Archive for January, 2011

content, what content?

Today, I was in the grocery store and this song started playing:

What a pleasant surprise! I had forgotten all about how much I like this song. It’s a nice change from the normal grocery BKG: the theme song for the grocery store.

In fact, I’ve been setting my iPod on shuffle these days, as a way to remember songs that I used to like. Here are some!





++++++++ a bunch of punk bands I won’t embarrass myself by posting. Now that I am an Old, I don’t listen to nearly as much music as I was when I was in college. I think I burned myself out, and now all I listen to is Rihanna and Amuro Namie.

On that note, this song isn’t nostalgic at all, it’s just my current jam:


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For Christmas this year, we got a Playstation 3 from my parents, and then I bought the torne DVR attachment as a present to Noji, meaning we are rocking this exact set-up in our house now:

My game playing is strictly limited to Final Fantasys, but I am digging having a DVR again. The overload of Sony products mean they all work nicely together so we can use our TV remote with it, and transfer recorded TV to my PSP for perusing on my commute. Japanese TV gets a lot of (deserved) flak, but I have to cleanse my palate somehow between all the Say Yes to the Dress I’m streaming on Netflix.

On a totally different note, for the last few years, I’ve been trying slowly to move my cosmetics over to Japanese brands so I don’t have to rely on my yearly pilgrimage to California to pick up necessities, but I’m not liking it one bit. Unfortunately, on my last trip home, I discovered my beloved face cleanser has been discontinued (?) and even finding the Japanese day moisturizer I use in stores is like hitting the lottery, so I am back on the search for Japanese skin care. Naturally, this was a good enough excuse to try this baby:

I’ve had my eye on this line for a while because it smells delicious and the packaging is lovely, but all that fancy fake Japanese moisturizing science doesn’t come cheap and it isn’t even for day. I’m losing my focus!

I read a NY Times article about omg WESTERN women who go out of their way to order Japanese cosmetics and skin care but besides the crazy sheet face masks that make you look like Michael Myers, I’ve yet to find anything I can’t live without. This world of whitening and collagen-infused products is not for me.

ps: the one thing I didn’t make as a resolution– going to bed early– is going swimmingly!

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longest post ever

My New Year’s Resolutions:

1. Try to get better at doing my makeup and hair. At least run a straightener to my hair before work.

2. Don’t kill feet with crappy shoes.

3. Be better at Japanese.

4. Be nicer and more helpful around the house.

5. Come up with a menu for dinner that is not “thai curry from a box” or “mabo tofu (from a box).”

6. Blog more?

In the last two weeks, I have succeeded at pretty much none of these, but I still have another 50 left.


Back to blogging about our Christmas break! This year we drove down to Glendale with my parents to spend a few days in their neck of the woods. They live in a new apartment building in a super convenient area with shopping and food and a Tivo– I could have spent months there. (Only thing missing: cats.) Too bad Glendale doesn’t recycle (??? what is up with that).

One of our big plans for going to LA was to hit up Disneyland in Anaheim. And we did! Except when we got there Disneyland was sold out. fff! My poor dad caught the announcement on the Electronic Sign That Should Be Placed Before the Drop-Off Area Not After and swung back around to pick us up: denied by Disney. We went home and fell asleep on my parents plush couch, and made plans to go later in the week.

So we made our triumphant return two days later, this time getting to the park before it opened and lining up with the (other?) Disney crazies. It was freezing. This was actually a feature of my entire trip to California– I was cold the entire time. Cold inside the house, cold outside the house, cold in Glendale, cold in Disneyland. I made the mistake of associating California with warmth and only brought my light for 60-70 degree weather coat, so when it was in the 40s and 50s every. single. day, I was appropriately freezing. Anyway, we got in the park no problem and, naturally, Noji’s first comment: “Is that the castle?”

In Tokyo Disneyland, the central castle is Cinderella’s Castle, like at Disney World– it’s 200 feet tall. So Sleeping Beauty’s tiny pink castle is a bit of a different first impression (charming as it is). We wanted to get through both parks though, so we hurried to get a FP for Indiana Jones (?? we ride this all the time at Disney Sea but whatever, I like the walk-through to the ride), rode Matterhorn after freezing for an hour. I thought after we got off that maybe screaming on the ride with the dry air made my throat feel scratchy, but instead it was the beginning of a cold that lasted a week! Lovely. We wandered around the park for a little while, then decided to get on Haunted Mansion (? another ride we have in Tokyo but the outside of the house is different!) and ended up in front of a white guy and his Japanese girlfriend, speaking in Japanese. I felt copied! And my veil of being able to gossip about the people surrounding us in Japanese compromised. What are the odds?

Then, we got yelled at by a cast member. “Keep going!” She huffed and puffed and then left the line because “someone isn’t doing their job” and my Disney experience was officially tainted. Well no, but there were a lot of things about Disneyland that made me a bit wistful for Tokyo’s, which I’ll go into later. Haunted Mansion was pretty much the exact same, including that weird few minutes where they stop the ride during the ride (why is this?). We rode Indiana Jones (also pretty much the same, i.e. awesome), then decided to split to California Adventure.

Man, I love California Adventure. It’s like Disney Sea, not as crowded and more fun rides plus it’s covered in CALIFORNIA!!! We got lunch (not so good for me tbh), ate about 18 churros (better than Japan), rode Tower of Terror and peed ourselves from fright. It was so much better than the Tower of Terror in Japan, although the story is a bit unnecessarily creepy. By this time, it was starting to get cold and I was feeling progressively worse, but we explored the park and toughed it out for a few more rides. Noji’s favorite was Soarin’ Over California, natch, but we never got to ride the Toy Story ride– we waited a few hours for different rides already that day and I don’t think I could have handled another 90 minute wait. As we puttered around feeling tired and cold, we asked Guest Services for a Amtrak schedule and realized that if we wanted to get home and have dinner with my parents, we had to leave… right then! So we ran to a taxi, got to the station, and took the longest, slowest train ever. We crawled for no discernible reason. Noji is no longer allowed to complain about the subway by our house after riding Amtrak. But then we got to Glendale, had some delicious baby back ribs, and the next day we were on a plane back to the bay!

I hate being the one who’s like “Well, but Tokyo Disneyland is more fun,” but there is a lot of stuff that TDL does much better. The most noticeable for me was crowd control. TDL is almost always busy– and by busy, I don’t mean “wait in line an hour,” I mean lines that are 320 minutes long. Of course, it is crazy but the craziness generally has a place, as well as several cast members who are busy directing people here and there. The day we went was a crowded day for Disneyland, but whereas everything seems relatively corralled in TDL, Disneyland didn’t feel as well-contained. New Orleans Square is half taken over by snaking lines for Pirates of the Caribbean, lines have to be broken up so traffic can pass through them etc. Most of it was relatively minor and I would guess that the design of the park only allows for so much flexibility, but it impacts the overall experience and how much you feel the crowds. I saw a few rude cast members, which was unfortunate too. Japanese service can be very robotic and fake-nice/fake-polite, but rude it is not. In general, there was less of a fantasy, special “Disney” experience in Anaheim than in Tokyo– though the rides are def superior.

My biggest surprise was the merchandise– or lack thereof. Tokyo Disneyland could give Disneyland a lesson in consumerism; the sheer amount of goods at TDL is incredible. It changes depending on the time of year as well as the theme of the park (which changes on a quarter system), so in October you can buy Mickey-shaped ghosts and pumpkins, while the first week of January will have Mickey-shaped daruma and bunny themed New Years goods. Supposedly right now they’ve switched to Girl’s Day. It’s sick actually– but for Disney fans, it’s one of the main motivations to go back to the park. New goods, new decorations, new theme. I’m sure there’s a perfectly good reason why Anaheim Disneyland doesn’t do the same (armchair media studies sez: Americans don’t like cute things?), but I felt underwhelmed with the selection which was:

1. Things that light up

2. Clothes

3. Mickey ears

4. Stuffed animals/dolls for children

There were some delicious Mickey-shaped candied apples (for like 14 bucks) and I got a keychain from the Tower of Terror ride, but mostly I just wanted to eat some churros. To be fair, we weren’t really there long enough to really judge. But I wish I had a day off to go to Disney Sea right about now.

All that said, pictures!

Coming into the park.

Haunted Mansion was still in Nightmare Before Christmas mode.

Aforementioned expensive but yummy looking candied applies.

Where Walt Disney’s apartment is!

Entering California Adventure!

One of the few characters we saw in the parks.

Tried to take our own pictures…

But then a stranger offered!

Sunset over Disney.

Well, that was long.

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bye bye nails

After my three week long affair with gels, I took them off tonight. Everything about soft gel nails had been so great until removing them– dosing my hands in pure acetone for 15 mins was not my idea of a great Friday night. It’s a pretty intense process– now I understand why they charge 2000 yennies at the salon. While they don’t chip and mine didn’t lift at all, they do look a bit whack after they start growing out, though maybe if I had actually put top coat on them and cleaned them like you’re supposed to they would have looked nicer in the end?

After I removed them, my nails underneath looked fine– no breakage, no weakness, no pealing. I painted them with Essie’s Cute as a Button but they will probably break half off by the end of the weekend.

So, Noji and I arrived back to Tokyo on Wednesday night after a long SFO -> HND flight. I mostly slept uncomfortably, then watched The Social Network. UFC fighter Gomi Takanori was on our flight and sat next to us while waiting to board, which Noji got super pumped about. All I heard about the next morning was stats from Gomi’s Wikipedia page. We got home around 1am, went to bed at 2am, and the next day I was at work. Sigh!

I’ll have to get back to recapping the holiday in a later post (including “Disney in America” and “Damn, It Was Cold”), but let me quickly go through what may have been the most fun part of our trip: cats!

My sister currently fosters for the Feline Rescue of Northern California so she has a constant stream of kitty adorability in and out of the house at all times– AKA heaven. Christmas saw 7 kitten adoptions, so all the babies were soon gone, but for the rest of the time we were there, we had six (6) five-month-old tabbies to play with.

Jinxy AKA Half-Dome



Sleeping outside our room.

It’s like The Walking Dead but adorable.

There were three other tabbies, but they’re still nervous around people so we couldn’t play with them as much.

My sister’s adopted one of the nervous tabbies for herself! Kiji is a big boy.

I’m still waiting for my sister to stick Shotsy in a box and send her over here; I am in love. Hopefully someone adopts these bbs soon, because they are lovely cats and a major highlight of our trip.


Okay, off to enjoy the three-day weekend, starting off with a looooooong overdue night’s sleep.

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Happy New Year!


It’s 9am and I’m eating chips and salsa while watching Say Yes to the Dress, surrounded by 6 cats.


Is this heaven?


No, it’s America!


Unbelievable that we’re going home in two days. I haven’t eaten or shopped enough. Don’t send me back!

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