Wednesday, March 31, 2010

reading, read

"...(her) commonness is not so extraordinary. But I expected better of someone who had married me."
-Roger the lawyer, in V.S. Naipaul's Magic Seeds.

And I just finished The Motel Life, by Willy Vlautin. The guy's a Portland writer, and it reads like a zine. It reminds me of Aaron Eliot, or Al Burian, or J.T. LeRoy. Gritty and fucked up and American, but I liked it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

for those of you living on the edge

Taking out money from the ATM a few days ago, my lightning fast fingers were too nimble for the tiny mechanical brain to compute and instead of 2 man, the machine spit out... 2 yen.

Eureka! Coming from the land of minimum 20 dollar withdrawals, it never even occurred to me that I could take out so little. Did y'all already know this?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

fight to the death

March is a battle between winter and spring. Spring creeps up and slides a sweet day into the mix early on, giving her supporters hope; winter responds by pummeling us with wind and cold. Spring parries with a couple of warm days and early blooms; winter throws a hard punch complete with snow and sleet.
Today, spring seems to be winning. Tomorrow, who knows?

Also, why do they make nail polish with brushes that don't reach the bottom of the bottle?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Do I get a prize at the end of this? I'm exhausted.

Him: Indian?
Me: Nope.
H: Afghani?
M: Uh-uh.
H: Pakistani?
M: Nah.
H: Spanish?
M: (yawn)


American or Canadian Guy in the hall outside the bathroom:
Girl coming out of the toilet: Ah, thank you very much! I have relax time!
AoCGithotb: OW! (As I hit him in the shoulder with the door.)

Serves me right for going to a place where people are wearing green jerseys and Guinness balloons tied around their necks.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

blue in yokohama

I have mixed feelings about Yokohama. I think parts of Minato Mirai are sterile looking, like the whole area was wiped clean and rebuilt with little trace of history.

Still, it's really pretty, with the wide paths and lights and parks. 

The Red Brick Warehouse/Akarenga is one of the anchoring landmarks of the area, and inside the old preserved building now are shops and restaurants.

Motion Blue is on the 3rd floor of Akarenga. It's a jazz club and restaurant, part of the Blue Note empire (screenshot from their webpage).
Sorry for the crap quality of my pictures; the staff busted me before I could fix my camera settings. Usually the cover charge is about 4,000 yen, but that's a little steep since I'm not a jazz connoisseur.  
But a few times a month, they offer free shows, with stuff like jazz, Brazilian music, Latin, etc. The pair above is Sonho, a Brazilian-style duo.

A glass of wine or a cocktail will set you back about a thousand yen, but it's a fancy, chill place and one of the best deals around for live music. The next one is a jazz duo on April 1st, and then another on the 7th and on the 14th.

Monday, March 08, 2010

lost things

This video is really pretty.

By Angela Kohler featuring Alison Sudol/A Fine Frenzy as the character and musician.
Via Lobster and Swan.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

very superstitious

Tuesday was hina matsuri (ひな祭り), Dolls' Festival, or Girls' Day. It's also sometimes called mimi no hi (みみのひ), another 語呂合わせ and a play on the 3/3 date. The dolls are hideously expensive (often in the several thousand dollar range), and then if you don't put them away in a timely matter, you're dooming your daughter to grow up to be an old maid. Like there isn't enough pressure to get married and procreate.

Friday, March 05, 2010

just another night in the city

A recent Friday night found me in Shinjuku, going to a show. I meet PJ at the east exit. "Here," she says. "I brought you some hot shoes." She pulls out a pair of four inch heels and demands I exchange my red flats for them. Meekly, forgetting I'm a grown ass woman who can dress her own self, I don them, wobbly on the sidewalk outside of the station.

We have a map to the club and set off to find it. From my map, it looks like it's exactly next to the mangakiss that I joined a few weeks ago, killing time waiting for the karaoke posse to show up. We hoof over there. No club. We backtrack, dodging girls wearing even less than me in my fishnets. They must be freezing their beautiful booties off. Hosts beckon, brandishing their waterfall hair and amazing 1,000 yen 2 hour nomihoudais. It starts to drizzle. My feet hurt; the shoes are too small. We consult the map. Heels clack. Another host approaches, telling us he can speak English. We wave him off and huddle under the umbrella. A koban policeman gives us incorrect directions. We pass the batting cages, again. Start getting into hostess club territory. Just about to give up and take one of the all-you-can-drink offers, we spot the club.

They have music there, if you run out of slinky lion-maned men and bedazzled cocktail dress wearing women to ogle.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

I'm never gonna make friends this way.

Today I was at Doutor typing away and working. I had magically somehow found a wayward wifi signal and was blazing along.

I went to a rock promoter's website FOR WORK and checking some venue information FOR WORK and suddenly... AC/DC came blasting out of my speakers.

I rushed rushed to find the button to turn it OFF FUCK OFFFFFFF but ended up twiddling it back and forth a couple of times before managing to silence Mr. Screechy McMullet.

Lost ANY cred I had with my fellow crap coffee purveyors.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

point card system

Like anyone who's been in Japan for awhile, my wallet is full to bursting with point cards. In fact, I even started a separate wallet just to keep all the cards that I don't use on a nearly-daily basis.

A guy I know is a movie buff and we talk about films sometimes. He recommended that I get a cinema point card, saying that it was worthwhile.

I do go to a lot of movies, often at the same theater, so I paid the ¥1000 joining fee and signed up for one a few weeks ago. Since they give you 2000 points as a sign up bonus and 1000 points per movie, I immediately had 3000 points. They also gave me my friend's points since he didn't have a point card. Up to 4000. It's 6000 points to a free movie. Since I've been to three movies this month, I'm already up for a free one.

Added bonus: 10% off at Haagen Dazs.

Also, I never pay the full ¥1800 price for a movie. Late show is only ¥1200, which is what I usually do. Ladies' day (Wednesday at my theater) lets you in for ¥1000. Couples' day (the 22nd, or ふうふう、which I learned tonight is a 語呂合わせ, or pun) also lets ya in for ¥1000 yen apiece though they aren't hip to the gay. There are other discounts for those who are seniors or are in possession of a studnuddy.

Tonight in Japanese class my classmate Wave came in late. He said that he had been riding his bicycle to the Citizens' Forum and was stopped three times in an hour by the police, interrogating him and asking for his gaijin card. The first time he thought it was strange, the second time he was irritated, and the third time just plain angry. "Do I look like a thief?" he asked us.

He gets stopped all the time. My sister used to get stopped constantly when she lived here too. I know that bike checks are something that the cops get up to sometimes, but it certainly seems like some people get stopped WAY more than others.

I think the cops should issue a point card, and you should get a stamp every time you're harassed without having done anything wrong. And when you fill it up, you should get a year without harassment, or a medal, or a gift certificate for a free dinner or something.