Friday, April 30, 2004

Pretending to be in Thailand

Today was kind of a holiday for me because I didn't have to teach until tonight. So Hiroshi and I wandered around together all day. First we went to the bank and paid rent and bills and dropped some money into savings. The savings account is coming along nicely :) Then we hung out at Starbucks for a while.

Actually, I was soooooo bored at Starbucks. Hiroshi goes there and hangs out for hours but I was antsy after 45 minutes. He hadn't even finished his coffee at that point. I think that comments on something. I should be able to sit and relax and do nothing for an hour shouldn't I? Anyway, after moaning about being bored, we finally went shopping after staying at Starbucks for 90 minutes.

So today was shoe shopping day. I needed to get some every day running around shoes, and Hiroshi needed some new shoes as well. So off to Ecco we went! Hiroshi was absolutely amazed. He couldn't believe how cheap the shoes were - well-made men's leather shoes cost about US$400 here. At Ecco they were US$160 - $200. So he got a nice new pair and is all happy because they are comfortable and bouncy. I also got a pair of runners which are really comfortable. I like how the toe is up a bit so walking is easier. It makes your foot move properly.

Trying on several pairs of shoes really works up an appetite so we hit the Thai restaurant in Ebisu Garden Place. They have a really good lunch set. We each got one and shared - Tom Yong Gun (or however you spell it - there are like 20 ways to spell it) and Red Coconut Curry. The curry was delicious! The soup was also good but was made with noodles. I prefer it made with more veggies and less noodles. Definitely want to go back there! Their normal prices are also pretty good - not too expensive considering what Thai food normally costs in Japan.

Anyway, in addition to being really yummy, the restaurant smelled like jasmine and had pretty flowers on the tables and the staff were Thais dressed in Thai clothing. It was almost like being in Thailand. Key word almost. (grrr, grumble, whine about not being on a beach right now). But it was a very nice lunch. After which we came home and had a cuddle and nap cuz our stomachs were so full :)

Thursday, April 29, 2004


Today was a holiday but I spent it fighting with Hiroshi. He has a bee up his butt about something... now if he just told me what it was it would make life much simpler, but this is how it is with him. So things are better now I think. But I still don't know what he's peeved off about.
Anyway, it was nice not to go in to work. I'm looking forward to bumming around Sunday thru Wednesday too. Tomorrow I have to work, but only at night, so I'll be able to relax all morning too. Holidays are good :) A bit depressed that I'm not on a plane to Thailand (my visa still hasn't come thru) but happy to have the time off!
So far plans for the week include going to a nice restaurant, doing some shopping, seeing some movies and hitting a museum or two. And sleeping in every day :)

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

The third dimension
My eyesight has been such that I've always had a problem with depth perception. Even when I get the right prescription, things are a little bit off. Or maybe my original vision is a little bit off! Anyway, my new glasses give the movie effect of waking up in the middle of a drug trip or after a long illness in the hospital - everything has that warped soft feel. Now I don't know if that is the way it is supposed to look,or if it is just a weird bi-product of the new prescription. Hopefully things will calm down in the next day - I feel like I'm in a constant state of non-reality.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Sit down dinner
Hiroshi and I actually sat down and ate dinner... on plates! That hasn't happened in a long time. Now this kinda gives the impression that I cooked, but I cheated. I bought chicken, mixed veggies (yam, squash, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots) and baby leaf lettuce and shredded daikon at the snack counter in the grocery store. Then I just threw it all together so it looked nice. It tasted good too :) I don't usually buy the baby leaf because it is expensive. But it has a ton of good vitamins so I should get it more often. The veggies were really good too - nice and colourful. Might buy them more often. Sure beats cooking!

Monday, April 26, 2004

New glasses, new shoes
So I went to the Ecco shoe store in Ebisu today to pick up some new shoes. I need some better work shoes. The styling is kinda boring and plain, but boy are these shoes ever comfortable! Actually they had some really cute sandles, but I'd never wear them, so I had to pull myself away. I might go back and get some every day runners though.

There were only two pairs that were wide enough for my foot. I ended up getting the lower heeled one because I figure that will be better for walking. Well, the one with a lower rise - there were both loafers. But the other ones were cuter. Hrm. The dilemma of sensible shoes! I was actually surprised that all of the shoes were only around a hundred bucks US. I expectfed two hundred. Don't know why. Hiroshi says it is a good price. I felt better after I realized the shoes are real leather too. I'm the $20 shoe girl - so spending a hundred bucks is a bit ouch! And actually they are like walking on pillows of air so I think they'll be worth it!

I also picked up my new glasses today. Everything is weirdly shaped. I hate that new glasses warped vision thing. Hopefully it will settle down. I haven't had stronger glasses in a few years - the last two times my prescription actually decreased, so it is a bit weird. My left eye (the one that got worse) is not as strained though. It feels better - not as much tension. Not sure how to explain it. I'm still getting used to the look of the glasses too. The frame is dark. I haven't had a dark frame in about 5 years so it's different.

Anyway, it's a new me - new hair cut, new glasses, new shoes... now all I need is more new clothes ;) LOL

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Date night
Had a really nice relaxing day with Hiroshi. We had a nice cuddle and nap for most of the afternoon. Then we went out to dinner and a movie. After wandering around forever we finally found a restaurant without a 40 minute wait. It was a little tempura place. I have actually never had non-fast food tempura. So this was nice. They cooked it up right in front of us! Very cool. The set we had came with sashimi (raw fish) and we got to see the guy cut up the fish too. This kitchen was clean too ;)

We went to see Something's Gotta Give at the show. It was a good movie! Both Hiroshi and I liked it. Very funny. I imagine it would be even better for people my parent's age - the jokes would probably be funnier. Jack Nicholson's mannerisms in the movie remind me of my dad though - the way he smokes a cigar and puts reading glasses on. Very weird.

I was also surprised that it was such a long movie - how often are movies two and a half hours long nowadays? Well other than the epic productions. Most seem to hit the one and three quarter line. Well worth the 1000 yen :) Gotta love the cheap late show!

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Got a haircut
I actually made an appointment to get my haircut tonight. Usually I just walk in. But when I went last time, they were too busy and I didn't want to wait. I'm not overly happy. This happens every time I go there and as Hiroshi rightly points out, I should change because, well, I'm always upset about something. The problem of course is, they charge 3000 yen which I find reasonable, whereas other places charge 7000 yen and up - which is price gouging in the extreme IMO. So dilemma.

Anyway, I told the stylist I wanted the split ends and dried dead stuff cut off the ends, and then I wanted it shaped. The guy cuts off the ends and then says, Ok finished. I'm like, excuse me???? I can cut my own ends off at home. I came here cuz I wanted it shaped! Honestly. At least he wasn't huffy as he put the plastic apron back on. Then he thinned out my hair which is good because it makes it lighter, which means it gets better curl and I don't sweat as much. But he thinned it a bit too much I think. If I put it in a pony tail, it is pretty sad looking. It has less volume than what I used to pull back in just a clip. Oh well. I also got jipped out of my massage :( For those of you who don't know, in Japan you get a head and neck massage when you get your hair cut.

So I'm not sure if I like my hair or not. Guess I'll have to get used to it. He cut a lot off to get rid of the dead ends - about 5 cm! I think I'm going to have to bite the bullet and just pay the extra money next time. Either that, or get Hiroshi to start practicing for when we go on our world trip LOL. Cuz we may be doing it ourselves then!

Friday, April 23, 2004

Ah ha!
So I went to get my eyes checked today, and ... my prescription has changed. So has my astigmatism. No wonder I'm getting headaches and things sometimes looked warped when I look at them. I had to walk around the office forever with the weird glasses to test my vision. I had problems getting a prescription that didn't distort in the third dimension. I had things jumping at me, tilting backwards, looking like they were in a long tunnel. Very weird. So we finally got it right! So as you can imagine, all of this was a nightmare to try to explain in Japanese. Luckily, one of the staff spoke English! Phew! So now I'll have new glasses on Monday and hopefully no more headaches!

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Random thoughts
So today hit a high of 27C (that's mid 80s for you Farenheit people). It was great! I don't know what this portends in terms of summer temperatures, but it felt so good to walk in the sun. I could practically feel my skin being infused with vitamin D.

Today I had a new class in Shinjuku. I haven't been to Shinjuku in over a year... because, well, it seems so far away. I know, I know, it is only 15 minutes by train, but it isn't in "my neighbourhood" which is the south part of the Yamanote line. Anyway it was kinda fun to be in my old stomping grounds - I used to go there all the time. And I even dropped into Tokyu Hands to go shopping.

I bought some reverse high heels, for lack of a better name. Basically they are shoes with the heel at the ground by the toe up at a 45 degree angle. They are supposed to improve balance and ankle strength in addition to stretching your legs. I bought them because they are a great way to stretch out my calves. I just wear them around the apartment. The balance and flexibility are also good for me though. So hopefully I'll get a bit more flex in my ankles, and a little less pain in my feet (plantar fascia).

The last few days have been a bit quieter so I'm less stressed. This is good. I'm in a much better mood and even joked around with Hiroshi tonight. Poor guy has been having to deal with "don't bug me", "I'm concentrating", "Please stop doing that" comments for the past month. And I'm debating on going to Kyoto for Golden Week now. I had dismissed it before because it isn't Thailand and it will be busy, but upon seeing pictures I'm thinking it would be nice to go. It is the one place in Japan that I really want to get to. And... I found some good package deals (train and hotel) - if there is still vacancy. I'll find out tomorrow :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

I think I've been here before...
After a long absence I finally made it back to the gym tonight. It feels good! I did aqua-jogging for 15 minutes and then I took an aqua-kickboxing class. I think I might be sore tomorrow. But that's a good thing! :) Hopefully my schedule will remain calm enough that I can keep going every day!

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

The poll that isn't a poll
So recently I've been having these absolutely aweful headaches. I'd make this a real poll but I don't have the time to figure out how to do it. Please feel free to add your comments - click on the Ramble back link.
To cure my headaches I should:
a) get new glasses (cuz I think my Rx is off)
b) get an anti-glare screen for my PC (which I'm spending much more time at)
c) go to some awesome place to relax (please make a suggestion - must be cheap and in Japan since I can't leave the country - grrr!)
d) reduce stress - would one of those mini punching bags help?
e) other - please add your own suggestion

(If you couldn't tell, there isn't much to say about today other than it was extrememly hot! Summer is here! And besides, I want comments)

Monday, April 19, 2004

No Thailand :(
So it is a week and a half before Golden Week (a week of holidays at the beginning of May) and I still haven't received my spousal visa. This totally sucks because I can't leave Japan until my visa is renewed. Well I can, but I can't come back and work - I can just stay for 90 days as a tourist. Needless to say I'm devestated cuz this means I'm not going to Thailand. I'm really upset because I've been looking forward to laying on a beach doing nothing for two whole months. *sigh* At this point there is no way there are any seats left on any airplanes not to mention work might not be happy about the last minute request for two days off. I hate Tokyo Immigration. >:(

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Peruvian food
Today was date night, and in our new quest to find exciting, new restaurants, Hiroshi and I went to the Peruvian restaurant in Gotanda. Now neither of us has much of an idea about Peruvian food and the faded menu pictures left much to be desired. But we decided to try it anyway.

Upon enterring the restaurant, I immediately noticed the 'backdoor of a farmhouse' smell - you know that hay underlaced with manure one? Hiroshi didn't notice it, but man, it was just like I was walking by a barn. Not an entirely auspicious start to the meal. But the place had nice decoration, with lots of Peruvian textiles about so we went in and sat down.

The service left much to be desired. Slow and well, the waiter spoke Spanish. Which is great. Three people, three languages and we are stuck with pointing and miming. The things we originally wanted to order weren't available that day. We ended up with the seafood soup, the Peruvian mixed fried seafood and beans and rice with stewed beef.

Now the seafood soup was incredible! Very yummy despite the shrimp and lobster being tough from being overcooked. The beans and rice were also good but the stewed beef on top of it (which was really a stewed steak) was too stew-ey. I think they added in to much 'stewed-taste' spice. LOL I don't know what it was, but the stewed flavour was just too strong. The fried seafood was ok - just firied seafood. Everything was absolutely huge! We shared these three dishes and couldn't finish them.

Anyway, the food was so-so. The soup was great, the beans were good (we'd get a different bean dish next time) and the mango juice was thick and delicious. So I might have gone back until I saw the kitchen... with a roasted chicken sitting in the roaster, without the roaster being on. Can we say salmonella? Glad we didn't have chicken. And the whole kitchen area was generally a disaster. That plus the mosquito that was flying around - what the heck? I've never seen a mosquite in Japan before June. So the general uncleanliness combined with the suss smell on enterring has me wondering when the violent food poisoning spasms will start. JK ... I hope!

So looks like next weekend we will continue our quest for a cool new restaurant.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

It was another gloriously sunny day today and I was working :( But my package from Land's End arrived - yippee! So I have a bunch of new shirts which all fit well and a new suit jacket which fits perfectly ... which surprised me because it is one of those long ones and I thought I wouldn't be able to do it up over the hips. I have this problem with any suit jacket - if it fits the hips I'm swimming in it in the top. So I just fit the top and leave it open. Anyway, this one fits great! And only cost my $60 US. And even more good news for the day was they didn't charge me duty this time! Whehoo!!! This package was more expensive than the other one, so I thought I'd get dinged for sure.

Unfortunately the two shirts I ordered for Hiroshi are too big across the chest for him. He's definitely a small, but I ordered medium cuz he has a big neck and long arms (can we say Neanderthal? JK hehe). So the neck and arms are good but the chest is bad. So if you know anyone who is a medium and wants a couple shirts...

Other than that, I went out with some of my colleagues tonight. Cal and Bob got into a heated debate about politics, which was kinda boring (sorry Cal - but you know I didn't like American politcs anyway). Otherwise it was nice to hang out and be social. And I haven't seen Cal in ages, and he was really nice and hung around waiting until I finished teaching yesterday. (Thanks Cal!) So for the first time in like a month, I did something other than work at night LOL

Friday, April 16, 2004

Pictures up
I finally managed to get some photos up on my photoblog. Check out my cherry blossom pics! There aren't very many cuz I didn't get to go cherry blossom viewing per se this year. These ones are just near my house, as opposed to in a big park full of trees. Hopfully I'll be able to get up the Botero pics later this weekend!
The link for the pics is on the right side under the hit counter.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Hello, Easter Bunny!
The Easter Bunny delivers now via Japan Post! But I think he was confused because he gave all the chocolate to Hiroshi and I got a squeaking pink chick. Something about calories in chocolate which every woman knows is simply not true. So I gave Hiroshi the sqeaking pink chick and took the chocolate for myself... hehe just kidding mom! Hiroshi was nice enough to share. I got one chocolate egg before he inhaled the other ones. One second they were there and the next they were gone!

Anyway Hiroshi wants to know why we haven't celebrated Easter - he likes chocolate presents. We did coloured eggs the first year we were together though. Guess that doesn't compare to chocolate... and he just thought the Cadbury eggs dad brought when he visited last year were some cool Canadian chocolate. *rolls eyes* (I think it is just a bad memory)

So here's the plan dear family, when we are in Canada for Easter, we tell Hiroshi that it is a Canadian custom to work for your chocolate, and that he has to do all the dishes! How's that for an idea!

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Nothing new today because I slept all day long. Well, I got up and went to my first class this morning. I felt aweful so just came back to bed. :( Being sick sucks.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Today was cold and crappy :( No wonder I'm sick - the weather can't make up its mind! I have nothing exciting to write about today other than I did more internet shopping. I was even nice and got Hiroshi 2 shirts - hey, at 10 bucks a pop, who could pass them up? I ordered another suit jacket and some blouses. Figure it is time to get rid of all the clothes in my wardrobe that are 10 years old. Sad but true. I haven't updated my wardrobe in that long. Other than that, nothing is new. I'm still sick, feel yucky and am therefore off to bed now. Maybe something thrilling will happen tomorrow :) Or I'll find out why there were security guards posted all over the train stations today - it was very weird. Something was brewing. Probably another high alert that the government doesn't tell anyone about until after the fact.

Monday, April 12, 2004

23 degrees and I'm sick!
Today was even better than the weekend in terms of weather... and here I am sick :( I have ended up with the seasonal sore throat. So I spent all day in bed sleeping.

I was good and went to the doctor this afternoon. What a pleasant experience (aside from the fact that I had to get dressed and leave the house). I went to the same clinic I went to last year. I walked in and gave them my client card, and they called me back about two minutes later! Wow! I didn't even have an appointment. Today there was a female doctor who spoke excellent English. This made me very happy. And I escaped the evil ventilator machine! Whehoo! Usually they make you suck on this hose with some medicine that expands your lungs. Great except I normallly don't have any problem with my lungs and the thing causes me to cough like mad. She said I didn't have to do it :)

Then I went next door to get my medicine and that only took about 2 minutes too. They even checked my file cuz they knew that I didn't want any stinking powder medicine (I'd barf) and that I can't have sulfa drugs. It was sooooo easy! Which is a bloody miracle because usually these things are complicated and frustrating. So I'm a happy camper. All up, it only took about 20 minutes!

So now that I have my meds, hopefully the weather will continue to be nice and I'll be able to enjoy it for the rest of the week!

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Outside on a Sunday
Today is a momentous day because Hiroshi and I actually left the house during daylight hours LOL. It was another beautiful day today - 22 C (about 75 F). Hiroshi and I went over to Ebisu to see the
BOTERO exhibit. It was cool. Lots of full figured people. I took lots of pics and will put them up on my photopage soon - tomorrow hopefully! We ended up sitting outside at the beer garden and having a beer and some sausage and watching all the families walk by. And the people with dogs. It was really nice just to hang out and relax in the fresh air.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Bingo is a family affair
So I'm hanging out playing bingo last night, and lo and behold, my aunt Jan is playing in the same room! Talk about a small world eh? That was kinda cool.

Today was absolutely glorious. The sun was shining, it was easily 70 F and everything was green! Spring is here! I even opened up all the windows (the whole whopping two of them) in my apartment to let in some fresh air. Looking forward to sleeping with the window open tonight!

Friday, April 09, 2004

4 years!
Today marks 4 years that Hiroshi and I have been together! Wow, how time flies. Definitely doesn't seem like that long!
Busy day
Today was another crazily insane busy day. I worked straight thru all day. I taught a seminar this morning and that went really well. I was tired by the end of the day though. And getting a little bit sick :( My throat hurts. Hopefully I'm not getting strep - which seems to be spring's present to me every year.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Greenland sounds super cool! But it is so expensive. And cold :( But you can see iceburgs. And it doesn't cost 4000 bucks for one week like it would to go to Antartica. But then we'd be experiencing winter conditions in our world trip. Guess that means Greenland is out.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Car Fun
Today I had to do a presentation at a client and my president drove. I'm not sure why we didn't just take the train, but it was cool to be in a car... and I got to do fun parking garage things! In Japan they have parking garages that automatically put your car away and get it for you. Basically you punch in your number on a key pad, and an elevator brings your car down! Then you drive it onto a little circular pad that rotates... so it turns your car around so you can just drive away. How cool is that? Then when you come back, you drive into the elevator, punch in your code and it takes your car up into parking land again.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Incentive to lose weight?
So for the ongoing research on the world trip I have found a new fun thing to do! I saw this on tv once and thought it would be fun so now want to do it. What you ask? The Wife Carrying World Championships! Hiroshi however says he will die. Gee thanks! But has agreed that if I get to a certain (undisclosed by me) weight, he'll do it! Of course, one of the prizes is the wife's weight in beer, so maybe losing weight is a bad thing ;)

Anyway, it's in northern Finland, so that might be the Scandinavian stop... along with the Faroe Islands which are halfway between Iceland and Norway, but are part of Denmark... but are sort of a separate country. I just want to go there because all the "towns" have a population of like 32 people. I kid you not. I think that would be cool. One of the things to do for the day would be to meet everyone in the whole town LOL They sound really nice too, so that might be something different. I'm trying to find as many non-tourist stops on the world trip as possible.

Monday, April 05, 2004

I totally forgot to mention the earthquake yesterday morning. It happened about 8 in the morning and woke me up! That kinda sucked cuz I couldn't get back to sleep. According to the earthquake site I check, it was a 6.0. Haven't felt one in a while, so I think it is good. Besides, I like earthquakes. I think they're cool! :) Just not big ones ;)

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Evil Online Bingo
So my mom mentioned the Gamesville site in her comment the other day. Mom, you're right - you shouldn't have told me! What a way to waste hours of time! I must admit I do like the game center bingo better though. You have a good chance of winning something every game on that one - so it is a bit more exciting. For any of you bingo lovers out there, you can win up to $4000 if you match the pattern... ;)
I actually went to the gym today
So finally, after an absence of about a month, I made it to the gym. I got to wear my new swim suit which fits great. I realize now why the legs are a bit tight - it is called a "no tug" suit. It doesn't ride. It's great! (Land's End - check them out). It felt good to be active again.

The weather was cold and rainy today. Yuck! I was tempted to laze around in bed and do nothing all day - you know, snuggle up with a good book and cuddle with my honey. But, I have to get back into the swing of things with the gym. The first day back is always the hardest (in terms of motivation). So I'm all psyched to go again tomorrow now.

The nice surprise of the day, was that Sharyn called my from Germany. That was really nice! We haven't spoken since she left like last June. I miss gabbing with her. Hopefully we'll be able to meet up when Hiroshi and I are on our world tour!

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Yummy new Vietnamese restaurant
I was working until 7 tonight. By the time I wondered home I was exhausted and wasn't up for cooking dinner, so Hiroshi and I tried a new restaurant. We went to the Vietnamese place near our house. I've actually wanted to go for a while but it was always closed, busy or not what I was craving. It was really good though! The food was yummy. Some of it was a bit greasy, but overall healthy and delicious. We'll definitely go back.

Today was absolutely gorgeous... and of course I was inside slaving away. The cherry blossoms are in full bloom right now - as Hiroshi and I walked home we were admiring them. Lovely. Unfortunately we had planned to go tomorrow afternoon to walk around and look at them, but the weather is supposed to be crappy. Oh well.

Friday, April 02, 2004

Yippee - Bingo winnings!
Headed over to the game center after work to play bingo... and I won! Tons!! I now have over 700 tokens - all on my initial 80 token investment. :) Now I can play bingo for ages. Or other fun games - there are also card games, mah jong (like the Chinese / Japanese board game - not Windows based matching game), horse racing and slot machines that you can play.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Weird advertising
Japanese advertising is really different from North American advertising. Frequently, I have no idea what a commercial or an ad is for, for example. Some of them are really amusing though, especially when they use English.
Japan Tabacco is running a smoking manners campaign right now. Yesterday on the train I saw one of their adds and had a good laugh. Basically it has three panels. The first talks about throwing butts down the sewer drains and the second is about smoke billowing out of ashtrays (people put garbage in them so the cigarettes then cause fires in the ashtrays - this is more of a stupid people putting their garbage in the wrong spot than a manners thing IMO). Now the third one is great. Note that all of these panels have diagrams... like the rat looking at the cigarette butt in panel one. The third panel says. "When you pass gas you check behind you. You don't bother when you are smoking."
Maybe I should be on the lookout for people glancing back! The diagram for this picture has this huge square blocked out behind the farter and a poor unsuspecting soul behind him. Or maybe the guy in front is a smoker... I'm not sure.
I thought it was amusing. I hope I can find a big billboard of this add so I can take a picture to put in my photoblog!