you want to know what i just saw?

I just saw - and I am not even exaggerating, not even a little bit, I swear - a woman whose legs were the size OF MY ARMS. The knobs of her knees were bigger than her calves AND HER THIGHS! Do you remember that toy where you connect wooden sticks to knobs and cubes?

This! Is what that woman's appendages looked like.

Uh... can we get a ham sandwich over here??


iPhone, schmiPhone

Backstory: people here in Japan are inexplicably attracted to lines - specifically, standing in them. I even read an article here that mentioned how many people, when they see a line, will first tack themselves onto the end of it, then ask what they're there for. Want Cold Stone on a warm day? Wait in line. Krispy Kreme on any day? Get in line (for, on average, 2 hours). Restaurant that's recently been on TV? Back of the line, son. It irritates me to no end, and I'm not even sure why - after all, it does give me something to point and laugh at. I guess it's because if I want to be impulsive and have Cold Stone on a warm day, I can't, because there's a line and I'm not willing to spend an hour of my time waiting in it.

So the iPhone 3G is set to launch in Japan this Friday. And yesterday - which was TUESDAY - people started lining up outside the store in anticipation. PEOPLE!!! Yes, there's been a lot of brouhaha about this for awhile now (although none that I've seen in Japan, strangely), and yes, it's the "cool new thing" (Japanese people in particular LIVE for cool new things - perception is everything here). But to line up for 60+ HOURS for this? These people must not need to work. And they must have enablers - friends that are willing to swap places in line while the other goes to the potty or goes to get food or, I don't know, any of the MYRIAD of worthwhile things to do with 60 hours of their time.

While I'm at it, I might as well complain about another thing. I heard there was a whole big fuss, made by Mr. Apple himself, that nowhere in the entire world would the (8gb) iPhone cost more than $199. Well, his pants must totally be on fire right now, because here, in Japan, it will sell for $215, which, ok fine, is not egregious but still a lie. HOWEVER, that price is only for new customers to the network; existing customers will have to pay $283! Mr. Apple's pants, I imagine, have gone up in flames.


honey, no

I saw her coming almost a block away. What caught my attention was not only her clothing - she was wearing a pair of black skinny jeans in what must have been 75-degree-summer-morning humid weather - but the way she was walking. Like she was trying to hold a golf ball with her vagina. So I'm staring-but-not-staring at her, and we're getting closer to each other, and I'm thinking "Dude, Japanese girls walk weird*, but this is kind of a new one..." And then I'm maybe 10 feet from her, and I see that she's wearing a cropped shirt, 80's style, and that her jeans seem pulled up pretty high; and I think to myself that maybe I should cut her some slack, that not everyone can be as fashionable as me.

And then I see that I can't be sure how high her tight skinny jeans are pulled up, nor how cropped her shirt is, because these are things I would gauge relative to the belly button. And in the space between the top of this woman's jeans and the bottom of the shirt is the vague shape of what can only be her belly button, but again, I can't be sure, because it's covered up by THE WAISTBAND OF HER PANTYHOSE.

Did she not check the mirror before she left the house? Could she not find a pair of knee-highs? Maybe her shirt shrank in the wash and she didn't realize it? What happened??

What the hell?!? Honey, I JUST DON'T THINK SO.

* Totally true, and I have no idea why.


1 bajillion dollars = [x grains of rice] + [y ears of corn]

A few weeks ago, the Head Cheese of the firm gave a presentation to our office about all the typical things a head cheese would talk about - vision, strategy, how great we are, etc. The one thing I actually retained from that talk, though, had nothing at all to do with the firm. It was this fact nugget: not only is the United Arab Emirates obscenely wealthy (which I knew), but Abu Dhabi in particular has money just pouring out of its BUTT, to the tune of a WEEKLY surplus of many (several? at least several... obviously a number too big for me to even comprehend) billions of dollars. United States dollars.

In disposable cash.

A spare bajillion dollars.

Oh, the possibilities...


simple pleasures

A couple things:
  • There's some stinky sh*t going on in my work life
  • I've also been dealing with issues in my personal life
  • I'm rockin' a KICK. ASS. HAIRCUT. Granted, it wasn't so kick-ass two days ago, when my first attempt at styling resulted in a flat, floppy, lifeless pile on my head; nor was it so kick-ass yesterday, when my second attempt resulted in product OVERLOAD and a nasty sticky mess. Today, third time's the charm. This haircut is unlike any hairstyle I've ever had - it's short, and it's kicky, and it has way more personality than I do. It's something I've thought about doing for a long time, and only just now grew a pair and went for it. I love my hair guy!
  • I am in such a cute outfit today. It includes a necklace my mom gave me which I love and which coordinates perfectly with what I'm wearing - and which means I actually ACCESSORIZED. My cute outfit is interesting! and sophisticated! and did I mention cute?? My typical clothing choices, while also cute (what can I say), are usually somewhat ordinary and "safe". I'll be completely honest, I kind of stumbled upon today's outfit accidentally, as it looks nothing like the image I had in my head when I started getting dressed. But that makes it even better, no? Yes.
  • During my commute I jammed to some music I hadn't listened to in a long time. Music is awesome; it's amazing how just the right music at just the right time can turn my frown right upside down.
  • I went running yesterday after work, AND ate very health-ily all day, which makes me feel good today. I'm trying to get back into the routine of exercising after a year and a half of sitting on my lazy ass, and have been jogging and riding my bike a couple (occasionally even a FEW!) times a week for the past month or so. I'm crossing my fingers this will last and I do this more often, despite the impending summer heat and humidity.
I will have a good day today, stinky issues be damned.


a little hairy

Confession (which will be news to no one that knows me at all): I have a bit of um, a type A personality. I like to know everything that's going to happen - how and when it's going to happen - all possible outcomes - before any of it happens. Hi, yes, control freak. *raises hand* Needless to say, I am not comfortable with change. I will never be the person that spontaneously decides, for example, to paint all the walls yellow, or make a major purchase, or change tampon brands.* Or CHOP OFF MY HAIR.

So why is it that every time I actually make an appointment for a haircut (ESPECIALLY the for the more major changes, like bangs, or a perm, or, if I haven't already mentioned, CHOPPING MY HAIR OFF), without fail, I have a great hair day? And pretty much every other day, my hair is flat, or it's frizzy, or the baby hairs are just *POOSH*, or… just, you know, general wonky-ness.

But I am determined to do this weekend what I've made an appointment to do, if for no other reason than to STOP OBSESSING ABOUT IT already (P: *raises hand in agreement*). But make no mistake, I will be pooping my pants about it from now until it happens.
Wish me luck.

* Although apparently, deciding more or less on a whim to go to law school, oh and also to pick up and MOVE TO JAPAN, I am ok with. Says the girl who likes soggy fries but the burnt crusts of hash browns. The same one who needs ice cold milk but room temperature water.



Things that have amused me today:

  1. Sign above a box of wooden coffee stirrers at work: "Please do not return used sticks!!!"
  2. Woman in front of me on an escalator: diligently trying to clear a wedgie from her butt while talking on the phone
  3. Laxatives display:

I can has... a poo?
Is there anyone else out there that just cannot read a document on screen if it's zoomed to fit the screen? Is it just me that needs to have it at 100%, no more, no less? The only exception is if I'd have to scroll sideways to see the whole document at 100%; in those situations, it must be zoomed to fit the screen.

Now I'm going to tell you the story of how I was almost unable to board my flight back to Tokyo from San Francisco. After I passed through security, I spied a Coach store and went in to see if they had a purse that my friend was looking for (duty free! but they did not). A few days prior, the same friend had mentioned that Coach sunglasses fit well on small Asian nose bridges (they do!); so of course I had to see for myself. I put my passport and boarding pass down so that I could concentrate on trying on sunglasses and marvelling at how stunning I looked in them (and, I gotta be honest here, I totally did).

And then I moseyed (mosied?) dilly-dallied around the rest of the concourse, remembering my VIP(apers) - but not where I had seen them last - only when it came time to get to the gate. Which is when I rushed in a panic back to security and got a guy to help me look, which of course turned up nothing - a conclusion I came to on my own, since the guy just kind of wandered off at some point without telilng me that he had decided to stop helping me. I finally went back to ask at the Coach store even though I KNEW I would not have been so silly as to have left them there. Right... me and my silly self would have been in a silly mess had a store employee not taken the documents to my gate. Thank you, hallelujah! Made it to the gate just in time to be one of those annoying stragglers quickly ushered in (with the friendly advice to "Be careful next time, put it in your bag now") by the gate attendant.

So there you have it. Ginko biloba: must look into.


tamami: m.i.a. (abridged)

Um, oops. Guess I managed to skip an entire month here. How you guys managed to go on this long without me, I don't know - but here is the story of why you've had to do so.

First, I managed to attract a stomach virus. Then, I went to Thailand for a week. Next, I was lazy and uninspired. After that, I went home for a week and a half (Target! and Trader Joe's! and did I mention Target? OH.MY.). And now, here I am.

The End.

More to come about my trip home, but not today, because I'm busy being lazy and uninspired.


one of those days

I hate that people in Tokyo DO NOT GIVE A SHIT about those around them (unless they're paid to or are otherwise forced to interact). They do not move their share of halfway to avoid a collision with the person walking towards them; they do not hold a door open for you even if you're right on their heels; they do not refrain from pushing-without-actually-touching-or-making-eye-contact their way around small spaces (men of Japan, I'm looking at you*). We are all part of a moving, breathing society and are not just individual bubbles, sealed off from each other - and it absolutely eats at me, some days chomping and some days nibbling but always consuming, that people here just will not acknowledge that. I hear the counterargument that living in such a crowded, fast-paced environment necessitates some degree of shutting yourself off from the onslaught, a defense mechanism against the lack of personal space. But you know what, I lived in New York City, and it's the same crowded mess there (plus smelly and dirty to boot), but at least when someone bumps into you they acknowledge the fact of your existence instead of refusing to even look at you.

Granted, it's considered rude to be direct here - for example, in business settings (which seem to be the slowest in the march towards westernization**), you're not supposed to make direct eye contact upon meeting someone for the first time, initially directing your conversation instead to the business card they hand you. I understand this and, as strange and annoying as I may find it, I do appreciate it as one of the many cultural differences between Japan and the US. But the alternative here seems to be passive-aggressiveness - full-on elbow into my boob and not owning up to it (true story), pushy-pushy me first into the elevator even though none of us are going anywhere until everyone's in ANYWAY, SIR.

I am usually a very nice and reasonable person (just trust me on this one) - quick to say please and thank you, excuse me and sorry. I am also one of those people that doesn't take shit from anybody. Thus, I am always happy to hold open a door for you if you're behind me; but if you're coming through and I don't see the beginnings of a Thank you making its way out of your mouth, I will let the door go and hope it hits you. If we are on paths that look like they'll collide, I am always ready to move to the side - as long as you do too - so that we don't bump into each other; but if you don't, then neither will I and I will not hesitate to roll over your foot while walking my bike past you in the same straight line I was headed (true story). So perhaps one of the worst things about all this individuals-in-a-bubble shit is the person it's turning me into. I find myself way too often in the "if you don't..." scenario, which pisses me off and has resulted in a habit of doing MY part, moving MY share of halfway and not an inch more, bracing my arm to "accidentally" jostle the other person in passing; or turning around to face someone who has just bumped me a little too hard, glaring or saying something to make them look at me. I don’t like always being in battle mode, it's frustrating and exhausting and it MAKES ME ANGRY. But hell if I am going to be bobbling around trying to avoid people who aren't trying to avoid me (because I am stubborn like that). I don't look for confrontation and I certainly don't enjoy it; but if it's warranted I won't shy away from it.

End of rant.
Aunt Flo, see you in a day or two.

* I consider these to be societal sins whether you have boobs or a penis, but I'm looking at the men because in my experience, they are the sinners more often than women are. And in any case, bullying around a person smaller than you (which I pretty much always am with the men, and almost never with the women), well that just ain't right.
I am not in any way implying that westernization is the best way or the right way; it's simply "the" way things are headed.


can i maybe just... lick it?

I was at the supermarket again yesterday, and The Box was gone! Someone bought the $400 pair of mangoes, and I missed my chance at a new life filled with gold and diamonds!* In place of The Box, though, was a smaller box. I thought it was really nice of them to consider those of us mere mortals who are unable to buy a pair of mangoes for $400, and allow us the option of buying just one for $200.

for those times when money's tight and you're waiting for the next paycheck

* I am familiar with the old adage that riches won't buy happiness, but who are we kidding, it comes close enough. (I kid, I kid!)


lifestyles of the rich and crazy (or Japanese)

The fruits and vegetables here in Japan look so perfect, they almost seem fake (and they're not just all brawn and no brains - they almost always taste better than their American counterparts). As we all know, though, getting beauty both inside and out doesn't come cheap - it definitely costs a pretty penny to get your daily fruits and veggies here. Some fruits, though - and I still haven't figured out what sets them apart, nor whether anyone buys them - cost up to a BAJILLION TIMES what they would cost back home.

To wit:

Triangle watermelon (don't ask - I don't know) - $70
Round watermelon - $100

Watermelon-in-a-cage (again, don't ask - I know not) - $150

Mangoes - $70 each (bet you can't buy those off a truck on the side of the road)

And, the grand finale, which I unfortunately don't have a picture of as I was too sticker-shocked to do anything but stare with my mouth slightly open - a box of two mangoes, priced at 40,000 yen. Which equals, approximately, $400. In case you missed it the first time, that is for two mangoes. People, that is TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS a mango. I may have to go back to the supermarket to stake out that box, follow the buyer and beg for a place in their hopefully generous heart and, more importantly, their gold- and diamond-encrusted home.


i know you are but what am i?

Is it just me, looking at this from outside the country and thus somewhat removed, or is all this presidential campaigning business getting out of hand? I can't say that I've been following closely enough to really have as informed an opinion as I'd like about Hillary vs. Obama, though I think I've been getting an Obama vibe for awhile now (based on not much more than a hunch and some warm fuzzy feelings about Michelle).

And I usually shy away from talking about politics (mostly because, see above, I don't know enough to have an intelligent conversation about it) but I just have to say that lately, Hillary has really been getting on my nerves. I mean really, Hillary, wipe the brown off your nose, it's a little too obvious that you're saying anything it takes to pander to your audience of the hour. Telling gun supporters that your dad took you out on a little lake behind a little cottage that your grandfather built (perhaps chopping not only the wood but the trees the wood came from while your grandmother churned butter between salting the pork and hanging the wash on the line while knee deep in snow), and taught you how to shoot a duck with a shotgun? What a convenient, perfect little story from the senator of New York and former First Lady with a net worth of about a bajillion dollars who, just to be clear, is not an elitist and is JUST LIKE YOU AND ME.

Obama, please choose your words more carefully from now on. We all mis-speak (just ask your sniper fire-dodging opponent), but there's no need to give Hillary anything more to latch onto, twist into something else and beat into the ground.


please ignore the puddle of drool collecting at my keyboard...

...as I wipe my lick marks off my monitor, thanks to this food blog I randomly came across. It's a shame ingredients are so hard to come by here in Japan.

It's also a shame that I'm probably too lazy to actually go out and try to hunt them down, ingredient by ingredient (because no, it would be way too easy for all of them to actually be in the same place here).

So... back to drooling.

in other news...

So, how 'bout that PREGNANT MAN? You know, the one that used to be a woman, then had a sex change operation to become a man, but kept the female reproductive organs because s/he wanted to have a child one day? As a man. Which I guess was a good thing, because he is now carrying a child, the result of artificial insemination, which was performed at home. By his wife.

To be clear, I am not knocking the sex change, nor the subsequent marriage, nor the couple's decision to have children. All of that is part of a normal life that I strongly believe everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, is entitled to. And I am absolutely of the opinion that many traditional gender roles have no place in today's society (and by that, I'm talking more about the expectation that each gender has specific roles, such as the woman cooking and cleaning and raising the kids and the man out hunting and breadwinning, and less about the actual choices that individuals make).

But I'm struggling with this particular situation. On one hand, is it really that different for the father instead of the mother to be physically carrying and then popping that kid out, than it is for the father to assume any other "traditionally female" role such as raising the child after it's born? I mean, the father used to be a woman, and obviously has the mental and emotional capacity to bear a child. After that, all you need is the hardware, and he obviously has that as well. On the other hand, daddy dearest is no longer a woman - granted, he still has female reproductive parts (hmm, I wonder whether he also has male bits) but self-identifies as a male, which I think is the key factor. And men are simply not meant - biologically, physiologically, whatever the proper term is - to bear children. This guy is having his cake and eating it too, and whether you look to a higher being or to science for guidance on these matters, that somehow just feels... wrong.

So, moving on, let's now discuss that baby-making incestual couple. I actually don't have the words to expresss my reaction to this, so will go with these three: mouth, hanging, and open. And um, judge, your solution was to ban them from having sex with each other? Did you post a sentry in the bedroom to enforce this? And can anyone enlighten me, what does it actually mean to have been "released on a good behavior bond"? Released them from the no-hanky-panky ban, for a few hundred dollars? I actually don't even know where to go with this topic, so um, yeah. There's that.


on Lost

*Almost-spoilers ahead! "Almost" because whenever I talk about this show my mind races, my thoughts become jumbled and words just kind of tumble out willy-nilly, so there's a good chance you won't know what I'm talking about anyway.*

The last few episodes (I think I'm caught up… the last one I saw was the Michael story) had me going "Wha…aaaat???", mouth agape, eyes bugged. Seriously though - wha???? First there was the one about Desmond and the scientist guy and the time warping and "Wait, what? Where is he? Oh, Australia. Wait, WHEN is he? HUH??" And then there was "Hi, I'm Kevin Johnson." I almost pee'd myself. And then Sun and Jin - my feelings during that episode were part nervous anticipation - it seemed easy enough to follow, Sun and Jin, okay, but what will they spring on us now?! - and part frustration because Jin, FORGET THE DAMN PANDA ALREADY AND JUST GO! But then, at the end - holy shitters! And heartbreak - I almost cried during Sun's monologue (ok, attributable partly to me being smack in the middle of my Almost Ladies' Days). That episode did such a number on me that I completely forgot to do my routine post-show tally of the Oceanic 6, until the next day, standing on the subway platform, it hit me and my jaw dropped (and I think my hands might actually have tensed up and spread out in surprise) and I had to immediately text P or else burst with the burden of the unshared revelation. Sorry Barnum, too bad Bailey - Lost wins, it is the Greatest Show on Earth.

And I've just found out that the next episode won't be aired until April 24! Excuse me while I go drown my sorrows by sticking my head into a chocolate cake.


the fairer sex: the truth revealed

Ladies who use the bathrooms in this office: why is it that several times a week I almost walk into a stall, almost prepare to do my business, almost hover my bare bum mere inches away from the SKID MARKS YOU HAVE LEFT BEHIND? And also, ladies, when you've finished your business, pulled up your panties and are about to leave the stall, please take a second to turn around and make sure you have not left a Down There Hair perched atop the toilet seat.


a little of this, a little of that

Booger McSnotterson - my springtime alter ego. I seem to get allergies much worse here than I did in New York, and last season knocked me on my ass. So far, though, this season has been somewhat more bearable (as long as I pop my daily Claritin), but man, I have become a booger factory. Not snot, mind you - my nose isn't really runny so much as it's… well, boogery. Is it that I actually should be snotty (after all, the allergy commercials usually say "itchy eyes, runny nose", not "itchy eyes, dried up snot", right?), but I am dehydrated from the Claritin, thus booger here, booger there, booger booger everywhere? I guess that's about all I have to say on that topic.

I've been on a bit of a (window-) shopping bender, and at the moment would really like to have a money tree. If not a money tree, though, I would settle for this - in pink, and yellow, and navy blue, and oh yes the wooden one, ooh and the red brick is cute, as is the emerald, and well, why don't I save myself the typing and you the time and just say Yes please, one of each. But again, only if the money tree is not an option.

Yoga Toes - I also want. Now, I am not such a slave to fashion that I'll spend hours in discomfort for the sake of looking hot; however, I am also not such a putz that I'll wear orthopedic-looking shoes to work either. Thus, I spend my weekends in sneakers or flip-flops, but most of my daily work (and night-on-the-town) shoes walk (pun totally intended!) that thin line in between - so they are ok, but only if I don’t need to do a lot of walking or standing (drunken dancing, though - totally ok). Enter Yoga Toes! I've heard, though not from anyone I personally know (but also from sources more reliable than advertising), that these little tootsie stretchers really do help achy breaky feet; and the website even claims that they "increase circulation, straighten bent toes, and can even realign the bones"!! Who here is not yet sold?? But wait, lest you think that I have (or am on my way to) goblin feet and gnarled toes, let me just nip that in the bud and say that I do not! They are perfectly decent looking, no corns, not dry or scaly, second toe proportionate to and shorter than big toe and all that. Except we won't talk about my one early-stage foot affliction, which shall accordingly remain unnamed but which rhymes with onion.

Speaking of feet. It's very common in Japan for people to wear their nice professional shoes on their commute to/from work, and to wear absolutely hideous orthopedic-looking sandals while in the office - pretty much same same but different from the way we wear sneakers or flip flops on the commute, and nice shoes in the office. Different priorities as to who you want to look cute for, I guess. Like so:

I've actually never seen the colored kind; they're usually like the
black ones in the center. Even the filename of this picture, which I found on a
Japanese online shopping site, was "ol_sandal03" - ol as in office lady.
So today on my way back to the office after lunch, I passed a girl leaving the building wearing the standard-issue office lady black suit, black stockings (the kind with the extra material to reinforce the toe part - I cannot stress enough how that is a fashion DON'T), and… I almost can't say it… Birkenstocks. Beige Birkenstocks. Just… honey, no.


where's my foot scrubby when i need it?

So help me god (and I am not a religious person), somebody somewhere in this office, within earshot, at this very moment, is CLIPPING THEIR NAILS. I can't begin to tell you how much this disgusts me, makes me want to crawl out of my skin and over to said clipper of nails and ask if I could maybe slough off my foot calluses into their desk drawer, because to me, that is the same thing.

While we're at it, I will confess that I almost throttled a kid on the train the other day, for comitting the second worst living-amongst-society sin ever, the first being coughing or sneezing with mouth wide open and thus spewing bits of snot and spittle everywhere. This kid was maybe 14 or 15, and the entire time we were on the train together he could not stop scratching his DISGUSTING ITCHY HEAD. It wasn't like it was just the one itchy spot he may have missed while shampooing. It was his ENTIRE HEAD, as if there were wee little goblin creatures having a party on his head, causing itchiness everywhere their little goblin athlete's feet landed. Visions of the toe fungus mascot for that athlete's foot commercial are now dancing in my head, do you see why this is a problem?

And here, my visual for sin number one. Do you really want any chance of Mr. Snot and Mrs. Spittle, and all their little loogie babies, flying at projectile speed in airspace near you?


still giggling

Best TV line in recent memory, courtesy of Lost: "Taller? You mean, like a giant?"

As in, Locke talking about Walt and saying he looked the same, except taller, and Sawyer going -

"Taller? You mean, like a giant?"



sleeping with the lights on

So another issue I've encountered in moving to a foreign country is being completely out of touch with pop culture (that includes movies, yes? Let's say that it does, because I’m going to talk about a movie). There are movie theaters here in Japan, and they do occasionally play American movies, but due to the extremely high prices for movie tickets - about $17 - and our general unwillingness to get out of our pajamas, P and I have only seen one movie here (we do not recommend Happy Feet). Anyway, the point is that I know pretty much nothing about what's in theaters, and in most cases will respond "what's that?" if you mention a movie title to me.

Now, on to my story. We were in the states for the holidays, and having nothing better to do after gorging ourselves on pho one night, decided to watch a movie. Drove to the movie theater, browsed what was playing, decided on I Am Legend, thinking "Will Smith, love him, can't go wrong with the Fresh Prince". Well, shit. I almost peed my pants when I finally realized what that movie is all about. I don't know why it took me so long to figure it out (am I slow? Would seeing commercials and trailers have prepared me?) but it was at least a full hour in, when he and the dog go running into the deep dark warehouse and I wondered why it was so deep and dark in there and why Will Smith was so freaked out and then, all of a sudden, HOLY SHIT WHAT ARE THOSE THINGS WHY DO THEY LOOK LIKE THAT WHAT KIND OF MOVIE IS THIS????

Let me just say, for those of you who don't know, that I do NOT do horror movies. I am chicken poop when it comes to things like that - I can't even watch those Freddie movies that are supposedly just silliness. And one time at the gym (back when I was living somewhere I understood the language… and also went to the gym), a commercial came on for one of those scary movies, and the little possessed kid popped up onscreen and I swear to you I almost fell off the treadmill.

So the rest of I Am Legend was spent barely breathing, eyes wide open, squeezing the life out of P's hand (because if one of those zombie things ever jumped out of the screen I was going to be damned if P was going to run away and not take me with him). It was all very exhausting, and now I'm exhausted from re-living the whole thing. I'm going to go find a cookie.


from the soapbox

Living outside the US, in a country whose language I can barely just get by with, has made it necessary for me to make an actual effort to keep up with current events and world news - I can't just soak it in haveint the tv on in the background. So, every few days, after I finish perusing my daily diet of blogs and celebrity news (hey, we all have priorities), I surf the wave of cnn.com to see what the world's been up to. Today was one of those days - and man, do I need a drink. A(nother!) shooting spree at a college; routine death and destruction in too many countries around the world, and suspicions that mentally disabled women were pimped out by staff in their psychiatric hospital to serve as possibly unknowing suicide bombers (??? can't make this shit up); penguins dying in the south pole and polar bears dying in the north pole (and the latter being waitlisted - WAITLISTED! - for the endangered species list) due to climate change - and all this is just this morning's news.

And then there's Beijing and the Olympics. That China was chosen to host the Olympics is exciting and great and all that, but - to be completely honest - for me, only a little bit. I just can't muster up that much of the warm and fuzzy in the face of all these other China-related issues that are a little difficult to kick under the rug. Things like human rights and mistreatment of animals and Darfur and the general bass-ackwardness of so many things about this country that is my motherland and fatherland (ok, not exactly, more like ancestorland). And the Chinese government's position that the Olympics should be purely about sport and not at all about politics and the state of the world - C'MON, PEOPLE, you've been given the honor of hosting an event that is supposed to represent the harmonious coming together of different countries around the world. It is not at all outrageous for people to want you, as representative of all this harmony and togetherness, to maybe consider bringing your policies and actions a little more in line with the more generally accepted (and acceptable) basic philosophies of the world.

And can anyone tell me why the IOC would choose, as the host of the mother of athletic competitions, such a badly-polluted city?

I fully appreciate that China has invested oodles of time and money and other resources to show the world how far it has come, and I hate that I am coming off as bashing China - but fireworks and fancy buildings can't take the place of actual meaningful reforms in the things that matter.

But those fancy buildings - especially to me as a former almost-architect - mama like.



On my way home from work last night, I saw two things that I had never seen before in Japan, and never thought I would see.

The first sight was on the subway ride. We pulled into a station, the doors opened, and in came a walking piece of MAN CANDY. I'm pretty sure my eyes involuntarily did that thing where they pop open for a second out of surprise and delight, then back to normal size because I'm suave and subtle like that. And then I silently gave thanks for peripheral vision so that I could stare without, you know, staring (ahem... hi P, you sexy beast, you!). There's no way he was native Japanese (sorry, no offense, but this guy looked nothing like a skinny girly-mon whose ass I could kick); he actually reminded me of Gabby's lawnboy-toy from Desperate Housewives. Allow me to illustrate:

Hellooooo nurse!

The second sight was, unfortunately, not so delightful. I came up the stairs from the subway, to the dead end of the street where my apartment is. There are usually a few cabs there, their drivers taking a break. And apparently, sometimes peeing. Because there, under a streetlamp, in the middle of the sidewalk a couple feet away from bushes that could have provided some cover, was a middle-aged man - perfectly sober as far as I could tell, and presumably the owner of one of the idling cabs - taking a leak. Gah!


come here often?

Obviously, I don't, at least not lately. My apologies.

First of all, a belated "Happy holidays!!" to everyone!

This wouldn't be a proper post without a cameo, if not starring-role, appearance by my little one, now would it? (I miss my dog, can you tell?)

So an exciting thing that's happened
(one of many, I'm happy to report!) since I last held an audience here is that I started my new job this week. At my new firm, that, just to make clear, is awesome because it is NOT my old firm (see rant on some people's children's need to grow a pair). There are, of course, many other reasons it's a much better place for me, which I will not go into as I don't want to get into the habit of talking about work in this blog, and I also don't want to trash my old firm (because don't get me started...) (okay, no more, for serious now). So instead, I will just note these three things:

1. Gmail, and other general email websites, are blocked. BLOCKED! I do realize this is not a new concept and that I am not alone on this personal-email-less island of angst and misery (nor am I at all dramatic), but this is the first time it's happened to me. Thus, important. There is suddenly an even more severe shortage of hours in the day, and what, I'm supposed to WORK all day? ALL day?

2. There is a smoking room here. It's our very own, on our floor, and is not shared (I don't think) with other tenants in the building. Is this the result of [British firm (do the English smoke a lot?)] + [located in Japan (the Japanese were born with cigarettes in their mouths)]? I don't smoke, but I find this amazing because, well, see above - very own smoking room.

I get to listen to British accents ALL DAY LONG. *rawr*

So Japanese people love to carry around little containers and holders for their stuff. (Yes, this is a new topic). They buy change holders (I'd go ahead and call them change purses - a duck is a duck - but am being non-gender-specific... like many of the guys in Japan *badoom-chi!*), tissue-pack holders, holders for their plastic drink bottles, cigarette holders, personal containers to ash their cigarettes in (because it's rude to ash on the ground, I'm told). When they hit the slopes, they still love to carry around their little containers - so in any snowsports store, you can find these same little holders, but in versions designed specifically for use while in the snow - e.g., easy to open and handle with gloves on. Including personal ashers! So as not to ash on the mountain! Those guys.

And with that, happy almost-Friday!*

* Makes up for my belated holiday greeting, yes?