Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Eve Eve

Two days from Christmas and the sky is as blue as it can get and the ground is as dry as ever. I don't think we'll have a white Christmas here, but no matter what, Christmas will be here soon. Right now there's only a crock pot under the Christmas tree and its cooking a pork shoulder. 

I had to plug it into the transformer so it can get full power and cook it properly; the Japanese outlets don't give enough watts to get the job done. But there aren't any presents sitting wrapped under the tree and I'm not even sure there will be. I have one sweater to give to G-man but no wrapping paper. To be truthful, he's already seen it, so I debate even wrapping it. Should I bother?

Yesterday, I went to what was said to be the #1 thing to do in Yokosuka per trip advisor, and that was the Yokosuka Art Museum. I went and I thought to myself, how in the world is this the #1 thing to do? Its an art gallery, so I knew that going in, but I think I expected so much more...not creepy dolls that flip over when you crank the handle. Or paintings that all look the same. Or an entire wall covered in bunny and cat faces made out of wire? (they really love their cats here).

The only fun thing about the place was a Japanese couple calling me over to look at the creepy doll and then laugh with me when it flipped over. Then calling me over again to show me something else, and then again to show me something else.

I hate not speaking their language, but love when they actually acknowledge I'm there. 

I can't say I would recommend this museum to the average person but maybe an art enthusiast who actually speaks Japanese so they can read all the captions. I would actually recommend what I think is my favorite place to eat lunch, and that's Kawara Cafe. No matter how much I walk around to find a different place to eat, I always come back to Kawara. One for their free wifi (that helps), but also for their friendly staff and yummy food.

And if you notice, they play old Mickey Mouse cartoons on the big screen, which is a fun silly little extra. 

Japan ca

If I don't get the chance, I wish everyone a wonderfully Merry Christmas. 

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Hair, views, and odd translations

The past week I've had the chance to do a few things here and there. I always feel guilty admitting that more often than not, I am inside the apartment doing a whole lot of nothing. I don't go out and explore and even though its probably seen as a little lame, I don't because I hate spending money.

Not just the money, the time. It takes a lot of time to go somewhere and by the time I get there, my shoulders are killing me from lugging my heavy bag with my camera and before I know it, I have to come back to start dinner before G-man gets home from work.

I told you it was lame.

I went to my hair stylist three times last week (we're developing a nice friendship) and she's an hour away and my old self was pooped out from that. But let me tell you, she did a fabulous job. I wanted to go lighter, for the first time in 10 years, and she delivered like no one I think would have. It took four hours, but it was worth it. 

So you can get a full grasp of what my hair (and GREYS) looked like before, this will show you. Plus the amount of foil it took to cover my entire head. She leaves them flat so its two foils to one (small) section of hair. I can't even describe how heavy all that foil was.

G-man and I set up and decorated the tree over the weekend as well. With one strand of cicle lights and one strand of normal white lights, we got very creative and hung them up around the living room. Though we certainly won't be winning any awards for best decorated, we think its charming in a "wow, that's really bad" sort of way.

Feel free to notice the "tree skirt" is in fact a pillow sham and the transformer on the ground that keeps all the American electronics running smoothly. Keeping it classy over here.

This is where I wait for my trains whenever I want to go anywhere. This one passing is headed to Kanazawa-Hakkei where I would get off to get onto the limited express to Yokohama. As it was that day, I was waiting to go to Yokosuka in the other direction.

G-man and I went to Landmark Towers in Yokohama to see the city from their highest floor. They have the fastest elevator in Japan going 28mph. Ears were popping and the views were beautiful.

Afterward, we were looking for a place to eat, and would you believe we passed this place up?

I know, I'm sure you can't imagine why. 

That nearly rounds out all the happenings with me this past week.  Well, except the fact that while I'm in blogger, everything is in Japanese. Whenever I'm writing out a post, the page is constantly translating back and forth from English to Japanese, and because of this, while I'm typing, its nothing for it to completely delete an entire sentence mid sentence. I'm constantly retyping my sentences. Its odd and funny, and just another little quirk with being in Japan.

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Monday, December 15, 2014

I hear a buzz

Do you ever get a little bee under your bonnet where you start doing something that maybe you've put off for a long time? That's me today. I woke up very early and lounged around doing just about nothing all morning long (perks of working from home and being on winter break for school), and figured I probably should be mildly productive. 

Only thing was, I didn't really want to be. Its cold and rainy outside, and anything I want to do requires walking about 10 minutes to the train station and then riding the train to xyz location and walking some more. I'm not Japanese, I prefer driving everywhere, not walking. Call me lazy, or just American, either way, give me a car.

After trying my hand (and currently failing) at cooking fresh black beans in the crockpot (what was supposed to be 3.5 hours on high is going on well over 4 with no "cooked" stage in sight), I figured I'd head into town for lunch and some toilet paper (two very high priorities). But that requires a shower and hair and makeup, not to mention walking in the rain. Not high on my list of "wants" today. But after months of being in and out of this apartment and staring out at the slider windows in the living room, I couldn't take saying to myself, "I should really clean those" one more time and before I knew it, I had jumped up and started cleaning them. 

Next thing I knew, I had soapy water and a rag and was cleaning the outsides of them, because that's where all the dirt was. Then I did the outside of every window. Bedroom, kitchen, and all but one living room window (couldn 't reach it). I'm standing on all the balconies in my pajamas (yes it was noon and I was still in my jammies), barefoot, in the cold and rain (there was an overhang protecting me, trust me, I'm not that dedicated) scrubbing and squeegeeing the windows. 

They look great...okay, there's some streaks, but a person can actually see through them without squinting past the spots of dirt. After coming in and finding dirty footprints on the wood floors (apparently my freezing feet were freezing because I was standing in the drippings of the window cleaner), I started scrubbing the floors, then found myself in the bathroom wiping down the baseboards and edges of the floors and where did this come from?? 

My subconscious apparently couldn't take the spots and powder covered baseboards any longer and it took over before I could say, "hey, weren't you needing toilet paper?"

So now I rest under a blanket on the couch (again) watching the rain fall through the now impressively clean windows, with a full belly because hard work equals eating leftovers immediately and using the excuse of "floors needing to dry" for not showering. ..yet. 

I think its viable.

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Monday, December 8, 2014

Happenings in Japan

I'm back in Japan! I arrived late Sunday night and have been getting on the "Japan" schedule the past couple days (its Tuesday your Monday). Monday I woke up before 4am. That was early to say the least! I hit some grocery stores nearby since G-man gave me full reign with empty cabinets and fridge and by 7pm I had fallen asleep on the couch. Party animal over here!

One thing with here is they don't have all the goods I need at one store. Not only that, I'm walking and taking the train for everything and carrying loads and loads of groceries is not ideal, so this morning I went right back out to yet another grocery store further away. I heard good things about this place, and I had to take a cab from the train station to get there, and I wasn't disappointed in the least.

I realize I'm talking about grocery shopping...boring right? Well, afterward I had every intention of getting a cab all the way back to the apartment, ignoring the train and having the luxury of being taken straight to the door, but there weren't any cabs around. That meant walking toward what I hoped was the train station. I figured if I went in the general direction of where I thought it was, I would be alright. Without any directions or gps, I huffed it and huffed it and huffed it some more until I couldn't take it any longer and asked where the station was.

Turns out I was near by one stop, only it was nowhere near where I wanted to go. I actually was going in the opposite direction of where I wanted to. This sounds about right for me. I'm horrible with navigating in foreign lands, but I hopped on the train and got myself back safely, if not a little sweaty! 

Any way, things are good here. The weather is beautiful, the place is familiar, and I'm getting to rest and relax without having to think or do any school. My semester officially finished the day before I flew out here and its a great relief knowing I don't have to do anything while in Japan if I don't want to!

Here's a few photos of the past couple days.
I went  to a restaurant I like to go to when I'm here, and pointed to what I thought was what I normally get but I got this instead. A blob of mayo is there for sauce..? Everything was good except the mayo. I can't figure why that was there.

While I was at the store today, I looked out and noticed I was right along the ocean. I had no idea, so I went out to the harbor to enjoy the view.

I honestly do not know who would want to eat an overeasy egg that's been sitting on a table for no one can say how long, but apparently someone will.

"Corn Potage" ... I'm guessing its corn chowder? Maybe? Or cream of corn perhaps?

I'm hoping to talk with G-man in the hopes of decorating the apartment for Christmas! One thing with Japan is they don't celebrate but they still decorate and their decorations are so so cheap! A 5ft fake tree for only $7??? I can't beat that! And a small 8in. wreath for $2. I can't wait to load up! 

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