Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Nerdy charm

Dang its cold! Rats. These days it's been frosty on the ground, puddles have been freezing over, and I can see my breath in the middle of the day. I tell anyone who will listen: "is this NORMAL? it's freaking cold out here!" to which my friends and colleauges respond with a wan smile and a 'yeah, what can you do' expression that I find annoying. It's times like these that I wish I had a pocket instant thermometer on my keychain. I could whip it out in nerdy glory, push a little button, and "BEEP!" and the cute little digital face would read: -4million degrees! My colleagues would be forced to admit "wow, I guess it really is cold out here!"... or, much more possibly: "wow, you're a big nerd!" But either way they would be impressed.

unfortunately that idea doesn't involve actually making me warmer in any way, just a bit more smug about it. Luckily the miracles of chemistry have allowed the invention of a pocket heater! I don't know if these are around in America (besides the japanese supermarkets), but here there are some awesome little packets of chemicals that when exposed to air start reacting exothermically and heat up, for about 3 hours, your pockets. Or socks. They probably are around in the colder climes, but japan's the first place I have seen them, they're called 'Hokkairo' packets. Whenever I feel their delightful warmth I am invariably reminded of my chemistry class that I loved because our chem teacher demonstrated the angles between molecules by twisting together those long skinny clown baloons. Even though I got a C, I will never forget that lecture. "If you try hard enough, it's even possible to make a molecule that looks like THIS!" said our professor Chip, flourishing a little weenie dog balloon. Now THAT was a good lecture. ^_^ Anyways, I think you can see why I can't explain the chemical reaction that makes them work, but let me find a link for you chem nerds out there:

Hm. .... hmmmmmm. come on, google, wikipedia? really? nothing??

Sorry folks, I can't seem find to find a page that explains the exothermic reaction of pocket heaters (at least in english). But! Fret not, I happened to stumble across an extremely amusing page: How to destroy the earth It seems to be pretty hard to do ^_~. Here is the preamble of the page:

Destroying the Earth is harder than you may have been led to believe.
You've seen the action movies where the bad guy threatens to destroy the Earth.
You've heard people on the news claiming that the next nuclear war or cutting down rainforests or persisting in releasing hideous quantities of pollution into the atmosphere threatens to end the world.


The Earth is built to last. It is a 4,550,000,000-year-old, 5,973,600,000,000,000,000,000-tonne ball of iron. It has taken more devastating asteroid hits in its lifetime than you've had hot dinners, and lo, it still orbits merrily. So my first piece of advice to you, dear would-be Earth-destroyer, is: do NOT think this will be easy.

Ah, good stuff.

On a lighter note, I tried on wedding dresses on monday! It was fun and good for the ego, checking myself out looking charming in a number of fabulous, gem and lace encrusted gowns. I'm going to be renting mine. The Best Bridal wedding planners have a nice setup where they have the exact same dresses in the Tokyo branch as they do in hawaii, so you pick out a dress here, and it will be waiting for you at hawaii on wedding day. I'm rather relieved, as those dresses are HUGE and would get all wrinkly if I brought one over on the plane, not to mention take up lots of luggage room and rot in the closet for years afterwards. Nice and easy-peasy.
Interesting Japan Wedding Fact:
Here the groom pays for the wedding (ouch! poor guys), so they want to have a large voice in the wedding planning. This means when the girls go and pick the dress, the groom comes too and they choose together, which is noticably different from the American standard opinion of 'bad luck for the groom to see the dress before the day!'. I didn't know that, so I went by myself to try on dresses. The sweet lady who helped me try on about 5 different ones asked me 'I see the groom isn't with you today. Is the dress a secret?' When I nodded yes, she looked knowingly at another girl at the salon, and said 'sasuga...'

Short tangent for a japanese lesson: If you're gonna learn a cool word in japanese, learn 'sasuga': pronounced SAH(soo)GAH. It means, in one word, "that's (name) for you". or "she's a (noun), alright". If someone is known for something, like John known for being late, and John comes in 20 minutes behind schedule all out of breath, people will almost always say 'sasuga ni John-san!' (that's John for ya!)
So what those girls were saying, in one word, was: "so our textbooks were right! They DO keep the dress a secret from the groom in america!"
Not bad for one lil word. ^_^

anyways, I have a dress! It fits and looks amazing (in my humble opinion ^_~), and is white with a small beaded pattern on the bust and flowing down the train. *swoons with girlish glee*. I'd post a picture, but that's probably bad luck too, so here's a picture of the salon where I tried on dresses. If you squint, you can just make out my figure in the mirror.

Here are two more pictures I took recently that may be of interest:

yeah, um, this is a guy in shinjuku forced to wear a cell phone suit. Did I say cell phone? Make that a 'santa' cell phone. I .. don't..!!! I told you it was cold, right? So we went to the Shinkai Shrine in nagano, and it was nice, I got a good luck charm. but check out the water you're supposed to purify yourself with! Even the *running water* froze!

At least cold weather means it's a good time to ski! I'm going on a ski trip this weekend in the first time in 3 years! hooray! ^_^ Takeshi admits he's not very good with skiing, but he's a really fast learner. Maybe by the end of the day I can convincehim to go down a black diamond with me. muahaha, MUahahahHAHAHAaaa! (oh dear, I should really learn how to control my outbursts of evil laughter! ^^)

Hope your winter is lovely! your faithfully blogging friend,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have lived in LA too long, I see...
XO, Dad

11:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trying on dresses is fun. :-)

Belated Happy New Year! Hope everything's going well with work and life and wedding plans! I like reading your updates, even if I don't always respond. *hugs*


11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why not just buy a dress? You can wear it anywhere. don't know cold. It's like 70 degrees here in Orange County and I'm FREEZING.

2:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They do have pocket warmers here. You can usually find them around ski resorts, but they're all over in the winter.

The chemical reaction is like this...

Raw iron is left. When it is exposed to oxygen (hence why you must open the packet), the iron oxidizes rapidly (too rapidly, it seems, although maybe pure iron oxides a lot faster than what's normally used in building), producing heat. Because you basically end up with a bag of rust, it's non-toxic and provides a lot of heat.


8:28 PM  
Blogger Kyra said...

Hi Julia! Really? it's just iron?? Wow, I had no idea pure iron oxidized so fast!
Thanks, I knew I could count on my fabulously intelligent reader base ^_~
Yeah, trying on dresses is really fun! ... and I know, 70 IS cold for orange county! Time to get a big coat ^_~

5:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amazingly informative article at:

10:39 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home