Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Condensed Pictures

What we been doing in collage form. The snowman is from today. 30 minutes ago. Here in Tokyo.

Friday, February 24, 2012


Fried mashed potatoes with corn?  PUHLEEZE!
I know I seem to talk so much about eating and food, but seriously this is mashed potatoes with corn that has been breaded in panko and fried...HELLO?  I had never had a croquette ever in my life and I am pretty sure that this is one of the most amazing things to eat.  When Patrick bought them, I asked him what it was and he said  "kerokay", which is the Japanesed way of saying croquette.  I must learn how to make!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What is up?!

Nice package.
We are almost done being sick.  Patrick has some crazy neck problem right now, I would call it a crick?  That looks odd to see it in type though.  I am sure it is stress and probably how he slept on it, but he is getting better.  Finally, we are all getting better.  Today was a beautiful day and I took full advantage and opened up some windows to get some fresh air in this apartment and get rid of the sick air.  We also went on a walk and went to the train station to get coffee.  Everything feels pretty good.  I got a package from Diane this weekend and I want to thank her for all the nice things from home.  My hair thanks you so much.  I have not been able to find the right henna here to color my hair.  That is right, I am not a real red head, I am a blonde with henna.  It all makes sense now!  I also was pretty busy with teaching last week.  One of the teachers was sick, so instead of my single class, I had three classes last week.  SO much fun teaching those kids.  I had a group of 3 year old kids and they just learn English so fast.  It is like having a class full of parrots.

Chocolate, Gummi Bears, Coffee, and the green stuff is henna hair color.
This came from Spokane!  Yay!  What a nice surprise!  I really needed all of this.  The chocolate was a really yummy bitter chocolate from Theo in Seattle, yes, yummy.  And after watching a video on YouTube, I was able to just touch up my roots with my henna.  I used a kitchen mixer and a cake decorator bag to do genius is that?  I was just doing my whole head when I needed a touch up, and what a waste.  This way I only used half a box.

Look, MA!  No roots!
See!  No one knows I am a blonde anymore.  And that is so good.  See, thumbs are up.

My Milo addiction.
I have no idea why this stuff tastes so good to me right now, but I am just going with it. I guess maybe my body needs barley or something. I am pretty sure that I will finish this tomorrow and do not ask me how much milk we have gone through here. The milk tastes so much better here. In Spokane, I was buying milk from a local dairy and it was pretty good. But, the milk from the convenience store here is so good that I find myself just drinking milk all the time. And I never really did that before. Same thing with the eggs. I am eating two eggs every morning. They are so fresh, I cannot believe it. If I want to make deviled eggs, I have to buy eggs and let them sit in the fridge for a few weeks. WTF? In Spokane, I could make hard boiled eggs like the day I bought the eggs. Who needs to have chickens? They are pretty gross anyway. The chickens are.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sick, sick, sick.

We are all busy trying not to be sick.  I am pretty sure Miyo has her first ear infection, Nanae sounds like she has whooping cough, Patrick either has hay fever or some illness, and I am trying to keep it together.  I am sorry that I am not here for you.  I will be back soon, I promise!  Here is a cute picture to keep you busy until then.

Miyo and Nanae will be in charge of the call center.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Call the mayonnaise police!

Looks innocent enough, right?

I am new to mayonnaise.  I still remember crying in high school when there was a mistake at KFC and my Chicken Little had mayo on it.  Yes, I cried when I was in HIGH SCHOOL about mayo.  I hated mayo and would not eat anything that even touched it, could not even scrape that stuff off and make me feel okay about it.  Mayo and I can coexist in small doses like on a sandwich, but not when we are on pasta or pizza or snuck into an cheese and onion covered piece of bread such as you see here.  I hate it when they sneak it into food when I am so excited to eat it.  This little morsel came from the market at Saint Marc's restaurant that is held the second Sunday of the month.  They have some farmer's selling produce, some of their baked goodies, and some of their soup, salad dressing, cake and today they had alcohol.  Next month, I will not get this bread.  The croissants however, were totally delish.

Guilty of mayonnaise smuggling!

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Gaijin With A Bumble Bee Tattoo.

Today was the Japanese theatre release of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.  I read this series right after we got to Japan and I was really looking forward to seeing how the movie measured up.  With some Patrick guidance, I took the train all by myself to the Warner Brothers Mycal Theatres to watch it.  I had to switch trains and take the municipal subway at one point, which was a bit tricky, but I made it to the mall with time to spare.  Buying tickets was a breeze until he asked me which seat I wanted...WHAT?  You get to pic a seat when you buy your tickets?  Yes, you do.  And, since I was the first person to buy a ticket for the 4:30 pm showing, I choose a great seat that was worth the ¥1,800.  That is about twenty dollars!  Yikes!  I grabbed a cup of water and went to sit down.  They played tons of commercials and previews, but now I know when the new Twilight is released here.  The movie itself was pretty great.  I really liked it.  I was a little shocked at how graphic it was, I know I read the book and I knew this stuff, but actually seeing it was pretty intense.  I wonder if the ten other Japanese people in the audience knew what they were getting themselves into.  They even blurred out on of the scenes in the movie, no special effects, just good old fashioned pixels.  After the movies I grabbed a quick bite and took the train to my station and then a very crowded bus home.  It was a pretty good date with myself.  I was so nervous when I left the apartment, that I actually forgot the camera so I am sorry.  Maybe when I go to see the new Twilight movie on the 25th of this month, I will make a little photo essay for you!  

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Driving? More like driving you crazy.

I could sit here and tell you how insane it is to drive from Tokyo to our apartment, during rush hour, and to have scooters and small motorcycles zipping past you on both sides of your lane.  Wait, I just did.  I cannot believe anyone can get accustomed to how aggressive those little guys are!  I do not mind being at a total stop in my car for long amounts of time, driving on the opposite side of the road, new and different looking traffic signs, and narrow streets.  Tonight, I was seriously wondering how safe my car would be if one of these scooters was to hit me while I was at a stop.  Scary stuff.  

As I was brushing the kids' teeth tonight and singing the Ipana toothpaste song while I did so, I began to wonder about all the little things that we do because our parents did them with us.  My Dad used to sing this song to me when I was little.  I called it, "the brusha brusha song".  That is a pretty good memory.  Yet, one of the other things my Dad did when I was little, was turn off the lights when he left a room and he would give me a hard time if I left them on.  This has caused more drama than you will ever know...These are both things that I have managed to maintain as an adult, one being sort of compulsive and the other one just sort of fun.  I love my Dad.  

Go ahead and take it look.  It is pretty great.

No blog entry is complete without some pictures.  Here are a few random ones that I took while I have been practicing.  I just want everyone in Spokane to know that even this super cheap and discounted tofu kicks the $hit out of any tofu you can get there, even that locally made one which shall remain unnamed.  Why is this?  I know it is sort of their thing here, but seriously it is a huge difference.  I can just eat tofu with a spoon here with nothing on it and be totally happy.  Can you do that with your tofu?

I do not know if everyone knows about the shoe thing.  You have to take your shoes on and off all the freaking time here.  If I had designed any of these houses and homes, I would have made sure there was a seat or something to sit down at while you are taking those shoes on and off.  People expect you to just throw them on and get the heck out of the way.  I love laces and this is not the best place to have them.  Everything zips, has Velcro, or slides on.  Can you imagine having all of your shoes right by the front door?  Talk about welcoming a guest!  "Please, come in and smell my feet!"

No such thing as crappy tofu here.  Organic?  Who cares!

Shoes that slide on are a must.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Losing teeth and exhaling.

I have been holding my breath and freaking out over teaching my first class.  Now as I sit here in the glare of the monitor after the fact, I feel like I can breath again.  Lesson plan?  I have no idea what that is!  English?  I barely speak it!  I LOVED IT.  My class had five kids in it and even some of their parents who watched.  I blew through my lesson plan in twenty minutes and then had to wing it.  By golly, those kids were counting to six in English after my hour with them.  I talked about procrastination, and when I am faced with a challenge, not always but usually, I just quit.  Patrick pushed me out of my comfort zone and I am exhilarated and looking forward to teaching more.  And I am grateful.  If I could only remember these kids' names.  On a lighter note, Miyo lost yet another tooth.  Now she says "toof".

She yanked it out all by herself.

So little, looks like a Tic Tac.

The end result.
How exciting to lose teeth as a child, yet it is terrifying to think of it as an adult and it gives me nightmares.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Doing anything but what you should be doing.

Dating as far back as I can remember, I have been a procrastinator.  This is me still doing it.  So I will just show you some pictures I took with some sarcastic captions while I psych myself up to write a lesson plan for my first class ever.  I am nervous and excited.  Enjoy.

My mourning, I mean, morning.

If Miyo did not eat rice she would not eat.

There is an apartment inside of there, wrapped like a present.  This is one of the buildings in the "projects".

Do not let your dog $hit here!  And if you do, pick it up!

This looks like home.  As in Spokane.

Pipes.  They are replacing these all around our apartment.  I have befriended many of the construction guys.  In the US, they are sort of an unsavory bunch, over here they look pretty clean.  As in, the construction crew.  The pipes are pretty filthy.

I think we need a little more cone like I need more cow bell.

Worst parking spot in town.  That is a huge freaking ditch there if you can see it.

I am pretty sure this is not a pro job, just the home owner who is probably "older".  I hope he has insurance.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Not to seem redundant...

Same moon, can you dig it?
As I was bringing in the laundry, I looked out at the sky and noticed how lovely the moon was and I had to snap a picture.  It blows my mind that I am an ocean away from so many people that I love, and we still get to look at this same moon.  Amazing.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


It is done
need not focus on forcing
moments into movement

A package from Spokane!

Another blog post for the day, because a package came!  Yes, Miyo is still in her pajamas, but Nanae is dressed.  That has to count for something.  This came to my door at about 3:30pm today.  I am so excited!  Coffee and chocolates and stickers and cereal and the local news and a board game and Valentine's cards and a new book, and real Cheetos.  Oh my!  If only there were people in there.  A huge thank you goes across the ocean to my dear friend Liza and her family.  THANK YOU!  The package was much needed.  And I had no idea that Seal and Heide broke up until now.  

I hope there is nothing breakable in there!


Birthday candles!

A little bit, I mean, a lot of home!

Clear skies and a sushi lunch.

Today we took advantage of the lovely weather outside and went on a walk to get lunch at the sushi place down the road.  It is not a local place, it is a chain, so it is cheap and there is free miso soup during lunch.  The sky was blue and the sun was out, and it felt great except for the fact it is still pretty cold outside.  This morning I wore my down jacket as I hung out the laundry to dry.  I am also trying to take more photos of things, not just of us.  So, please endure.  We capped off the day with a trip to the hardware store so Patrick could get some things and the kids and I got to check out the animals.  For only ¥126800, you could own an adorable Scottish Fold kitten.  

Miyo, Nanae, and Patrick with a blue sky.  Patrick said he could see Fuji San on his bike ride.

Nanae walked almost the whole way to lunch.

What the heck are these doing out here in the street?

Miyo insists on ordering everyone's dish...that blur is wasabi.

Friday, February 3, 2012

I am officially official.

It is a roller coaster here.  Yesterday I was in the doldrums, and today I am very happy because I went to the ward office to pick up my new alien registration card, or resident card that says I can be here for a LONG time.  But, I still do miss my dog.

I just got my alien registration and I am beginning to resemble an alien.

Good thing she is so cute.  She put ¥1 in the CD rom drive of the iMac.

Miyo put socks on Nanae.

This is the face they make when I say "cheese".

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Another festival? I do not feel very festively.

There are festivals here all the time.  This one has to do with dried soy bean and a scary mask and eating something with soy beans in it.  I do not really know.  To tell you the truth, | thought it sounded like fun and then I sort of forgot about it.  But not before Miyo got this ready made mask on and I was able to snap a photo.  I have been pretty distracted and emotional.  I am missing Spokane, my family and my dog, Bubu.

Bubu dog.

I talk sunshine and roses, but really some days are tough.  Like today, when I wonder what I am doing here.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Pack your own groceries.

Groceries at the store down the hill, Humming Stage.  How is that for Engrish.
What do all the high school kids do to earn money here?  They do not pack groceries.  I do.  In fact, the only other country that I have been to, not including Canada, is England.  And in England, you pack your own as well.  I sort of like doing it, except when I have the baby strapped to my front and she keeps grabbing things, and there are three old ladies waiting for me to get out of the way.  This day, I was shopping alone and I only bought a few things.  I bought ramen, which makes the ramen in the US look like garbage, oranges, cabbage, and bread.  I usually go to the store every day, walking up and down the damn hill is good for me.  Today, I think I might take the car to the video store.