Monday, December 24, 2012

Melly Clistmas!!!!

Here's what's on my Christmas wishlist this year...

You know what, I don't know that I even need to buy anything...just the ads make me happy...

Nothing for me, thanks, but a ride on the chandeliered carousel with the creepy mannequins would  be awesome

I don't have kids, but I feel like a package of Moony around the house couldn't help but boost my mood.

And the latest CD. Because a real blood orange would be crazeeeeeeee...

I LOVE Puff de Cheeks. Just saying it is fun. Puff de Cheeks. Say it again: Puff de Cheeks.
 
Men's underwear. With Jesus. Called "Vanquish." TRIFECTA.

Orrrrrr, you could go with glittery T-Rex undies. Jesus vs T-Rex...this is Sophie's Choice right here.

I know *I* want to smell like Dubai or Russia. Sweat and cabbages? Wait...whaaa????

Totes adorbs, kiddios. BUY.

Beverage dispenser for my next classy party.

Socks with HANDS. Socks. With HANDS. HANDS!!!!!

Gift box of beer. Check!

Earmuffs!

Popcorn in concert. You know I just have to know.

I. DON'T. KNOW. But YES.

For my desk.

Rolly!! Yes, please.

And then maybe some appropriate attire to boost the festive atmosphere...

Maybe a Chopper Santa Hat?
Mr. Miyagi Santa!!!

Santa is my homeboy?
Boosting the elves morale?

Don't forget your sexy mittens!!!

It's already Christmas here, so let me spoil it for you: IT'S A MERRY ONE!!!!

From Tokyo with lots of love!!!!

<3,
Risa

Thursday, December 20, 2012

I'm not going to talk about flakey winter skin at all. I swear.

So it's been three and a half weeks, and you might be wondering how moving to Tokyo has changed me. Or you don't care at all and I'm just going to tell you anyway. But if you don't care then WHY ARE YOU STILL READING THIS? People like you make no sense to me. Anyway, here you go:

1) I now officially wish I had a camera bionically implanted in my retina so that whenever I want to take a picture of something, I just have to blink. If you hear of any clinical trials, SIGN ME UP. I NEED PICTURES OF THIS STUFF.

2) Tentacles show up in food all the time, and I don't even react.

3) I now use "etto" as my standard speech filler instead of "ummmm." EVEN WHEN I'M ALONE TALKING TO MYSELF.

4) Bowing at people for anything and everything seems totally normal. Though I'm probably doing it wrong. Okay, no, let's admit it: I'm definitely doing it wrong. But I'M TRYING!!!

5) I looooooove a heated toilet seat.

6) I can ride the train without holding on to anything. In fact that's where I write most of these posts now. It takes all my willpower to not high five the strangers around me every time I feel so accomplished about this. Which is at least twice a day.

7) With my days off being Tuesday and Wednesday, I've lost all concept of days of the week, and am forever telling my students to "have a nice weekend" on Monday. They are so confused. Or then it's the American slang and phrases I've been teaching them. I really want to be there when one of them tries to use "It's not my first rodeo" for the first time. They never have any idea what I'm trying to explain to them with that one.

8) With three earthquakes in three weeks, I've come to accept that THE EARTH JUST MOVES SOMETIMES. But I would prefer for it to not be when I'm in a skyscraper or dead asleep. Yup, I have preferences about earthquakes. Never saw that coming.

9) The only interaction I can comfortably have completely in Japanese is yelling for the waiter. Life skills, people.

And THE KICKER:

10) I found a CHICKEN HEART in my purse last night and my first thought was "So that's where that went!"


And how hasn't it changed me?

I will forever be a girl who wanders a Japanese video store endlessly entertained:

I think I like their Beach Boys better. Sue me.

New favorite vampire. Just kidding...Eric Northman foreverrrrrr!!!

Can I live in this movie please??

I would buy a TV just to watch this.

Samurai heartthrob. Hotttt.

Whoa.

Yup. A Finnish Japanese movie. Further research to follow.

And then there's their Glee obsession.

Love.

Love that AIRWOLF is right next to Dexter even more. Whaaaa???


And THIS is definitely worth posting again:



I love it here, you guys!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I got to teach my students phrases like "hock a loogie" and "snot rocket"...Teacher of the Year over here...

Having a cold in a society where it is impolite to blow your nose around others is just one of those leeeeettle cross-cultural challenges I really wasn't prepared for. But come on...I really fail to see how blotting your snotty nose with a washcloth or just letting the snot run down your face is any better. GRODY, y'all. But whatever. When in Rome, take cold medicine. Lots of cold medicine. That you brought from home. Because OD-ing on mystery drugs is not on your to-do list. That's what I say.

But then they hand out packs of tissue with ads on them everywhere you go. I think it's a trick...am I supposed to use this...or not??? I DON'T DO WELL WITH MIXED MESSAGES!!!

I got one that looked like an iPhone, but I used it right away , so no picture for you...so sad!
Anyway, when you're sick, you want "sick food." But at 11pm after a twelve hour workday, feverish, and hopped up on cold medicine, this is the best I could do:

Comfort food or the total opposite???
I wanted chicken noodle soup, but I couldn't bring myself to buy one of those ramen cup of noodle things (It's not the same!!), and let's face it: after working 12 hours with a cold, I've had all the Japanese I can handle and I'm just not up for dealing with Yoko Ohno or the dicey microwave. So, the next best thing: a hot roasted root vegetable, right? Straight off the coals. This is what they have right next to the register. This has "impulse purchase" written all over it.


It was a little dry, and I have zero foodstuffs at home, so I doused it in soy sauce, because that junk is EVERYWHERE. At any given moment there is a packet of soy sauce in my purse or pocket. I really think they multiply when I'm not looking.


Juice or juice concentrate?? How would I know??? At least the flavor is in English. It was sweet enough to kill a diabetic rhino, but I drank it. All at once. And I felt FANTASTIC.


What's better than a quart of vitamin C? MORE VITAMIN C. Not sure *exactly* what kind of citrus this was, but they were DELIGHTFUL. That's right: delightful. Bought a whole 'nother bag tonight.

One of the other sick trends I have trouble with is the whole wearing-a-mask thing, even though there are a million varieties available. Sorry guys, I'm freely spreading my germs. From America with love!!

Has anyone told them about how we catch colds through our eyeballs? I think that could be a whole new mess...
But I'm all better now! Ummm...mostly. I'm well enough that my nose-blowing anxiety has passed. AND WHAT MORE CAN I ASK FOR?? Really?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wednesday is the new Saturday

Day off! So what did I do?

A sampling:

Put on 27 layers of clothing because let's face it, I am a Florida girl at heart and numbers like 43 and 35 when we are talking about temperature (FAHRENHEIT....ALWAYS FAHRENHEIT...I cannot get on board with centigrade. I just can't.) just freak me out.

Have a conversation with a creeper on the train who has clearly mistaken me for someone who will find him charming.

Take 2 trains to get to Harajuku Station. Send a text that says "Okay, well I'm off to Takeshita!" because that junk is ALWAYS hilarious.

I <3 Takeshita Street 4-eva

Buy a new pj t-shirt...

Nothing but class.

...and the cutest earrings EVER.

Totes adorbs.

Come very close to buying this awesomely tacky Christmas decoration, but am saved by a text saying my friend has arrived. And pretty much am saved from certain financial ruin had I continued down Takeshita Street buying stuff that I clearly have ZERO willpower against. I should only go there with close supervision.

Sorry, Santa!!

Watch grown men practicing some kind of ninja rolling maneuvers in the park. And two teenagers practicing hip hop moves for what I can only hope is some J-Pop competition. And women practicing self-defense strategies, or some kind of improv theater. Hard to say. I'd show you video, but I didn't shoot any because I SAID IT WAS COLD, RIGHT?

Wander to Shibuya, find self in a Disney Store. Even if you hate the mouse, please, trust me: If ever you are in Japan, GO TO A DISNEY STORE.

How is this much cuteness even POSSIBLE?

Consider purchasing a Vivienne Westwood towel. Yup, ol' Viv has lost it.



Buy a chocolate marshmallow cookie to get into the Starbucks over Shibuya crossing. Why a cookie? Because you don't want to see me on caffeine. Ask around. True story. And they don't do decaf here. If I had to mastermind a plan to take down Japan, the first and probably only step would be to switch them all to decaf. And because WHO DOESN'T LOVE A COOKIE? Anyway, from that Starbucks, you can watch the busiest pedestrian intersection in the world...and this wasn't even a terribly busy moment:



Peruse the selection in a video rental store. This is worthy of a post all it's own, but this was my favorite part:



Decide to come back to this restaurant later:



Realize my quest to find Colonel Sanders in a Santa suit AT THE VERY FIRST KFC I CHECKED. Jump around and do a happy dance and startle a bunch of Japanese people. And then feel sad that I can't even give the Colonel a hug. WHAT A ROLLERCOASTER OF EMOTIONS!!!!



Sit down for a moment and ponder: BUT WHICH IS MY FAVORITE: Santa Sanders or Kimono Sanders??? How will I ever decide??? Seriously: emotional overload.

Probably my second favorite Sanders.
Jury's still out.
No, jury's back. Santa wins.

Head back to the train station, go to Tsukishima to meet two new Japanese friends. Get introduced to the amazing world of okonomiyaki (also worthy of it's own post). Spend 5 hours laughing and talking and marveling at food and friendship.

Food.

Friendship.

Get back on the train, sit down happy and exhausted and too tired to tell off the creeper taking my picture with his phone.

Sit here until 2am telling you clowns about it.

GOOD. DAY.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Btw, I still don't know how to use the washing machine

I know, I know, it's been over a week since my last post. BUT I'VE BEEN BUSY, PEOPLE. I arrived a burned out psychologist, and after three crazy long days of training, BOOM, I'm an English teacher. Weird how that happens.
 
And I've also been running to different government offices to register/apply/blah blah, practicing my different "clueless" faces (I think I have at least six of them now) until they give up and find me a translator. And don't even get me started on the metric system!!!! Seriously, I think there is not one little thing that is the same as at home. Oh wait, no, that's not true...

They never let me down.

But I love it here. Have I said that yet? Let me be clear: I'm illiterate, lost, clueless, and confused, and I LOVE IT!! The smallest successfully completed task feels like a miracle. I used the ATM! HIGH-FIVES ALL AROUND!! People take one look at my gaijin self and EXPECT me to have no idea what's going on. Freedom!! Because I don't understand things, I have absolute permission to just IGNORE whatever's going on around me. Heaven! And getting lost, well...getting lost can be one of the greatest things EVER. Otherwise I might never have gotten to watch Japanese businessmen getting super serious about slot car racing. Sooooo intense! You just have to trust me on this one.

Dude.

Anyway, now that I have officially become one of the black-suited workers being crammed into a train, and actually have a little downtime during the day between students, I will try to be more consistent about sharing the wonders and horrors of life in Japan. For today, I will leave you with one of each. Are you ready?

WONDER:

Yup. That is a JUICE BOX of SAKE. SAKE. In a JUICE BOX. With a STRAW.

HORROR:

Soooo, we had not one but TWO earthquakes yesterday. And lucky me, I was at work on the 20th floor when the second, bigger one happened. Good thing I was raised with my mortality in mind, because I didn't freak out, although I also didn't hide under my desk like I was supposed to. Um, yeah, my self-preservation instincts in times of danger are spectacularly poor...but that's a story for another day. But how's your desk going to save you anyway? We're on the 20th floor...if junk really starts falling apart, then my guess is the whole building is coming down. Just make sure you have your ID in your pocket so it's easier for them to identify your body in the rubble. You know, if they ever find it. Your body, that is. That's my thinking. DON'T LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT! YOU KNOW I LIKE TO BE PREPARED. Anyway, while others sensibly hid under their desks, I was fascinated by the swaying light fixtures. And because I ONLY CARE ABOUT YOU, I videotaped it:



Maybe I should've felt nervous coming to work today, but I take this all in stride as a part of life in Japan. And who knows...maybe one of these times it won't be an earthquake but GODZILLA!!!! Pretty pleeeeeeeeeeeeease!!!!!

Oh, now I miss Pedro. Boo.

Bye!!!!
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