Saturday, February 19, 2011


How is it 12:01? How did that happen? Seems like it was just 9:15 and I was just getting home...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My favorite day

Today is one of my favorite days of the year. And do you know why? Turn the numbers upside down...

It's cheesy, I know! And that's why I love it!

Not too much going on today - we lost mini volleyball in the 2nd round of the tournament. It was very sad. Next, we shall have a defining moment, come together as a team, and charge forth to glorious victory! 

I waited until late in the day to take today's photo, and as I was pretty much out of things to photograph, I decided to take a picture of my dinner in the process of cooking. It tasted much better than it looks in the pic!

Well, I'm off to my not-so-tropical island in the morning, so it's time for me to hit el hay! Good night, everyone!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


…to the distant トイレ (toire). First, though, I can’t figure out what to call the room that houses only my toilet. The Toilet Room doesn’t sound very delicate. How about The TP Storage Area? That’s a bit long, isn’t it. Oh, well.

Anyway, a brief primer on this room. It is really distant from the main part of my house. It’s not an outhouse, but…

When you walk through my bright blue metal front door, you are standing on the cold concrete floor of my genkan. This is where you dump your shoes. Once out of your shoes, you step up onto a wood floor. There are some hooks where you can hang your coat (but let me know if you are coming first, because right now, all the hooks are taken up with my plethora of coats and jackets). Right to the left of the coat hooks is my tiny TP Storage Area. If you turn right, you can go through another door and into the main part of my house. The part where the heater is. I don’t heat the genkan. It’s just not practical for many reasons.

Unfortunately, this means that the TP Storage Area gets a teeny bit chilly in the winter. It was typically between the mid 30’s to mid 40’s.

But all that has changed now! It turns out that I had a mysterious device in my house that solved this minor annoyance. A friend with a wealth of experience here in the frozen tundra showed me something in the TPSA of her house that kept it warm. All of a sudden, realization set in and I realized that I had one in my house! I thought it was just some kind of weird heater that didn’t work well.

Well, it is now fulfilling it’s intended purpose and my TPSA is now a balmy 55 degrees or so! Happiness!

Is there a lesson here for all of us about thriving in our intended purposes? I don’t know, but I’ll be basking in my tropical トイレ!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mini volleyball and sports movies

Having a younger brother, I watched a passel of sports movies growing up. And I enjoyed quite a few of them. But they generally seem to follow the same basic pattern. Team - or athlete - is down on their luck, something unexpected happens, they work together, and they win the championship - usually in overtime (with dramatic speeches and music).

Although I watched many sports movies, I was never very good at sports. I was a dancer, thank-you-very-much. I went to Kanakuk/Kanakomo Kamps* for two summers. While at camp - oops, kamp - I participated in a
variety of sports. This is because it is a sports camp. My specialty was dance both years (mochiron), but we also had to have a couple minors and several electives. I tried things like soccer, triathlon, water skiing, tubing, blobbing**, and volleyball. By far, the worst sport was volleyball. I don't think any team I was on won a match that whole session. I remember one particularly fantastic game where our coach first tried to bribe us with popsicles (didn't work), then loaded all players onto the court (still didn't work). I remember one particularly spectacular moment for me where the ball went straight between my outstretched arms in the volleyball position.

Well, about a week or so ago, someone in my office asked if I wanted to play mini volleyball*** in an upcoming building-wide tournament. I don't often get to hang out with my co-workers, so I said yes with fear and trembling. Basically, I imagined being the person in the sports movie who muffs the big shot and loses the game for the team.

Last Wednesday, we had practice time, and it was actually all right. Though I had some spectacular fails, I did actually hit the ball several times, and I even hit it over the net many times.

But tonight was the big night. The actual game against actual opponents. I was on Team A - the first BOE team to play. We played against the General Affairs Division. I took my spot on the court with overwhelming trepidation. Well, we won the first match! And I did have some spectacular misses and some decent hits. Then, we changed sides on the court, and we lost over there. So then we changed back for our third match (set?), and we won the game! Yay! I was actually a bit shaken when we got off the court.

Team B lost their game against the department that does buildings, but Team C won their game against the local policy people. I had fun cheering for those games. Afterwards, we went out and had a party. I think the volleyball was just an excuse for a party. If I understood correctly, it seems that I have been selected to play again on Thursday. Gulp. Are you guys sure about that?

Anyway, it was a scary, but fun, experience! And I have finally been on a winning volleyball team! Yay!

*Kan someone PLEASE explain to me how a girl is supposed to say that she went to this kamp? Kanakuk is for boys and Kanakomo is for girls, but they are basically in the same place. Kanakuk is the popular name, but I didn’t go to the boys’ camp. My parents would not have approved.

**One person leaps onto a giant inflated pillow in the water and tries not to fall off. Another person leaps on after them, and so on.

***I think in mini volleyball the ball is softer and the court is smaller (???)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day came to Japan in 1936. Thank you, Wikipedia! Along the way, some wise one decreed that Valentine's Day should be celebrated by women giving chocolates to men. And not just to the object of one's affection, but to all one's male coworkers. And in Japan, a country with a predominately male workforce, this can be quite significant.
So, wanting to be a good member of the workforce, I dutifully assembled my sweets and put them into little packages. This is what is known as giri-choko, or obligation chocolate. If I were in love with all 30 of my coworkers, it would be called honmei-choko, and I would have spent more money. I would also need serious help.

On White Day, March 14, the ladies are supposed to receive sweets in return. 

What makes me laugh is that since my office is so big, there are several people who I never talk to, other than periodically to give them food.

Well, these are the things that make life interesting!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

How not to pick up chicks

Gentlemen, let’s say that a lady or two has captured your fancy. Here are some things you will want to avoid when you make your move. Consider this free advice.

Situation: You are having dinner with your buddies. You see two chicks paying for their meals and getting ready to leave. Deciding you want to meet them, you saunter over and strike up a conversation. They chat for a few minutes (well, they listen to you chat), then mention they have to go.  Being stunned by their beauty, you and your two buddies (who have wandered over) invite them to sing karaoke. They politely decline, and reiterate the fact that they really have to go. They leave the restaurant.

Now, you have two choices. You can let them go and move on with your life, or you can chase after them. If you are tempted by the second option, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you are not currently starring in a romantic comedy.

Do not charge across the parking lot.

Do not open the car door before they have a chance to lock it from the inside.

Do not lean between the door and the car and repeatedly beg them to go to karaoke.

Do not ignore them as they continue to say no and give you big batsus (Japanese crossed arms signifying no or false).

If, somehow, you continue to pester them and you see their faces change from pleasantly smiling as they say no to drop dead seriously saying no – TAKE THE HINT!

Do not declare your love for them.

Before demanding to know why they don’t want to go with you, stop and ask yourself two questions. 1. Have they already told me? 2. Do I really want to know the answer?

If they finally manage to get you out of their door, close the door, and drive away, leave it.

Do not notice them making a u-turn and then decide to charge across the intersection. You will probably not win their affections in this way.

Good luck staying out of creeperland, everyone!