Saturday, January 31, 2009

Garden Update

table gardenWell, the garden has moved from fridge-top to table-top. I was worried it wasnt getting enough light. Also, I couldnt really see up there; Motto was always announcing to me the something sprouted, and I'd be jumping up and down, "Let me see! Let me see!"

radish The radish is growing pretty fast. I have named him DJ, after the blogger. Because he asked. And he's the tallest. He's got some weird brown spots. It looks likes someone tried to light him on fire.

carrotA few carrots have sprouted and I named them Switchsky, because I remember she grew some real carrots once.

Two spring onions have started growing, in two different pots. I have a feeling I only planted two seeds. Obviously that wont be enough to top anyone's Ramen. I will name the one on the left D and the one on the right Olivia.

parsley The parsley is the only plant that hasn't sprouted yet. Maybe it was too dark on that side of the fridge. So, this patch of dirt is Steve.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I'm pretty sure this time...

...that my iPod can read my mind. 88% of the time when my iPod synchronizes with real life I write it off as coincidence.

Like the time I was listening to a "Stuff You Should Know" podcast about the best place on your body to get shot, while I was roaming around a supermarket. Chuck (or the other guy) says, "Now, imagine you're just walking around a grocery store when..." and they go on to describe how that situation could get you shot.

Tonight, while I was on the train coming home, I was thinking about polygamy and Cloe Sevigny's annoying character in "Big Love" (which I've been watching back-to-back for about a week). I originally hated the show, but it's sticking to me. Especially the cult stuff. Anyway, as those thoughts are bouncing around my head, out of nowhere... the Beach Boy's "God Only Knows" comes on the shuffle.

Out of the 2,000 songs to chose from, my iPod chose that one. It was really eerie.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Change is Coming

I know you had your doubts, but this morning Motto delivered the news that the first plant in my fridge-top garden sprouted. It's a radish. His name is t.b.a.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Damn, this $hit always happens to me.

Here's a classic. One of those situations when I realize teaching English in a foreign country isnt as easy as the welcome pack makes it seem. I just got home, and I'm writing this with a tall chu-hi fresh in my system.

First of all, I teach kids. Only children. Most the time there's no problem, they don't understand me, their parents don't understand me, I dont understand them, but playing games and making sure everyone takes the right bag home isnt too complicated.

Tonight, luckily, I was "team teaching" with a coworker. TT for short. It's what my company does with extra teachers. He comes, teaches half of my lessons for the day, we both learn new games, techniques, etc. Good times. I happen to be friends with this TT coworker, so even better.

It was an in-and-out operation. Two classes. Two hours of work. I teach the first class, six girls, ages 3-5. Sweet, fun, shy, not too genki. He teaches the next class. Simple.

Well, during my class, as I was doing some game with flashcards, maybe having the kids repeat "triangle, TRIANGLE, square, SQUARE," or whatever, one little girl sitting next to my TT partner, rolls back a little and bumps her head on the short table behind her. No big deal. A simple, "daijabou?" and we've all forgotten about it. Until my TT coworker remembers a note in the school's communication book saying one of the students is possibly a hemophiliac and can't hit her head or mouth.

You need to understand, these notes in the communication book do not come from someone fluent in English. They're usually vague and confusing, and sometimes don't make sense at all.

I ask the TTer to go check who exactly has the supposed "hemophilia." As I go through the rest of the shapes vocabulary he signals back that it is in fact her. The one who bumped her head.

The note reads. "She suffers from kawasaki-byo. She can't run and play games. If she hit her head or mouth it is problem." Then someone highlighted "kawasaki byo" and wrote hemophilia beside it.

No big deal. I hand off the flashcards and go try to call the usual Japanese teacher to see what I should do. I'll ask her if it's a big deal, or if I can keep going as usual.

I go to call the Japanese teacher and no answer.

TTer and I keep going on the lesson. I get all the kids to get their crayons out and sit at the little tables. Suddenly, four year-old "hemophiliac" girls starts nodding off. She falls asleep on her paper. Unusual behavior for her. Panic sets in and I go to call our head offices, who can then call the girls mom. We can find out what's up.

While I'm on the phone with the head office the little girl is totally unresponsive in the TTer's arms. A few flinches. He can't wake her up. He's holding her the way you hold someone who just got shot. I've never seen him this upset. Both of are visibly shaking as we realize this kids life rests in our hands. I tell the head office, if you can't get a hold of the parents call an effin' ambulance. My TT partner is panicking, he's saying, "call an ambulance."

A girl who may or may not have some sort of sickness knocks her head and then can't wake up. We're worried.

Finally, as the TTer tries to get her eyes open, to see if they're rolled back or not, she starts crying. The head office calls me back and says the father is on his way.

The father comes and we can't really communicate anything, except she's sleepy and hit her head and we are "kowai" (scare). He seems totally unphased and not worried at all. He stands outside the door the whole time and finally the TTer picks the girl up and gives her to him. They go home. TT and I are left shaking not knowing what just happened.

Did we over-react? Did the father under-react? What the hell is going on? Why aren't we more prepared for this?

Coming home and Googling "kawasaki disease" has led me to realize nothing that we thought was happening was. Just a sleepy four year-old.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

My Fridge-top Garden

fridge-top gardenWith the world economy going down the drain, I figured it was about time I learn to fend for myself. I cant forget the time I walked into my local Japanese supermarket, and felt a twinge of panic when I saw the shelves near empty. The apocalypse is coming, I thought. When you have no internet and the newspapers are written in gibberish, major world events like that can spring up on you. It turns out Max Value was just being closed down to be turned into a super-pharmacy. Next time I may not be so lucky.

Really though, now that I have this sweet little bunny dwelling in my apartment I have a load of new responsibilities. I have to feed her, change her litter box, keep her from electrocuting herself. The "experts" (or, know-it-all-rabbit-freaks-I-am-slowly-turning-into) at claim pellet diets are really horrible for bunnies, turns them into ferocious wererabbits, and we should be feeding them fresh fruits and vegetables everyday.

Um, I dont even feed myself fresh fruits and vegetables. You can't find an apple in this country for less than 100 yen. The 54 cherries pictured go for about $175USD. Shit is expensive here. But my poor little Raspberry-chan needs her food, and I can't shell out 500 yen a day on basil, spinach, and carrots anymore. So, I've decided to start a little garden-experiment. I've wanted to grow something since I moved into my new place, it has a pretty big balcony (for Japan), about 3X20 feet, and it gets good sun.

As with most things, I'm not particularly good at gardening. I vaguely remember growing lima beans when I was 12, but the plants never produced anything and I got bored. My one green success is "Courtney Cox Arquette," the house plant I used to keep on my Illustration desk in university, now being taken care of by Liz.

So, the plan is to get things started on top of my refrigerator, and if all goes well move everything outside in March.

Oh, and, as usual, this is a little bit more difficult because I'm in Japan.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

End of the Year Post

In my usual lazy blogger fashion, I am just now getting to some kind of end of the year/new year/what a year post. I'm not one who remembers things easily. In fact, I probably havent thought about what's happened to me this year at all. But, now I'll explore my blog archives and hopefully dig up some memories before Motto comes over to play with Raspberry-chan.

Why tagged me in the Ten Things You Did In 2008 That You're Happy About Or Proud Of tag-a-thon. Usually I don't go for things with such horribly long names and that promote such positive feelings, but we'll see if I can't muck it up a bit.

10} Happy I visited new cities, like Tokyo, Fukuoka, Kokura, Nagoya, Kyoto, Seattle, L.A., Portland and Vancouver. No matter how lame, scary, similar, and expensive some of them may have been.

9} Proud I mastered the squatter.

8} Happy I made it to my brother's wedding last summer.

7} Happy I quit smoking.

6} Proud I learned a bit of cooking.

5} Proud I found a new job in Japan, after the company I came here to work for went bankrupt.

4} Happy I quit that shit job to find an even better one in the same city.

3} Proud after coming to Japan with only "arigatou" under my belt, I learned how to read/write/speak/understand a chunk of Nihongo.

2} Happy I met Motto.

1} Happy I finally got a bunny!!

Guns are Educational

Im at work and just saw this poster for a school trip to Guam. The students will be paying for the true American experience.

Friday, January 16, 2009


Jon left this morning for Vietnam. You can read about some of our adventures on his blog.

So, I guess it's really cheap to hire a maid in Vietnam, and all foreigners are expected to do it. That alone is making me consider a transfer to the communist poverty stricken country. I mean, could you imagine no longer having to do dishes? Maybe she'd even clean out Raspberry-chan's litter box for a shiny American nickel. That'd be sweet. Vietnam rocks.

While Jon was here my diet drastically changed. I went from canned tomato and noodles everyday to real meals. We made kung pao tofu and veggies, hot and sour soup, real tomato sauce, roasted vegetables, and Motto even stepped it up a notch, making us all homemade tempura and oishi soba! It was quite a week.

Raspberry-chan really misses him.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Thursday, January 8, 2009

im waiting at otake station. i have 10 minutes until my train and my iPod died. im writing this on my phone to hopefully cure some nervous energy. i never really know what's gunna come out when i start typing. kinda like drawing. something prolific? not likely. entertaining? well, a lot passes for entertainment. take my no-longer secret addiction to
im meeting jon in less than an hour. even though im sure he'll be a jet-lagged mess im excited about it.
it's interesting when someone from my past life, or maybe real life, can come witness this. and see my bunny.

Monday, January 5, 2009

in the case of the missing slipper

As originally posted on, where rabbits can, apparently, type.

It's kinda cold in Japan. I woke up early this morning and couldnt find one of my white fuzzy slippers. So, I just put the left one on, and sat on the couch, with a blanket on my lap. Raspberry, who had been in her cage all night comes running at me to steal my blanket. We battle. She surrenders. Exhausted, I go back to bed.

Later, when I woke back up, still looking for my slipper, I peeked into her cardboard box, the one she'd been dashing into every time she lost a fight to steal my blanket. Well, wouldnt you know, but inside the box with the four inch cut-out door sat my missing slipper!

Questions. How could she possibly get it in there? Was she holding it hostage for later negotiations? If not, what was she planning on doing with an adult size slipper, anyway?


I start back at work tomorrow. Three weeks vacation well spent, I'd say.