Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I get psych-nerdy at least twice, but I promise it's worth it


Time just gets away from me!!

I have so many things to share!!! See, if I just had that bionic eyeball camera I keep on about, I could just keep a webcam feed going here at all hours. Oh boy. That would be so crazy and overwhelming. For all of us. THE THINGS I HAVE SEEN. I feel like international laws would somehow be broken. Ummmm...maybe let's not.

It is 2am. I should go to sleep, like NOW. So here...this isn't a real post...just a sampling of stuff from the last week or so:

So Abe turned 204, and we got all patriotic. For AMERRICUH (haha, my friends are British...TOTALLY got them to sell out!!! Quick, tell the Queen!!)

Then there was Tokyo-style Valentine's. There was a whole set of Snow White themed cakes...why would you buy a poisoned apple cake for Valentine's?? Or the evil queen??? Anyway, beheading that squirrel and the dwarf was SO ROMANTIC.  Then we watched Les Mis. Do you have any idea how much they SING in that movie? GEEZ.

Then, you know, unrefrigerated roast chicken in a bag. For that yummy salmonella taste. Ugh. WHY??? Wisely left that one in the store. 

Then off to a 10-story megaplex for some exposure therapy to get over our fears of this addiction they call KARAOKE. I love teaching students to pronounce it in "English"..."karry-oki." Shoot me.

These are our REAL FEELINGS, people.

Where we spent the next 5 hours belting out the hits. Sometimes alone, sometimes together, sometimes at waiters. Always awesome. 

SHE looks like a pro in every photo.

Whereas *I* look like I'm fighting invisible ninjas in every photo.  It's like the most accurate Rorshach ever.

This is what it's like to go to the Japanese ATM. I love the little glued down calculator. It ALWAYS feels like a miracle when you actually get money out.

This is a little hook to hold your umbrella while you use the ATM. Again: WHY??
This is what happens when you drop a Florida girl in a Tokyo winter. Vader and a fur hat. THAT'S HOW I ROLL.
So first I asked "What is 'Natural Damaged Hair'?"

Then I just started laughing. I have NO IDEA.

Some shops have yetis. Marketing magic. Yetis ALWAYS draw me in.

And sometimes $2 buys you so much happiness you don't know how to stand it. CUTEST PILLBOX EVER.

And then as my parting gift to you this evening, there's THIS:



Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bizarro Snack Food: Un-ice cream

Sooooo today one of the Japanese staff at work noted that I sure am a healthy eater.

*Cue maniacal laughter....that lasts for HOURS*

But I guess if all you ever see me eat is inari-zushi (that would be sushi rice wrapped in sheets of tofu, in case you didn't know...yup...I eat that every day), yogurt (same as home, but weirder flavors...aloe yogurt, anyone?), and satsumas (like I have to translate everything??), then maybe that's a reasonable assumption.


So I'm in the conbini looking at the crazy snack foods, as I'm wont to do (EVERY SINGLE DAY), and lo, that looks like ice cream.


But it's on the shelf? Not in the freezer? So maybe this is one of those Pinterest-inspired things where they have you bake cupcakes in the ice cream cone, all the while feeling like some kind of kitchen wizard. Okay...I LOVE YES! Let's try it!

I remember making these...cake in a cone! Yum! Yay, childhood memories!!!
Then I open it. It's not soft like cake. It's firm.

But it seriously looks like ice cream. I am kinda freaking out inside. But PLAYING IT COOL.
It's kind of like chocolate, but has lots of air bubbles like cake.


Really, it tries to approximate real ice cream without being frozen. WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? I wrote it, but I have no idea. How can you be non-frozen ice cream????

Every bite is a question mark. A BIG STUPID QUESTION MARK.

All it succeeded in doing is freaking me out.

And yes: I finished it. Of course I did. I always do. Healthy eater? Ha.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Ssssssilly little hobbitsesssss

Why is there a window in the bathroom door?? Riddle me this, Batman! RIDDLE ME.

And why is the front of the toilet only six inches from the door. What kind of hobbit is this meant for exactly?? Are the Japanese really that tiny??? (Answer: OMG yes. Sometimes my students are so tiny I can't even hear what they are saying because I am busy measuring them up wondering how they are actually real). You have seen my legs...I have no hope of actually sitting down. Might as well have one of the traditional Japanese squatty toilets in'd be easier. DID YOU HEAR THAT? I JUST PREFERRED A SQUATTY TOILET!! WHAT HAS HAPPENED?????????

I feel like a Cirque du Soleil acrobat every time I successfully navigate this situation. Dude.
And the doorway is so short! Helloooooo head trauma!

What is that look on my face? Fear. That forehead knows pain. TRUTH.
And WHY IS THERE A SINK IN THE TOILET TANK? I'm all for efficiency, but NO.

This is what I deal with EVERY DAY, people. EVERY. DAY.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

As if I could really forget for even FIVE SECONDS

Today I had one of those moments where in the middle of teaching a lesson it hit me:

When I leave here and go outside, I will be in JAPAN.

Well, duh, okay, I know even in the building, even at work, I'm still in Japan. But everyone speaks's the one place I can mayyyyybe forget for half a second.

It's been more than two months, and it still surprises me all the time that I actually live here. I really don't know how, because the reminders are RELENTLESS.

Here's a sampling from the last 24 hours for you:

A little Nuance Airy to start the day? 
Every morning, I visit my train mascot friend. He's ALWAYS happy to see me.
Today on my way to work, I decided to count the vending machines I pass on my 8 minute walk to the train station. You know, for kicks and giggles. Now mind you, half of my walk is through an entirely residential neighborhood. Guess how many. Just guess. Did you guess? You didn't guess. Whatever. I'll tell you:


That's right. Nineteen vending machines. They are EVERYWHERE. And that's despite the fact that I also pass THREE convenience stores, a major grocery store, two pharmacies, and a drinks and snacks kiosk. Oh and let's not leave out the three bakeries and two cafes. And the countless restaurants and noodle shops. If ever you are in Tokyo, rest assured: you will never be more than 50 feet from a beverage, or a snack, should you need one. How do they stay so skinny? NO CLUE. America couldn't handle it...buncha fatties.

Snack time! Puffed pea snacks!

I. Don't. Know.

Okay. Pumpkins are green. Accepted.

Meat candy. Check.

And the last store I pass before I walk up to work. Gets me every time.
What else? Ummm...right: so I have to wear a black suit to work with "minimal" jewelry because corporate culture is all conservative blah blah, but it's okay for my students to come in to lessons still drunk from the night before wearing crazy anime-style contact lenses, looooong fake eyelashes and a hoodie with ears and a tail attached like a little jungle cat? Really, I can ignore the cat thing (I really can)...but YOU ARE A HUMAN CARTOON!!! The anime contacts and the eyelashes KILL ME. Maybe even worse than the eyebrows. But I do LOVE how they take it in stride when their conservatively-dressed instructor explains how she dresses like Abe Lincoln and Lady Gaga in her spare time. And it's this nonplussed attitude that keeps me here, kids. Boom.

Then there was a minor earthquake last night, but since it was like the third one in three days, it didn't even rate grabbing my phone to check the seismological service website. How crazy is that?! But whatever...where I work, there are TSUNAMI PROCEDURES posted in the staff room. Normal junk, y'all.

And finally:

Last night when we got home, we found THIS on our front door:

In the past month, three of us have been stopped by Japanese men when walking home asking to be "friends." They are apparently mesmerized by our milky skin, round eyes, and movie star English. WHO WOULDN'T BE??? Seriously. No, seriously: we're lovely. But now they are stalking us. Creepers of the world, folks! Anyway, we've started a wall in our kitchen where we post their business cards. We figure that when one of them murders us all in our sleep, we've given the police a head start on suspects. Or so that we can laugh our heads off every time we're reminded. Either way, it's helpful.

My wrestler bear socks will keep me safe. The left one is Takahiro and the right one is Masahiro. Tag team champions. 

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