Saturday, November 24, 2012

Faux Pas

I recently participated in my first public sports event, the FIT Run, which is a bit misleading because I did the 2.5 walk.  Anyways, it's the thought that counts, so I pulled on my workout gear and did the walk with my colleagues (office bonding). 
I had plans to go to Omotesando to find a Franc Franc to buy holiday decor for the home (I'm in a nesting mood lately).  Both male and female colleagues look me and my outfit up and down and say, "You're not changing?  You're just going like that?"  Like it was the most ridiculous thing in the world.  

It gave us a good laugh and reminded everyone that even though I look the Japanese part, I'm not from Tokyo.  And yes, I went in looking like an active athlete and bought some pretty gold candles that are way over priced.  At least, after living in Tokyo, everything everywhere else seems so much cheaper.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Settling in

Things have been fast, fun and, overall, very good lately. Things I've been wanting to blog about but haven't had time to actually string together as a decent post:

- Happy and fun trip with my mom and sister visiting.
- Bursting into tears when they left
- Getting my bonus (yay)
- Spending/celebrating my bonus
- cold weather and changing leaves
- holiday decoration shopping and how online shopping blows in Japan
- how I can't see what I'm typing anymore bc this Blogger app sucks.
- Preparing for my first 5k run (don't laugh people, I'm a novice!)
- Planning for our trip to London for Christmas
- our holiday to Kyoto and surrounding region
- Hosting our first Thanksgiving dinner this weekend

Overall, I'm so happy and excited when I wake up in the morning. Maybe it's because it's the holiday season, maybe it's because of my mom and sisters trip, or maybe it's because I'm finally starting to feel settled into my life but I'm really happy and content with things.

Is that sugary sweet enough for ya?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Happy Anniversary

I'm posting a bit late but things have been pretty full-on these past couple weeks.

August 23 was pretty significant because it was technically my one year anniversary since moving to Tokyo. Another move, another country, definitely another adventure that still continues in more ways than one.

I think the most significant aspect for me is that in uprooting my life and moving again, I finally feel the need to settle in and grow some roots (or maybe just revisit them).

I wanted to have some personal space; that I could place framed photos in and display artwork I bought in my travels. I wanted to be able to "invest" in a decent wardrobe where I didn't have to think in the back of my mind, "I'm gonna have to toss it, no room in the suitcase." I wanted to nest and build a small home and I have.

August 23rd was also my 2-Year Anniversary with the Boy.


We started celebrating bits and pieces a week before with dinner and he added the extra touch of delivering surprise flowers to work. In addition to all the successes with work, it was the cherry on top and completely made my month.

I've been floating on a cloud but putting on my heels while at it. Why? Because my best friend has been in town and it's been too much fun. Another update of our adventures to come!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Yukatas, Fireworks and Friends, oh my!

I finally made it to my first summer fireworks show in Japan!  

Actually, I did see some when I visited Japan at age 10 and I remember being so close that it seemed like the fireworks would drip onto my head.  We were all laying on the grass looking up and it seemed like there was no blank space in the sky.  It might have been also because I was 10 years old.

Anyway, we went to the Tamagawa fireworks which has been deemed one of the best shows in the Tokyo area.  There were thousands and thousands of people there and it was one of the hottest afternoons I've subjected myself to.  Thankfully, our friends brought so much food and drink so it was really fun and enjoyable.

To think, we were initially thinking of just going to "check it out."  Oh man, no way that would have happened.  You really have to commit if you're going to go see fireworks.  Tarp, food, drinks, queues for the bathroom and a snail crawl back to the train station after.

There was an even bigger show a few weeks ago but I heard that the effort in trying to get home was a complete nightmare.  Tamagawa only took us 2 hours to get home and in the most orderly mob-queue to the station ever.  The social compliance in Japan is amazing.

I also bought my first yukata in Japan.  Yukata is the summer version of a light, casual kimono that people often wear to festivals and such.  Ironically, I resisted bringing any from my home in California because I thought nobody would wear them.  "Look at that girl, she must be a tourist!"

The variety in yukatas is really cool to see, even between men and women and how their personal styles show through.   Aome of them are so, so gorgeous.  I really wanted to take photos of people in their yukatas but I just couldnt bring myself to. Maybe I buy a nicer one at some point but for this one, I actually really liked my outfit.  It was inexpensive and simple and it worked.  Blue with textured lines and white storks and a small, silver belt.  I sweated through all of them.

Tonight, my best friend is flying in!  I'm taking tomorrow, Monday, off to get her settled in for the next 3+ weeks so I'm excited. Hopefully I'll be able to take advantage of her visiting to go do more sightseeing.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Obon Week and Upcoming Events

Obon is the time of year that people in Japan return to their home towns and pay respects to their ancestors.  Combined with summer holidays and the level of humidity, it's been a pretty slow start to the week. 

On Monday, there was actually a small Obon matsuri (festival) that was held downstairs of our offices that I was pretty excited about.  I haven't been to any of the festivals or fireworks held this summer yet and I was really curious to see how it was like. Especially since my only exposure to such have been mainly Obon festivals back home in California. I wanted to see what the differences were since it seemed to be much more serious thing by business point of view.  Instead, it was more similar than I expected.  Photos captured only by iPhone and photo filters...getting lazy!

Firstly, there was a live cover band.  Pretty rock and roll!  There were a surprising amount of people with their adorable kids running around in yukatas and playing games that are, I guess, very common:

Catching goldfish with a paper net.  I remember doing this; it's super addicting, fun and frustrating!  I think I used to do them with floating ping pong balls though...maybe not as challenging as real swimming fish, now that I think of it...

Several stands of food (and beer). The grilled squid was my favorite to photograph...mmm!

Another game of trying to catch a water balloon yoyo.  I've forgotten how much fun they are!

There is apparently a huge fireworks show this weekend that's supposed to be one of the best in the Tokyo area and I think that I may stay in the city just to see it.  Also, one of my best friends is flying in Sunday night!  Words can't express how excited I am to see her and I'll be taking Monday off to get her familiarized with getting around.  She'll be staying for over 3 weeks, with another friend arriving a week later.  The boyfriend is going to be the luckiest and most unfortunate bloke on this block.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Japan's Beaches: Shimoda, Izu

As a California girl, I'll always feel a bit at home with the scent of an ocean breeze.  Going up along the coastline to Shimoda, Izu was almost like driving along PCH as I watched the sky and ocean meet in their hues of blues.  And the fact that it was the same Pacific made me feel that much closer to home.

What was definitely different, however, was the rock structures. They remind me of the rock formations of Railey Beach, Thailand with their lush forest and greenery intertwined.  And the cicadas definitely remind me that I'm in Asia.  I love it.

A group of us are renting a beach house for the summer to escape the city on the weekends and it's been a nice refresher to the weekly grind.  It takes about 3 hours by train each way but it's nice to chill out, barbeque and eat together.  Mm, the taste of carbon!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

I Pledge... live as fabulously as possible from here on out.

Hm, I keep telling myself that (I'm pretty sure I was inspired by some episode of Sex and the City), but the next thing I know, I'm rushing out the door with half-wet hair and flip flops as I hurry off to work 5 days a week.

I tell myself that it's because Californian beauty in more au natural (beachy hair, sun kissed skin, your favorite jeans...) but it's really because I'd rather not take so long getting ready.

But really, it's a goal of mine to look more put together.  My friend gifted me Chanel (to the left) for my birthday this year and it made me feel all fancy and special.  She's pretty well put together, too.

The dedication women have to put themselves together every morning is amazing and it's something I'm still working on.  Maybe having a work outfit blog will motivate me to put in more effort...

"There are no ugly women, just lazy women."  D=

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

My 10 Reasons to Travel While Young

As a disclaimer, I'd like to say that I'm still relatively young and I'm still changing and stumbling through my life abroad.  I've just barely got my ATM card to work and actually withdraw cash in Japan so clearly I'm not above the learning curve.  But these are just a few things that I've felt to be true in my quest for adventure, love and answers.

1.  What you do and who you meet today will influence who you are tomorrow.
         Almost everything that follows can probably be tied into this one, but it's major. Is it my spontaneity that caused me to travel or did travel spark my spontaneity?  If had never quit my dead-end job, would I be living abroad now?  Would I be making the same choices?  Would I appreciate food in the same way?  Would I have learned another language?  I could have been so different!

2.  People are more forgiving of mistakes made while you're young.
          When you're young, making mistakes is all about "growing up," learning about yourself and the world.  If you haven't "learned" about yourself by a certain age...people start to think you're a bum. Or weird. Or both.

3.  People are more trusting to help a young person.
          Old guy asking me for directions = creepy
          Young guy asking me for my number = charming
          But seriously, asking for help is easier when you're young because adults still see you as a child. And they probably wish they were still in your shoes. Natsukashii ne? (Very nostalgic)

4.  You have less responsibilities. Cliche, but true.
          And because of your youth, you have an excuse.

5.  Your body can survive better.
          Backpacking through Europe? Exciting!
          Sleeping in the creaky roofs of a Cambodian hostel?  Edgy!
          Hiking up Mount Kinabalu for 2 days through the heat and cold?  Hardcore!
          Trying food in random street stalls in Thailand?  Risk-taker!
          All this 20 years later?  Exhausting, uncomfortable, painful and food poisoning.

6.  You find passions that you never knew about.
          ie: photography, Vietnamese food, scuba diving, collecting ethnic jewelry, belly dancing, yoga.  Maybe from people you've met along the way or maybe just by accident.

7.  You'll have interesting stories to tell.
          The most interesting are not always the most well-planned!  Some of my best stories include being an underwater stunt double for an action film in the Philippines, backpacking by myself through rice terraces, and falling in love with and in Singapore.

8.  You learn more about people...quickly.  This includes previous friendships, future friendships and even dating.
          I used to be very naive about...everything.  From friends to dating to trusting others.  Sure, that sort of optimism is endearing and ideal, but as cynical as it sounds, you learn how to quickly get a feel for someone across cultures.  This can also be a positive thing as you'll learn social differences in culture very quickly - by accident or otherwise.
          Living abroad is almost like express socializing/dating as nobody seems to really have any time to waste on someone they don't like or enjoy or even just click with.  It's not a bad thing; you'll barely have time to keep up with the important people in your life so there's no use spending time on those are are less than that.

9.  You learn more about yourself.  
          My travels have definitely given me insight on things about myself. Some things fabulous, some not to so fabulous and some even downright painful. ie: "I'm pretty good a photography composition!"  "I'm missing out on all my friends' weddings."  "I've grown apart and am not there for my friends like I should."

10.  If anything, be inspired, fall in love, and change your life before it passes you by.  Create forks in the road and choose the one less traveled!

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Cicadas say: Summer is here!

Apparently, the hotter it gets, the louder cicadas get. Well, I hear ya! The summer heat has definitely hit Tokyo and, boy, are the cicadas making it well known.

This is the view from my kitchen on the 15th floor...I thought the clouds looked pretty standout!

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Coral Nails

I've been obsessed with coral for years, so imagine my excitement when coral finally became ultra popular a few years ago. I've seemed to gradually collect an assortment of coral items like scarves, earrings (which I've lost already), shoes, dresses, and now my nails. Gel on top of normal nail polish actually. I love combining coral with gold and bright makes me think of pirates treasure on a tropical island.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

After the Rain

Tokyo had a minor typhoon last night which made it sound like our apartment was going through a washing machine and the sprinklers at the same time.  

By the time I woke up, the clouds which had swallowed up Tokyo for the past week had cleared and I was suddenly roasting in my bed (at 5AM!).  Tokyo truly is the "land of the sun" because it gets so bright so early!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Feeling Homey

Taken with iPhone and Photosynth. Edited with Procamera, Diptic, Photo Studio.

I didn't think it would make such a big difference moving into a new apartment, but it does!  We had a great place before, but this place is just so nice to actually live in with separate rooms to walk into and - wait for it - 

A walk-in closet. *squeal*

I know, I'm going on about a closet, but with my seemingly constant roaming about and inability to grow some roots the past several years, it's nice to have a place to store my material things in. 

By the way, I bought that little stand on the right for the Boy's very belated birthday gift. He always hangs his trousers on random boxes and furniture after work and I thought this would be perfect, especially since I can never find anything he would like within a reasonable budget.

Also, I hope this entices visitors:

A spare room with a balcony. And awesome view(s).

We didn't think we needed one in our last place but we were so wrong. Our poor guests who did visit had to deal with us waking up and getting ready for work while being in the foot traffic to midnight restroom treks. 

Hopefully we'll be able to keep this place looking clean with all the hidden storage places (since when did I ever think about that sort of thing?).  My co-worker warned me, "Be care of where you set things down the first time because once you place it, it's never moving!"  So true!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

New Apartment

This weekend has been a long awaited day: Moving Day!

It may sound silly, but we actually moved just 5 minutes away...walking.

Just to say, we loved our previous apartment. It was a cool layout due to the fact that it was a converted photography studio.  I can completely see how that aspect and I loved it. The kitchen was amazing as was our huge bathroom.  The location was great; so close to both Azabu Juban and Roppongi Hills, which is perfect for our commutes to work.  Huge windows and lots of light, it was a pretty apartment.

There was one problem: it had huge windows.  Windows that weren't double glazed!  In the winter, it was freezing!  I wore a jacket and scarf to sleep and often had to huddle in bed most of the time because it was just too, too cold.  Also, ridiculously bright in the mornings you wanted to sleep in and no curtains.

We casually suggested to our awesome real estate agent (seriously, he's fantastic) that we were thinking of moving before the next winter but were perfectly happy for the summer and fall.  Then, he told us that the apartment from last year was vacant again.

"The" apartment from last year was this beautiful marble-floored thang with a induction stove kitchen, a spare room with connecting balconies and amazing city skyline views from every room.

It was also vastly out of our budget.  I guess it's amazing what 8 months did to the housing market.

Anyways, long story short, we jumped at the opportunity and moved in a month later.  Here's the setup the evening we moved in:

View from the spare room and lounge to towards the kitchen.  The bathroom and restroom are through the door next to the fridge and the entrance is on the right.

A view of Tokyo Tower and the city from the guest/spare room.  I think our guests will like their stay!

This is the view from our master room this morning.  Roppongi Hills (grey building on the left of center) was swallowed in a cloud and you can barely see Tokyo Tower on the right side.  Panoramic photo taken with Photosynth, it's an awesome app my sister told me about.

Anyways, I wanted to update, but I'm exhausted now.  I'll hopefully continue to unpack, decorate and be able to keep the apartment clean enough to photograph.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Eyelash Extensions

Can you tell?  I'm beautiful now!  

Just kidding, but I do feel like I've got an extra boost (especially for the mornings, yikes!)

I got eyelash extensions last week and so far I'm loving them.  They are much more maintenance with the whole being-careful-not-to-rub-too-hard-or-sleep-on-them and I feel a slight anxiety attack whenever I see one fall out (along with a sad little real one) but I'm hoping that they keep growing persistent, my little ones!

I got them quite natural-looking since it was my first time and I work in a client-facing role.  I didn't want to start scaring off people; the office is just too well lit to get away with ridiculous eyelashes.  The whole process was actually over an hour long; they tape your eye lids still and apply each lash.  You decide on what thickness, length and amount of curl you want for each section of your eyelash (they break it up into three sections: inner, middle, outer)

For my lashes, I did:
Inner: slightly thicker, slightly more curl, natural length.
Middle: slightly thicker, slightly more curl, natural length.
Outer: Slightly thicker, natural curl, longer length.

Overall, I wanted my outer lashes to be longer and my middle lashes to be more curled.

I actually got them because I wanted to be able to up my maintenance like all these other dedicated Tokyo girls, but it turns out that eyelash extensions have made me even lazier with makeup: I don't apply any eyeliner, eyeshadow, mascara or curl my lashes anymore; I just rub on some foundation and fill in my eyebrows.  I consider this a win.

What's next?  I'm thinking I want to try some sort of hair removal gadget...epilator time?  Will report back if I do!

Hakuba = Tokyo's Mountain High x 50

I haven't had much time to rest much less blog!  

This past weekend, I went on a weekend trip with my colleagues to Hakuba, which is about a 3-hour journey from Tokyo.  I'd liken it to LA's Mountain High in that it gets that same sort of city-kids-in-the-snow kind of traffic, but that the snow is much better, more mountains, more runs, etc.  

This is a photo I painsakingly took from my loaned mobile phone (a slidey phone).  It was from the window of my lodging I was staying at over the weekend.  It had just snowed the night before and was a gorgeous morning. 

Since this is supposed to be a fashion blog, I should mention the awesome trends in snowboarding.  I wish I took photos as examples, but that would have been creepy.  

Basically, the louder and more funky your outfit is, the more awesome you better be.  If you're a girl and you're wearing a cute outfit, you probably suck just the same.  But if you're a guy in hot pink pants and a matching face mask, you're probably pretty wicked on a board (that example is actually one of my coworkers).  

I actually saw a skier dressed in a Pedobear onesie = amazing skier.  

So what was I wearing?

I look pretty cool in that picture, huh?  Just kidding, I borrowed all my clothes from a friend and rented a board there.  I'm standing with my beginners group; we all took a lesson together.

After all these years of thinking I was goofy-footed and constantly falling down, it turns out I'm regular and that I can now carve a bit!

I felt like Zoolander before, "I can't turn left!"

Came back a bit sore (and with a cold) but I'm saying that I'm so much more fit now.  Walking down stairs is pretty painful though...feel the burn!

Friday, March 02, 2012

Another Week Flies By

Before this week, I've barely had any time to myself because prior I was living with my family; when I came to Japan, we had a guest for 10 days; then it was a few days of me and the boy.  Then, the boy left for a week to go back home and now I've had 7 days to myself!  (There will be lots of exclamation points in this post.)

Here are a few high lights:

It snowed!  As a California Girl, I was just minding my own business, getting ready for work, and just when I was about to step outside I saw a White Christmas!  Well, obviously not Christmas but that's what it felt like. I ran around trying to take photos without slipping and giving myself frostbite (which I actually think happens within 5 minutes of cold contact). Unfortunately, my photos didn't turn out quite as magical as it felt but I was smiling all the way to work, feeling like I was in a snow globed fairy tale.

Progress at work!  I've been really happy with my progress at work this week and starting to really make headway.  Also, I got a Friends and Family Sale Invite for Gucci next week.  Perks, whatup!

Going out with colleagues and friends. And barely making it home in a taxi.  Waking up way too early the next work day and asking WHY, GOD, WHY AM I UP SO EARLY??

Surprise visit from SD.  I had a friend just randomly fly into Tokyo for a business trip.  SO nice to see a face from college!

Things to look forward to this weekend:

Eyelash extensions (it's happening!)
New makeup
Tidying up
Shopping (does it ever stop?  no.)

I hope next week is even better!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Bum Boost

It's like finding a unicorn; I didn't think they really existed but apparently they do and they're just as magical, too!  I'm so tempted to buy one and just try it on...and maybe keep forever.  The fact that they are produced in various colors really shows how mainstream they are.  Japan has an amazing saturation level for unique products that normally would not see any near success in another market.

Top Positions in Demand for Luxury Retail in Japan

Focusing in FMCG, Luxury, Retail and Consumer Goods has allowed me to indulge in some of my favorite obsessions:  Fashion, Business, and Movement.  When I say Movement, I mean the inner workings of companies, how it affects consumers, and even how employees view both sides.

You might even call it business gossip.  Ok fine, maybe just gossip but dressed well with cute heels to boot (no pun intended). 

Positions I often find myself recruiting for (in no particular order but definitely among the top):

1.  Merchandisers
2.  Visual Merchandisers
3.  Brand Managers
4.  Product Managers
5.  eCommerce/Online Branding/Interactive Manger

The New Home

They say "Home is where the heart is" and if that were the case, I'd split all over the world!

However, here is where part of my heart is settling for now.  This first photo is one from the entrance and you can see that it's the kitchen/dining room that leads up to the living room and bedroom.  It's actually a really spacious apartment (especially for Tokyo) and has an amazing kitchen setup.  

Did you know that most apartments don't have an oven?  Japanese people don't use it much; instead they have a small "toaster" of sorts that grills fish for the most part.  Not much roasting of red meats here. 

Since I'm co-habitating, I've had to compromise on decor.  If it were up to me, there would be a lot more we've decided to stick with neutrals and navy blue, lol.

The bedroom is a mess because I don't have a dresser yet, so photos of that are yet to come.  Not exciting for anyone else but I'm so looking forward to really "settling in" and feeling at home in my new home!  

Sugar and Spice

Friday was my first Payday, so obviously that meant that I had to go spend some of it right away.  I'm also going to claim that the conversion rate and all the zeros confuzzle me in my impulse buys.  

I've been on a mission to rebuild my entire life: wardrobe, shoes, accessories, makeup, skincare, in any and every order.  Today was a bit of everything and I feel happy and content with my purchases!

1.  Mac lipstick.  My first Mac purchase!  I've always been a bit scared off by Mac, but I went through all their lipsticks to hunt for a perky pink I could wear as an everyday pick-me-up.  Next: the perfect red, nude and light pink.

2.  Rings!  I don't normally buy accessories, especially rings, because I always lose them, but these are just so exquisitely adorable that I had to splurge.  It's a terrible photo but it's a perfect amount of bling for my tiny fingers. 

3.  Black lace stockings.  I recently bought a black garter because I just love the idea of dressing up and these would go perfectly with it.  In fact, I bought a whole load of tights and socks:

I used to try and incorporate them in my SoCal wardrobe, much to my college roommates' dismay.  Now I can!  Who knew there could be so many designs in socks?!

I used to avoid frilly things, the color pink and feminine things when I was younger, but I've really come to embrace my (sometimes extreme) femininity.  I love being a girl!

Monday, February 20, 2012

It Snows in Tokyo

Quite bizarre to live in a city that actually snows.  In the middle of the day.  Like it's normal or something!  Clearly, it's a novelty to me and I was pretty gleeful even though it was freezing (of course).  I've been pretty proud of myself in being able to handle it so far, though I have found the secret to staying warm: heat packs.

I stick one to my innermost layer every morning and incubate myself all day (lasts 12 hours!).  That stuff is pure magic.  They even have ones you can stick in your pocket, shoes, etc.  Amazing.  I've even worn tights out and managed with these babies.  It seems that as long as my upper body is sealed up with layers and a scarf, I'm pretty okay.  My next goal: survive a whole day in heels.

Hope I'm not jinxing it, but I'm also very happy with work!  Time flies by and I really lucked out with my coworkers.  It really makes such a difference when you actually enjoy the people you work with and the work you do.  Who would have thought, right?

I'm excited for my new life!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Closet Space

He doesn't know it, but I have my sights on the The Closet.

It started out 50/50 between me and the boy, but clearly I'm taking claim to about 66% now.  Hey, those winter clothes take up way more space!  This doesn't included another closet about half the size that holds my coats and his work shirts.  Did I mention I'm shopping for a dresser (with a mirror on top for maximum makeup/jewelry accessibility, please), too?

Something like this would be ideal.  Of course, it doesn't seem to exist in Japan.  Just like crockpots.

Honestly, I don't know how people in Japan store everything they need in the tiny apartments.  Jackets and sweaters themselves take up too much space!  I wish I could observe people and learn their ways (in the most uncreepy way possible).

Drinking on the Job and Staying Warm

Well, not it really on the job if I haven't officially started?  I'm drinking English tea at the moment, bytheway...

...but I did just come back from having work drinks with my soon-to-be colleagues.  Apparently, it's the "British thing" to have work drinks at...2PM.  Is it?  English Boyfriend = useless.  Just kidding, I've learned lots from him...mostly about why everyone mocks Americans, that we're fat, have poor taste in style, and terrible footwear.

Anywho, very excited for my first weekend back in Tokyo, my first week of work and my first cup of tea.  I've been eating up a storm as well (on my second lunch and counting; I feel like a Hobbit) and I think that's due to my fast metabolism and the cold weather.  Brr!

This weekend, I'll be on the hunt for some gloves and a coat (of all things, I know).  The girls here are killer with their style and I have a sudden longing for a lovely wool coat with a fur collar.  I'm very particular about [faux] fur and I prefer fox, mink or rabbit...a sort of even, soft texture rather than the very long, scraggly-looking kind.

This one is just lovely...the huge price tag makes me want it even more.  It's sick.

And being female, of course I'm not satisfied with just one color, I "need" black, beige, navy and then something aqua or fuschia.  In that order.

P.S. Just realized that I forgot to take the price tag off my new sweater (pictured).  Nice one.  Apparently I'm worth $59.90 from Ann Taylor Loft (but it's now on sale for $12.88!). 

Thursday, February 09, 2012

I'm an Alien

It's my 2nd full day back in Tokyo and I'm feeling a bit tired!  I'm glad I bumped up my flight by one day because it's made a big difference in my settling-in.  I remember how to get to the train station and how to buy tickets, etc., however I've found that I've forgotten how to use the electric appliances in our apartment!  Other things I've noticed:

1.  Slow cookers/crockpots do not exist in Japan.  They cook rice, rice only and do a darn good job of it by the price of some of them! 
2.  Girls still look chic and amazing in the freezing winter.
3.  Fur really does make you warmer; it especially cuts down on the wind chill.
4.  I've forgotten what little Japanese I had so intensively studied.
5.  Adam's negligence of the refrigerator lead to a horrifying discovery.  The eggplant I found had it's own colony developing.  
6.  I want to buy everything. 

But most notable for today:  I applied for my Alien Registration Card!  It's just the first step to becoming a permanent resident here...O_o

Otherwise, I've mostly been adjusting the recent bachelor pad into it's previous decency.  Lots of cleaning, organizing, laundry (4 loads so far!), grocery shopping, unpacking, furniture/home shopping, and did I mention cleaning?  

I needed to take a bit of a break so I made myself a delicious dinner of chicken, soup and roast spare ribs.  The chicken came out so much better than anticipated!  Mom would be proud.  I even made the sauce to go with it.

I'm not sure what to call this's not Hainan chicken but it's similar. Boiled and served with brown rice, bok choy, and the homemade ginger sauce. No photo but I also made a pretty good soup after with the chicken stock, carrots, onions, dried dates and berries and salted turnip.

Grilled pork spare ribs with garlic salt, pepper and fresh thyme. I'm not sure if its the oven in Japan but I haven't quite got it down perfectly like Mom and Amah's.

I feel that sort of limp exhaustion now that I've laid down.  I'm just going to blame it on the weather, the walking, or the jetlag.  Or all of the above.  

Friday, February 03, 2012

Tokyo, Here I (and a Vitamix) Come!

I decided to take the job offer in Tokyo!  What a relief it is to make the decision and stick with it.  I know a lot of people think I'm crazy, but I guess I've always imagined life abroad.  Maybe it's because I know I'll always come back to California.

In all honesty, I am really looking forward to feeling a bit settled for a while.  This is the first time I've made a solid decision to actually move abroad with the intention of staying for a bit.  So now I'm frantically stocking up on things I feel I can't get (especially) in Japan and being a bit ridiculous about it.

For example, it started out with the idea that everything in the States is cheaper than in Japan (it's true), so I figured I should buy my work clothes here since the sales are ridiculously amazing post winter season.  Then I was reminded about how I can't read anything in Japanese and how I struggled to find cold/flu medicine while I was over there a few months ago.  So I stocked up on common meds and remedies.  Then came Costco food: dried nuts, berries, chocolate chips (seriously, I found a tiny bag for too much money in Japan), and I even contemplated a bag of radiation-free brown rice before my mom chastised me with an AI-YAHH!

While I was in Costco, I saw that the Vitamix people were blending together tortilla soup and talking about pulverizing avocado pits - it was amazing.   Because it's healthy and don't I want to be healthy, too?

So here I am with 3 massive suitcases (1 extra baggage already) full of clothes, shoes, meds, food and a 16-pound Vitamix box that will be my travel buddy and carry-on to Tokyo.

Have I mentioned I need to figure out how to carry my laptop and SLR camera?

Packing in a hurricane.