Tuesday, February 23, 2010

rice noodles and peanuts in the hood

There used to be a great restaurant in the warren of alleys in Machida's stomach (原町田 (I know that this hara is not the stomach hara but I like calling it Machida's stomach, so)) called Pattai. The staff were super cute, friendly, and smiley, and since I went there all the time I even started to make friends, kind of, with them, the head waiter/manager guy showing me pictures of his kids and introducing me to his wife and telling me about his family troubles.

And the food was really really good and best of all they were happy to make anything vegetarian for me. After the first few times going in, I didn't even have to ask.

One day, we went in for dinner, and the old staff had completely disappeared. The sign, the name, the location all the same, but a 100% turnaround of staff.

What happened to them? we asked the new staff.
They quit... came the nervous reply.

How fishy. And the food wasn't good anymore. When I asked if they could make it veg, they ran around, confused, and had hushed conferences. Hmph.

So I was woefully Thai-food less for a few desolate months, until I discovered this place:
They're friendly and nice and know what veggie food is and are happy to make it. It's tasty. My Thai food empty place is filled.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

graduation (or why my hair has looked a fright recently)

I'm a hoarder and a user. I'm not a penny pincher, but I am unable to throw away usable stuff. My phone is at least five years old and I inherited it from my mom. I have tons of mismatched dishes. I don't always love this way of being - sometimes I wish I could just throw it all out and buy new shit and start with a clean slate.

I actually like it when stuff well and truly breaks, when I've used it into the ground and it can't be used no mo'. Then I feel really justified in getting a new one.

Awhile ago, a long while ago, I got a hair trim at QB House. They use disposable combs there and when my trim was finished, the stylist gave one to me, saying he was just going to throw it away otherwise. I took it. Stuck it in my bag and occasionally combed my hair with it.

One day it broke in half. Then one half got lost.

I had some other hairbrushes and combs, but somehow they've all gotten lost or misplaced lately. So I was using half a QB House comb to (occasionally) de-rat my hair.

Due to the tangled nature of my neglected hair, the comb started to take a beating and the teeth started breaking off, one by one.

Last weekend I went to Sapporo and stayed in a cheap business hotel that included a bagful of "ladies' amenities". This bag included TWO, count 'em, TWO hairbrushes; a full-sized one and a folding model.

I feel I can finally retire ol' QB. Rest in peace.

(I also got a bunch of facial care samples and one of those emollient masks. They have collagen in them, however, which I don't want to use since I'm vegetarian. Anyone want them? I can post them to you.)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010

chinese new year

Yesterday was Chinese New Year and some other holiday, too. I trekked out to Yokohama's Chinatown/Chukagai to ring in the new year.I read on the internet that this Chinatown is the biggest in Asia, so it must be true.
There were dancing lions, there were fireworks, there were hordes of people and shopkeepers handing out roasted chestnuts and bits of cake.
I ate veggie gyoza and spring rolls and sesame noodles at Mimika. It was a good evening.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Jen showed me a pretty café on the 10th floor of the new Shin Yokohama station building. There's a boulangerie and tasty tasty cafés au lait.
It's a lovely spot to while away the shitty, sleety afternoon.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Princess J and I went to the Historical Village of Hokkaido, a few snowy miles outside of Sapporo. It was very picturesque, with the huge drifts mounding in the pathways and the old buildings and the one horse open sleigh.But I think the best part was the cab ride over. The cabbie was really excited to have us in his cab, and then wondered if we could follow his English. His "English" turned out to be a rendition of "Hey Jude". Of course, I sang along enthusiastically and he beamed in delight. Next he asked if I knew any songs in Japanese, so I busted out into "Ue wo muite arukou" and he sang too. Not quite satisfied, he suggested that it would be better to do a "jazz-poi" version and started making cymbal and snare drum noises with his mouth.

Karaoke taxi. I think it's a good business model! Anyone want to go in on a cab with me?

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I've written about going to the yuki matsuri a few times before.
This trip to Sapporo was so nice. I brought enough clothes, mostly, though my toes got a little cold.
I had really good company and a great hostess. Sarah is freaking adorable. She wears the shit out of some blue eyeliner and she knows all the best places in this town.
Like the ferris wheel in Susukino.And the night view from JR Tower.
The Ice Terrace at Mt. Moiwa. (It was freezing and whited out when we got to the top, but the view from the ropeway was amazing, and we were able to buy algae erection phone charms.)And maybe best of all, a slinky cool hole in the wall hipster bar (barlor) called Penguin...
that specializes in serving parfaits until 3 a.m. Is this heaven?
I went to a bunch of places I hadn't been before, even though I've been to Sapporo several times. It's a beautiful city (Portland's sister city, holla), and I recommend it.(All photos mine except erection guy. You can click on it to get to the source.)

Monday, February 08, 2010


So many people complain that it's too expensive to go to the Snow Festival, but I don't think it's too bad.

AirDo is a Hokkaido airline that flies between various Hokkaido locations and the rest of Japan. Their flights are pretty cheap if you book a bit in advance. If you book more then ten days in advance and have a little flexibility, I think you could get a round trip ticket for around 20,000 yen.

Plus, their mascot is super cute.
Plus they have cute flight attendants.
Plus their name rhymes with hairdo.

Another thing is that I like to stay in cheap business hotels. I've stayed at Norte a few times; a single room runs around 4,000 yen. My friends are staying at capsule hotel Avinel (male only, 2,900 yen), and my brother stayed at capsule hotel Safro (3,800 yen). Both the capsules have spas and other interesting amenities, and Safro allows women, which is rare for capsule hotels. I'd like to try that next time.

And Sapporo is a really pretty city with lots to do and extremely awesome people. More on this later.

Thursday, February 04, 2010


These days, I take most funny English in stride, aware that my Japanese isn't exactly textbook. I get the gist of what they're attempting to communicate.

For my upcoming Sapporo sojourn, I'm staying in a cheap business hotel. I like all these amenities! My ladies' room has an ionizer, whatever that is! Pumped! But tell me, if anyone knows, what in heaven's name are they trying to say here? (Second row, second picture.)

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Throw the bums out.

Since I've already talked about Setsubun, let's just look at some pretty snack packaging. Here's hoping you can drive out all your demons.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

you get the ankles, I'll get the wrists

Some of my threadbarest socks have been sprouting holes lately.
So rather than mend them or throw them out, I've been cutting off the feet.
And with a quick snip of my scissors, voila! Instant arm warmers. It's the current trend at my house.
It makes February a little bit better.

Monday, February 01, 2010

nobody, everyone

Yeah, I'm late, so sue me. I remember seeing the trailer for Nobody Knows (誰も知らない) a couple of years ago, and wanting to check it out. Now I see that it won at Cannes. Somebody is behind the times.
Finally I got around to it, and I was not sorry. The acting was really good, the shooting beautiful and subtle, and it's based on a true story. (These pictures from the director's website, linked above.) It's about some kids whose mom abandons them and they live alone in an apartment.

I also saw All About Our House (みんなの家), which was nothing special. It was an okay movie about building a house, briefly redeemed by an appearance by Shingo Katori, who might be my favorite SMAP. He plays a bleach-haired Shinto priest. That guy can't act; I've seen a little of his show that's on now, about the dorky cop. I think it's from a manga. Has he had any roles where he was good? I don't care enough to investigate.I watch random J-flicks because it helps improve my listening, you know, rather than actually TALKING to people. This might explain why my listening is so much better than my speaking. And my deleterious habit of listening in Japanese (to my family members, for example), and then replying in English. What a lazy ass.

I also saw Avatar, but we won't talk about that.