Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Last night there was lots of lightning. Chris and I sat out on the balcony and watched it for awhile. There wasn't too much rain though, but I just heard that there is a typhoon season here in September! I've been waiting for the torrential rains that people keep talking about, which I thought was part of the "rainy season." I guess the rainy season and typhoon season are separate. The rainy season was rather unspectacular so hopefully the typhoon season doesn't disappoint ;) At least some high wind / rain action would be interesting (hopefully not damaging though).

I thought I would add some of my (or our) new or unmentioned discoveries about Japan:

-There are tons of fish in the bay here. If you walk near the water at night or early in the morning there are quite a few of them "jumping" (literally jumping high out of the water). It's fun to see (and hear) at night especially.

-Japanese food is growing on me! I'm starting to acquire more of a taste for it now, and definitely not shying away from it like I used to. I still don't think of it as being as healthy as some other foods though. Still quite a bit of fried, oily, salty Japanese foods...but overall tasting much better.

-I still like the humidity. It's comforting in a weird way.

-Much much more smoking in Japan than California. I'm getting a little more used to it, but I still wonder why smoking could be so popular here? I guess I've been spoiled with California's anti-smoking stance.

-Styles are way more "out there" in Japan (at least in city-centers)...and men's clothing is much more borderline-feminine here. What's nice is it seems you can almost get away with wearing anything and not get weird looks from people (well, maybe not if you're a foreigner and wearing the 'out there' styles).

-Everything you can buy in the U.S. and can find here seems to cost twice as much. Lotion in the states $16...same lotion here $33. A movie in the theater here will cost you $20 a person! We've seen only one movie in the theater since we've been here--Indiana Jones. And most movies come out later here than in the states.

-Breads with strange fillings: I bought one bread-thing this morning not knowing what it was (very common for us to buy things and not know exactly what's in it ;) ), and it ended up having some sort of pork, barbecue-like sauce and cream cheese-like filling...not too good...I was expecting fruit filling so I got a bit of a surprise biting into it.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

News and Pottery

Foreclosure news, stock market news, banking news, etc etc...there's no end to the news that keeps us tied to the computer--to Internet world. Every once in awhile I'll ask Chris to make me promise not to look at news sites for, say, a week, or a month, or some amount of time. It's my way of restricting myself from looking at all the bad news available online. Looking at all that news can become addicting for me. I can get so wrapped up in news, particularly news predictions (news or blog-news articles that try to foresee what may be coming ahead). Chris has gotten a bit wrapped up too lately, so he restricted himself lately also. We decided to lift our ban on news sites last night--so we got a "healthy" dose of news before bed ;)

Chris wanted to come see my pottery class today (first time)--which surprised me but I was really happy to have him there. He made himself a bowl. It's not quite done, but turned out really well so far.

It is VERY humid outside. I went outside with our camera and the lens fogged up almost right away! It's in the upper 70's today, so not as hot as it could be. I guess we'll just wait to see what it's like when it's upper 90's and this humid :P

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sizzler, Jazz and an Earthquake

We did go to Sizzler's Monday night with a guy who works at Chris's company. Unfortunately they didn't have the Parmesan crusted bread :( I ordered chicken that came with side of potatoes--actually very good food. And then we could get what we wanted at the salad bar--not so good food. It was much more expensive than the Sizzler's in the states, so we very likely won't go back. We can find better food elsewhere.

We went to a Jazz club afterwards. A friend of the guy was the singer for the night. She was very good. I have to say--the Jazz music was really good. The piano player was amazing. And even though I don't listen to Jazz music that often, it was much better than much of the Jazz music I have heard (minus some of the legendary Jazz bands). While we were sitting around talking there was an earthquake--a bit of a surprise. Must have been a good size earthquake--lamps were swaying, trees outside were shaking. The center very likely wasn't Yokohama. This is the third earthquake we've felt since we've been in Japan.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Incredibly Sleepy

I am so sleepy right now. A few days ago when I felt this sleepy I took a two hour nap which felt amazing at the time but was a really bad idea because I took the nap at 4 pm...messed up my sleep a bit for the night. We're about to head out to eat dinner with one of Chris's co-workers whom he's never met before. He's another U.S. transplant who's on an international assignment out here. I think we'll be eating at Sizzler's which should be really interesting--neither of us have eaten there in a long, long time. We'll see if they still have that yummy parmesan crusted bread that we used to like so much, and if it's still yummy. We have higher hopes for restaurants in Japan so good chance this Sizzler is at least decently good.

Today has been a very low-key Monday. It's a national holiday here in Japan (Marine Day) so Chris had today off, and today is my day off by default since I work four days a week. We haven't used our balcony much because there's just nothing on it :) so we decided to go searching for a couple outdoor-friendly chairs. We did find ourselves some pretty comfy chairs so we can now sit on our balcony. Rest of the day was spent cleaning, lounging, and watching Friends episodes.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Hanabi (aka fireworks)

tarps and blankets people laid out earlier in the day

Honda and some of his friends came over to see the fireworks with us...
...and to see our place
our place has sort of become a "tourist" destination in itself

over an hours worth of fireworks

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Mexican food

I went out with three of my co-workers Friday night to a Mexican food restaurant in Tokyo (Hiro) called "La Jolla". It's a small restaurant with very good food. I'd definitely recommend it if you are ever in the Tokyo area and in the mood for Mexican food.

Kumiko, Yukiko and Keith

This morning Chris and I stopped to get some bread / pasteries, coffee and hot chocolate.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


We went for yakiniku with Honda this past weekend. It's basically a restaurant where you grill meat right in front of you. Here's a couple cell phone pictures (sorry--couldn't rotate the top picture). Very good quality meat! No spices for the meat needed and it had amazing flavor.

Friday, July 11, 2008

air conditioning and robots

It's gotten much hotter and humid here in the last week or so--which I imagine will only increase over the next several weeks. We've been enjoying the luxury of air conditioning much more lately. I think in general I still like humid weather (I'm a strange one--I kind of like the humidity), but I after a whole summer of this I may appreciate the dry hot weather much more when back in California.

Chris is working on his robot right now--he recently bought a robotics set that will allow him to make a robot. It's cool in that he can program it to do what he wants (with some limitations). He's really enjoying it. He's still very dedicated to learning Japanese too--much more dedicated than I am! :) As for myself, I've taken a short break from pottery (a couple weeks)--more so because things have been busy lately and my work schedule often prevents me going on Fridays. So either I go on Saturday morning or not at all. I think next Friday will be open though, so it's a good chance for me to go. I enjoy it, but not to the point where I see it as a dedicated life-long hobby--at least not yet. I'd like to try the electric wheel soon though (I haven't tried that yet). I'm the type of person that dabbles a little here and a little there. I like trying things and then giving them a break and then coming back to them again later (sometimes months or more later).

Both Chris and I are starting to miss California. I'm starting to miss family (dad, mom, brother) and friends, and there is quite a bit going on right now in the states to pull us back. There is still the chance of getting extended to stay here longer, but I don't know...I think we might be back when we said we will. Housing prices are moving lower and lower, and the houses we can afford keep looking better and better. Although gas and food prices in the states will probably keep rising...and who knows how things will look by the time we get back to the states. It's hard to believe that gas was around $3.40 a gallon before we left for Japan at the beginning of January and now it's pushing above $4.40--a dollar hike in only 6 months! We have enjoyed using the trains here though and we walk a whole lot more than we used to.

I think we'll head outside for a bit and grab some lunch. It's about that time.