I've been supremely lazy this week and taken the train to work the last two days! In my defence, this morning I did try and bike, but I am having serious technical difficulties pumping up the front tire which is in desperate need of some maintenance air. I think I'm going to have to call in some backup (Peter or another pump or something!) this weekend, because this is ridiculous, and since It's not actually my bike, and I'm not going to risk screwing over a rim or something, it's the train for me. Plus, they pay for my transit at work, and I'm reading a great book, so anyway you look at it, I'm hooped in terms of biking!
Anyways....as I was walking from the station to work, I started to notice the riot police around the area...
(img from militaryphotos.net)
...At first, they were just dotting the road every few metres, but as I got closer to the big intersection where the riot bus always parks (and I feel safer here than in Victoria, go figure :p),
(img from miliaryphoto.net) These are the types of buses, with a metal grill over all the windows, but this obviously isn't actually from where I was as I didn't take the photos!
They began to get closer and closer together, and there were probably about fifty in and around the intersection. No one looked too worried, least of all the riot cops, so I kept going to work and got the story at lunch. It turns out that since we are just a couple of doors down from the Russian Embassy, sometimes there is tension on our block. I guess there is a group of Japanese Nationalist right wingers or something like that (they have black vans with gold lettering and chrysanthemums on them, and drive around singing stuff and shouting stuff and also demonstrate in Yoyogi Koen, etc). Anyway, this group occasionally comes to yell at the Russian Embassy about a dispute over some islands, and today is like the celebration day for the islands so the police were on high alert. The black vans were parked around the corner, and we could hear them yelling for most of the day, but they never came too close. Apparently, that's why there are the riot vans parked by the intersection - if the black vans ever come, the riot vans drive into the intersection and block them from getting down our street. Drama!
Work however, proceeded as normal. I was working on the article about Sarah's experiences at Waseda and finished a first draft of that. The MEXT scholarship she's on looks great, definitely something I would consider applying for after I finish at SFU! Speaking of which, I should really apply for SFU! I went out for lunch with Helen today (Jambalaya at Zest, so good!) for my first month review (seemingly we do them every month, which is great. Everyone does them, not just the interns, but I think its a great idea for everyone to check in with each other).
It was all very positive, and I'm definitely going to get to continue to work on the editorial side of things, and also have a bit of a hand in a book project we're finishing up. Helen wants me to concentrate on learning something new every month, so this month we're going to do proofreading and copy editing for BAB which will be really interesting! I better finally get this comma issue licked! I also briefly saw the proofs for the next Weekender, I can't wait to see it next week! I'm not actually sure, but the cover photo looks suspiciously like a crop of a photo I took for my article, although its a fairly generic ish shot, so I'm not 100% sure - I'll have to check next week I guess!
They're also generally happy with my writing which is good, I hadn't heard anything to the contrary, so I figured it was generally OK, but its nice to hear that they're happy with what I've been doing. I also love how concerned they are with making sure I'm getting a lot out of the internship. It's loads better than I was expecting, and definitely inspiring me to get out there and start freelancing, especially since I can now send out proper clips to publications that request them with queries. I am going to buy a macbookpro come hell or high water! (well eventually. Or at least keep myself in coffees and concerts!)
After work I decided to drop in at Suji's for coffee and to benkyoo some nihongo for awhile. I really love it in there, and its fun to be a 'regular', especially in a city as huge as this one. I know everyone in there and they know me, and they're so friendly! They basically know everyone in our office too, its funny because Karin was walking to Starbucks today, and was going to get Kieron a drink to bring back for him, but Kyu saw her walk past, and when she said she was going on a Starbucks run, he was like 'you can't do that!' and sent her upstairs with a hot chocolate (in a real mug no less) for Kieron. It was pretty funny! This afternoon, Jason must have read my mind when I was thinking about getting something to snack on, because when he saw me from the kitchen he waved and then a couple of minutes later a plate of crackers and cookies appeared at my table from him. We chatted a bit and I also chatted with Suji, who recommended a language school for me to try out, and then with Kyu, who was sooo nice, as usual.
Turns out they have free wifi in the restaurant, which is really, really, really unusual in Tokyo, so I was like 'hey, you'll never get rid of me now', and he was like 'that's OK, i think we can say you could have that private table between four and six every day, no problem'. I mentioned how great it was that they have wifi, and that its hard to get in Tokyo and then when I said it was hard to find plugs as well, he's like 'well, there's a plug on this wall over here (on the opposite side of the room from 'my' table), but we can always run a long extension cord to you over there, no problem'. Now that's service!
Obviously, they've won me (and the rest of my office!) over! In fact, I'm using them as my sample 'POI' (point of interest) for this website - Wcities, which is an incredible, comprehensive guide to tons of cities around the world. I'm hoping to become a contributor for Tokyo. I just have to confirm the hours and credit cards at Suji's and then I'm good to submit my first piece to them!
Anyway, Peter's just let me know he won't be home for dinner tonight, so I think I'll munch some leftovers from last night, and then perhaps watch some Friends, read some 'tokyo', or query some magazines!