Monday, December 22, 2008


Here I am playing catch-up again. This time it's with photos that very well may be older than the last big update, but I don't think so...

Anyway, this is going to be completely out of order and I don't really care. ^_^ To view them at full size (640x480 or rotated) just right click and view the image.

A while ago I was in a photo-taking mood so I grabbed my camera and headed out to run my errands. Mind you, my camera's always in my purse, but hell if I remember it half the time. It gets dark kind of early here so I had to figure out the best way to deal with the lighting. Meh.

My neighbors have cool yards. I love admiring them as I walk around town.

Some of my plant photos are successful. Others aren't. These weren't as successful as the pink flowers, but I like the textures, so too bad.

And there's this neat-looking little place on my way that I always find myself looking at. Something about it just

And on the corner just down the street from the cool place, there's a fenced-in gravel/dirt area with a shrine. It doesn't look like it because of the camera setting I used, but it was super dark by the time I took this so there were no more photos afterwards. If you don't believe me, check the's on.

Here's a few shots from the third (and final) work Christmas party I went to. This was by far the most awesome of the parties. ^_^
Max making Osaka-style okonomiyaki. That's the school director, Stu in the background.

I think it was Thursday I noticed the neat color of the sky when I looked off my balcony. Too bad cameras don't pick this up too well...

Another day when I was walking to the shop I saw the beginnings of the demolition of a building across the street from the gas station. It struck me as beautiful. It's beautiful, in the same way an abandoned building is absolutely stunning while it's heart-wrenching.

I do keep attempting bento, because I'm annoying like that. Check out the mini onigiri!

And on to Christmas around town.

Christmas isn't a huge deal in Japan, at least not like in the Western world. They recognize it's purely commercial and treat it as such. On one hand I love that. On the other, it's kind of sad and lonely. Still, it makes for some interesting happenings.

After an interview and before some training the past couple weeks I've been in and out of Shinjuku. These are some photos from in or near the station. Mind you I've made sure I was there at exceptionally un-busy times so I could get these photos. Shinjuku station is a madhouse under normal circumstances.

The lighting inside the station.

Bakeries make pretty stuff. Haven't gotten around to buying any of the Christmas tasties yet, but I might.

And the flowers. Oh, flower shops here are so pretty and everywhere. It makes me wish I had someone to give me flowers. No lie, I considered putting an allowance for buying myself flowers into my budget.

Yay wreaths. Wish I had one, but the stocking and plastic pointsettia on my door will do for now.

This one might weird some of you out, seeing the Japanese under the Merry Christmas. ^_^;

An outdoor stage for something. No idea what though.

I also got this shot of the station decorations in Tachikawa. What a pink crown with hearts has to do with Christmas, I have no idea.

I'm not without decorations of my own, mind you. My tree. It now also has a little candle next to it that I won at the party yesterday.

And when I'm feeling slightly gloomy I walk to the end of my street and look at these Christmas lights. They make my day every time I see them. ^_^;

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Merry Christmas everyone! And if you celebrate something else, Happy Holidays! ^_^;

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I made another bento a while ago. It was cute enough that some of the Japanese staff commented on how nice it looked. ^_^;

And I went to Shinjuku on sub duty back before I got the last of my permanent assignments.

One day on my way to work I saw a mascot for a blood drive hopping around Tachikawa station (立川駅). Had to snap a photo, yeah? I think it posed for me too...

This is what happened when *LE* and I decided to go out one night and ended up at an izakaya. I think it's the same night we went to that playground, if anyone remembers.

And there ya go. Now I have to get ready to leave for work. ^_^;

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Party #1

Two more to go.

I <3 my life sometimes. ^_^;

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Damn it's windy today!

Been windy and raining all day, kinda like a typhoon.

...aaaaaand, now back to A Bit of Fry and Laurie

Friday, November 21, 2008

New Coat

I'm a whiner so I bought a new coat. This is a big deal for me because I've never bought a coat in my adult life. Bought a car, bought other expensive things but never a coat for myself. They were always gifts or things bought before I turned 18. Oddly, I never thought it important enough to buy another and apparently people thought they were bad enough that they needed to be replaced.

So anyway, it's starting to get cold here in Tokyo so I needed a coat. Been looking for the past week for one and finally got a second opinion and bought it. For those who know me you know I don't take to chill weather very well, even though I lived in Michigan most of my life. It's just not my thing. Decidedly the heat from Iran is in my blood.

...umm, I'm gonna stop rambling now. It's time for sleep. Here's a picture:

Taken at nearly 3am. Bite me.

Friday, November 7, 2008


Yes, I got all of them cut. A lot. I love it. If you don't...go die or something, because I don't wanna hear it. ^_~

Saturday, October 25, 2008


I gots me some new glasses. Oh, and they were CHEAP! Cheaper than they would've been in the US. ^_____^;

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Nice October day.

It's a beautiful October day here in Tokyo. It's a fantastic 24 degrees (76), with a low of 16 (61) tonight. It's sunny, there are a few wispy's perfect. Oh, and most of the trees still have their leaves, although some in the parks are definitely dropping them.

Missing people today, but that's bound to happen when you move to a country by yourself. I still consider myself lucky. ^_^

Just got back from my run, so time for a shower now. Icky Puck!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Another set

I felt like dressing up because it's a holiday. Here's a random shot while *LE* and I were strolling through our neighborhood.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Made this video yesterday, forgot to post here.

It's raining and it's a cold rain so I guess no run this morning. Bah.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

In my travels.

Here's a foray into Ikebukuro Station, for those unfamiliar with Japanese trains. ^_^;

And how well do the Japanese do American food? Better than we do, apparently.

In my travels I decided to take a picture of the best little wooden playground in the world. It's in Shiki. ^_^

And a little flower bed I pass almost every day. No idea what kind of flowers they are though. (EDIT: I have been informed they are Spider Flowers.)

Picked up a cheap pair of running shoes since I won't wear my nice ones outside (yay 980 yen!) so maybe I'll go for a run tonight.


After some deliberation and a little homemade sushi I've changed my mind. No run. Pity.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Media post.

Backlogged... I'm so proud of myself for getting all these done too. ^__________________^;

My Room

During training this was the view from the balcony at headquarters. Yay, graveyard. Japanese graveyards are pretty...

I liked that view better than the view from *my* balcony, but that's okay.

My Janky-ass bike. Or rather, the bike someone left behind that I have claimed.

The old setup before I moved the table (it goes the other way now). The door on the right there in the way back is the front door; I was standing at the opening to the balcony. You can almost see the whole of the public areas of the apartment.

One thing I love that I couldn't find in Michigan was kaiten sushi, so I found one in town right away. This is the place. Huzzah~!

Haven't been there in a while though...

Went with one girl from my training group to help her get a cell phone. There are some funny places in Japan. The first is a bar, the second a used clothing store...

I'm not always eating out though. Some of my first attempts at food here. Today I got some stuff to make bentos--Japanese lunches--prettier (the stuff is practical too though) so I'll actually be able to make lunches, woo!

During summer vacation I met up with some of the people from my training group. We attempted (and failed) to find a festival somewhere in Tokyo but went into a temple instead. I paid 300 yen to put some gold leaf on a Buddha and sucked spectacularly at it. The girl taking the photos didn't do so well either. Oh well. I also took a shot of the Year of the Rat (me!) shrine and the neato lanterns in that room. Then there was some touristy statue of a guy outside so we all took pictures. EDIT: Apparently the guy is Ino Tadataka.

Later that night we saw some awesome watermelons. On those price tags, for ease of conversion let's say one yen is one cent (100 yen = a dollar), or for those elsewhere, two yen is a pence. Yeah, pricey.

< / massive media post >

Friday, September 19, 2008

Been a while.

Yeah, no whining that it's long. It's been a while, so bite me. ^_~

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Waiting for curry

Waiting for my curry to boil down because it's a bit too liquidy yet. Once that's done I'll be serving it up and having delicioumomomous curry, woo! While it's cooling I'll even make a video update (see below).

Been cooking a lot the past couple days, comparatively. I made hotel-style scramble for my hungover friend *D* yesterday. It was scrambled eggs with mushrooms, green peppers (ick, I prefer the other colors but can only find green here...) and cheese. Made a side of country-style hashed browns, but since he didn't have pepper I felt they could've been better. Attempted toast but had no idea how his broiler worked... >_<; It was nice to have restaurant-quality American food, though. As embarrassed as I am by it, I'm crazy proud of my abilities in the kitchen. This wasn't my best attempt, but I was a little hungover too; as much as I ever get, which is just disoriented. Could've used some bacon in there, but Japanese bacon is largely fail. Maybe that's why they have so many bacon flavored things! Anyway, I made food. Hooray for knowing how. Made other food last night, though hell if I know what it's called (something Japanese). I suck at Japanese food, but this turned out well. And of course curry tonight. It's a vegetarian curry because I don't feel like lamb curry again. Lamb is awesome, but I don't want lamb curry right now. Dunno.

If I'm talking about food, what's likely next? My life revolves around two major cultural and music. Yep.

Been listening to a bit more Basement Jaxx again lately. I don't know what it is about them, but I love love love their sound and style. I decided to put their singles album on my mp3 player for the train rides to and from work and it's been heavenly. Today I also added Broken by Seether (the version featuring Amy Lee, duh) because I was in a mood, but train rides are much more pleasant with the music. Basement Jaxx's cheeky style makes me happy. Rediscovering them every now and then is always a bonus. Hmmm... guess I just said a whole lot of nothing. Oops. I'mma get back to eating my curry and watching a YouTube video called An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube. The curry's awesome; dunno about the video yet. Here's a video for ya too. Just posted, even. ^_~

EDIT 9:22pm: I just got an email from one of my Japanese friends... "You're so charming. I wanna kiss you.hihihi^-^" Ummm, that's cute, but I'm not interested, yo. I thought I made that clear with the "I have an American boyfriend," line. >_<; Looks like another one I may never see again. Feh, they're dropping like flies. Can't a girl make some friends in this city?

Heading to work, but first...

Gotta leave for work soon (it's far away again this week, but it's the last week without a permanent assignment, woo!), but I think I forgot to post my last YouTube video in here.

There ya go. Also, I swear I never wanna take vitamins again. Why do they make me nauseous? >_<;

Friday, August 29, 2008

General update.

What's that you say? You want a real update? Okay.

Life's been relatively calm since coming to Japan. Started making YouTube video to update on random things, and today I created my justintv channel, in case I ever decide to stream, which I may attempt later today while cleaning my kitchen, since I know nobody will be there, haha. Without any viewers it seems kinda lame though. Dunno. I feel like I should be cursing my flatmate *L* for inadvertently getting me into this (I make frequent appearances on her channel via walking into the apartment, heh), but so far it's a fun thing. I've prevented the channel from being embedded and hopefully that will help. Also, when I switch the internet over I may find it's cheaper to get mobile internet like she has. We'll see what happens. Above all, I must do my research. ^_^

Got a new parasol/umbrella to go with my Goth Loli stuff. I always hated carrying a normal umbrella, so this is much better. Speaking of my Goth Loli stuff, the box finally showed up! Woo! Now I should ask for the winter stuff to be sent if the same timetable's going to be followed... >_<;

This past week has been like most others with some notable exceptions. First, I met some great new people, who cannot be compared to anyone I know. Second, I realized I probably will never be happy in Michigan again. I was already unhappy there to begin with but I didn't realize how unhappy until I moved here. Even without too many friends, an extremely tight budget and nearly constant cloudiness and rain, I'm much happier in this giant city than I ever was in Michigan. It's the natural progression of something I realized early on in life. When I was 10 and went to Switzerland (was in Geneva), I remember stepping onto the hotel balcony and shouting. It was an extremely happy and wordless shout. Since then I've always noticed I feel more alive in cities, but I can't pinpoint why. Of all the places in the world to feel happiest, why is it large cities that charm me? Most people are awed by nature, things like the Grand Canyon, snow-capped mountains and the like. While nature is indeed beautiful, my breath catches when I see the endless windmills of a wind farm or the urban sprawl of Tokyo from 25 floors up. When I see these things I remember someone created them, that they began as brain waves and were translated into reality by industrious people. The mind is a beautiful thing.

But I digress. Michigan has become something that represents everything I want to get away from. I'm not talking about the people there. It's a beautiful state, but over the years my view of it has been tarnished by things I don't want to remember. Now that I'm gone I can see that clearer than ever. Someday I might go back, but I think it's not for me. So where to go? To be honest, I haven't a clue. The only other US city on my list of places to go is San Francisco, but I have a rule about visiting places before moving there. ^_^ Other cities I'd like to visit: London, Nepal, Paris, Rome, Istanbul, Dublin, Athens, and Kiev, to name a few. I'd also like to return to Tehran, maybe Amsterdam. In high school I had silly dreams of moving to Ireland, then in college I dreamt of moving across the country to California. Never did I think I'd move halfway around the world to Japan. It was the best decision of my life. Now I feel free enough that I think I could move anywhere, with one limitation. I need to be able to take my chinchillas with me. Of all the things I left behind, I cry about my chinchillas the most. I've set them as my desktop background and wait for the next set of photos eagerly. The next place I move has to allow me to take them.

Before moving I should probably get that masters in architecture I was planning to get, but that would require I get a job in the US and stay there for two years. After two years I might be too settled in to leave again. Not that I need to be transient for the rest of my life, but I think it's too soon to settle somewhere at "home" in the US. No doubt I'll end up back in the US, but I'd hate to feel like a caged animal. This travel bug needs to be relieved first. If it never is, well, I better find a job that requires travel. ^_^; And then I'll never have a family save for my two chinchilla boys, because who would deal with that? Too much to think about; these things will come later. Right now I'm here and happy.

Speaking of here, I need to get back to cleaning up the apartment. Finally bought a scrub brush for the kitchen floor and I need to do that before heading over to a friend's for the night. He just got a new apartment and we're gonna play video games until all hours of the morning. I'm also gonna play interior designer since he's gonna need a little help figuring out what to do with it. Huzzah.

In the meantime, while you all miss me, look at the happy seal. Soooooooo cuuuuuuuute!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

No, not a yellow polkadot bikini.

Go ahead and laugh at me.

In other news, if Cute Overload made a wall calendar, I'd totally want it. They have a desk calendar that's awesome though.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk

Okay, not really. More like Woot shirts, cute bunnies and weird food.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Relatively nice.

It's another week in Japan. A largely uneventful week except for the things I made videos for... so I guess I'll let them do most of the talking. But I do have pictures to share too, of course. Not all of them are mine. ^_^; I'm a dork and forgot to take pics at some points.

First, Thursday was a day off for me so I met a friend and went for lunch. He took me to a nice crab restaurant...omg it was amazing. The first things I noticed were the details. There were even crab-shaped ashtrays!

They started us out with some towels for our hands and green tea. Then we got those little boat dishes (see the first pic) filled with crabs, which we scraped out with the special curve-ended chopstick thing. The orange crab is a chopstick rest.

Next came the big bowl in the lower right of the picture. It was full of ice and had crab legs standing in it, and in the shell was the green stuff...the innards, if you will. Delicious. I didn't think I'd like it but I did. Yay! The legs had the meat pulled out already and were buried in the ice, meant to be dipped in one of the sauces they gave us.

Then came a little bowl of this heavenly savory custard stuff. It had crab (of course!), shiitake mushrooms and one or two beans in it. It was possibly my favorite thing. I loved it.

After that came a grill and some raw crab. Pretty self-explanatory. Delish.

After that came a crab ball dumpling thing...I have no idea what it was. I swear it had egg in it but they said it didn't. It was also very good. Then came the giant pot thing in the upper left hand corner of the pic. The top was filled with rice, a little seasoning, and you guessed it, crab. They gave us seaweed, sesame seeds, etc. to sprinkle on it ourselves. They brought us rice bowls so we didn't have to eat it out of the...vat/pot things. Yeah, that was the cooking device, I imagine. There was one for each of us. Since my friend invited me he kept prepping my stuff and serving it to me. Alongside the rice came crab miso soup and a salad of sorts (no crab, perhaps the only things besides the tea and dessert without), which had sliced fresh and pickled cucumbers and some weird gooey yams. *Then* came dessert, which he picked a vanilla ice cream drizzled with matcha, which is a green tea made from water whisked with powdered tea leaves. It was quite good. I was stuffed.

All of the crab was in the shell too, so we had to dig it out, including the miso soup crab leg. It took two hours to eat lunch. I was so happy. And for the caliber of meal, I should've been. It was quite a nice meal. We had to take our shoes off at the door and sat at one of those low tables where your feet are in a recess below the table. Yeah it was awesome.

After that we went to karaoke and then to a bar in a hotel. It was on the 25th floor of The Metropolitan Hotel in Ikebukuro. Here's the view from the women's bathroom...

Me! My friend's pic quality sucked. I also felt slightly underdressed...even though I wasn't. Oh well.

The view from the table. I especially liked the way this one turned out because the reflection of the bar in the sky. Such a cool place. ^_^

Then i met some friends in Ikebukuro and had a little extra fun until last train. Oh, did I mention my friend drives a Benz? And it's a western-style one, with the driver's side on the left. So weird for Japan. But he had an air freshener hiding in the stuff hanging from his mirror...dork.

Friday I had a near-mishap with the ATM while trying to pay my rent. I'm an idiot sometimes, and to prevent reliving it...again, I'll let you watch the video about it instead. I'll link all the videos at the bottom. After that I did a whole lot of nothing. I was hungry and go nowhere. It was a lazy day. On the way there I saw an all-black butterfly, which was the most beautiful butterfly I've ever seen. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get a picture.

Today some funny stuff happened, but I talked about all of it in my last video. Oh, except for my dinner. I had tendon (said "ten dawn"), which is tempura stuff on rice. It was only 500 yen and made me happy happy and I'm still full. Woo! They served that with miso soup and cold oolong tea. Woo, delish.

And one of my roomies is moving out. She's out in a month.

That's about it. I hope everyone else had a great week! ^_^ Here's the videos for y'all.

Idiot American, right here!

Crabs. Oh yeah!