Monday, December 14, 2009

On the train...

with a bunch of bags, heading to Hiroshima with Jon. Our flights back home are tomorrow morning. I'll be in the US for 17 days.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Um, OK?

There's something fucked up going on at my local supermarket.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Wish I Saw This...

...before I moved to Japan!

My block is "Chikko-cho." I think.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving Yamaguchi-style

I'm pretty sure at one point I had declared that I would never celebrate Thanksgiving again. I think it was during my high school years. Back when Jon and I would head up to Montreal during the long holiday weekend. Both of us being teenage vegans* (and he being Canadian) meant eating Turkey and hanging out with the folks seemed like a terrible way to spend time off from school. So it was all gay dance clubs, tattoos and lip rings for us. I think I even got my star/feather tattoo on Thanksgiving, to celebrate the Native American heritage on my mom's side of the family. So, yeah, not into Thanksgiving.

But, like many expatriates, I have ended up romanticizing the holidays I was never really into. I don't consider myself jolly or possessing any kind of Christmas spirit, yet I've shelled out $1,000 to fly home to celebrate it this year.

You see, I've spent the last two Christmases in Japan. Alone. On the couch. Trying to get Skype to work. Opening presents from my mom that arrived weeks before but I saved for this day. Really depressing. I guess I can appreciate the holidays now that I'm older and my family is expanding in numbers and in miles.

And then there's Valentines Day, which I've always hated, but since I've learned that in Japan girls are supposed to buy guys chocolate I've totally started to preach the American Valentine's Day doctrine (mostly to Motto, who doesn't care and wants his treats).

So this year for Thanksgiving, Kris and Nao-chan held a little last-minute Thanksgiving potluck dinner at their house. I had been subconsciously preparing for this by hoarding a can of cranberry sauce I bought over a month ago (for half off!) at a foreign food store in Hiroshima. Nao cooked delicious fried tofu and carrots that looked like ebi-tempura. Another friend brought pumpkin pie and a green bean cassorole. I think someone brought a plain doughnut (it was kind of sitting on the table awkwardly). Someone else made mashed potatoes and Shani made fried chicken. No Turkey, no gravy, no pecan pie or football (thank god) but it felt Thanksgiving-esque.

All in all, I was really surprised by how excited I was to see pumpkin pie... and how easy it was to eat with chopsticks!

*Which also means everyone makes a big fuss about what you "can" eat and you have to fight your way into the kitchen to save some potatoes before evil milk and butter gets splattered all over them.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Hardest Post Ive Ever Written

This is hard but, I have been lying to you all. For the last six months I've been boasting about my "perfect" life in Japan. You know, my job, which occupies less than five hours of my day, five days a week. My boyfriend, who dressed as the yellow Go Ranger for Halloween, because he's Asian. My new 27" iMac, where I spend countless hours playing Sims. My sweet little bunny. Yes, yes, an amazing life.

The truth is, everything is not as it seems. Those of you who have followed my Twitter may have suspected as much. I've been bruised, attacked, and terrorized. What we once believed to be a half hamster, half squirrel breed of rabbit is now showing herself to be half werewolf. The other half? We still don't know.

I didnt believe it at first, when a friend who was spending the night over told me she heard a little growl. Even when Raspberry attacked another friend, Yen, I thought she was just scared of an intruder and protecting her pile of pellets.

But, slowly, as these things often happen, Raspberry started turning on Motto and myself. For the first few weeks it was only Motto that got the brunt of the blows. And only when he came home from work at night. She didnt lunge at his ankles and growl when he let her out of the cage in the morning. Only at night. Which is where my werewolf theory is developing from.

Her attacks on me have slowly increased. It seems that when she is in her full fury she cant distinguish one ankle from another. After hours of peacefully sitting on the sofa petting her head and watching episodes of Mad Men together she snaps as soon as Motto comes in the door.

A jealous rage? Maybe. But until she learns English, or I learn rabbit Japanese, I will never know. And she's too clever to let me catch it on tape. As soon as my camera is on she has to "poop" in her "toilet."

Blog followers, let me tell you, the hardest part about all this is the embarrassment. When my students ask me about the black bruise on my ankle and then I have to hear them erupt with laughter when I gesture that my "usagi" did it. But, I know in telling my story I can help others speak out against fuzzy pet violence.

I ask that you respect my privacy during this difficult time and direct all emails to my publicist or manager. And don't tell me to get her fixed. They dont know what that is in this country.

Sorry, Jon, she chewed a hole in the gift you sent her, to give room for her ears to poke through. And good luck when you come visit next month. Two words: wear pants.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Michael Jackson Memorial Store

Are these in America, too? This one's in the underground mall in Hiroshima.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Haunted Island Halloween Party

After discovering Otsushima a few months ago with Motto, I knew it'd be the perfect place for a big Halloween party. It's a 30 minute ferry ride from my house, there are cheap cabins, and... it's haunted by WW2 kamikaze soldiers!

Halloween night I rented out three cabins, and a bunch of people came all dressed up and someone even brought a real orange pumpkin! (In Japan you usually only find the small green kind.)

First we explored the tunnels and submarine launching site. Then we drank, BBQ'd and watched campy Halloween movies inside one of the cabins on the curtains using a projector. Everyone bought treat bags filled with candy for each other (mine are hanging on my doorknob so Motto doesnt forget to bring them to his students tomorrow).

A slightly scary experience: there was a creepy fisherman biking around when it got dark. A few people saw him appear out of the darkness of the tunnel and then say, in Japanese, "give me fire." Someone asked if he meant a lighter and he grunted in approval. Later, at about 3am Nao-chan and I saw him while we were walking back from the peir. He was just leaning on his bicycle between the camp site's showers and kitchen. I screamed! He didnt react at all, and I couldnt even see his face. When I got back into the cabin some people said they heard me scream, so I asked why they didnt come running to save me. Their reply?

"Well, we discussed it and, it sounded like a happy scream."

On a haunted island, nonetheless.

The next day, after I settled my stomach down by throwing up every time I moved my head, a few of us set out for the Kaiten Museum, which was sad and creepy. But, despite that, it was pleasant because the weather was cool and the clouds had cleared after a rainy morning.

The party continued into the next night, with a few less people, but more cooking, costumes, cocktails and candy.

All in all, it was a good time. But, I'm not likely to host a party again soon.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Big Apple

The other day I bought a really huge apple. It cost about 500 yen, but I was feeling sad and thought, I've never bought myself a really huge, expensive, apple before. So I did.

It was thiiiis big. It took two days to eat.

Speaking of impulse buys, I also got myself a 27" iMac last Sunday during a trip to Yamada Denki. Anyone who has read my blog or sketchblog for a long time and has been witness to my many fundraisers/complaints knows what a big deal that is.

Edit: damn, I should have said, "Speaking of Apples..." I'll get you next time, pun!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

So windy the yatai may blow away.
(Plus, Motto and Antonio-san love each other.)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

im drunk and on the train. i drank a shot of 96% alcohol vodka without realizing it.
anyway, i have met many people in japan who read my blog before they met me. shout out!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

How are you doing?

What are you up to? Anything new?

No. Maybe. I dont know but, I cant think of anything at this exact moment and if I could, it's nothing appropriate.

Over the last few months the question of What's going on with you? has been annoying me more than usual. I never know what to say, and I always come away feeling like a boring, useless person afterward. "Nothing. Work." Or I start going on about some geeky podcast.

I know everyone's just trying to be polite, but my life is at one of those plateaus where I do relatively the same thing day-in and day-out. No, my company isnt going bankrupt, I dont have any new pets, and no, I havent started my masters degree (as everyone around me over 30 apparently has). Today I made applesauce for the first time. Oh yeah.

I may start answering with, "I'm sorry, arent you following my Twitter feed?"

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Here I Am

Jon thinks I'm dead because I havent updated my blog in 10 days. I didnt think I was that avid of a blogger, but apparently I am. I only like to write here when something cool or bad but Japanese related happens...but, most of my time is spent cleaning the apartment (for the princesses) or what I did today: going into work for an hour then walking to the pet shop to put my nose against the glass of the bunny tanks.

The cutest bunny has been there for a week, but there's a paper post-it that supposedly says "sold" in Japanese. It's even a girl, which is good because Raspberry is too sassy for a man to come up in here and tell her what's what (and pee on her the way boy bunnies do).

So today I had Motto email me the Japanese for, "Is she really sold or can I buy her?" And I showed it to an employee. The employee politely informed me, while bowing, "Haisumimasenyoudesuschottosksjhjdgkjjsdhdjsdesuneonegaishimasu."

Or something like that. I didnt know what that meant, so I stood around a few minutes just to make sure she wasnt swooping her out of the tank and into my arms.

She didn't. And Raspberry has no sister. And I've updated my blog.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Saturday, August 29, 2009

WW2 Nazi Paraphernalia

That's what I look for in a temporary tattoo.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Fuji Mountain Adventure (Part II)

I finally make it to station 8 and Yen tells me that there is room at the hut, they just wanted us all there together when we booked. I was so relieved. We get into the hut and we're dripping in the genkan (shoe take-off area). The employee there instructs us in Japanese to put our wet clothes in the plastic bag he provides and hands us pants and shirts if we need them.

I change into some leggings I packed (to put under my jeans if I was cold) and a new t-shirt. Erica puts on my sweat pants provided and Yen is dry enough to stay in her clothes, because she put the frikkin rain suit pants on when it started raining.

We are then instructed to hang up these bags and our backpacks, in a big room full of wet bag and backpacks, as he shows us to our futons. That means my hoodie, jeans, and rain jacket and not going to be dried out, but sit in a plastic bag in a cold room all night.

We get into the sleeping room, where at least a hundred people are laying down like sardines in a row. There are also bunk bed type things, so some people are sleeping in big groups above us. We get this little space to sleep in, divided by a foot high particle wood wall. There are two blankets and four pillows. We have 20 minutes to eat anything we packed before lights out. I cant really eat anything, though. And I am so cold.

As I am laying in bed freezing listening to the snores of Yen-chan, I remember my fuzzy halloween socks that I packed in my bag. I go out to get them, and while I'm up decide to pee, because I dont want to have to get out of bed again. The bathroom is outside. So I put on some provided bathroom slippers and make my way out. There are people out there, in ponchos and headlamps, who are not sleeping, but still making there way up the mountain. I step in a freezing puddle and get to the toilet. Luckily, since I paid 5,000 yen to sleep at the hut, I do not have to pay 200 yen to pee. I bring my cell phone and email Motto. I can't believe the whole mountain has cell phone service.

I get back in bed and stick some pocket warmers into my socks, and this warms me up a bit. I still can't sleep, I am just laying in bed wondering whether I should wake up at 1am and join Erica and Yen on the rest of the trip up the mountain (about 500 more meters). We're already like 75% up. But, if I leave at 1am to make it to the top for the sunrise, the conditions will be pretty much the same as they just were. Dark, raining, cold, and my tight chest and not breathing thing.

I think about how Erica and Yen can probably make it up in 2.5 hours, but it may take me three or four. Three or four hours of climbing wet rocks, in the freezing rain, scared I'll die because I can't breathe.

It really didn't feel like an option. Even while resting in the hut my breathing was jagged and I was using the oxygen can I bought. I still felt dizzy. So, I chose to see Erica and Yen off, but I stayed in the hut until 6:30am. At that point I started to make my way down the mountain. (Oh, and I run into a co-worker

The only dry clothes I had were my black leggings, tshirt, and rain jacket. I did have rain pants, but those only lasted about 20 minutes, because I fell on my ass so many times and ripped them down the back.

I gave myself a kind of head start, instead of waiting for my friends at station 8 or 7. I arrived at "new" station 7 I sat and ate the most expensive meal in my life. Hot chocolate, corn soup, and bottled water: 1,200 yen. But, it was worth it to be somewhat dry and warm. My sweat was being locked in by my rain jacket, so my tshirt was wet and keeping me cold. But when I took the jacket off I was really cold.

Erica and Yen caught up with me there and we stayed another half hour or so. They showed me pictures of the top. They were really hot, I was still freezing. Then we continued down together.

After that my 500 yen shoes started to give out. The treading was gone, so I was slipping on the gravel, and my toes weren't protected and were just jamming into the rocks as I waddled down.

It really wasn't all bad. It was fun climbing down sometimes, I could breathe easier as I passed the 7th station and the three of us were cracking jokes and having a good time.

We practically ran down from station 6 to 5. The path was dirt and compared to what we just dealt with, a piece of cake. Then we finally did some shopping for souvenirs (why we came to this damn mountain in the first place). I got a few keychains and two magnetic kissing Fuji keitai straps (one's blue, one's pink) for me and Motto. It reminded me of something teenagers would buy. Motto thought it was really ugly on his phone, so I told him he only has to keep in on a few days (he hasnt taken it off his iPhone yet...hehe).

So it took me from 7am to about 1pm (with a big break in the middle) to make it down the mountain.

After the bus ride home we went to a spa for a shower and bath. It was Yen's first time at a Japanese style public shower, so that was fun explaining, Yes, right now you have to get butt naked and follow me into a room of naked old women.

And then at this point I was done complaining, and the other two had their turns.

The green line shows where I climbed.

Read Part I.
More pictures on my flickr.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Side Note

Just found this on a website, while looking for an aerial shot of Fuji for my next blog post:

Jul. 30, 2009
A fatal accident occured yesterday, again.
69y/o Japanese man from Nara pref. was climbing in a tour,
He left Osaka on a bus around 9pm on 28th,
arrived at the 5th stn. of Yoshida trail around 7am on 29th.
Started to climb around 10:45am, had a break and lunch at the 7th stn.
He felt bad and walked slowly behind the tour.
After a while he crounched losing consciousness.
He was confirmed dead at the hospital later.

Jul. 28, 2009
A fatal accident occured yesterday.
48y/o American man from California was climbing Mt. Fuji with his friend,
and suddenly fell down on the ground at the 8th stn. of Yoshida trail.
Despite treatment by a doctor in the first-aid stn,
he was confirmed dead at the hospital later.

Jul. 25, 2009
Another missing man, 27 y/o Japanese
was found dead at the 8th stn. of Fujinomiya trail.

Jul. 24, 2009
The 62nd Fuji Mountain Race started 7am this morning.
Due to the bad weather, the goal for the "summit" course
was changed to the 5th station.

One of two missing men, 30 y/o American citizen climbed with his co-workers,
was found dead at the 9th stn. of Fujinomiya trail.
It was very windy and foggy when they were on the summit.

Jul. 17, 2009
An English woman injured in a slip on the Fujinomiya trail last night.

Jul. 14, 2009
A falling rock killed a man in a camper
on the Fujinomiya 5th stn. of Mt. Fuji last night.
Click here for more details.

*Note: I took the Fujinomiya trail.

I Don't Want to Die (in a hospital)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Fuji Mountain Adventure (Part I)

I am writing this because I cant get off the couch. Not my usual inability to get off the couch due to Facebook addiction and streaming episodes of Law and Order: SVU. I cant get off the couch today because my leg muscles have decided I am no longer trustworthy enough to make decisions for them, and they quit on me.

As I've mentioned before, I have an aversion to mountains and really any steep incline. So, I thought What better way to spend the Obon holiday than climbing Japan's tallest mountain, Fuji-san?

Two months ago I started planning the trip and invited my two friends Yen and Erica along. I booked a hotel in Fuji city, bought Shinkansen tickets, read up on what to pack. I was totally prepped.

The trip started out pretty awesome. Our hotel had bunk beds. We went out for Kansai style Okonomiyaki. We discussed boys and ate chocolate.

The next day, the day of the climb, we took a the 8:30am two hour bus ride up to the 5th station. Most people start the climb from here. It's the point where trees stop growing and clouds hang out. We heard you should give yourself time to adjust to the altitude so we browsed the wandered the gift shop and bought our walking sticks. The sticks are cool because at each station you can get a seal burned into it that says the name of the station in kanji and how high you are. We stayed at the gift shop for about an hour and started the climb at noon.

After station 5 there are six more (station 6, new 7, old 7, 8, 9, 9.5), than the top, station 10. Why they dont rename them, I'll never know.

From station 5 to six I was feeling good. It took about 45 minutes, and I knew that was the shortest distance between two stations. The ground was packed dirt mixed in with a few piles of rocks to climb up.
The mountain wasnt what I expected at all. I thought it'd be trees with a dirt path going up to the top. It was more like the surface of the moon, gray and covered in rocks.

After hitting station 6 I got a little nervous. From the hut you can look up and see how steep it really is. And I couldnt see the next station, there was too much fog. I think this took us about two and a half hours to climb. The ground was really hard to walk on, it was mostly rocks, and you could fall easily if you didnt watch your step.

As I walked and sweat people would pass me, who were coming down the mountain, would say "gambatte!" I didnt know the appropriate response, so I said, "thank you." In English.

From station 6 to 7 I started having some trouble. I couldnt breathe very well and started to wheeze. I could take about 15 steps before I had to stop and catch my breathe. This slowed us down considerably and I felt bad for my traveling companions (who I warned about climbing with me beforehand!).

Despite my breathing issues I continued on, slow and steady and sweaty. It would be sunny than foggy than sunny. But after the sun set it rained. It really, really rained. I had a rain jacket that I put over my backpack and myself. But, I couldnt button it up now, so my hoodie was getting wet. It was too rainy and rocky to put on my rain pants, so I just kept walking.

We were supposed to sleep at the 9th station, but from station 7 to 8 it got really scary for me. My breathing was bad and my chest felt really tight. It was so dark and there were only a few people around. I couldnt quit, it would be an hour walk down or an hour walk up anyway. Station 8 was the first aid site plus a lodge, so Erica really wanted to get me there to sleep, she was worried about the wheezing.

I should not that on the way down Erica and Yen (far ahead of me) saw a man collapse and possibly die. His family was gathered around saying, "otousan" (father) and pumping his chest. His eyes weren't opening. We didnt pass rescue workers climbing up for maybe two hours.

So, while I was wheezing and wet and trying to make it to station 8 the rocks became really hard to climb. I had to use my hands or the rope most of the time. I was taking breaks and breathing from an oxygen can I bought for 1,200 yen a few stations back.

Now, let's talk about money for a second. I felt like I was at frikkin Disney World, not on the most sacred spot in Japan. Everything cost money. The toilets were 200 yen (about $2), the water was 500 yen. Getting hot water for your ramen cup was 300 yen. A can of beer was 800 yen! I dont know who'd be drinking, but damn that's expensive Asahi!

Anyway, at about 7:30, with station 8 in our sites Yen goes up to the hut to ask if they have room for us to sleep (our reservations were at station 9, and we were supposed to get there by 8pm, not happening). She shouts down that she didn't get rooms and I start to tear up, in my mind I'm thinking I'll just start crying and begging to stay there, there's no way I can make it up another level! It would be another 2-3 hours in the freezing rain, and I can feel my lungs collapsing.

Can I say, as you all know, I was born in South Florida. The flattest place in the world. I lived there at sea level for 16 years, then I moved to Massachusetts, close enough to the coast and probably still at sea level. I had never been this high up in my life. I mean, I'd been to the top of Mount Royal (233 meters high) and driven through Vermont, but now I was above the clouds, and at this point in the story 3,250 meters up (about 10,662 feet, or 2 miles). My body didn't like all this. I wasn't having any muscle pain, my legs and feet were OK, it was just the breathing and chest pain, and the added anxiety that I was going to have a heart attack or my airways would close and I'd faint and no one would save me.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Japan is Amazing

A few nights ago Motto and I hit a 711. He read comics and I explored the ice cream freezer. I was excited to find an actual dinosaur egg being stored between suika popsicles and soda ice. I bought two.

I ate mine on the walk home, but Motto agreed to save his til we got back so we could document the experience. The dino egg is kept inside a balloon, or possibly a tiny condom.

Motto's first attempt at opening it.

My suggestion.

Enjoying the delicious treat.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009

Beauty Queen

I just got my hair did--together with Naomi-chan. Another 4 hour ordeal(for the money it cost, it better be a full day event). I got a straight perm and cut. They put this chemical on my hair and wrapped me in saran wrap and let me cook for 30 minutes. They then rinsed it out and gave me a little scalp rub. Then a girl blew out and straightened my hair. I thought we were finished; we hadn't even started.

I'm used to cheap mall salons with bitchy single-mom with over-treated hair, but mostly I'm used to having a few drinks and taking the scissors into the bathroom myself.

She then applied a new chemical to my dry, straight, hair and had me wait again. Then another wash. Then the cut began. I realized I was clenching my fists pretty hard by this time. The hairdresser brought me some English magazines. Celebrity cut mags from 2001. A nice gesture, but doesn't beat the last time when the hairdresser gave me a Japanese "Where's Waldo?"

They tried to talk to me, in English and Japanese. I wish there was a switch somewhere I could press to turn conversation off. I need to learn the Japanese for "please don't worry about being friendly." I'm not a haircut talker, we're not going to become friends, and I'm too nervous to smile and be polite. But, I'm sure they feel pressure (especially the assistants) to be really friendly, as a kind of business model.

I like the cut and perm, though. It's really humid, but my hair looks washed, brushed, and fresh! Now I know why so many white girls have been recommending the straight perm.

Note about the picture: all the little hairs touching my face was totally making me sneeze! I sneezed once in the middle of the haircut. I didnt know what to do or how to warn him it was coming.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


I participated in the ancient Japanese tradition of purikura with Nao-chan.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Motto Fan Club

Japanese Lessons Online
Motto mentioned in passing that he wouldnt mind teaching Japanese lessons over the internet in his "spare time" (or meal/sleeping time, as most people call it). So, I of course immediately got started building him a website. It was fun and didnt take very long. I like playing around with HTML code and pop-ups and PayPal. I even used a coupon I had to take an ad out on Facebook. Maybe you will be one of the thousands of lucky Facebookers to see the ad. You'd have to have "Japanese" or "Japanese Language" or "Japanese Culture" as one of your listed interests (god knows, I dont) and you'd have to live in the States...but, who knows. If you see it take a screen shot (feel free to black out whatever unmentionable Facebook group you're trolling).

Japanese Lessons Facebook AdNow, you might be thinking, "Why would I pay money to talk to your boyfriend online?" Because I know I would. I mean, he doesnt usually make me pay, but... Actually, tons of people here, in Japan!, pay loads of money for Japanese lessons every week. I used to, back when I was capable of book learnin, before I became obsessed with watching King of the Hill reruns on But really, if people who live in a country surrounded by Japanese would pay to take lessons, there must be something to the word "lesson" that makes you not mind throwing money at it.

Plus he's a real teacher. Plus he giggles a lot. Plus he may agree to do webcam. Plus I'm not even sure he knows what's going on. I'm not asking any of you blog readers to sign up for lessons. I hope I have a more refined audience then Naruto-obsessed-used-Japanese-pantie-sniffing-Nihonphiles. But, do go check out my amazing web-baby-making skillz. It's at

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I think he escaped from a fish market.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pizza Toppings, Yum! *puke*

These are ads from (seriously) the best pizza place in these parts of Japan. Most other Japanese pizzas are like eating cheese colored Play-Dough on crackers.

In the mood for avocado and pizza? No problem! And at Chicago pizza they don't even bother cutting the avocado into bite sized pieces! And don't forget the mayo lattice on top. The "L" size (American small) will set you back about $36.

At this point you're asking yourself, "What about corn? I dont consume nearly enough corn everyday." Don't worry. The above pizza includes corn, mayo, AND french fries! Fries on the side? Pffft. This is imitation American food, and everyone knows Americans just pile all their favorite foods into a trough and go at it.

And now a little something for the kids. The Tuna-Mayo mild is a pizza your 12 year-old will be begging to get at. It has everything those young finicky eaters crave: tuna, mayo, chunks of tomato, and CORN! YUM!

But seriously, I wish I had enough money to get one of these. And the Japanese skills to get it delivered to my apartment.

Monday, June 15, 2009

This story will make sense later...

One of the most miserable experiences of my life. Some years ago (so many that I'm not sure exactly when it was) I went to Montreal to visit Jon, with friends Liz and Jen. We were walking around downtown, it was hot, it was summer, when Jon suggested we stroll up to the Mount Royal park. Everyone seemed excited to go, so I agreed; even though I probably would have preferred to find a nice air-conditioned coffee shop to sit in somewhere.

I should have know this wasnt going to be fun, and I probably should have turned back, when before we even hit the mountain, when there were still houses and shops around us, the ground started to incline and I started to whine. I slowed down considerably, while my "friends" (I use quotation marks because at the time I was sure I'd never speak to any of them again) hopped and skipped and pranced up the hill. I was the fat kid in the Goonies pleading, "wait up guuuys!"

I'm not going to describe how Jon got me to the foot of the mountain because it was too humiliating. I also won't describe how much pleasure some of the company seemed to be taking watching me struggle and motivating me to keep going. Of course, that's just from my side of things. Maybe my dear friends aren't sadistic assholes.

Anyhoo, a few hours later, after me pleading for breaks and receiving few, we made it up the mountain. Hooray. I rested a few minutes, looked over the edge, and then they were at it again. They wanted to find the big illuminated cross. I wanted to kill them all. I wanted to take a nap. I wanted to find a taxi.

So, with my calves on fire we continued roaming around the mountain, getting lost, finding our way, finding the park, becoming bored of the park, getting hungry, descending the mountain. I don't remember much else.

Unrelatedly, on that same trip we all planned to go canoeing. We spent 3 hours driving to a park and spent our last few dollars renting canoes. As soon as Liz and I settled into our tiny boat, in about two feet of water, I started to have a panic attack and had to be brought back to shore. Apparently, I am deathy afraid of water.

Everyone but me squeezed into the other canoe, and went out for a few hours while I sat on the beach with a pack of cigarettes. And no lighter. Because it was Jon's and he thought he may want to smoke on the boat. Son of a bitch.

Note: Jon, Liz, and Jen, if you've read this far, you know I love you guys now, but this is a story about a couple of hours when I really, really didn't. Please feel free to add your version in the comments, but try not to give away why I'm writing this.

Friday, May 22, 2009


LSL sent me these amazing snacks and candies! Veggie jerky, peanut butter cookies, lentils, black licorice, falafel mix...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I haven't slept in a really long time. All my friends and relatives inboxes have already been filled, so I'm cracking open the old blog.

I told my students today that they don't sell natto in Amerika. They were aghast.

My 15 year old students just sat making fun of me in Japanese while I read from the textbook.

I went to a two hour meeting this morning that proved that the curriculum my company uses is either made by monkeys or hamsters. What five year old needs to learn, "I'm fastening my seatbelt" (virtually unmemorizable) before they understand the nouns seat, belt, or hell---car.

And uh, that's my life right now. Or the parts that I'm willing to share. Enjoy the bunny video below.

Monday, May 11, 2009


At a public bathroom in TOKYU HANDS, Hiroshima--creepy.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Taking up space.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Do I need to make a joke about this one?

Friday, April 10, 2009

I know everyone thinks their bunny is the cutest bunny, but...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Miss America

Today was not the first time I saw Japanese teenagers publicly mock and taunt a disabled person. What the fuck is wrong with these people?
I recentaly learned Japanese wont eat uncooked carrots, either.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

This bag cost me 5 yen. What kind of world is this?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

World News

Is anyone else worried about North Korea right now? Or is it only something people in Japan are thinking about?
For the next four days Im looking upward.