Friday, February 29, 2008

Sesame Dressing

Challenging myself! Yeah, so while I'm in Japan I thought I may as well take photos of it. Everyday. I'm starting close to home, really close, with my lunch. I'm obsessed with macro zoom. This photo may not be great, but Im sure if I actually do this for more than one day eventually sometime may show up.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Japan Ruins Everything

A combination of my two favorite things--rabbits and cotton candy! Oh, how excited I was.

And then I opened the bag to find four individually wrapped packs. For those of you that dont know this little fact about Japan, they individually wrap everything... bananas, peppers, cookies, chocolate covered almonds. And for those of you who dont know me, I have a bag phobia.

I was actually scared I was about to eat a big cotton ball. Who's ever heard of white cotton candy!?

I obviously ate all four packs that night, but this is just another example of how simple joys in life can be sucked away just from being in Japan.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Yu and the Lunar Eclipse

click to enlarge

"Who is that you're holding," you ask? His name is Yu “Ka” Langmead. Some of you know him, some of you may not. His name comes from a time way back when he lived with Kirsty and Katie. He was in a small bowl with his brother on top of the refrigerator. My friend, Yuka, was given the charge of naming the two goldfish. Obviously she named one “Yu” and the other “Ka.” But the story doesn’t end there.

waiting for the bus

Sadly, one day Ka committed suicide by jumping out of the bowl. Some say he was pushed, but I refuse to believe that.

Yu’s owners have all been relocated so he was given to Ashley. But she already had two fish that constantly fought and had to be kept in separate bowls. So I asked for Yu. I went to Ashley’s to pick him up and we officially changed his name to honor his dead, depressed brother. She put him in a Ziploc container and I headed home with him on the bus.

on the bus

When I got home I filled his bowl up with water and dumped him in. I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to do that. He stopped swimming. And he’s a really feisty fish, always moving pebbles around and making tons of noise. I was really worried I killed him within the first hour of adoption. Yuka then came over and we kept a close eye on him. After a few hours he began swimming again. And now he’s a genki little goldfish.


Edit Prozacville's artistic reaction to the tragedy of Ka.

Now, if only I knew Japanese words...

Im almost finished learning Hiragana. Maybe I am finished? Given enough time I can read any character, it just takes me a bit to write the variations of the main characters. For example, I have the following characters memorized (write, read, pronounce):

But, Im still working on the following ones. They look similar to the ones above, and only have slightly different sounds. Like, ひ (hi, pronounced hee) becomes び (bi) and ぴ (pi). I think I have it down for the most part.

H becomes B and P [like in ひ, び, ぴ]
T becomes D [と (to) --> ど (do)]
K becomes G [か (ka) --> が (ga)]
S becomes Z [せ (se) --> ぜ (ze)]

And then there's still the じ (ji) and ぢ (ji) thing to mess it all up. But I think writing this post cleared it all up for me. Arent you excited to be learning while blog surfing today?

I havent really looked at the above characters yet. They seem pretty easy because they're just a blend of two sounds. きゅ (kyu) is a combination of き (ki, pronounced kee) and ゆ (yu).

One day I'll look back on this post and remember the time I knew Hiragana.

Coming Up Next Week... watch me learn Katakana!

Monday, February 18, 2008


Japan is weird.

AnonymousOK (3:51:31 AM): i feel unconfruble
wicked pumped (3:51:40 AM): hahah
AnonymousOK (3:51:54 AM): your a dirty dirty girl
wicked pumped (3:53:57 AM): i put the a new comic up, maybe im a good drawer after all
AnonymousOK (3:54:33 AM): maby you'll be ok you will br ok
AnonymousOK (3:55:01 AM): but why did you put it in the alone one and not jimmyjanesays
wicked pumped (3:56:47 AM): I dont know, I just dont know.
AnonymousOK (3:57:00 AM): good answer

And thanks Frederik!

Let Me Be Your Salty Dog

Nothing makes me feel more like an adult than making coffee. It reminds me of my mom, she used to make it every morning. I used to tease her about her addiction. I just made a bitter pot. I accidentally put in too many beans and then I sprinkled hot chocolate mix in. Wasnt as good as Id imagine.

Last night I went to karaoke with Yuka and Kirsty. It was actually a lot of fun. Ive discovered my karaoke song is definitely Bjork's "It's Oh So Quiet." We were there for three hours and got nomihodi. I drank way too many Salty Dogs.

Afterwards we went to Antonio's yatai. It was freezing. I started talking to these guys that were sitting there, making Yuka translate everything. It was ridiculous. Me screaming, "YUKA! ASK HIM WHAT HIS JOB IS!" "YUKA! TELL HIM I HAVE A TATTOO, TOO!" And random nonsense like that. At one point the man called "The Samurai" squeezed my nose and banged my head against his. Some sort of ancient Japanese mating ritual? Perhaps. They paid for our drinks, so mission accomplished. Then, they tried to give us a ride home, but luckily Kirsty had been drinking iced-hot-chocolates all night and she suggested we find other transportation.

Why am I writing all this here? It's the prelude and maybe explanation to my story about the pizza.

When I got home from the yatai I went to make some delicious store-bought pizza. While I was preparing it for the toaster oven I cut open the Italian Spices packet. I sprinkled them all over the pizza. But, they were black. And not pepper-black, but charcoal, ashy black. I thought maybe they were just burnt or something, and I considered continuing with the preparation, when I gave the packet another look. I had just cut open the "Do Not Eat" moisture absorber and poured it all over my pizza!

It took me a few minutes to decide not to eat the pizza.

Then I called Lauren on Skype and bitched/cried/talked-about-myself until the internet connection died and I fell asleep on my carpet. One contact lens mysteriously missing.

Now Im headed to the Shunan Art Museum to see an oil painting exhibition. If I can get there before they close.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


My Hiragana is coming along well. Now I can text it on my phone (which was the reason for learning in the first place).

There is a small comic shop in New Hampshire for sale. I want to buy it. I want to own a comic book store. Now that the idea has come to me, I will never be happy doing anything else. I know that means leaving magical Japan, but I think I can bare it. The shop is profitable and in a small/busy city. Investors, anyone?

It's 2008, we wont live forever.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Like Direction, but Backwards

I went to heat up my coffee and I found last night’s dinner in the microwave. Uneaten. I think I forgot about it and had a peanut butter and maple jam sandwich instead. Am I getting old? How could I forget about the Japanese fried pumpkin thingies that smelled so good?

I did just have them for lunch today; a win-win situation.

Maple jam is my new favorite thing. I look forward to the day I have maple butter and can have the ultimate sugary, syrupy, maple sandwich. Maple jam is a bit like honey or syrup, but since it was labeled “jam” I use it in that way. You know, on toast, sandwiches, spoons.

In other mundane nonnews, since I haven’t bought any new CDs in five months (not including Mariah Carey’s Greatest Hits) I have been creating iPod mixes to reinvigorate my interest in artists Ive lost interest in. My latest creation, “The Ladies of BSS” is wonderful. It’s Fiest, Emily Haines, and Amy Millan (I also threw in Cat Power because it felt good). Listening to it makes me feel like how it would feel if I had feelings.

Feel free to burn me some CD’s people! This internet connection is too slow to even get podcasts of Chicago Public Radio's "This American Life" (and I need my Ira Glass fix).

Im for real, real, reals studying Hiragana again. So far Ive mastered:

And I'm working on:

So, I have like 90 more Hiragana characters to learn, then the Katakana alphabet. Then maybe 2,000 kanji characters. After all that I'll be able to read Japanese manga! A life dream!*

So some words in Hiragana I can read include, あし (ashi, leg/foot), いえ (ie, house), and かめ (kame, turtle). So if I were reading a newspaper and there was an article about a turtle running into someone's house and biting their foot, I could potentially understand it (if there was huge in depth accompanying illustration, too).

I just had deja vu.

So Im thinking, how am I going to remember all these Japanese words if I cant even remember to take my dinner out of the microwave?

This random post was brought to you by my two-hour lunch break.

*denotes sarcasm,
some of you have trouble picking that up here

EDIT: In the times it’s taken to find an internet connection and post this (24 hours) I’ve learned さ (sa), し (shi), す (su), せ (se), そ (so) and た (ta), ち (chi), つ (tsu), て (te), と (to). Now I can read すし!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I Give Up

I made some pasta tonight, with the same jar of tomato garlic I usually buy. But tonight there was this strange taste to it. It was fishy. I looked at the jar and the picture was the same as always, a tomato and a some garlic. I even figured out the katakana on the label (トマト&ガーリック) and it said tomato and garlic. There was a website printed on the back (, so I went there to see if I could find some English ingredients. There werent any, but I looked up the kanji for fish (魚) and saw it was printed all over the place. Then I found a translation website ( and saw that the sauce I've been eating for months doesnt just have fish but chicken meat (鶏肉) too!


This goes in my I hate Japan column.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

I Can [Kinda] Cook

Moving to Japan has made me do things I never thought I'd do. I've watched three seasons of Lost and the OC. I've gone over five days without checking my email. I had a job interview where a full-grown Japanese woman pretended to be 3.

Ahyhoo, they dont sell anything resembling a veggie-burger on this side of the country so I figured out how to make one.

I didnt know what "grating" was so I peeled and diced.

Mushrooms, Green Onions, Corn, and Red Peppers

Im so freakin healthy.

Sizzle, sizzle, etc.

Mush with some breadcrumbs and make delicious veggie-balls.

Came out pretty tasty.

Can you guess what I've had for dinner the last four nights?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Day 140

I think Im used to it here, now.

First Paycheck...

I totally know what Im gunna do with it.