Monthly Archives: February 2011

Morning Cartoons

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To me, now, this means Mythbusters or Sliced on Discovery Channel. Instead of a bowl of cereal (or potful, as sometimes in my youth I really didn’t feel like washing dishes), I have at the very least of cup of tea. My hair still looks terrible (still working on the morning curls).

On mornings that I share with Yo, instead of my good, wholesome documentaries, I get mindless variety shows and angry politics. I’m thinking that if/when we get to the US, I am going to think long and hard before buying a TV.

A few days ago I had a chance to get out and take a walk at Narita Temple. One of the trainers at my gym is a single female my age, originally from Kyoto (quite far) and recently returned to Japan from like 7 years in Texas.  She’s really nice and social, and Americanized. So I felt like adopting her for a bit and took her out for sightseeing and grilled eel for lunch. It’s better than it sounds, I promise.  It was quite cold, but some of the first cherry and plum flowers had bloomed and it was neat seeing the flowers that different varieties of tree produce. One of the trees had slightly golden pink petals.

In other “news”, we just finished watching a marathon of the first 4 “Batman” movies because Yo had never seen them. I can’t wait to get on to the last two, since they were done really well in comparison, but it was a bit nostalgic to watch those 4.

Hot Sauce

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For years I have been warily eyeballing those kitschy-looking “Sudden Death” hot sauces, too afraid that they would kill me. But the other day I was feeling a bit adventurous and homesick, and grabbed a bottle at the foreign food store. It has chipotle peppers in it. And I added it to my Japanese curry rice, and discovered that I can handle it straight in small amounts. Full-flavored and spicy, but still enjoyable. Can’t say how happy that made me!

Also, just saw the official Pirates of the Caribbean 4 trailer on Youtube today! I don’t care what anyone says, its one of the best stories ever told on screen- absolutely epic. I used to watch the first 3 on DVD nearly every week last year and feel like I must have seen them at least 20 times EACH. Every time I watch one I actually find something I didn’t notice the last time, like an Easter Egg.  I can’t wait to see it!

Finally- getting new glasses.  I keep getting pink eye and being stuck with wearing contacts or going blind, so Yo took me in to get eye crutches.  I hope to all things sacred I qualify for Lasik or something. Maybe later this year~

Anyways I am going to take out my lenses and go to sleep, looking at this screen as I type is killing me!

Do I Need to Get Out More?

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As you might know, as most people who know me probably should know, I’m a bit of a hermit. Home right now is not much, but it is home!  My little castle. Cave. Whatever…  I have a red corduroy sofa from Ikea and its the center of my home, at least during the winter, and so its my throne.  Not much can remove me from my little domain. I hardly ever go farther than the grocery store on my day off. But I’m content with that for the time being. While I’m here. At least I have the gym next door so I won’t turn into a potato on my own throne.

But the other day I was summoned, to a gathering far beyond the borders of my realm. Far. Well, not that far I suppose but from a hermit-queen’s point of view it was quite a ways. Shinjuku…  Google that if you must know more… is about 90 minutes train ride from home, and I left after work at 8:30pm, arrived to my destination at 10pm- and upon seeing all the familiar red faces and loud voices immediately felt the question above pop into my head.

The answer is… not much more than I already do.  It was a blast going to the bar and having the chance to buy the impending departed a teeny-weeny beer. Behaving in a way that does not reflect the fact that I am being paid to behave in a certain way, that’s also really fun. Especially around the people who would otherwise only ever be around me when I have the professional muzzle on, and they too self censoring (but not nearly as much as me, I discovered!).  Yes, loads of fun. I miss America.

It took me nearly all the next day to recover. I did do a full workout at the gym- where they were all concerned that I had pink-eye yet again.  My eyes were just that tired.  Its so awesome to go out and I look forward to it when those chances come up but I certainly couldn’t deal with the recovery more often than I do at present!  I’m getting old~

Bye-bye, big white guy.

The Curl Experiment

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About six months ago I came to face something I had been in denial of for a long time- I have really, really curly hair. Up to that point, I had been trying to straighten it in every way possible and on the days that I couldn’t, I was wrestling it into a ponytail. Six months ago is when I realized that working full time at my company was not working out for me on so many levels that I had to step down. One of the things that made me come to that decision was the difference in my hair, between the beginning of my being posted there, and that moment in time.  I had lost what seems like 30% of my hair.  It had been coming out in chunks in the shower for months. My ponytails were getting so sad, and I could no longer do the fashionable wrap-a-bit-of-my-own-hair-around-the-band-to-cover-it-and-look-polished pony. I didn’t have enough hair to do it without looking like a 5-year-old girl with frown lines.

So after I quit and came back to the Chiba school, I started leaving my hair down, knowing that ponytails can contribute to damaged or lost hair. I started to notice, I mean for once really notice, ringlets down behind my ears. My curiosity having been piqued, I went to the great Oracle (otherwise known as my web browser) and started reading up. I decided to give my hair a chance and see what it could do.  I followed the directions the best I could- after the shower, I took a t-shirt (my husbands, naturally), not a towel, and gently squashed my hair up toward my noggin. A then carefully let it air dry without touching it.  In Utah, this would take 20 minutes, but in Japan more like 2 hours, and that’s an optimistic estimate.  The result?  Most of my hair dried into curls, albeit frizzy ones. Less than ideal but encouraging.

By some miracle I found a stylist in Tokyo that worked in one of New York’s top curly hair salons for many years- she’s a wise woman and put an add in Metropolis, the free weekly expat mag. So I made my appointment and went 2 hours to her salon. She gave me a lot of advice about how to treat my hair, how to wash it, how to dry it, how to max the curls without touching a heating element or any other tool besides a towel, some gel, and maybe a spray of herbal water.

The reason I bring this up now, is that for the last week I have been really trying to figure out how to wash my hair at night, usually within 2 hours of bedtime, and wake up the next day with happy, smooth, and satisfactory curls.  It doesn’t work wet, I have discovered- with or without a wrap on my head. Dry doesn’t work either, although its slightly better with a wrap, the curls still look confused in the morning. If I can manage to stay perfectly still while I sleep, and I remember to fan my hair above my head on the pillow, that works wonders…  but that only happened once and I didn’t actually sleep that night for worry of moving.  The best I can do so far is to wash it or wet it down in the mornings, and that’s not ideal.

Maybe today I am going to Yo’s salon for a treatment. For cuts and more serious work, I am sticking with the lady 2 hours train ride away in Ebisu to take care of me. Anyway its past 10AM and I have promised to start getting the gym done with by noon each day. The mornings are like a geriatrics ward! Lots of old people doing the zombie walk and sitting on the benches for 20 minutes after completing their stretching routine. I’m glad none of them are brave enough to try the elliptical!