Monday, May 31, 2004

Ecclectic International

So I cooked tonight - yes, I know, it is a miracle. I made hamburgs (ie hamburgers sans bun), sliced tomato with raw mozerella balls (very delicious - I skip the oil to cut some of the cals out) and Thai spring rolls. So we had American, Italian and Thai. Ok, none of that stuff really goes together but it was a pretty good dinner. And I even did a pretty good job with the spring rolls! They weren't falling apart all over the place this time.

Of course we were breathing fire from the sweet chili dipping sauce. It is so good but hurts your tongue so much LOL We were pretending to be dragons - blowing air instead of fire. Not sure if it really helped all that much though. It was funny at least. It brought up the question again about why hot countries have such spicy food. You'd think everyone would be sweating enough already!

I decided today that I'm going to go to Thailand for a few days in June. I got pulled off a seminar (not happy about that) and figure if I could cancel my regular classes to do the seminar, I can cancel them to go to Thailand too. I want to go back to Phuket and stay in the hotel that was on the beach with nice balconies facing the water. It is monsoon season right now, but I don't really care. It was monsoon season when we went in August last year and we had beautiful weather. Even if it rains every day, I can still sit out on the balcony and watch the rain and the ocean and just relax. I feel much better now that I have decided to go. It will cut into the savings a bit, but I'm at the point where I really need a break.

So tomorrow, I go to pick up my spousal visa and get a re-entry permit in my passport, and Hiroshi needs to phone Thai airways and scam a good deal out of them. His free ticket is good until the end of June, so I'm hoping that if I buy a full fare economy ticket they'll fork over an upgrade. Don't know how likely that will be. If not, there are super cheap flights right now - only about US$400. Then we can share business class. Hehe.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

I caved to the a/c

Today was another hot day. Hiroshi and I did lots of running around this afternoon. There was a nice breeze so it was nice outside and I even got a bit of sun. My freckles are making their yearly summer appearance.

We came back to the sweltering apartment though and the fans just didn't cut it. So I cranked up the a/c and I was in heaven! Oh how I love a/c! It felt so nice to just relax and stretch out on the bed and not sweat to death. This makes me a much happier person too. I guess this means it is going to be on for the rest of the summer.

It was really nice to have two lazy days off. I feel like I actually had some down time, and I'm ready to get back to work tomorrow. I definitely need the two days off. Tomorrow is pay day so I have to pay rent and the bills. My jaw dropped when my visa bill came in last week - how the heck did I charge that much money! I'm used to knowing exactly what the balance is. Now that I'm on my 'pay it in full at the end of the month' thing, I wasn't really paying attention. I forgot that I had used it quite a bit during Golden Week. So that means not so much money can go into the RTW savings this month. Oh well. I do have two months base salary put away now so I'm quite pleased about that.

Oh, and the good news. I finally got notice that my spousal visa has been processed. It only took a bit over two months. Geesh. So I have to set aside a morning to go and pick that up. I'm glad it finally got here - I wasn't looking forward to spending an hour on hold trying to contact Immigration to figure out what was going on. I was also starting to think that maybe they weren't going to process it! Hiroshi says I shouldn't be happy until I have the visa stuck in my passport - but he is still holding on to negative thoughts about the whole horrid application experience. I'm just glad I'm not an illegal alien.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Lazy Flip Flop Day

Today I slept in until about 9 and then got up and surfed the net for an hour... and then went back to bed for a nap. Got up again at noon, surfed the net some more and then had another nap LOL By the time we got going today it was 5:00.

We were all hot and sweaty when we got up because the weather is in the high 20s now... and we haven't turned the air conditioning on yet. So we hopped in the shower and I put on my Lush Power Mask. Not only does it make your skin soft, but it cools you down too! Gotta love peppermint. This is a great product for those of you who shop at Lush.

Then we went to the bakery for a coffee and a little treat before heading off to the show. Since it was so hot, we just put on pants, a t-shirt and our flip flops! Whehoo, it is flip flop time again! I missed my flip flops. They are just so fun to scuff along in. Not only do my feet stay cool, but I also get to remember being on the beach with them. Now you might think this fashion statement is a bit weird, but lots of people walk around Tokyo with flip flops or thongs (the shoes not the undergarment!). Great summer wear, especially during rainy season. Now if only they made flip flops suitable for business wear!

We went to see School of Rock. What a nice, fun movie. We both really enjoyed it. It was quite funny and a nice non-serious movie. We had to pay full price (we've seen all the movies that are showing at the cheap time) but I don't mind paying for a decent show. Hiroshi is now enamoured with the "read between the lines" gesture (hold your middle three fingers up, palm facing inward) and has only done it about twenty five times in the past hour. I suppose this is better than him spinning around on the floor playing air guitar.

The latest on the RTW - I told Hiroshi about WWOOF'ing today. WWOOF stands for Willing Workers on Organic Farms. Basically you go and work on a farm in exchange for room and board. An interesting way to meet local people as well as learn about organic farming. Hiroshi things this will be a good way to learn how to make a vegetable garden for when we move back to Canada. I was actually really surprised that he was interested. Seeing as he is THE city boy. I once suggested going camping and he said there weren't any hotels where I wanted to camp. Enough said. So who knows, we might be planting rice in China, herding sheep in New Zealand or rounding up cows in Argentina.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Two days off!

The great news of the day is that I have two days off this weekend! What to do? It will be so nice to laze around in bed ... although I seem to automatically wake up at indecently early hours recently, so I might not be able to do much lazing. Maybe I'll just lay in bed all day and read my Lonely Planet Middle East book. Or rent some movies. Or maybe we'll head down to China town for brunch. That might be an idea. Oh the choices! Any suggestions?

Today's picture is detail from the temple in Chinatown in Yokohama. I liked the swirls. So, what's the scoop on the pics? Good, bad? Do they kill your browser? Should they be smaller or is this a good size? I think they need to be centered, but haven't had a chance to look up the code for that yet.


Thursday, May 27, 2004

Yippee - pictures!

Blogspot finally hosts pictures So here's one of the photos I took at the Botero exhibit in Ebisu. I'll eventually get them all loaded onto my photoblog, but for now this is a teaser at least. Oh, and I got smilies too

Botero exhibit in Ebisu

What to buy???

So I got some birthday money to spend and I don't know what I want! I wandered around the mall today trying to find something, but nothing was really appealing. Well, the Louis Vuitton matte oxblood wallet that I like, but that is a bit, well, a lot, beyond the birthday money fund. Then I saw a nice pair of Mikimoto pearl earings. They might be nice. I'm still debating them. I'll pay the difference out of my own pocket - they too were a bit more than the birthday fund, but not by much. Not sure if I want earings though. Then I tried to find a watch, but I didn't like any of them, or they were all metal - and my skin reacts badly to metal on watches and they turn green, so I need a leather band.

So I guess I'm off now to search the net to see if books or clothes appeal more to me. It's pretty sad that I can't find anything I want! I'm so focused on saving money for the RTW. And in light of the fact that I'm very disenchanted with work right now (don't want to go into that), I thought I'd be a shopping maniac! Of course there are always shoes....

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Happy Birthday to me

Today I had a really nice birthday... despite the fact that I turned, 29. Both my mom and my dad called me on the day :) Time zone disadvantage - my birthday in Canada is a day after my birthday in Japan. And Hiroshi actually does have a romantic bone in his body (get your minds out of the gutter!).

So the man who doesn't cook, made salmon, broccoli, miso soup, rice and spicy avocado. He also made sliced beets, which he cooked himself no less, topped with yogurt cheese stuff, which he also made himself. This is pretty damn impressive coming from the man who can't make 'just add water' pancakes. He also got me flowers :) And wine for the perfect romantic dinner. So it was a really nice birthday dinner - which is exactly what I wanted.

Of course I told him I hope this is the gift that keeps on giving and that he'll do this every night. He said no. Apparently this is the only meal he knows how to make. Supposedly he has cooked this for me before, but as it was more than 3 years ago (!) I forget what he made. However, I'm a bit suss and think this might be an excuse. Dinner was yummy!

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

A pretty boring day

Had a shower tonight and used all of my new Lush products so I smell yummy! And my skin is so soft! I used Hiroshi's face soap and my cheeks are squooshy too. :) That's the exciting thing for today LOL
I am trying to go to bed early and get more sleep. It seems to be working so far. Tonight I hope to be in bed by 11 again. I've noticed I've changed to 'old people' sleeping habits. For example, I automatically wake up at 6:30 or 7:00 now. That is just sad! Isn't 10:00 a reasonable time to naturally wake up? Or mid-afternoon? And going to bed at 11 seems reasonable rather than really early. Hrm... age.
I've started in on a new travel book - I'm now reading about the Middle East. All the places my mother doesn't want me to go to ;)

Monday, May 24, 2004

Took long enough to get to North America

You can now dance off extra pounds by playing the video game "Dance Dance Revolution". For a teen magazine toned article on Yahoo, go to this link: Yahoo! News - Video Game Fans Dance Off Extra Pounds. This article reads like a tabloid.

But... my point. DDR was popular in Japan 5 years ago! And yes, it is hard and you work up a sweat. Only, none of the game centers have them here any more. The latest game craze - taiko drums. Beat the drums to the beat of the music. This is lots more fun, and you don't risk falling on your ass in front of a whole bunch of people. And if you are playing with a partner and they miss the rhythm, you can always beat them with a drum stick. ;)

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Thai cooking

Today I layed around all morning and early afternoon. It was nice. I feel rested again, which is good. I think it has a lot to do with two days off. I eventually got my butt in gear and made my way down to the gym. I made a quick side trip to the pachinko parlour - I felt lucky. I netted 2000 yen (about US$20). Figured I'd better take the money and run rather than give it all back. Then I hit the gym and did some aqua-walking / jogging / kicking. It felt good. Hopefully I'll be able to go consistently this week.

Tonight was my attempt to make Thai food. I got some groceries from the supermarket even! The red curry kinda turned out brown, and bloody hot! I kinda missed the part on the package that said for a milder (note it didn't say mild, but milder) curry to only use half of the pack. So we had brown, burn your tongue off curry. It was ok though. I also made spring rolls. What a nightmare. There is obviously a secret trick to making them that I don't know! Maybe just practice. I think rice paper with a larger diameter would help too. So they looked lopsided, and well, were falling apart, but they tasted good! Sweet chili sauce is yuuuuum! So I'll have to hone up on my spring roll skills. Then when I take my Thai cooking course, I'll be ahead of the game!

So here are my two observations / thoughts about spicy food. Why is it that spicy food comes from the hot places on earth?? I mean, come on, give me a beer and some ice cream! Think about it - Thai, Malaysian, Indonesian, and Indian food is pretty darn spicy. And, ever notice that you don't eat as much when you eat incredibly hot stuff? This could be a new dieting phenomenon... of course the coconut milk in Thai curries kinda offsets the small amount that you actually eat... but, I think there's promise here.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Razzie Nomination

Hiroshi and I were debating what movie to go and see last night. There was nothing playing at the late show in Shinagawa that we hadn't seen before, so we were going to have to pay full price. The movie The Lady Killers was just releazed here but was playing in the premium theater in Shinagawa (2500 yen instead of 1800) so we had thought about going to see it in Roppongi. But by the time we paid train fare and everything, it would cost us the same amount of money, so we just went to Shinagawa and got the big comfy couple seats.

This movie has to be the worst movie I have ever seen. No, let me re-state that, this movie is definitely the worst movie I have ever seen. I seriously considered walking out - a first for me. Hiroshi said it was funny, but he didn't laugh once that I heard. The Japanese translation must've been a lot better than what the actors actually said!

Anyway, don't go to see this movie. Don't bother renting it. In fact, when it is broadcast on tv in two months, don't bother wasting your time watching it then either. Rather than paying for the movie, buy yourself a membership for the Razzie Awards and nominate this movie. Yikes, what was Tom Hanks thinking??

Friday, May 21, 2004

Green Tea rocks

I've been sucking back green tea all day today because there was a teapot, hotwater and teabags provided at the conference center. And well, I like hot green tea. I just want to say that green tea kicks coffee's ass. By the end of the day I was all jittery and hyperactive - despite being dead on my feet and unable to speak in coherent thoughts. Ok, maybe my thinking process was affected by the green tea too LOL I'm always a bit zoned after a seminar though.
Anyway, for those of you suffering from (enjoying?) a caffeine addiction, forget the coffee. Green tea works a million times better. Get yourself to your local international food store and pick some up!

Thursday, May 20, 2004

The evil gray hair

After a good night's sleep I woke up this morning feeling much better. I had a long day - I taught an all-day seminar, then had an evening class, and then had another evening class that ended up going 30 minutes later than planned because there was an accident and the trains were all delayed. Despite being dead tired, I had a pretty good day... until I found the evil gray hair!
Upon my regular gray hair inspection (ok, I know I'm paranoid and obsessive) I discovered a 4" long gray hair sticking out of my scalp!! That is not what I wanted to find! How is it possible that in just a week a gray hair can grow? And grow 4" at that! That is just wrong!!! It's a good thing that I have thick hair - I always manage to pull out 4 or 5 normal hairs in the process of plucking the evil things out.
Yes, it's my birthday next week. *scowl* There should be a rule that you don't get gray hair until at least 40.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Stress :(

I'm going to bed early tonight - I'll be sleeping by 11. That's a first in a long time! I'm stressed to the max right now. I'm at the point where I hate my job. I actually love my job, but right now I want to quit. I'm tired of the problems. I need a vacation. Or a leave of absence.
There are fifty million other piddly things contributing to the stress. I feel like I am losing control and am totally unable to handle dealing with other stressful things. Like the confusion I had with the post office today. Luckily Hiroshi came back with me and it was solved - and Hiroshi remained calm and nice about it. Otherwise I think I may have lost it.
Oh well, hopefully with a good night's sleep I'll feel better tomorrow.

Side note - I'm still having horrible flashbacks about the movie Passion of the Christ. If you are the least bit sensitive to violence, I recommend giving it a miss.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Activity ideas?

Today I had a full day at work (7:30 to 9:00 non-stop teaching) so am completely braindead! So I'm leaving a question for you guys to comment on if you have any ideas (ramble back!).
What do you think would be an interesting, exciting, unusual, fun etc activity to try/do/learn on my RTW? What country would be the best place to do it?
My recent addition - skiing in the Alps!

Monday, May 17, 2004

I found a Lush

I love Lush cosmetics but haven't bought any since I moved to the Gotanda area. I used to go to the store in Kichijoji with my friend Jo, but now Kichijoji is just too far away. Ok, an hour, but that's a long way for soap. Well, as Hiroshi and I were wandering around Shinagawa wasting time before the movie started last night, we came across a Lush. Yippee! It is only one station away now! Of course this might be a bad thing ;)

Hiroshi's skin is always dry so he's very picky about soaps. He thought the store was great, especially after he got over his initial "isn't this a girl place" apprehensions. The sales lady was dragging him all over the place showing him soaps and moisturizers. I bought some stuff for him, and some stuff for me and now we smell like caramel and lemon (respectively). I also got a peppermint mask for dry skin. I'm using it on my feet cuz they are dry and yucky :( I was a bit skeptical, but it seems to work!

Anyway, if you have a Lush near you, check it out. The products are all natural and organic. The website can give you all the details on their products, including all of the ingredients. Any vegetarians out there - this shop is for you. It tells you when the product is vegan :)

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Passion of the Christ

Silence except for the cushioned plodding of slow footsteps as an emotionally drained audience left the theatre.
That was the reaction of the audience after The Passion of the Christ ended. No one commenting, no one talking... in fact, everyone very quietly stood up and left after the final credits, rather than the normal rush of banging seats and stomping up the aisles.

Well, the reviews are definitely right - this is a movie about Jesus getting the shit beat out of him. Pardon the language, but really, that is the only way to describe it. I sat in tears for the whole movie at the inhumanity and awfulness of it. How anyone can treat another human being in that manner, in any age, is beyond me.

What I don't understand is why on earth people are whining about this being anti-Semitic. What??? Sure the Jewish council wanted him crucified in the movie, but it was the Romans who perpetuated the unthinkable violence. Not being very familiar with my bible (or the Jewish religion or history for that matter), I don't know whether this is a fair or accurate portrayal of the people in power at the time. I didn't feel it was anti-Semitic in the least though.

While the story line is simple (it's Jesus' last day on earth) I think this movie has extremely powerful imagery, and it captures the 'heart' of human nature - although in this instance 'heart' is the epitome of an oxymoron. This movie does an incredible job of showing how people behave under the influence of power. Whether that be the fear of losing power, or the inability to do anything because of lack of power. Every character in the film behaved in a very human way - even Peter who "denies Christ three times". In that situation, self-preservation would prevail for most individuals. This movie captured true human behaviour even though it is shocking or dismaying - and that is what makes this such a powerful movie.

Admittedly, I'm a bit shell-shocked from the level of graphic violence. How did that movie only get a PG-12 rating here in Japan?? Definitely a movie for contemplation. Definitely emotionally draining. Definitely a bold move from Mel Gibson that should be applauded.

Saturday, May 15, 2004


I read an interesting article in the book I'm reading right now (a collection of travel essays) that talked about writing. The number one tip is that you shouldn't write it like a diary but be descriptive and have powerful openings. Oh. I actually did know that, but forgot. So I'll have to start trying it out in the blog before I leave - cuz this is how you are all gonna read about my adventures.

So while I was in the coffee shop yesterday, I was paying attention to details and saw: gesticulating men elaborating on their point, animated women pouring over a cosmetics brochure and a tired, bored young man next to me typing on a shiny, new, black IBM notebook. Much more interesting with a bit of description. Of course I forgot the rest of it, so you don't get an interesting story about people in the coffee shop. But the next time I observe something I'll make a point to keep notes so I can practice being more interesting ;)

Friday, May 14, 2004

Wine and Cheese Romance

I got to sleep in today which was really nice. :) My classes also ended early so I went to the international food store and bought a nice bottle of wine. (Dad - Chateau de Rondailh, 2001 Bordeaux. We thought it was nice. Not so expensive either. Any good?).

I also went to the local grocery store and picked up some cheeses, and the bakery to get some fresh crusty bread and some quiche. Then came home and had a nice little picnic. Hiroshi and I talked a bit about the RTW trip and things we want to do - as opposed to places we want to go. The whole time we were imagining we were having a picnic in the park or something in France. Lovely :)

So in case you are wondering, here's the list of things we want to learn, and the places cuz the place is kinda important:
Liz - tango in Argentina, samba in Brazil, flamenco in Spain, Tai Chi on the banks of a river in China, Thai cooking, and scuba diving
Hiroshi - kung fu in China, going to see a salmon farm in Norway and/or Chile, and that's it.

Hmmm... seems like I want to do much more than he does. Wait till he finds out I want to do the dancing together hehe.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Places I want to see and wanton begging for gifts

Someone posted this cool link on the travel bulletin board I read. Basically it is a top 100 Wonders of the World. Now I don't necessarily agree with all of the ratings, but I am planning on going to a lot of these places. And this is a very hand link because it has information about all of them all in one spot!

As for THE place I want to visit (the Serengeti), Erik is there now (The Global Trip blog). His link is in the side bar. I'm not hyperlinking it here cuz I'm hoping you'll click on my Amazon wish list and send my a birthday present ;) God, I'll be 31 on the 26th. At least it isn't as depressing as last year. So check out Erik's blog - he got to see all of the cool animals I want to see (with pics!). And if you're feeling generous, buy me a book to help me plan my RTW. ;)

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Hi, my name's Liz and I'm a work-a-holic

Today I was supposed to have a leisurely afternoon (read: a nap) but got caught up doing work pretty much straight thru until now :( *sigh* Why do I do this to myself? Well, part of it is the yen signs dancing in my eyes. That goal of saving $50,000 (and the hope to save $75,000) by October 2005 is seeming more and more difficult. So I want to get as much work as possible.

Well, ok, I also have a problem saying no. I think I'm going to have to though cuz I'm dragging my butt and I'm only half way thru the work week. I think I'm going to work on eliminating my Saturday classes... or at least cutting it down to half a day only.

So I've been thinking, how am I going to cope on my RTW when instead of rushing everywhere, trying to cram things into every available spot in my schedule, and walking like it is an Olympic event (people in Tokyo walk much faster than in other places), I'll be limiting myself to seeing one thing a day? While the whole concept of only having to worry about food and where to sleep sounds heavenly, I'm actually worried that I might go crazy from the boredom! Sure doing nothing for a couple weeks sounds great - battery recharging stuff. But then what? Will I be bored out of my skull?

Of course there will be all the churches, museums, wonders of the world, etc to keep my attention. But really, how many churches can you see before you're churched out? Even now when I go to a museum I kinda rush thru, albeit taking the time to look at the nice things that catch my eye. This is very frustrating with Hiroshi - he likes to look at everything in great detail. Of course I might end up with a longer attention span if I have nothing else to worry about!

Anyway, just a random thought / concern that's been in my head. Cuz, yes, I am a work-a-holic!

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Summer is here!

Whehoo! Today was 30C (about 90F), sunny and most importantly not humid. It was wonderful. The sunshine felt so good. Of course this means that I'll be hot and sweaty for the next 4 months, but it is enjoyable for the first while LOL. It was so nice not to have rain!
Anyway, today's topic is weather because nothing exciting happened! Except that my mom turned a certain number of years young today. Happy Birthday mom!

Monday, May 10, 2004

A whole new look

I'm in the process of changing how my blog looks... a nice little diversion to keep me from doing actual work. Bear with me while I get everything working again. Fortunately blogspot now hosts comments so I can have them host the comment section rather than have to go thru another site. Unfortunately, that means I have to remove all the previous comment links - otherwise I'd have two comment links.
So what do you think about the new look?

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Thai Food Festival

Today there was a huge Thai food festival in Yoyogi Park in Harajuku. It was pouring rain all day, but I thought this might deter many people from going. It didn't - the place was packed! There were tons of vendors though and I bought bags of cheap Thai food to make at home. Yummy yum yum! It was all very reasonably priced too. I got lots of curry packs and some instant Tom Yong Koong noodles. We also got some mangosteens (a kind of fruit) and some Chang beer. (Shar and I drank Chang beer when we were in Thailand 4 years ago - cheaper than Singha and tastes better IMO... and has cute elephants on the label).

After shopping we hit the food stalls and had some curry and spring rolls and a coconut tapioca drink. It took us forever to find a place to sit - the table area was insane. At that point we were cold and damp and miserable too, so we didn't stay too long. It would have been nice to just sit there and get some more food - I guess everyone else had that attitude too though and that was why it was so hard to find a table LOL. It was a bit hard to balance food and an umbrella too and make your way through throngs of people so getting the food was a bit difficult. But what we did eat was delicious and fairly reasonably priced too.

We ended up going home relatively soon (wish I had the time to go on Saturday when the sun was shining and it was gorgeous outside). We hit Starbuck's on the way home to get a coffee to warm up and that put us in much better spirits. I got to search thru all my goodies too and figure out how much I bought LOL. Oh well, we'll eat it so I'm not too worried. I get to try to make spring rolls sometime this week though :) It looks pretty easy, but never having done it before, it might be interesting.

I'm definitely going to go back to the festival next year. And I'll go early and stake out a table so I can nibble on delicious food all day long!

PS - Happy Mother's Day to both my moms!

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Work and a movie

Today was absolutely gorgeous weather-wise and I was stuck inside working all day *sigh* Oh well. After work I was pretty much zonked so we just watched the movies we rented the other day. Rabbit Proof Fence was pretty good, but I'm glad I got it on video. It does a nice job of explaining what happened to Aboriginees and has a simple story. The simple story is the reason why I'm glad I rented it - I think I would have been bored in the theatre.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Single women's answer to sex

Ok, did the title get your attention? ;) Tonight Hiroshi and I were wandering around after I finished work and decided to go out to eat - I just couldn't bear to cook. So we hunted around Gate City in Osaki to try and find another new restaurant and found an Indonesian restaurant tucked around a corner in the basement.

The restaurant is really small, but the decor is really cute nice (cute would be the Japanese expression). It is almost like being on a tropical island because there is a big bamboo roof jutting out into the middle of the restaurant - under which is a wooden floored area with lots of pillows where you can sit and eat. There were also regular tables. In addition to the nice decor, many of the dishes came with a fresh orchid as a garnish, which was a really nice touch.

But now we get to the food. Holy cats! Talk about hot! But sooo good! We had spring rolls with mango chilli sauce to start. Then we had tom yung gun (Indonesian style). The spice in it was clean compared to Thailand's pungent. And talk about sweating. Both of us were mopping our brows with the hand towel I carry with me. I have never sweated like tha before from spicy food. Even Thai food hasn't come close. Then we had shrimp in coconut and tumeric sauce - mmmmm. Plus a spicy fish and then Indonesian rice which was nice and mild after all the spicy dishes. The shrimps in the soup and the coconut dish were very big and sweet too. Very, very yummy food.

Of course, now you are probably wonder what the heck the title has to do with this entry. Well, midway thru the meal, I started to get all tingly as my blood started moving. Hiroshi felt it too. Then my legs started to get weak and the most bizarre feeling came over me. Warm, relaxed, lethargic... and then it hit me - it was exactly like that post-orgasmic feeling! Who knew food could reproduce that feeling! Hiroshi says I'm strange but he was also feeling pretty relaxed and said something about tingling feet. Anyway, I totally attribute this to the spicing in the food. It really was hot, but so addictive we couldn't stop eating despite burning mouths. Maybe an endorphin rush?

Walking home with jelly legs was torture. I kept imagining in my head that I was on a beach and just wanted to lay down in the sand and have an ocean breeze blow over me. Then I realized why it was so easy to visualize that - I was as relaxed as I was when we came back from our honeymoon in Phuket (Thailand). So not only is the food great for that post-sex feeling (totally safe, and sans a man for my single friends) but it also is a cheap stress reliever!

Anyway, when we got home we flopped down on the futon, turned the fan on low and dreamed of being on the beach. Ahhhhh.... heaven.

Thursday, May 06, 2004


Just want to say that going back to work after a holiday sucks. I was so tired today. I missed my afternoon nap and I didn't get to sleep in :( Yeah, I know I'm a whiner.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

China to Africa in 1 day

Today I went to Chinatown in Yokohama for lunch with one of my co-workers. There is a new subway line that connects on to a line from Tokyo, so it is really convenient to get there now! You used to have to walk a kilometer or so to get there. Now the subway drops you off right beside it.

She wanted to go to a certain buffet restaurant but when we got there, there was this huge line up across the front, down one side of the building and around the back! We were going to wait but then they came and told us that it would be over by the time we were seated. So we settled on another restaurant instead. It was a bit weird.

First off it only had tables for 8 so we had to eat with strangers. Second there was a couple beside us who we ended up talking to. That'd be the yakuza gangster and Filipino hostess. How do I know he was yakuza? Well, I don't really, but he had the three dot tattoo on his hand which is the sign of being in an Asian gang. The guy gave us his name card too (we didn't give him one back!) and he is Japanese, so he wouldn't be in, say, a Chinese gang. The woman told us she was a hostess. Very odd. The food was only so-so. The Peking duck was good, but the rest only so-so.

After lunch we ended up walking all over Chinatown. It was nice. Even though it was raining and crappy out. We went to the temple and I took some pictures of the detailing on the support poles (I'm behind in my pics - I know I need to update my photoblog). Then we just went shopping. I got some jasmine tea and some weight loss miracle tea LOL I actually bought some of this tea at the Chinese medicine shop when I was in Singapore - but it was significantly more expensive than the buck I paid for 20 bags. I'm sure there is a big difference in quality though! Anyway I figure if I am going to drink tea, why not drink tea that is supposed to help me lose weight too?! And does it work like a diet cola and cancel out the calories of the bad things you eat with it ;)

I also got some yummy things for Hiroshi - coconut mochi (rice dough), coconut tarts and egg tarts - and picked up some omiyage (souvenirs) for my class of older women. They are always bringing in stuff for me so it is my turn to return the 'favour' (how can you call it a favour when it just makes my butt bigger??). I got some almond cookies for them. And I got some jasmine tea cuz that stuff just smells so good! Hiroshi usually drinks that instead of black tea too.

So after a long day of walking around and looking at food and clothes and other things we ended up at the office (grrr) because I needed to print something out for a class tomorrow. Then I came back home and met Hiroshi at the station and we went to the African restaurant. It was soooo good! I was pleasantly surprised. We got the "safari set". It had a chicken kebob, a curry (goat or lamb?), a samosa and a salad. The salad had three plump shrimp on it and a delicious vinaigrette with dill - and fresh dill at that! The chicken kebob was just a kebob. The curry was delicious. It was clean spicy - maybe some kind of pepper. I don't know. Different from Thai pungent spicy though. Very,very good. And I liked the samosa too which was really good... and called a 'brick' (samosa would be the South American name I believe). It had meat and a whole egg in it.

After we stuffed ourselves on an absolutely delicious meal, then came the Ethiopian coffee. Now I usually put a lot of milk and sugar in my coffee - or get a latte. I took a sip of this stuff black and was in heaven! After 5 years in Japan, I have finally found good coffee! This stuff is absolutely wonderful! All of this scrumptious food only cost 1500 yen too - about US$15! We're definitely going back there! It was a really nice way to end my holidays.

Speaking of which, I definitely do not want to go back to work tomorrow. I am however being responsible and going to bed right now. Can't remember when I was last in bed at 11. I have to get up at some ungodly early hour tomorrow (I hate Thursdays) so I need to get my beauty rest. Back to the grind, back to the diet - no more fun new restaurants every day, and back to the gym! Since the banks are open again, I can pay my membership and they will let me go again. I had to beg and plead for them to let me in the one day I went over the past few days. It will be nice to get into swimming again.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Video day

I forgot to mention that we went to see a movie last night. We saw Hidalgo (Japanese title: Ocean's of Fire) which was kinda crap. We went to the discount ticket seller though, so at least we didn't pay full price. Hiroshi liked the movie at least. The movie experience was weird because it was in an older theatre. Hello 80's! There was a nice grandfather clock chime to let you know the show was beginning. The seats were mauve velour, and the slope... well, what slope??? And since when is mono sound considered Dolby? LOL It was pretty sad. Now I know why we always go to the Shinagawa - big seats, nobody's head blocking your view, great sound.

Today we tried another new restaurant. There is a buffet restaurant that was supposed to have international food but it just had high carb foods like curry and Japanese noodles. The salad bar was essentially potato and macaroni salad. Oh well - we won't go back. We should have gone to the African restaurant instead, but we'll go there next time.

Tonight we just rented videos. We had thought about the show but have the minor problem of no cash. I forgot that all the bank machines shut down during Golden Week, and you can't get cash anywhere. Period. I stupidly paid cash for our shoes on Friday and forgot to get more cash from the machine. Thus, we have had to scrimp and put things on visa when possible - which I hate doing because I don't want anything on my card! What a pain in the butt. So we rented videos instead.

Hiroshi got a Chinese movie. It was a bit weird. I didn't understand any of it so depended on the occassional plot update from him. It had the usual super-human feats of flying thru the air and balancing on sword hilts and stuff. I got My Life Without Me which is an incredibly sad movie - get a whole box of tissue if you watch this. We got two other movies as well, but we'll watch those tomorrow. He got a Japanese documentary and I got "Rabbit Proof Fence". (still trying to find the link for this).

Monday, May 03, 2004

Every Guilty Bite

Green peace / animal loving people stop reading now. Hiroshi wanted to go to a restaurant called Kujiraya in Shibuya to eat kujira, which is an old Japanese traditional food. And that traditional food would be whale. I was up to trying it because it is a cultural thing and figure I should try different cultural foods while I'm here - hey, gotta work up the courage to try things like cuy in Peru (Guinea Pig).

So we are checking out the menu sets out front and there was something that looked like big chunks of blubber and I'm thinking uhhhh maybe I'm not into this. There was also whale sashimi (raw fish) which also had me second guessing. But we walk in and were seated and Hiroshi ordered. He got the sashimi set, and I decided on the deep fried whale set. I wanted it cooked and disguised! We also ordered whale steak.

Soon the sets arrive and the things that look like big hunks of blubber are actually the deep fried whale! It is lightly fried maybe? I don't know. But it certainly wasn't golden - it was white! So I took my first tentative bite which was ok because the white stuff was just flour and not blubber, and it tasted like non-fishy yellow tail. (Yellow tail is a strong flavoured fish that I sometimes cook at home). And then...

..the guilt hit. Suddenly I'm envisioning whales swimming and jumping in the ocean. Second bite - I see myself going whale watching in South Africa (one of the things we are planning to do for the world trip) and seeing a whale come up and look at me with its big, sad, black eye as if to say "You ate my mother!".

This was just a horrible, horrible feeling. My chest is heavy, my stomach feels queasy and I can't get over the guilt! Even a double cone at Baskin Robbins (or 31 as it is called here) of chocolate macadamia nut and cinnamon roll (very delicious!) ice cream did not serve to ease the guilt. I felt aweful all evening. And every five minutes I'm having "whales in the ocean" flashes.

So, whale itself tastes ok. It actually isn't fatty like I thought. It is like a dark fish (not white fleshed fish) - maybe a little like tuna. However, the guilty and horrible feelings after eating it are just not worth it. I killed Willy! *cry*

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Lazy Sunday

Today we had planned to go to Shibuya and to a certain restaurant (that shall remain nameless because we might go there tomorrow) however, we never quite got out of bed. I didn't wake up until 2. Hiroshi was out at Starbucks all morning so he came home when I got up. Then we had a nap around 5. Hiroshi didn't wake up until 8, so that kinda killed the Shibuya plan. So instead we went to Outback Steakhouse again. Not all that exciting. They changed their menu, so it took us forever to decide what to eat. I ate too much too and felt aweful for the rest of the evening. All and all a pretty uneventful day.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Small Miracles and Weird Movies

A few days ago I wore the sapphire earrings Hiroshi bought for me when we went to Thailand last August. At the end of the day, one of my ears felt funny and I reached up and one of the earrings was hanging half out of my ear. Thank heavens I actually got it before it fell out, but the back was gone. As any woman knows, this means the back is gone forever and I need to get a replacement back - preferably in gold because the earrings are gold.

Anyway, I'm standing around gabbing at work leaning across a counter and low and behold there is an earring backing laying on the counter. Go figure. And it is gold. I think, this can't possibly be mine, but who knows, maybe I'll be lucky. So I drop it in my wallet and bring it home. Well, how's this for lucky - it *is* my earring backing! I can't believe it. I'm sure it didn't fall off on that counter. Some nice person found it on the floor and put it there. Lucky me!

So that is my good luck story. Today I hung out at work and gabbed with my colleagues because my student cancelled five minutes before class started. Now why he couldn't call me 30 minutes before, when I hadn't left home yet, I don't know. Oh well . But it was nice to socialize and I ended up going out for a beer with three of the people I work with. We also planned a tabe-hodai (all you can eat) dim sum lunch for Tuesday. So that will be nice.

Tonight I went to see a movie with Hiroshi. I wanted to go to Outback - I had a craving for a baked potato - but by the time we got going and over to Shinagawa it was 30 minutes before the show. So we just got some movie snacks. We went to see Kill Bill Vol. 2. Actually, I liked the first one better. The fight scenes were super cool. This one just had a gross factor. The eye ball scene is horrible - and I won't say anything else for those of you who haven't seen it yet. Anyway, Quentin, I'm disappointed. So for anyone thinking of seeing it, I recommend just waiting for the video.