Sunday, February 29, 2004

I'm not in Tokyo this week!
Ok, so apparently this marquee code is obnoxious... but I think it's a great new trick! And it got your attention now didn't it?? So, like it says - I'm not in Tokyo for the whole week and won't be able to update the blog. I'll be back on Friday or Saturday!

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Cherry blossoms are here!
Today was another beautiful day and to make it even better, I saw the first cherry blossoms!! There is a tree near my house that always blooms a week before the others (I think because it is in direct sunlight). So, by next week Tokyo should be gorgeous! I can't wait! :) It's my absolute favourite time of year here.
And, you know it has been a mild winter when.... they usually don't come out until the first week of April... we're still in February!

Outback is no longer "out"
Hiroshi wanted to go to Outback for dinner tonight. It has been a while since we've been there, so I am no longer sufficiently ticked off at them to avoid going there entirely. Luckily the service tonight was good :) Which is fantasic news, cuz man are those baked potatos ever delicious! Very, very yummy. We got a half back of ribs with the steak (we share it). Hiroshi is now a spare rib fan. He was all whining about pork being boring and not tasting good. Heh, he's converted now. Spare ribs taste gooooood.

Friday, February 27, 2004

This morning I had one of my private (personal) students and I rearranged my schedule to fit her in and got up early despite having a long day yesterday and she slept in!!!! I might kill her next time I see her. It's not so bad when this happens with my company's clients because I still get paid - in this case I don't.

Of course this ended up being good, because I forgot that today was the last day of the month. That means rent is due, so I got to come all the way back home and grab the bank books and the bills to pay. Otherwise I would've had to run like a maniac back home after I finished my afternoon class and rushed back to the bank in order to send the rent by 3:00. So it ended up being ok.

Looks like there will be about 100 students starting the on-line learning next month... unless there is suddenly a huge influx of students signing up before the deadline. This apparently is possible with this client. So we'll see. Things for the latest version of the program are shaping up nicely. The system is doing weird bizarre things that make myself and colleague Andy want to kill it, but in terms of content, we are almost finished getting it all on the new system. I'm going through and making sure it looks nice, makes sense, is grammatically correct, spelling mistake free etc. This means I get to do html code.

I actually enjoy doing this. I find it relaxing. Html coding is very methodical and logical. Brings back memories of C... but I totally forget how to actually program in C. I just remember it was fun. I'm doing this all without pay actually. This part of the process is actually Andy's job but I'm helping him out. I enjoy it, so I don't mind (no one asked me to do this). And it means I'm now familiar enough with the code that I can do fun things like add colour (or color for the Americans) and indent things and.... well, ok, that's about all I can do LOL. Blogspot has automatic bold and italics (you just click a button) so that was easy. Anyway, hopefully I'll be able to make the text a bit spicier so to speak in the upcoming entries.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

I taught for 12 hours today so I'm totally zonked. Got a ton of classes for March today too - so I'll be rich LOL. Hiroshi says I'll die. I think I'm a workaholic. The e-Learning program I developed / will be managing is coming together. Thats good. The deadline is coming soon. Tomorrow I'll finish at 2:00 so I'll be able to hit the gym and relax for the rest of the day. Well, ok, I'll be online doing work, but that's kind of relaxing ;)

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

I took my laptop into work yesterday to get wireless internet installed on it. (I'm doing a seminar next week outside of Tokyo and will need to access my e-mail, so work is hooking me up... but only for the week. Darn!). Anyway, everyone was laughing at my computer :( It is apparently gigantic and heavy. I know! I had to carry it all the way into work! Now I have to ignore the "you need a new computer" ideas popping into my head. A new computer is worth a month or more of travelling on the world trip.... priorities!

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Today was aweful - I had meetings all day. All of them were way longer than they should have been. And lots of problems to deal with too. Happy, happy, joy, joy. I have nothing else to write about today because my brain has gone on strike.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Today I hit an all time swimming record :) My body is remembering swimming practice in highschool. My breaks are shorter and I'm swimming more lengths between breaks too. Very good. My arms are sore today though. Oh well, now they balance my sore butt. I don't know why, but for some reason I pulled the muscles in my butt. Makes standing up hard.

Oh I found the deal of the week today. I found a discount clothing store today and wandered in there. They just happened to have polo shirts on sale... from regular price of about US$130 to only US$7!!! I bought two! They were in the ladies section, but they are actually men's shirts (the buttons are on the wrong side). But I don't care - I mean other than the buttons, how much of a difference is there between men and women's polo shirts? I assume little to none. And who cares? They were only seven bucks!

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Today Hiroshi and I went out and about to enjoy the nice weather. We walked to Osaki station and saw a juggler - there was a show being put on in the atrium. The kids watching were sooooo cute! Then we went to Gotanda to take back the movies we rented on Friday. Saw a plum tree in bloom so spring really is coming! Saw ducks swimming in the river too. Had a great walk.
Then came home and started scanning the process of scanning in my photos from my albums. And updated my photopage - so lots of new photos there from today and two entries that use past photos. Hopefully I'll be more on the ball with it.... recently I haven't had time to take and upload the photos.
Holy cow! I just checked my weather girl and it is 19C (70F) today!! Whehooo!!!! Spring is here!!! No wonder I didn't have to turn the heater on when I got up. Guess I'd better get out of my jammies and haul my butt outside!
So I have some exciting fitness related news. This is good because the damn scale keeps vacillating between the same 5 lbs. *grrr* I was doing stretching last night at home and there was a huge improvement! My flexibility bites, so I have been faithfully stretching in the pool every time I workout. Hiroshi said he could see a big improvement too. So that makes me happy :)
Also noticed that the swimming and mitt classes have made my muscles wake up. My biceps and triceps are hard - ok except for the squishy layer of fat overtop, but otherwise there is some nice muscle in there. My calves are also changing shape. So all of this is good. Just gotta keep on keepin' on. The scale will eventually move.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Yahoo! News - UK Medics to Prescribe Maggots as Wound Cleansers
Umm... I think I'll stick with penicillan (sp?). Talk about giving me the creepy crawlies. Yuck.

Friday, February 20, 2004

So the question of the day is why 7-11's oden is so darn good! Oden is basically fish cakes (balls, dumplings whatever), seawead, konnyaku (the miracle food!), boiled egg, daikon (radish), and other interesting things cooked in a broth. It isn't soup, because all of these things are big - they aren't cut up into chunks or small pieces. Well the radish is, cuz Japanese radishes are like 2 feet long.
Anyway, the oden sits out all day on the counter beside the register sans sneeze guard and you just point and say "Gimme one of those, two of those, one of those" etc. And it's yum! For some unknown reason the oden at 7-11 kicks ass. It's the best! Add in some spicy mustard and I'm in heaven!
And it is healthy. Well, I'm designating it healthy. I get the fish roll (kinda like fake crab but in a different shape), the sardine dumpling, konnyaku (basically solid fiber), an egg and a piece of daikon. Delicious dinner! :)

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Big congats goes out to my cousin Alana who made Canadian Women's Curling Championship (Tournament of Hearts) !! She'll be curling all next week in Red Deer, Alta. Good luck!! Heh, you're famous now! :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Today I got to sleep in - I love sleeping in :) In fact, I wish I could sleep in every day. Went swimming tonight and I have that good achey after workout feeling.

So since I've been doing lots of online shopping recently, here are my reviews of the companies ... Amazon kicks butt as always. Eddie Bauer got demerit points last time for having sizing charts that don't reflect the actual size of the clothes but they redeemed themselves by letting me amend my order this time (otherwise I would've had to pay $30 shipping again). The big loser of the day is what a hassle. Tried to buy a gift certificate for my dad's birthday. Three days later they contacted me saying my billing address wasn't *exactly* the same (I put the apartment number as part of the address rather than on a separate line). Two days after that they said they needed a photocopy of the visa faxed to them because it wasn't a Canadian visa. I think not. Meanwhile the order is still pending. I won't deal with them again - they knew it was an international visa when they first contacted me, why did they wait five days to ask for a faxed photocopy? That's unacceptable. I went to Amazon and they processed the order within a couple hours. Should've gone there in the first place!

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Tonight I did an aqua dance class at the gym. As I was doing it, I was like, this isn't very hard. The moves weren't very dance-like and while the music was good, the moves didn't match the beat. So I came home thinking, I'm not going to take that useless class again.
It is now four hours later and things are starting to sieze up in my legs. My triceps hurt when I type. Um, I think that class felt a lot easier than it really was. We'll see what happens when I go to get out of bed tomorrow morning. Better take some glutamine before I go to bed!
I did like the instructor though. I joined the class at the last minute (I had planned on swimming but saw that the class was running so I did that instead). As I was getting into that part of the pool she asked me if I spoke Japanese. I told her only a little. So she made a real effort to demonstrate the moves for me. Now, I should note at this point, fluency in the Japanese language would not help me understand moves. I am totally uncoordinated. I have to actually watch someone do the move and then try my best to mimic it. I think this will be my new excuse for more demonstration time. Thank heavens this is in the water - in an aerobics studio everyone would be able to see what a dork I am. In the water, no one can see that my legs aren't moving the right direction in comparison to my arms. ;)

Monday, February 16, 2004

Today I got a new mouse! I'm very happy because the touchpad on my laptop was sticking and it would open five hundred windows at once and caused me great frustration. So now I have a 'normal' mouse and it works sooooo much better.

Oh, I've been adding in new pics on the photopage, so if you haven't been there this week, click on the link on the right and check them out.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

I bought new goggles today so I could do more swimming at the gym. My old ones went into the garbage because they were crap - water kept getting in them. The new ones work great! So now I'm able to do the crawl normally instead of with my head up. I had a really good workout today :)
For those of you who don't know, I get panicked when water gets on my face (I know, I'm weird - I don't know why this is). When the water was leaking into the goggles I'd absolutely freak out and start to hyperventilate. Not good. It's still a bit hard to breathe sometimes when I'm swimming with my face in the water, but much better than when it was going in my eyes. Hopefully I'll get used to it because I enjoyed my workout today!
Ok, I know, I need psychiatric help ;)

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Oh, Happy 55th Birthday Dad!!!!!!!!!
And happy V-day to all the rest of you!
I had this great idea of a new thing to add into the world trip. Well basically an extension on the Argentinean part. Very cool, not many people have been there, it's exciting, there are lots of cute animals and the nature is beautiful... Antarctica! I'm thinking this would rock! But at $4000 US per person for the cheapest room on the boat (and we're talking expedition ship not a cruise ship - read: simplistic accommodation) I'm not sure if it would rock that much. :/ But it would be something really unique and interesting! Also kinda defeats the avoiding winter plan - well it would be summer, but bloody freezing. But cool! Hmm... maybe if we can chunk away *another* 10 G's. Geesh, this trip is getting more expensive by the day. And still no wealthy relatives in sight.

Friday, February 13, 2004

So this morning I was all happy because I didn't have to start work until 9. Of course that is until I reached the train station at shortly after 8. Despite being able to sleep in a whole extra hour, I should've gotten up anyway and sat in a coffee shop. That way I could have avoided the dreaded rush hour. I haven't been in a rush hour train in like a year. It was aweful. Sardine-like. At one point I was standing beside the door and within seconds I had been levetated (aka pushed and shoved with feet barely touching the ground) to the middle of the car. That's at least 2 meters. While this may not sound far, keep in mind that there were probably fifty people squashed around me and all of us were levetated 2 meters - only to meet the fifty people being pushed towards us from the other direction. Not fun. At one point I was leaning over the person sitting in front of me with my hands on the window. I couldn't stand up because of all the people behind me and was having a terrible time trying to keep myself from being pushed into this guy's lap. Ah the joys of riding the train in Tokyo.

Of course this is all amusing now, but not the greatest way to start the day. One good thing - a very nice lady offered to hold my bag (she was seated). I was having trouble balancing myself with only one hand while humanity pushed up against me. I couldn't hold on with two hands cuz then my bag would've smacked someone in the head. Where else in the world can you give your purse/bag to a complete stranger and not have them rob you blind. Of course she would've been even nicer if she had gotten off the train and given me her seat! LOL

Next time I'll get up early I think.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

So I'm trying to figure out what is going on with my hair. I'm suddenly getting a ton of highlights throughout... only I haven't been to the salon. I'm getting lots of random blonde and red hairs (in addition to my normal brown colour). Now, I've often had blonde highlights from the sun, but I haven't been in the sun. And the red is very strange because I have never had this colour without the help of an auburn die or henna. It is very, very weird. Of course I also found a couple stray evil white hairs - but I promptly pulled them out. And the blonde ones are so light that they can be deceptive and look like they are white until I yank them out to discover it is just the lighting. So now Hiroshi is in charge of finding the white hairs. But what's going on? Why is my hair colour changing? I suppose I shouldn't complain cuz people would pay lots of money for this. It's just strange.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Today was a holiday. Lucky me! It was nice to just laze around and get up at a somewhat leisurely time. Decided to go to CostCo today. This was a huge mistake. I figured it wouldn't be too bad because most people would go on the weekend not on a mid-week holiday. Wrong! I think I have complained before about how people here (it is not just Japanese, so I'm including all nationalities) have absolutely NO idea about how to wield a CostCo sized cart. And they are completely oblivious to anyone around them and leave their cart in the middle of an aisle while they go off (to the other end of the aisle no less) to look for something totally blocking traffic. Then there was the woman who decided to wait for someone in the line area of the checkouts... not beside a pillar or off to the side, but forming part of a line. And the screaming out of control children with no parent in sight.
So throw in my inherited (hi dad!) lack of patience in lines and crowds, along with a good dose of PMS and I had a great time. Not. Hiroshi, bless him, finds this all hilarious. This of course does not improve my mood at all - cuz laughing and making fun of me actually does not put me in a better mood when I'm bitchy. Thankfully he has this relaxed who cares attitude that nicely balances mine. :)
So the good news is that instead of hauling all of the heavy stuff home, we shipped it. For only 500 yen (about US$5) we shippped a big box weighing pretty close to the maximum 25kg (about 55 lbs). Life is so much better when you don't have to lug heavy stuff up and down train station stairs! It should all arrive sometime on Friday. I'm wondering why we haven't always done this! So is Hiroshi who I usually bring along for the sole purpose of helping me carry things! LOL

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Oh, I should clarify what I meant below about Eddie Bauer's sizing. I don't like it because they only have one standard chart and not exact measurements for each piece of clothing. I can understand not having this info online because of volume issues, but when I contacted customer service I was told they don't have sizing info for individual products. That would be fine too except their individual products in no way conform to their size chart. To the tune of anywere from a 6 to 12" difference. Now that is simply ridiculous because 12" is like 6 sizes different! I am not exaggerating here because I measured how off the pants were that I ordered last time. Anyway, I re-ordered those giant pants 6 sizes smaller because they were really really nice material and had a good cut. I will not be happy if they have fixed the sizing issue and I suddenly have pants I can't wear for like a year!
I so love internet shopping. I don't like Eddie Bauer's sizing, but I do like their quality. And the outlet store has good deals on pants right now! So I bought some. I choose one size smaller than I am now as incentive on the diet. And picked up one pair that is two sizes smaller, cuz at $20, well, you don't find good pants much cheaper than that.
Then I moseyed on over to Amazon. I was good - I only bought half of the books I wanted! Ok, I need more travel books like a whole in the head, but I've read all of the guides I got before... need to find out where to go in South America. Basically between Jen's wedding in mid-November until the wildebeest births in February on the Serengeti (Tanzania) we can hang out, take a spanish course, trek up to Machu Picchu, and whatever else strikes our fancy. Gotta find out what those other things are! Salt flats in Bolivia. Rio. One of the many Copacabanas down there so I can sing the song incessantly and irritate Hiroshi.
I also want to figure out things in the Middle East. Mainly Egypt and Jordan. The rest of the region is pretty much on hold though because well everyone is blowing each other up as usual. If people would only stop fighting and just get along, it would make my trip planning so much easier!
Anyway, in addition to books and pants I also need to get shoes. I have to go and buy them in person though. I need them. Haven't bought shoes in ages... well I bought flip flops in Thailand in August, but I won't be wearing them any time soon. Unfortunately :( My non-gym runners are falling apart and I need a pair of dress shoes as well. I need some other clothes as well, but I'm going to hold off on them, because the season will change soon and next year I definitely do not plan to be fitting into the same wardrobe.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Today is fugu day in Japan (you know the poisonous fish). It is fugu day because 'fu' is like futatsu the Japanese counter for 2. 'Gu' is like 'ku' the Japanese word for number 9. Today is February 9 or 2/9... hence it is fugu day.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Things accomplished today:
- finally uploaded some pics to my photoblog
- went to the gym
- didn't kill husband
Honestly, I'm the one with PMS... why on earth is he so grumpy??? Put your smiling face on, put your smiling face on...

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Quick Time's What's On is my latest web discovery. I figure I have to have been missing out and probably everyone else in the world knew about this but me. Basically it is a selection of albums that you can listen to... and it isn't just one song! I thought the sliding progress button wasn't working and then it moved on to the next song. It wasn't moving because it was only on the first of like 12 songs! Very very very cool! Right now I'm listening to Jim Croce's Classic Hits. Haven't listened to Jim in a long time. This is great.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Well, I had good news today :) My promotion / job change was finalized and I am now in charge of managing and training the tutors for my company's on-line learning course. This will be a 3-hours twice a week promotion LOL. Actually that is the base time for administering the program. It will expand into more time as the program grows. I'm quite excited about it. This is my baby so to speak. I spent countless hours with my colleague Cal developing this thing and now it looks like it is going to take off.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Hmm... my weather pixie is offline. Sometimes I wish my brain could go offline and I could just veg in bed all day...

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Went to an Indian restaurant in Roppongi called Moti tonight with Hiroshi. It was really good. Very yummy shrimp curry. Unfortunately my stomach is not happy with something I ate. :( I'm placing my bets on the lamb shishkebab. The lamb curry was delicious though. And the nan was absolutely gigantic! I've gotta figure out how to make lassi's - they rock!

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Argh! I hate my computer. My sound has decided to stop working... again! Everyime I install QuickTime it mucks up my settings. And uninstalling it doesn't help. Grumble, kick, scowl in the general direction of my crap PC.

Venting aside, I had a very yum dinner tonight. I made nabe (Japanese hotpot) with chinese cabbage, konnyaku (aka the fiber miracle), shitake mushrooms, eringi mushrooms and hanpen. Hanpen is a sardine paste dumpling. They taste good :) I also chopped up some avocado and put it in my t-fal with some Chinese chili sauce. This stuff is hot! Kinda burns your tongue off but you can't stop eating it... the creamy avocado goes really nicely with it. Also had a sliced tomato which is a nice balance to the hot chili spice. So I think I've OD'd on phytochemicals and vitamins!

Monday, February 02, 2004

So, like, what's the big deal about Janet Jackson's boob? Isn't there anything better (i.e. less stupid) happening in the world to report and analyze?

Sunday, February 01, 2004

I'm in heaven! Pocky is a dessert like snack here in Japan. Basically it is a cookie pretzel stick that is dipped in chocolate. Well I have found the ultimate Pocky! This is to die for! It is called "Decorer Pocky" in "Gateaux Chocolat" flavour. It is double dipped Pocky so that the chocolate part is really thick (on chocolate cookies sticks). Then more lighter coloured chocolate is swirled all around it! This is simply decadent! And the good part? Three of the sticks is only 94 calories. And that is more than enough to satisfy. The box has four individual packets of 3 sticks. All for 168 yen (about $2). These things are so good! Of course, I couldn't resist and ate the whole box...