Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Officially Cute

I passingly mentioned it last blog, but I have no choice but to clarify how *rediculously* cute things are here. There are many places where one from another country would thing adorable mascots have no right to be... and yet they are. I took the liberty of going around town and photographing the glaring, saccharine sweetness all around. Enjoy!
Police mascot. I am shaking in my boots! Tokyo Water company... on the back of my bill. (you can't see it, but there's a boy water drop and a girl water drop!)
The Tokyo bus mascot, Minkle. Nothing says 'keep out' like a little cartoon bowing construction worker!
Not to be out-done by the police, the firefighters have a cute li'l guy on all their firetrucks. Even the city of Nerima has a mascot. I'm not quite sure what it's supposed to be, but it has a leaf for a hat!
This was on the train, for a blood drive. I think they're supposed to have.., blood droplets for ears. Creeepy.Custom-kun, the customs dog. This cute little guy sniffs out the drug mules, but don't worry, he's got no mouth so he can't bite!
Tee hee!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Okay, I'm alive

Woo, I'm back in Tokyo!

So I'm living in a different part of town than we were last year, this time closer to Ikebukuro and downtown. This is good news if I have to commute to work, since last time it took an hour just to get to the main hub of Tokyo (shinjuku) and transfer from there.

Anyways, even though I lived here for a couple of years, my year in New York was enough to refresh my 'gaijin eyes' as I like to put it. And hillariously, Takeshi is finally seeing things with American eyes. The most amusing things he said were 1) "Woah! People are SO SKINNY here! Like, creepy skinny!" (me: 'dude, I've been telling you that for years')
2) "I kinda miss the grumpy american grocery clerks" (me: WHAT?! even I don't miss them!)

Anyways, I am happy to announce, after seeing adorable, pokemon-like mascots for everything from Customs-immigration, to Nerima City, to the police and firefighters, that Japan is indeed the Land of the Cute. Things are cute. products are cute. even People are cute. (I happened to see some maid-cafe girls, in their skimpy uniforms, taking a break at the 7-11).
Feeling the pressure of the Cute People, I succumbed and got my hair done at a nearby salon, and it looks awesome! It's super-straight, with a hint of layering.>:D But I digress.

I forgot the sheer mass of vending machines, there is statistically one for every twenty people. I also forgot about how everything (moving trucks included) talks. Even my bathtub has a little speaker telling me the temperature, in Japanese of course. The result is a very cute, slightly irritating cacophony, and combined with the bright lights and signs of a city that never sleeps (think of a NY Times Square that goes on for miles and miles!)... it's easy to get sensory overload. Luckily our apartment is in a pretty quiet neighborhood.

Oh, for those of you that were wondering (I was).... there is STILL a massive line outside of Krispy Kreme doughnuts in downtown Shinjuku. Tee hee!

Jya ne!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Goodbye and Hello

Hi there faithful readers.

I am being a serious blogger and writing this from the airport to kill time provide insight to my year in Manhattan.

I will miss my job at Trading Metrics terribly. Not only did the senior Java programmer write beautiful code (thus allowing me to learn by example), the company was small enough to
1) feel like a family and
2) allow you to actually make a difference through the work you do. But there are benefits to leaving Manhattan, like
1) leaving our roach-infested apartment... it was getting bad by the end.. and
2) going back to the land of wonderful customer service! (not to mention hot springs.. :D)

Luckily my boss has connections with some of our business partners centered in Tokyo, and is passing my resume along. I'm keeping my fingers crossed as I got a little spoiled with my nice fat paycheck here, and really don't want to go back to the In'n'out Burger stand salary I was receiving in Tokyo. I flatter myself and believe I did a pretty good job while I was here (I completely redid the user interface of our product into something much more attractive and consistent)... so I was promised a glowing review. (yay! here's hoping!) Still, I kind of doubt I'll be able to find a place that allows you to choose your own furniture and has a ping-pong table. (I'm going to miss you, my white chair! And John if you're reading this, do NOT use it as a foot rest!!!)

We went back to California last weekend for a last visit before our jump across the pacific ocean, and my family is as silly as ever, to my relief. We went to Berkeley and celebrated my maternal grandmother's 70th birthday! (happy birthday Grandma Blue!)

Anyways, at that park opposite the rose garden where we had our party, there was a giant concrete slide built into the hillside, which my mother slid down when she was little, and she dissapointedly reported it had "shrunk". It was still about three stories high though, and so she made all of us ride it so she could ride it herself and not feel silly. (don't worry mom, you still looked silly! hee hee.) Once was clearly not enough, so the entire Weaver clan (Takeshi included) ended up going down it three times. Ahh memories.

I also ended up dragging Ellen along to Napa Valley so she could teach me how to taste wine, with a moderate degree of success. I was able to tell that the red wine Takeshi just brought for me here in the lounge was a Merlot because of its slow 'legs' and from the smell of the 'second nose'...(the sniff you check after the 'legs'). Oh wine, so fun and pretentious. Anyways we drove up to the hills around the valley and discovered charred sections of hillside and a *melted* metal fence. the air was also very smokey, so I just have to give a shout-out to the California firefighters... thanks for putting out the fires and saving the wine! :D

I put some photos up on Flickr in the usual place ( vaguely follow my adventures, so feel free to take a gander. (there should be a link/badge thing to the right).

All right, that's the last post from the 'Little New Yorker'. Next post, the Little Gaijin returns!! (dum-dum-duuuuuuuum....)