Wednesday, May 30, 2007

You never don't have space for a garden

I'm so impressed by the creation of privacy and use of space in Japan.

(Which I then invade.)

Monday, May 28, 2007

my local neighborhood shrine

I don't know what it was lit up for exactly--some kind of matsuri, announced on red banners all up and down the canal, but of course, I can't read Japanese.

So far, I'd say that teaching conversational English is about as interesting as you want to make it. I've had some great students and some weird students and some students who were only there because their parents make them go, and I've gotten some really great questions. I'm getting better at defining or exemplifying succinctly words like just, even, and still; and nuances like "on top of" as opposed to "on." (I had to think about that one--it seems like we usually say "on" when referring to something that usually has stuff on it, and "on top of" when referring to something that doesn't, as in, "I put it on the table" versus "I put it on top of the refrigerator.") Looking at my notes from today, I explained "modest," "archaeologist," "glacier," and "monsoon." Of course, it gets a little repetitive, but I think that's true of teaching in general. So far, so good.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

seven random facts

Madalyn tagged me for a seven weird things meme. It fits in perfectly with my new plan to not actually think, just make lists, so here goes. Here are the rules: Each person tagged gives 7 random facts about themselves. Those who are tagged need to write on their own blog those 7 facts as well as the rules of the game. You need to tag seven others and list their names on your blog. You have to leave those you plan on tagging a note in their comments so they know that they have been tagged and to read your blog.

1. I am infamous among my family and former roommates for taking really long showers. My record is one hour and forty-five minutes. (That was my freshman year of college, and my excuse is that, having moved from my parents' quiet, peaceful house in the country into a dorm full of three hundred shrieking women, the shower was the only place I could be alone.) I try to keep it down to a normal, non-wasteful ten minutes or so, but every so often I just forget and realize I've been standing there thinking about nothing for half an hour.

2. I believe in all that birth-order stuff. Strongly, embarrassingly strongly, given how completely scientifically unsound it is.

3. As a child, I was so terrified of the dentist that I had to be given liquid sedative in the morning before school, another dose when my mom picked me up for the appointment, and then laughing gas when I got there. And I was still nervous.

4. I have a math tattoo. I am not good at, nor do I particularly like, math. (I meant to showcase it when Scout's tattoo meme was going around, but I was too busy. I'll have to do that sometime.)

5. I am very monogamous, perfume-wise. I've only worn two scents in the last twelve years, and I only switched because they stopped making the first one. (And now they've stopped making the second one. Fear not: I stocked up when it was on sale.) My mom has worn the same perfume as long as I can remember, so maybe it's genetic.

6. I moved to Japan speaking exactly six words of Japanese. Smart!

Let's see... I tag Jodi, Noelle, Beverly, Jaime, Carole, Ramona, and Molly.

(Oh, I had my first real day of work today. I was exhausted by the time I got home, but guess what? Japan apparently has no open container laws. My supervisor and I stopped at the convenience store and had some beers on the train. Always a silver lining.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

five things I have discovered about Japan.

Wisteria over the canal along my street.
1. It's humid. Dear god, is it humid. I'd forgotten what it's like to leave home with wet hair and then arrive at work with hair still wet.

2. Black coffee is called American coffee; medium is M-size.

3. Produce is expensive. I just had my first piece of fruit since I left the U.S. It was an apple. It was heavenly. It should've been, it cost me a dollar.

4. The 99 yen shop is a godsend. Right next to the subway station, it sells everything from beer to makeup to (overpriced) produce.

5. Every store has its own little theme song that's stuck in your head for hours after you leave.

(My new job is a little overwhelming right now so I apologize if you've been waiting with bated breath for fantastic photos of Shinto shrines or anything. Haven't had time yet.)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Thanks, blogger, but I can't read Japanese

I'm in Japan!
It's 9:47 am here, and I've been awake since six and up since seven, and neither of my roommates has stirred yet, unless they got up and left before six, which seems awfully early since we all went to bed at the same time, and the one has the day off and the other doesn't work til 1pm. So I'm tiptoeing around trying to be quiet, but the hardwood floors are creaky. My luggage should be delivered shortly, so I should put on some clothes to go down and get it, and then I can go out and start my day--I have to register for my alien registration card and find an adapter for my laptop power cord. The plugs/sockets are the same as in the U.S., but all the sockets in my apartment have two holes, and my laptop plug has three prongs.

I talked to a flight attendant, who coincidentally is from Rio Rancho, and who was knitting her first sock. I was knitting (yet another) Jaywalker. I started it Sunday night, just to have something on the needles when I went through security, and am already on the gusset decreases. Go, sleeplessness!

No pictures or amazing cultural insights or anything yet--most of the time I've spent in Japan so far it's been dark out, and I've either been sleeping, showering, or struggling vainly not to look like I'm struggling as I stagger from airport shuttle train to bullet train to local subway to apartment. My apt building is on a one-lane street along a canal. Our balcony overlooks something that's either a cemetery or a tombstone store. My room is tiny but I'll just have to become neat and organized and not buy a lot of unnecessary stuff. It has a window, through which, all night, I heard this bird that sounds like a person yelling. There's no screen, and we kept the balcony door open all night, so apparently flying insects are not a problem.

Oh, and Blogger and Google have translated everything handily into characters for me, so I have to go by memory which thing to click on... hope this is "submit"...

Friday, May 04, 2007

I'm published

Okay, it's only on my dad's website, but still: I reviewed the 2007 Suzuki Reno as a favor to him, and also to avoid driving my own car (on which I have greatly reduced the insurance coverage, since it's just going to be parked in my parents' garage while I'm in Japan, thus making me paranoid about getting into an accident right before I leave) to visit Katie in West Chester last weekend. (If this is the kind of thing that interests you, or someone you know, my dad has written a few books; his latest is 365 Cars You Must Drive, with Matt Stone.)

Oh, Katie and I discovered that, absent campfire, you can make smores over a candle.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


I spent all day at the outlet mall, stocking up on (ugh) pantyhose and crap like that, so what's more natural than to come home and take an internet quiz on my last words? I swear, this afternoon, I figured they would be "Excuse me, there's a line."

Your Famous Last Words Will Be:

"So, you're a cannibal."

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

unintentional keyhole neck

I don't think I've blogged about this project at all, although I did work on it my last night at ABQ SNB (sob). I saw that Andean Silk Twist was on sale (apparently because it's being discontinued) a few months ago, 1 ball for $1.99, so I ordered some. I wasn't sure I liked when I got it, but I dove in and started knitting. Well, I'm still not sure I like it, but here it is. Self-designed almost-an-FO, colorway sunset, which looks gorgeous close-up, but which from far away is just a muddle. (This is probably why Andean Silk Twist is being discontinued--the colorways were, um, not great. Good idea in theory, though. Maybe they'll come up with some new Twists!)

I've blocked the crap outta this mofo and still, when I pin it to mimic how I want the buttons to go, it's all gappy! So I'm going to leave it like this, find a really cool button or pin to put right at the top and a dark blue cami to wear underneath, and call it a keyhole neck. Totally on-purpose design element! Totally!

Charles Has A Licking Problem

Daily dose of pug.

FO post later today, maybe... I somehow wove in all ends but one, so I need to remedy that and get some buttons and make myself presentable for the camera. Like Charles.