are interested....

We also had a content meeting today, which I wasn't really that involved in, but it was pretty funny because Caroline called in from home, so we had her on speaker phone, and occasionally you'd hear her yelling at Tommy (her dog), or something, and then if everyone was quiet she was like 'oh, have you all gone for lunch without me then?' Perhaps you had to be there, but it was an entertaining way to hold a meeting!

I also got to try my hand at cutting an article today, which I've never done for someone else before. I had to take it from about 1400 words all the way down to 850, which was a challenge! I was also doing some minor edits on it to fix some parts which were confusing/didn't flow well/etc. It was hard to make sure that I stayed true to her writing style! I felt bad about chopping so much of her stuff, even though, if it were my article, I wouldn't care whatsoever about trimming it out, but when its someone else's work, I guess I felt I couldn't be that liberally choppy with it. Helen said I did a good job with it, and we sent it back to the author with the option of cutting it herself if she didn't like what I did, so that's good.

No more copy editing today, but finished up the day by working with Karin on the kids pages a little bit, I think they're going to be pretty cute! In other office news, Helen and Kieron have gotten me addicted to tea, since they make it really really well! I have to watch them and figure out how they do it, b/c when I have and/or make tea, half the time I can't stand it, and half the time its great, but they seem to have sorted it out, and also, we have a new intern starting on Tuesday! I think she was hired by someone who doesn't work for CPI anymore, but she's coming over to Japan just for this internship... Helen wasn't exactly clear on what she's hoping to do, so I guess we'll find out more on Tuesday...

After work; teaching, and then a stop at the combeni for bentos for dinner and lunch tomorrow, biked home, stopping to eat my dinner on a bike rack on Omotesando as I went low and it started raining (less than pleasant!) Home at about 8:30, did half an hour of pilates, then watched an episode of Friends before falling asleep, and when Peter came home it was very very very hard to wake up! I think he tried to have a conversation with me and I missed most of it :( We watched the Hills and I managed to wake up a bit, so maybe I'll go see what I missed now!


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Slept in today which was nice; had a chance to talk to Navina for a bit before leaving, etc. (glad the Shins concert was good! I wish they were coming here!) It was a gorgeous day, but I didn't want to be biking home after the BAB night out, so I compromised by taking the train to Nogizaka and walking up from there, about a twenty minute walk, which was very pleasant in the lovely sun!

It was fun at work today, for some reason it seemed even more happy and jokey than normal. I'm not sure if that's because Weekender got finished a bit early, or the combination of people who happened to be working, or the sun, or this is just what they get to be like later on in the day when I've already left usually, or what, but it was good fun :). I was doing more proof reading, which I do really enjoy, despite being painfully slow at it! It's amazing how many grammatical things I've either never considered or never come across, (what happens to the punctuation in a bracket if the bracketed content is the entire sentence? Do lead in headlines have punctuation? Is everything in them capitalized? etc.)
*by the way, what DID they teach us in highschool English, because it certainly wasn't grammar!* I'm quickly becoming attached to the Chicago Manual of Style! Presumably, this will help me with future essay writing, though with my luck, I'll be studying Japanese, which doesn't do grammar with quite the same fervour as English!

I'm also working on the 'women of the world' page, where we digest important news involving and affecting women around the world. If you know of something you think might be appropriate, leave a comment!

Speaking of interesting news, this story is crazy! In part:

Three ultra-endurance athletes have just done something most would consider insane: They ran the equivalent of two marathons a day for 111 days to become the first modern runners to cross the Sahara Desert's grueling 4,000 miles."

I think they meant to say: "...have just done something everyone except these fitness freaks would consider insane" but actually, its a pretty amazing story, test of strength, willpower, etc!

After work, Jen and Karin and I headed down to Paddy Foleys, a traditional Irish pub in Roppongi, and the location for our Being a Broad Girls Night Out. We got there a bit early, and Jen and I shared a baked potato and the oddest pizza I have ever had! It had uncooked spinach, tomatoes, fresh shaved mozzarella, and (wait for it!) sour cream and mashed potatoes! It was tasty, if bizarre! As Jen says, 'the term pizza is used loosely here!' Indeed!

We had a fairly small turn out tonight, compared to other nights, from what I've heard, but everyone seemed very nice, and there was even a random connection between one of the girls and Jen, as the girl works for the same company as Jen's husband. They didn't know each other, but knew a few mutual co workers.

We had a makeup artist, 'Medusa', come tonight to give free makeovers, and Helen took before and after photos to be used in BAB. My name ended up on the list somehow, but it was fun - she used sparkly eyeliner type stuff, which was really cute and fun, I like it! She has the most amazing selection of stuff; she used to work at MAC, so most of the products were from there, all packed into a suitcase which just seemed to disgorge (is that even a word?) mountains and mountains of products and brushes and stuff, it was pretty impressive!

I met one girl who is a singer for Disney, which is pretty cool (and to which Jen and Karin and I all chorused: "oohh like Kieron!" as that's how he came to Japan). I took the train a couple of stops with her, and I think we'll connect through Facebook perhaps, which would be cool - always nice to meet new people! (and this one has an 'in' with the mouse!)

Just got home at about quarter to eleven, and walked in the door approximately a minute before Peter, who got home about five minutes before Hitomi - Venus was so excited!!

Going to go find a snack and then head to bed - unfortunately its not another 1pm start tomorrow ;)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A basically average day of work today... I started learning how to copy edit/proof read for BAB today, which I enjoyed, but I'm sooo slow at it! I don't even want to know how many mistakes I made (well, left) either! Luckily Helen will of course be looking at it after me, and she's not expecting a high level of accuracy, since she said her first few goes at copy editing were a bit rough as well... It's hard, because:

a) you get wrapped up in what you're reading (even though I just read it first so I would know what happened as I was correcting), and then,

b) there is sooo much stuff to look for! Double spaces after periods (what is with that? I'd never even heard of people doing that till I got to Weekender!), comma usage (which I have to look up, since we all know I'm shocking at commas!), British vs. American spelling (and both look pretty much correct to my middle of the road Canadian eyes), etc. Its ridiculous! I was going along, and then suddenly realised that I hadn't been looking out for something, and would have to go back through, trying to re catch whatever I missed.

c) there is a lot of grammar we didn't learn, or I've forgotten from school - that Chicago Manual of Style is a fat sucker! Also, trying to align everything with our specific style much to remember haha!

I actually really enjoyed it though, somewhere in me there is a little bit of an organized perfectionist (just a bit haha), so that was appealing to that little methodical bit of me. That was basically the majority of my day at work though, just going through the feature and one other short piece took me four hours! By the time I typed something for Bill, reorganized my workspace a little bit, etc. That was all I had time for.

Went to teach, which was fine, except I wasn't able to move the lesson to be a half hour earlier on Thursday so that I could go see a press screening of the new Hugh Grant/Drew Barrymore movie, Music&Lyrics which SUCKS! I sooo wanted to go see it, as it is a total chick flick! I guess I'll just have to go when it actually comes out! I think I'm going to Happy Feet in a couple of weeks - Go penguins! And also maybe Babel, which should be really interesting with the sign language component (and the first Japanese women ever nominated for an Oscar, I believe).

Got home around eight, and had an email from Peter, which was forwarded on to him about scholarships in Japan - there are a lot of them! I was looking through the big list, and some also had pretty high rates of recipients vs. applicants, which is encouraging. I think on Friday I'm going to go to the office of the website I was looking at and pick up some more information to try and figure out what I want to do and what my options are if I decide to stay here...

There is one university in English, Sophia, but they only accept 70 students a year in the English faculty of liberal arts (!!), plus, I'm kind of tempted by learning Japanese in one of those 18 month killer courses which also prepare you to study at a Japanese university. I'd just be a bit worried about not passing the entrance exam though (like for the university afterwards) (especially in math!) Decisions, decisions! (and we all know how much I love them :s).

Peter got home surprisingly early, around nine, so we ate some pasta which I'd just finished cooking, and I got an exciting pile of stuff from home - insulin, a book, a Pilate's DVD, a veerrry cute card from the Richmonders, and soooo excitingly, the Schleich vaulting set!! Thank you!!

(isn't it great!? Schleich is really really nice hand painted plastic figurines, animals, knights in armour, farm animals, etc. All very realistic and correct, and high quality stuff - we've bought it for Aly, and the vaulting one is great - I should use it to explain to people what the hell I'm on about when I try and explain vaulting, which is not as easy as one might think!)

Other than that, not so much going on this evening, I'm tired!! Read my book to review on here a bit more, and watched most of the Apprentice: LA, but fell asleep during the end of it before coming up to blog. Tomorrow, I get to sleep in!! We're having our 'Girls Night Out' monthly event through work, which I'm going to, but since it's right near the office (at Paddy Foleys), and starts at 7, I'm going to go to work from 1-6 or so instead of 10-4, so there's less of a break, plus more sleep for D, yay!


Monday, February 19, 2007

Well today started pretty slow, but it ended strong, we'll get to the good stuff soon :)

I woke up pretty early, and then went to lie down to read for a bit after breakfast, and the next thing I knew, it was 12:30! That's ridiculous! I didn't sleep well and went to bed late last night, but still, I felt super incredibly lazy after that! It worked out well for V though, as she got two breakfasts - I fed her when I got up, but didn't leave a note, because I was clearly expecting to see Peter before he left, and then when Peter couldn't find me (um, I don't exactly have a huge room, so I'm not sure where he looked!), he fed her again, lucky girl :)

I wish I could say that I pulled it together from that point forth, but I really didn't - I had good intentions of studying, writing articles, etc. and unfortunately, went straight to procrastination station without passing GO and/or collecting my Y200. I even brought my Japanese books with me when I left the house, with the full intention of getting to a coffee shop early and studying before meeting Jordon for the Margaret Atwood reading, but it really wasn't to happen!

My plan was to go to the ABC book centre in Omotesando, and pick up a copy of a Margaret Atwood book (any one, didn't care), in Japanese, with the hopes of getting it signed tonight. I went to the English section and grabbed one randomly, and took it to the desk, where I was like 'Margaret Atwood de Nihongo arimasuka?' (roughly translated: Margaret Atwood (random particle) Japanese exists?) and the girl (I think), thought that I wanted that specific book in Japanese, so she did a bunch of quick computer checking/googling, and was like no, sorry. So I tried to get across that I didn't care which title, just any Margaret Atwood, and she was still like 'nope, sorry'. So then I browsed briefly through the fiction section and concluded that it would be like finding a needle in a haystack, so I went back to the English section, and stood by the MA section until someone walked past, and then flagged them down, and conveyed my more general question to them. Again, the answer was no, so I guess they don't carry them, but I think I got my point across more effectively, so I'm pretty confident that they actually didn't have any, and she wasn't just saying 'no' to shut me up.

Anyway, I was going to be lazy and take the train to Aoyama Ichomme, which is the closest station to the embassy, but I ended up on the Chiyoda Line before I quite realised it didn't go to AI eki (well that's not quite true, I did know it wasn't going there, but didn't know which lines did go to AI from Omotesando), so I just decided to go to Nogizaka, which is pretty close, and walk, but of course, got out on completely the wrong exit, and ended up walking about a kilometre to Tully's anyway. Oops! I did find a really nice park though, so enjoyed walking through that, and managed not to get lost, in fact, the side street I took a chance on dumped me out exactly where I was expecting/wanted to be, so that was good!

However, all that screwing around meant I only had about 20 minutes, which I spent, predictably, reading the book I'm reviewing for my blog. I won't talk about it, since I'll be reviewing it in detail, but I just realised that this will be a perfect thing to talk about the next time I have nothing to talk about on here!

Anyway, headed to the embassy to see Margaret Atwood speaking at 6:30. It was busy! Very packed... I got there first, and there was a bit of time confusion ;), so I went to get us seats, and I was worried because I had to sit way in the back, so I figured there was no way he'd find me, but luckily he came in the back door right beside me, so it all worked out perfectly! Just before the reading started, someone came to the microphone to say 'her Royal Highness is walking down the stairs, if you could all stand and welcome her please'. So I'm thinking, OK, I know Margaret Atwood is a big name and all, but her royal highness? Isn't that pushing it a bit? But then lo and behold, in walks Her Royal Imperial Highness Princess Takamado! Here's the family tree for reference - she's towards the bottom on the right. From what I caught, Margaret Atwood was actually here to do something to do with birdwatching, and the Princess seems to head up the division or group she was here with, or something like that, I'm not exactly sure!

Ms. Atwood read from two of her books, Alias Grace, and her latest, The Penelopiad (which I ended up buying in English at ABC), and also spoke a little bit about the plot and her inspiration, etc. It was interesting, but a bit odd, as it was being translated, so she would say a few paragraphs worth of whatever, and then the translator would do her part, so it seemed quite fractured. She opened it to questions at the end, but also actually asked the audience a couple of questions, to do with the symbolism of cranes and owls in Japanese culture, and the Princess answered both of them quite knowledgeably in very good English!

She was only able to answer a couple of questions, which I thought was unfortunate as I thought that was the most interesting part of the event, but it was only an hour and a half, so they had to do what they could...Her translator was amazing though-she made a few notes as people were speaking, but she was able to hold soooo much in her head, and translate long, complicated questions and answers! Unfortunately, Margaret Atwood didn't sign books afterwards, but there were a lot of people, so I can see why not. Jordon took some pictures, so hopefully I'll be able to steal a few of them to get up here in the next couple of days...

After it was done, just after eight, we went out for dinner at ZEST, which is a bit of a trek, but with things like the Donki with huge fish tank (yea, they kinda freaked me out a bit, not gonna lie!), and the 'only in roppongi fish-mac', we had lots to entertain us on the way! At Zest, me and my 'amigo' split nachos, chicken quesadillas and the beef jambalaya, which they mixed up for us at the table, all very tasty! As usual, good fun/chatting/etc... We ended up staying for a couple of hours, and even found time for a game of basketball in one of those arcade style games, which they randomly had in a corner. With coffees on the line, Jordon managed to pull out the game, but I blame the faulty counter, which didn't give me points for any of the baskets I scored with the small balls (never mind that he would have missed out on those too!) Anyway, I'll just have to challenge him to a rematch at some point! (or maybe skeeball... I could probably take him in that :p) It was a great evening, and next week...ramen museum! Eating and learning and eating = a good time to be had by all, I'm sure!

Got home around 11:30, and poor Venus was waiting hungrily for her dinner, I guess those two breakfasts had probably warn off by then! Peter was/still at the office, (its now 1:20), so I guess I might not see him tonight, since I should probably get a decent sleep before work tomorrow...



Saturday, February 17, 2007

For inquiring minds (comment/question from yesterday)... Otaku is like being geeky or nerdy, into anime and stuff like that. From what I can gather, its like a pretty general state of being, so not only tied to being into anime, and I guess its used like if we were to say 'you are such a nerd! (geek/dork/etc) in English. My student was telling me that 'otaku' people generally have trouble forming social bonds and can be found playing DDR in street front arcades. Take what you want from that :). I think if used with friends it can be like a more friendly thing, and otherwise can be an insult, which is exactly how it works in English... Anyone who actually knows what the story is, feel free to pipe in with a comment if I'm wrong here!

Maid cafes are cafes where everyone who works there is dressed up like a maid, I don't really know the details, but I'll probably have to check one out at some point, just to say I have. I have no idea if girls ever go to them, but I'll go with someone to make it look a little bit less weird (possibly?) Thanks to wikipedia, I've just discovered that there is also a version for women - the 'butler' cafe. I guess they're popular in otaku culture, and they're supposed to make the guests feel like 'masters of the manor' coming home.... Incidentally, here's one in Toronto of all places! Also, CNN's take on it (via youtube)- I love how the private room you can get comes stocked with comic books and figurines! Classic! Clearly, I'm not an expert, so people with more info, feel free to chime in!

In other news, this story is pretty amazing! Imagine being a hang glider who gets picked up by a wind tunnel, sucked up to 35 000 feet (that's higher than Everest), and floating around up there for awhile with no oxygen, and clearly not enough clothing for that sort of thing, and then eventually getting dumped back to earth 60 miles from where you started! With only a bit of frostbite on your face! Amazing...and she wants to keep going in the world hang gliding championships later this week, crazy lady!

Anyway, taught this morning at ten, it was a bit of a sloshy walk down to Shibuya as it was pouring when I got up, rather depressing! I wasn't so much looking forward to the walk, but it ended up not being too bad, yay for umbrellas and all that :) It's weird, because to get to Shibuya on the train really isn't that convenient, esp. since I was teaching at this end, away from the station, so I probably didn't walk any more than I would have if I'd gotten on a train...

I got there a few minutes before my student, so finished my Margaret Atwood book, I have one other one I got out of the library, so I might start that tonight, if I'm completely unproductive tomorrow I could finish it, but that might be a little extreme, we'll see what goes on between now and 6:15 tomorrow! Anyway, I managed to successfully steer the conversation away from town cars for the first time in about five weeks today, much more interesting! I found out he went to university in Kyoto to study religion (his parents are Buddhist priests), so since I'm looking into this MEXT scholarship thing, I grilled him on the Japanese school system, it was pretty interesting, and a good 'culture exchange' since I could explain the Canadian system to him, and answer lots of questions which began with 'in your country....' He seemed a bit surprised that the church hadn't given me my middle name, but I was a bit surprised he'd ask that, so there you go ;). (Yea, we moved off schooling a bit somewhere in there!)

Finished up at about 11 and then I headed off on a half hearted search for pants, I've been destroying mine recently! First I looked in GAP which wasn't so inspiring, and then I went around the corner to UNIQLO, which is supposedly the J equivalent of Old Navy. It was a surprisingly successful! I ended up getting these jeans, in like a dark grey wash (it looks like a black/blue) I even managed to organize hemming, which was free, and only took thirty minutes! I was very impressed, and will definitely be keeping them in mind!

Wandered home and had some lunch and chilled with Peter for a bit before we both headed our separate ways again - he went to a Mardi Gras party in Roppongi (he's claiming it was actually quite tame, though at 3pm on a Sunday perhaps that's what you would expect, hosted by Sohan's restaurant/bar I think), and I went to play soccer.

Luckily, the weather had become gorgeous, so other than the turf being incredibly soggy - we all looked like we'd been slip 'n sliding (wait, we were!) it was good... I like my new cleats, it is sooo much easier to play in cleats than runners! Especially on a day like today where the turf was that incredibly wet and slippery. Of course, I couldn't get away without my shins being stupid, especially since we had no subs, so it was 2 hours pretty much straight, however, there was another girl there, and she offered me some spray stuff she had with her. I thought it was just ice in a can like they'd given me in the little physio room the week before, but I tried it out and it was amazing! (there was an analgesic in it i think!) Instant pain relief and my muscles untied themselves a little bit. I have the name, and will definitely be getting some ASAP! As far as I can tell, it's pretty similar to this stuff. I was still pretty careful, and definitely didn't push 100%... For the same reason I never take cold medication, I like to be able to tell what's going on - there's a reason we feel pain, but since I don't think I can make it any worse by playing on it, it was basically amazing! I figure if I can use it while I'm getting back into shape, then I should be able to stop using it, but in the meantime, WOW!

I got home at about 7:15, and beat Peter home, so I made some pasta and corn for dinner (so good but I ate too much haha), and watched Friends while I worked on icing myself (I think I've used up my 'we better be careful with her because she's a girl' time, I bit the dust a few times today, but then again, I also sent one guy to the locker room early after a tackle, and uhh gave another guy cause for reproductive concern *oops!* so it all works out, I'd way rather this than them not playing properly with me!)

Peter came back at 8:30 or so and I looked through his pretty tame pictures from the party, and then we caught up on our TiVoing, and just hung out for awhile... I'm hopefully chatting with Navina tonight, but that requires waiting for the time zones to line up, which isn't for another 2 hours or so... Maybe I'll study some Japanese or something, maybe something will stick eventually!

mata ne,
(Just because I was told about emailing keitai photos directly to flickr by Jordon, so random gems like this are already online, and also because honestly, how often do you see a beached Shark in the middle of Shibuya?)

Trekked to Hiroo this morning to the International School of the Sacred Heart, which is just like a big North American High school picked up and chucked across the ocean to meet coach Lance of I Can Gymnastics. He's been running his program for like thirty years, and actually coached Lisle, which is how I got in touch with him. I arrived after their class finished, so I didn't get to see any of how they work, but I'll be going back next week to watch a morning of classes, and I think later in the spring I might start coaching for him which would be cool. They do all their classes in the various international schools, so they're all in English, which obviously is a bit key!

After that I headed to Shibuya to pick up a copy of Metropolis and also teach, at the New Yorkers Cafe at one. As usual, it was fine, nothing exactly earth shattering happened, we talked about the concept of being 'otaku', maid cafes, Japanese schools, getting a visa for the states, and his upcoming visit to New York, in general the average list of topics we tend to get through. Tomorrow I teach taxi guy, but not the girl - her mom called to cancel because of a volleyball game or something, so I'll have enough time to come home before soccer (new cleats, yea!) Which is exciting!

Got home at about 3, and found out that Peter's surprise for tonight that he wouldn't tell me about last night fell through (we were maybe going to go see Cirque du Soleil), but we can do that another time, since they're here till May, and the tent is steps from our door. Hitomi had to go home, so Peter and I spent a few hours trying to come up with an acceptable plan b. We finally decided we wanted Mexican, and then it was about another hour of trying to make some kind of plan before we finally ended up heading out to pick up Kong and go to Zest in Moto something or other I think. (They all kinda blend together in embassy land down there!) Zest is pretty good for tasty Mexicanish food! I had the make your own fajitas which is always tasty, plus we split delicious nachos, and shrimp and kalamari, which I tried, and it was OK, but the squid was kinda chewy... I fully voluntarily ate fish though, which becoming a much more regular occurance over here! It's OK as long as it doesn't taste 'fishy' :).

As usual when Kong is around it was good fun - got to hear a bit about his recent trip to Hawaii, and he and Peter spent quite a bit of time chatting about the exciting new Orbitune stuff coming down the pipeline, I like these projects since for once I actually understand what's going on, and it's going to be something pretty cool to be able to tell people about when I get the invariable 'so what is it, exactly, that your uncle does here?' question. Just as we were finishing dinner, a very loud group of very dressed up people came in, rather a bit sloshed already, and started up some kind of after party, it was rather rambunctious!

Anyway, we left around 10:30, dropped Kong off at his place and then came back here, where I proceeded to almost give myself heat stroke in a much too hot bath, for much too long...oops! Anyway, cooled off, watched Ugly Betty (poor girl, its all such a mess with Henry, isn't it?) and now I'm headed to bed, since it's 1:15, and I need to leave the house in 8 hours.


Friday, February 16, 2007

Wow nothing like sleeping in! I was wide awake at 7:45, incidentally exactly when I have to wake up for work, but after a few minutes of being up, I decided that was way too early and went back to sleep...till 11:30! Yikes! It was nice though!

Ummmm lazy morning (well after a start like that, what can you expect?), finally talked to Ms. Andee who had fallen off the face of the earth for a week (personally not sure I could go that long w/out 'net, though it would let me have a break from blogging!), went to circle K, and read more of my Margaret Atwood book (determined to get it finished before Monday! It's good though!)

At about 1:30, I headed to JRA Baji Koen to hit up the vaulting barrel again. Man I'm unflexible! It was very depressing! I spent a lot of my time there stretching, which was good, I actually think it was already helping my calf/shin issues, I could feel the difference just on the walk back. They've also managed to get the surcingle completely tight (I think because they added side reigns to the surcingle, and the way they've wrapped them in tightens it right up) - I can do hangs and stuff without worrying about it now! There was some kind of little schooling show or something going on, although I didn't really watch too much of it - I think there were some university teams though, I saw a bunch of people in various uni jackets wandering around - there seems to be a very big equestrian team community within the schools! It's interesting! And soooo many riding guys! The horses are all soo nice too!

Actually, to check out another super amazing, gorgeous horse, her brilliant rider, (and one rather cute pony!), check out this video - Gooo Karen! If you ever need to inject some inspiration into your life, check out her story! I want to go to Beijing sooo much to cheer her on! (Well actually, HK I guess, since I'm pretty sure that's where the riding is going to be, which actually, sucks - half the point of the Olympics is the atmosphere!) Oh! I just realised that since she competes afterwards, it's all good! I just have to win the lottery and then I can go to Beijing for the Olympics, and then head to HK for the paralympics... Perfect! Of course, if she double games, I might have to change my plans, but I have the feeling there are going to be a few bigger hurdles in my way than planning my itinerary!

(I wonder how this golf course feels about becoming a cross country course?)

Anyway, stayed at JRA until about 3:45 and then wandered back to the station, stopping at a Saint Germain bakery (mmm!) to get some buns on my way home, which I ate with leftover minestrone soup for a very late lunch once I got back. Venus and I also went for a walk, and I found the other grocery store by the station, Marusho, which seems much nicer and bigger than the one I was in on the muffin baking day (but also doesn't take VISA, though this time I wasn't shopping, so it was OK!)

We wandered back and then just chilled- reading, watching Friends, etc. I really need to be more productive the rest of the weekend, today was ridiculous! Peter and Hitomi came home long enough to drop the car off at about 9:30 and then went back out for a late Valentine's dinner, so Venus and I ate the rest of the curry (I really made a ridiculous amount of the stuff at the beginning of the week!), and have just been relaxing.

Tomorrow is kind of exciting though - I'm off to meet a gymnastics coach that Lisle put me in touch with, hopefully I'll be able to borrow a corner of his gym to train in, and possibly even lend a hand with coaching occasionally - not really sure, but either way I'm excited about just being in a gym tomorrow! Also teaching, and then not sure what the plans are for the rest of the day/evening - I hope they include being vaguely productive though!


Thursday, February 15, 2007

I'm quickly reading Lady Oracle (about a writer who fakes her own death to get away from a life in shambles, which she immediately proceedes to reflect on in detail...) in preparation for going to see Margaret Atwood speak on Monday, luckily I'm really enjoying it, so I took the train this morning to get some more reading time in (plus, I thought I was going to be playing volleyball, and thinking that biking so much is contributing to my shin issues, etc.)

The exciting news at work today was that the new Weekender came out, its our special China/Chinese New Year issue, and I was particularly looking forward to it because I have lots of writing in it! The cover photo is mine, and then the calendar (as usual), the feature, the up my street, a movie review, and the sports page. I'm not keen to actually read my stuff, since I've already read it more than enough times before submitting it, and because I'm convinced I'll find a mistake once its gone to print, but my portfolio is growing which is good!

I spent a lot of the day doing admin type stuff, running to the post office and stationary store, and a bunch of distribution, but I really don't mind that sort of stuff so it was totally fine - a pretty busy day which passed quickly!

Controversy at work today too - names and context eliminated to protect the innocent (and my job!), but basically we got word from a guy who wrote in to tell us that he feels gaijin women don't take care of themselves, and don't care about their bodies compared to Japanese women, and that they really couldn't be that successful in that case, and its no wonder that foreign guys go for Japanese women and ignore the gaijins. It was all written pretty offensively (esp. since we're a magazine celebrating successful gaijin women!), and sparked off some heated retribution within the office! I personally have my own ideas on why so many foreign guys go for Japanese women, but I'm curious what you all think - leave a comment!

I went to teach this evening and that went well too - I got a bunch of books out of the library yesterday for the two of them and they went over well - we have some we're still working on for next week - Sleeping Beauty for the Girl, and Encyclopedia Brown for the boy, I'm making him write down what he thinks the solution to the crime is after he finishes each story, which doesn't make him a very happy camper since he doesn't like writing, but he needs to practice, so I'm putting my foot down! <--yea not so much, but I'm firmly encouraging at any rate.

Lisle had to work late, so Volleyball was put off until next week, but that's OK, because Peter was actually home before me today, so I saw him for the first time since like Monday (he's been working super late on some very exciting possible projects!). Hitomi was also here, so we looked through his piles of giri choco and then Hitomi made some delicious minestrone soup and pasta and we watched Desperate Housewives and American Idol and part of the Hills (God I watch too much crappy tv!) and now I'm going to crawl into bed with my Margaret Atwood for a bit and try and even out the brain drain from the last few hours ;).

I also got a book in the mail today, which looks like some quality chick lit! I'm going to be reviewing it on here, (that's why they sent it to me), so stay tuned... It's called The List by Rara Ison.

sleepily yours,