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Archive for August, 2010

Bye bye, August. Will not miss you one bit. Work flies by but everyday feels like the same day. Bloomberg ominously reported that this winter is going to be “one of the coldest on record” but right now that doesn’t sound so bad.

This weekend, I dragged Noji to Roppongi and we went to the dentist. I’ve heard so many horrible stories about Japanese dentists that I’ve been putting it off to be honest, but I went to get a check up and discuss my… wisdom teeth. When I did Invisalign in college, I had a panoramic x-ray taken and remember two things: I only have three wisdom teeth, and they’d all need to be removed surgically. Well, I never got them out– though now I wish I had– so on Saturday, I asked them to take another x-ray to see what exactly the situation was. Still only have three, but yeah, all of them are a mess. My bottom ones are both horizontally impacted, top one deeply vertical– lovely. In Japan, they only do simple extractions at the dentist but the rest need to be done at university hospitals, so they referred me to Keio University Hospital and sent me on my way. We walked around Azabu Juuban afterwards and got yakiniku at Ichibankan but it’s really still too hot to do much of anything.

A lot of times with mixed relationships, the big question is “cultural differences.” Normally I don’t really notice any major ones outside of how we deal with being sick, but in Azabu Juuban on Saturday, there it was: peeling fruit. When we were walking back to the station, there was a truck selling fruit and a lady giving out samples of peaches. I, unable to reject free fruit, popped the slice in my mouth right there. Noji was shocked– horrified– “YOU CAN’T EAT THE SKIN ON THAT.” What? “It’s filthy. It’s dirty. You can’t eat the skin. You’re supposed to peel it off. Canned peaches never have the skins on them.” It’s fine, I’ve always eaten the skin. Still horrified, “Well if your stomach hurts later, it’s not MY fault.” (I was fine.) I don’t know if it’s necessarily an Asian thing, but Noji’s mom is the same way: no skin on apples, peaches, asian pears, grapes etc. also she take the tops and bottoms off bananas. I guess pesticides are a concern, but I can’t live in a world with skinless fruit. No thanks.

Anyway, here’s a picture of Batman Noji taken with my new camera.

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So Obon has ended, and work is back in session, but getting back in the swing of things has been tough. Somehow staying up until 4am watching movies doesn’t translate to a 9-6 schedule v well. Obon was pretty uneventful– after a hot, sweaty trip to Ueno to go to the National Museum of Nature and Science, we kind of lost steam to do anything else the rest of the week. We watched a lot of movies, notably:

1. Memento

2. Man on Wire

We were on a Nolan kick after seeing Inception a few weeks ago (which is a really good movie, but has its problems) and after Noji made me sit through the snooze-fest that is Insomnia, we picked up Memento. So good. Better story-wise than Inception for sure, but nothing can beat the Prestige. Sad magic! David Bowie! God, I love that movie.

Anyway, then break ended. My commute was really light on Monday, but by Tuesday it had returned to its normal insane levels. More dead or dying cicadas crowd the sidewalk to work– am terrified of crunching one. Summer is pretty slow at the office, so I got sent off to the Ministry of Justice to grab some documents for work earlier this week; as I was picking up the documents from the window, MOJ guy goes “ROSSHIA?” What? No, I said, I’m American. “Oh! I could have sworn you were Russian.” I told him I get that a lot– which is true, actually. I’ve had a crazy old man shouting BON JOUR, BON JOUR at me in a Gifu mall, my grocery lady convinced I was Scandinavian, stopped by a police officer who apologized and let me go after seeing my USA passport etc. Japanese people seem to think white thin blonde = must be European/Russian. Maybe I need something to signify my Americanness, like a bag of McDonalds to carry around.

More later. I just got a new camera so I’m sure there will be awkward pictures of Noji taken when he doesn’t realize it to upload.

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bug summer

It’s so hot, everyday. Worst part is now it is not only hot, but full of bugs. Last week I noticed on my way to work, the cicadas have finally come out and they are noisy little bastards! They also die in inconvenient places, are hideously ugly, and sometimes fly in front of you. They usually collapse right outside our apartment or the elevator, or the stairs, giving off their death rattles right as you pass: BZZZ. This weekend we went to Ikebukuro, and one was flying around INSIDE Muji!! It landed on the socks. I could see the employees looking like “oh man, I don’t think this is in our manual” before we hauled ass out of there. Does Muji make a white, plastic bug catcher?

And then, in a few weeks, the giant hornets will come out along with fear mongering news specials with crazy old men who destroy hives for a living. That is what I associate autumn with. I actually saw a huge hornet in a bookstore once here, come to think of it. I think I have bad bug/store mojo.

Next week is Obon! But work is so slow lately, it is like a sad vacation already. We have no special plans, but considering how hot it is, our main options are: stay inside and watch movies, go to air conditioned places, sleep. Maybe a little bit of each?

PS. My favorite news story making the rounds right now: 111 year old man in Tokyo actually turns out to have been dead for 30 years! Family quietly collects pension while his skeleton chills in his room. Insanity!!! THEN, the best part is that in light of this incident, the government has decided to (now!) check on the Olds in Japan, only to find that they cannot find many of them! It is quite sad that there are people who are not only being overlooked by the government but by their own families. But holy crap, mummified 30 year old bodies!

PPS. eyelashes still looking awesome!

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