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Monday, April 30, 2007

We were both up early this morning, around 8, after another early night last night, and after leisurely getting ready, headed back down to Shibuya. Navina finished exploring the area while I holed up with my laptop for a couple of hours in a coffee shop to work on various writing projects. Luckily, she came back 'an hour early', as somehow, she's been going around with her watch set an hour slow for the past 3 days! It's all good now though, which is handy!

After we met back up again, we went for ramen at the place Jordon and I went to after the Canadian Rock and Rule concert. I have no idea what's its called, just that it has 'oishii ramen' written on signs outside, I amazingly managed to find it again, and it is indeed very tasty! We both got the store's osusume bowl and were very happy with our choice! Of course, even after the museum experience of a couple of months ago, I have no idea what kind/region of noodles we were eating!

After that, we headed up to Yoyogi Koen for Cirque du Soliel (Dralion). It was fantastic! Sooo good! Of course, I really want to run away and join the circus, but vaulting again in the fall will have to do! There was a cool act where they bounced off a trampoline onto a wall, and then flipped back off the wall, and ended up doing back drops and then bouncing up, grabbing the wall like bugs, and starting all over again. It was breath-taking! I get freaked out enough doing a one and a quarter onto my back, I can't even imagine doing like a triple, off that height, onto a trampoline raised ten feet off the ground!

(Was looking for a picture of Dralion to blog, as we didn't take any, good rule-followers that we are, and came across a blog with a very good point -why didn't they perform with the big silver hoop? It came out onstage a couple of times, kind of got rolled around the stage, and then never actually got rolled around on. Weird ne?)

There were also the usual assortment of amazing hand balancers/contortionists/silks artists, and lucky kids who got to run away and join the circus--so cool! The girls beside and behind me thought so as well, they were hilarious gasping and ooing and ahhing with abandon.

We walked home after that and chilled for the evening - Navina watched more DH, while I worked on a couple of articles and read for a bit. I'm giving the pink books a break (2 in 24 hours is a lot!) and reading 'Travels with Charley: In Search of America' by John Steinbeck. So far, its great- I've actually giggled out loud a couple of times! Very good descriptions of traveling around in a camper van named after Don Quixote's horse (haven't read the book, but I watched the Wishbone!--and then joined the requisite facebook group), and his poodle, Charley, who seems to have all of the personality and standards any standard poodle should attempt to live up to!

Anyway, off to bed now-I think we're venturing out to Odaiba for the day tomorrow... Hopefully this amazingly nice weather we've had the last couple of days holds!



Sunday, April 29, 2007

So a busier day today, starting early as I taught at ten-it was in Shibuya, so Navina and I took the train down there, and then walked from the station through Shibuya up to the cafe where I teach, to give her a vague idea of the area, and then she went to check out the area for the hour or so while I was teaching.

Just after 11, when I finished, we headed through Yoyogi Koen, checked out the flea market and general assembly of odd characters always in the park on Sundays before heading to Harajuku. We checked out the cos play and Takeshita-dori, went into some of the shops selling the cosplay stuff (I should really sort myself out for Halloween before I go home!), and got her picture taken with some Harajuku Girls by the Meijijingumae eki. We walked back through the park, stopping to listen to some J-pop (the fairly full on set up for the band Lovee was a highlight!) before continuing on to ZEST for lunch. Its too bad they don't do lunch sets on the weekends, but still a good meal - I've never been to that ZEST, its definitely more themed than our normal lunch one we go to for work!

We wandered home after that and took the scenic route back, walking through some residential areas that I've never been in before, and then went to the grocery store for some salad stuff and hamburger buns. Trouble was, there were no hamburger buns to be found anywhere! We've looked in like three grocery stores now, and none of them have any-we ended up going with hot dog buns and cutting our hamburgers in half-lateral thinking and all that.

Just after we got back, Sarah came over, and took over our kitchen to make cookies which was great! Leslie and Ginger also came over and we had our BBQ - lighting the damn thing was quite the issue, but we finally got it going, and had slightly crispy chicken and tasty burgers. It was a fun evening, pretty casual and chillaxed, with just the girls.

Everyone headed home at about 7:30, and I convinced Navina to stay up into the double digits tonight, so we just chatted for awhile and now she's working on more Desperate Housewives.... I should be writing stuff, but I'm thinking that there is a pink book with my name on it!

Cirque du Soleil tomorrow!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Navina's first full day here was a fairly quiet one--jet lag being what it is and all of that. Looking back on it, we were very, very overly optimistic to be thinking we could go to Jordon's all-night gig/event tonight, as its still about an hour before things kick off and I'm having to convince Navina to stay up a bit later so she isn't awake at 4 am tomorrow! That's OK though - we have plenty of time to go out over the next couple of weeks!

Anyway, we both woke up fairly early (going to bed at 10:30 will do that to a person!) and after a relaxing start to the morning headed to Queen's Isetan in Sasazuka to pick up a few bits of groceries - milk and cookies and juice and a few random things like that. It was a nice walk with the venuppi puppy - there was great weather this morning, and so Navina got the brief tour of the neighbourhood.

We got back and chillaxed for a bit, watched Ugly Betty, and got Navina started on Season Two of Desperate Housewives. I've been reading and working on a couple of articles for work on and off. This afternoon, just as we were considering venturing down to Shibuya for a couple of hours, its started pouring, thundering, and lightening -really close to the house! One of the thunder claps was so violent it seemed like the house shook a little bit! Poor Venus was a little nervous and cuddled up with Navina - the two of them are very cute together already!

At 5ish, the storm had blown over, so we decided to go to Shimo Kitazawa, since it's so nice and close, so we walked down there, wandered around a little bit, and then got dinner at the blue and yellow version of yoshinoya. I can't remember the name of that particular brand, but it was a good introduction to vending machine based dining for Navina! We also found a huge, completely random shop selling everything from art and design books to blow-up dolls to cds and vinyl, to flip flops, Japanese books, model designer chairs, buttons, stuffed frogs, stuffed hamburgers, and just about everything else under the sun! Good stuff!

We wandered around the neighbourhood for awhile and then headed back home by 7:30-party animals r us! Hopefully a good night's sleep will have us both recharged and ready to take on Tokyo in a bigger way! I totally understand how she feels though - I think it took me about a week to stop nodding off at 9pm when I first got here-jet lag's a bitch!

Photos to come in the next few days - Navina's been taking lots, so I'll hopefully nick a few off her and post them soon.


PS - This is THE funniest thing ever (link courtesy of Sarah) In part:

"Thousands of Japanese have been swindled in a scam in which they were sold Australian and British sheep and told they were poodles. Flocks of sheep were imported to Japan and then sold by a company called Poodles as Pets, marketed as fashionable accessories, available at $1,600 each... One couple said they became suspicious when they took their "dog" to have its claws trimmed and were told it had hooves."

It's from the Sydney Morning Herald, but it sounds like its from The Onion or something! Although, my eliblot does look like an overgrown lamb sometimes, so I guess there's some similarity between the two of them!

For a great image of a supposed sheep-dog, check out the Sun, which has cheekily copy-protected it and therefore prevented me from pulling it down on to my blog!

...well, its hardly surprising, but leave it to Snopes to ruin all the fun. Definitely entertaining though!

Friday, April 27, 2007

So had one of those mornings where you dream you are getting ready for work or school, but fail to actually be doing so, as you are, in fact, slumbering. Doh! Luckily, Venus woke me up by licking my face and standing on my head, so I managed to only be about fifteen minutes late, and stopped at Starbucks to suck up for it on my way ;).

We managed to get BAB almost all the way ready to go to the printers today which was great, especially since we don't send it until Tuesday, so we're if not ahead of, at least abreast of the game.

I left at three to go get Navina, and accidentally missed the first of three trains I had to take by literally a minute (I totally would have made it if it were on the Hibiya line - I was in the station, but the Oedo line is something like 17 storeys down, and it just took me that extra few minutes to descend into the depths...

Anyway, I managed to eventually get to Narita at 5:15, which since Navina's flight got here at 5, should have been OK. I was pretty surprised to get stopped at security between the station and the terminal. She asked for my passport, and I was like 'uh, just going to arrivals', and she was like 'id card'? So I'm like 'gaikokujin'? And in the end that (my gaijin card) was fine. Lucky! So I get into the terminal at like twenty past, thinking its all good, and then see on the board that her flight has been delayed for like two hours. So I was just randomly wandering around for awhile waiting, like probably half an hour, in and out of the arrivals area, and then went to this little internet booth, checked my mail for something to do, and idly surfed over to the NWA site, which was claiming her flight had landed twenty minutes early.

I was like OH NO! So I rushed back to arrivals, and on the big board, her flight was showing as delayed, still, but on the little board, as arrived, an hour ago. There were a few people straggling through the doors, and I was really hoping she'd be one of them and that it had taken ages for her to get her luggage or something, but no, she finally spotted me and walked over. Turns out she'd been waiting for me since just about exactly when I got to the airport! I think we were walking around the terminal not running into each other probably!

Luckily we found each other, and I hadn't gone to Starbucks to wait, which was my original plan, as that big board was still claiming a delay of nearly 2 hours! Weird!

Anyway, we made it home in one piece-two hours, three trains, a lost suica card, and a ticket-stealing machine later! I did offer the bus as an option, but I think, if I pick people up from the airport again, I'm going to basically insist on it! With the multiple train transfers and everything, its a pretty brutal trip! We randomly started chatting with a couple of Taiwanese girls on the train though - she'd majored in Japanese at UBC, and was just visiting for five days, but Navina's 'Victoria' label on her suitcase sparked off the requisite BC conversation...

We straggled home just around nine, to a very excited Venuppi Puppi, did the quick house tour, and then let Navina crash. Hopefully she won't be up too early with the jet-lag! It doesn't really matter, because if we go see Jordon's band tomorrow night, we're not going to be getting much sleep then either, so there's probably no real hope of a sleeping schedule until Sunday night/Monday...

I got a very exciting suitcase full of fun stuff from home, including art/design/golf magazine, PINK books!!!! (I was reading Steinbeck, but I think he's just been pre-empted!) and Stone Wheat Thins!!! It's like early Christmas!

So, I think I'll probably select the pinkest of the pink books, and curl up in bed--haven't really got much sleep this week and its going to be busy in the next few days/weeks!!


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Navina is coming tomorrow, which is very exciting and should also feed the blog a bit! I've just made up her futon, (probably the only Japanese experience she's going to have here), put out the new BAB and Weekender on her pillow, with some guidebooks and tons of brochures, bought both of us SUICA cards (like passmo, except they're out of those cards at the moment so you have to get SUICA), and chucked the last few dishes in the dishwasher. I think we're basically good to go for her arrival tomorrow.

Which is handy, as I'm heading in to work for the morning--just until 3 or so, in order to get BAB off to the printers. A combination of me being slow (hopefully b/c its my first time doing it), and not having all the content has meant that we didn't get done today as we were (fairly optimistically as it turns out) hoping to.

I got up at six again this morning to go for a run-down to Harajuku, started to feel my shin from the concrete, so headed back on the train and then did a bunch of stretching once I got back. It was very weird to see Takashita Dori completely devoid of people, and with cars on it!!! At 7am this morning. After that, off to work, and kept going on BAB layout before a lovely lunch at Wolfgang Pucks with Helen...

I taught after work, and the kids were pretty cute - very much enjoyed the Narnia picture book I brought - the boy wants me to bring the novels in, so if I can find The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe at the library, I'll bring that for him, it will be challenging for him, but probably he can just make it through if he wants to.

The rest of my night, which was a lovely dinner that I don't really want to get into the reasons for it at all on here, but I do want to say that I work with/for some very lovely people and it was very appreciated!

Oh, and by the way, why on earth is the Olympic torch for the Beijing Olympics going via the top of Mount Everest? I mean, its kind of a cool idea, but there are just SO many potential issues!

That's about it I think-I'm going to work after all tomorrow, just until 3, at which point I need to get to the airport, but in any case, I need to get up early...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Busy, busy, busy day today! Worked from 10-8:15 (we did take a lunch break at ZEST though - YUM!). BAB is going to print ASAP and since I won't be in the office on Friday so that I can get Navina from the airport (so exciting!!) we're trying to get everything in and proofed (and lined up and ragged!) tomorrow. Its really unfortunate that I have to go and teach, since I'm guessing I won't be ready to leave work at five! Ah well...

After work I went straight to Pecha Kucha night for Super Deluxe vol. 41 (no photos, sorry). It was GREAT! I was tempted to go straight home after work, but I'm glad I went! I thought the quality of presenters was higher than the one last month, and there were also fewer of them, so we got out of there at 11 (home around 11:40, POOR V!). Highlight presentations included a woman working for MIT in the states in the kinetic innovation lab or some such thing, who has created these blocks which can learn movement and then repeat the motion, so you can build an animal and teach it to walk or something like that.

The guy who designed the interactive lights that were part of the Omotesando Christmas display was there, talking about how you could interact through the net or with your keitai to somehow control the lights with your voice (?) --he was speaking in Japanese with English subtitles that were quite basic.

Mark from KDA did two presentations on a recent trip to pick out the house of the year in New Zealand - amazing houses and what an absolutely stunningly beautiful background provided by the country! All of the houses he showed were in really rural areas, but the views of the mountains and the water were amazing (and this from someone who generally couldn't care less about the view!)

It was crowded, as with the last time-standing/sitting on the floor room only, although I did manage to run into Ginger which was quite funny-I know I keep saying it, but in some ways, this town is SO small!

The event is in a ridiculous number of cities/countries now, with, for instance, the first one in Tel Aviv next month. I should start one in Vancouver! They showed a picture of one recently held in Melbourne, with 700 people inside, and 300+ watching outside on huge screens. The event went from 10-12am and then the party carried on till 3! Pretty amazing! Super-Deluxe is a fantastic space, but if they're not careful, they're going to outgrow their own venue with these events!

Alright, time for bed!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

*Today's blog is not strictly rated G*

There are just some events which, I can safely say, would leave me absolutely and utterly baffled if I ever happened upon them. Seemingly the Daily Mail in England is a great source for such events in their 'Wacky World' section of the website.

Like this one for instance...

"Surgeons battling to save a man's penis after he hacked it off in a restaurant have sewn it back on...stunned witnesses told how the man jumped up onto a table, dropped his trousers and cut his penis off in front of horrified diners in a packed pizza restaurant."

Gives a whole new meaning to whacking (off) your meat, doesn't it? My head=firmly in gutter, but geesh, the mental images! Egads!

And then since we're sort of on the subject, and its always entertaining to see just how litigational the US can get, here's a lovely tidbit from"When a Florida phone-sex worker developed carpal tunnel syndrome in each of her busy hands, she took the case to court. Now she gets her satisfaction from workers' compensation checks." And uh no--the carpal tunnel didn't originate from fast-fingered dialing...more like 'double clicking her mouse' one too many times!

But seriously, someone actually represented her in this case against the worker's comp board! His last name was Slootsky too; isn't that just such a perfect sounding name for an ambulance chasing, opportunistic injury attorney?

Now that I've entertained and mildly shocked you sufficiently, you might not notice how comparatively boring me day was, right?

Weekender went to print this morning, but we were actually ready for that with plenty of time to spare, so on to new issues and articles! I finished the style article for BAB and then started doing research for the May 18 feature of Weekender. Karin, Kieron, and I headed down to Suji's for lunch and I had my first ever philly-cheese steak sandwich. It was very, very good!

I left kind of early (well relatively speaking), at about 4:30, as I was after a bit of a break before I went to teach, and also had to select and photocopy materials for them in case of a lack of homework (which, of course, there wasn't really tonight!)

Got home around 8:30 and made dinner of rice and meat and tomatoes and onions and garlic and lots of seasoning, all sauteed together and then wrapped up in tortillas, covered in salsa and a bit of cheese, and baked. It was sooo yummy! Filling too. As a make it up as you go meal, it went pretty well!

Since then spent about an hour passed out on the couch reading wacky news and my current book, by Jennifer Weiner--Goodnight Nobody. I think I'm going to give up on seeing Peter tonight, leave his diner out for him and go to bed -my alarm is set for a run tomorrow, and if I'm going to have half a hope of getting up, I really need to crash now!


PS, on a more serious note, the Lucie Blackman case closed today, with her accused killer, a millionaire property developer, getting acquitted for her murder, but sentenced to life for another girl's murder. It's a pretty sick story (they found her body in a cave, with her head encased in concrete), and her father seems like a right ass, taking money from 'associates' of the accused (roughly 500 000GBP) in exchange for signing a piece of paper and giving it to the police saying that there were issues with the prosecutor's case. I guess here they do some kind of payment like that, where if you accept it, you are kind of forgiving,and if you pay it, you are admitting to having done something wrong and apologizing for it. I can see that for a fender bender, but for a brutal murder? I should note that her Dad (her parents have been divorced for a long time) was acting against the express wish of Jane, Lucie's mum.

How horrible for everyone.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Very bizarre morning today! The plan was to go for a run--away from home for a few stations, and then jump on a train to come home. It all started out OK - I ran through Shimo Kita and into Setagaya-ku, and then promptly got a little lost! I ended up finding my way out onto a big road that I recognised from biking to use the vaulting barrel. In the end, I managed to find a station, in the end just one from Shimo Kitazawa, at the far end of a big loop. However, taking the Odakyu Line into town, just a couple of stops away from the end of the line, at 7:45 am, is crap! The trains were soooooooo incredibly full! I tried a couple of times to get one, and both times, the people kind of squished back and then sprung forward, ejecting me back onto the platform. I'm sure being kind of yucky from my run and in bright blue spandies wasn't helping my cause much either!!

I finally gave up and rode away from the house a few stops and got on an in-bound train in Kyodo, where I managed to get on, and then over the next four stops, get completely squished into the far door, so that there was no way I was ever getting off at Higashi Kitazawa, and remained a prisoner of the train until Yoyogi Uehara. The whole mess took about 45 minutes to run, and an extra 45 minutes to travel two stops!

I found a bizarre story today, which is pretty ambitious and interesting, but also pretty nuts! It is, however, a good blog for you to read as well. Check out 1000 Days at Sea to read about one couple's journey around the world on their schooner - for 1000 Days straight. They set sail yesterday from NYC, and don't plan to touch land again in the next 3 years! If they manage it, they'll be breaking all sorts of isolation/length of travel time records. It's being likened to a mission to mars, as it takes around the same amount of time and isolation as a mission to mars is projected to take.

They've taken 200 pounds of Parmesan, pasta, dry goods, fish traps, a desalinator, a small library, solar powered satellite and GPS hookups, and each other. They've learned to set bones, other first aid, and plan to blog daily (I give them 3 months before they're dead bored of blogging about the same old ocean!)

Went to work today so that I can take Friday off to get Navina from the airport - we had a busy day getting Weekender to print, and I got to learn and write about purchasing holiday homes, among other tasks. I also worked on BAB for a bit - Women of the World, which is always interesting as it means getting to read lots of news stories, and the style section, which is cool as its about accessorizing your electronics. I think I posted about a little while ago.

Left the office around 7:30 and headed home, getting back just before Peter. We watched the season finale of the Apprentice, and ate pies and fries while watching a particularly scandalous Desperate Housewives. I am now more than ready for bed, so will be heading that way immediately....

Very bizarre morning today! The plan was to go for a run--away from home for a few stations, and then jump on a train to come home. It all started out OK - I ran through Shimo Kita and into Setagaya-ku, and then promptly got a little lost! I ended up finding my way out onto a big road that I recognised from biking to use the vaulting barrel. In the end, I managed to find a station, in the end just one from Shimo Kitazawa, at the far end of a big loop. However, taking the Odakyu Line into town, just a couple of stops away from the end of the line, at 7:45 am, is crap! The trains were soooooooo incredibly fulll! I tried a couple of times to get one, and both times, the people kind of squished back and then sprung forward, ejecting me back onto the platform. I'm sure being kind of yucky from my run and in bright blue spandies wasn't helping my cause much either!!

I finally gave up and rode away from the house a few stops and got on an in-bound train in Kyodo, where I managed to get on, and then over the next four stops, get completely squished into the far door, so that there was no way I was ever getting off at Higashi Kitazawa, and remained a prisoner of the train until Yoyogi Uehara. The whole mess took about 45 minutes to run, and an extra 45 minutes to travel two stops!

I found a bizarre story today, which is pretty ambitious and interesting, but also pretty nuts! It is, however, a good blog for you to read as well. Check out 1000 Days at Sea to read about one couple's journey around the world on their schooner - for 1000 Days straight. They set sail yesterday from NYC, and don't plan to touch land again in the next 3 years! If they manage it, they'll be breaking all sorts of isolation/length of travel time records. It's being likened to a mission to mars, as it takes around the same amount of time and isolation as a mission to mars is projected to take.

They've taken 200 pounds of parmesan, pasta, dry goods, fish traps, a desalinator, a small library, solar powered satellite and GPS hookups, and each other. They've learned to set bones, other first aid, and plan to blog daily (I give them 3 months before they're dead bored of blogging about the same old ocean!)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Ugh, I keep forgetting about this here blog until I'm seconds from bed and not wanting anything to do with it! Yet I can't go to bed without something, A, because people complain too much (why?! Shouldn't you be glad for the stem of the drivel!) and B, because I've been doing this nightly for way more than 21 days, and therefore, it is now a deeply ingrained habit!


I taught this morning and then went through Yoyogi Koen on my way to the library - they were having a huge earth day fair there, very hemp and farmer's market ish. It looked like it was quite good fun though! I got a 'save the shimokita' button to lend my support for the movement against the overpass through nearby Shimokitazawa... I might not spend as much time there as one might expect, but it's way too fun and cute and cool to be paved over!
After I got home I chatted with Navina who is coming out here in five sleeps(!) and then Peter and I headed out to Costco for the afternoon which was fun as it always is! We hadn't been since January, so we had lots of food to buy - 2 carts worth! We didn't have to come home with the roof open, but it was close! There were an amazing number of people leaving the place with only one or two items though-we spent quite a bit of time in the hotdog and pizza-eating zone laughing at them as they went up the magnetic escalator to their cars with one tray of sushi or one bottle of febreeze. Honestly, what is the point? And speaking of those escalator things (you can take your carts up and down them, and they get anchored by magnets in the wheels), I can just see the headlines now - "Magnet fails and kills three as overloaded carts fly down angled ramp" They are fun though!
(Because apples shouldn't be allowed to intermingle apparently...hard plastic bubble packing for them)

The only bad part about the expedition was not getting to go to soccer, but I guess I got some exercise tramping around through the store, and having loads of food in the house makes it totally worth it!

We watched The Player, a Robert Altman movie tonight. I thought it was kind of weird, and while I wouldn't say I liked it, per se, I certainly didn't not enjoy it (for someone who hates double negatives, there were a lot in that sentence I think!) It was funny, because on the DNTO podcast today, about 'spamocrisy', they quoted the movie when they talk about test screenings, and then Peter picked it out, not knowing about that. Weird how you can go around having never heard of a person or thing, and then suddenly, they are everywhere.

I'm going to work tomorrow so that I can have the day off to get organised and get Navina on Friday, which means that I need to sleep now! (and get up in like six hours...yuck!)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Sarah and I had a pretty chill morning involving pancakes, but both of us had to get going fairly early, so we left around noon, and she headed off to study and I headed off to teach twice and then continued on to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku to pick up a ton of brochures and pamphlets and stuff for Navina's trip here on Friday!

Came home around five and hung out, Peter got home from Vegas/LA around 9, so that was nice to see him again and hear about his trip - Venus was very excited! We just got bentos for dinner and then watched Desperate Housewives - great as usual.

I've been surfing around trying to check out the various music festivals recently, and although Fuji Rock looks great (and includes Mika (my current fav. album!), the Shins, Feist, and loads of other acts I'd love to see, its really expensive, and three days, so I'm thinking its not going to happen, but...Summer Sonic looks great - its two days in Osaka and Tokyo (and the acts switch after day one), but they've done an admirable job of putting everyone I would be interested in seeing on one day, so I think I might try and go to this... Modest Mouse!!! Sweet!

Tired, and teaching at 10 tomorrow, so off to bed now I think!


Friday, April 20, 2007

Was up ridiculously early this morning - around six, to go for a run. I decided to run away from my house and take a train back, which worked except I ended up running off course a bit to go check out the Tokyo Riding Club which was very quiet (as might be expected!) There were a couple of people schooling - why are all the horses and riders here so ridiculously nice? But basically it was deserted, and all the gates were shut, so it was a bit pointless, but it was still good to finally check it out. By the time I ran back to a station, it turned out to be only one away from mine, but I still took it and saved myself a very hilly kilometre and a half, which by that point, I was NOT interested in tackling!

Work was good today - was mostly working on the BAB may layout, which is probably about half finished by now...I like this kind of designing because its mostly just being neat and organised and filling in blanks as opposed to actually designing anything. I think that's probably why school wasn't so great for me - I couldn't just do the kind of stuff I enjoy doing, which obscenely boringly, would be something like textbook design...Weird, I know!

Be that as it may, so far, touch wood, its going pretty well I think... There were more of us than usual for a Friday, and so the office was a bit more lively than is typical, I think. Helen and Emma and I actually took a proper lunch, and had a nice meal together at ZEST...

Left at about 6:45 and headed home, and then Venus and I walked back to the station to pick up Sarah who was here for a girlie night in...We (er, she) managed to order pizza (AND use a coupon!) which was pretty impressive, although we didn't quite manage to sort out the cinnamon sticks...Probably just as well as between us we had PLENTY of food! Yummy though!

We kind of watched a couple of movies - Crash and RENT, but ended up chatting through most of them, up till now, when we are both very ready for bed, so I'm going to crash! 6am-2am is a pretty long day!


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Wow there are some pretty lame commercials for the Canucks in the playoffs! Let's be honest-even the people in the community centre quilting the Canucks flags look vaguely embarrassed to be there!

In any case, go Canucks, but too bad about some of those commericials, don't you think?

Work was crazy today! I think we were all a bit stressed out, between distribution, computer issues, the new Weekender going to print earlier than normal because of Golden Week, Japanese speakers showing up when Helen was out of the office (how many gaijins does it take to screw in a Japanese light bulb? More than 4 apparently!), having to finish the tricky feature, and being generally a bit un-genki today, it was a little nuts!

Working on BAB layout tomorrow, hopefully it all goes together OK!

Taught after work, apparently there is a new addition to the family, a little girl! I didn't meet her, but heard her fussing a few times. The little girl I teach was so excited about her, it was very cute! She's been helping out apparently...

Got home around 8, made some dinner (leftover leftovers haha), and settled in with Venus for some crap tv - the hills (fantastic!!), and ANTM (also pretty great so far).


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Took advantage of a break in the rain this morning to go for a quick run... it was really quick, but better than nothing, and better than anything-pain free! I have soccer 'penned' in this weekend, and I'm trying not to cripple myself on the way! My whole room smells like the menthol pain spray they have here though - very, very, very minty! Silly V decided to stick her nose in the spray while I was using it, and spent the next half hour scrubbing her nose on the carpet - it must have been really cold and tingly!!

Work today was mostly concentrated on the Homes feature, but 'Nine and I also went and interviewed a couple of kids with 'cool rooms'. They had a lovely place, and a great family! Their rooms were cool too - you'll have to check out the May 4 Weekender to see them. Great kids too-very smart, outgoing, and well traveled!

After work it was Girls Night Out in Paddy's, so a few of us headed down there, and about a dozen people came, including Sarah, so we spent time hanging out, and chatting with another lady we met there who sells chocolate for a living - nice!

Sloshed home for about 10, to a relieved Venus, I think the poor girl thought I'd left and forgot to work out rations for her, and now we're curled up on the couch watching Gilmore Girls (new, finally!), and thinking about early bed...(well, early-ish anyway!)


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Blogger ate my post! At least I think it did - its usually so good at auto saving drafts that I'm a little confused by the total -white screen of death-i-ness' of the whole thing...hopeful for a recover, I'm not re blogging yet, but in case it doesn't come back before you Canadian readers wake up, the gist of it was - Music and Lyrics is a cute movie, with Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore you can hardly go wrong-the press screening today was entertaining, if not exactly Oscar-worthy.

I love chick flicks and chick lit, and the rom-com escapism was perfect for today! I was actually pretty impressed with Hugh Grant singing all of his songs on the soundtrack. Tone deaf though I may be, I thought he did a good job!

The other point to my last point was about my gravy, which was looking as though it might be a disaster but turned out well in the end. I was trying to make the kind of gravy that's involved with 'hambaaga steki' a very popular (and tasty!) dish over here, with the left over hamburgers, but we didn't have any gravy mix, so I just made it up as I went along...Water and bullion, reduced for a little while, and then followed with cream, reduced further, and then some flour, which I was a little bit worried about as I was too far along to make a proper roux, and at this point, it was looking pale and pasty, and so I added BBQ sauce in an gave it a stir and a prayer to the kitchen gods, and it actually turned out really, really well! I think its probably pretty similar to a Southern white gravy, but as I've not had much to do with Southern gravies, I really couldn't say for certain!

Finally, on a more serious note, how horrible was that shooting at Virginia Tech yesterday? The largest single act of gun violence in the US, 33 people dead last I read. It reminds me of the Montreal Massacre (although this guy was a little more indiscriminate, I think), but still, how horrible! For what its worth, my thoughts go to those involved...

(who apparently re-blogged) after all

Monday, April 16, 2007

Eww rainy day today, but a fun one! Not too much in the morning - chatted with Aly and Toby, and Sasch and my Mom, so that was good - to get caught up with everyone... Aly and Toby are getting sooo cute and grown-up! Apparently we're going to be sharing a hamster when I'm there in the fall :) They're both very excited about their upcoming cruise - Aly for the 'kids-only pool', and Toby for the golf simulator :) Kid after my own heart!

Jordon and I braved the rain and checked out the Tokyo Midtown project today (mostly inside though!!) We grabbed coffees and wandered around, checking out all of the ridiculously expensive stores including the fruit shop, where a single melon could run you over $100, and the boxes of like 48 cherries were 30-50$. It was absolutely insane! (Perhaps the most insane was that they were actually selling some stuff!)

We wandered around and checked out the different museums in the area, before deciding to check out the Mori Art Museum in Roppongi Hills which is having two exhibits to do with laughter in Japanese art and in contemporary art. They were pretty interesting, especially the one about the laughter in contemporary art. There was one we both liked, where they had these wind up dolls of salary men crawling around on a floor that had oceans and land, and oil rigs, and stuff like that. It was to show globalisation, and how business practices from around the world have a global effect. Entertainingly, they would occasionally run into each other and have 'fights' as the wind up toys tried to get past each other, and then they also tended to congregate around certain areas such as the oil rigs. It was great!

We also became part of one of the statues by getting up onto the big platform and interacting with different items (putting a handbag over our head and thinking about nihilism, putting bottles of cleaning stuff on our feet and thinking about freud, etc). It was a biggg exhibit! We went through the whole thing, but sped it up at the end-we were both starving and went to get ramen - tasty as usual.

I came home around 8, and did the lion's share of the 'things to do' for the next weekender, to get that out of the way before this week starts, and now i'm just watching old friends episodes again with Venus, and planning a fairly early night's sleep - I want to start the week off NOT being tired!


Sunday, April 15, 2007

Today is post 230, plus six months in Japan! So glad I'm not leaving tomorrow!
I was, however, asleep a minute ago, and hoping to go back to that state, imeediatly - so, proper blog tomorrow. if you won't let me just end this thing, you have to expect a couple of late posts!

OK, so the rest of the story:

Woke up pretty early to teach in Shibuya at 10. It was pretty boring - he didn't have any taxi stories, and was, as usual pretty tired, so we kind of talked about traveling for a bit which was good, but the hour just crawled past!

Then, I had a two hour break before teaching my stylist guy, who was just back from NYC, so I went to get some spring clothes at UNIQLO - a few pairs of shorts and a top, and also a purse from Jeans Mate. I'm pretty sure it actually came out of the men's section, but since half the guys in Shibuya are more feminine than me anyway, I'm not too worried about it! Its like a small messenger bag kind of, I wanted one so I didn't have to keep slinging a backpack around all over the place, but one that I could also zip up and put all the way over my shoulder...So success all around.

Met up with my second student at one, and heard all about his trip, which sounds like it was pretty fun, if totally full of work and not too full of sightseeing! After we finished, I jumped on a train and raced to Azabu Juban to Nishimachi International School to see a press preview of Pirates of Penzance, put on by the Tokyo International Players, a community theatre group over 100 years old.

Unfortunatly, I hadn't left myself quite enough time, and raced the wrong way through a huge station to make my connection (like 700 meters out of my way) so when I got there, I threw my shopping in a locker and bombed it up the huge hill to the school, getting there about 2 minutes early, but all hot and bothered! Of course, it was very relaxed and casual, and didn't get started for like 15 minutes after I got there... Oh well!

It was great though!!! They are about 2/3ds of the way through the 3 month rehersal schedule, and its looking really good already. The day before was their off book deadline, but they did an admirable job of getting all of their lines and cues down - the music is complex as anything-they showed us a page of music, where one line was broken into about 15 parts. Crazy!! I'm really looking forward to seeing the full version of the production, it should be great!

Headed home to a sulking Venus - Peter went to Vegas for a conference till next weekend, and she always hates it when the suitcases get packed! We spent the evening chilling out together - eating leftover bbq food (the only food in the house!), and watching oooold FRIENDS... They really should have kept making that show!

And that brings us back to me falling asleep on the couch, and waking up to blog the top paragraph...

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Got up at tenish this morning, and left fairly early to go to the cafe where I was teaching today, as I had TOEIC podcast writing to do, and wanted to get that finished before rather than after...

It was a gorgeous day today, so enjoyed walking to Shibuya with a metpod... which was entertaining with a Bill Hersey interview by Kong :) I need to get some summer clothes soon! We're at like July in victoria weather today, so even if it is cool another few days, there are definitely days where we can whip out the tank tops and shorts! (if one were to have tank tops and shorts, that is!)<--and why one should really join a gym!

( I love how in Shibuya (err, well anywhere in Tokyo really!), there's always a good spectacle on the street... She looks like a regular enough biker girl, until you get a look at those stilettos.... leopard print-i-ness, desu ne?!)

Teaching/chatting was fine, though I'm maybe not the best person to answer the question 'what should my Japanese friend who is a girl do to get a Canadian boyfriend?' Ummmm really? I could guess a few things that might work, but I'm really not sure! Hang out at Heartland for awhile?

Anyway, after that I head to Tokyu Hands, shop of everything, and picked up a few things before heading home. Peter and Hitomi and Peter's friend and two kids and V were all at the Komazawa dog park for the afternoon, so I had time to send a couple of emails and then, with perfect timing, they got home.

We had a nice evening BBQ, enjoying the end of the day with the gorgeous weather! The kids were cute and loved Venus' dog door and ramp - a big hit to run in and around the house, seemingly! Tasty food, all very casual but worked well.... Nothing like a BBQ'd cheeseburger!

They headed home fairly early for the kids' bedtime, and so we just watched Desperate Housewives, and now I'm blogging and Peter is watching The Daily Show... I'm teaching in the morning and he's off to Vegas (to work, so he says), tomorrow, so I get the place to myself for another week, and then he's home for 4 days, and then gone for 2 days, and then Navina is here for a couple of weeks-fun month coming up!


Friday, April 13, 2007

Work today was good fun-my new day is Friday, and its really quiet in the office, just Helen, Kieron and myself, so lots gets done, but its also Friday, so pretty relaxed and whatnot. Caroline also dropped by for a bit, so it was good to see her as well... I was working on BAB mostly, especially since I'm going to be laying it out from now on, so I started to get stuck in on that. There's a pretty well established look to the magazine, so its really just dropping in new text and images to the existing template, which is good! So far so good, though I expect trouble on the day we go to print, as that is just typical!

Helen and I went for a lovely late lunch at Suji's, she doesn't usually get to come out with us, so it was fun to have a non-work related chat over lunch... Jason customised his hot pastrami sandwich for us (having never had one, I'm not exactly sure what was changed, but it was oishii!). We also got to have salads instead of fries which was a great break - good salads are fairly hard to come by here!

Just before we left, I went to the post office, and got the guy who is really never impressed with me for some reason! Anyway, he was first pissed off because I had a big pile of stuff to mail, and then told me off (all in Japanese) because we'd put the 'printed matter' stamp on some envelopes that didn't need it... I didn't exactly catch what he said, but I think it was along the lines of 'that'll be 80Y anyway you useless gaijin!', and then, the stamp that we put on that's like a postage stamp was incorrect for some reason, so he just gave me the pile of envelopes and new stamps and made me stick them all on myself. Which is fine, but isn't that somewhat what they get paid for? The best part was when I finished and paid and then handed him the two letters I'd held back. You could just see him thinking 'uhhh what?' (separate receipts required).

Anyway, after we finished at about 7, Helen and I headed to Paddy Foley's to get a table for the pub quiz. Our team name was the 'Just in it for funners' which was probably a good thing, as we had fun, but sucked all around! We ended up coming in sixth, and getting booed by a couple of the punters in the bar. But we were all still genki at the end, so that's fine!

Very oddly ran into a couple of people I knew from futsal, who were looking rather different in their suits and office attire than when we're all running around sweating and looking rough on the field! Unfortunately, I can't go this week as I'm going to see the Tokyo International Players put on Pirates of Penzance at the same time (which is cool, I'm excited!), but I'll definitely make the effort to go the following week...
(rough week? asleep on the platform of Yoyogi Uehara as the second-to-last chiyoda sen train came in)...

Got the last train home from Roppongi and ended up getting in at about 12:45 or so... Off to bed now though!


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Busy day at work today (honestly, do we think there is ever going to be a day where I come home from work and say, "so, I did absolutely nothing at work today"? not likely!) It's good though-would much rather be busy!

We sent Weekender to print this morning, so of course, that was busy in the morning, and then the new BAB (April) came in today - I think it looks great! Always exciting to see the new magazines as they come back from the printers...

All of the BAB distribution is in-house, so by the end of the day, there was an absolutely massive pile of packages for the poor takubin (courier) guy to pick up. We have a regular guy, 'Skinny', who comes to our office, and he didn't exactly look overly impressed with us when he saw the pile waiting for him!

We have our suspicions that we aren't the favourite office on the block as apperantly in Japanese companies, when the takubin guy comes in, they all jump up and greet him and stuff, and heathen gaijins that we are, we don't. Then again, maybe it's just karma that has something to do with the takubin man song that's been made up...?

I also had my monthly evaluation with Helen today at ZEST, (mmm jambalaya!), which was good; they're not ready to get rid of me just yet :) I am seriously incredibly lucky to have fallen into this internship though! I'm not just saying that because my bosses read this, either :)

I left at about 5, and then taught from 5:30-7, which was fine, if typical...There's very little exciting about grade 3 and 6 math, although it has really driven home to me how much I dislike the subject. I'm all for accounting ($$ and all that ;) ), but this algebra business with the lack of numbers? What's with that?

Headed home and made dinner (french toast, eggs, and sausages), and am just waiting for Peter to get home so we can eat it! I'm wasting the time (and wasting is definitely the appropriate word here) by watching Saved by the Bell: The College Years via slingbox/TiVo. They seem to be in Hawaii for this specific spectacularly badly acted episode. Oh god, its just got worse-there's a commercial for a horrific looking product called the 'tweeze' it's like easy, with tweezers! Actually, it looks horrific, and painful, but it does kind of go with the flavor of the show!

Somehow like comfort food for your brain...


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

So yesterday, I was randomly wide away at 6:40, and much more randomly, running by 6:50! I think I had the idea that I should go for a run, and then just managed to get out of the house to do so before I actually thought it through, which was well done on my part! I left V. here b/c she is so annoying to run with, and went all the way down the green space to the end of the park, stopping at the bars and stuff for some ab and arm work. I ended up staying out about 40 minutes, so it wasn't exactly a long workout, but better than nothing! I kind of think I might want to join a gym here though, as especially when it gets hotter, there's no way I'll be running outside, and lots of them offer classes as part of your membership which would be cool... My Japanese might increase to include 'bend, and stretch, pant and jump'!
There were quite a few people out running, walking, and working out including this guy who was practicing his golf swing, sans ball, as I did stuff on the bars beside him...

I came back to the house, grabbed V, who was pretty pissed off because I'd left her, and she knew I'd gone for a run, and took her for a walk which seemed to placate her OK. I was listening to This American Life, which was, as usual, great. They were talking about 'great jobs if you can get them', and interviewed the PC guy from the apple ads, an astronaut, and a guy who will buy your yearly lottery checks from you in exchange for a smaller lump-sum payment, plus a couple of others... As usual, very interesting!

Work was busy as usual yesterday-I wasn't teaching, so I could stay later, and that turned out to be a good thing - lots to do! We have a Weekender going to print today, and then a new Weekender and a BAB coming out shortly-we're sending them to print before Golden Week, so its all going to be a bit nuts the next two weeks I think.

Yesterday felt kind of like being on a soccer team and we were playing against a team that was hard but that we knew we could beat if we played smartly, and then ended up 1-0 up about 10 minutes before the whistle, where you know you still have to play hard, but there's also like a giddy feeling of thank god running between everyone on the field... Hard to explain, but yea, kinda like that!

I also found out (and maybe should have known already, but let's face it, really didn't!) that 'is' is a verb. Which when Peter and Hitomi pointed out that it was part of 'to be' makes more sense, but I really wouldn't have called it that. Luckily, most native English speakers I've asked about it also had no clue, although unsurprisingly the ESL/bilingual people all did.

Anyway, I left at about 6:30, and met Sarah down at ABC by the station, and we proceeded to chill for about 30 minutes before the Orbitune wedding party for Bobby at TGIFriday's. We went to Donki and I bought a couple of little birthday presents for Brit and Cyd (happy birthday girls!), and then headed to the restaurant, a bit early, but that's OK!

Spent most of the time hanging out with Sarah (as we do), and Tom, and also saw Jordon, freshly back from Hong Kong, briefly. Unfortunately, I'd been feeling kind of crappy all afternoon, and TGIFriday party food/smokiness is not a good thing for a slightly unsettled stomach! I had a really good time, but I was pretty much ready to go when we left and collapsed into the car and then straight into bed. Luckily, I'm much better this morning, and so off to finish getting ready for work (and then teaching) today.

We've just gotten home from an Orbitune gathering in honor of Bobby's recent wedding, and though it was lots of fun, I wasn't feeling great to start out with today, and 3 hours at TGIFridays in Roppongi really didn't help things, so I'm going to go collapse into bed, hope I feel better in the morning after a good nights' sleep, and blog about today tommorrow morning..


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

So people talk a fair amount about foreigner crime here (that weird book/magazine they mentioned in Metropolis awhile ago comes to mind), but I'd never really seen anything to support the outcry (which is a little overkill anyway, as I think foreigners, who are about 1% of the population, commit something like 1.5% of the crimes, so its not exactly hugely disproportionate). Anyway, today I was checking out the izakaya which just opened or re opened near our office, and as is typical when a new business opens here, there were these tall flower arrangements outside.

I was just checking out the menu when I saw this woman 'shopping' through the flower arrangements and making her own bouquet! She was just going from stand to stand picking out flowers and greenery and making a pretty large bouquet. At first, I thought maybe she was involved with the place and was planning to take them inside into a vase or something, but we ended up at the crossing together a minute later. So, I guess she could have been taking them to the owner or something....but honestly, that's not really the feeling I got. Besides that, she had a Russian passport in a folder, and the Russian embassy is just down the street, so I'm thinking she was just passing through the neighbourhood.

(Nice flowers, ne?)

Anyway, work today was pretty good - I got the UK feature done which was a relief, and then started to proof the Apr. 20th Weekender which goes to print this week. The new BAB is out in the next couple of days as well, which I'm excited about! <--amazing really, given how many times I've read it already!

I was back at teaching today, as Spring Break is over for the kiddies, so that was fine - they didn't have too much homework, but it went pretty smoothly, and we read some Mulan-that girl is BIG on Disney!

Came home, as did Peter, surprisingly early. We had an evening of delicious crap, including KD, popcorn, the Hills, the Apprentice, and in just a second, chocolate cake.

Oishii desu!


Monday, April 09, 2007

So I let myself take one day off from blogging, and have emails and phone calls asking where I am. Sheesh!

I'm here, just didn't have too much interesting to talk about - yesterday I taught, hung out in yoyogi koen for a bit, went to the library, came home, hung out, saw Peter when he came home at 5ish, walked down to Origin for bentos, and we hung out watching TV (peter) and reading (me) for the evening. We also had a chocolate cake from a box which is pretty tasty!

See, you didn't miss much!

These two in Yoyogi Koen were quite entertaining though - the guy in the black suit ran around making himself into the shape of various different instruments (pictured here as a guitar, he was also a drum kit, triangle, bass, and more), and he made the sound of the instruments, while the other guy 'played' him, and sang along. It was pretty funny!

Today, I stayed very close to home! First Navina and I chatted for quite awhile - since she's coming soon, she's started to make her list of things to do, so we were talking about that, and getting caught up which was good. After that, I had an email from my madre asking me if I was out gallivanting all night again since there was no blog, so I phoned her, since I haven't talked to her for awhile, and we got caught up.

By the time I finished my phoning, my ear was sore and it was nearly 2! I then moved firmly onto the couch to write a TOEIC scrip and read, before finally, around 6, dragging my ass off the couch to go for a run. I also walked to the little grocery store near our house to get food for dinner, which turned out pretty well!

I made a stir fry with cabbage, red peppers, carrots, shallots, garlic, bean sprouts, some kind of mystery mini-mushrooms, mystery sauce from a bottle, and chicken. It was really, really good over rice!

And that's about it, just chatting with Sarah, tidying up the kitchen a bit, and in general getting organised for another busy week at work starting tomorrow.


Saturday, April 07, 2007

So the rest of my day between when I last posted and now--not so interesting!

I went to teach, and it was actually better than expected, which is good! We sat outside the NY's Cafe too, which was really nice - pleasant weather this afternoon! After that, and since Peter's guests had been postponed again, I walked around Shibuya for about an hour and a half. I was kind of trying to find the Aoyama Book Center that I've walked past a couple of times (including last night), and can never pick out when I want to! Thinking about it right now though, I think I remember when we walked past it now, so maybe tomorrow morning I can go after I teach at 10.

I came back at about 5, and Peter was out getting ready for a Canadian Chamber of Commerce (I think?) event tomorrow, where they will be having pancakes and watching the Toronto/Montreal hockey game tomorrow at....

...8am! Early desu ne?!

It didn't take long for me to succumb to the pull of the nap, which was great, but of course, supremely unpleasant to wake up from. I did try and wake up, a couple of times, unsuccessfully, but after two nightmares, one of which featured Peter being pissed off at me for an un-determined reason, and the other which involved me getting a knife pulled on me by this red haired 20-something year old American kid (think Archie), in some residential backstreet (in Japan), and then when I screamed, he was like, OK - I'm heading this way (away from me), but actually followed me... I dropped my bag for him, but he kept following me, until I ended up in an all-white, all-American type middle school, which apparently I was attending at the time, and managed to get him locked into the media room. I do feel bad for using some tiny girl to shield myself from him at one stage, though!

Luckily we caught him, and then I woke up and decided it was time to get up properly, at least for a bit, have some food, and then, yes, probably get ready for bed properly - I have to be up at 8 to teach, I might as well get lots of (hopefully nightmare-free) sleep beforehand!


Friday, April 06, 2007

So, late blog today as yesterday ended up being quite the lengthy night. It wasn't so much a late night as an early morning. :)

I went to work for a few hours yesterday afternoon to work on the feature for the upcoming issue, and got a pretty good start on it after we finally figured out a good slant to take with it. At about 5:30, a few of us went to Suji's to kick off the weekend with a drink, and I then at about seven, I went up to Shinjuku to meet Sarah and her friend Jack. Jordon was supposed to come, but wasn't feeling great, so we just had to party it up without him.

We went to an izakaya first and had some Korean BBQ... There were a couple of really random kinds of meat, including what we think was likely intestine. It was actually pretty good, if a bit chewy (think "tastes like chicken" with a meat meets fat kind of texture... I ate a couple of bits of that, but I gave the other mystery meat a miss. After having described it to Peter, he figures it was probably chicken throat. There were little rings of cartilige which had some kind of meat/skin/fat/?? stretched over them. As we cooked them, they kind of expanded a bit. Honestly, I don't feel like my life was missing the experience, so I gave them a miss! The other generic meats were, as usual, totally delicious!

After our three hours were up we got kicked out of our little booth and headed to Shibuya at about midnight, and went to the HUB, which is a British pub. We were having a good chat, and the two guys beside us (foreign), were having way too much to drink! They were falling down under the table drunk, it was fairly nasty! After we got kicked out of the HUB when they closed 2 we headed to Atom for some dancing. We cut that fairly short after about an hour and a half, because the music was pretty crap for dancing, to be perfectly honest!

Since by that point we were all commited to the whole first train thing, we headed to a coffee shop and chatted until the first trains started running at about 5:30. Since they don't run often, and I had to transfer at Omotesando, I ended up getting home at about 6:15 - it seemed very light outside to be just going to bed!

Slept till about 11, and then up to watch ANTM with Peter and now about to go teach back down in Shibuya.


Thursday, April 05, 2007

After work today (new Weekender out--it was the summer issue, summer camps special insert, and my photo of Brit and Tonya jumping around at Island View Beach on the cover, BAB to print, proofing, distribution, writing), Karin invited Nine and I to go with her to the opening of a new club space in Roppongi called Stereo, as she knew someone involved in its opening. Looking at the site, it seems to be more of an event concept within the flower space, but I'm not strictly sure on the details.

Its a really nice place, quite posh and surprisingly chilled out and quiet for a Roppongi venue! There were random movies playing silently on several screens and djs, although they'll be hosting live events with all sorts of music except punk on the bill... I think I'll probably try and go back there, it was really nice!

Left Roppongi at about 8:30 and headed home, where I made rice and gyoza (dumplings) for dinner. We've had them sitting in the freezer for ages, but I've never actually made them before, and it was a bit of an adventure in Japanese package reading to figure out what on earth was going on. Luckily, there were cute little sketches, and I know the kanji for minutes, so I could basically figure out the plot - the amount of water that went in there was a total guess, but they ended up OK, so that's good...

Peter said he'd be home around 10, so I left his food for him and went to start watching a movie about the 1954 Tokyo Olympics, which is turning out to be LOOOOONG!!!! Its quite interesting - very artistically shot and with little voice over action, they basically go through almost all the sports with lots of slow motion/closeup/artistic cinematography. On the one hand, its really lovely, and plus, its the Olympics, which I love, but on the other hand, there is sooo much of it! Its 2 hours in, and still going strong. I have to admit to having a bit of a nap during it, and when I woke up it was really like I hadn't missed anything! I have to go back and watch the gymnastics, which I slept through, but it wasn't like I lost the plot or anything!

Its pretty interesting to see Japan at this time though, when there were so few foreigners here. As they say in the movie, never had so many foreigners come to Japan at one time which is pretty interesting. I guess Japan really didn't change its isolationist tune very long ago at all, which I never really think about day-to-day, but this isn't exactly ancient history, and its a pretty bit moment for the country.

The sports are interesting as well - its seems like they were much more 'amateur' then, not necessarily in a bad way, but in that most of these people had other things going on in their lives at the same time - busy being carpenters or school teachers as they trained for the marathon or whatever, and there also seems there was a lot more genuine sportsmanship, but that could just be what is getting shown. (BTW-running a marathon in bare feet does not seem like the smartest idea!)

So yea, off to re watch the gymnastics, and then go to bed - I'm working in the afternoon tomorrow and then going out for dinner in Shinjuku in the evening...


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I think that for a few days, if I don't have much to say, I'm just going to really briefly sum up the day - I do want to keep this as a journal/record of this amazing trip, but I don't want to feel like I *have* to fill 8 or 10 inches of screen space, with photos and other links if I can't write that much, so from now on, I think I'm going to keep the length a bit more fluid...

So anyway, work today - it was good, I had my monthly meeting we Caroline (as did everyone else), and I'm going to be working more at CPI, which is good :) During our meeting, at Colors of India downstairs, the weather went waaaaaay wacky! It had been grey and cool all day, but there was loud rumbling thunder, and lightning like in the street outside the window, and then it just starting pissing rain like crazy. The thunder was ridiculously loud and vibration-y though! I guess it was really close! I ran up to the office, and got pretty wet even though I was only outside for about 20 seconds.

A few minutes after that, it started to wetly snow! It hasn't snowed once this year, and we were in the low 20s on the weekend, yet today there were huge wet white flakes floating down with the rain, it was crazy! We all raced to the window and had our noses pressed up against the glass like kids at school hoping for a snow day.

Today at lunch was a great example of why lunch sets are such a good invention! We went to the Wolfgang Puck Cafe pretty close to our office, which I'd never been to before, but I got a pasta set, which was foccacia bread, corn soup (why is the soup always corn?), refillable soda, and pasta for under 9$, including tax, and of course, no tip. You really can't beat that!

Left the office at about 20 past 7 when it became patently clear that I wasn't going to be accomplishing much more at that point, and walked with Nine down to Random Walk which is a big English-language book store near Roppongi Crossing that is closing at the end of the month, and therefore having a big sale. They were closing at 8, so I didn't really have a chance to look too carefully, but it looks like a great selection and quite cheap - hopefully tomorrow I'll have more of a chance to look through it!

Headed home, chatted with Sarah and Andee a bit (welcome back from the land of the lack of Internet!), and that's about it... chilled out night all around...


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

There's nothing quite like a Labrador going out into the rain at 7:00 this morning, and then deciding she's cold and that the only thing for it is to get under the covers with you! Silly V. decided to do just that this morning, which was very annoying, as I didn't sleep well anyway, and then just as I'm getting my last hour of sleep before work, this cold, wet dog jumps up on my bed and starts trying to break into the warm covers. I was trying to ignore her pointed 'let me in!' nosing around, but then she just stood on my head, so I let her crawl under, yech!

Anyway, damp dog excepted, it was a pretty average morning/day at work - lots of proofreading of the BAB about to go to print, and filling in blanks, looking for photos, etc. Speaking of work, we have a new and improved website which just went live-check it out at
It's good that will keep all you obsessed/voracious readers busy for a little while - not such an extensive blog today!

I left work around 5:30 and went to meet Sarah in Shibuya (the new pasmo system is great, going between the metro and JR with one handy-dandy card!) Too bad I can't put it on my phone tho-I managed to find that out at the softbank store in Harajuku yesterday which was quite funny - as I walked in, the guy like looked at me, looked scared, and then sprinted off for some English-speaking backup.

Oh - random trivia, the Krispy Kreme across from Takeshimaya Times Square (known ubiquitously as the 'shinjuku krispy kreme', is actually in Shibuya-ku supposedly.

Met up with Sarah who came one a fairly unsuccessful shopping mission with me (thanks for the help though!) Before we met up with her friend Ginger at Outback Steakhouse. For once, the people shoving stuff at you as you walk by them came up with a helpful handout - a coupon for Y1000 off our meal.

We had a fun dinner and then I walked home and am just hanging out with V. Peter is still at the office, or something...his computer and leftover subway lunch are at home, but he isn't, so not sure where he's ended up for the evening...


Monday, April 02, 2007

Since Peter had a meeting in Harajuku this morning, I caught a ride down there with him to go to the library, which unfortunately, was closed. I keep forgetting that Monday is often the 'day off' day for businesses (and I know their open on Sunday, so its even more random, I think!) Anyway, it meant that I ended up in Harajuku with a bunch of library books and no real plan, so I ended up going to study Japanese for an hour or so, and then on Jordon's recommendation, went up to Kichijoji and Inokashira Koen.

It's funny how in Victoria I've never really paid much attention to the sakura at all, but here, I've had like three mini ohanami parties in a week! Inokashira Koen was gorgeous, even though it was a bit of an overcast day - there is a huge lake in the middle, and cherry trees in full bloom ran down both sides of the riverbank. There were boats for rent on the lake, and many couples and friends were out rowing or paddle boating themselves around. It looked like a lovely, romantic way to spend the afternoon!

Maybe because it was a little bit cloudy and a work day, there weren't too many people there (although there were definitely big tarps laid out and ready for after work hanami action!) so I got a seat on a bench right by the river bank, ate a bento, and watched the people paddle around. Clearly, some of the guys row exactly once a year-at hanami time-and were so busy trying to impress their girlfriends that they ran into each other or the river banks at an alarming rate. It was quite entertaining to observe!

I'd never been to Kichijoji, so after I left the park, I spent some time wandering around - it seems like a great neighbourhood! Lots of little cafes and bars, import shops, clothing shops, crafty places, cafes, bookstores, record stores etc. When its not threatening rain/actually raining, I want to go back up there and explore properly. I also found a bookstore named Bondi Books there (found online, not actually there) that specialises in rare and first edition import books, so I really want to find that!

I'm not sure that this building is, but I think something like an English tea house - I peeked into the windows, and with the dark wood, textiles, doilies, etc. it all seemed very 'Grandma's parlor'-it was very cute!

Not sure exactly what this statue, was all about - it was kind of tucked in an alcove on the sidewalk between a Family Mart combeni and a vending machine, but I thought it was interesting.

There seemed to be lots of great little alleys and stuff as well, and lots of fun character! I can see why its considered on of the most desirable neighborhoods in Tokyo to live in, and also why it has an artsy reputation - I got a 'Shimokitaza supersized' vibe from it.
I also did something I've never done before in my entire life, which was purchase an LP (EP? which ones are the little ones?). The bins of records in the RARE records shop intrigued me and I flipped through the ones outside before going inside - no particular reason, just kind of curious. I totally lucked out though, and found a great present for Peter - this LP of songs for the Tokyo Olympics, which is an event he's pretty interested in (they are the same vintage and all that). I have no idea if he has a record player here, but I figured its the kind of cool souvenir that doesn't actually matter that much if you can listen to it or not-just the jacket and stuff is interesting...

I left the area when it started raining, and got home around 6:30. Peter and Hitomi are out together tonight, so I've just hung out at home - watching the end of the Apprentice: Season One on DVD, writing a TOEIC script, starting to turn some pants that had a hole in them into a skirt, chatting with Sarah, etc. A nice relaxing evening before work starts again tomorrow.