Archive for June, 2010

bzzzzzz soccer

Being in basically any country except for America during the World Cup means FOOTBALL FEVER wooooo! Japan is big on soccer and their team has made it to the semi-finals, which no one thought was going to happen, so basically all news, all conversations kind of trace back to World Cup. We’re actually watching the game vs. Paraguay right now. I think everyone in Japan is– if you listen carefully, you can hear the bee-like buzz of vuvuzelas enveloping the country. (Or wait, is that just the sound of Giant Japanese Hornets??) Last week, Japan’s game against Denmark started at 3am on a Thursday night and the news said the next day, drug stores were reporting a 40% increase in energy drink sales because everyone stayed up to watch (granted, we woke up for it too). Also, there were a lot of drunk people scattered around. The news did a thing about “Every 4 Year Soccer Fans” i.e. people who are only fans during the World Cup, but I must admit the atmosphere is infectious.

Speaking of infectious, I think I’ve got a cold. Ughhh.

Last week, Noji and I went shopping and I bought him a new pair of glasses for his birthday. Lookin’ good! Noji turns 32 on July 20th! Here we are on a lazy Sunday after sweating it out in Ikebukuro. It has been so hot and humid, 90 degrees and raining almost everyday, it’s exhausting to do really anything. Our solution has been to just do everything at night when it’s (slightly) cooler, but this humidity is unrelenting. The rainy season will end soon enough, but it’s another two+ months of this heat. Japan is pretty hard-core on their sun care, which as a ghosty pale person, I can respect. I don’t think you can get away with a parasol in America, but they’re pretty standard fare for women here. I also see a lot of women with these ridiculous looking long gloves/pull-on sleeves specifically to protect your arms from the sun when your wearing a T-shirt (usually for people on bicycles I think), but I prefer the lacy parasols for sunblock in style. I’ve also began hoarding the flimsy uchiwa fans they hand out with adverts all over them– a sure sign that summer has began.

I actually am not feeling so great (cough/sore throat) and we have another hour of soccer to watch, so I think I’m going to get ready for bed. PS Hi Gramma and Craig! I got an amazing letter from my grandma yesterday and it totally made my day. I never thought I’d see the day where I’d see Gramma talking about blogs! xoxoxo Man, I can’t wait for Christmas break.


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odaiba of liberty

Rainy season has officially begun, meaning it is either cold and raining, hot and raining, or hot and humid with periods of raining for the next month. All of this rain has made me obsessed with fancy umbrellas. Is it worth it to spend 20 bucks on something I’ll probably leave hanging on the back of some chair somewhere?

Last week, Noji and I went to Odaiba to cash in our fancy lunch care of Noji’s family. They had all these points you can exchange for pots and salad spinners and vacuums that were about to expire, and so we picked “lunch buffet at a fancy hotel in Odaiba.” Odaiba is a man-made island that has a lot of shopping and a big ferris wheel and it costs about a million dollars to get to because only this expensive private train line goes there and it’s like 4 dollars one way. It’s the opposite direction as our house so it takes about an hour and three trains to get there, so it’s not really somewhere we go a lot but who can turn down free all-you-can-eat? (Please try to find the fake Statue of Liberty that is for some reason the symbol of Odaiba.)

It was good! The Coke I drank cost $7.50. I ate my weight in salami and then we got full pretty quickly. Not the best candidates for all you can eat, to be honest. But it was nice to eat a good meal (for free + 7.50) while enjoying the view of the ocean. Thanks Nojimom! Afterwards we wandered around Odaiba, did some shopping for a few hours, got fussy and cranky, and slept on the train ride home.
Tama-shaped obanyaki at Fuji TV. “Milk Cream” flavored.
Hello Kitty releases straps and such to commemorate different areas of Japan. This one is for Kita-Senju, an area in northern Tokyo close to us. Kitty-chan is… a plume of smoke. Uhhh.
When we got home, we stopped by the new chain video store that replaced our old no-brand video store. They were having an opening sale so all DVDs were 50 cents, meaning the whole store had nearly been cleared out by the time we got there. I saw a ton of people who had 20 DVDs in their baskets. We got four (Fox and the Hound, Juno, Extras and Night at the Museum 2, for anyone taking notes) of the few remaining on the shelves, but it should be nice once all the DVDs have been returned. Our area is nice in some ways (close train station, three supermarkets, relatively quiet) but really underdeveloped. Between this new chain and the drug store that’s opening soon, things have slowly gotten better in this year, but I miss all the stuff in our old area.
Tomorrow is the start of another week. No holidays in June, unfortunately. I’d love to just take the whole rainy season off– just call me when the humidity is no longer at 200%.

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delivery time

For the past three hours, the loud girl next door has been fighting hysterically with her boyfriend. I guess it’s bad karma to wish they break up again but…

This week has been a week of bounties! See below:

Care bag from Mom and Dad!

In Japan, there are two types of international food: things you can buy in Japan at x100 times the price of its home country (see: tiny jar of Skippy peanut butter – $6) and things that just don’t exist here, no matter where you look or how much you pay (does Jack in the Box count?). Care packages fill in the spaces that an expensive trip to the international supermarket can’t satisfy, as well as those things you Just Can’t Buy. I got one from the family this week and I have to keep myself eating everything in the first week. I appreciate that my request for “a lot of pumpkin seeds” was carried out to the letter! And, to top it all off, my PS2. I went and bought a 500yen ($5) copy of Final Fantasy X-2 at Book-Off (should the cheap price warn me of its crapness?). If only there was more time in a day for video games! Many thanks to Mom and Dad! The Rollos are already long gone!

Also in the background, the chest I bought from Muji that came this week. I have bought so many clothes in the last year since I started working– I now have two suits, conservative frilly tops up the wazoo, 2000 skirts, a thousand pairs of colored tights etc. etc. etc. so I needed to upgrade my clothing organization. Uniqlo is my go-to for work clothes, thanks to its inoffensive, well-made cheapness (well inoffensive except for the sweatshop labor used to make it all); most import brands in Japan are insanely expensive. I mean, who wants to pay a 30% markup for the Gap? I saw a pair Nine West shoes on sale for 100 dollars today. Clearly no one has gotten the message that it’s been 90yen to a dollar for the last two years or they would have adjusted the prices already. Where are my 円高還元 sales?

Unfortunately the “I have to get something, anything to wear” stress that comes with starting a new job with a new dress code has left me with a lot of stuff I don’t even really like but am unable to get rid of. When I started my job in April, I had almost nothing that would work so I went out and bought two skirts that, now that I’m not stressed about finding work clothes, I realize don’t fit well at all. Oh well.

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