Thursday, 28 October 2010

Thursday Again

Every week, like clockwork, Thursday comes the day after Wednesday and it seems that every week I'm surprised by it - like Thursday snuck up on me. In related news, my coworkers laughed HYSTERICALLY when in response to a question about the day of the week I said "Its Tuesday all day today." While I remember saying this a lot as a child (yes, I was an annoying child!) but none of my coworkers had ever heard it before. Much to my befuddlement it has added to my reputation at work for being hilarious. I don't quite get it...

Anyways, the fact that it is Thursday means it's time for a TILT, so here are a few things I'm loving this week!

- the weather! I love the cooler weather. I love snuggling up in fleecy pjs under warm blankets to sleep. And the sun yesterday let me do two loads of laundry and make a dent in the mountain in my front hall (my tent and other camping things were covering all available indoor surfaces so I had to wait for a break in the rain).

- raspberry affogado donut at Andonand (upscale cousin of Misdo). Yum! Seriously sinful and yummy. A chocolatey donut drowning in a whip cream-y sauce then drizzles with a slightly tart raspberry sauce.... mmm!

- hearing from my advisor. I had been feeling bad about not being in touch with him for so long, and was wondering how best to go about getting in touch with him when I got a call from him yesterday evening - a friend of his sent some fresh venison so my advisor is calling all his old students for a venison party! Yay!

What are you loving today?

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Warming Okaasan

I lost my knitting mojo for a while - not feeling motivated to work on my wip nor did I feel the urge to start something new. I think part of that was I had a finished project laying around without a neck to warm. It is a small light-weight lacy scarf made out of soft brown merino. Not much to look at...

Nor did it take me long to knit up. It was originally a stash-busting project and it wasn't until long after I finished it that I finally decided on who to give it to...

U's mother! She was thrilled with it when I gave it to her on Saturday when we made a very quick stop for U's sleeping bag. It was nice to have something to give her as she, per usual, had lots of gifts for us - sushi dor lunch, a bottle of high quality soy sauce, and a few slices of home-made cheesecake. Happy all-round!

Sunday, 24 October 2010


U and I went camping last night. My trusty little night had it's Japan debut and U and I tried something new as a couple. We both love camping but had never actually gone together. We started off easy - car camping in a site with full amenities - and I do mean full amenities, the "outhouses!" (A far cry from the sites I camped at in Jasper National Park with their "green thrones" - green plastic seats with lids, open to the sky and beautiful scenery as the local wildlife enjoy chewing painted wood so hut-type outhouses tend not to last.)

Annnnnyways... The site, in Chichibu in Saitama prefecture was great. In addition to drive-up tent sites they have cottages and all sorts of animals (rabbits, ducks, chickens...) and a chatty older guy who lives on-site with his family as managers. He gave us a couple of freshly laid eggs and we got to chatting. A very interesting fellow... He had built the main building and all the animal huts out of... out of empty drink cans and cement! All that is showing of the cans is the circular silver end shining from the grey cement - making for rather unique buildings to say the least. The manager proudly told us about all the TV stations that have featured the site, about all the foreigners who have cone all the way to see the buildings. When he heard my answer to the question "what do you do" he invited us in fir tea by the wood stove and introduced is to his wife, who is descended from one of the important ladies in the Tokugawa ooku (shogun's women's quarters).

Annnnnyways... good site. Good food too. U picked out a packet of "cheese fondue." (No, Cath, nothing like the real thing, the poor boy is in desperate need of a REAL cheese fondue experience) and I had pre-steamed potatoes and broccoli to go along with the crusty French bread. We also grilled thin slices of Spam over the fire and then finished it all of with U's first smores! Yum!!

The only trouble was that poor U forgot how cold it gets nowadays at night so which I was cozy in my trusty long underwear and three-season sleeping bag (that's a CANADIAN three-seasons, meaning the tag declares it handles down to -5), he was wearing a couple of long sleeved shirts and a light sweatshirt with his hiking pants and had only his light sleeping bag. The poor guy was cold and awake for most of the night. I was blissfully unaware and after a week troubled by insomnia slept over 11 hours!

This morning as we sipped hot chocolate and roasted mochi over the fire we excitedly discussed our next camping trip - after a stop at the camping store for a sleeping bag liner for U and a couple if camp chairs (sites in Japan don't tend have picnic tables like sites often do in Canada). It was just the escape we both needed after stressful work weeks. And the rain? It waited until after we visited a couple of shrines and were driving home!

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Tis the Season to be Jolly

A while back Umebossy posted on the arrival of fall by alerting us to the fact that toilet seat warmers were on. That's a pretty good indication of the end of summer, but I just saw indication that winter is not far away - the special winter chocolates are in stores.

Yes folks, it's that time of year again, it's Melty Kiss season!!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Short week TILT

With the event running through the long weekend and me taking Tuesday off to recuperate, my work week is only two days old and already it's Thursday. What's not to love?!

As for the event... it was exhausting - I got a normal amount of sleep each night but was so busy during the day that I had to miss a few meals and just generally stay on full "go" for the entire day. But, exhaustion aside, it was a lot of fun! An amazing event to be a part of. Official sources say we had over 6000 people over the course of the three days, and I'm pretty sure that just about every one of them came into the World Centre room we were running. Our photocopied handouts had to be strictly rationed but we still ran out. We sold out of some of our goods (with our very cute elephant logo - still a few tote bags and badges, get yours while they last!). I saw old friends. I networked. I made new friends. I missed an opportunity to meet the Empress. But mostly it was just a very powerful reminder of the incredibeness that is the movement Lord Baden Powell started 100 years ago.

Besides that, well I love U who came all the way out to pick us and all our luggage at the end of the event, to drive us to another event , a final reception we had to run. He then dropped my exhausted fellow organizer at her place and took me home, telling me to go to bed because I had "dead fish eyes." (just what every girl wants to hear, eh?!).

I'm loving the cooler weather and having weekend plans for the next few weeks, and honestly I'm just nerd enough that I am starting to love the challenge I've set for myself over the next few months!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Quickie TILT

Girl Scouts Japan's big 90th event starts Saturday and runs through the long weekend and since I'm staying on-site for the entire event I check in tomorrow night. I still need to pack and should try to get a good night of sleep as something makes me think that it might just be in short supply over the weekend! So my TILT this week will have to be short and sweet.

- mid-week escapes to Tsukuba!! The just seeing U on weekends thing doesn't make either of us very happy, but with U hoping to find a new job, moving just isn't a possiblity right now, so we have to live with it. And one way we do so is by me going up to see him mid-week. Since he lives in a company dorm I can't stay with him so we get a hotel. The area has been developping in leaps and bounds over the past year or so and new hotels have been popping up. We stayed at a brand new place that was your average business hotel except for the onset piped into a big bath and a very nice complementary breakfast. A relaxing evening together and a soak in a big tub were just what we both needed.

- seeing kindness - the surest way to piss me off is to insult my friends, and when I see kindness to someone important to me it makes me doubly happy as not only is something nice being done but also I anticipate my friend's happiness. A few of my friends are going through hard spots right now, and I've mentioned them to U. He has taken to asking me how they are, and is clearly worried. This makes me happy because it shows he likes and cares about my friends and also shows just how good a guy he is.

- The GS event!! A friend (and her two-year old who I have yet to meet) is coming from Kansai, other GS friends will be gathering too, and while Iikely won't have a restful weekend, I am really looking forward to it!!

Monday, 4 October 2010

Monday Vocabulary

When I was little I, like many others I'm sure, loved Sesame Street. My dad would probably tell you that I preferred Mr. Rogers or Mr. Dress-up, and while he'd be right, I'll always have a soft spot on my heart for Snuffleupagus. Looking back I also like the idea of a letter and a number for the day - the "today's program brought to you by the letter 'C' and the number '3.' It makes sense paedeologically - breaks down a big lesson (all the letters of the alphabet and all numbers) into manageable bits, you learn a little more each day, and lessons are reinforced with examples (lots of 'c' words and groups of three). I'm doing the very same thing studying for the JLPT, thanks to a handy kanji and vocal application for my iPhone I've even been doing it just about daily too.

Yesterday, however the universe (or at least a couple of train companies) ganged up to impose a word on me. My word for yesterday? Chien-shomeisho (or chien-sho). It's the slip of paper handed out by train companies to passengers when a train is delayed - like the notes parents write to excuse a child's absence from school. A sort of get-out-of-being-late-for-free card. And my number? Three - as in three out of three of my morning trains were late and handing out chiensho.

I dutifully collected my chiensho and tried not to run over too many obachan as I raced for my transfers. I was at my desk only 15 minutes late.

Happy Monday - what way to start the week!

What letter and number was your day brought to you by?

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Jumping off the bridge...

Just because it seems as though all the blogs I read are doing it, here's a meme...

1. What’s your middle name?
Ann – my mother’s middle name (and the name she went by), and my maternal grandmother’s name, who I was named after.

2. What’s your favorite magazine?
I have subscriptions to Being A Broad and the Canadian Museum Studies Association magazine, but don’t actually read either as often as I would like to…

3. What are you wearing right now?
My pjs – a pair of U’s boxers and a ‘I am Canadian’ Molson beer t-shirt.

4. What color are your bed sheets?
Futon covers are pale green, sheet is white. But I also have pale blue and bright orange… none matching…

5. Who was your third grade teacher?
Grade three? Umm… Grade 4 was Mrs. Kay, grade 5 was Ms. Bender… but no recollection of any names before that.

6. What is the weather like right now?
LOVELY! Today was warm and sunny with a nice breeze, right now it is chilly enough that I’m going to want a blanket but not too cold.

7. Do you know how to ski?
In theory? Yes. In practice… not so much. I took skiing lessons in high school with a friend. They were supposed to be beginner lessons but everybody else but me turned out to not actually be beginners and so our teacher jumped ahead and took us on harder hills when all I wanted was to stay on the bunny hill.

8. What was the last thing you drank?
Green apple chuhai!

9. Dream vacation?
Lots of them! Easter Island, Macchu Picchu, Thailand, Italy, France, Mexico, go back to India…

10. Favorite article of clothing?

11. Do you prefer baking or cooking?
Baking. Am looking VERY forward to moving to a place with enough kitchen space for an oven!

12. Is your hair above or below your shoulders?

13. What drink do you order when out?
That depends on where! If it’s a coffee type place then a caramel latte with non-fat milk. If a drinking type place then ume-shu and soda. Last week a friend took me to a vinegar restaurant and I had mango vinegar soda – wow it was AMAZING! So that is the drink I’d most like to order next time I’m out.

14. What book are you reading?
A study guide/practice book for the JLPT exam… terribly exciting!

15. What did you dream about last night?
Ummmm… Don’t remember! It wasn’t the dream I had a couple of times last week, however, the one where I dreamed U dumped me and went off into the sunset!

16. What was the last movie you went to?
The new Ghibli movie based on ‘The Borrowers,” a book (or rather a series of books) that I LOVED as a child. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it, and was quite impressed by how much they “got right” despite everything they changed!

17. Any injuries at the moment?
None besides self-inflicted stomach issues… (see #48 about allergies – I love okonomiyaki, my stomach, on the other hand, is not so happy about okonomiyaki sauce)

18. What color is your bathroom?

19. What’s the state of your laundry right now?
One half-dry load is on the line outside and another load (*cough* or two *cough*) of dry is on the sofa awaiting to be folded and put away.

20. Do you take vitamins?
Not now.

21. Where do you love to shop?
Stationary stores make me very happy. Book stores make my hands itch… in a good way! Craft stores too! As for clothing stores… in Japan I admit to being a Uniqlo-er if for no other reason than the stuff actually fits (or at least the tops do… I have enough trouble finding pants long enough for me in Canada, there is no way I’m going to find anything here!)

22. How often do you buy groceries?
Pretty much every other day I pick up something, especially since my local grocery store stopped carrying 1L containers of non-fat milk and I am stuck buying the half-litre packs that hold just about enough for two days worth of lattes.

23. Do you have a pet/pets?

24. If you are married, when is your next anniversary?

25. How do you take your coffee and/or tea?
Milk and sugar – although if its coffee I prefer caramel syrup to sugar. If its herbal tea then no milk and honey instead of sugar.

26. Mac or PC? Desktop or Laptop?
Dell laptop as my “desktop” and an itty bitty Vaio-p that I LOVE!!

27. Favorite month of the year?
Probably October – Thanksgiving (TURKEY!), the beginning of fall...

28. Do you have a hobby?
Knitting! Kayaking (when I have access to my kayak, which is currently hanging in my father’s garage)

29. What salad dressing do you prefer?
I’m going to go with what seems to be a popular favourite and say balsamic vinaigrette.

30. Live or fake Christmas tree?
Live, although the fake tree U and I decorated last year was pretty cute.

31. Did you walk or take a bus to school?
I walked for the first five years, then two years of getting driven in the AM and busing home, then half a year of bright yellow school bus (with a transfer to a second bus to go to the middle school), then a year and a half of public transit bus, then two years of walking, and finally a year of being driven in the AM and busing it home combined with the occasional drive myself once I got my license. (phew! yes, I moved and changed schools A LOT growing up)

32. Do you have any phobias?
Non food-related ones? (see #48 re allergies)

33. What’s your favorite snack food?
Sweet or savoury? Sweet I’d have to go with chocolate, savoury would probably be cheese flavoured nachos… or the sour cream and onion ripple chips they used to sell when I was a kid…

34. When do you take your shower/bath?
In the morning when I wake up.

35. What time did you get up this morning?

36. What’s your favorite animal?
Every single person who has ever seen my apartment can answer that question… PENGUINS!

37. Have you ever broken a bone?
Nope. I’m quite amazed, actually. I am a klutz and very good at giving myself huge purple bruises, but (KNOCK WOOD) nothing broken yet!

38. Do you wear makeup?
Definitely to work, and yes for just about everything else, although increasingly not on weekends.

39. Do you speak any foreign languages?
Define “foreign” language! I live in Japan so that would make Japanese not really a “foreign” language, right? Canada is officially bilingual so neither French nor English are “foreign.” And I’ve forgotten just about all the German I ever learned…

40. Have you ever played a sport?
Played soccer through elementary school, one season of softball (that I DESPISED)

41. Your last UPS package contained …
After a horribly bad experience with UPS I prefer not to use them… shudder! But, my last parcel was from the Girl Scout Centre in Mexico – they were kind enough to send us a uniform for us to use as a display at the upcoming GS event!

42. What’s on your desktop?
Who, not what. Trevor Linden (SWOON!)

43. What is your home page?

44. Extrovert or introvert?
Definitely an extrovert when I know the people I’m with. When I don’t? Not so much!

45. Favorite board game?
Haven’t played a board game in far too long! When I was little I LOVED Sleeping Grump – a great collaborative board game.

46. What class did you like best in high school? In college?
In high school I was a math nerd – I was one of the few students who took all of the available math classes and I loved it. In undergrad my favourite classes were my Japanese history classes.

47. What would you do with an extra hour each day?
Hopefully try and tick a few more things off my to do list - especially using the Wii Fit more regularly.

48. Do you have allergies?
Tomatoes (and, to some extent peppers, eggplant, and lately my stomach seems to be unhappy with large amounts of garlic… sigh) Oh, and sulfa drugs. (thankfully the latter are less likely to be hiding in a bowl of curry or under a leaf of lettuce)

49. Are your nails painted?
Nope. One of the women at my hairdresser’s is always trying to convince me to get them done and I can’t be bothered. I did for a while but having to keep them short to help with the hands-on curatorial class at school put an end to that.

50. Where are you right now?
Ummmmm, sitting in front of the computer?!