dropped by ruby room to see Tatsuo and look what I got! So sweet! Thank you
There is a modern painting/calligraphy exhibition. The work is by Toko Shinoda - she's 90 years old and says she's still in her experimental stage. She paints with sumi ink on handmade paper. She learned traditional calligraphy as a child, but didn't like the stifling conventions and started creating her own style. My dad started crying when he entered the room.
I went to Tokyu Hands to buy chopsticks and a carrying case.My friend Scott carries around his own chopsticks so he can avoid using the disposibles @ restaurants.Makes total sense & you can buy carrying cases everywhere.I bought one for myself and for Dav. I mean if we recycle paper why not this? It's one of those lost traditions that should be revived. Then I saw this bizarre display of cherry blossom viewing costumes to use when you are completely drunk and want to make a fool of yourself.The last 2 pics are of various things to decorate your cell phone with. 2 aisles! I thought I'd get a little something for my hardworking phone but nothing jumped out except this piglet cover which would be a bit too much.
I am attending a wedding next weekend and thought I'd buy a dress.The fashion now is a bit too frilly for my taste. I did find one I liked but it was over 60000 yen! I wandered around Parco since they always have funky stuff. Here are random pics.
at least it's rather safe and it's warm tonight
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Finished a busy week.Went home to feed cats and change into jeans (ahh...). Now meeting w/ Ayako in Shibuya to wind down.Actally I want to congratulate her on something but I should first check that I can post it. (^_^)
OK got permission- Ayako passed an exam and will be posted to Sri Lanka for 2 years to work for Minirtry of Foreign Affairs! I am super happy for her but another cool girlfriend leaves...あ‐あ
Went out to dinner w/ good friend Scott to Ebisu's Good Honest Grub where they serve healthy tasty food. Shared genmai paella & vege lasagna. Then went to hidden bar w/ no sign and were only ones there to enjoy wine, mellow quiet time and good conversation. B4 going in, we discovered a sakura cherry blossom tree just beginning to bloom. Ahead of any other I've seen. What a splendid gift!
Several things have been going on and I haven't posted for quite some time. The war threw me off more than I realized. I felt a pretty deep sadness and wasn't quite sure how to process it. And work has been absolutely crazy...especially since I was called back from my business trip and was scrambling to rearrange everything. I *think* most is settled now and I feel much better. I also admit to really really missing Dav : )
It's strange because I missed posting...Blogging does change how I view things and it gives me a certain focus - as in "what shall I post today?" Being consumed by work, I let go of blogging and doing so simply emphasized all the more that I was just going to work, going home, going to work, going home.
Well, today I received the most beautiful gift and I couldn't wait to post it. Now that the pics are up, I realize it's hard to see what it is and this posting may be more for my pleasure than yours. Indulge me. My nephew Tyler drew these...or wrote these? I can't tell. From an adult point of view, they are scribbles on pink paper. But from an aunt's point of view, they are fabulous symbols of innocence, glee, and love.
If you've been reading Kurt's postings about his new baby and 親ばか (oyabaka; parent crazy about their kid), well, I'm a おばさんばか (crazy aunt). I don't know how my brother and his wife are able to be so humble about their kids. Ian has a blog going and I LOVE looking at the pics! I've already showed everyone in the office Tyler's art.
おじいちゃん と おばあちゃん (Ojiichan and Obaachan)
Their house in Wadamachi, Yokohama. Where my first memories of Japan come from. Had sushi lunch with them.
Nearby our tombstone, we passed a very old looking one. Much more humble looking, but also rather uncared for. Upon inspection, we found it was from the Meiji era.
At the exit of the cemetery, there are 2 public tombstones - one for miscarriages, and one for unidentified people. It's touching because everyone always pays their respect to these and leaves little food items or flowers.
Today is a holiday celebrating the middle of spring. It's also a day to go visit the cemetery. Paying respects to my ancestors is something I've done since I was a kid, and most Japanese holidays are related to Buddhist rituals. It's just a part of me. I don't analyze it and I don't create my morals based on it, but it's important to me to visit my ancestors, let them know what I'm doing/feeling, and give them water and incense. When I lived in the U.S., I actually had some ashes from the family alter with me and I gave incense when I felt the need to. It helps me feel connected.
Today I went with my mom. My mom's maiden name is Yaginuma. Technically, since she married and is taken out of the family registration, she wouldn't be able to have her ashes put here. My mom told me today how my grandfather had the family tomb made when he was 22. He was poor but saved and was very proud to be able to have it ready at such a young age. We noted how during the bubble economy, people started buying rather flashy tombs (ohaka, お墓). I like ours. Nice and simple.
Just finished watching the news here in Tokyo.Going to bed wondering what kind of a world I am going to awaken to.I feel very unsettled.
Now I really can't believe this. So I flew to HK as scheduled on route to Cambodia. Then, with the war situation and the outbreak of the SAR health alert, the organization I work for officially banned travel for 'non-essential' missions and I was called back to Tokyo. Essentially, I got into HK late at night and went right back the following afternoon. Even met the same flight attendant.
I'm exhausted and am scrambling to rearrange all my work since my travel and everyone else's schedule has suddenly shifted.
At least I got to meet up with my college friends Kit and Terry in HK.
exactly what I needed.Kinmedira fish in dashi sauce, miso soup, genmai rice, & tofu.ごちそうさま
Since I'll be away all next week for work, I'm at my parent's house now to drop off my 2 tigers. They're getting used to being here so it's a rather easy transition and they get a lot more space to run around than my tiny closet of an apartment.
Here are a few pics of their orange house...my dad's favorite color. My dad wanted orange, but my mom thought a gray would be more appropriate. Then last summer, she broke her leg and was in the hospital for 6 weeks. My dad seized the opportunity - had the paint specially mixed so it was just the right hue, got some brushes and began painting away. He did a good job for the first floor, but couldn't reach the second, so in the end professionals were hired. But since my dad got the first crack at it, the house remains orange.
My dad was also seriously tempted to adopt a pug while my mom was trapped in the hospital. But knowing my mom would not be amused, I had to rein him in at that point.
They have a nice balcony. But the traffic from the road can be noisy and the views are of rooftops. It's what you get used to living here though. The last pic is a painting by my grandmother Laura who lives in Virginia.
I've been wanting to comment about the whole Iraq situation...it's been weird to be simply posting about my wanting to be in SF or the meals I've had. The reality is, however, I've been so buried in my work that I have to admit this war is not #1 on my radar screen at this moment. It's totally sad and I don't feel good about it. Yet this week, I've been barely able to keep track of my own life.
I guess that is my statement - how total detachment is possible. I watch the news. But then I get up in the morning, ride a train full of advertisements about fashion, gossip, and cigarettes. It’s quite easy to ignore the impending war.
But regarding the news, the U.S. sure doesn't look good from over here. I don't know what the media is pumping over there, but News Station showed one night:
*Video cuts of a bunch of country leaders one after another saying more inspection time is needed, then a cut to Bush leaning over a imposing podium announcing, fine, the US is ready to act alone. Compared to the images of Japanese politicians we see here, Bush looks stupidly cocky.
*Images of the 'mother of all bombs' being tested in Florida. Residents explaining how their houses shook and it felt like an earthquake. Then Bush's brother saying how it's the “sound of peace" or something like that. I can't remember exactly but News Station didn’t miss the irony and made sure viewers knew this was Bush’s bro speaking.
*A snippet of some military guy saying they're ready to protect America's “friends and allies.” If they [Iraq] want to be provocative, we're ready. "That's our business." Just struck me how any war vocabulary was gingerly avoided.
Maybe this was all on the 6 o’clock news in the U.S. too. But the way these clips were arranged made the US look like a 5 year old having a tantrum. And this is used to critque Koizumi too. Is Japan gonna support this 5 year old?
Those in Tokyo...did ya feel that? I'm working on the 21st floor and the building swayed. Oi...don't wanna be up here in a big one.
In my office we work in individual offices. We all came out to the reception area discussing how we're normally supposed to have helmets at our desks, an emergency pack with food and water, and that we should bring sneakers to work in case we have to walk home.
So easy to forget that the big one is due (they've been saying that since I was a kid though)...and I don't think Tokyo is anywhere near ready. On the other hand, it's so crowded here, what can they really do anyway?
I just had a horrible thought. If I get stuck somewhere under a building, but systems are still up (since this is on Dav's server in SF), technically, I could keep posting and communicating to you from under the building. Eeeeew. I'm NOT gonna think about that possibility.
Tonight's news announced that the estimated bloom start date will be March 29...3 days later than the last estimate because it's been so chilly lately. Updates will be made twice a week now so the celebrations can be planned accordingly.
Phones on train(there are 3), tarako fish eggs, fish seller, and outside eating choices.And I'm actually posting this as I snuggle in bed before I fall asleep...no kidding.
I've been super busy with work...a lot of deadlines from different projects came crashing together...and I'm slated to leave on business next week...so yeah, I'm a bit stressed.
I'm going to Cambodia and Thailand. The first time for me and I'm absolutely psyched. I had added some free days in Cambodia and am staying through the weekend in Thailand. But you know what?? I HAVE to be in the office on Monday so it turns out I'll be in Phnom Penh for ONE day!!!!!! Can you believe that? Luckily I still have my weekend in Bangkok and on my way over I have one night in Hong Kong so I'll get to see an old college friend. But this is all quite frustrating.
Needless to say, I won't be able to post pics during the week while I'm gone since my phone doesn't work overseas. That'll be my next upgrade.
Oh yeah, any comments on the color change? I'm wondering if it hurts your eyes...I'm still getting used to it and haven't decided if I should keep it that way. Or should I do monthly colors?
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I'll update later but right now I'm @ sputnik underground @ an event by nu balance. Right in front of Las Chicas...if in neiborhond must come. Awesome chill amcient music I tried to get it on the movie...
I knew this would happen...I am having a great time @ party and sent message to my beloved Dav but my phone and me sent it to blog for all you to see! Oh well...I'm into sharing (big blush)
i will blog but i want only you. baby i am so in love with you
I went out to dinner w/ Tatsuo tonight.He works for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & has a beautiful heart (but busy too). We went to an Italian theme place that had lotsa atmosphere - even did those American Bday celebration services & sang Happy Bday in English. Now @ B4 1am I have to line up for a cab.An international city where the public trans. closes @ 12:30!Tatsuo & I have decided to run a marathon together next year. Uh oh o(^-^)o
I love lunches available to workers here. Set lunches for around 1,000 yen with a bunch of little dishes instead of one big plate of whatever - the way I like eating. Here is today's Chinese lunch and a cute little teapot decoration.
I'm thinking of coffee.I wake up for coffee. Quite an addiction isn't it?And my phone is wet from rain & now I'm in a super crowded train typing to tell you this. Another addiction!
Just to let ya know I'm at plowing ahead at work...feel like I'm juggling fire balls and one will fall any moment - but of coure I'm taking the time to blog!!
BTW, the Sakura Cherry Blossom research group (does that exist?), or someone of some sort of importance, has officially announced that Cherry Blossoms will blossom on 3/26 in Tokyo. 楽しみです！花見だーい。
So you saw me in the morning, and now you're seeing me at 9:20 in the evening (no, night!!), still at work and tired.
And this is my wish. I'm actually using this format to communicate to Dav, who is in SF right now sleeping. We just found out that it won't be easy to see each other as soon as we hoped due to work. We're stuck on the opposite sides of the ocean. All this blogging and instant updating is fun and cool...but it'll never replace the real thing, ya know. Sigh.
I work next to "Hibiya Park City" where they have some sort of soccer tournament going on. I mean the players are really good and they're serious enough to play in freezing rain. But what I don't get is that it's a mini version of soccer. There are only 5 players per team and although it might be hard to see from the pics, the field is tiny. Anyone ever seen this? Adidas is sponsoring this and I have no idea why they're doing it right smack in the middle of a bunch of office buildings. In the evenings, they have training sessions for children too. I know Tokyo lacks big park spaces, but I don't know about this...
and the tiny elevator of my apt. Fits intimately 2 people although it boasts 4 as its max. Of course it's pink.
After writing 春 on my window @ work, I froze on my way home in the still biting wind. But when I stopped by the supermarket, I found cherry blossom decorations. Cheesy plastic ones, but now I don't feel like my window graffiti was futile(^_^)v
My subway was late today because a plastic bag blew onto the tracks. That's because it's been absurdly windy for the past few days. Every year between winter and spring, we have these sort of windy days. I remember once someone's futon, that was out drying on a balcony, blew onto the shinkansen tracks and caused havoc. And I remember my mom telling there is a specific term: 春風 (harukaze), spring wind.
Since I've been waiting for spring "with a long neck" (首を長くして） as they'd say here, I wrote 春 (haru) spring on my window in celebration of the wind.
With the recent craziness and bumpy relations with North Korea, there is significant interest in Japan about North Korea. Who are these people, how do they live, and what is going to happen? TV shows here run the gamut from academic discussions about politics to analysis of a typical meal, of a government agency telephone directory snuck out by someone, or of a flimsy military uniform that indicates how meager resources are becoming.
One late night program showed snippets of singing and dancing performances from North Korean TV. However, what disturbed me was that the show's focus was on making total fun of the performance quality, the costumes, the exaggerated gender roles, and supposed 'fake' festivities. I just want to say that I thought it was completely inappropriate.
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For those who know the Tokyo blogging community, you've probably already seen pictures from the party on people's various sites. Quality-wise, they are much better than mine, but here are a few I took with my trusty ol' cell phone. I got some good pics of Nadine (Thank you so much for organizing) with her fiance Tim and also with my dad. Then there is Paul and Bob, then Ian, Adam, a movie bit of Jason trying to explain how people know about my site, and finally me leaving Pink Cow, quite high from all the excitement, and inspired to play more with my blog!
Met some really interesting people and as I'm checking out their sites, I'm understanding more and more about the connections and how blogs can be used. Still lots to learn for me and it was great to talk to fellow bloggers. It was like we were already a community even though this was the first time meeting each other for most of us. Strange to be recognized, or meet someone and already know all about their last weekend. It simply amazes me that people are following TT (Tokyo Tidbits). The development of these connections - how these blogs are created on the web that then shape our in-person reality - is fascinating.
I've been doing this since November. My initial posts were bewildered experiments, not knowing the potential of a blog. I got a kick out of just seeing a photo I took with the phone on the site. Gradually, as I began to share the stuff I see and do, I noticed my awareness changing. Now I am always thinking should I, could I post this? Would it be interesting? So I experiment.
And the Blog Party was one big in-person feedback fest. I sure loved it! Thank you to everyone who showed up : )
So I went to the blog party and had a blast meeting fellow Tokyo bloggers.I will post my pics tomorrow.What I learned was the difference b/w posting pics & typing text from a PC (what I usually do) and what I'm doing now - posting entirely from my phone at the moment.So here: I am going out to dinner & typing on the train.The pic was me leaving the apt.