Thursday, November 30, 2006

St. Andrew's Day.

November 30th is know as St. Andrew's Day in Scotland. While it's not as famous as St. Patrick's Day, it's still a pretty big deal. Even in Japan, I've been getting emails from friends telling me about the ceilidh's, parties, concerts and plays they'll be going to.
What you don't know is that the 30th has many traditions and superstitions attached to it.
For example: if an unmarried woman sleeps naked tonight, she'll see her future husband in her dreams. I'd take that one with a pinch of salt!

St. Andrew also watches over singers, fisherman, fishmongers, spinsters and childless women.
To all the Jocks in Japan and around the world, "Slainte mhor agad!"

Bicycle hijinks

So, my bike was stolen. I've had it for a year and a half - pretty good by osaka standards actually where a bike is stolen every 2 minutes or something. Anyway, I was sad. I pimped it out with a hello kitty bell and an umbrella holder thingy. And my bike was one of those ones that folds in half if you want to carry it on the train or something. *sigh* I guess I'll have to buy a new one eventually.

So I was getting over that. Rich and I have been riding the other bike we have (otherwise known as the family car). It is a piece of crap bike that we paid $30 for when we first arrived in Japan. I love it. Its green and rusty and carries us both (reasonably) comfortably. We also added an umbrella holder on it and put pegs on it so the 'passenger' can put their feet up, or stand on them.

Then, we lost the key. We have been walking our asses everywhere for the last week.

Then, I discovered that you can go to a bike shop and have them take the old lock off and put a new one on for about $15. And you can buy a lock that has 3 keys.

Back on the family car!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Walking in a winter wonderland....

So I phoned/emailed a few people this weekend from home and discovered that it has snowing like crazy! Of course, snow in my hometown was not such a surprise as it snows every year there. Some years more than others but certainly every year. The surprise came when I talked to a few of our friends from the lower mainland. Now, its not like it NEVER snows in Vancouver, but its a once every few years kind of thing and its usually just a dusting on the ground that melts as it lands. This year it decided to just dump a load of it on the city. I'm sure that chaos ensued. Vancouver drivers wouldn't know how to drive on the white stuff if you paid them a million dollars. The whole city practically shuts down at times like these. So, our friends Tim and Tara - picture below - sent me some great shots of the shivery cold white stuff. Quote from Tara 'It's &@(#$ cold'.

Our very own Vancouver weather reporters - Tim and Tara

A typical Vancouver street.

This flower was sure surprised. Geez, it was like FINE yesterday!

Wow, look at all that snow!

I think this might be T and T's new place? Let me know if it is!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Autumn in Japan

When I was first told about japanese autumns, I thought it was just a huge wind-up. They really weren't kidding, the colours here are amazing! With this in mind I decided a little adventure to Arashiyama, Kyoto was in order.

Enjoy the red.

My avatar!

I hit a friends website and found this avatar maker. Cute eh? My hair colour may change of course :) Check it out on the side bar!

The Ultimate Showdown!!

Friday, November 24, 2006

I got my pictures!!!

So remember I had some photos taken in October? The photographer gave me a copy of all the pics :) I am posting some here - warning - some are a little racy (not too racy as you can't see any important bits) but I think they look fab!! The collage isn't quite perfect - it makes all the pictures square so sometimes it cuts out some of the important bits, but you get the picture - haha. He will be using one of the pictures in an exhibition here in Osaka in December which is so cool! I can't wait to see it framed and on display!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Canada - into the unknown....

So I keep thinking about how weird its going to be going back 'home' for a holiday. I have tried to assimilate into the Japanese world and feel quite comfortable here now. Sometimes I feel as though I am living in a bit of a bubble - a gaijin girl surrounded by asian people, a language that I only sort of understand, strange customs, a culture that I am beginning to understand but know that I must reach much farther into the barrel to TRULY understand. At the same time, the bubble sort of protects me here. A simple 'wakaranai' (I don't understand) can fix most situations (even if you didn't know you were in one). I bow when talking on the phone, mumble the correct phrases when bumping into someone and enjoy the level of politeness here - even if it is on a surface scale only. Its amazing how smooth life can go if one even pretends to be OK with something. As a foreigner I am given alot of leeway to interpret the rules as well as obviously I cannot possibly understand the complexity of many situations. I like my apartment (cold though it may be), and my job here is good. I am a little afraid that when I go back to Canada, it will not be the fantastic dream that I remember and spouted off about to my students. 'Canada is a wonderful place! Beautiful and the people are so nice...etc' . I hear the stories from my shell-shocked friends that have visited their families and returned disheartened at how rude and noisy everyone was. I am sure that I will go through a reverse culture shock no matter how much fun I am having with my friends and family. Well, off I will go, into the known and the unknown, to explore a world that I thought I knew, but may discover that I really didn't.


Finally, I think I am over my cold. My nose no longer starts dripping immediately everytime I bend over and my head no longer has rocks rolling around in it. Whew! Ok. Thats it. Back to your regular scheduled programming.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Who says cats and dogs cant be friends?

OK, I know this is waaay too cute and kind of sappy but I miss my kitties and this was just too nice not to post. This old dog is so sweet to his new cat friend.
Up, up and away!

LOL. I love this. It reminds me of a silly anime. The sound effects are great too :D

Speaking of Christmas turkey they are but meager chickens, but they were tasty! Ahhh, that was a fun party you crazy Tangs pulled together!! I see Richard!!

Aaaaaand, the wishbone, Japan style!

And last, but not the least bit uniform...the Christmas cake, which was carried in Brett's bike basket. Can you tell?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Falalala laaaaaaa, lalaalaa laaaaaaa

So, it finally happened. It was insidious. It snuck up from behind me and smacked me in the head today. Christmas arrived. I started hearing the carols on the radio(yes, even in Japan they play them), I've been seeing the Christmas trees and lights popping up in all the usual places AAAAAND I saw the crazy dancing Santa down in DenDen town.

So, that settles it. The holiday season is here. I find myself humming Christmas carols and thinking about butter tarts. For those of you who do not know, my grama makes the best butter tarts I've ever had and she makes them only at Christmas. I eagerly await a package from Canada containing bits and bobs of my gramas baking and little tinned things that seem to only be around at this time of year. Mmmmmmmmmmm, the holidays. I'm already thinking about what I'm going to cook on Christmas Day and how many people will be coming over. I had 30 last year. There was barely enough room for everyone to sit down - actually it was kind of funny. ;) Anyway, I can't stop thinking about it - I'm pondering whether I should buy a few decorations (or a hundred). Someone stop me now before I'm out of control :D

Monday, November 20, 2006

No Wii for me....

Me so sad. Me not have Wii. Seriously, I got up early this morning at 8 AM when they would be putting it up on Amazon. Ever see the movie "Gone in 60 Seconds?" Yeah, it was like that, but with nerds. So I just have to be patient for the next shipment.

In the meantime, I'm wondering, what's the dealio over in Japanland? Are there any dissatisfied Otakus?

Hello world. It's me again.

It's been a while. A lot has happened since then, and I'll tell more about that soon,

It seems that I'm going to be a long-timer in Osaka. I've bought furniture and made some great new friends that I'll post pictures of soon. It's a shame that I won't be home to celebrate Christmas with my family. They said it's OK, but it's going to be tough this year without them.

On a sadder note, some of my friends are going home in February; see you later in the USA in summer 2007.

I guess that 2007 will be a major year of change in my life.

Sniffle sniffle

So, I have a cold. Yuck. Snot flying everywhere, and a headache that isn't really bad enough to complain about but annoyingly always there. Thats all. I'm gonna go feel sorry for myself somewhere.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Thank God its Payday!!

Whew, we made it to payday. I paid the rent today, took out 40,000 yen for Rebecca and we still have lots to pay the bills and buy groceries. I think Rich is going to send some money home to pay off the Visa bill and we should still be doing OK this month. We won't be able to do anything spectacular this month, but going out to dinner occassionally will be OK. :) I will still be cooking at home mostly I think. Its tons cheaper and Richard eats vegetables when I cook - hehe.

Other news, I am working my ass off. 5 contracts this week. Yikes! Hardly anytime to do anything else at work. My job is kind of like that though. Flood or drought if you know what I mean. I'm going to have to out off any new clients until I get all this crap off my desk.

Fun things this week - we went to Subculture for the first time yesterday. Cheap cheap cheap is all I have to say. 1000 yen for us chickypoos to eat and drink all we can. Sorry boys its 2000 for you but still cheap as. I can see it will be a popular 'just before payday' place.

New news. None. Zip. Nada. Nothing new. Work, sleep, sometimes see people at lunch etc. Hmmm, I think I might go sulk a little since my life is so boring right now.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Kicking it at home

So, things have quieted down significantly since Jason went home. Apparently he DID get his upgrade to first class and enjoyed his flight home. Well enjoyed is probably a little strong, but it certainly wasn't bad at all :) We have just been hanging out in our house basically. Due to many reasons.

1) Sometimes you just get partied out. Not that either of us really drink alot - we don't. Maybe 2 drinks each, but you get a little blech about taking the train all the time and then having to wait for the first one to get home

2) Well, not much going on recently. No sayounaras, not many birthdays, really only the occasional thing.


3) Money. Money, money money moooooneeeey. Mooooooneeeey. After Europe (which cost as much as 2 vacations), and Jason visiting (more time off and then trip to Tokyo which cost money) and picking up our tix to visit our families in January - uhmm we have a bit of a lack of it right now you might say ;) Hehe. Not like we're starving or anything. We always have money for food and rent, but no fun money.

How convenient that Richard downloaded the TV program for me to watch LOL!!!!! Fate you think.......? Anyway, I'm enjoying the downtime and working my little tushy off at work to make up for the lack. I only get paid by the contract so my salary is kind of unpredictable. On the plus side of being busy, my cheque next month should be reasonably fat. Thank goodness!!! So, when I finish this blog, I will probably turn on the old bube tube and clean up the house until its time to make some din din. Not that anyone cares but I found steaks today in Life supermarket for 1000 yen for 3 steaks. (Japanese ones which means its about the size of one regular North American steak!!) And normally one pathetically small Japanese steak is the same price as the pack of 3 I found today so.... Yah!!! Steak it is tonight. Mmmmmmmm, burned cow. So, gotta go. TV to watch and cow to cook. Catch you on the flip side.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Aaaaaaaaaah TeeeeeeVeeeeeee!

So, my life has been thrown into a blender with the recent discovery of internet TV. Its one one of those kind of weird things that when you can watch TV anytime, anyday, IN ENGLISH, you don't necessarily do it that much because, well, because you CAN do it anytime you like. When you live in Japan, (and are unwilling to pay the exhorbitant price they are asking for English Cable) you fall into a pop culture void. One day, you're texting your sister and she mentions some band called 'Arctic monkeys' and you're like, "Who the hell are they?" and you realize that you have fallen into a big black hole where you have no idea what the fuck is going on in the English speaking world. Then, one day, your brilliant otaku husband downloads a program which allows you to watch certain channels like Fox, NBC, CBS and some crazy HongKong/Singapore channel called AXN and you become absorbed with any old crap that they throw your way. Amazing Race Asia? Sure sounds good. Its in English right? Great! Fear Factor? Hmmm, well usually I hate that shit, but its in English right? OK! And then they throw in some stuff that you actually like (Alias, Simpsons, CSI - so much CSI I may never get off of my couch again) and you find you can't tear yourself away even on commercials - and those of you who know me know that I hate commercials. I was a commercial flipper when I watched TV in Canada. I would pick a show that I would watch during the commercials of the main show that I was watching so that I wouldn't have to watch that 'targeted to the lower percentile shit' that they call advertising. Yikes. I can feel my brain cells melting as I type. Anyway, hoorah for the internet and TV. Uhmmm, I gotta get back to my show now, I'm missing some good Las Vegas..........

Saturday, November 04, 2006

ROFL - First time I've seen a quiz like this

Has anyone else got one of these "My husband died, and I have a bazillion dollars I need your help transferring illegally out of my 3rd world country" spams? hahahaha

Now there's a quiz.

You are Princess Agbani. You are a student at the University of Nigeria, Lagos.  You got my name through the chember of comerse.  You have $21,350,000 to share, which your father, the king, left you. You have trouble spelling.
Which Nigerian spammer are You?

Mwa hahaha

Take the Villain quiz.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Kaiyukan Aquarium

We also hit the aquarium the other day. Osaka has a world famous one that spirals down. They have some unique fish and mammals like the giant whale shark and a sunfish :) Here are some pics.

Outside the aquarium. They always decorate around this time of year for the holidays. There is also a huge ass ferris wheel called Tempozan that gives you a great view of the whole city.

I love the aquarium. So many cute fishes and animals.

Kyoto with Jason

Before Jason left, we went to the old capitol of Japan - Kyoto. It's famous here and around the world for two things. Temples and Geisha. Although we didn't get a chance to go to Gion corner, we did see some fab (like the mister) temples.

An old Zen temple built by an unknown builder in the 14th to 16th century. It's highlight was the rock garden in which 15 stones were placed. Some say that you can only see 14 stones at any one angle from the viewing platform, and that to see the 15th stone you must attain a zen state.

Another Zen temple, but this one is famous for it's Golden pavillion. It was a great place to take pictures and if you're foreign looking school kids will ask you questions in English. Jason was politely mobbed by a group of kids while I pretended to be the Japanese friend. Hehehe.

While we have visited this one in the past, Heian is a nice place to visit with people from out of town. It has a fantastic garden that surrounds the temple, and a huge Torii in front of the entrance.

Halloween - the Japanese version

I love Halloween. Probably more than I should. Its my favourite holiday and you don't even get paid for it. Usually I would start making my costume in July and go all out. Crazy sewing and making of accessories etc. Previous years have included: Lara Croft, the silver outfit from the second movie, Cleopatra (where I made a linen and sparkly silver outfit and a beaded headdress and got braids done), Edea from Final Fantasy 8 - horned helmet, and fan outfit and everything, and Catwoman from Batman returns with the lovely sewed PVC outfit. This year and the year before I had to be a little more AND less creative at the same time. No sewing machine, no craft stuff that I have at home so costume had to be doable with safety pins and dollar store sewing kits. So me and Kirsten went as............

Sexy eskimos. I know its not politically correct. But thats what we were, and hey we're from Canada. We don't know about that stuff anyway :D Our mens were loggers/truck drivers.

Bye bye to Jason

So our friend Jason headed back to Canada today. It was a fun 2 weeks, and an action packed time. I have some more pictures to post from the stuff that we did since we got back from Tokyo, but it'll have to wait until I have some more time. We really enjoyed having him here and showing him around Japan, and introducing him to our friends etc. We're gonna miss ya!! He is still on his plane right now as I type so I hope he's having a good one! Hopefully he got his upgrade to first class so he doesn't have to squeeze his ass into one of those really tiny economy seats :) Hehe. Anyways, it was a fun time and I hope to see him again soon......