Wednesday, June 27, 2007


All our stuff is finally in storage or on its way to the US, in some form or another. I now have officially nothing to do between now and Saturday. With this free time and the thought that I will be back in my own country in less than a week, I can't help thinking about what I'm gonna miss and what I'm looking forward to.
There are lots of nice and not-nice things in both countries. You know what that means, right?

Pro/con list!

I will miss:
*hand drying machines. They actually work here, really well. You dip your hands into these intense air jets and your hands get dry in approximately 3 seconds. You gotta try if you come here.
*bowing instead of hugging. I thought bowing was silly at first, but I like bowing to friendly aquaintences better than I like hugging them...I'd rather only hug very close friends. Does anybody else thing hugging is akward?

*No tipping!! Oh my god I hate tipping so much. After you live in Japan you will never want to tip again.
*Great service at stores. Super professional, smiling, fast service, and they are very good at dealing with annoying customers without getting self-righteous. And all without requiring tips. I think America and Japan's stranger/service friendliness is reversed.
*manga for cheap!
*japanese candies! They change all the time, there are always new ones to try ^^
*yes, even the crazy garbage sorting. I know this sounds weird, but now that I have gotten used to sorting the garbage, it's going to feel almost criminally wasteful to throw out pretty much everything in the same can.
*karaoke!! I love karaoke so much it's not funny. And most drinking parties end with karaoke, so I get to go once every two weeks or so. So, whether from all the karaoke practice, or natural ability, almost all of my coworkers have been great singers.

I am looking forward to... (drumroll, please...)

*drying machines
*native english speakers
*good TV
*seeing movies without waiting four months after they've been released
*friendly strangers
*...(tiny voice)..anime and comic conventions ... Ok. obviously they have them here too, but it isn't subculture and so it isn't the same thing.
*sourdough bread, toasted bagels with cream cheese, cereal... mmm ^_^
*Ovens! being able to bake food! here there are just these little tiny fish ovens that only fit one fish (or two little fish) inside. There are some cool microwave/ conventional oven all in one machines, but they don't get very high up temperature-wise. So basically, you can't make stuff like roasted chicken or lasagna.
*not being served scary foods like raw horse meat and still-moving fish at drinking parties. I'm still traumatized by the moving fish incident.
*streets that are wide and easy to drive on. Also.. street names!It's so hard to get directions to places here, because you can't say something like 'left on jefferson'... you have to count intersections and hope you see a landmark.
*diversity. I think Japan is slowly getting more diverse, but I'm really looking forward to NYC, the melting pot of every culture in the world. Or more importantly, all of said culture's food! Hee hee!

..I'm sure I'll think of more things when I'm in New York, but that's all for now. Wish me luck! ^_^

Friday, June 15, 2007

Not the Oz I know

I finally got the book Wicked. It had caught my attention when I was in Kinokuniya, the big bookstore in Shinjuku with an entire floor dedicated to English books (this is big in Japan). I thumbed through it, and was meandering to the checkout line, when I saw the price tag: 2500 yen! It was apparently 7.5 UK pounds, which, with import taxes and stuff, made the book not quite worth it. Suddenly I am quite glad we're not being transferred to London, which was a possibility.

But the musical is now coming to Japan, and there are posters of the book's cover art everywhere on the subways, so I finally got a copy out of curiosity. It's good! and delicious! I love the clever, cynical Elphaba (wicked witch of the West) and her witty repartes with her friend Glinda.

Unfortunately, it's also kind of scary. In the book Wicked, Oz is having a severe drought, making it look dryer than kansas. The Wizard of Oz is a tyrant who is systematically marginalizing the populations and creating a hitler-esque regime.
Also, there are eyes-wide-shut style orgy scenes.

As an Oz fan when I was a kid, I have to say in a meek voice, I'm a little traumatized! It's not the Oz I know. My great-grandmother left me the original books published from 1904-1930, and I loved them as a kid. Well, more specifically, I really loved the fabulous illustrations done by John R. Neill.

The wizard of Oz, and most of the Oz books, have fallen out of copyright and into the public domain, so they're available as free ebooks. (yay free!) And yeah, definitely no sign of concentration camps in the kids book.

But I did find this gem, taken from The Marvelous Land of Oz:

"What does that word 'fool' mean?" enquired the horse.
"It is a term of reproach," answered Tip, somewhat ashamed of the expression. "I only use it when I am angry."
"Then it pleases me to be able to call you a fool, in return," said the horse. "For I did not make the river, nor put it in our way; so only a term of, reproach is fit for one who becomes angry with me for falling into the water."
"That is quite evident," replied Tip; "so I will acknowledge myself in the wrong."

hee hee!
If ten year old boys actually said that in 1904, could I just somehow get in a time machine? It's a way better response than what would actually be said today, ie
"dude, it's not my fault!"
"yah, my bad."

Anyways, back to my book. And don't look at me like that, yes, I know I'm supposed to be packing.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Always in the Summertime

Lucky me. I went drinking friday with some other coworkers, and explained my sad plight, and they were immediately outraged that I am being coerced to work up to and including the day before my international move.

"Woah, that's just wrong! I would have flat out said NO if I were you."
"I did! I almost had a fight with him on the phone!"
"The president is coming next week. I'll have a little talk to him for you" said a slightly higher-up the food chain colleague. He had a knowing grin and I felt much better.

Anyways, I was feeling pretty optimistic at the monday meeting... and it all turned out for the best. I am free to leave on Friday the 22nd. (woo!)

The only stipulation of this agreement is that I am now subjected to passive-aggressive comments from the 'bad cop' boss. Just the other day, we had lunch, and I got a special earful of them, through smiling teeth and laughter...

'Family is more important than work. You won't be working in New York, will you?'
'When you come back I bet you'll have four kids.'
'It's nice that the president said you could come back if you wanted.' (pause Special emphasis on *president* and slight eye-rolling)

Hah. Whatevs, sourpuss, I won and am free like a bird!

I am celebrating my new found freedom by looking at the NY. Craigslist site and dreaming up things to try, places to go, etc. Here's a list so far of craigslist-inspired daydreams I've had: *jazz bands I can sing with!
*$75K Java programming job?!
*Computer Graphics studio may want to hire me?
*Ooh, modeling agency looking for petite models!
*Publish Gemini and sell a few copies in the Big Apple comic convention?!
...ahhh.. so delicious, these sundae-flavored daydreams...

In other news, Takeshi still has six more english classes (read, 'Anger management classes'), and it looks like he's about fail, ie, kill his english teacher.

"Is understanded a WORD?!" he yelled incredulously when he came home.
Apparently his 'english teacher' (aka idiot) used that atrocity in a sentence. Then Takeshi challenged him, asking him what the difference between 'understood' and 'understanded' was. For those who want to know, "'understanded'[sic] is what you use when you're talking about someone right in front of you". That is awesome in the way that 80's fashion is awesome. You can't quite look it in the face without giggling.

Oh. And amusingly, his company has a budget for spouses to take classes in the language of the country they're moving to, as well. So I could also take courses in anger management too, if I really really wanted.
(But I will pass, because I think I would be misunderstanded.)

Anyways, I was just noticing that each of the last three years, my most exciting trips have been in the summer.
May 28 2005- moved here!
July 14 2006 - wedding in Hawaii!
and now, June 30 2007- (drumroll please...) moving to Manhattan!

Dang, I am becoming a bit of a jet setter! ^_^