Wednesday, April 26, 2006

UGH!The last sleep

I say ugh because we are leaving on a 4:30AM bus.UGH!It is the most direct way,as well as the cheapest,to the airport.So basically my first day in Shanghai will be sleeping.Ill try to post from China.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006


The recycle people came and took all today including most of the lights.In Japan you need to provide your apartment light fixtures.So Li and ToddlerJi are playing by flashlight and having a great time. I love this phone.:-)

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Monday, April 24, 2006

2 more sleeps!

Forgot I can use my cell phone.All boxes shipped out yesterday: very simple. I need to do a post about that wonderful moving company. Must bring ToddlerJi to daycare:today is recycle people day. More later.

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Sunday, April 23, 2006

A picture to say goodbye

I was going to write this last night but at 2 in the morning sleep was much higher on the priority list.

Li and I spent the entire day packing yesterday and the only thing left to pack is one box of various nick knacks (a small box), the stuff that the shipping people are going to pack,




So this is officially my last post from Japan. OMG!

I have been far toooooo busy to get very emotional the last few days. I had a great dinner with Kim on Saturday and again with Jean last night. No major tears but I know that I will see them both again.

The shipping people arrive at one this afternoon and getting that out of the way will be a HUGE stress relief for the both of us.

I don’t think either of us have said goodbye to everyone we wanted to but we definitely said goodbye to those closest to us. It will be so hard to leave everyone behind. I feel a bit like I am abandoning them all. Not sure why that feeling has emerged.

My newest stress has been to try to make ToddlerJi’s life as stress free as possible. She obviously knows that something is going on and sleep is sometimes difficult for her. I am a little panicked about the airplane trip as this will be the first for us all with a baby and AUGH!!! I have been reading every single piece of available information possible about flying with a kid so I think I am prepared but ToddlerJi never follows the rules.


Li’s cousin has a computer so if I can do a post or two from China I will; so stick around for the continuing saga of live in our bicultural family.

This blog has only just begun.

I leave you with the very first picture that
ToddlerJi ever drew for me.

It is also her very first destruction of property using a pen. Based on the shinny gleam in her eye while she was penning away, this chair will be the first of many.

Stay tuned…..

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

I am Sunrise

Granny had this on her site and I kind of like my answer.

You Are Sunrise

You enjoy living a slow, fulfilling life. You enjoy living every moment, no matter how ordinary.

You are a person of reflection and meditation. You start and end every day by looking inward.

Caring and giving, you enjoy making people happy. You're often cooking for friends or buying them gifts.

All in all, you know how to love life for what it is - not for how it should be.

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Friday, April 21, 2006

Shells of tears

Today was my last day at work.

I was going to do a last post from the work computer but it turned out to be totally impossible to do…..

I was crying too damn much!!!

I love my students and I love the people I worked with: I didn’t realize how much I really did until today. I know that you all have the address to this blog now and some of you have actually read it: cool.

I decided that I wanted you guys to join me over here as it was a way to keep in touch with you all. I hope you decide to come out of hiding and leave a comment or two. (Hint, hint Mr. Oda!!)

Because I know that many of you are going to pop by I just want to say:

It was a pleasure knowing you all and I can never ever forget any of you. Japan and Sum***o have been a huge part of my life for six years: a part that has taken up a large area of my heart. You were all there through some of the most important and traumatic events of my life:

- The death of my sister

- Marriage

- Pregnancy

- Having a baby

These are events that can never be erased from my memory and the fact that you were all there through it makes you all a huge part of my life.

Please keep in touch and don’t forget me.

My other readers are probably wondering why I didn’t just tell them all this face to face today while at work.

Well I would have if I hadn’t been blubbering away with a cloth stuffed in my face to keep the tears and the snot at bay.


I held through the morning but at lunch time I had to say goodbye to the ladies that I have been having lunch with for the past 6 years and I lost it.

She said:


I said NO!! and more or less burst into tears.

I was red faced, red eyed and bubbler nosed before I made it too the office. I was able to calm down until I saw Fumiko and then it started all over again.

I did ok for a little while, almost cried when I signed and honkoed the papers to finish my stay at the company, and made it through desk cleaning with out a problem.

Then five o’clock rolled around and I got up to do the traditional bow and goodbye to everyone and that got shot all to hell when the first people I said goodbye to were the Sei*** girls: tears flowed.

I have been crying on and off all evening now: I have a major headache.

I got home and opened the presents that people gave me and cried even more. You guys are all so amazing!!!

Mr. A gave me these shells painted in a girl’s day design and I am sooooo thrilled about them.

I also got the coolest picture frames, adorable paper mache magnets and gorgeous ornamental cloth. Fumiko gave me a Kendo stick that is soooo amazing!!!

Everything is so beautiful.

Tomorrow I am getting my nails done one last time and then Rika and I are going out for lunch. We are both going to be blubbering.

Then I have dinner with Kim and ugh, it will be so hard.

Sunday I have dinner with Jean and it is going to hurt like hell!!

Everyone is worth coming back here for:

everyone is a reason not to leave.

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Below are some pictures I didn’t post earlier

Li and the crazy boys saying goodbye at Skin Flute.

The beautiful Temple in Shimada near the pension office.

ToddlerJi helping with the packing: She is checking out the closet and making sure we didn’t forget anything.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A new find worth checking out

I would like to introduce everyone to one of my new finds: well actually he found me through a thread I left in the Blog Explosion forums asking for help.

If you scroll down my sidebar on the left you will notice that my ‘previous posts’ and my EXTREMELY LONG ‘archive list’ are now drop down boxes. They look awesome and free up tons of eyeball space. I love it!

This was soooo easy to do because of the totally awesome SE7EN!!!
He has some amazing help bits in there that are sooooo user friendly for bloggers using the Blogger platform and the Wordpress platform.

I recommend you check him out and say hi.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Pension, Taxes and dirty laundry

I tried writing this post last night but got about six sentences done before I started doing other more important things.

Dad and Myrna took off to Tokyo yesterday morning. They are flying out of Narita tomorrow. Li arranged for a very nice hotel for them across from the main station. This hotel also offers a whole variety of English language guided tours around the city through out the day.
They are having fun and doing just great. The weather has also been quite good for them. I think today they were going to go for a stroll through the Imperial Gardens as well.

I had a holiday yesterday as well as Li, so he and I headed out with a very well behaved ToddlerJi in tow to attack all the government offices.
Yesterday was a pension money day.
I cant do this subject justice in this post today but I will definitely come back to it once I return to Canada. BASICALLY, In Japan you must pay pension money and when you leave Japan you only get a percent of that money back in a lump sum deposit. There is paper work to fill that has been nicely done in English. These papers can’t be filled until I land in Canada though.
There are many little quirks and quacks about the pension money for foreigners here that I will return to. It is something that I think foreigners already in Japan or about to go to Japan should know about.

You pension money is taxed (of course) when it is given to you but you are allowed to file a tax return to get most of that money back even though you are out of the country. We needed to go to the tax office and get the paper work organized that will allow our darling friend Jean be my tax submitter person.

All not very painless: just time consuming.

After Li and ToddlarJi spent some time together so that I could drag two large blankets to the Laundromat. I used my wait time there to get most of the paperwork done for the shipping company. Li helped with the papers last night, so things are almost done there. I need to email the shipping guy right after I finish this post.

I need to do a bunch of photocopying for them as well.

I think we have about 7 more boxes to pack. Four of them are already packed they just need to be reorganized and some tough love needs to be done by me.

We also bought a new stereo and MP3 player. Hehehe. We have been debating if we could afford it and decided we could. The stereo and MP3 work together to do automatic download so I don’t have to use my computer. I really loved this feature. We got this MP3 player and this DVD/CD/MD stereo in wood.

I do have a question for you all:
Should I keep all of my paperwork that I have about all the bills I have paid here in Japan? I have all my gas, water, electrical, credit card statements. I also have all of my salary slips.
Part of me wants to keep it for sentimental reasons, a part of me thinks I should keep it because of tax reasons back in Canada, and another part of me says burn it all.

What do you think?

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Sunday, April 16, 2006

The countdown continues.....

I haven’t had a chance to read anyone’s blogs for about 4 days now: I feel so out of touch and a little lost actually.

I am going to desperately try to do one last big read before we have to unplug all the computers.

Yesterday we spent the entire day packing and weighing all my boxes. It was exhausting.

Expat: the meme is in the works.

Granny: The template idea is sitting there. I can’t figure out how to make it a three column. Grr. We will leave it alone until I return to Canada and then go crazy with that. I am liking the way it looks now though. The link is the same as the one I sent you in the email.

Cori: I got your originally email about your beautiful new son. Present is in the suitcase with Myrna. I have been chanting away to myself every evening to email you back but I keep forgetting in the end.

Actually I keep forgetting to email everyone! Lol
I haven’t forgotten about you all though I promise.

Janet, if you read this, I haven’t forgotten you exist, HONEST! I have just been a tad preoccupied.

Aunt Lydia: WAY TO GO GIRL!!!!

To all you other great readers, thank you for continuing to come around. Hugs to you all. I haven’t had a chance to read your blogs but I hope you are all healthy and ok.

Ten more sleeps and counting!! AUGH!!
Only 6 before all computer contact is shut off.
Eekkk, total withdrawl!

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Saturday, April 15, 2006

Hamamatsu with Curry

I am feeling a bit better today.

I haven’t had time to think about my panic attack, let along panic, so things are just fine.

This morning Dad, Myrna, ToddlerJi and I headed out to Hamamatsu City. The objective was to head to the Yamaha Music Museum, have lunch and then do some other exploring before heading back home.

Well to my surprise Dad LOVED the museum.

I actually had to force him to leave for lunch (Ji was getting very ancy) and he insisted on return to the museum so he could explore some more. The ticket man said he could return as often as he wanted through out the day so that is what happened.

They had done some renovation and reorganization of the museum and it was great. They also added some more listening CDs for the different instruments.

This place is quite cool as it has old and new instruments from all over the world. They show a time line of how different instruments have progressed over the ages and this is what fascinated Dad the most. At almost all the different instruments they had a set of head phones and you could listen to them being played. It is really cool.

Downstairs there are a few hands on sections: Ji loved the harpsichord piano thing. She was fascinated with the sound.

Then there were the hitty things, I think it is called a xylophone, and it took her a bit to figure it out but she finally did and loved it.

I took a video of course. Hehe

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After a good pasta lunch Dad headed back to the museum and Myrna ToddlerJi and I went shopping. I brought Myrna to my favourite Japanese things store and we both spent money.

This was when we suddenly realized that we had not properly browsed the museum gift shop.

WELL! Had to head back there now then, didn’t we?

This turned out to be a good mine for me and for them. Hehe

I bought a taiko drum, yes a Japanese drum. It is only about the size of a breadbox but makes noise, has its own stand and sticks. It is beautiful.

Sorry no pictures. The lady wrapped it properly for me and I don’t want to take it out.

I am very happy with myself though!!

Then we headed home.

Sort of.

We made a brief stop in Shimada and went through the HUGE Dollar store there!! Hehe

Lets see…

Thirty-two bucks for me and about twenty-eight for Myrna.

Ahhh I love the dollar stores here!

Then we headed home and almost crashed. We fed ToddlerJi a bit of dinner, recouped ourselves and then headed our ONCE AGAIN to a dinner with some of my close work friends. We went to a curry restaurant and had an AWSOME dinner! We had preordered their party menu and what a treat that was. We were wined and dined for twenty bucks a person. We loved it.

They also gave me some amazing presents that almost made me cry again, and are almost making me cry as I type this.

They gave me this incredible card signed by each of them. It is a huge frame type card with a special spot to put the photograph of all of us that we took tonight. It will have a treasured spot on my shelves when I get to Canada.

I love these people.

They keep saying, please don’t forget us.

I cant put it in words strong enough to tell them, there is no way I ever could.

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Friday, April 14, 2006

Ji and her purse

Myrna caught a picture of ToddlerJi swinging her purse around.
Please ignore the yogurt smeared face. lol

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I was chucked in the air, almost hit the roof, and cried


But we will return to that in a sec.

First: today is my blogs third birthday. I could go on for a long time about this but…

Second: With much personal second guessing I decided (we did) that it would be best for ToddlerJi to stay in day care today even though I had the day off. She needs the routine. He life has been all out of wack lately and she needs the structure of her daycare. She has not been sleeping properly.
So today I had a holiday and I took Dad and Myrna to Shizuoka to head over to Mt. Kuno. Dad was there before in January last year and I went again on August with my mother, but Myrna had never been and when dad went a large portion of the area was under renovation. The weather wasn’t great but the place was still beautiful.

It was surprisingly busy for a Friday: there were about three different tour busses up there and Dad was asked to pose with a group of very drunk tourists and Myrna had her picture taken a few times by this on guy.

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The buildings were very beautiful and amazing.

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After we headed into the shopping area of the station and had some fun with our credit cards there.

Third: I had my good bye party from my work people today. To put it mildly I was really worried about going: I knew I was going to cry.

I took the group bus to the restaurant way out in the boonies. It was a very traditional Japanese food place: good food but not quite enough. I was pretty hungry after all the walking we did.

Mr. O serenaded us with a karaoke song, and a few speeches were spoken. My one student said a short speech to me in English and that was hen my barriers started to break down.

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I then had to say a speech and started crying: not too bad but I knew I would.

Later Mr. Y did the most hilarious cheer for me and then I was chucked in the air.
I was not expecting it at all. After much convincing on their part they were able to get me to lay on the floor. I knew what was coming but was not expecting to be actually air born!!

Silly girl shrieks emerged and tons of uncontrollable giggles. I know some of them took pictures, maybe they will send me copies.

Later there were actually able to con me into singing a karaoke song: Let it be.

John didn’t puke in his grave, but he probably gagged a bit: I can not sing.

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Walking home from the station I had tons of questions running through my head:

Why am I leaving?
What are we doing?
Why after all our struggles is Li now able to find excellent jobs?
Why? Why? Why?
Why is my head walking faster than my heart……

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Grandpa and ToddlerJi video

This is my first attempt at showing a DropShots Video.
I am hoping that this works well for you all.
This is a 7 second clip of my Dad and ToddlerJi sliding down a slide at the park on Sunday.

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Thanks to Midori for this!!!

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Dinner and a ... purse...

Li cooked a huge meal last night for us all. I actually have five different recipes for the Li’s Kitchen page but I am so not done. I did a couple and will post them below but I was too tired to finish last night.
I went to bed a little early and I am glad I did.

Dad and Myrna took off at 6:30 this morning on an Ensen (spa) tour that Li arranged for them yesterday. They are on a tour bus with a group of people their age and are heading to an Ensen just north of Tokyo somewhere: I have no idea where. They lucked out with an all-inclusive dealio so they are going to be experiencing some very traditional Japanese food.

I gave them this long speech about Japanese manners and the little rules to follow when in a Japanese ensen:

While they were getting ready last night Dad realized they needed another little carry bag so Li and Dad went rummaging through our huge pile to see what we had. ToddlarJi joined them of course.
Next thing you hear is Li in peals of laughter because ToddlarJi found this little clear plastic bag and has now considered it her new purse. She even put her little laughing camera (a gift from Aunty Kim) and a cloth book (from her Grandma) into the purse.

She is absolutely hilarious about it. She carefully places it just above her right wrist and holds her arm out like a perfect Japanese fashion girl and then walks around the house with her purse.

I tried making her leave it behind as we headed off to her day care today but she wouldn’t hear of it. She carried it on the bike and when I put it in the bike basket to take her out she thankfully forgot about it and didn’t bring it with her inside.

I need to get a picture of her and her purse. It is so cute.

So the menus that are actually finished over at Li’s Kitchen are:

Chicken and Peanuts – this is a little spicy but a very nice dish with rice
Tomato Salad – Tomatoes and sugar. Yes sugar! It is really nice.
Cucumbers and Garlic – Yes Garlic. It is wonderful.

HOLY CRAP!!! This post is officially my 1000th post!!!!!!!!!!!

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Monday, April 10, 2006

Are you SURE it isnt Friday the 13th?

Today has been one of those days:

- ToddlarJi mysteriously woke up with no diaper on this morning but Li swears he put it on her after her bath. The result was a wet bed and pajamas. ToddlarJi thought it was pretty cool though.

- ToddlarJi’s juice cup has gone missing. We searched all over the apartment for it. No sign of it anywhere. This resulted in Li and I have a squawk at each other this morning: he thinks it is ok to put juice in the milk cup but I know for a fact this will make the milk later taste gross if you do this. He relented and said he wouldn’t put juice in there. We may have to buy a new sippy cup. They are actually not that cheap when you buy the decent ones that don’t break when chucked by little kids.

- It is raining.

- Li went to the apartment renters and had a bit of a squawk at them about us getting our deposit money back. The manager is going to phone and talk to him tomorrow.

- In order for Li to squawk at them I had to find the renter paper work, which had been put away. This means I had no clue where it was because things have been almost packed and moved around. It ended up being UNDERNEATH a huge pile of unpacked ceramics and at the very bottom of the box.

- I just realized that I double booked students tomorrow night and now have to phone and grovel.

- I broke my teacup at work. I have had that cup for over four years. Totally sucks.

- I have the most painful left shoulder and I have no idea what I did to cause the pain.

I really hope Li cooks something special tonight: I am feeling sappy and depressed.

The weather is totally not helping.

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Sunday, April 09, 2006

A good Sunday picnic

Last night ToddlarJi REFUSED to go to bed until well after 10, AUGH!!!
As a bonus she slept all night.

I am still tired though.

Yesterday we went to a picnic at the local park and were blessed with amazing weather, sunny and warm, and the cherry trees were still covered in blossoms. The park was beautiful.

This picnic was a small good-bye party set up by my friends Janelle and Kim. I hadn’t seen Janelle for a while so it was great seeing her.
It was a small get together and very nice. Originally a BBQ was in store but I pushed for a picnic instead because picnic grounds are MUCH easier with a kid than the rocks of a river. Turned out to be very smart on my part.

Janelle brought her unofficial nephew (she lived with the family when the boy was born), Q brought his two kids and I had ToddlarJi. Where we sat in the park we were beside the playground, on a flat field and there were no rocks anywhere. ToddlarJi was off running having a blast!

We were also being serenaded by a large group of Einka (old style Japanese music) Karaoke singers. They were having some sort of competition.

We had a great lunch, ate tons and then headed back home. We decided to walk along the old shopping road and do some window-shopping and possible buying. Myrna found a little present for *****(hehe) and we checked out the little temples along the way.

THEN hehehe, we stopped in at the recycle shop where I found my Boys Day doll (the shipping company is going to help me pack it) and I found something totally cool again!!! A Kendo Uniform!!!

It came in its own bag, has the mask/helmet, the breastplate, the gloves, the jacket and the skirt!!! All for only 22$!!!!! YAA!!!

It only needs to be dry-cleaned. It is in excellent condition. I didn’t take any pictures of it as it needs to be cleaned first: just a little sweaty. Eeuww.

Li had wanted to buy one but when we talked to some friends about what it costs for these things we decided nope: VERY EXPENSIVE. We have no need for it in any way: it is just very cool. Kendo is not that common yet back in Canada: it is getting common slowly.

What I want to do is get one of those mannequin dolls and dress it up. We would have a little soldier guarding the house. Hehehe

All we need to do is buy the kendo stick, and I don’t think that is very expensive.

We are going to have the oddest (but coolest) decorated apartment when we move back.

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Michael would be so proud

I had a very different post planned, I will still write it after, BUT I walked into work this morning and was very shocked by the latest attempt at proper and manners.

Actually I broke into a fit if uncontrollable giggles.

The ‘Refresh Area’, as it is called, is situated on the second and third floor of our building: the second floor is the office floor and the third floor is the laboratory floor. Well a while ago a policy went into place that allowed only smoking on the second floor and nothing on the third. I would have preferred it to have been set the other way around and have not sat and talked to anyone in the Refresh area since. To put it mildly, IT STINKS!! That and it can get a little hard to breath.

The problem is that I must fight my way through the smoky haze at least once a day in order to clean the tea machine every morning. If I want to drink any of that tea I have to fight my way through the haze again.
I can come out of their smelling just awful.

Well someone complained and low and behold, it wasn’t me!!

I had a holiday on Friday and on Friday they surrounded the area with a Michael Jackson style bubble, except that Michael had the opposite intensions. This works pretty good though, not perfect but close.

I took a picture with my cell phone: it is one the side in the FlickR pics. Not wonderful because of the reflections of the glass on the plastic but still very funny.

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Saturday, April 08, 2006

Kanaya Tea Festival 2006

Well this morning we had a bit of a bad weather scare but the weather gods that be pulled together for us and things stayed cloudy but rain free.

It actually turned into perfect weather.

After a big lunch Dad, Myrna, ToddlerJi and I headed out to Kanaya to their Tea Festival. I just found out that it is only held every two years so we were very lucky!

We met up with Kim, Jean and Jean’s daughter Rae. Kim and I remembered from experience (we went two years ago) and we arrived around two in the afternoon.

Perfect timing for a wonderful afternoon.

First we saw a Taiko Drums group performing in front of the station: mostly young people but all having a great time.

Then we started walking the road down and immediately came across the town dancers. It looked like every single woman and girl in the town was out dancing. The line stretched on FOREVER! It is a pretty site to see and of course a ton of pictures were taken.

We then came across the older ladies who were doing miniature tea ceremonies. I had Dad and Myrna try out the mattcya tea: I personally love the stuff.

Then Kim found the free Sake guys with their giant kegs of sake that they insist on everyone tasting. Dad, Myrna and Kim were holding a cup in each hand trying out about four different tasted and being pilled with free food by the crazy but wonderfully happy drunk sake guys.

After that we came upon the Yatais and arrived in perfect time to watch all six neighbourhood Yatais battle against each other.

Basically they do face-off dancing in front of each

other and glare at each other. The objective is to prove who has more spirit and energy. This is the time for the older guys and all the teens and young adults to go crazy. Their hair is as wild as they dare to make it, fake tattoos are painted on, most are just a little inebriated and all are having a blast.

We all really liked this one Yatai that was all in black. Their band players were very good and the main leader standing on the top was pretty cool looking. Dad really enjoyed him.

I took tons of pictures and we had a great time. ToddlerJi was an excellent girl and has decided that Dad and Myrna are pretty cool after all. She dragged Myrna back and forth and back and forth behind one of the food tents for almost an hour having fun walking

up and down the little step. She had to be holding Myrna’s finger while she did it though. That and Dad’s shoulders were a great place to sit and watch everyone.

Finally we had had enough and our energy level was sapping: ToddlerJi’s had totally sapped and she had crashed in her stroller. Even though the Yatai craziness had a long time to go before it was finished we headed slowly back home.

At the station Myrna had to roll up her pant legs and attempt peeing in the squatter toilets. Her shoes were still dry so she did good. She had so far avoided going anywhere near them but there was no way she was going to make it home so had no choice. Hehehe I still remember my first
squat: I hate those toilets.

After a light dinner and ToddlerJi’s bath Dad and I headed to the supermarket to go picnic food shopping. Tomorrow we are heading to a picnic at the main city park that has been organized by my friend Janelle. It is basically a good bye party for Li and I, only problem is I don’t know if Li is going to be able to make it.

I hope he can: even if it is only for an hour.

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Friday, April 07, 2006

20 more sleeps....

I took a day off today because Dad and Myrna were arriving.
They had had a wonderful time in Kyoto and got here around 2:30ish.

Our airplane tickets arrived for our trip to Shanghai. We plan on staying there for three weeks before heading out to Canada.

TWENTY MORE SLEEPS till we leave Japan.

I haven’t decided how excited I am yet.

ToddlerJi spent the day in daycare because I had to clean the floor and the do some refrigerator cleaning. I had blueberry juice EVERYWHERE!

Dad went with me to pick her up and the poor girl didn’t know what was going on. Dad carried her the whole way home (walking) but Ji never spoke a word. She kept giving him this look out of the corner of her eye:

-who the heck are you?

Last time she saw him she was six days old: don’t think her memory is that good.

She was a little wary of Myrna too.

We didn’t push her and decided to let her make her own moves. She started to warm up by the end of the evening.

We went to the Italian Restaurant for some excellent pasta and herb salad, yuuummmyyy, and listened to two men playing a steel guitar and saxophone. Not amazing musicians but they definitely created a lovely atmosphere.

ToddlerJi was excellent and we had a great night, except for the cream sauce that came back to bit me in the ass an hour later (still in). Milk allergies suck!

Everyone is now in bed except for me.

Tomorrow, if the weather agrees, we are going to head out to the Kanaya Tea Festival. Should be great!!

And on Sunday we are going to a goodbye picnic party being held for me. There should still be some cherry blossoms left at the park.

I’ll have pictures of course. hehehe

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Posted by (Top)Andrea::4/07/2006 :: 9 Comments:

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Welcome to the NEW ANDREA IN JAPAN!!!

I am having sooo much fun today.
I love this template.
I decided that:
1- my blog is about to celebrate three-years in a few weeks
2 - I am leaving the country and about to start a new life
3 - I hated the way my side bar seemed to go on and on and on...
4 - I was bored with the old template


I found a new one and this is sooooo much fun!!!
The amazing person who created this blog in Caz. I am awaiting an email from Caz so that I can try to correct the strange link colouring that is going on but other than that,

Please, tell me honestly,
What do you think of the new templae?
How did it load for you? OK?
Is the font and size readable?
Do you think something needs to be changed?

All input is welcome.

Update: CaliGirl wanted me to post a picture of the Koi Fish Plate I mentioned in the post below so...

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Posted by (Top)Andrea::4/06/2006 :: 24 Comments:

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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Ceramics, police and cell phones

Last night I returned home from work to find a HUGE shopping bag of stuff on the floor.
Well you don’t leave a bag on the floor and not expect me to check out its contents. Only problem here was that everything inside was very well wrapped.
From what I could tell my dear husband had gone ceramic shopping yet again.

Li has been on this quest for affordable Japanese looking ceramics to bring back to Canada with us. Fine, but I want to see what he bought!!!

Well after ToddlarJi and I had dinner I couldn’t resist any longer and I opened up all the packages that had been carefully wrapped for shipping: I had to re wrap them of course.
But Li bought this beautiful plate that I had been eying the other day. It is a water scene with Japanese koi fish and is lovely.

Later ToddlarJi and I went to bed and all was normal. We both slept very well until around 4:30 am when ToddlarJi decided she wanted some early morning milk.

The first thing I noticed was that Li was not home!

I have been through this before and it makes me panic every time. I hate it when he doesn’t call!!!! He usually gets home around 3 or 3:30. Latly he has wanted to wring the one guys neck that he has to car pool with cause the guy is slower than malasses when working. He has been getting home around 4 some night and not happy about it.

I called his cell to check in and the phone was dead – no power.

By 5 I was starting to get really worried and even though I knew his phone was dead I still called it about 3 more times.

By 5:15 every bad scenario had gone through my brain. The drive from work is for over an hour on the highway, it rained yesterday, the driver of the car is a putz (to put it mildly) and they are driving at 3ish in the morning when tired: not the sort of situation that makes me relaxed.

I called the bar, just to check, but they were closed. The only other place he could possibly be was with Xie, cause he works nights as well: only problem is I don’t have his number. There was no way I could even consider relaxing and trying to get in another hour and a half of sleep until I knew where my husband was.

So I do the only other thing I can think of, I text his friend Foo. I figured calling would be rude: he can ignore a text if he is sleeping. Thing is, I also know he has to head to work quite early in the morning and it was now 5:30 so I decided I had a pretty good chance of getting him. He texted back but he has no idea what Xie’s number is.

Just as I was writing another text Li walks in.

A- Where the hell have you been!! I have been going out of my mind! Even Ji won’t sleep.

L- The police stopped us.

A- oooohhhhhh??

L- The police stopped everyone on the entire freeway last night and they were searching all the cars - inside and out.

A- OH?

L- Because I am a foreigner I was questioned for over 30 minutes!!! They took my foreigners card and asked me a million questions!!

A- What is going on?

L- From what I heard on their radios, someone died or something like that and they are searching for someone. I heard the word foreigner a million times but who knows.

A- Good grief!! Why the hell didn’t you call???

L- Phone has no power!

A- Your work guy has a cell, call the house!!

L- ohh yaaa…… But I wouldn’t want to wake you.

A- I have told you once; I have told you a thousand times!!!! CALL!!! I don’t give a crap if you call me at 3 in the morning to tell me you will be home late or what ever. I would rather that than me waking up at 5 and having a total bloody PANIC ATTACK!!!!

I checked the news but there in nothing on the Internet papers yet; maybe on the lunch newsbreak.


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Posted by (Top)Andrea::4/05/2006 :: 12 Comments:

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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

They are cooommmiiinnnngggg!!!!

Dad and Myrna land in Osaka sometime today.
Forgot to check when: I think noon.
They will be in Kyoto for two days being blown away by the amazing cherry blossom trees and gorgeous temples.
Then on Friday they will be here in my little ol’ town for about two weeks.
Tons of things planned.
Ahhhhh what to do, what to do?

They have landed, are in Kyoto, are checked in (small snaffu at the hotel with missing registration but it is ok now) , and are going for an evening stroll as I write this.

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Posted by (Top)Andrea::4/04/2006 :: 15 Comments:

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Monday, April 03, 2006

Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?

I don’t post jokes very often but this was posted on a wives forum I belong to and I thought it was just BRILLIANT!

The following is supposedly an actual question given on a University of Washington chemistry mid-term exam. The answer by one student was so "profound" that the professor shared it with colleagues, via the Internet, which is, of course, why we now have the pleasure of enjoying it as well.

Bonus Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?

Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law (gas cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed) or some variant.

One student, however, wrote the following:

First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving.

As for how many souls are entering Hell, let's look at the different religions that exist in the world today. Most of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell.

Since there is more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell. With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially. Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle's Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls are added.

This gives two possibilities:

  1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.

  2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.

So which is it?

If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa during my Freshman year that, "it will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you, and take into account the fact that I slept with her last night, then number 2 must be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen over. The porollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is therefore, extinct...leaving only Heaven thereby proving the existence of a divine being which explains why, last night, Teresa kept shouting "Oh my God."


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Posted by (Top)Andrea::4/03/2006 :: 10 Comments:

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Sunday, April 02, 2006

I am a junk flyer reader...

Yes I really am.

I don’t throw them in the garbage until after I read them first: Li always chucks them with out a second glance.

I used to be a chucker but then I realized that I can actually READ the flyers. I can actually UNDERSTAND the flyers.

The flyers tend to be written mostly in katakana and hiragana with only simple kanji added. Generally I can’t understand anything written in Japanese but the flyers I almost can. That and there is usually a lot of pictures.

Well my flyer reading has actually come in handy on a few occasions and has saved us money.

First: I discovered a really cool child’s stuff resale place that buys and sells used, but quality, clothes and toys. I found ToddlarJi’s katakata there. (I am packing this and bringing it back with us.)

Second: I have come across the occasional coupon for cheap restaurant eating and these are always welcome.


The Garbage Man has turned out to be a real gold mine.

One day, about a month ago, there was a flyer stuck in our door and it immediately caught my attention. It said that these people collected garbage electronic goods FOR FREE!! One of the first kanji I learned when I came here was the free kanji and it has come in VERY HANDY.

I showed it to Li when he got home and he gave me the look that said, “Damn woman but I am proud of you.” Slight head swelling moment. Hehehe.

In Japan we must recycle EVERYTHING but some things cannot be thrown out with the regular recycled garage. This includes all electronic goods and appliances. What you need to do is call the collectors and pay A LOT to have them take things away. Fifty dollars is the starting price for most things.

Well we had to get rid of:
-an air con
-a dead TV
-a computer TV
-a dead VCR
-a stove top
-a still working toaster oven

We were looking at almost 200bucks in garbage pick up charges and I was having mild heart palpations about this. AND that 200 was not counting the money we needed to pay to have them safely remove the air con from the wall: damn freaky inside gas!

Li called the flyer number on Saturday morning and the guy said he would come by to look at the stuff on Sunday morning before Li headed out to work.

Well I am soooooo happy to report that they are going to take everything AND remove the air con from the wall safely, all for the brilliant price of SIXTY DOLLARS!!!

To put it mildly,
Li and I are thrilled!!!

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Posted by (Top)Andrea::4/02/2006 :: 19 Comments:

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Saturday, April 01, 2006

A Cherry Blossom Fool

(Yup I am the fool. sigh)

It is only Saturday and I have so much to say.

Where to start?

Well this morning my friend (and former Japanese teacher) came over with her sister-in-law and beautiful little niece. They came by to say hi and goodbye (I am leaving soon) and to pick up a huge garbage bag of baby clothes I had to find a new home for. In the process of packing I had to set aside all of ToddlerJi’s grown out clothes.


Let’s just say that I am a pack rat and they ended up with enough clothes for a YEAR!

It was really nice seeing them: the baby has grown so much! We took adorable pictures and did lots of posing. Hehehe. I won’t post them though: it isn’t my kid.

Then ToddlerJi and I put on our shoes and jacket, strapped the umbrella stroller to the back of my bike and headed out to the City Sakara Matsuri (Cherry Blossom Festival).

Last year there weren’t any blossoms for the festival: this year it was BEAUTIFUL!!!

All the pictures scattered through this post are from the festival. Click on them for a larger view.

When we got there we parked the bike, took off the stroller and started walking down the lane. ToddlerJi was in heaven and having the best time. I, on the other hand was having a hell of a time taking pictures AND keeping her safe. There were tons of people walking, having picnics, getting very drunk and taking tons of pictures.

I am going to really miss this about Japan.

The flowers were just gorgeous this year and we had a wonderful walk.

We went for our walk during ToddlerJi’s nap time so she ran out of steam pretty quick. We didn’t stay that long and headed home after about an hour or so. Ji fell asleep in the bike chair just as I predicted she would.

Li was still home when we got there and ToddlerJi awoke instantly for some daddy time.

I noticed that our newest residents in our apartment were here and sent Li down to talk to them.

The husband showed up at my door a few days ago with the traditional hello gift (always a towel) that new tenants give to their neighbours. Seemed like a nice enough guy.

Well I noticed that night that there was a vehicle parked in our parking spot. I assumed it was the new people. I wasn’t too concerned about it because we don’t have a car but I was a little worried about my private students and where they were going to park. There is zero parking around here.

I needed Li to go down and talk to the guy about it so there wouldn’t be any mishaps. No problems there.

Well Li headed off to work and I finally got ToddlerJi to take a nap. After she woke up from a far toooo short of a nap she and I headed out to do some food shopping.

We headed to Seiyu Supermarket and walked around very lazily, shopping in a very lalala way. Ji was in an incredibly good mood and I had nothing planned.

We get to the register, put the food basket on the counter, and I reach for my wallet.


I completely forgot to put my wallet back in my purse after Li asked for some money.


I handed my basket to the service counter people, told them to wait 20 minutes while I rushed home and got my wallet.

Stupid moment. Duh!

Everything else happened normal for the evening and ToddlerJi and I decided to snuggle up on the stool (no more sofa) and watch 4 Weddings and a Funeral. I hadn’t seen this movie in AGES! I still really enjoy it.

Well half way through the movie and I am laughing where I am supposed to and bloody crying where I probably am not (I am such a teary eyed sap) and the bloody door bell rings!!!

Shit, shit shit!

I have red eyes, snot bubbles, tear streaks and someone is at my damn door!!! I hoist up Ji grab a huge handful of tissues and attempt to de-snot myself before opening the door.

It is the new neighbour with a box of donuts saying sorry about the parking.

He probably thinks I am a total nut case now because I am sure it was plainly obvious I was crying.

This last picture is of some abandoned vending machines.

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Posted by (Top)Andrea::4/01/2006 :: 13 Comments:

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