Saturday, April 30, 2005

I can see... but do I want to?

I can see! Despite only have six teeny tiny holes in each of my bug goggles, I can make my way around and see things pretty clearly. I gingerly made my way down to breakfast – going down stairs is not fun when you have plastic things covering your eyes. I felt a bit silly sitting there with those stupid things over my eyes, but I was hungry!

After breakfast I went back to the Lasik center for my check up. I’ve got 20/20 vision in both eyes! That’s great in my book! 20/100 and 20/63 to 20/20 in both. My left eye is absolutely perfect – everything is clear and crisp (and to think I was worried about that one!). My right eye is a bit hazy… when I look at things, the edges are not sharp. The doctor said it may take a while for that to go away, but it is completely normal.

I’m not overly sensitive to light (a bit, but I always have been – seems about the same to me), I have no pain and no dry eye either (except later on the plane). So, I haven’t noticed any real side effects other than the lack of sharpness on the right side. I’m thrilled with the surgery though!

After I finished my check up, it was back to the hotel to check out and then off to the airport. I got a car to the airport from the hotel. A bit expensive, but I didn’t want to deal with scamming taxi drivers. The driver was quite friendly and we were chatting for a bit. Apparently Bangkok is opening a new airport (news to me) so that was interesting to talk about.

I checked in no problem, but when I asked about an upgrade to Business Class, I was told it was full. Well, once I got on the plane, it wasn’t. *grrr* The seats in economy class have to be the narrowest seats I have ever seen in my life. Normal sized Western people were squashing into them. And then I get the seat that for some reason has a plastic thing sticking four inches into the chair space. Luckily there was another seat I could move to – economy was packed! I’m still in shock over how narrow the seats were. In Japan, seats are often quite small, but I have never seen anything that bad.

I arrived in Phuket slightly squashed and got a car to the hotel. It took about an hour to get down to the beach my hotel is on – there was so much construction! None of it was tsunami related – they are just building all kinds of roads. As we turned onto the beach where my hotel is located, I was shocked – the water was dead calm! Rainy season hasn’t started yet! And I can’t swim! That sucks so much. The first time I’ve been here when there weren’t red flags on the beach (don’t swim) and not only that, but the waves were just lapping the shore. Darn!

At the hotel everything seemed a bit disorganized. My room is on the 8th floor – great view, but the elevator only goes to the 6th floor. Also, the room had twin beds and I had asked for a king sized one. The room was also stifling – no one had turned the a/c on. Such a difference from my first visit last year when they greeted us with cold drinks, took us to a room that was perfectly cool and had nice music playing in the background. The time on the stereo wasn’t even set this time. Oh well, the view from the balcony was absolutely stunning.

So I got myself settled into my room, and everything was great until I walked into the bathroom and heard this flick, flick, flick sound. I turned toward it and saw this absolutely huge, flying cockroach in the bathtub. I freaked – ran out of the bathroom, slammed the door and called housekeeping. They came up and of course couldn’t find it. I didn’t even want to go back into the bathroom, but called out places to check. I wasn’t going back in until it was gone! It was hiding in the towels in the end. *shudder* When it reared its ugly self from hiding I ran back into the room. Housekeeping duly killed it thankfully; however, I was on the look out for more. You know what they say about seeing one.

So a couple hours go by and there was no sign of any other cockroaches. I got myself ready for bed. I had fun taping the bug goggles back over my eyes – I have to wear them at night so I don’t inadvertently rub my eyes and move the corneal flap. I made my way to the bed, snuggled under the covers and turned out the light. Flick, flick, flick. The light immediately came back on. Peering thru my six holes per eye I tried to find the source of the sound – was it just an insect (there are tropical gardens all over the hotel, so some bugs are to be expected) or was it another horrible cockroach. I searched and searched but couldn’t find anything. So I went back to bed, straining to hear whatever it was.

Flick, flick, flick. I turned the light back on. I caught a streak of something out of the corner of my eye, but couldn’t see anything. At this point I was starting to freak a bit, because that cockroach in the bathroom had flown. Please don’t let it be another one. Light out. Flick. I waited. Suddenly, there was a flick, flick, flick right near my head and something slammed itself into my cheek. I literally jumped off and out of the bed, screamed loudly and ripped the plastic thing off my eye. Despite the pain of having three pieces of tape ripped simultaneously off my face, I didn’t feel it. What the heck just smacked into me???!!!! Light goes back on. Turns out it was a little wee tiny beetle. I hope. Needless to say, I won’t sleep well in this room. Are there any other things lurking?

Friday, April 29, 2005

The big day - Lasik surgery

Woke up early today for breakfast and then went to pay for my tickets down to Phuket. The business center automatically booked them for me without asking, so I was a bit miffed at that (couldn't check other prices), but in light of time constraints it was probably better anyway.

Then I went to the Lasik center for my eye check. My starting vision was 20/100 in my right eye and 20/63 in my left. They did fifty million tests including inspecting my retina with a small magnifying lense - like a jewellery loupe, but the doctor held it between her fingers. The whole process was very professional. The first thing that happened was they took my picture, and every different test that I did had my picture on the computer where they enterred my info. Great way to ensure there is no mix up.

I also had to watch an hour long multimedia presentation on all the side effects that I might have. I was impressed with how thorough that was. I had lots of questions and they answered them fully for me. Some of them the assistant couldn't answer, so he said I should ask my doctor. I asked her about the halos (because I have them already so was especially worried about them after the surgery). She said my pupils were on the large side of average and that is why I get the halos. She said it was a possibility for me after the surgery that they would be worse. Getting halos is only a 1% risk though, which was acceptable for me.

All the tests checked out and I was a good candidate for surgery, so they confirmed my appointment for that afternoon (originally I was supposed to go for the exam yesterday but had been rescheduled due to a conflict - so my exam and surgery were on the same day). The only thing left to do was go and get my HIV test.

I went up to the nearby hospital where they did the test and gave a discount to Lasik center patients (because of all the referrals I'm sure). All up the thing cost about US$20. Not bad. As usual, my body did not want to give up any of my blood. At least the nurse found the vein on the first prick - I had to show her where to look on my arm though (the space with all the needle scars centered in a 5mm area). She only got about 70% of the amount that the test required before nothing more came out - and that took a good 10 minutes... for one small vial. Since that was the only vein she could find, she was going to resort to butterfly clips in the hand. I begged her to check with the lab, because, pardon my language, drawing blood from your hand hurts like a bitch. Luck was with me thankfully - the lab said that that was enough blood and I was spared the agony of needles in my hand.

I was sent to go and pay the bill and wait about an hour for the results. I just had a mini-nap and watched all the people in the waiting room. I got my "negative" report and then went down the street to grab lunch. I should note that I felt very cool in my sun glasses (my eyes had been dilated during the eye exam so I was sensitive to light) until I realized NO one else was wearing any. I guess it wasn't all that bright outside. Oops.

Lunch today was green curry with shrimp, rice and a coconut smoothie. I love coconut smoothies. They work perfectly at cutting the spice in curries. The food was ok, but a bit expensive considering the type of restaurant I was in. A total of 300 Baht.

After lunch I had a bit of time before my surgery, so I headed back to the hotel to grab a nap for an hour. Then back to the Lasik center for my surgery. I must say I was a bit worried. Because of all of Hiroshi's "you'll go blind!" and my sister-in-law Keiko's "Lasik surgery is not safe!" I started to get really nervous. Especially because I was by myself.

They started me off with numbing drops, which stung. They then gave me a pill which I assumed to be valium - it matched the pills in the packet of valium they gave me for that night if I had trouble sleeping. The valium did not have any effect as far as I could tell. If it made you calm, all I can say is I don't want to know how badly I would have freaked out during the first part of the surgery.

They put in a metal ring to keep my eye open, which was also the thing they attached the cutter to. That was a bit uncomfortable because it was digging into my cheek bone. Next they put suction on your eye before they make the flap. Oh - my - god. That was excrutiating. In everything I have read online, no one has mentioned pain during suction. Everyone says "it was a bit uncomfortable... and my change in vision is aweseome!". Heh. I think this is like what happens with childbirth. Ask a woman immediately after birth how bad it was, and a week later, and you will get two totally conflicting answers. Something along the lines of "most painful thing you can imagine - never, ever in a million years will I get pregnant again" to "not so bad - I want another one". Well, let me tell you, that suction part hurts. Granted it is only for about 15 seconds, but those are pretty much the longest 15 seconds in the world. Especially when you are by yourself and there is no one there to hold your hand.

After that horrible part though, everything was fine. Or maybe the valium kicked in at that point LOL. No, the laser itself did not hurt at all. I had to look at a light for about 40 seconds while the laser worked. My right eye kept wandering on its own accord - but I was eventually able to look in one place for the right amount of time. My left eye had the same problem and she had to stop the laser at one point. I am worried that that eye will have a problem now. She said everything went fine but I am still worried.

The laser itself smells. The doctor said it was the laser and not my eye that smelled like burning. It isn't that bad. The room just smells a bit off. When the laser finished the doctor smoothed the flap back over my eye. That was weird. I couldn't see what instrument she was smoothing it with, but I could feel it. Felt like someone lightly stroking your skin actually. Not painful or uncomfortable, just odd because you don't expect that sensation in your eye.

After that they taped up my eyes with bug goggles (white plastic cups that have a grand total of six small holes in each) to protect my eyes. I had to rest for a bit, and then they escorted me to the shoe locker (everything was blurry) and down to a taxi. They even called my hotel a bit later to make sure I had arrived safely. That was great.

At the hotel you immediately have to go down a set of stairs. The concierge on duty spoke very little English and didn't understand "please help me down the stairs". A lady came running over though and helped me down the stairs and took me to my room. I immediately went to bed like I was suppposed to, and slept for about 5 hours.

At that point I could "see" - limited as I was thru mini-holes. I ordered room service because getting to a restaurant would have been a nightmare. Room service came up with my food and it was absolutely beautiful! The cart converted into a table with linen table cloth. There were even fresh flowers in a vase. I took a picture with my camera because it was a bit hard to see it completely, but what I did see was nice.

I had shrimp cakes, chicken and cashews, tom yung goon which is spicy soup (which I hadn't ordered and was charged for, but I was too out of it to complain and try to deal with it - and the soup was good anyway), and a Thai dessert. Everything was delicious except the dessert which was a rice and bean thing. Oh well, at least I tried something different.

After dinner I went back to bed again. I was sleepy and not in any pain so I didn't have to take any of the pills they had given me. Lucky, I guess, that I have no discomfort whatsoever.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Such a hard life

I didn't get to bed last night until almost 3, what with arriving at 1 am, going thru customs, getting a car to the hotel, and checking in. I actually woke up around 10ish (equivalent to noon Tokyo time) which I suppose is a testament to resting in business class. Usually I sleep forever if I get the chance!

I wandered down for breakfast and they had the standard buffet that 5 star hotels in Bangkok do - there was tons of fruit, bacon and eggs, Japanese food, Thai food and even some Chinese food. So I had bacon for the first time in years (you just can't get "real" bacon in Japan) and it was heaven. The restaurant was on the lower level of the hotel and I got a seat by these two-storey glass windows that overlooked a pond and waterfall. It was beautiful!

After breakfast I took a walk over to the Lasik center (which was relatively close) and basically sweated to death. Man, is Bangkok hot! Hitting 34C weather with 80% humidity takes its toll. I decided this was the first and last time I was walking there. I was completely exhausted by the time I got there. Not to mention drenched in sweat.

I grabbed a cab out front and went to a shopping mall that Erik had been to when he was in Bangkok - Siam Center. I just wandered around looking at stuff and picked up some things from the drug store, like lemon grass lip balm. I also got some raspberry foot lotion so I could pamper myself. I had wanted to get some books on photography while in Thailand, but the bookstores (3 of them) had a very poor English selection.

Since I am not that into shopping, I eventually got a taxi back to the hotel. The scammer. He drove me all over Bangkok. I was directing him where to go. It was actually kind of funny because I got to experience a weird phenomenon that world travellers have noted. Show someone a map and they look at it as if you handed them ancient Egyptian to decypher. I even pointed out major landmarks on the map to this guy and he still turned it around, and around and around trying to make sense out of it. I eventually made it to the hotel and grabbed the conceirge into helping me yell at the guy. I think he was feigning stupidity and drove me everywhere because I forced him to turn the meter on. He was trying to increase the fare on purpose.

I ended up just paying him because even with the hour long detour all over the city, it had only cost about 100 Baht - about US$3. I had been livid about the whole thing until I got myself to take a look at the big picture. Three bucks is not a big deal.

So, despite being over the taxi incompetence, I still had some mild tension and it was off to the hair salon! The conceirge had recommended a place in the building the hotel is connected to. For about 200 Baht, including tip, I had an hour of luxury. The hairdresser washed my hair for 20 minutes! Oh so nice! Then she spent a good 30 minutes drying my hair.. and managed to get it perfectly straight and flat! This is amazing. No one has ever accomplished this! I didn't actually like what it looked like, but the cut was decent and I can style it the way I want tomorrow.

After my haircut I had just enough time to freshen up for my spa appointment. I tell you, relaxing in Thialand is hard work. I had a facial (because I wouldn't be able to get one after my eye surgery) and a body wrap with tumeric and honey. All I can say is, it was awesome! It was so relaxing! I love facials! The body wrap was also great because the treatment specialist basically gave me a massage while putting it on. I came out with glowing cheeks and silky soft skin. It was great!

After the spa it was time to hunt down dinner. Just down the road was the Suan Lum night bazaar so I grabbed a taxi and headed out. I found some sunglasses that I liked, got some omiyage (small souvenirs for people in Japan) and went to restaurant on the outskirts for dinner. The food area in the center of the bazaar was extremely crowded. As I was sweating profusely again, I wasn't up for pushing thru throngs of people. The dinner I had was very good though - albeit more expensive than going the inner stalls I am sure.

I had these pork triangle things as an appetizer, tom yun gai soup (chicken coconut soup - my fav), shrimp red curry and a coconut smoothie. Yum, yum, yum! I hadn't had lunch so this was a big meal. I couldn't finish it all though. I was totally stuffed! All up it only cost about 400 Baht.

Stuffed and sweaty, I hailed a taxi back to the hotel. Tonight's turndown gift was this weird wood post card. I want another turtle! Those were cute! Back in the room I just hung out in the heavenly airconditioning, read the paper and rehydrated. I haven't read a paper in eons so it was nice.

All in all, a busy day. Shopping, eating and going to the spa. It's a hard life I tell you.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Off to Thailand

Yippee! I'm off on vacation! I woke up this morning and finshed packing. Then I ran some errands (like picking up Hiroshi's dry cleaning and getting some money). I grabbed a taxi to the station so I didn't have to lug my suitcase and caught the train to the airport. Pretty uneventful. I started listening to my e-book on the way.

At the airport, check in was extremely disorganized. One of the attendants took my passport to start checking me in at another counter, only he had two other people's passports as well... so when two attendants opened up, I wasn't able to check in, but had to wait while about three other people went ahead of me. Stupid.

I eventually made it through security and made my way to the lounge. I was so looking forward to the lounge, but the lounge China Airlines uses at Narita basically sucks. When I flew with Thai airlines they had sandwiches and trays of fresh fruit. This lounge had crappy cheese processed cheese and saltines. Oh well, at least I would get fed on the plane (I hadn't eaten at home because I was expecting decent things in the lounge).

I pre-boarded and got myself organized. Then I enjoyed a glass of champagne. I love business class. As I was sitting there relaxing, some airport employee boarded the plane and then came over to me to tell me that my luggage had "opened". As in the zipper had broken. I'm like, what? I had visions of my underwear being all over the tarmac. He said I had too much stuff in my suitcase so the zipper broke - which was a crock because I just pulled the lid closed and didn't have to squish it or anything. They put too much weight on top of it. Anyway, I decided not to get all stressed out about it. Nothing I could do anyway. The man said that they had taped it all up, so I'd just have to wait until Bangkok to see what had happened.

The meal on the plane was salmon gravalox as an appetizer, then pork with herb crust and veggies, and then a yummy raspberry dessert. I also had a glass of port. It was quite good. We were basically just served the meal and then we landed in Taipei.

CKS airport is rather dumpy and moldy. The business lounge is nice though - dim sum and noodles are available (I wasn't hungry though). I must say, Thai still has the best lounges though. I read some magazines and surfed the net for a bit and then it was time to board the next leg.

Got fed again on this flight. This time I had the penne with fish because I wanted something light. I also stuck with water to drink. Then I had a little nap. I was landing in Bangkok at 1am, which is 3am Tokyo time.

We landed on time and I got my luggage which really was all taped up. I went over to the baggage claim area and talked to a guy about making a claim on my luggage. He said it happened all the time. The zipper did do up still and everything seemed to be in place, so I just left it. I did get the claim form just in case though. Then I went and got an airport limousine (aka pre-paid taxi) to my hotel. You do it this way because the cars are much nicer (Corolla instead of a beat up K-car) and you don't have to wait an hour in a line to get a taxi that may drive you all over the city to increase the metered fare.

It took about half an hour to get to my hotel. Once there, I checked in and crashed in bed! Time to sleep!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Sometimes Japan is Weird

Today was supposed to be nice and sunny, but in the middle of the afternoon, this huge storm came in and it poured rain. I, of course, did not have an umbrella and got thoroughly drenched. There were even big streaks of lightening across the very black sky. You hardly ever see lightening in Japan (not sure why).
Then tonight, I was walking home from the station and some guy came up to me and started pulling at my arm. He then proceeded to stuff packages of kleenex (clean) into my purse. Ummm, ok. Thank you I guess? That was just strange.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Japanese train crash kills dozens

Got home and checked the news, to find a Japanese train crash was the top story. How horrible. The article says 50 people died. :(

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Can't sleep

It is actually 2am but I have set the date to be Sunday's entry. I had planned on going to bed early. However, I have been tossing and turning since 10:30 or so. At this point I am just frustrated, so I'm surfing the net in hopes I will get tired soon. After two hours of staring at the clock I was ready to scream.

I realized tonight that I only have one more week to wear glasses - and now I'm all excited. I'm also thinking about all of the fun things I want to do in Bangkok and how I will arrange my sight-seeing around appointments with the eye doctor. In other words I'm excited about going on vacation to. So being excited about two things, means no sleep. And tomorrow is very early and very long - it is my heaviest day of the week. So, I'm off to bed again, and hopefully I can get some sleep before my alarm goes off at 6am.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Koizumi apologizes to China

The big news here recently has been the riots in China over "Japanse textbooks". I put that in quotes because I've kind of come to the opinion that all Asians hate each other, and the textbooks are just an excuse for the Chinese to lash out at the Japanese. (The racism by Asians against other Asians is mindboggling - I'm not singling out the Chinese)

Anyway Prime Minister Koizumi apologized to China - using words remarkably similar to an apology that was made 10 years ago. I'm a bit divided over the whole issue. I do think Japan needs to take more responsibility, and well, ownership, for their actions during WWII. On the other hand, as soon as they do that, they will get Koreans and Chinese coming out of the woodwork suing them. I understand why they haven't said antyhing.

Hopefully things will all settle down and there won't be more riots this weekend. All of the violence was rather disconcerting. Bottom line, I think this is more of a power struggle between China and Japan for dominance in the region, and if Japan gets a UN seat, then China will lose one of their trump cards so to speak.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Eye checkup

Hiroshi and his family are all worried about my LASIK surgery so I went to see an optometrist tonight that Keiko (my sister-in-law, who is also an optometrist) referred me to. I don't know what surgery they thought I was going to get, but the conversation with the optometrist went something like this:
optometrist: What kind of eye surgery are you getting?
o: LASIK? Oh, that's perfectly safe.

So I'm not quite sure why I went there. Oh, he did tell me that I should get it done at that hospital because East Japan is the best at LASIK. Um, ok. I'll just ignore that sales pitch. I was able to ask him some questions though that Keiko had me worried about - she is all worried about glaucoma for some reason. This doctor said it wasn't anything to worry about. So all is good - assuming I'm happy with my clinic after questioning them at my initial appointment, there is only one week to go until surgery.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Cleaning up a storm

Tonight I spent 3 hours cleaning the kitchen. Seeing as my kitchen consists of about two meters worth of cupboards, sink, and stove, you know I was being picky! I cleaned the burners and underneath the stove, wiped down the cupboards and the wall, washed all of the things sitting on the ledge including the kettle and my oil atomizer, cleaned the sink and generally tidied. So it will be gleaming for about a day and a half. Next step - bedroom. Need to clear out some clothes and do general spring cleaning in there.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

AR7 - Episode 9

Not sure if I like that extra long leg or not - but it must have been a total killer. They were probably going for four days before they hit the pitstop. Joyce - wow. She'S awesome. And Uchenna? That's supportive. What are they talking about when they said they thought there relationship was having trouble?? What an amazing couple. Glad to see Lynn and Alex go - hated them and their whining. I cheered out loud when they were eliminated. Hopefully Gretchen and Meredith next! She tends to grate a bit.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Clothes, wonderful clothes

I grabbed some stuff online from Land's End last week, and it arrived today. I ordered a blouse that turned out even better than I expected. It has french cuffs and a very nice herringbone design. I like it. Also got underthings as well as a few casual shirts. Time to get rid of those 10 year t-shirts that are all faded and crappy! New clothes are awesome. :)

Of course I had to go all over the place to get them. I had forgotten to get Hiroshi's dry cleaning tonight on they way home, so I went to get that (near Osaki station). Then went to the other station near my house (Gotanda station) to get my Narita Express ticket (one week until Thailand!) and over to the 24-hr post office because I wasn't home when they tried to deliver my package. Of course I arrived just after 9, and my package hadn't come back yet. I had to wait until after 10. So I grabbed a newspaper and sat in a cafe for an hour before going back. I haven't read the newspaper in ages, and now I remember why. Is there anything good happening in the world? Geesh. So with drycleaning and package in hand I walked the 2 km or whatever back home (the 24-hr post office is far from convenient). Phew!

But, everything fits, and looks good, so I'm happy.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Okinawan restaurant

Tonight we went out for dinner at an Okinawan restaurant in Koenji. This is big for me, because I tend not to stray too far from home on weekends.. anything more than three stops away is "far". It was actually kind of fun because we haven't been to Koenji in ages. Lots the same, but some things have changed.

The restaurant itself was very noisy and smokey, but the food was good. We had sea grapes, which were really nice. Refreshing, but they had a salty taste. There was also a pork dish that was to die for - super yummy. Then lots of goya which is a very bitter vegetable. I'm not overly fond of it, but the food we had was good. I had to limit myself a bit because the bitter taste wasn't clearing from my mouth. It is supposedly really healthy for you - and seeing as Okinawans have like the highest (longest?) longevity on the planet, there may be something to that. The only thing that wasn't good was a dish that was pork, but turned out to be pork intesting. Very, very yucky. Otherwise, the food was great though, and we go to try a new restaurant!

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Out for the evening

I had to work this morning, but while I was in the office, I was invited to my co-worker's birthday party. Hiroshi and I had planned to go out for dinner tonight so he had joined me in going to the office, staying at the coffee shop next door while I worked. So, he tagged along to the party. I was surprised because he doesn't reallly like being around all English speakers, nor does he like sudden changes in plans. But we had a good time. He didn't have a problem with the English, and many of the people there spoke excellent Japanese (including my Japanese teacher who is my co-worker's girlfriend).

I haven't been out socializing for a while, other than a dinner here and there with individual friends, so that was fun. And, Hiroshi and I will just go out for dinner tomorrow night instead!

Friday, April 15, 2005

Lucky day off!

Today my class cancelled, so I had an unexpected day off. Hurray! I slept in late, watched some movies and cleaned the apartment. Nice relaxing day. I even had a little nap in the afternoon. Man, I love naps. I'm looking forward to my vacation (only a week and a half away!)... can't wait to just laze around in a lounge chair on my balcony overlooking the ocean, take afternoon naps every day and generally just vegetate. Vegetating is good!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Controlling my shopping tendencies

I have been thinking that I need a new hard drive to backup my computer. I think this is a want more than a need though. So, I've been spending the last few days convincing myself not to go to the electronics store. Tonight I finished work relatively early, and I'm very proud of myself... I did not go shopping despite the fact that my feet wanted to take me in that direction. No shopping! Gotta save money!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Mmmm Indian Food

Taught a seminar this morning with one of my co-workers, so we went out for lunch together afterwards. We went to an Indian restaurant which had really good lunch sets. I had the combination curry set - shrimp, mutton and vegetable curries. It was delicious! Just enough spice to give it a kick, but not so much that you would sweat to death. It came with a giant nan too. Love nan. Sure it is not that healthy for you, but it sure tastes good! Oh, I want to go to India so I can pig out on curry :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Extra cherry blossom day!

Today I unexpectedly got to go and look at cherry blossoms again. I arrived at my older women's class this afternoon, and two of them ran in saying the blossoms were in full bloom (the class is in Saitama, the prefecture north of Tokyo) and that we should go for a walk. So, we walked along the river looking at blossoms. It started to rain a bit, but we all had umbrellas, so it was ok. There were hundreds of petals fallilng - it was like snow! So pretty. The trees were beautiful too. After our walk we headed to the mall for coffee and cake. It is hard to believe that I get paid for doing this!

Monday, April 11, 2005

Rain, rain go away

Today was absolutely freezing. Yesterday 21C, today 8C. What the heck is up with that? I was just thinking that being in Bangkok won't be so nice weather-wise compared to Tokyo. It should be liek 30+ and humid as all get out. However, if Tokyo is going to have 8C weather, I think I prefer Bangkok!
I also noticed today that it has rained every Monday for the past four or five weeks. That's sad. Makes you wanna jump right out of bed and go to work... not.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Windy Picnic

Hiroshi and I had a nice picnic today after walking along the river and enjoying the cherry blossoms. Due to weird weather, high wind and rain the blossoms won't last long this year. This weekend will probably be the only viewing time for most people.

Today the wind was incredibly strong - it was really hard to get pics of the flowers because they wouldn't stay still! Even our picnic stuff was blowing away! I did manage to get a few though.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Happy 5 Year "Anniversary"

Today marks 5 years that Hiroshi and I have been together. Can't believe it has been that long! The original plan was to go and have a picnic under the cherry blossoms - the same as when our romance bloomed. Okay, that is kinda gaggy. But really, after essentially giving up on him (he totally missed months of flirting) he came to my hanami (cherry blossom party) and things happened.

Anyway, after I finished work I arrived at the train station to find that the train was down -- and it was down for like an hour and a half. So I didn't get home until after dark, which meant the romantic cherry blossom picnic was out. So we decided to tempt death instead and go for fugu. :) Actually, Hiroshi had never had it before - big surprise to me! So it was cool. We had a really nice dinner - due to crazy work schedules we don't see too much of each other. It was good to sit down and be together and talk for a couple hours. And fugu tastes good, so it was a nice dinner.. and we didn't die. So life is good.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Stupid pachinko

On the way home from work tonight I felt lucky, so dropped into the pachinko parlour for the first time in ages. Obviously my luck meter was off, because pachinko just sucked money out of my wallet. Stupid pachinko!

They've changed all the machines to a new type - I don't like them. It is much harder to aim the balls on these ones. Bring back my old pachinko machines please. And my luck too.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Cherry blossoms are blooming

After much teasing and delays due to whacky weather, the cherry blossoms are finally blooming! Everything looks so pretty :) I love this time of year. I hope to get out this weekend and take some pics!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

People are crazy

This is so sad. I can't believe that people in India and Pakistan are upset about a bus service that will reunite family members. How exactly does attacking bus passengers promote a political agenda? Stupid. I'm sure I don't understand all the politics of the situation, but trying to blow up people who just want to see family members that they haven't seen in years, well... people are crazy.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The Jehovah's Witness Quiz

This quiz is just too funny. Well, not the quiz itself, but the analysis of your answers. My person favourite comment... "this could be a problem. Other JWs wouldn't want to associate with you and you won't have any friends". I'm 33% JW btw.
Oh, and for those of you who might be wondering, yes, there are JWs in Japan. There is a woman that hangs out in Ikebukuro station and always corners me when I am up that way. She's pretty nice about it though. I figure she must have a horrible time spreading the word, since I assume she can only target non-Japanese (language barrier for one).

Monday, April 04, 2005

Artistic Reclaimed Land

Now this and this are awesome ways to use reclaimed land. Not to mention they are exciting real estate projects. The aerial photos are cool. The world is awesome but I kind of like the aesthetics of the palm tree. Wonder how much one of those islands would set you back.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Kanji Dyslexia

I've decided that I must be kanji dyslexic. (kanji= Japanese characters) I had to write my address on an envelope tonight in the Japanese sytle, which is vertical rather than horizontal. Needless to say, I wrote mirror images of some characters, had to really, really think about how to write other characters and basically wrote crap unbalanced characters in general. Why is it so much harder to write vertically than horizontally? It boggles my mind as to why it is so difficult to write in a different direction.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Great start to a 2 day weekend!

Yes, I actually have two days off. Whehoo! And I made a fine start by getting up at 11, checking my e-mail and then going back to bed. I then slept until about 8 pm. Guess I was tired! Now I'm lazing around in my jammies, surfing the net waiting for Hiroshi to come home. We're ordering in sushi for dinner. Then, we're going to watch Amazing Race. He is way behind, and I wouldn't mind seeing the episodes again. Wonder what I am going to do tomorrow to top today's excitement LOL

Friday, April 01, 2005

Happy April Fools

Did anyone get fooled? Not part of Japanese culture, so no one even tried to play a joke. Except maybe the person who set the office heat to sauna levels. (Well, that is just normal I guess - the office staff are always freezing, while all the western teachers are sweating to death. They are always putting the thermostat up to 25 or 26.) I was reading on one of my newsgroups though that someone went and changed everyone's desktop to pictures of scantily clad men (for her male coworkers). I thought that was pretty funny. Just in case anyone needs any ideas for next year.