Sunday, July 29, 2007

three things that caused me nearly to wet myself

1. Someone found my blog by googling "dance song that goes-doo doo doo doo doo".
2. I've been perusing this evening and wish I could find this hat. It would be a fantastic Father's Day gift.

3. And, so as not to go photo-less into that good night, some Engrish I saw on the street:

Friday, July 27, 2007

just me?

...or is it really rude to ask someone if they regret getting a tattoo? Like, in casual conversation? I mean, you would never ask someone if they regretted having a baby or not going to college. Or, say, gaining weight or wearing Uggs. I'm just sayin.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Thursday, July 19, 2007

hot hot heat

I went to an onsen with my roommate Amy today. It was a co-ed onsen, but because the main onsen was men-only until 7 pm, the only other people there were women and a little boy who was really not happy to be there. There were both indoor and outdoor onsens, so of course we chose the outdoor, mostly because we're both northern girls and, hey, did you know, hot springs are REALLY hot? It was really pleasant to sit on the rocks with your feet in the onsen as it started cooling down in the evening, though.

It was really unpleasant to get out of the onsen and walk down to the bus stop and wait for the bus in the rain, however. Then as we tried not to fall asleep on the bus we realized neither of us had eaten since last night. We got off the bus, onto the subway, and finally to the yakitori (aka kebab, aka food on a stick) place right by our subway stop.

This is where it gets fun, because two men and a woman were having a big night out and were enjoying watching us eat our baked potato with chopsticks, and one of the men came over to talk to us, and he asked what country we were from. Amy said she was English, and the man said, "Ah. [gesturing to his friends] We are Japanese!" and everybody cracked up. I'm still laughing. They bought us some ginger and wasabe yakitori, clearly anticipating the eye-watering and mouth-fanning, but even Amy didn't think it was that hot. Although our sinuses are quite clear now. As we left, one of them yelled, "next time!" which has caused Amy and I to start a "he LIKES you" war.

Pictures soon--er, not of the onsen experience, but of the beautiful town the onsen was in.

Monday, July 16, 2007

It felt like I was on a boat

Yes, I felt the earthquakes yesterday. The first one was during my first lesson of the day and lasted maybe fifteen seconds. When it stopped, we just continued the lesson like nothing had happened, although I was totally thrown off my game (and I assume the students were much more so--after all, on this whole continent I have only myself to worry about). All the local news is in Japanese, of course, so we had to wait for the Western world to wake up and report on it before we knew what was going on. Just as we were going to bed, we felt the second quake. I was lying in bed and watching a downloaded episode of Heroes, and the shaking was gentler than earlier but it went on for more than a minute. When it finally subsided I got up and consulted with my shaken (heh) roommates. We checked the internet for updates, but even forty-five minutes later there was still nothing; we tried finding some coverage in English on TV, but to no avail, so we gave up and watched a few minutes of a learning-English game show. The contestants had to fill in the blanks of a English sentence after listening to three or four native speakers say it. It was pretty amusing, but not nearly as good as Japanese commercials, of which my current favorite is the Kirin ad featuring "We Will Rock You."

(We're far enough from the epicenter that there doesn't seem to have been any local damage, but there are thousands homeless in Niigata. I'm trying to figure out how to donate or volunteer to the Japan Red Cross, but so far haven't found it.)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I don't knit lace on the train

Not since I had to frog the beginnings of my Orangina. Don't ask me why, but suddenly, about two years after the Orangina craze, I suddenly, out of the blue, decided to knit it the other day, bought the pattern, and found some Japanese yarn. I don't know what fiber it is exactly--it says 70% something, 30% something else, and neither things are the characters for cotton or wool... It says SoftRamie on the front of the ball band, and I'm fairly sure the 70% is the katakana for acrylic. But it feels nice enough and it was on sale, so I went with it.

So, my dad taught me to use chopsticks when I was a little girl. I promptly forgot and devised my own way. He has since told me I do it wrong, but I'm so good at doing it my way that I didn't have patience for learning to do it all over again the right way. Well, the other day I went out for soba with some friends. It's pretty cool, actually--you order using a vending machine outside on the sidewalk and it gives you a ticket with your order on it, and then you go inside and hand the guy behind the counter your ticket and tell him what kind of noodles you want (soba or udon), and in a few minutes you've got yourself bowl o' noodles. It's a standing restaurant, too--no chairs. So anyway, I'm standing there trying to eat noodles with chopsticks, which involves slurping, which is totally polite in Japan but which I still cannot force myself to do, and which is actually really difficult to do anyway, without making the noodles fly all around and fling sauce on your shirt, when these three late-middle-aged businessmen come in and stand next to us and start... observing how I eat my noodles. They found it very amusing. I wasn't terribly embarrassed or anything but it made it that much harder to eat with grace, knowing that I was being watched. So then one of them tapped my shoulder and said "wrong," while pointing to my chopsticks. Disconcerted, I said, "...oh?" (Brilliant international communication! We will reach understanding!) He grabbed a pair of chopsticks and said, "sample, sample," showing me by example how to hold it so that the lower chopstick stays still and the upper chopstick moves (just like my very American dad does it). Well, it's hard to overcome twenty years of chopsticking, so I made some mistakes and got some more sauce (which is clear, but also oily, so it still leaves a stain) on my shirt. But at least I provided them with some amusement. I'm sure they have traveled for business to the U.S. or had to interact with foreigners for business, or they wouldn't have remembered (from their school days) enough English to talk to me, therefore they must've been the embarrassed party at some point, so I didn't mind so much, but sometimes it's hard to tell when people are laughing with you and when they're laughing at you, so it wasn't exactly fun.

My friends suggested that next time I should just shake my head and claim, "Korean style!"

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Never mind

no, really...

I mean, thanks, Blogger, for realizing that I'm in Japan and maybe I read Japanese, but hey, maybe I don't, and you know, maybe I'd like to DELETE A POST you know, and I can't figure out how the hell to do that. But whatevs, that's cool, don't even worry about it. Peace.

p.s. AND ANOTHER THING!! I can't change my template. Grrr.

I knit on the train

jaywalkers numero tres
Originally uploaded by safety dance.

My first Japanese FO: another pair of jays.

pattern the ubiquitous Jaywalkers

yarn contest prize from strangelittlemama--she dyed it herself! Thanks, Carole!

needles size 1 Susan Bates dpns

mods made the legs shorter because I didn't know how much yarn I had--turns out there was plenty

started May 6, 2007, in the US of A
finished July 1, 2007, in the land of the rising sun.