Thursday, March 31, 2005

allergies will make me broke!

I finally broke down and bought medicine for my hayfever. I now have supersonic sneezing action at home. *sigh* And being all stuffed up and sniffly makes it hard to sleep, so I hit the pharmacy. End result, this will make me broke. 2000 yen for 10 pills that will last a total of three days. Another 500 yen for 7 masks. Oh, and we can't forget the 1000 yen for eye drops that are supposed to make your eyes stop itching, only they feel like someone threw sand in your eyes and set them on fire - how that is supposed to be better than having itchy eyes I do not know.

Anyway, I think I'm going to go back to suffering. Shovelling out 5000 yen a week would suck. When will spring be over?

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

AR7 Ep 5/6 Rock!

Ok, now this is the AR I know and love! Suspense gallore! Foot race to the finish, accidents (thankfully no one was seriously injured), big shuffles in the rankings. Ahhhh, I'm in AR heaven. Just might have to watch those episodes all over again.

I am now cheering Joyce and Uchenna on. They're awesome. Rob and Amber... well, I know it is a race, but slowing down for 10 seconds when you can clearly see two teams (Brian & Greg and Lynn & Alex) standing there is not going to affect your standing in the race. Not stopping to even ask if everyone was ok, is definitely not cool. So, I don't like them anymore. I am glad that psycho boy was eliminated. Yippee! No more verbal abuse!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


The earthquake in Indonesia last night is so sad. The news is showing people running to high ground - they all thought that there would be another tsunami. How horrible.

Today I had some new students join one of my group class... well one new student and her husband. After the class he basically insulted me and told me I sucked as a teacher. Gee thanks. I just sat there and smiled. Teaching high-level grammar to students who have trouble making sentences sometimes and only want to learn conversational English is a great idea - not. Whatever.

The pollen count today is aweful. Thought because it was rainy and crappy that it would be ok, but I'm sneezing like a mad woman ... inside. It's nuts.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

No chocolate for me :(

Happy Easter everyone... I am not doing anything for the holiday. No one celebrates it here. Thus, I get no chocolate. Poor me. Ah well, I don't really need chocolate. In fact, I actually went to the gym today. And I cooked healthy food. If only I could convince myself that chocolate is healthy - it is one of the four food groups isn't it?

Saturday, March 26, 2005

When Easter falls

Here's the good stuff on how to figure out when Easter will be, seeing that it has fallen quite early this year. Now I basically knew this because I remember my grandpa telling me one morning as we were making cereal for breakfast. Pretty smart grandpa :)

Friday, March 25, 2005

Lucky day off

Today all of my classes cancelled so I had an unexpected day off! Lucky me! I was able to do some cooking (so I can eat better) and dragged myself to the bank to pay for the rest of my plane ticket to Thailand (fund transfer is the usual way to make payments for travel arrangements here). Other than cooking, I just kind of lazed around. I did a bit of work, watched some tv I had downloaded and a wee bit of an afternoon nap. Feels good to have a break!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Happy 6 yr Anniversary to me

Well, today marks six years in Japan for me. Hard to believe it has been that long. It doesn't seem like 6 years. I'm still surprised almost daily by the things I learn about Japanese culture and yet I feel more comfortable here than I do in Canada - this is now my home. So here's to a great six years in Tokyo!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Laugh of the day

Ideas on how to vent your frustration in the kitchen...

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Mmmm, oysters

Today my friend Cal treated me to lunch (Thanks Cal - it was awesome!). He took me to Grand Central Oyster Bar, which is modelled after the original in NY. Oysters were lovely. Definitely have to go back there. Want to try all of the different raw oysters... and get the oyster stew which Cal had (that was yummy). The menu is huge - tons of different things on it. We shared Oysters Rockerfeller and Clams Casino. Both very good. Glad I finally got to go here - last time I checked, there was a three month waiting list for dinner reservations!

Monday, March 21, 2005

Long weekend, no day off

Hi, my name is Liz and I am a work-a-holic. This was a long weekend, but silly me worked every single day. No day off :( I just keep thinking, LASIK. And nice hotels. And yummy Thai food. Soon I will be in relaxation heaven :)

Sunday, March 20, 2005

The Rollover

Heh, my counter rolled over into the 10,000 range. Cool.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

treasures in my pocket

Tonight after work I was trying to get myself organized and I felt something in the bottom of my coat. There is a hole in my pocket and something had obviously fallen thru into the lining of my coat. This regulary happens with my lip balm, but there seemed to be more. Well, wow! I had no idea there was so much down there. I pulled out, I kid you not, about 40 squished up used Kleenexes. Ahah! That is where they were disappearing to! I just didn't know so many had disappeared! (These were not treasures in case you were wondering)

I also found a pin from my tour at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gov't Bldg, and my missing glove! Yes, I had a glove in the lining of my coat and never knew. Hurrah! My fav fur fringe gloves are not lost. Even though I won't need them until next year, I am happy I still have both of them. I was so sad the other week when I thought one was gone forever.

I also found a candy - but it was kinda carmelized and gross from being in there so long. Think it may be time to actually sew up that hole.

Friday, March 18, 2005

watched tv for first time in ages

Tonight I watched Gladiator on tv. This is amazing, because despite owning two tvs in an apartment that is only 40 sq. m, I never watch television. I'm addicted to web surfing and downloaded stuff. It is kind of nice to laze in bed and flick channels. Oh, the power of the remote control!

After Gladiator finished, I stumbled upon a news report on the Aichi World Expo (Aichi is about halfway down the main island on the east coast in case you were wondering). Today was press day - it doesn't open until the 25th to the general public. The theme is the environment (or something), but I think the real theme is robots. Tons of them. Buses that drive without drivers. Robot shows. Robot greeters. It is a geek paradise. I'm there I tell ya.... just need to figure out when the best time (i.e. fewest crowds) is to go.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

die pollen die

Pollen count is bad today. Sneezing is not fun. I scowl at the pollen - all five hundren billion particles of it floating around me whenever I go outside. Die pollen die.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

hello cherry blossoms!

Today I saw the first cherry blossoms of the season! Whehoo! I love cherry blossom season in Japan. Everything is so beautiful. There is a tree near my house that gets direct sunlight, so it blooms a good week and a half to two weeks before the rest of the trees. Good sign though - at least one tree will be filled with glorious pink blossoms in a few days!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Did you see those pigs flying today?

Tonight, I ironed! Yes, I know, this is absolutely amazing. I never iron. When I lived in Canada, I used to have a friend who loved ironing (obviously he had something wrong with him). Every so often he would come to visit, and wonderful person that he was, he would do all of my 3-6 months of ironing that had piled up. Yes, that is how much I dislike ironing. I'd forego wearing things for 6 months, just so I didn't have to iron them.

I've since learnt that labels that indicate that ironing is needed mean that that item of clothing does not come home with me (that and the dry cleaning label). Hiroshi, however, has all cotton shirts. This of course means that we will be going to the store to buy new shirts that don't require ironing. Give me some good polyester blends. Otherwise I might be doing this every week! Ack!

Monday, March 14, 2005

You know the pollen count is high...,

You know the pollen count is high when there is a giant pollen cloud floating somewhere in Japan and people mistake it for smoke from a forest fire.

I'm at the point where I can't go outside without a mask. Otherwise I end up with supersonic sneezing, runny nose and throat mucous (sorry if that is TMI) that makes it hard to breathe. Oh, and the itchy eyes. Hiroshi started in with the headaches, sneezing and itchy eyes this week. Looks like he has passed the pollen threshold as well and is now a hay fever sufferer like half the rest of the population.

Guess this means he'll get to look like a doctor too whenever he goes outside LOL

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Powerful Odor

Powerful Odor is the name of a new button on Japan's fandangled toilet seats. Yes, in addition to the flushing sound (to save water - Japanese women are embarrassed by the sound of peeing so flush constantly while doing thier business), heated seat, bidet, and washing functions, there is now a button that you can press that will release deodorizer for "powerful odor". I was tempted to push it just to see what it did (no, there was not a powerful odor) but was worried I'd have some toxic chemical sprayed on my butt or something. Gotta work up my courage. Maybe it sprays a nice floral scent... hopefully somewhere in the bowl rather than on the person sitting there.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Missed the last train!

One of my coworkers, Kara, is leaving Japan to go and do her PhD in Australia, so she had her sayonnara party tonight. We all met up at a restaurant in Shibuya called the Asian Kitchen. After getting our fill of food and drinks we wandered over to karaoke. I haven't been to karaoke in ages. I think the last time I went was back in October.

Anyway, I swear the last time I was in Shibuya, I got the train at 1:20 am. So tonight I wandered over to the station and arrived around 1:15... only the gates were all closed! I had missed my last train! Crap, crap, crap. So I had to get a taxi home. Geesh. 2800 yen later. Better than staying out on the street all night though or having to pay for a karaoke room. Mental note to self - verify when the train leaves instead of trusting your obviously faulty memory.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Test your movie knowledge

This site is awesome, not to mention hard! You can do quizzes where you have to guess which movie pictures are from. The catch? The actors' faces have been made invisible. It's really hard, and you'll kick yourself over the answers you missed!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

AR7 - Episode 1

Ok, we're a bit behind in our AR watching - Hiroshi and I have been busy, and just got a chance to see it last night. I know - the next episode comes out tomorrow (I'm a day ahead of North America). So far, this season is looking much better. Thank heavens! I was really sad that the hillbillies got elminated. They would have been awesome fun on the show I think. For some reason, I got a better feel for the teams in this first episode. Usually I don't have much of an opinion at this point.
Lynn and Alex - stereotypical, a bit irritating so far
Ron and Kelly - umm, all American? Don't strike me as a strong team
Joyce and Uchenna - they seem pretty cool, but am reserving judgement
Ray and Deanna - hate. He is going to be this season's asshole
Mom and Son - did well, but don't like thier attitutdes. Quit whining about other teams and don't be all disappointed about 2nd in the first leg
Bianca and other (forget her name) - is it just me being a prude, or is there something more there than friendship? Other than the stupid debate about Llamas or baskets, they ran a good leg
Brothers - no opinion yet
Blonde girls - didn't even check the other sand piles. Should be eliminated for stupidity
Meredith and Gretchen - can't read him yet, she strikes me as fake and a bit weird. First senior team that I haven't really liked.

So here's hoping this season there are actual clues, and none of this bunching crap. AR, you must redeem yourself!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Interesting history link

Stumbled across this on one of the newsgroups I read - it is a link with eye witness accounts of historical events. I thought it was pretty interesting.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Whehoo! I'm going business class!

I sent in an inquiry form a week ago to a company that had an awesome business class rate on a flight to Thailand... only I never heard back from them. So I gave up and phoned the travel agent I normally deal with and the best price they could quote me was 100,000 yen for economy class. Umm... no thanks. So I hung up the phone, jumped on the internet and pulled up the cheap rate web page and found another company that was offering the same cheap business class rate as the no-response company. I gave them a ring, and not only did I get the tickets, they spoke English! Whehoo!! I can fly business class for 90,000 yen! That's cheaper than economy. Awesome.

Of course, if you are having a heart attack over those prices consider that I'm going during Golden Week when everyone leaves the country and prices skyrocket here. Usual economy price tickets are 30 - 40,000 yen to Bangkok, so that 100,000 gives you a pretty clear picture of the price gouging that goes on. My flight is not direct, I have a stop over in Taipei, but heck, that just means I can hang out in another business lounge! I'm thrilled with the tickets I got.

Life is good. I'm looking forward to a week of luxury :)

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Visiting Kai

After a very long time I went to visit my friend Yasu, and his wife Eriko and son Kai. I haven't seen them for near on 9 months. Wow, I really have been busy. As you can see, Kai is as cute as a button. He's almost two, and while he has the energy of a 2 year old, he doesn't play shy. He was climbing all over me and we were playing together within minutes of my arrival.

I like this visiting cute kids option. I also called my friend Shar (who is in Germany) after not talking to her for ages (cuz I was too busy to phone) and we had a good chat about having kids and feeling the biological clock ticking, but just not wanting them right now. Freedom is good. I like my life right now. Kids will change that. Thus, visiting cute ones is a good substitute for now.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

How to Fold a Shirt

So I thought this interesting science article was hard to understand until I saw this amazing thing. I of course have some sort of brain deficiency when it comes to folding, and simply do not get this. Swear to God, I've watched the darn thing about twenty times, and I still can't do it. I think it is a sign that Hiroshi should do laundry forever. He can fold shirts like this.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Not the S Word!

My student phoned my at a ridiculously early time this morning to tell me that it was snowing outside... and thus she might be late for class. Take note that she called me like 3 hours before her class started. I was still sleeping! Since she had woken me up, I peeped out the window and was greeted by this:

Yes, this is a lot of snow for Tokyo. This actually delayed train lines by hours. Oh, and everyone suddenly became retarded in this city. I swear, this is not a big deal. You can still see the pavement for crying out loud. But for some unknown reason, every one forgot how to walk. I was bumped into numerous times this morning, to the point where I was ready to haul off and punch the next person that did it. I mean, I am a large person, it is pretty hard not to see me. Where exactly is your head that you need to barrel right into me? Please pay attention. Geesh. Between that and nearly being decapitated or having my eye poked out with umbrellas by people with no clue about spacial relationships, I was not a happy camper this morning. Oh yeah, and there was all that s-word stuff on the ground too.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Hina Matsuri / Girl's Day

Today is Girl's Day in Japan. This is a picture of one of the hina dolls on display at Meguro Gajoen. (Sorry, it is a bit low-res)

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Cherry Blossoms - 3/31 start!

The big news of the day is.... Cherry blossoms will start in Tokyo on March 31st. The news spent a good five minutes discussing the bloom schedule. This is important business! Last year was the earliest blooming period ever, if I remember correctly. The news said they should start at about the same time this year as well. Peak viewing time will be around April 7th. Mark your calendars! The big question for me is whether or not I should organize a party this year. Last year I was too busy, and I suspect that may be the case this year as well.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Going to Bangkok

Well I submitted a request form for my ticket to Bangkok - just waiting to hear back from the travel agent. I've decided to go and get Lasik done in Thailand. It is horribly expensive in Japan, and for the price of doing it in Canada, I can get it done in Bangkok and live like a queen for a week.

So now I need to decide where to stay while I am pampering myself. Why is choosing a hotel always such a huge deal for me? I swear, I stress to much over these things! The eye doctor (optomologist - guy who does the laser) said I could get on a plane to fly to Phuket two days after surgery, so guess where I'm going for the week between getting the surgery and my one week follow-up appointment. I already know where I'm going to stay - the same place Hiroshi and I stayed last time. Hopefully he'll be able to get some time off to join me down there.

But what to do about accommodations in Bangkok. I'm really dying to stay at The Peninsula but it is a bit pricey. It looks awesome though. And I can have afternoon tea like I did in Hong Kong (also at the Peninsula). The alternative is The Banyan Tree. The Banyan Tree is cheaper and has the whole suite thing, but The Peninsula has a tv in the bathroom... think bubble bath and a movie. Oh, decisions, decisions. The Peninsula is also top-rated and all rooms have a view of the Chao Praya river. Both of them seem to have different style than the typical hotel room - I definitely did not want that! Boring is out. (Why is it that pretty much all hotels have the same darn layout?)