Wednesday, March 31, 2004

I haven't been to the local game center in a long time. I stopped in tonight on the way home to play bingo. It's fun! But very smokey *blech*. I won a lot of tokens too, so now I can go back and play again. Not bad - 3 hours of entertainment for 10 bucks... and I won about 40 bucks worth of tokens over the initial "investment". Now, if only they'd make the game center non-smoking, I'd be a bingo addict ;)

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

I understand
I now understand why my boss is always running around in a high stress state and frequently has "don't ask me any questions right now" moments. In fact, he pretty much has my sympathy because he has to deal with 50 times the number of problems that I had to deal with today.
I had forgotten an important truth that I learned when I was managing staff in banking. That is - some people just don't get it. What is completely obvious to me is not picked up by others. And there really are people in their late 20s to mid 30s that have no clue about computers. In fact, there are a lot of them. Where have these people been? I thought we were the internet generation. How can you not know things like how to use a scroll bar??
Anyway, today was awful. I am actually back dating this entry - I was up until 2am dealing with problems so didn't have time to blog. Hopefully things will settle down and everyone will get into a groove soon!

Monday, March 29, 2004

Evil Spyware
My system has been running incredibly slow recently - to the point of extreme frustration. So I reinstalled Adaware and ran a scan. 127 spyware files were on my system!! That's just ridiculous. No wonder it was running slowly. I think this is going to have to be a once a week scan. Guess my firewall sucks.
Lazy Sunday
I slept in really late today and it was soooo nice! Then I went back to bed and slept the afternoon away which was even nicer. Mmm, I love sleep! Hirohsi wanted to actually go outside today - prolly cuz the weather was beautiful and the cherry blossoms were out. We didn't actually leave the house until this evening though.

Went to see Once Upon a Time in Mexico. Nice to see on the website that this was released in September of last year in North America. Geesh. Actually both Hiroshi and I found the movie entertaining. It didn't have a great plot and the acting sucked badly, but it was fun. So well worth our discount tickets. :) I love the after 9 shows. With our customer card it ends up being almost half regular price.

Oh, and just something to add on here for those who followed the granny pants story - damn, those underwear are comfortable. Hiroshi of course is calling me Bridget Jones (scene in movie where she's getting it on and suddenly realizes she is wearing the nasty underwear) and says I should wear sexy underwear. I'm thinking, these underwear fit really nice, who cares about sexy! Ok, I do a bit - every time I go to the washroom I'm like, ugh these are aweful. Might have to order some of the french cut ones (read go up to your hips rather than over your belly button) which is the style I like. If they are as comfortable as these ones, I might switch brands.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Cherry Blossoms are finally here!
Ok, after teasing us for a whole month the blossoms have finally come out! They looks so pretty! I took some pics tonight of the blossoms and will try to take more tomorrow. I love cherry blossom time :)

Friday, March 26, 2004

LOL - my friend Jo sent this my way. You may want to turn the volume down first ;)

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Granny Pants
I lost my battle with customs about paying 10% duty so I trundled down to the post office to get my Land's End package. My new washable jacket looks weird with my grey pants. Doh! But I do have black pants that I can wear it with. It fits well. It came with a really nice wood hanger too. Maybe they should skip the hanger and decrease the cost by another 5 to 10 bucks. I'd like that better than a nice hanger.

My new bathing suit fits strangely. But I don't think the straps will fall down when I'm swimming. By strangely I mean that the leg holes are a bit tight, the hips and bust are right but the waist is baggy. How weird is that?? Ok, maybe my body is just deformed. LOL

But the best part was the underwear I ordered. I ordered a 3 pack of underwear. Now I always get Jocky for Her. I stock up whenever I'm in Canada. I haven't been to Canada for a while though and the undies are a bit worse for wear. You know, elastic poking out, holes etc. So, foolishly I ordered different underwear... completely forgetting the fact that I always get Jocky for Her underwear because I hate every other kind of underwear I've ever bought. So the Land's End underwear comes all wrapped up in this rather large package. Hirsohi is near me as I'm opening them and suddenly blurts out... "Holy sh crap! Those are huge!". Gee, thanks. But the thing is, the are huge! I have just bought three pairs of $8 granny pants!!

So now I am the not so proud owner of 3 pairs of granny pants that are loose fitting around the lower stomach, good fit in the waist and a bit tight in the legs. At least they cover my belly button. (Lately Hiroshi has been obsessed with my belly button and likes poking it. I know, he's weird. I hate it. So I have granny pants belly button protection *sigh*)

Other news for today - I got this wicked paper cut at work. It was bleeding for like 15 minutes. It really hurt when I did it, so I yelled out 'F-Sh-Chocolate!". How's that for not swearing? I said it rather loud though and everyone suddenly turned around... they thought someone had left chocolate for me in my box at work. Ha! I wish. Although I did get a rose from my student the other day. He hasn't had class with me for like a month. When I got there for our lesson, he said, "Long time no see. I got a present for you". Cool. Now, if only I can get Hiroshi to buy me flowers!

Oh, and Happy Anniversary to me! Today is 5 years in Japan! Doesn't seem like it at all. In fact I realized that I have spent the same amount of time in Japan as I did in Uni (BBA and MBA). University seems like a blink of an eye in terms of time. Wonder if 5 years from now, Japan will seem like that too. Time sure has gone by quickly. Hard to believe that I've spent 1/6 of my life here!

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Green tea, green tea, green tea, green tea, green tea!
Ok, can you tell I'm on a wicked caffeine high? I drank about 5 bottles (500mL) of green tea today ... and had a couple coffees as well. Can you say "Wheeeeeeeee!". Ok, so I'm a bit hyper. This is because I had hardly any sleep last night and with stress and lack of sleep in general in my life I'm zonked. So caffeine was required today. Of coure, I foresee this will pose a problem when I try to go to sleep in the next few minutes. Hrmmm.

Last night I was up late ordering flowers. It was aweful because I couldn't make up my mind, and everything that looked nice cost $500!!!, and then I know that the picture is always way nicer than reality and blah, blah, blah. Also Hiroshi was helping me look and funeral flowers are VERY different in Japan. Think big white mums. That's it. So when I said, that wildflower arrangement is nice, I got bizarre looks... not to mention the "are you crazy??" look when I said the red roses and carnations were pretty.

So all of this was just getting too frustrating and I didn't know what to get and then I saw a website saying family members should get a spray for the casket instead of a bouquet or flowers on the stand and argh! So I just ended up calling a florists directly. Now why didn't I just do that in the first place? Geesh. They were really helpful and I just let them make all the decisions on things I couldn't decide on. So that's done and I don't have to worry any more.

Anyway, I'm off to bed. Want to catch up on some sleep tonight.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

My Grandma G died this morning :( She died peacefully at about 3:00 pm North American time.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Waiting for the third thing...
So far (knock on wood) it looks like things are going well with the e-learning program. Some minor bugs today but they are all being worked out. Just waiting for all of the tutors to start freaking out. Basically there are a lot of non-tech savvy people having to install software that they've never used before... they're a bit freaked out :) Hopefully tomorrow will run smoothly as well!
What the heck is going on???
Ok, what a way to start the morning. At least I got to sleep in today. First bad news - Grandma G is not doing well. She went into convulsions on Friday night. Grandpa is apparently taking it really hard. Bless his soul, that man is a saint. He's stood by her and cared for her like a champ. She has severe allzheimers and is incontinent. He looked after her by himself up until about a year ago. He's a wonderful and inspiring example of what it means to love someone. Anyway, she is down to about 90 lbs now and is really frail.
Second bad news, Erik, who I have never met, but feel I know thru reading his fantastic blog was mugged at knifepoint in South Africa. (This of course just after having a conversation with my mother about how dangerous S.A. is or is not.) Luckily he's ok and "just" had a bunch of stuff stolen. Moms (plural cuz I'm lucky and have two), don't freak out about me travelling there.
Ok, so you know the saying... bad things come in threes. Today is the launch of the e-Learning program that I've been slaving over for the past month. Please don't let it be that!
Back on track
Well blog fans I'm back up to date with the blog. I've backdated all my entries to the appropriate days for last week, so happy reading. And come out from lurking and post a comment already! Geesh. I hate seeing "Ramble back (0)" at the end of all my posts. Let me know you are out there :)

Sunday, March 21, 2004

It's a conspiracy I tell you
The government is out to get me. I swear. I walk all the way down to the inconveniently located post office to pick up my package from Land's End. There is a post office two blocks away from my house, but I have to go to the one 2 km away to get my package.

We arrive at the post office and the guy asks me to fork over about $20 bucks. I asked Hiroshi to ask him why it was so expensive. The guy doesn't know. I pay the cash, then read the form which has English on it. You can get a reduction for personal use items. Great. I go back to the counter. I need to contact customs for the reduction. I have to call them. In the meantime my package stays at the post office. GRRRR!!!

What a total waste of time! So I have to call customs on Monday and argue with them I think. If I was bringing clothes in by airplane myself I wouldn't pay duty, so why are they slapping 10% plus processing fees on? I have no qualms about paying consumption tax (although I've never had to do that when packages came by UPS). I don't think I should have to pay duty though. I don't know, maybe I've just been lucky all the other times.

Depending on the results from that call, Land's End will be getting a long letter from me complaining about their choice of deliverer and their packaging that doesn't clearly state "for personal use" or some such thing. I ordered 1 jacket and 1 swimsuit. I mean, duh, I'm not going to resell them.

Man, why do I have so many problems lately? Who's karma did I stomp all over???
Being productive
Today I slept in and got more sleep - to catch up on last week's deficit. It was nice to sleep in until noon. Then I called my mom and had a nice chat. Hiroshi finally woke up (he's all excited about getting a replacement toothbrush mom) and we had a bagel and some strawberries for breakfast. I just want to say right now that strawberries with condensed milk on them kick butt! Yuuuuuummmmmy! And then I went back to bed and had a nap LOL

Tonight I woke up and did housework with Hiroshi. We finally put the futon away from when his sister came to visit (March 4). We also took down the other extra futon and re-did it. We put them in vacuum bags. Last time we didn't fold them properly and they were pushing out of the closet. Anyway, those are both done and put away, and the doors now fit back onto the closet (Japanese closets are a main closet divided horizontally (I hate that) with a smaller closet above the main one - that's where we put our futons). Now the study has space again, although I notice that Hiroshi's books have taken over half of the floor space - again!

I had planned to go to the gym but it is too late now :( So I'm going to walk down to the 24 hour post office and pick up my package from Land's End... and fork over $20 in duty! What's up with that??!! When I get back, I'm going to do some sewing - need some buttons put back on and need to take in a pair of pants. Oh, I forgot, I also went thru my closets tonight and started throwing away clothes. Got three big bags of stuff I am unlikely to wear, so it is going in the recycle bin downstairs.

Phew. Yesterday I cleaned the bathroom floor... I hadn't planned to do this, but Hiroshi forgot to put the discharge hose for the washer into the shower room... and the water went all over the floor. *sigh* The floor is nice and clean now though! Also cleaned off the kitchen table aka my pile of junk. So now there is space to eat again LOL. So got lots of cleaning done this weekend. Next weekend I have to deal with my books (gotta take them in to the second hand store) and hopefully will be able to scan in photos to update my photopage!

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Cherry blossoms are here
So after being fooled for a whole month, the cherry blossoms are finally blooming. The early tree has been blooming all month - it looks kinda scraggly cuz just a few are coming out at a time. But today all the buds are opening and one white tree is out :) Very pretty. Too bad it is so darn cold today! And raining and generally crappy outside. Next weekend should be perfect viewing time!
Of course, tons of people have been calling about my hanami (cherry blossom viewing) party. I feel bad when I have to say I'm not doing it this year. Oh well. I had planned on doing it today if I was going to. As it turned out, they blossoms aren't out enough yet, and it was pouring rain anyway. My office is having one next weekend so I'll probably go and hang out my colleagues this year.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Adventures in Osaki
I totally forgot to mention my adventures after the Immigration fiasco on Wednesday (which gives me a convenient entry for today). Hiroshi had to return some books to the library, so I went with him. I've only lived in this area for two and a half years... and I've never been south of Osaki station!

So the library is on the south side. It is up a huge hill. I haven't been in a library in... well since University. That's sad! It was so quiet and peaceful. And my library kicks ass! It has those cool ladders that slide along rails. I wanted to play on them, but Hiroshi gave me a dirty look. I guess yelling "wheee!" as I whip across the length of a bookshelf wouldn't go over too well. ;) My local library appears to have no foreign language books. so it doesn't look like I'll be going back there. Which is a shame, cuz I really want to play on those ladders.

Ok, colleagues and other non-family members who don't know me really well, this paragraph may fall under the too much information category. So here's the question of the day. Who else gets gas, or the urge to run to the toilet whenever they are in the library? I have always gotten gas - ever since I was a kid. I mentioned this to Hiroshi and he looked at me like I was an alien and said I was sharing things that he didn't want to know about. But upon further pressing, he gets gas in book stores. So, I find this phenomenon rather interesting. I'm sure this happens to other people (go ahead, own up in the comments section!). I know one member of my family finds that it is a sure cure for constipation (I forget who, so don't worry, I won't expose you). My question is why does this happen? So my geeky science friends - please tell me the answer!

Ok, back to normal things. While we were wandering around the other side of the station I found .... drumroll.... a vegetable store!!! Whehoo!! I've been missing my local veggie store ever since we moved here. I hate buying vegetables at the supermarket. They're all super preserved and picked early so they ripen en route to the destination (so the colour and taste is off IMO). Well, I have found the answer to my prayers! A small, squished, independently owned store that has relatively cheap veggies. And the ones that are on sale are priced very well. Now, we'll just have to see if they are up to par with the one I went to when we lived in Musashi-Koganei. That one would give me bags of free stuff if I went there at the end of the day! :)

Thursday, March 18, 2004

stressed and exhausted - have stories to write about but no time to do so. Will update sometime this weekend.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Tears, Violence and Relinquishing the Pants
So did the title get your attention? This story is also known as immigration hell. My working visa expires on the 25th so I had to haul my butt down to immigration to apply for a spousal visa. The phone is constantly busy at immigration, so I couldn't ask them directly about what information I needed to show them. So next best thing - I asked my co-workers what they had to bring. I asked a wide assortment of my married male colleagues and all answers were the same: bring your family register, your marriage certificate and don't forget some photos! Great I had all of this.

So, I asked Hiroshi to come with me because he is a calm, patient soul and I figured that he would help keep me calm, as well as being someone to talk to during the extremely long wait. We arrived, grabbed a ticket from the machine. We were number 638, and they were calling 260 something. Lovely. Then we went to get the forms to fill out and the lady at the counter hands over a ton of stuff, including a big long list in Japanese. So I'm filling out forms and Hiroshi starts asking me about things I don't have. I'm like, "what???!!!". Back to the counter we go.

Words are exchanged with the lady at the counter. Liz starts crying. Hiroshi's voice starts to rise. And then, the shouting match begins! I found out later that the conversation went something like this:

Hiroshi: "She was told that she only needed marriage certificate, family register and photos".
Stupid Info Lady:"Did she call *here*?"
H: "Yes, but your phone is always busy so she couldn't ask you directly"
SIL: "Yes, it is busy. You still need these forms."
H: "Ok, but she can't come back before her visa expires - she can't get the time off work"
SIL: "Then she'll just have to leave the country"
H: s$(*%)($*#%

Basically, the 'leave the country' comment didn't please him and he went off on a rant. Something about the shoddy treatment, the government interfering with Japanese families (the government doesn't interfere here at all - i.e. the family is a private matter that the gov't doesn't get involved in - this is part of the reason why abuse in families is a huge problem IMO), and why were there suddenly fifty million forms needed for me and not others. Eventually we were directed to another counter.

Here there was a line-up rather than a ticket machine. We stood behind the woman with a screaming child in a baby sling. Instead of picking the child up, or even talking to him, or anything, she let him scream.... the whole half an hour we waited in line for our turn. How's that for putting your nerves on edge. I was about ready to strangle the woman. Finally we get to the counter, and we meet "The Woman" aka "snarky witch". We explain the situation. Woman says "That's not my problem". I start crying again. Hiroshi loses it.

Yes, my kind, gentle husband, for the first time ever, lost it. In the middle of "talking" to SW his voice rises. Then he starts leaning aggressively across the counter. I also notice he is shaking with rage at this point and start to get a bit worried. Then he grabs the pen SW is holding out of her hand and squeezes it until it is bending under the pressure. SW goes off somewhere. Liz puts a restraining hand on her husband's arm. Hiroshi says "I want to jump over the counter and kill her". Liz says, "OK, when she comes back, you take the right side and I'll go for the left...". Just kidding. At this point I told him to calm down and please be nice to the immigration lady. He says that he pays her salary so he doesn't have to be nice to her. I point out that SW can deport me so he'd better be nice to her.

SW comes back. I try to look serious - it is really hard to look serious when the vision of you and your husband jumping over the counter in tandem and attacking her is bringing a huge smile to your face. She says she can start processing my application but I have to send all of the info in by mail. I get a whole whopping 5 day extension. Hiroshi says "explain everything you need and the names of all the forms in English". To my great surprise she did. (They all pretend they don't speak English. Next time I won't be nice and try to explain in Japanese. I'll just use English.) Anyway, SW goes off to copy the stuff I gave her, and Hiroshi tells me, get her name when she comes back. I'm like, yeah, but why? Apparently she put her nametag in her pocket when she walked away!

So I got a stamp in my passport saying that I have an extension and a huge list of things to get to send in to them. Writing this several days after the fact, this is not such a bad deal. While I have to get a bazillion forms, I don't have to go back to the damn office, and stand in line listening to children scream. That is almost worth having to get all the forms. Basically SW is making me get everything though for this "privilege".

Some of the things we needed required a visit to the city office. I had brought a copy of our family register, but apparently it wasn't good enough - they have to be less than 3 months old. Same thing for your marriage certificate. Nice. So we haul ass down to the city office to get there before it closes. We arrived 10 minutes before closing time, and the people were SO nice and helpful! Ok, they were just normal, but in comparison to the evil people at immigration, the city office was wonderful. Anyone who has gone to a city office in Japan knows that nice and helpful are not adjectives that immediately come to mind here. We got all the required forms though. Now Hiroshi just needs to write an essay about why he married me. Yes, you read that right. The essay includes a spot where he has to indicate when and where he met me. Umm... he's a guy... He has no idea when we met. Apparently it isn't even an approximate date. They want to know exactly. Who the heck knows that??!! Most women can't even recall the exact date they met their spouse. (Apologies to all for the broad gender-based generalizations).

So that is the story of my trip to immigration. Hiroshi says he is ashamed to be Japanese. He had no idea they treated people like that. I figure I now have a big "GO SLOW" marked across the top of my file and that it will take months to process my visa. This royally bites cuz I want to go to Thailand in a month and a half and they usually take 3 weeks to process.

And ever since we left Immigration, Hiroshi has been on my case about not being more aggressive with them. He's like "You usually bitch and complain to everyone. Why aren't you strong with them? You should be strong to them. Make them speak English... blah blah blah.." Anyone who knows Hiroshi and I will probably get a laugh out of this. I very clearly 'wear the pants' in our family. It is usually *me* telling *him* to be more aggressive. I think I've lost the pants. ;)

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Trans-Sib reading
So the latest reading is Lonely Planet's Trans-Siberian railway guidebook. Getting lots of good ideas for places to stop off along the way. I had originally thought of just riding the train for 7 days straight, but we'd probably go crazy, and there are some really interesting places that it goes thru or near.

The big idea now is to go to the northern end of Lake Baikal (it has more water in it than the 5 Great Lakes combined) and rent a cabin for a week and hang out. I want to see moose. I remember seeing moose as a kid when we went to a cottage way up north. It would be super duper cool if we saw a Siberian Tiger, but they are practically extinct and chances are like nil of seeing them. Maybe a bear :) Hiroshi is convinced that this is dangerous and we'll die. He's a city boy.

Actually, I was debating about whether or not to do this - because, well, we can just go up to Algonquin or whatever when we're in Canada. I have never really understood why people always say "Canada - you're so lucky! There's so much beautiful nature!". I guess I'm just used to it. Reading the LP book though kinda makes you think that this is something special. So thanks mom and dad for taking me on all those camping vacations in Jasper and up around New Liskeard when I was young (although I still feel slighted than Jen and Anderson got to go on all the "good" vacations).

Anyway, this sounds like it would be nice and relaxing. Not to mention the estimated time for going thru Russia is September, so the leaves will be in full colour - it should be gorgeous! I'm having wonderful visions of a log cabin, a fire place and a view of the lake with no sign of civilization. Ahhhh....

Monday, March 15, 2004

Spain - as big as 9/11?
Just an observation on my part... the terrorist attack in Spain has gotten no where near the news or commentary that 9/11 did in the States. Granted the scale is a bit different, but still many people were injured and killed. One of those things that make you go hmmm.
For all my readers in North America - what is the media like there? Did the US immediately extend sympathy? I sure hope so. Didn't see any news of that sort over here... which would be sad. You kinda get the feeling that this wasn't such a big deal. Just a minor blip in world events. How's the American coverage?
No hanami party this year
After much debate I have decided not to hold my annual hanami (cherry blossom viewing) party this year. This was such a huge dilemma for me because this would have been the 5th annual party... and I actually have people asking me about when it will be. Unfortunately I am just too darn busy. Or is that fortunately? I'm working every weekend this month and am so swamped that I just come home and crash in bed. Great for the pay check, bad for the social life. So I've decided to do a summer barbeque instead. I feel really badly about not having the hanami party though :( Hiroshi and I will just have to go and look at them by ourselves.
Music reprieve
So Hiroshi has moved on from Musak - thank God! Now the nightly selection is classical piano. This is wonderful! Not only a good improvement, but really nice to listen to. Hopefully it will stay on this channel!
RTW idea!
I've always wanted to take dance lessons - you know, the ballroom kind. This of course is every man's nightmare. Hiroshi adamantly opposed it when I suggested it about two years ago as a fun thing to do together. Well, I mentioned tonight that I want to take tango lessons in Argentina, samba lessons in Brazil and flamenco lessons in Spain - together - and he was all for it. Cool! Any other dances in certain countries that I should learn?

Sunday, March 14, 2004

LOTR kicks butt
So I finally went to see LOTR tonight. Excellent! Great scenes and special effects. A bit gag-me romantic and cheesey at the end, but still great. They could've cut it into two movies though. My bladder would've been happier! LOL Hiroshi didn't like the movie. Maybe because he missed the second one. I don't know.
We also did our standard Outback dinner. I know, we need to find a new restaurant. They undercharged us on the bill again. I felt it would be dishonest not to say anything, so I told them. Shouldn't you reward people for being honest? I was kinda hoping defintely hoping the waitress would say, "Ahh, don't worry about it". Instead, she said, "Thanks for being so kind". Hrmm. I could've saved myself 1000 yen (US$10).

Saturday, March 13, 2004

I don't like shopping
So I did some online shopping at Land's End tonight. And I don't like shopping :( I used my new visa and I didn't want to. I was pained to use it. But, I needed the things I bought - a suit jacket and a bathing suit. Both of which cost a fortune! This of course just adds to my reluctance. I'm trying Land's End cuz their bathing suits are cheaper than Eddie Bauer (my fav online store) and the jackets are pretty much the same price everywhere.... except Land's End has a washable one! Excellent - no dry cleaning. I sure hope that means no ironing too! I should get some shirts as well, but I'm going to hold off on those cuz I can make do with what I have. How come clothes are so expensive??!!! I even shopped at the discount store!

Friday, March 12, 2004

Happy Birthday Okaa-san!
Today is my mother-in-law's 70th birthday.
This week I was doing new graduate training (for Uni grads who are starting work in April). It's been a long, hard week. Couple of amusing things happened this week. On Tuesday (I think), one of my students suddenly started piling bags of dried-vegetation coloured stuff on the desk. I'm like what the heck IS that? It looked like he was piling up drugs or something! Turns out he had just come back from India and had brought curry spice for everyone. Cool, cuz I'd never met him before and he gave some to me to. It was just bizarre how he suddenly started stacking the bags up in the middle of the lesson.

Then on Wednesday, one of my students didn't show up. Apparently he was being decompressed! He was in Saipan last week and came up too fast from a dive so it currently going thru decompression. How bizarre is that?

And rounding out the week was the earthquake yesterday. It was one of those circular ones which I don't like. Up and down or side to side are fine. When it is doing both at the same time it totally distorts my sense of balance. That'd be after the earthquake - of course it is distorted during the earthquake! I think I'm more sensitive than most people. I'm usually the first to feel it and I can still feel it long after others think it has stopped - confirmed by things still swaying. Anyway, while I don't like the circular motions, I'm glad there was an earthquake. Haven't had one in a while. Releasing pressure is always good! Tokyo is past due for a major one - it can release pressure all it wants! My theory is many small earthquakes will delay the big one :)

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Whehoo! I can go shopping!!
So now that I am debt free I decided to apply for credit LOL. I do a fair bit of shopping online and for that you need a credit card. I lose out on exchange and service charges for sending money home when I use my Canadian visa, so I finally applied for a Japanese one. It came today and I'm so excited cuz it's cute and pink and has a picture of a little girl with a dog. :) Yes, I'm picking up the Japanese propensity for kawaii (or cute). And the good news is, now I can go on a shopping spree! Whehoo!! I think I want to go to a mall in Thailand LOL.
Actually in Japan your visa comes as two cards. One is used for when you pay the balance monthly, and the other is for revolving credit. Very weird. So I'm going to hide the revolving card in the bottom of my freezer. That way I have to do some serious defrosting if I want to purchase something I can't pay off when the bill comes in! Ah the joys of being responsible about credit :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Musak Hell
Hiroshi has given up international radio for the time being and has been listening to Japanese enka (traditional folk songs)... in musak format. Now, while many people absolutely hate enka, I don't mind it. It takes quite a lot of talent to sing it well. I do however object to it being played in musak format because, well, synthesized enka is just wrong. I have to listen to this every night before going to bed. It's like being imprisoned in a stuck elevator.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Italics - Help!
Anyone know why the spacing after I do italics is whacked? I put a space before I close the code as well as spaces after but it doesn't seem to be recognizing them. It just puts the next word smack up against the italicized one. Grrr.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Books, books and more books!
So speaking of books.... I whined about not having travel reading and today I got travel reading. I found a book on South America in my locker at work. Thanks Easter Bunny! (that'd be Cal) Ok, I know, it isn't anywhere near Easter, and Cal will probably take offence at being called the EB, but it was like the EB.
Anyway, when I got home tonight, Amazon finally sent my order. So now I have some more travel books. Yippee! I'll be in travel planning heaven for the next while. Especially since there is another Amazon order in the works... and maybe, possibly, generous gift givers (see Amazon wish list). Speaking of Easter, it comes much sooner than my birthday......

Sunday, March 07, 2004

If anyone wants to buy me presents, I have started a wishlist at Amazon Japan. It has English menus and free shipping over 1500 yen. :) I've added it to my link list for future reference... my birthday is coming in May *hint hint hint*

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Whehoo! Freebies!
So we did end up going to Outback tonight but not the show. It was sold out except for the front row, and if I'm gonna pay full price I want decent seats. I should've known that the week after the Academy Awards it would be busy. Anyway, Outback was good but the service was slow again. I don't know what's up with them. Maybe it is just Saturday night? Who knows. I'm not upset though cuz we got our appetizer comped. No one said anything - our bill just arrived with it taken off. So paid the bill and then checking it later realized they didn't charge us for our drinks or the extra baked potato that we order (we share an entree). So we ended up getting about $25 bucks worth of stuff for free! Cool beans :)
Home Sweet Home
I'm back from the seminar I taught last week. Luckily my class cancelled today :) That means I got to sleep in! The seminar went well - Mistubishi people are really enthusiastic about and committed to learning. Also a really nice group of people in general.
When I got home I had new clothes from Eddie Bauer. The sweater I got is really comfy :) One pair of pants is too big - I'll have to take them in. Still waiting for my Amazon order though. Don't know what's up with that. I think one of the books, that was a pre-order, is late being published. Grrr. I need travel reading.
Other than that, nothing is new. I'm craving a potato from Outback, so we might go there for dinner tonight. I also want to see Lord of the Rings. I can't go during the discount times (it is too long to start after 9, and I'm working when it is Ladies Day) so I'm going to have to bite the bullet and just pay full price. Or wait for video I guess. Decisions, decisions.

Friday, March 05, 2004

Keiko, my sister-in-law came to Tokyo yesterday and of course I'm not in town. Oh well. This left Hiroshi to play host. I gave him the checklist of things to do - like change the sheets. I found out that he actually cooked for her! Wait a minute! He does't cook for me!!! Apparently he knows how to make spaghetti. Granted anyone should be capable of spaghetti. Hrmmm. In the future someone will be doing some of the cooking instead of me.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Teeth of steel
So tonight I was happily eating pork cutlet (best meal of the week) with my plastic chopsticks when suddenly there was a loud crack. I had bit the end off! Ok, I didn't even bite them. I was just placing the food in my mouth. I'm sure my teeth touched them, but I didn't bite down on them. It hurt too because of the impact of the crack.
Everything seemed ok though, except for what I thought was a piece of plastic stuck down in between two teeth.... upon later inspection though I found that it broke my tooth!!!

It chipped the corner and the reason I thought there was a sharp piece of plastic was because a quarter of my tooth sheared off the back! It's sharp because the tooth broke off! Luckily it is at the back, and the chip isn't that noticeable, but still. It ruined my beautiful smile :( Everyone says it isn't noticeable, but when I showed Hiroshi, his comment was something like "Holy crap!". He could see it.

I'm going to have to go to the dentist and get it shaped I think. I hope my medical plan covers it. It says "restoration of natural teeth" but who knows what that means. It talks about caps and stuff which I don't think I need because thank heavens the root isn't exposed. It will just be a cosmetic thing.

Apparently plastic chopsticks break like this all the time. One of my students commented that I must not eat with chopsticks that often - otherwise I would've experienced it before. That's downright dangerous! So in addition to all the warnings about arthritis now on chopsticks, there should definitely be dental advice!

Monday, March 01, 2004

What's up with the weather??!! It was snaining today! Yesterday 19C, today 0! Snain is rain that is more like snow. If that isn't a word, it should be :)