Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Monday, January 29, 2007

Holla to a girl on her Bday!

So, the big event was last night! A horde descended upon our new apartment and we celebrated the anniversary of a certain Karaoke Queen's entrance into this world. Actually, it was the 14th, but girl was in Canada and couldn't party it up with her J-friends from there. I had a dinner with the family there and then went out with some friends (T and T) on the actual date of my B-day.

We decided to combine our housewarming, and my B-day into one big celebration. Both belated. Rich decided kinda last minute he wanted to make it a BBQ as well, so I called it (in my head anyway) the B and B party. Why? Who knows, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. Everyone showed up in pretty good cheer, some with meat for the grill, and some without. Some did not know it was a BBQ because Otaku was a bit lazy with the notification.......bad Otaku. So we had to buy some more meat, but it all turned out OK.

I started drinking early - it was my B-day celebration after all, and by the time most of the guests were showing up I was already half-cut. A little bit of vodka, a little bit on gin, a little bit of Baileys and whisky .....I think.....did you put whisky in that drink Dali? There was music and presents and general disorder. There was BBQ and a rooftop. No one fell off. Thank god.

Then we migrated to the bar below our house - the Cowboy Texas Rancher. Yes, that's really what its called. Its run by this great Japanese guy who has a penchant for things western. Its kitschy and campy and cool. My drinking continued. Gin Blossoms were the order of the evening until Moose decided that we weren't quite drunk enough yet and bought a round of tequila shots. They were enormous!! I wish I'd taken a picture - they were more like double shots. Down the hatch it went! Then I was truly hammered. Ignoring the little voice inside that said "Hey, you're pretty hammered", I downed a couple more gin blossoms just for the hell of it.

At this point, it was time for the birthday girl to hit the hay. After a truly fun birthday with her important Osaka peeps, she happily fell into bed and dreamt of how next year could possibly be even better!

*Afterword - pictures to come when we have proper internet again. Or when I convince Otaku to put them up for me :D

Saturday, January 27, 2007

More Japanese strangeness!

There pictures were donated by a friend of ours. Unfortunately, we didn't have our camera on us at the time we saw this so - thanks Mike!

Onechan means big sister in Japanese and they have a cute dog character that kids play with. Of course some sicko had to twist it and make it perverted.

At first all looks kosher and sweet.
It looks another blow-up playpen for the kiddies.
A cute pink one at that!

Zoom out and the dirty feeling sinks in.
Suddenly PINK isn't as cute.
See what I mean?

Thanks goes out to Mike for donating the pics. Next time I'll have my camera ready!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Jet lagged

This is how I feel.


So wow. What a trip. We had a pretty good time when back in Canada. We got to visit our friends in Vancouver and then made it out to the Okanagan to see the family. It wasn't as cold as we thought it was going to be (thankyou weather gods!) and we even got a ride out there with friends. My family was even pretty OK on this trip - a little bit of drama but mostly OK. All in all a pretty good trip. Not a vacation by any means! But a good trip. I do have pictures to post, but they will have to wait until YahooBB comes in February to post I think...unless I can get some time in at the office to upload them. Hmmm, thats an idea.

So we're back and soooo jetlagged. Both Rich and I keep waking up in the middle of the night. Last night I managed to get back to sleep at about 5AM but I'm struggling with the time change. Oh well, in about a week I'll be back to normal.

Details from trip....later! If you want to read about some of the details (no pics yet) check out Osaka Otaku's blog. He has been much more diligent than I with the posting.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Jolly good show!

Well done to Karaoke Queen. I just saw your published pictures in the latest edition of Japanzine. You may get even more people peeking at this blog, what with the mention it gave you!

Why they never chose this one is a mystery ;)

Sunday, January 14, 2007


What a town, I gotta say it. My first time in Canada, though brief, was done with a tremendous energy that could only be shared with my two best buddies from Japan, Karaoke Queen and Osaka Otaku (shown here in front of a Safeway).

I miss you guys already and hope that the rest of the trip goes well for you.

So I have evidence that a certain Karaoke Queen was caught in the act of jiggling microphone cords! Ha, actually that was the only way they would work, but I thought the picture looked pretty incriminating:

And last but not least...what is the DEEEAL with this???

Now this might be considered dinner in some third world country...but this is Ameri...err, Canada! That's like a snack people! Anyway, I found it amusing, among other things, eh?

Oh and special thank you to Jamie's godfather, Rick, who was nice enough to allow me to stay with R&J at his place over the weekend. Next time I come up, we're going to gay bars with lots of J-boys for me to pick up, haha! Maybe that cute one from American Eagle will be there.

Canada - Jan 12

This morning we took Rick and Bretto out for breakfast at a De Dutch Pannekoek House. Afterwards Rick gave us (mostly Bretto) an excellent driving tour of Vancouver. You can only see so much of Vancouver from a car, but we did pretty well.At the end of the tour we ended up downtown, where J spotted a Karaoke box. Of course, we made reservations for after dinner and did some shopping.After shopping, Rick dropped us off at the Commercial Skytrain station, where we met Anisha. We were also supposed to meet others, but due to scheduling conflicts only Anisha could come. A decision was quickly made and we went to Cafe Deux Soleils. They have great vegetarian fare here, even for a hardcore meat eater, as well as good coffee and tea.Holly was scheduled after Anisha, but we had to kill some time in between so we spent some time in Shopper's drugmart and Safeway. Groceries were bought and time flew by. Our friend Holly drove us to her place where she entertained us and she gave Bretto an astrology reading. A little before 9PM she dropped us off at Tsolia's Greek Taverna.To our surprise we saw that people were already there, and that my highschool grad/prom date was now living in Vancouver! Tim and Tara, Colleen, and Lori(my grad/prom date from highschool) were there. A few minutes later J.Dean and his partner, Carolin, showed up. Finally Dan, my brother, showed up after he finished work. I had lamb/chicken combo souvlaki and had a good chat with everyone.Dinner wrapped up and some of us headed to karaoke. Jamie, I, Bretto, Tim, Tara, Colleen, J.Dean and Carolin went to Konbiniya(Japanese/Engrish). It was a Japanese style karaoke room, but the machine must have been ancient. It was a cyberdam or anything that looked remotely like the ones in Japan now! The books were worn and tired. The song list didn't even include well known bands like U2! To make things worse the sound kept cutting out and sounded terrible. Unfortunately for us the place was full so we couldn't relocate to another room. The guys tried to fix the system, but it took so long that we were moved to another room after people had left. In this new room there was insane feedback/line noise because the mic cords(Yes... no wireless mics!) needed to be jiggled just right. Luckily Jamie was able to jiggle the cord just right.They didn't charge us for karaoke, just drinks. We had a good time.

Canada - Jan 11

We've had an action packed time in Canada since landing in Vancouver.Upon arrival we had a crash course in international date line time travel. We assumed that we'd arrive on the 12th, but we actually arrived before we left. Japan is about 17hours ahead so we left Osaka Jan 11 at 17:55h and arrived in Vancouver Jan 11 at 10:40h.Luckily we have great friends and family here. J's godfather picked us up early and let us stay at his place in Vancouver. His new townhouse was amazing! He was really cool about things, even when J asked if our friend Bretto could stay as well.Bretto arrived and we spent some time catching up while watching a movie. We were tired so we crashed a little after midnight.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Where's my flux capacitor?

2007/01/11 17:55h

We left Osaka on the plane! The flight was okay, but the AC plane was so ghetto compared to the airlines we have used for our travels over the years. Malaysian Air was nice, JAL, and Qatar have been nice with modern options like video on demand to all passengers.

2007/01/12 ??:??h

We have arrived in Vancouver. Where's Bretto? Has he failed us? Damn him! He's not picking up. And then we realized after asking some people that today was not the 12th as we expected. We told Bretto to meet us on the wrong day! Luckily Uncle Rick was able to pick us up. THANKS UNCLE RICK!

2007/01/11 10:40h

Now we are waiting for Rick to come by. We decided to eat some Burger King while we wait. Wow! The Whopper looks huge! The Sprite tastes so sweet as well. I guess I'm too used to Mitsuya Cider.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

And we're awaaaaay

Sorry for the kinda sparse posting recently - we've been uber busy with the moving and then work and then the preparing for Canada. We catch our plane tomorrow back to Canada to visit with the folks and whatnot. We have your prezzies on hand TImmie and Ryan to give them to you first hand when we see you. I'm sorry but the other ones will have to wait until we get back and have time to go to the post office. So you can expect something maybe the end of the month or early February. Wish us a safe flight! And blog ya when we're in Canada.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Late night antics - when the cat is away....

(This is dedicated to Delly who hasn't updated her blog in weeks!)

Scott will play! The story begins Christmas night 2006. It was also the last night of Club Dunk. Scott was feeling a little lonely since his girl went back to England for the holidays. He had to wait around for a few days before joining her.

Rudolph (aka Naoyuki) had spent Christmas night at our place and we had all decided to see Kouji for one last drink. That was when the fun started...

Scott was feeling the blues so he started to drink his sorrows away. He started to get friendlier as the night wore on. He and Shigeki and Naoyuki were now best of buds!

Soon he was uncontrollable as he donned various Christmas novelty hats and singing karaoke. What a cheeky monkey he was.

Then out of the blue we hear a commotion from the dance floor, where Scott and Rudolph were dancing like pixies a minute before. Yes, like pixies. We look over and witness a spectacle of WWF or WWE proportions!

Here is the replay.

An expert at WWF/WWE playfighting, Scotty had a upperhand. We knew who was in the lead when Scott got Rudolph by the foot.

After the smoke cleared. Delly's beau was the decided victor. Sadly there were no more reindeer games for Rudolph, especially kancho.

To see this exciting action live, go here and check out the last video!

Saturday, January 06, 2007


So, we return to our homeland of snow,

maple syrup

and ...uh... swearing

this week. I can't believe how quickly January crept up on me! Its already the 6th people!!! We will be seeing friends and family that we haven't seen in about 2 years, in under a week! Craziness I say!

We're looking forward to the maple syrup and swearing, not so much to the snow :D It's gonna be f#%king cold folks. We only spend a day in Vancouver which should be warm enough (after that weirdo cold weather snap) but I expect the Okanagan to be freezing. On the plus side, that just gives us an excuse to go: A) home and drink and eat or B) to a restaurant to drink and eat. Mmmmmm. Kelly O's. Can't wait for some pachos.

My B-day also happens to fall in our vacation time in Canada so we will try to party it up a little as well. You can expect a repeat performance when we return to Osaka :D There will be pictures. Some which will not make it to this blog .....due to content ;-)

So wish us luck! And see you Canadians on the 12th.

Friday, January 05, 2007

It's Visa time.

Praise be! I just finished my visa renewal and I got a three year extension. Now I can finally quit Novacation (work it out, the company's name is the first 4 letters) and score me one of them there sweet teaching gigs I hear about!

If you ever need to renew your working visa in Osaka, go to the office in Shitennoji (四天王寺); not the one in Tenmabashi. You're chances of getting a three year renewal increase. It's on the purple Tanimachi subway line at Tennoji (天王寺) station; leave from exit one and walk for 5 minutes to your right.

I'm off to celebrate with the many bottles of booze Karaoke Queen and Osakaotaku gave me. CHEERS!

The power of advertising

I love this country. I really do, but sometimes I see things here which kind of take me a moment to wrap my brain around. I come from a country where cigarette advertising is banned and the imagery I see here worries me a lot. I've found kids' drinks in vending machines outside liquor stores and then I go and see these beauties next to a school...

"Hey kids, don't listen to what those doctors tell you; smoking is really cool. We have many new flavours and colours for you to try: chocolate, coconut, rose petals...

...and death!"

The January sales are just as hectic here as any other country. Bonus points to anyone that tells me the significance of wild boars on their heads!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

And the winner is.......

So the 1st place winner of the comment contest is Ryan!!!! Congrats dude. You commented on almost every single post that we put up between the 15th and 31st. SO you get to choose which prize you would like out of the ones in the picture. Plus I will send you some other little stuff.

Other winners are: Timmie, Mr Fab, JNM, Quasar, and Charles. You guys get whatever I send. (hehe) Don't worry it will be cool and from Japan.

Sooooo, I will need peoples addresses to send these fabulous prizes. You can reach us at " at rjtang". If you can't figure out how to make a real email address out of this then you aren't getting a prize :D

Sad start

On a sad note, I have to tell you that we lost all of 2005/2006 photos because the picture drive died. I would have a backup but I was too lazy to make one. Anyway, does anyone know of a good and somewhat cheap place to get data recovery done? US and Canada are okay. We'll ask someone over here in Japan too. Data recovery can be expensive and can be hit or miss so send any suggestions if you have any.


This is Karaoke Queen reporting that all files have been recovered!!!!!! Osaka Otaku is a genius. We are madly burning them all as we speak.

Smooth moves.

Into our new place and the new Year! Are great when you have them, and not so great when you don't. Lets start with our move into the new place. Our prep was good. We had everything packed and ready to go. And then we waited.....for the moving guy to show up. He was a little late, which was OK, none of us were in a particular hurry to start lugging things around and he wasn't THAT late. Just 45 minutes. And it began. Actually, we got everything into the truck in one try, and did it fairly quickly - about 1.5 hours. Pretty good. That's when the trouble began. Apparently, our driver lost his keys to his truck. We looked around for them everywhere. We asked the neighbours for a hanger to open the window as he thought he locked them inside. No one had a hanger. So he called the equivalent of BCAA to open his truck. No keys inside. So where were they? We went to the police box to see if anyone reported them missing....nothing. SO the only alternative was to get his spare set of keys which were.....guess where! Kyoto!!! So back he went to Kyoto to get his keys. By the time he got back to Osaka and drove the truck to our new place, it was 930PM. And cold as hell!! Then the hard part began. Lifting all these items up 3 flights of stairs. Surprisingly, we also did this in 1.5 hours which was insanely fast. I guess everyone really just wanted to go home. There was one item left. It wouldn't fit up the stairs. The bed. What to do? The moving guy suggested we lift it through the window. Keep in mind we were 3 flights up. So after some rope, avoiding some power lines, and police patrols, and 4 burly men pulling for their lives, we managed to get the bed into our apartment. Oh...MY...GOD!! Next time we move, there will be a

Move number 2. The new year. So, I got to be a k-1 girl this year for new years eve. Sounds cool eh? Well, it would have been, if they hadn't not given us a break for 6 hours (after showing up at 7AM with no breakfast at Osaka Dome) with no food or even a glass of water. And the director kept changing his mind as to what we were to do. So we would kinda learn a routine, then he would talk to the choreographer and be like, 'sorry, you need to change this'. We could barely remember anything as we were starving and cold in the strapless dresses they had us in. Lets just say the organization at the event was a little lacking. We finally got to eat something at about 130PM - with the show starting at 3, and we still had to do our hair and makeup. So we scarfed down our bento boxes while applying make-up and trying to style our hair up. Fun fun. The show itself went well. Hardly any mistakes and not so surprisingly, we could remember our moves better after eating something. The fighters were cool, I got to introduce Akebono, the famous Hawaiian sumo wrestler who smiled when I told him to do his best. And I made a couple of friends as we shared our thoughts on the lack of snacks for the models. We finished around 9PM. So the evening wasn't a total loss. I took a couple of extra bento boxes And made it home in time to eat and snuggle together with my honey (osakaotaku) into the new year. Although I fell asleep before it started :) So Happy New Year everyone!!!!

Next post will be the winners of the comment contest! So stay tuned......

Monday, January 01, 2007

The year in review (part 2)

As I'm writing this it's just turned 00:12 A.M. on the 1st day of 2007. I hope I finish this on time...

When I first moved to Osaka, the company I worked for set me up in an apartment. And by set up, I mean they rigged it so that I got a sub-standard place in one of the worst neighbourhoods they had...which I had to pay them rent for! Bloody cheek. The view from my bedroom window was of a car park wall - it was so close I could touch it. My other neighbours were a hospital (with ambulance sirens going off all night), a Pachinko parlour (a place so annoying I would punch myself in anger just thinking about) and a busy intersection.

I though all was lost until Karaoke Queen came to my rescue and introduced me to my current housemate Matt.
Yes, he is Australian. All you need to know is that he doesn't photograph well and he's a bloody nice bloke who wishes that The Matrix exists as he wants to become one with technology.

We moved into our new place in April. It was an old style japanese house with tatami floors and everything. Best of all is that it's very quiet. 家はとても静かです。I got the top floor with 2 rooms, each of which are 6 tatami in size. That's a lot of space, people.

My new place had three big advantages: it's proximity to Dunk, my lovely neighbours and it was very cheap.
With my social life now much improved, I began to settle into life in Japan. I was making great friends, exploring the country, trying new food and partying my arse off on a regular basis.

I took some of my most poignant series of pictures around this time. I was exploring Kyoto one day when I came across this huge temple at the top of a hill in Gion. It was a memorial for all the people from other countries who died in japanese territory during WW2.

The names of dead allied personnel according to nationality and alphabetical order. And yes, there was a name I did look for. I never knew this place even existed or would be allowed to considering the opinion of some japanese politicians.

Cherry Blossom season came and went with the blink of an eye and signalled the coming of summer. "Japanese summer hoto ando humid" came the answers from my students. Temperatures in the high thirties with 90% humidity for 4 months. Understatement is a concept I'm sure they would never understand....

Coming soon: part 3 (FIGHT CLUB), the arrival of Jessie and the gang. They like to play with swords on a regular basis.