Wednesday, April 30, 2008

International food

Chris and I got to spend a little time with Adam and Aki while they were in Tokyo to finish up the last of the interviews for Aki's visa. And guess what, Aki got the visa! They are all set go to the U.S. .

Petting Pleo the robotic dinosaur

Chris and I walked to the brick buildings not far from where we live. It's the first time either of us had gone inside. Lots and lots of little shops and restaurants. There is no shortage of shopping here! I can't stress that enough--if you have money to spend and love shopping this is the place for you. When first coming here I was a little turned off by all the stores (felt like too many--consumerism gone mad), but even so, the stores are fun to look through. Many are not the typical stores you would find in the U.S. (i.e. strip mall-like with generic mass-produced cheap looking products), but really artistic and unique very good quality items. I've decided that even though I don't buy much if anything the stores are fun to look through.


accidental cell phone photo shot of the ground
Chris and I went to the International Food Fair at a local International school in Yokohama. My pottery teacher invited us as his daughter attends the school. There were most likely more foreigners there than we've seen altogether since we've been in Japan. Lots of good food--really great guacamole and chips, Indian food, lamp chops New Zealand style, Korean barbecue, a chewy brownie(!) and cupcake with chocolate frosting. The event was much bigger than we thought it would be and there was plenty of food to choose from. There is International Food Fair at a different International school on Sunday--we might just pay a visit :)



There were a few restaurants right out of older houses in the Motomachi/Yamate area. It was a cute area with older homes. The picture below is one of those restaurants.

kitty!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Shopping in Shibuya

Chris and I spent the afternoon and part of the night in Shibuya shopping. Some of the pictures are out-of-order--blogger won't let me copy-paste them in the order they should be right now. Ah, and most of the pictures are taken by Chris this time :) It was a full day of going in and out of clothing stores, but we found some things we needed and most things at ok prices. Clothing is just more expensive here--we've sort of given in to it.

great style in Shibuya--don't you think?
cool effect with the bluring in the background

entering a restaurant for dinner
store dedicated to everything ballet related
small fashion show in a shopping center

clothing section like a museum
very busy at night in Shibuya

Remember the taping of the "Walking" commercial I caught on film? Here it is! video

Friday, April 25, 2008

Work begins

Busy week.

I started work on Tuesday! Yay, back to work again :) I met quite a few of my new co-workers at the office in Tokyo and everyone has been really nice. I will be working part time (up to 28 hours a week) 4 days a week. On the day I don't work, I hope to keep up my Japanese lesson and pottery class.

Short entry for now, more writing and pictures to come at the end of the weekend.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Ueno Park

Chris and I took the train to Ueno Park (Tokyo area). We spent time in one of the museums (saw some Italian and French art), walked through the park, listened to an opera singer in an outdoor amphitheater, and peddled around in a pink swan on the lake. It was a good day :) We're both a bit tired. Chris is taking a nap right now.








one of the many 'wild' cats in Japan

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Tulip Season

We spent the afternoon walking around the city.

Every year tulips are planted in a park right outside the Yokohama baseball stadium. The recent rain appeared to have ruined some of the tulips, but most held up in the rain.




mimes performing just outside Sakuragicho station
wind-blown

Yokohama Modern Art Museum


Very talented balloon artist at the local shopping center


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Haru

It's starting to feel warm and humid outside--a nice change from the cold and rainy weather lately. And for the first time I noticed insects out--ants and a ladybug! Who knew I would be so happy to see insects, but I don't recall seeing any since we've been here. Being in the city though, I guess I wouldn't see many.

After dinner at home last night, Chris and I went out in search of someplace to eat dessert. I have been craving really good brownies so I had my mind set on brownies. We ran into the couple we know in our building as we were walking towards the train station and they suggested a place with good brownies.

Chris ordered a slice of chocolate cream pie and I ordered the brownies and ice cream. Both were very good. The brownies weren't as chocolate-y and gooey as I was hoping, but temporarily satisfied my craving for brownies. I'm still craving the gooey ones though...I'll have to keep looking for those.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Blue water

I watched 'Under the Tuscan Sun' this afternoon...partially for some inspiration before our upcoming trip to Italy, but also because it's good reminder for me make conscious decisions to do something different with life. Even being in Japan (someplace very new!) I get into this comfortable place of just doing the same 'ole same 'ole... "Same ole same ole" for me is not being conscious of what I'm doing--being on autopilot. You can be "doing things" but still be on autopilot and never really experiencing what you're in the middle of. Not only can life get stagnant if you don't make a conscious decision to "do something" you really enjoy or doing something new, but also for not being completely aware of what you're doing. So, it's just a good reminder for me to think about what I choose to do and enjoy it when I'm doing it.

There is a filming crew below our building...not sure what it is for. Strange thing here is there could be famous people walking around at any time, but Chris and I would never know who they were :)

Filming crew below our building

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Saturday Morning

Due to being sick, pottery class and Japanese class were pushed off until yesterday (Friday).

I was surprised to see that both of my cups had already been fired... I hadn't finished dipping one of my pieces--as you can tell from the missing color on the bottom half of one of them :)




Chris studying Japanese right now

The doctor called me yesterday with the results of the throat culture he took. Turns out I didn't have strep, but something called haemophilus influenza. The doctor said the antibiotics should have taken care of it, and he seemed to be happy I was feeling better and I didn't have any other symptoms other than a cough. Looking up what it actually was scared me a little bit...it's associated with meningitis and pneumonia and it sounds fairly uncommon--or at least that is the impression I got from reading about it. Chris says he's feeling a lot better, but we both have the same type of cough. We usually just have it after 5 pm and early in the morning, but not during the day. I'm hoping it goes away for both of us soon. Any doctors reading this? :) I assume if we keep feeling better we should be fine right?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Persistent sickness...

I had a doctor's appointment on Tuesday.

I went to a clinic where they speak English :) so no need for me to pantomime my symptoms. It was a small clinic and the doctor was nice and most importantly, informative too! I have to say it was a much better experience than most of my experiences with the Kaiser doctors I've seen back in the states. I liked the small-clinic feel (felt more personal) and it was great not to feel rushed. The doctor did prescribe antibiotics, and I have felt better since taking them. My sore throat is gone (as far as I can tell) but I still have a cough. I'm hoping with some more rest and tea today I'll be able to lose the cough. Chris is also still fighting off the sickness (his throat still hurts a little). He's hoping to avoid antibiotics, so we'll see how his throat feels in the next couple of days.

Good news--I will be starting work soon! :) (Maybe as soon as next week) I will be working part time with the company I worked for back home at a branch office in Tokyo. I'm looking forward to getting back into something familiar, and I'll get the chance to meet people from the Tokyo branch. But more details to come in later blog entries.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Still sick...

It's Monday here now and I'm going on 5 days of being sick. Chris seems to be feeling better for the most part.

I thought sure enough I would feel much better by the weekend, but 'feeling better' seems to come and go. Today I feel worse. Thankfully no fever right now, but my throat still hurts a bunch. Then I discovered when looking at my tonsils I very well may have strep or mono...or something similar. I set another appointment for tomorrow morning at the same clinic I canceled with last week. I've been trying to sleep a lot, drink lots of water and tea, take vitamins, and hope for the best. Normally after all these health-regimen doings I would have felt better, but not this time.

I realize now maybe I was a little harsh in saying going to general health practitioners is a waist. I think I've been mostly frustrated with the doctor's I've seen at Kaiser...so the generalization is a bit uncalled for. And maybe I'll have a positive experience tomorrow with the doctor. It would be nice for a change not to feel as though I have to painfully pull information out of the doctor.

One thing different about being in Japan is that Chris has gotten sick way more than he ever has in the states. When maybe he would get sick once a year at most (and it would be mild)--he's gotten sick at least 3 times since we've been here. And talking with Adam and Aki...it sounds as though they have gotten sick fairly often too. Is it a Japan thing? Is everyone sick here much more often? Maybe our bodies just aren't used to Japan-bugs...maybe different strains have something to do with it?

On a completely different note...I wanted to plug the 'Miss USA pageant' that will air this Friday night 9 pm ET on NBC (April 11th). I rarely watch the yearly Miss America, Miss Teen, and Miss USA pageants, (at least not since I was a lot younger) but I have a cousin running! She is Elisabeth Crawford Miss Michigan. Hopefully she'll make the top 15 at very least (otherwise you won't see much of her since it sounds as though they narrow the contestants down to 15 at the very beginning of the show). I think she has a good chance! So, if you are able and get a chance to tune in, maybe you'll see her make it down to the top contestants chosen to move on.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Sick on Saturday

Chris and I are sick :(

I've been sick since Wednesday night; Chris has been sick since yesterday (Friday). Started with me feeling sluggish on Wednesday, then sudden tickle of a sore throat which quickly turned into what felt like razor blades stuck in my throat :P and then a mild fever along with that. I was still feeling so bad yesterday that I had a doctor's appointment scheduled for this morning--thinking maybe I have strep throat and would need antibiotics. But I canceled early this morning after waking up feeling better with no fever and sore throat not nearly as bad. Canceling is a big no-no in Japan (or so I am told) so I hope if we need to go back to the hospital at another time they won't hold it against me for canceling... Besides, why should I pay so much money for a doctor to tell me to go home rest and drink lots of fluids? Which leads me on a bit of a tangent...

Is anyone else jaded with general practitioner medical doctors? We had Kaiser back home, and whenever I would go to the doctor most all the time they would never tell me anything I already didn't know...get rest, drink water, sleep, take time to relax, stress will give you those symptoms, let me prescribe these drugs (which could potentially give you worse symptoms than you already have), etc, etc... And they give you 15 minutes at most and shuffle out to the next patient? And heaven forbid you ask very specific questions to some of these doctors, they will give you a blank stare and give you you the same answers they just spouted out...You would think either they are stupid and don't know all that much besides what pills to prescribe and basic common sense things anyone could find on the Internet, or they will literally get "in trouble" for offering advice beyond what most people should already know. I'm thinking they have to censor themselves...which makes me feel sorry for them in a way. How would you like to quickly shuffle from one patient to the next giving everyone textbook answers to their aliments? Anyone else get annoyed after paying a visit to the doctor? I think hospitals are great for emergency situations...but for general health and sickness...I'm thinking they are mostly a waist. There must be better hospitals and doctors out there that aren't so censored. Maybe holistic/herbalist type medical doctors are the way to go?

Onto other things.

We went grocery shopping a bit ago to stock up on fruits and veggies and other necessities. We came across $80 cherries (8,000 yen)! The picture is below. Who in their right mind would pay $80 for cherries? We did get some reasonably priced pineapple which was very sweet and juicy.