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Saturday, June 30, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


PS--Happy Canada Day!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Went to the gym this morning and the to work which was good today--it didn't feel too crazy, which is good, but probably will come back to bite me next week! Also sent Weekender to print-the color proof looked good, I think.

Actually, everything is coming together pretty well I think, it's only scary when I start figuring out exactly how much needs to get done each day! Luckily, everyone is working super hard to make sure we are ready to go, and I'm sure we will be totally fine!

After work, I got to go to Sin Den today for a hair cut which was great-so relaxing I just about nodded off at the lengthy hair drying stage of the event... They have a new building (moved in this week), which is very cool! It was designed by KDA, and its black with an amazing white line drawing all over it.

I wanted something easy to take care of, not too much shorter, but different, and I got all of the above-it was great! Risa only took about 2 inches off the end, so its just past my shoulders, but there are a lot more layers now, and its a lot lighter all around-there was a looot of hair taken off! Great for the summer, which is FREAKING hot and humid already!

Meanwhile, Marie, lucky girl, is at the world premier of Harry Potter, to review for weekender. Can't wait to hear how it went!! Fun times at CPI tonight! :)

Came home around 9, took V to the combeni to get "I'M HOT!" supplies, including cold drinks and icecream, and then came back to make curry for dinner. I'm just watching Kate and Leopold on TV, and enjoying the air conditioning on the couch--I really need to get the air con in my room sorted!

Anyway, that's about it!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Hmmm yesterday (ed; now two days ago)...I did actually start blogging and then kind of gave up-it was an interesting day for me in that I got to work on a ton of different things for work, but all things considered, not such an interesting day from the outside since I just got up, decided not to go to the gym (good actually, as it turns out it was closed!), got to the office for 9ish, worked on BAB and Wkr (more BAB than Wkr)--we picked cover photos yesterday, which I love doing, especially since for BAB the cover photo decides the colour throughout, so when I get to start dropping that in, it seems like its all coming together more somehow. From what I remember of the cover-picking day, somehow now two days ago, I left the office about 8 and got home around 9, but who knows! It's all a bit foggy at this point-hence the benifits of daily blogging! I think that was the day Helen first skyped us, which was pretty entertaining, as we couldn't quite sort out how to answer the call, turn on the microphone, get the video working, etc. but once we did, it was great!

Moving on to yesterday (the 26th)

I headed to the gym, but missed the exciting kick class that I wanted to get to due to Venus being a gomi-eating rat who spread the unburnable garbage EVERYWHERE, very annoying! Anyway, made it in time to bike and stretch and do weights, but all fairly quickly, it was good though, not too much strain on ye oldy cold, but nice to work out a little bit... Came home and shared a taxi to work with Peter who was heading to TAC for a meeting, and then working on Wkr and BAB. We got a proof of Wkr. ready to send out to everyone around 5, and then I spoke to Helen around 7 before heading home and to bed early, planning also to sleep in till 7:30 today-it was great!!!

Didn't go to the gym this morning, but was lovely and refreshed after almost 8 hours of sleep! Headed to Caroline's on my way to work this morning, and we took photos for the PSA we're doing about the Lindsay Ann Hawker tshirt campaign Being A Broad has started. Watch for a jpg of the ad tomorrow--

For those who missed it, Linsday was a 22-year-old English teacher who was tragically murdered at the end of March. Although police were called to the main suspect's apartment, and he went tearing past them and ran away, they didn't arrest him (or catch him at the time), and now it is widely believed that someone is hiding him. As it's fallen out of the Japanese (and International, I presume) news, BAB is making T-shirts with a security photo of the suspect, and the words (in Japanese) "Until this man is caught, I can't sleep at night"

We took some photos of Caroline wearing the shirt and then Karin was able to design the ad/PSA today--I think it looks really, really good, very direct, yet I think very tasteful and sensitive to her family and her memory. It's a full page going in July 6 Wkr, and I think may become a series....

Also finished the Wkr for print tomorrow--very exciting to have disks burnt by 6pm tonight!!! We all had a good chat with Helen today-we're much more on with the skype, and so everyone was laughing and joking with her like she was in the office, it was good fun! Also worked on BAB-Marie took some great street-snaps photos for me and I got Jen and Karin (poor girls haha!) to write me articles, which, like total stars they did/are doing, and slowly but surely, we're turning the pagination yellow (content is going into design).

Emma left (prepping for a vacay tomorrow), and then came back to the office as she'd forgotten something, but she got me out of there around 7 to head to Suji's for a quick snack-Jason is on a very delicious desert-testing kick, and we got to try out some yummy chocolate chip cookies and brownies... So excited for the chocolate chip cookies and vanilla icecream sandwiches that they're planning...mmmmmmmmmmmm

Got home, and shortly thereafter Peter called to see about dinner, and then called back and said my choices were to cook or order pizza. So, I ordered pizza. Which requires telling them your phone number, which I successfully managed (and then they look up your address which is handy) but then they were out of supreme, and out of large-sized pan pizza dough, and out of chikitatsu, and i'm just thinking, honestly, what kind of pizza joint is this! I did however manage to successfully order a medium pizza, corn, and fries, and we ate all that with Yuki, who I originally met way back at New Years on the beach in Waikiki-10 days before I started at CPI, which seems odd that I wasn't working then! She's in Japan for a couple of weeks and it was fun to see her again and everything...

Anyway, I am working now, and my alarm is going off in about 6 hours, so I think I really need to get some sleep!


Sunday, June 24, 2007

Yesterday was very much not exciting, but that's ok-chilling out days are good occasionally, I suppose! I'd wanted to sleep in, but unfortunately had to teach at 10, so was up at 8, and walked down to Shibuya, where I installed myself with a coffee and my current book (How to Talk to A Widower) which is so far, so good. I also read his last book--the Book of Joe, and remember enjoying that one... Anyway, so I'm in the coffee shop waiting for him to turn up, and waiting, and waiting (I got there early), and then at like 10:15, check my phone, and at 10:13, he'd called to cancel my 10am lesson. Ugh! On the one hand, it was good, because he still has to pay, and I just got to have coffee and read, but on the other hand, he could have cancelled a bit earlier (like last night!), still had to pay, and I could have slept in!

Ah well.. Headed up through the park and over to Harajuku to do street snaps, which was marginally more successful-I got one done and then it started to rain. One is better than none though i guess! The rain was pretty gross though-it wasn't raining hard at all, but it was sooo hot, so very much like being in a sauna-unpleasant!!

Got home, and called home and then Navina, after having had a minor (ok-major) freak out--I managed to lock myself out of facebook by changing networks and then deleting the address I'd originally signed up using! Luckily, in the auto-reply to my panicked email, they had a link to a help page which sorted me out-I was able to log in with the email I'd used to switch to the SFU network... phew!

Basically chilled out while Peter was working, I've been fighting a minor cold for the last 5 or so days, and figured that doing not much of anything was probably a good idea before what is sure to be another busy week kicks off today--at least that's my justification for having not written anything this weekend! I should be ok time-wise though, (we hope!-it's lucky I write fairly fast!)

Woke up, and Peter was doing some work, so I got caught up on some episodes of the OC that they had watched while I was working at the Pink Cow the night before, and then headed to bed pretty early... Just about to get ready to go to work now--I'm excited to see the BAB cover shots which arrived at 7pm Friday so I didn't have a chance to look at them, and then also to meet the new girl who will be taking over for Jen when she goes on maternity--exciting-she's from Canada, so I get some backup (but maybe I'll have to stop blaming not knowing how to spell on being from Canada-I can never remember if traveller should have one L or two in Weekender or BAB and vice versa, and I always blame stuff like that on the Canadian way of taking a bit from the colour pot and a bit from the color pot).


Saturday, June 23, 2007

So this month seems to be the month of new and random part-time jobs for Dani! (but not till the end of the day)

I slept in, as its the one day a week that I can do so, until about 9:30, at which point V came barreling down the hall doing wind sprints so enthusiastically she was shaking the house. She was also barking, which for her is sooo unusual I actually thought it was a neighbour's dog! Anyway, she woke me up, and we eventually figured out that she was so hyper because she'd stolen and inhaled a good 30-40 gummy worms that Peter had left on the living room table yesterday--oops!

Hung out at home this morning, trying to be vaguely productive and look at some courses for next year, but discovered that my enrollment appt isn't till the 3rd week in July, so I'm A) not so panicked about it anymore, and b) hoping that I'm not like last! I REALLY REALLY want to get into Japanese 1 and 2!!

Headed down to Shibuya to teach (stylist) at one, and then wandered around for quite a while trying to do street snaps and having absolutely no success! I saw lots of foreign guys, with Japanese girls, and any of the foreign women I saw, and there were only a small handful of them, looked royally pissed off! Will try again tomorrow!

Anyway, ended up at coffee shop by a plug, ready to work on my BAB article, only to discover that I'd left the power cord at home, tit (to borrow a phrase) that I am! I CAN'T wait to start getting paid for the marking and teaching so I can buy a mac!!! So excited!

By this point, I only had a couple of hours before I had to be at work at 6, and I could have gone home, but I was walking distance to work, so just killed time reading and wandering around and stuff. Not as productive as I might have hoped, but not so bad.

Anyway, at six, I turned up for my new very part time (like on call the occasional weekend) job-working at the pink cow. Its a super cute&funky little restaurant in Shibuya that does tons of special events and is known for being foreigner friendly. Karin works there sometimes too, and mentioned to the owner that I would be interested in the occasional night, and here we go! It was pretty straightforward-rolling cutlery, passing out plates for the buffet-diners, and busing tables at the end of the night, but there was a great vibe, and there are certainly harder/crapper ways to make some money, plus, we got to eat the buffet, which was sooo tasty-Karin did a good job as kitchen prep chef!

Worked till 11, and then Karin and I had a drink and headed to the station around 12-home by 12:30, and heading to bed now, as I have to be back in Shibuya tomorrow am at 10 to teach (and hopefully find some street snaps!)


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Well yesterday was my second-to-last day of teaching, and it went pretty well--we've finally stopped writing stuff and started practicing her presentation, so in a lot of ways, its more straight forward, and probably something I can help with more--I've done a lot of public speaking, but not so much writing of official company business plans!

After teaching, headed to work for just about noon, and worked on Weekender mostly-it was our first day with Helen out of the office, and so far, basically so good, though we'll have to see how its going the day before we send something to print! Actually, we're in really good shape (knock on wood) with this issue because of it being a long month, so hopefully we can keep up with the efficiency over the next few issues!

I stayed till about 8:30ish? And then came home, walked Venus and headed to bed (thrilling day, I know)

Today was more of the same-my last day teaching the prenup girl-I think we got her to the point of at least knowing what she needs to say, and now she needs to get in front of a mirror and practice. I told her to use a stuffed animal as an audience, and I think she thought I was an utter nutter!

Work was good today-fairly quiet, just me and Kieron in the morning (well I got there at noon, but whatever) and lunch, and then Kieron was off at the British School (actually he saw my neighbor play piano, how random!) and Emma turned up, so there were only 2-3 of us at any one time. I was working on BAB today, which seems to be coming together OK-I'm keeping up better with the layout vs. content I think, which is good, though I need to start writing my content!! (that's what the weekends are for though, right?!)

Anyway, it was a good day in that I felt as if I crossed off several things, which is always satisfying, even if non of them were super big... then at 7ish, we headed down for a drink, and as we were sitting there, a Japanese guy walked in, and Kieron was like 'I know that face, Koto made me watch a Japanese TV show and he's in it'. Turns out Kieron was right, and he's actually a big star here-Takenouchi-san.

(click the pic for more info)

He looked quite different in person, but was very quiet and unassuming, and we met him briefly-he knew some English, and was very nice! It was all a bit lost on me, as I didn't know who he was, but when I got home, I posted something about it on facebook and had a response in about 4 minutes flat from Helen, despite the miles of distance, time zones, and jet lag, so there you go!

Home at about 9, watched some TV with Peter for a bit, and am now heading for bed...knackered as usual!
Blatently stolen from Kyle: reason 199 why there are just some things that a native English Speaker should really write.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Yesterday morning was basically more of the same--teaching the prenup girl, although I had time to chat with Navina for a little bit before I left which was nice... It was freaking hot yesterday as well--'feels like' 33C plus humidity when I left the house at 8:50. Lovely and sunny though-so far the rainy season has included one day of rain, on the day it 'opened' and that's it, although today is looking a little bit cloudy and overcast.

After teaching, headed to work and got onto proofing the next weekender, which is almost ready to go, a week early--five-week months are lovely! Helen was getting all organised to go as she's heading off to the UK (as I write this actually, for three weeks over there; hope she has a great trip!) Thanks to the 'net, we'll be in contact via skype just about every day, so it's not so scary (I blithely say now!)

At about 4:30 I left work to meet Helen at Gymboree in Moto Azabu so we could do the cover shot for July BAB--I didn't need to do anything, but was curious to see how it all worked and who was directing the shots and stuff, it was interesting! The space is also sooo nice! I was absolutely itching to do some backwalkovers or handstand pirouettes, or at the very least, a few cartwheels, but I managed to restrain myself!

Saw Helen off and then headed back to the office, just for a couple of hours, to work on BAB layout, and then left at about 8:30 and headed home... Basically did not much of anything and then went to bed pretty early...

For a more interesting day, go to videos two and three (below) of the Buried Life


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Woke up early yesterday and despite feeling fairly ropey, headed to the gym. I got there seconds after the class I wanted to do had started though, so I ended up just going on the elliptical and doing some weights. When I was on the elliptical, it was funny because I was watching kiddy TV, since it is very simple, so if I have half a hope of picking out anything, I figure it would be there! Also helps with reading kana, because they have karaoke-style song subtitles and stuff, and they write the kana over the kanji, so I can follow along (well, kind of!)

Anyway, after that headed to teach, and then to work, which was lovely, as usual, and then yesterday evening, headed to the graduate campus at Temple to listen to a talk on human trafficking and the sex industry in Japan, which was interesting! Depressing too, but after what Marie went through the day before, I can't complain at all!

Anyway, about to be late for teaching today, so should go, but there's the cliff's notes version!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Let the conspiracy theories begin:

"It's not just this calendar feature that they are doing that with, Facebook is funded by the US government and is used for collecting data to research things such as what the most popular hang out spot is for students from a specific high school, or what hobbies and interests people have and whatnot, and also, all of your info is for sale on here, phone number, pictures, address, everything."

For a slightly happier less paranoid pop-culture view of facebook, listen to DNTO's podcast this week-really funny! Canada has the largest number of crackbookers of any country outside of the US, which is pretty amazing-there aren't that many of us!

Anyway, happy (grand)father's day! got up early this morning and tried calling home, but didn't get too far with that, so briefly considered going to the gym, but wouldn't have had enough time to do that before teaching, so called and chatted with Navina which was great, although I'm sure she's dead bored with my nattering on!

Headed to teach--mostly changing jenglish questions into real english, and then headed off to work (yay!) for a day of tying up lose ends with the july 6 weekender. Helen and I also had a long lunch meeting and worked out everything that was going to have to happen while she's away... Left around seven and came home via the store to get supplies for a stir-fry which turned out pretty well... I hope i didn't traumatize too many people with my off-key rendition of india.arie on my way home from the station!

Peter and Hitomi and I were watchting the OC, but I fell completely asleep during the show, so I think it's time to head to bed!!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

OK, so some serious back blogging (smack bottom for falling so far behind!) required!!


I taught pre-nup girl early, from 9-11am, and then was very excited to be able to go to the office for the rest of the day--the marking finished up early, so I wasn't needed to go in, which was lovely! I was naughty and went to Suji's for lunch even though I'd only been in for an hour at that stage-we had chili and rice which was very tasty! Stayed till 7ish and then headed, in the pissing rain, down to Peter's abode at the byoin to spend a couple of hours there on his last night before heading home after getting kicked out at around 9:30...


Taught 9:30-11:30, she was funny and asked me why Japan was bottom of the list of countries in a recent Durex survey on frequency of sex... I was like 'uhh how on earth would I know!?'

It's also been a bit of a challenge to get her to see just how badly affairs are looked at in North America/UK/etc, since they're really, really frequent and not nescesarily so badly regarded here (it can be along the lines of "If you don't pay for it, it's not cheating" and "If it's just sex, it's ok").

Anyway, after that headed to work, where it was pretty quiet, as Fridays usually are, especially since Helen was at immigration getting her visa all sorted out for her trip next week (stressful but ultimately successful). We went to Suji's again for lunch-it was PIA wrap day, how could we not?!

After work, around 6, I headed up to Roppongi Hills to kill some time before teaching at 7:30... It ended up being lots of fun-we met at Aoyama Book Center and picked out a couple of text books, and then since we'd almost finished our hour, she suggested we go to Coldstone Creamery, which was a very good suggestion!! We got our ice cream creations (mine included chocolate icecream, caramel, an oreo, whipped cream, and a chocolate waffle cone/bowl) and just chatted for another hour--she lived in Vancouver and has nearly perfect English, so it's great!

We finished up at about 9:30, and I headed home, walking in the door just as Helen called--we'd figured out at work that I was going to have to leave before 6am in order to meet her, and were thinking it might be easier for me to go to her place that night, when she called, we decided that was indeed the case. It was perfect timing, because I was able to see Peter, who had come home that night, and Hitomi, and then shower, pack, and get organised, and then get on a train at about 11:15 and meet Helen at 12am, just as she was on her way home from the gym (hers is open really late!!)

Headed back to Caroline's (which was empty as they were already up at Windsor Park with Tommie and Sandie) and we just chillaxed for about an hour before going to bed at 1 (my four hour sleep cycle theory was put to the test when...


..we woke up at 5am). Bright ish eyed and scraggly-tailed, we had tea (of course!) before grabbing our blendy's (cafeine, baby!) to go, and walking down to the station for the trip up to ueno, where we transferred to the Fresh Hitachi (almost like the shinkansen), meeting Marie and her boyfriend James, and settled in for our 7am (!) departure. It was so funny, because right beside us were this older Japanese couples, who pulled out their bentos, and proceeded to eat fish, rice, hard boiled eggs, yogurt, and large quantities of pickles! After 20 minutes, they all passed out fast asleep, and we, relieved that the fish/pickle odor combi was over, chatted and keitai facebooked our way to Ibaraki, just about an hour away. We took a bus to the lovely Windsor Park Golf and Country Club (about a half hour away, on funny in-the-aisle fold down seats), and then helped check people in, and visited Tommie and Sandie.

At about 9:30, we took the group photo, and then sent the competitive golfers out before we went for breakfast with Caroline. Our table grew as we added people, including a couple of non-golfing gals, and Jen, Emma, Mads, and Mike, who had traveled up on a later train. I had my first natto experience, which was good to do once, not as hideous as it looks, but really something I would never order on my own accord, it tastes really, really weird!

We headed off for 9 holes mid morning and it was great fun-the course is really nice, and our two CPI foursomes were completely and one hundred percent non competitive as we got our money's worth (more strokes = more money's worth) and followed our remote controlled-follows a set track on its own-golf cart, which was sooo cool!

See more pics by clicking on the picture of me grinning like an absolute idiot (and no, that wasn't posed, I think I was laughing at how bad my first tee shot was--pretty much a picked-my-head-up whiff.

We headed back in for lunch, while the competitors headed out for their back nine, we got changed and then set up for the prizes and bbq, and then chatted out on the lovely patio before we kicked off the bbq and prizes, which including getting to fly your own ex-military fighter jet plane in South Africa (get yourself to Cape Town tho!)

We headed back to the station around 6:15, on a very full, very genki, pretty well into the boddingtons and asahi bus. After some confusion, we ended up on the train, all of us together in one car, seats swivled around, and a couple of big bags of beer between the 20 or so of us. (Well Jen and I were in the sober corner, but anyway). We were having a grand old time in our unreserved reserved seats (see the confusion above) until the conductor came, and we tried to pay for the reserved seats, which he told us we didn't have to do. Which was sweet, until the family who had reserved the seats, by then taken over by a bunch of fairly well into it gaijins, showed up.

We kind of shuffled around (this train was not even remotely full) until the family decided that they'd killed the party and left, so we got our seats back, and the then one of our party went and bought a bunch of treats for the kids, and explained we'd been at the golf comp, and there'd been a bit too much to drink and a bit too much sun and whatever, and everyone was happy, and i think we'd kind of avenged our poor gaijin image on the train, which is good, because no matter how much it sucked that we'd been split up, especially since we'd tried to buy the seats and hadn't been able to, it isn't good to be the rowdy foreigners that everyone hates!

The conductor also came over at that stage, and then asked where we were from, and the group he asked was all British (as were a lot of our group!) and he was like 'I love Britain!' and soccer evidently as he started naming players "David Beckham, Michael Owen, Frank Lampard" It was pretty funny, and he was very friendly at that point, although I'm sure probably glad to get us off the train!

We got back to Ueno, rather more stumbly than when we got on the bus in Ibaraki, and everyone headed off in their various directions. Helen and I got on our metro train back to Tokyo together since we live in the same direction, and then ended up planning a slumber party of sorts, which is where I wrote that super quick blog from last night. We ended up getting pizza, watching Sliding Doors (very enjoyable!), having icecream, and facebooking, it was a great night after a great day!


Came home at around 11, just before Lisle turned up bearing tons of brunch-y foods, and Peter, Lisle and I chilled outside in the lovely weather for awhile, before she had to go and I settled in for a relaxing day of calling a couple of people, attempting to vaguely chose some classes for next year, and coming down off the general high of the last 48 or so hours.

Now we're just watching the OC (season two), and then heading to bed fairly soon probably-another busy week coming up!


Saturday, June 16, 2007

Umm so I was going to blog today, but have gotten a little bit sidetracked at Helens for a bit of a girly night in of pizza, icecream, movies, and girly gossip.

The golf comp was today--absolutely fantastic, despite getting up at 5am and getting a bit burned --other than that, it was great to be out in the relative wilderness, and back out on the course, with lots of other fun thrown in-will write more and post pictures when i get home...


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Oh man, busy couple of days, yet not as frantic as I'd anticipated!

Yesterday: CPI from 7-9am (sent some emails, started an article, and did some BAB layout), then taught the pre-nup girl from 9:30-11:30, then marked from 12:35-9pm, then home...

Today: Gym, then teaching from 9:30-11:30, then marking from 12:40-9, then home...

What is this marking you ask? Basically, its insanely boring, yet pays well, so I can't complain too much, though I do!

It's one of the biggest English proficiency tests in the world, so we were marking one level, (one below the highest), and 20,000 people had written it, so we had to mark that in 2.5 days (I was supposed to go back tomorrow, but they said not to bother b/c I was only marking in the afternoon, and they're thinking they'll be done by then). Anyway, part of the test was like a bubble test, and then the other part of it was a paragraph answer, and that's what we were marking, at a rate of about 40/hour. Assuming I kept up, that means I marked roughly 700 of these suckers! I know have a much greater appreciation for provincial exam markers, and the importance of neet handwriting and some originality! By the end of the day today, I think we were all probably giving some points for creativity, and nice handwriting definitely made us happier before we started reading!

The paragraph they had to write was a three-part question, basically "why do you think there are more freeters in Japan now, do you think it's a good idea to travel before you start your career, and in your opinion, what is the most important factor when choosing your career?" (a freeter is a person who chooses part-time work as opposed to the life of a salary man)

The answers (about 100 words each), were fairly standard, although some were definitely more opinionated than others, saying that freeters were terrible, or whatever... About 80% of the people said you should do what you love, while the rest said salary (or sarary) was the most important.

Some one said "It is so nice to hear from you (it was supposed to be an email) because everyone said you had been eaten by lions in Africa" Erm OK? Someone else wrote "I want to be a freeter because I am so busy now I have to go" and that was it (too busy to write the test?), and then there were the slightly phsyscotic ones, like someone who said they hated their parents so much they wanted to kill them (I didn't mark that one, and it got reported), or someone else who got half way through before saying "Anyway, sh*t, f@ck, jesus!" Cause yea, that's going to help you! There was the person who said "The most important factor in choosing your career is that God will decide for you", and the one (he was 10) who said you should be a doctor or a flight attendant, because, "those are famous careers", alternately, someone else wanted to be a pilot, and suggested to the mythical email recipient that they be a pilot as well, "so we can work at the same airport" and someone else also suggested the two head to a movie next Wednesday.

The vast majority ranged from unintelligible to to just plain boring though! To be expected though, I'm sure!

Now, for another "Only in Japan" moment we introduce Pepsi's newest tasty (?) carbonated beverage: "Ice Cucumber" Umm yea, its bizarre! Scary, scary green color, scary lotion/taste smell, which makes more sense when you taste it, as it seems like soap could well be the second ingredient! It's really hard to explain! Kind of lime/sprite-y, but it also tastes like melted freezy, and it feels hard somehow, like the carbonation is really intense or something... I'm not a good describer apparently!
Go drink some fake iced veggies w/ a side of carbonation now!

Monday, June 11, 2007

So the busy week has started, and is off to a better start than expected, all things considered. I got to the office around 8 and worked until 10:30, trying to get some small things out of the way--emails, preparing for distribution, etc.

Left at 10:30 and headed down to teach this girl from the prenup company (thank god its just at Roppongi Crossing!) We had our two hour lesson (she's very sweet, but pretty beginner, hopefully we can improve her skills in the next 18 hours of lessons!)

Back to the office around 1:20, and stayed till five--actually managed to cross off a bunch of little things including a very cute phone interview with some of the kids who were in Pirates of Penzance, clearing out some ancient press releases (why was I keeping that crap?) in my drawers, emailing a bunch of people, setting up interviews, making a blank BAB template, finishing Women of the World, and dropping it into layout. All in all, not so bad.

Headed straight from CPI to the marking orientation, which was, as expected fairly bureacratic, straightforward, and appealed to my form filling-out side. Good to see Sarah and Co. as well, so not a bad night all around, especially when they let us out half an hour early, and still paid us for the whole time :)

Headed home and made a snack and lunch dinner for tomorrow-I'm calling it pastew--it was pasta and then when I dumped in half a bag of veggies and some white stew-sauce, it morphed into pastew. I added some smokies, and voila, tasty snack!

Falling asleep to Season 1 friends now...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Taught this morning (taxi guy, the same as always), and then Helen and I decided to call off the run we'd planned for the morning due to the torrential downpour, crazy thunder and ominous lightening through the city. I hid under an overhang by UNIQLO, reading a really interesting book about modern-day Geisha (and their history) that I got off the book exchange from work.

Once the rain had stopped torrentially bucketing down, I headed to Sanno Byoin to visit Peter and get some work done in the meeting room part of this digs. Wrote most of the sports section for July 6 Weekender, and compiled most of Women of the World for July BAB-just missing the slightly longer 'main' story now...

I also did a West Park Cafe run for Peter, who was on strike from the fish-related food from the hospital today...Duly fortified with a hot dog, fries, and some gumbo, he settled in to watch America's Most Wanted and other generally crappy TV, while I worked on the other side of the island, and then a bit later, Scotty and Tai came by for a visit, and it was good I could say hi and then stay out of their way in my little office, periodically snitching from the massive pile of omiyage!

After they left, Peter and I finished an episode of the OC that we started yesterday, and then, since the sun had come out (kind of) and it had turned into a lovely cool day, I went for a run with Helen along the nakameguro river, which was great! We went for about 40-minutes, and I'm glad I was persistent (ok, a bit annoying) and dragged her out, as we both enjoyed it, were pleased with how far we went without dying, and have plans to do it again once she's back from England (we'll be trotting up Mt. Fuji with no trouble!)

I walked home from Nakameguro, filling in some gaps in my geographical knowledge of Tokyo, and only took a slight detour, maybe a couple of blocks total, on my way back, which is pretty good, I think!

Watched the first two episodes of Friends (can't wait till the OC comes home so I have some other crap to mix into my 'not watching but want background noise while I work' rotation!) while working on WotW and getting ready for tomorrow, where somehow, I start two temporary jobs! It's going to be a crazy busy week, so don't expect too much in the way of blogging!

In fact, I'm off to bed now, in the hopes of getting some decent sleep before the week takes off!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

What a hideous, hideous twist of fate! In part: "In a statement, the patient's family said they were grateful the transplant happened, and "devastated and heartbroken" for the families of the six men."
So I know I've been bad about blogging the last few days-you really don't need to keep sending me emails about it (cough*grampa*cough)!

I've been working, trying to visit Peter in the Sanno Hotel (err hospital), working some more, dreaming about work (it's lucky I love it haha), going to the gym, sorting out two jobs for next week, one teaching one that's 2 hours a day for ten days, and one marking one that's 3 hours for one day, and 8 hours for 3 days, and then trying to efficiently work in CPI stuff around that and over the weekend...

Also got to chat with Navina and Sascha today, and it was nice to catch up with both of them! A surprised Sasch heard about the golf comp: "So when's the last time you swung a golf club?" "Um yea, last time we did?" I'm soo excited though, even though I'm sure I'm going to be absolutely terrible, we're in the fun division, so it really doesn't matter... Next week, yay! Maybe this would be a good time to visit one of those driving ranges you hear so much about (and incidentally, don't really see, at least I've not particularly noticed them)...

Doing women of the world research today, and was stuck, again, but how similar all of the women-related news really is! It seems to related to women's health care, equal rights in the work place, and either strides forward or back for women in developing countries. I'm not sure what else I was expecting, but it's kind of interesting to see. I love compiling it though-reading the news for several hours a month, something that I sadly don't do very often regularly, is good fun and very interesting!

Umm spent the majority of today hanging out with Peter in his new hospital/hotel room, which is even nicer than the last two-he's been upgraded a couple of levels in the game of musical hospital rooms he's been playing. This one is crazy nice with a meeting area, fold out chair comfy!), a (locked) balcony, and as Peter says, "two words you just don't associate with a hospital room: rose wood." Lisle and Kong came to visit for a bit, and Hitomi also brought Venus for a bit, and they had a cute, wiggly, cuddly reunion by the front door of the hospital. Two of Peter's nurses saw us on their way out and stopped for a good long 'kawwaaiii' and cuddle.(dining room/business center)(biiig room--should be a double bed though really!)
(note the tea service inside the glass portion of the lovely rosewood island)

We started watching some of the OC season two, as one of Peter's many, many visitors each day brought him all four seasons on dvd from HK (yay! this is a great way to brain-drain through the summer!) and it was just like reading a pink book, although I did fall asleep for most of the episode on the three dining room chair couch I made for myself... Ah well...

Came home, and Hitomi was making a delicious pasta dinner, so had that, did the aforementioned WotW research, and chilled... Off to bed now, teaching in the morning, and then hopefully, if it's not raining, a run with Helen before probably heading off to the hospital for a bit...


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

So realised I missed a day, oops, but it wasn't overly exciting! Went to work, then went to teach those two kids for the second-to-last time (the boy read 6 Narnia books in two weeks!!). We read Frindle all together for a bit which was fun-I love that book! Then I went to teach a new student, a very sweet girl who wants to practice business English. Her conversational level is pretty high already, so it should be good--she lived in Vancouver for a year which is cool...

Came home and tried to sort out more SFU stuff--chufty badge for the philosophy dept. faxing me course descriptions straight to work, for free, and smack bottom to YSDN for being horrible, as usual "Were you a design major?" she asks, when I call up to get YSDN course descriptions. No--I was a math major, but I thought the YSDN dept. would be able to help me. Honestly! She was all crabby, and wouldn't fax anything, even within Canada, because, as she snapped, 'it's way too much'. Its good to see what $6800/year will buy you!

Today, I got up at six and went to the gym to do the Slim Jog class, which was good-complicated steps, but I started to get it at the end-there are some super keeners who know the whole 50-minute routine by heart, but I'll be happy when I stop tripping over myself! On the plus side, the UNIQLO capri workout pants Helen and I got are SOOO comfy!

Got to work about 9:30, sorted out some things for the June 15 Weekender, and then started writing the feature for July 6 (we're getting so organized, touch wood!). At one, I went to TAC (American Room) for a lovely thank-you lunch to do with the TAC idol that we put on the cover of June 15 Weekender (I think it's a great cover, stay tuned on the website!) Was back in the office for a few hours, and then went to Global Kids Academy to talk to the kids about pets-very cute! Also met the mascot dog Connie who is a pretty adorable golden lab.

Back to the office to download photos and make sure I didn't need to do anything for going to print tomorrow, saw Caroline briefly, and left just before 7. I phoned Peter, who declined my visit due to his 7 o'clock appointment (visitors #8 and 9 today!) and headed home. Got back here around 8, abandoned my plans of cooking, which is kind of too bad, as I was looking forward to it, and instead had stoners and cream cheese (OMG-sooo good!)

About to head downstairs to watch some TV, and quite possibly fall asleep down there in major chillax mode--lovely!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Yesterday I meant to sleep in, but I woke up, starving, at 7:45, so somehow, by 8, I was working on the crossword for Weekender! It was interesting, because our normal crossword maker wasn't able to do it, so we did it, sort of by team effort, and it was hard! Luckily, to fill space at the end, I was able to use lots of state abbreviations as answers (but the clues were just to do with the state), so it ended up being a two parter clue with shorter answers!

I went to the hospital in the early afternoon, and stayed with Peter for a little bit, but he had visitors and meetings all afternoon, so since I couldn't really stay there, but I needed to write the feature for Weekender, I headed down to the office for a couple of hours (they just can't keep me out of there!) and then around six, headed back to Peter's for a bit before heading home for a quiet evening with V...

In other news check this out-The Buried Life is starting up again, which is cool! Good luck to everyone!

And, check out these super cute pictures of Ringo and Iago mom took!!
(click on the image to go to her blog, and then scroll down about 3 posts)

Off to work now,

Sunday, June 03, 2007

So yesterday was largely dominated by the clothes swap that BAB helped run at Cozmos. It was pretty cool and we all walked out of there with a TON of clothing!! Basically, you came, paid 2500Y and then took/left whatever you wanted...

Some people just brought a couple of things, but some people brought piles and piles--several suitcases, or a couple of hockey duffel bags in one case. It was pretty amazing! There was a huge variety of clothes, some of which were REALLY nice! I ended up even getting a few things with the tags still on, although I have to say the most unusual thing was the wedding dress which changed hands! It seems amazing that you would

a) take your wedding dress to a swap
b) be looking for a dress
c) like the one that turned up (it was nice!)
d) have it fit

but, all of that happened, and the not-quite-engaged-yet girl happily took it home!

After that, I headed to the hospital, and spent the evening with Peter, trying to work out the crossword for work and watching MI5...

Home around 10, and in bed fairly early, around 12,-I'm turning into an old woman!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Great day yesterday! Went down to Shibuya at about eleven to meet Helen, but went a bit early so I could browse the magazine section at Tower-it's so great, b/c they don't really mind if you read them, and they carry the best selection of foreign mags, so I was reading one article or so from all my favorites, unable to decide which one to look at most-flicked through METROPOLIS, dwell, Conde Naste Traveller, the New Yorker, Metropolitan Home, etc... I'm such a magazine junkie!

Anyway, after Helen got there, we headed down to the ROXY/quiksilver staff shop and had a great time trying half the store on! We both ended up with a few cute items, and then carried on to GAP and UNIQLO before collapsing for lunch at a really cute little Italian place, where you can sit upstairs and outside, but it's all covered so it's nice and cool--and so tasty!

Then Helen headed off to the gym and I went to spend the afternoon with Peter, who was in much better spirits than the day before! Mibu also came for most of it, so the three of us were hanging out, and then we went and got a coffee while Peter actually got out of bed, which seems soon to me, but the nurses were all over him doing that, so there you go!

I left them at about 7:30, about to start a movie, and headed to Ebisu to meet Helen to go watch Kieron (Cashell) play at What the Dickens in Ebisu. It was fantastic! Good show, good chatting, some good dancing at the end :) We also met a really nice couple from Toronto, and I finally got to meet Kieron's wife, who seems lovely!

Home on the last train, and then into bed pretty early...all in all-great!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Happy Birthday to Peter, who was supposed to be staying in the Ritz and instead had surgery in the hotel-like Sanno Byoin! Luckily, everything went fairly well I think, and I saw him last night, where we watched ANTM together, and he was a general sh*t disturber with his poor nurses, trying to stop using the O2 before he was ready to do that, drinking Ginger Ale before they thought he was ready to do that, and the big one--eating a couple of crackers and a bit of bagel...The poor girl was NOT impressed with that one! She looked a bit relieved when Hitomi came, and there was a definite feeling of 'OK, can you PLEASE control your patient here, because he ain't listening to me, cute hat and all!'

She's just lucky that Peter didn't tuck into the cake that he got from the Ritz Carleton (where he'll be staying in July to make up for last night)
(top of the box the cake came in)
(his bone cake-so cute! The chocolate thing reads "Happy XX (they got it right) Birthday, Peter") Now that's personalised service with a smile!!)

Stayed at the hospital until about 9, when I realised I was asleep on the little stool I was leaning against the wall on... oops! Managed to watch most of Canada's Next Top Model though...It's good-their in TO this time, so I can do another season of location spotting, though it won't be as good as last year's in Victoria ("OMG They're at the Empress!" "OMG They're at the Ocean Pointe!" etc). Speaking of random stuff like that, trying to find out about Canada-day event in Gotemba, I was on the phone with the guy organising, and asked if he was in charge, and he's like:
"Yea, I'm from Victoria", and I was
"Oh, me too!"
"Brentwood Bay"
"Yea, I'm close to that! What high school did you go to?"
"Hey, me too!"

Other than that, the day was basically BAB in the morning-it finally went to print! (And I realised I dreamt about it AGAIN last night...ah well!), writing a review about Madison Park Cafe in Midtown - Hotdogs Gone Good indeed!, learning about Joe Le Taxi (not so work-related, granted), researching the US/Canada feature, etc. We went for lunch at Suji's, and then ended up back down there at 5:30 where we sampled the smoothies they are developing for the summer menu-rather tasty! After that, headed to the hospital, and that's where I started...

Now, off to the ROXY/Quiksilver staff store in Shibuya :)