Tuesday, December 28, 2010

foreigners like you

Sorry for the silence! I've been hanging out on the couch, going to brunch, taking walks among the pine trees, listening to the geese everywhere, and chilling with the beagles.

My uncle just posted this picture of my grandpa with my mom and her siblings, I love it. It was taken in Buenos Aires when they were stationed there.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

niaow niaow

Here's another offering over at CNNGo - this time about cat cafés, which I wrote about here. Thank to Jen and Beth and N for going with me for "research"!
And my flickr friend Takashi, a sometimes cat café-goer and cat photographer, gave me a quote but it came too late for me to be able to include it. He says about cat cafés:
"Why do I go to the nekocafe is...
Everycat has his own interests and personality.
I look forward to seeing them grow.Sometimes take a shot of them.
The place that is easy to make a chat with other customers and clerk.
They have in common-cat lovers.
I do not drink and smoking but I think they(cats) are attractive hostess."

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

ice is nice

I've certainly mentioned ice skating before. But this time it's a round-up of Tokyo rinks for this season over at CNNGo.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

veggie japan hacks #2: curry (カレ)

Seijo Ishii makes a brand of vegetarian curry roux for Japanese style curry (it says on their site as well as in the store that it's suitable for vegetarians). It's one of the only ones I've found in Japan that does this - all the other ones have meat in them.
The packet looks like this. 
 S&B also makes one in a cool red tin that seems to be safe. It expressly states that it doesn't use beef, and I can't find anything in the ingredient list that says that it uses any meat.
It's the curry mix, not the curry powder.

I'd love to figure out how to make kare from scratch. Does anyone have a good recipe? I can do Indian masalas a bit but sometimes you just want Japanese-style curry.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

the rest of the summer

In September I had a houseful of visitors from Germany staying with me for three weeks. We were lucky to get an extension on summer while it was already getting frigid over on their continent, and we spent most of the time in tshirts and shorts, fighting off mosquitoes.
We puri-kura'd and got creepy alien eyeballs.
We went to Minato Mirai and rode the rides.
We went to Kamakura and the Daibutsu and the beach and found some truly heinous sea life that Anne happily picked up and prodded. She's a rock. I shuddered.
Lena had her first go at an ocean. And everyone knows, the best way to be in the ocean is in your birthday suit. Here's a tip: if you want people to stare and exclaim EVEN MORE than they usually do, unleash a naked blonde baby on them. I swear we turned hundreds, if not thousands, of heads in unapologetic fascination with this little one. She fell in the fountain in Yokohama, okay? That's why this sprite was tearing around Sakuragicho in her nethers.
And we went to Kodomonokuni, twice, which is majorly fun for kids and pretty cool for adults too. It's totally okay to go swimming in the fountain there, and nobody will even stare at you.
But you might want to bring some extra butt padding if you brave the 110 meter long roller slide. Just saying. I'll spare you more details about the road rash on my backside.
She didn't seem to mind, though.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving you guys.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

this is really cramping my style

I went to the post office to mail a big package, a birthday present to my mom... only to find that, as of November 17th, we are no longer allowed to ship packages heavier than 453 grams (16 oz.) to the U.S. Wha?
The clerk couldn't tell me how long this would continue, but I suspect that it's connected to the recently rigidified airport regulations, what with their full body scans and strip searches. That place is moving more and more into a police state. I really really hope that it's temporary and we aren't just getting mired further and further into the muck.
The ability to write - a root of democracy
I love love love sending parcels and packages and the post office is a regular stop. I guess I'll have to bust out my digital scale and learn the art of small post... but this is a serious bummer.
What speaks like post? Emails are nice, but there's nothing like getting a letter or a parcel. These stamps are just a few from my grandma's extensive and scattered collection. It seems like she kept every letter or postcard she ever received. I'm like that too.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

*ヒョウ柄

Learned some new vocabulary that really enriches my life: hyou-gara.

Leopard print. How did I go this long without knowing how to say this?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

pretty boys selling mascara

Surely you've noticed this. There are a whole lotta mascara ads out there... featuring pretty femme boys NOT noticeably wearing mascara. Proof:
and
and let's not forget
and last but not least, (*edit) Jun Matsumoto:
What do you think is the reasoning behind this advertising? 
If you wear lots of mascara, you will date a boy like this?
Embrace your inner tranny?
These boys are prettier than you without makeup?
Help.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

sweet world

I interviewed Osamu Watanabe, creator of fake cream and strawberry kawaii art, over at CNNGo.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

inaccessible

What the hell is the point of escalators that only go halfway up... and make you walk the rest of the way? How is it possible that so many stations lack elevators? In a city that depends so heavily on public transportation, this is a nightmare for people who lack mobility.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

flea market tomorrow!

OK, I guess it's a little late for a blog announcement, but Beth and I are doing the flea market in Meiji Park tomorrow, November 7th. It goes from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and there are supposed to be like 500 vendors. The weather's supposed to be sunny and warm (for November!) so we might not even need mittens. Come on down and give us a holler, and take away some of our junk!

Meiji Park, 7 min walk from Sendagaya station or Kokuritsu Kyogijo station

I am a genius!

Today I took my coffee to work in an empty coke zero can. Yes!!!

Friday, November 05, 2010

Who's gonna drive you home?

I dreamed about driving last night. Driving around faceless beige industrial areas in a retro car, like an Oldsmobile or a Dart. Ended up in a freight elevator and got stuck on a platform between levels with no way out. Trying to rig up metal grating as a ramp between levels, trying to use some bogus shifting sand properties that in my dream made perfect scientific sense, even though there was no sand in sight. My dad was there, helping.

When I was a kid, my dad always did the driving. He was impatient, it was about speed and finding close to the front parking, and maybe not even getting out of the car while you ran whatever errand, just let you out and circle and wait and I'll be here, go buy the groceries. My mom could drive, was perfectly capable of driving, but when we were all in the car, he had to take the wheel. Control issues. I learned a lot of my driving habits from him, like shouting at other cars and pedestrians (usually to myself and other inhabitants of the car, NOT usually loud enough to get in a fight or get shot or even a mean look). "Where'd you learn to drive!??" "Well, THAT was an expert move, idiot." "What a fucking douche." These are all just a normal part of my driving experience, I don't even notice I'm doing it. Sometimes people get in the car with me and get weirded out by this, but it just goes with putting the key in the ignition.

Nowadays, it's a little different. He still drives, most of the time, but now we find a parking space at the back of the lot, on purpose, and take a stroll, and stretch our legs. He still has a tendency to want to be dropped off at the loading area of the airport, not have us park and see him off if he's going somewhere alone, but he always parks and takes me as far as security when I go, has some coffee or breakfast if there's time before boarding.

He still sometimes buys cars with no prior warning. I remember one time he pulled up to pick me up from girl scouts in a totally unrecognizable car, probably an Olds or a Chevy, a family wagon, brown. There was wood paneling. I didn't know it was him, he hadn't had the car that morning. As an eight year old, I didn't get to have a say in the big decisions, but I might have gotten an inkling that a major purchase was going to go down. Finally he waved me down, as I was standing there straining to see our white Toyota, and packed me into the new car.

He still drives, most of the time. I've been driving for more than half my life now (especially if you include that time I went joyriding with my friends after stuffing some sleeping bags with pillows in a lame attempt to look like we were still having a slumber party in the living room), and if we're all in the car, most of the time he takes the wheel. But sometimes, occasionally, once in awhile, he lets me drive.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

It's the OG

Found another cute organic veggie café in Nishi-Ogikubo.
This place reminds me of one of those sweet Japanese lifestyle magazines like Hanako, or browsing at Muji. All earth tones cream and brown and cute little details.
Holon.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Scorpion Death Rock!

I went to see my friends' band play at Machida SDR.
SDR, incidentally, stands for Scorpion Death Rock. Wicked. I wasn't previously aware of this genre.

Can someone please teach me to take low light band photos with a point and shoot? I hate flash, but if I elongate the exposure, of course everything gets blurry. Thanx.

(p.s. They're playing tomorrow night at Shibuya's Club Kinoto, right near Nagi Shokudo and Sakuragaoka Café. I forsee a delicious night.)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

yesterday

with B at Lion
(apologies for my crappy photoshop skillz. i don't get how you can scan something on the same machine, on the same setting, within one minute of the other, and get two different shades like this. pros?)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

More stuff I did in Oregon

It was really hot one day, and we went to the soapbox derby race on Mt. Tabor. We gorged ourselves silly on vegan pastries from Sweetpea Bakery and sat around in hats amidst scratchy weeds.
We bowled at a benefit for the food pantry where Kelly works, and won all kinds of stupid keychains and slices of pizza.
I played lots of scrabble in bars and parks and living rooms. Represent! I miss scrabble.

Monday, October 18, 2010

ew

The guy standing next to me on the Denento-shitty line (thanks to Saki for coining that name) just picked his nose and ate a gooey booger. Twice.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I bank at Mitsubishi, and every time I go into an MUFJ (which, be honest, doesn't it just beg you to call it muthafug?), their jingle is playing. And part of it sounds like the hook for the cartoon Rescue Rangers. So every time I go to the ATM, I'm humming, "Ch-ch-ch-chip and Dale! Rescue rangers! Ch-ch-ch-chip and Dale! When there's danger!"
All day.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Breitenbush

When I went to Oregon this summer, I went down to Breitenbush, east of Salem.
Even though I lived in Oregon for a lotta years, I had never been to Breitenbush, which is a hippie hot springs resort in the forest.
This year I was lucky that a good friend was working there, and was able to get us in on a guest pass for a nominal fee.
It's breathtaking in the way that Oregon can't help being, all crunchy and zen-y and chill. Wildlife everywhere, excuse the blurry photo. Didn't have time to change my camera setting before they disappeared into the woods.
Hot springs culture there is very different from Japan. It's a bit more unproduced, and it's nekkid mixed bathing, with no showers beforehand. I didn't feel like baring it all for the bearded men, so I wore a suit, which is also ok.
Did I mention the all-you-can-eat vegetarian buffet? Heavenly.
Oregon is so magical!

Monday, October 04, 2010

sunshine city

 I went to Sunshine City in Ikebukuro, um, a couple of months ago. The object was to go to the aquarium and the planetarium.

I don't usually go to aquariums or zoos, but I broke my rule for Beth. Beth, why are you always making me break the rules?
Well anyway, the fishes were beautiful but things like this are why I don't like to go. I hate hate exotic animals in small cages.
By the way, please don't visit the free Nogeyama Zoo in Yokohama. Giraffes in tiny enclosures, the most depressing thing ever.
But then we got to my favorite part, the planetarium. I love planetariums! Even though I couldn't get all the explanations (my black hole and supernova vocabulary is sadly deficient), they still put on a really good show! They don't allow pictures inside, so you get something from their website.
I also went to the Hayabusa film at the planetarium in Sagamihara, but it was boring. I fell asleep. I love learning about constellations and hearing about ancient philosophers and seeing what different cultures see in the sky, but watching a film about a failed sample collecting spacecraft hovering around a big lifeless rock was not quite what I was hoping for. I'd like to go back and see a different show though.

Oh yeah, and the Sunshine City planetarium is funded by Konica-Minolta, while I think the Sagamihara City planetarium has links to JAXA, seeing as the JAXA campus is right next door, and they launched Hayabusa.

This is also a good indoor activity now that the rain and chill has set in and I want to take a bath with a hot apple cider. If I go outside, I think I'll be going star watching.