Sunday, December 31, 2006
I asked 素子 to marry me and she said yes!
Now there are jsut a few million things to figure out. Not the least of which are where and when.
素子 has this idea for a wedding in Hawaii. It sounds interesting and I would love to go to Hawaii, but it will really depend on cost and how many people we think would come.
I was thinking a western wedding (she does not want a japanese wedding) in Tokyo so that as many of her friends and family as possible would be able to see the wedding. A few of my friends and family would come.
Yes more of my friends and family would come to Hawaii, but not many more. Which is why I think Tokyo would be better.
No matter where we get marreid there will be a reception back in St. Louis. I have too many friends and family that will not or can not travel not to have a reception at home for them.
Well the family just arrived to see the new house so i am going for now.
Saturday, December 30, 2006
Monday, December 25, 2006
This morning 素子 and I slept in until 9. Once we became mobile it took us an hour to become presentable and we hopped in to the car for a short jaunt over to meet my sister and pick up my neice Danielle for some christmas shopping.
One the way, we stopped at Krispy Kreme so 素子 could try them. Apparently, the first Krispy Kream just opened in the Shinjuku Ward of Tokyo. She said her favorite is the Glazed hot off the line and I admit it is hard to argue that.
After that we met up with my sister over at the Quick Trip on Lilac. That was a hasty messed up introduction between 素子 and my sister, but we ended wiht Danielle in my car and headed out.
We stopped first at Jared to drop off the ring i bought 素子 as a christmas present to get resized. Amazingly they said it would only be an hour. Then we headed into St. Louis Mills for some whirwind shopping. Danielle was amazingly shy about leading the shopping at first, but after a couple stores she got in the mood and *woosh* off we went.
Ok I fell asleep with the laptop on my lap. It is now 09:30 in the morning. Merry Christmas again!!
After the Mills we picked up 素子 ring from the jeweler and headed to West County Mall. We were a little hungry and the women teamed up on me and forced me to choose lunch all by myself. After some thought I picked something as American as I could think of, Red Robin.
Danielle made it a point of eating her entire Bacon Cheeseburger, while I barely finished half of my Teriyaki Burger and 素子 did not even hit the halfway point on her Crispy Fish Burger (which she had Danielle pick for her).
Once we arrived at West County it was even more non-stop shopping. With Danielle leading the way, but Christmas shopping was completed successfully with a chocolate & butterfinger ice cream cone for Danielle on the way out of the mall.
From there it was back to my sisters house in Highland to drop off Danielle and introduce 素子 to the rest of the neices. None of the girls were shy of her at all which helped a lot because she seemed quite nervous. Darla said hi and then both Danielle and Darla had to show off the Christmas present they got from my sister's friend Lorrie the presvious night. Then Dalanee migrated from my arms to 素子 and did not fuss at all. But it was a short visit as we had a dinner engagement with John & Melinda.
A quick ride over to Marine and we were knocking on the door to John & Melinda's house where both of their boys were extremely shy at first. John, the oldest, over came it first and began to play with us and that led Dan to get in on the act too. For about an hour they seemed to be non-stop action-packed bundles of enegery, and they centered it on 素子, which she really seemed to enjoy. 素子 was quite beautiful, smiling and playing with the children. She lost all her nervousness very quickly and jsut seemed to be herself.
Once the boys were off to their grandparent's house for the evening things calmed down and the four of us headed to Popeye's Chop House for dinner. It was a good time and I'll maybe finish the story later.
Friday, December 22, 2006
First we walked to Times Square and stopped to get brunch at a soup place called Soup Man along the way. Then we hopped the Subway to Ground Zero. There is not much to see yet of course, but the initial steel girders with the words Freedom Tower on them were in just put in place a couple days ago. I believe those girders came from the original towers.
After that we walked to Battery Park before heading up to Wall Street. While we were walking up Wall Street, police started to block everything off. There were hundreds of officers everywhere. There was some kind of march or protest happening.
We walked up Wall Street to Fulton which we followed down to Pier 17. After hitting a bunch of shops there, we took the subway to Soho to find the Camper store, but they did not have the shoes 素子 wanted. We hit a bunch of other shops in Soho then headed up to midtown to the FAO Schwarz toy store where I bought christmas presents for two of my neices.
We hit a bunch of stores in midtown and then walked to Rockefeller Plaza to see the tree and ice rink. It was as crowded as 渋谷 (Shibuya) was in the evenings, but i am sure that Rockefeller is not this crowded year round like 渋谷。
After that we headed back to the Hotel with a stop at the library which had some winter festival going on. 素子 and I both bought some chocolates to give as gifts from Lindt and then dropped all our stuff off at the hotel and headed out to dinner.
On the way to dinner we killed some time in Grand Central Station because there was a light show going on. Then we hopped a train down to Union and walked over to Sumile for dinner. There was only one other table in use when we arrived, but it was well after the normal dinner hour, I think we arrived right about 21:00.
The waiter noticed us taking a picture of the menu and I explained we wanted to show the difference to ともだちの素子 (Motoko's friends) who she went to Sumile Tokyo with. Once that word got out, the Manger and Chef both came out to talk to us.
Well 素子 is ready to leave so we are off for the day.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
My plane was one and a half hours late leaving St. Louis. We were parked on the runway in St. Louis for almost 45 minutes. So i called the hotel to make sure they had Motoko's name so she could check in, because her plane landed before my plane took off. So much for arriving at the same time.
When we finally landed in Newark, i had no message from Motoko or the hotel, so i assumed it all went smoothly.
Instead, much to my surprise and pleasure, she was waiting at the exit form security for me!!!!!!
I was giddy as a school girl.
We took the airport train over to the New Jersey Transit transfer point and hopped on a train headed for NY Penn Station.
When we arrived at Penn Station, we decided not to take a connecting subway over to Grand Central Station, because we both wanted to walk. Heading to the surface we exited at Madison Square Garden right before a Nicks game. wow the crowd. We walked over to 5th Ave and the then walked up from 32nd to 42nd on 5th ave. then down 32nd street to Grand Central Station and the Hyatt next door.
After we checked in, we chilled in the room for a bit and then headed out for a late evening snack. We hopped the subway down to 14th st. and walked over to 10th street looking for a dessert shop Motoko had seen in a guide flyer. We never did find it but we had a backup plan. Over on 9th street was another dessert shop called Cha An. It was a Japanese tea room and dessert restaraunt. SUGOI!!!!!! It was damn good.
After that we came back tot he hotel and chatted about what to do the rest of the trip.
Motoko just came out of the bathroom and said she's ready so i'll type more later we are headed out for the day.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
As happens every time, there was way more damn good food than us and every friend we have in the building could eat. Smoked turkey, dressing, macaroni & cheese, general tso's chicken, white rice, peas, bread, apple butter, chocolate oreo cake, devilled eggs, 4 varieties of cookies, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, cole slaw and a few things that i can not remember right this minute.
I have made it a habit to step on the scale every morning to help reinforce my self imposed weight control/loss program. This morning I was 96kg (211.2lbs). I really, really doubt i will be 96kg or less tomorrow morning!!
Well all my laundry is done so time to go pack my suitcase for New York. I will be home on Saturday, but i assume i'll have a few minutes of downtime somewhere with internet access.
If you are lucky i'll post a picture or something while I'm there.
Monday, December 18, 2006
I hope to know tomorrow if the underwriters are signing of on everything.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Friday, December 15, 2006
First thing Saturday morning I have to be in Collinsville to meet the guy i hired to do the whole house inspection.
At noon, it is off to play in Dave's d20 Modern game The Harshlands.
The evening is currently open but I'm hoping to chat with 素子 then, as it would be Sunday morning for her.
Sunday is open until 15:30 when I need to head to Spiro's in St. Charles for dinner with the family. We will be celebrating my parent's 35th wedding anniversary.
During any down time in there I need to be cleaning. 素子 will be staying here after we come back from New York, and I am 100% certain that "bachelor clean" is not good enough. I also need to clean because I will be selling the place as soon as I close on the house in Collinsville.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
so i hit work @6am and leave @8am assuming i'm gonna kill 2-3 hours and be stuck working late to make up the time.
Well that did not happen. I was in my car and on my way back to work by 8:45. I have been to traffic court more times than i want to count, and i have NEVER beenin and out that fast before. The Ass. PA had me in and out before the courtroom even opened at 9am.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Monday, December 11, 2006
The next cluster starts on January 3rd. I am signed up for Humanities. I don't feel like figuring out what that is at the moment. In the Spring cluster I will be taking my gen. ed. math cluster and that will leave me with only one more gen. ed. Cross Cultural. That is a shoe in for the Japanese cluster, but it won't be offered again until the Fall cluster, so summer will be the first of the courses in my major. So that means i need to hurry up and decide on a major.
I am really think of going the Information Technology route and picking database management and related clusters. I already know hardware fairly well and I don't want to be a hard core coder taking only the various programming language clusters, but database design and implementtation has always been interesting to me.
Saturday, December 9, 2006
Yeah, it definitely has not sunk in yet. If everything goes smoothly, the closing date will be December 28th. That is the same day Motoko leaves to go back to Tokyo.
1140 square feet finished.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Motoko and I have both booked our flights for the holidays. We will meet in New York the week before Christmas for 3 days then hop back to St. Louis to do the Holiday thing with my Family and Friends before she heads back to Japan on the 28th.
I'm excited as hell.
1. I get to see Motoko again.
2. I get to see NYC at Christmas.
3. See #1
Life is good right now.
The Atago Jinja granted 100 days of good fortune, I thank you.
I'm watching Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon again.
p.s The girl who played Rei/Sailor Mars (the red one) also was in Fast & Furious 3: Tokyo Drift. Coincidentally her character's name in FF3 was Reiko. I recognized her in the scene she was helping adjsut the engine, i was amazed to recognize a Japanese actress in the movie. If you have hte DVD, watch the deleted scenes. A couple of the ones she was in(tire stelaing & on the rag) were damn funny.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
I'm excited. Actually I'm more than excited, but i don't wanna dig out a thesarus.
The current plan is she is going to fly into NY the week before christmas, and I am going to fly out to meet her there. then we will come back to St. Louis on the 23 (i think), then she'll leave on the 28th to be back in Japan for New Year's.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Thursday, October 5, 2006
I have so been wanting one of these ever since i broke my Librie last year while i was in Japan. The new reader has the bonus of reading TXT & PDF natively, right off of a memory card (SD or Memory Stick Pro) which the librie could not do. The Librie would only read the DRM laden BBeB format, which sony is still using for the "purchased" ebooks from their Connect Store.
as an added bonus, since i didn't buy this one second hand with 3rd party flashed firmware, i got sony's extra "you can drop it and still replace it" insurance plan.
The screen is the exact same as the Librie, there does not seem to be any visible difference in quality. So in a year or so i might be able to get a screen off ebay or something and refurb my Librie too.
Friday, September 29, 2006
Tokyo Shibuya-ku Dogenzaka 2-10-7 Shin Daisou Building 2 B1
Tokyo Shibuya-ku Dogenzaka 2-10-7 Shin Daisou Building 1 B1
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Based on all the grades i got aside from the test we took tongiht I should get a B in the class. I would have had an A if i would not have turned in over half my papers late. but I don't care as long as i pass.
first class for next cluster is next week wednesday. it will be Natural Sciences. The proffesor will be the husband of the proffesor i had for the communications cluster.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
I'm currently reading Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden.
Yesterday I was took my older neice shopping for the first time. We spent 5 hours in 2 different malls. We were supposed to be shopping for her sister's birthday present, but I caved in and bought her an outfit too. do not tell her mom how much the skirt cost.
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Well i woke up this morning and damnit but it's all cloudy. I'm like fuck. there sky was clear with stars at midnight when i got home. So i called them up and got his partner ed. He advised i reschedule, but the final call could wait a couple hours, just in case it cleared.
damn!! it really looks like this is not going to happen.
on the positive side we have had a good time doing everything else. We went up the Arch on Tuesday.
Monday, August 21, 2006
two weeks ago i headed to indianapolis with the gang for GenCon 2006. it was a good con, not great, but good. after i came home i pretty much just vegitated.
i've relaxed, thought about a LOT of things and now i'm solid with myself again.I think everyine needs to simply unplug from life every once in a while and make sure they are still who they want to be and where they want to be and going where they want to go.
Friday, August 11, 2006
once i regained my senses + one light hangover, i headed out for my first day of the con. it's as good as always. Cruised the dealer hall almost all day. picked up some j-pop, some japanese movies, and a couple anime.
now it is time to head over to Greek Islands for dinner. see ya
i met up with the gang at the sports bar in the hotel loby then we all went to a cigar bar called Nicky Blaine's.
Do not EVER go to Nicky Blaine's in indianapolis.. they called the cops on us because were refusing to pay an automatic gratuity
per their menu a gratuity is automatically applied to your bill for parties of 6 or more and we only had 5 people. in the end we paid it and left because one of the people in out party works for a defense contractor and it could jepordise his security clearance. but we will never go to this place again. all over $35.
more posts later. at the moment i'm exceedingly drunk.
Monday, July 31, 2006
but instead she was wanting to know when she can call and we can video chat to talk about the relationship. and she even mentioned coming to see my hometown..
i am so completely confused. women completely mystify me. after being a bit depressed all day i'm now as giddy as a school girl.
Friday, July 21, 2006
oh well f-that it is the weekend now and tonight is D&D night.
Party on dudes!!
Monday, July 17, 2006
Well someone at the office told me there was a health scale up in the kitchenette on the 4th floor, and i figured well the doctor said i had lost 24 pounds since the year before, and it had been another month, so well let's check it out.
263 pounds. I didn't believe it. So i asked someone else if that thing was acurate. They said itmatches what their doctor tells them.... umm wow.. that's 17 pounds less than the doctor visit a month before. I guess all the exercise i got in Japan really drove that down. Well just to keep things on the up and up i broke down and bought my own scale. One of those electronic self zeroing jobs. and it said the same thing. Holy shit!!
Well that is right at 40-45 pounds lost since September of 2005. And i know at my absolute worst, back in 2002 i was at 350 . so damn i'm down ~100 since 2002. I'm too scared to go buy new clothes. so i just wear the belt tighter.
But at the rate i am going i will hit my target of 250 in a month or two. That means i need a new goal. I wonder if 200 is too far out of line, i think it might be. I do not have the small body frame to be sub 200. I will not "diet" just for weight loss. What i have done so far is jsut a result of healthier eating habits and more exercise.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Well it is a fact they did. Of course if things had been different what are the odds of a United States now? Not likely. There are ups and downs to this kind of arguement.
I got home from class and fired an email off to Motoko telling her about the class and stuff. As soon as i hit send, and my gmail pops back to the inbox i see an email sitting there brand new from her dated the exact same time.
That made my day. I'm off to shave and shower then bed.
oyasumi nasai (good night)
Sunday, July 9, 2006
The good thing is Motoko and I are still talking. Via email, but at least talking. a 14 hour time difference makes it hard to make phone calls, and Motoko has already told said she doesn't like speaking in english onthe telephone. I could not get her to explain that one to me, but it is how she feels and i respect that.
That is just one more reason to learn japanese. Not like i needed another reason.
Work is work. things have been a bit slow gettin going, but i think it was just becauseit was a holiday week. Things are already starting to look busy again next week. Along the work front. I ask Motoko to speak with Naoko again when she had a chance to. If you don't remember Naoko was the friend of Motoko's friend Aki who said it should be easy for me to get a job in Japan. Well I asked Motoko to find out what kind of jobs she was talking about, and the answer was very encouraging. Apparently, Naoko has a number of western friends in Japan and a few of them work in IT jobs. According to her there are a number of IT jobs that require english. This is good news for me since i'm currently back to school to get my BA in IT, and it is a large part of my current job.
Nothing else really going on. just back to my normal life.
Thursday, July 6, 2006
Originally i had figured i would just be leaving my luggage with the hotel and hop the Yamanote line for some random shopping for a few hours alone. I hadn't planned on Motoko around since my flight was leavin that day. But talking wednesday about my schedule for thursday, my flight was not until 6:30pm, and that i didn't have to find my way to Shinigawa eki to catch the NEX until 3pm, Motoko snuck in some email time on her phone, and later that evening offered to come see me thursday too. Needless to say that made for one happy me.
We met again at the hotel at 10. Motoko beat me to the Cafe Merry Coco this morning, by only a couple minutes she said when i asked if she had been waiting. I ordered a quick breakfast and we talked about where to go while i ate. Since stores really don't get open until 11 we took our time talking and Motoko suggested Shinjuku when i said i was originally just going to go somewhere at random. So we headed for the eki and hopped the Yamanote to Shinjuku.
I honestly forgot the names of the places she took me. I should have snagged some floor maps from each store so i would remember. In the first place i mentioned that it would be nice if i could find a shogi set for a friend, and that became our mission. Motoko foind the information counter for the store and asked the ladies working it. They made some phone calls and directed us to um the 6th floor or so. Once there we located their wide selection of 2 sets among a bunch of other board games. After purchasing that we wandered the other floors of the place for a while. Then noticed a Tokyu Hands store was located on one side of the building. We tore up every floor of Tokyu Hands. That place is just amazing. they have just about everything you could possibly imagine, and some things that you couldn't. I didn't learn until i got home that the one in Shibuya is actually the original and best one to visit.
After that we headed a couple blocks down and over to another place. The basement floor of this place had a what i can only describe as a food market. It was the size a Dierbergs or Schnucks except with 50 times more variety, and most of it fresh. All i could say was sugoi (wow great awesome, you get the idea)...
After that the rest of the store kind of paled in comparison, but was still very nice. As we started to walk around Motoko got a bit reserved and said she jsut realized that there wasn't anything i would like int he store as it was pretty much exclusively catering to women. Well i disagreed with her and tried yet again to convince her that actually i LIKE shopping. and that while i might not like to shop in this kind of store for as long as she would, that i do have opinions and a decent talent for picking out items. I am not sure is she believed me or didn't want to argue with me, but we walked around the place some more after that. eventualyl striking on the idea of one of her favorite (but not the favorite) shoe shops was here and we located that. I made some comments about shoes, and the similarity in her styles, she said that yeah, that is pretty much the only kind she wears. I mentioned that she had wore a green pair only once, and the brown pair every other day, and she seemed surprised and said "You noticed?" Are Japanese men so self centered as to not notice what the person they are with is wearing and comment on it? I know i had been commenting the entire week on her clothing choices and color choices. Motoko has a set style that she likes and while there is a lot of variety in that style, that is all she prefers to where. I can't argue with that. I only where collared button down shirts, and jeans, dockers, or shorts. So i don't have any room to talk.
This did lead me to mention Dwarf to her. As I had sent her a group picture of all of us over at Show-Me's once weekend she at least had a visual. Hert mental tag for him is "the guy with the beard" which does pretty well sum up dwarf. I mention this because we were discussing style and lack there of. and i said .. no. no style is dwarf. He has like 20 blue shirts all the same and that is the only thing he ever wears. That is no style. Motoko replied. no. maybe that is HIS style. I laughed and agreed. No one tell dwarf! (haha)
After we left that shop it was right about noon so we went to get something to eat. I was thinking maybe a fast noodle place or something as i didn't want a big meal before the flight, but Motoko suggested this Indian place that was close by. I had never tried Indian food in Japan so i agreed with her on that, but at the same time she said ok noodles. It took a few minutes but i convinced her that Indian would be good, and i had only picked noodles just to pick something. I was much happier going to a place she liked.
Well am i ever glad she suggested it. If you are ever goin to be in Shinjuku, let me know and i will ask her for the name of the place again. It was great and CHEAP. Apparently for lunch they have this Curry buffet. They have a full menu too, but i didn't see anyone order off of it. Basically we sat down ordered drinks and then went up and got a plate and little metal bowls for the curry. they had umm 4 flavors i think. maybe 3. Anyway put either rice or flat bread (forget the proper name of it) on your plate, then fill the little bowls up with your choice of the curry. go back to your table and munch. I opted for the chicken and spicy curries. The chicken curry was pretty bland. but SUGOI the spicy curry was great. it was not very hot or maybe i'm too used to Show-Me's wings, but the flavor was absolutely superb. I had to control myself to not get more or i would be overful for my flight, and that is just a bad combination. Stuffed tummy and turbulence do not mix. Did i mention it was cheap? i believe the bill was less than 300 yen EACH... that is less than $3. omg.. and it was a buffet. eat as much as you want... I have to go there hungry some day. That was a way better choice than noodles.
After lunch we hit another shop and i found the exact same set of measuring cups as the ones i own except these had metric readings on them next to the standard 1/4 1/2 3/4 etc.. exact same brand. it was funny.
Anyway after walking around a bit more we decided that while i had a little time to spare, there wasn't enough time to go do anything, so i decided it was time to go. We walked back to the Shinjukui eki, and i tried to say goodbye to Motoko but she offered to go back tothe hotel with me. So we went back to Shibuya and to the hotel so i could collect my suitcases. Then she offered to pull my carry-on along. I told her i could get it, i had got there by myself after all but she insisted. And well honestly i didn't argue hard. It let me stay with her that much longer. We got in the station and headed to Shinigawa eki where i could catch the NEX. She said she would see me all the way to the NEX and that she didn't have to be at work quite yet. Fine with me, because honestly i really did not want to go home. Maybe i should talk to Naoko (Aki's friend) about what kind of jobs she was thinking of when she said she thought it would be easy for me to get a job...
Anyway We got to Shinigawa and i began looking for the NEX ticket booth, i thought i had remembered seeing it when i arrived and that meant it was inside the gates, because i never left hte gates to get to Shibuya. We couldn't see it so Motoko suggested we leave but i insisted it was inside. Right then we wlaked by the information booth (nice timing eh?) and she asked them and they poined us down a hallway inside the gates. Motoko was amazed at me again but i had to admit that i didn't remember exactly. It was a lucky guess that time. We bought my ticket and had 30 minutes until the next NEX.
We talked, without really saying anything intelligent, except to repeat what we talked about all day. Honestly my brain was in denial that i had to leave. Finally the music sounded that hte train was on approach i hugged and kissed (cheeck) her repeatedly. Then the train was there and the doors opened. I lugged my suitcase on and turned to get the carry on, and she was already there with it. That got another hug and kiss and then the music played that the doors were closing. quick hug and farewells and she stepped off. The doors closed and i turned and put my stuff in the luggage rack. I didn't cry but i would be not be truthful if i said my eyes were not all watery.
After that, it was off tot he airport and security and lots of waiting jsut like any other flight... 30 hours after i woke up i landed in Saint Louis.
I do not know if this was one of the best things i could have done with my life. I most certainly hope it turns into one of the best things i ever decided to do, but i refuse to regret one minute of it, even if Motoko turns around and tells me to get lost, i am extremely happy i signed up with Kaiwa when i did and that i got to know and meet Motoko..
Motoko, if you ever read this, no matter what happens between us in the future, domo goshinsetsu ni, domo arigatou gozaimashita.
Tuesday, July 4, 2006
There are a number of ways to get to Odaiba. Motoko decided that a boat tour would be the best way, and that started in Asakusa. So we walked to the Shibuya eki and hopped on the Tokyo Metro Ginza subway line for ¥240 and rode it end to end. It just happens to start in Shibuya and end in Asakusa. The interesting thing about it being a subway is that in Shibuya, the platform is on the 3rd freaking floor of the station. As soon as it leaves the station the tracks start diving for the underground, and it is underground the rest of the way to Asakusa. I did learn something on that trip. Motoko does not like the subway. Not that there is anything with the trains, she jsut doesn't like to be on a train underground. This explains why we always walked to the JR lines so much those are all surface trains. That and she had a company paid commuter rail card for JR lines. Can't blame her for that. How many years did our GenCon crowd stay in hotels in Gurney Mills just because it was on Bob's company's tab?
Anyway we get to Asakusa and purchase our tickets for the boat tour. Motoko heads to the restroom and i go wandering over to a map of the area. I knew i had been to the Asakusa temple last year and i was wondering jsut how close this was to it. I couldn't see any of the compound and i didn't remeber water being by it last year. Well a single glance at the map showed it was only a block and a half away but the buildings were jsut blocking the view of the 5 story pagoda. Amazing. Anyway we hop on the boat and it is a 50 minute cruise down the river to the bay and Odaiba.
A large part of the banks of the river are lined with sakura(cherry) trees. Motoko says that during Hanami(cherry blossom viewing) this cruise is absolutely beautiful. I took bunch of pictures of the scenery and a self portrait of Motoko and I. 50 minutes later we pull in to the dock and disembark. It is a little after noon by this point so we head in to one of the malls and wander around the sony style store and a few other stores before deciding it was time to get some food. Discussing it neither of us are want a large meal as we had breakfast so we decide on an dessert to hold us over until dinner. We ended up in a nice little place where we both got similar items. it was a paper thin layer of something that tasted like a waffle cone but it was soft, with fruit and icecream on top of it. Mine was oranges and pineapple. Motoko ordered one with strawberry's and i think chocolate. They were oishii (delicious).
After that we perused the rest of that mall and then took the free local bus to another one of the malls. Shopping around this one was a lot of fun and it even had a car museum (with a delorean!) in it. Motoko found a cute silvery(but not silver because she is alergic to it) toe ring at a kiosk, i never found any earrings i liked ;( But i did learn a bit more about her taste. she likes things with skull patterns. That just rocked right into my gamer senses. Then we found a jeans shop and Motoko was going to pass it by, I need to ad some background info here. Motoko had repeatedly told me over the week that she loved jeans, and that was all she wore unless she was at work, and then at work she wore pants that looked like jeans but were not denim. the rule was she couldn't wear denim to work. So i flat stopped and pulled her (not truely resisting) into the shop. She fell in love with a number of pairs but OMG the price tag on some of them was quite high. I go no idea why they were so high, i think Motoko mentioned something about all being special imports. But she did find a really wicked pair that had been custom stitched with a wicked skull pattern. she almost bought them but finally decided against it. After the little deal the previous day offering to buy her the iPod case, i stayed silent.
After shopping around the place, I ask Motoko if we can go on the ferris wheel i had seen rearing up behind the building when we arrived. So we worked our way around to it. It was HUGE. It takes 16 minutes to complete a rotation. You get on while it is slowly moving, the speed never changes, and it does not stop. I took a bunch of pictures from it, and as fate would have it right after i put my camera away after we crossedthe zenith, we say a 747 at pretty much EYE LEVEL. It was on approach to an some airport or another, but my god it seemed close. It was comming in staight towards us and slowly turned for it's final approach. it was wickedly cool. It was probably never closer than a mile or two but it seemed pretty damn close to me.
After that we headed for the eki right near the base of the ferris wheel. This traind is noting like any other train in Tokyo. Motoko called it a monorail, and i expected something like Disney's. Instead they were normal looking traind cars, but here was no tracks. it was on tires and there was a single rail in the center and it moved it by magnetics. so same principle as Disney just less expensive most likely. This train went two ways off the island, and we were smack in the middle. We took it back towards downtown Tokyo, which was basically 4 or 5 stops on Odaiba and then across Rainbow bridge, where we got off and migrated to the Yamanote line.
We rode back to Shibuya and by this time we were definately ready for dinner so we headed to JoJoen, a restaraunt Motoko had picked out. She said it was a Japanses/Korean barbecue. Well it was. but you had to cook your food yourself. After glancing at the menu i couldn't decide so i picked a class of meat and asked Motoko to order the specific type. She ordered a salad and 2 meat plates. First, the salad was probably the second best salad i've every had. I do not know what their dressing is but it was absolutley oishiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii. It was simple, just greens and dressing and sesame seeds, but wow. it was good. At the same time as he brought the salad out, the waiting opened the middle of the table revealing a grill and turned on the gas. A moment later he was back with the first plate. thin sliced cow tongue. and a dish with three sauces in it for each of us. A lemon sauce (Motoko's favorite), a soy sauce (average), and some kind of spicy sauce My personal pick). It was not very spicy hot, but had a good spice snap that really gave the meat a flavor. Then the second tray came out and it was some thin sliced strips of sirloin if i remember correctly. Anyway, this works by taking the meat and slapping it on the grill until it is cooked to your preference then you whip it off and dip it in the sauce of your choice and eat it. It was a very good meal. After the main course there was your choice of ice cream. Just a little couple bite thing, but it was included. I asked for green tea flavor.
Motoko and i talked for probably an hour after we were done eating since this was our last night. Once we decided to leave we were going to go wander around Shibuya a bit again. We asked for the check and Motko wandered to the restroom. There was a funny culture clash at this point. You see in Japan you pretty much NEVER pay at your table. They leave the bill and you take it to the front and pay at th eregister onthe way outhte door. Well we asked for ours but when the waitress came with our check, Motoko was not around and the waitress must have assumed i had no idea what i was doing in japan. She handed me the check which i glanced at and set down on the table to await Motoko since we had been paying for our own almost all of the time. Well the waitress proceeded to squat down next to the table obviously awaiting the bill back, i was in shock. i hurriedly snagge dout my wallet and tossed some cash on the bill which she took up to the register and then brought me the change. By the time Motoko came back it was all done. I explained it to Motoko and she thought it was funny and paid me her part. As we exited there were other customers lined up at the register paying their bill. My Gaijin Aura showed itself at last. I could only laugh.
We wandered around Shibuya for a bit then i suggested we go to a dessert shop Motoko had wanted to hit the day before but had closed by the time we got to it. Man am i glad we did.. that was probably the best sundae i've ever had. Bananna, pineapple, raspberry & strawberry with vanilla ice cream. oi! it was good. We ate and talked some more then i walked her back to the station.
Sunday, July 2, 2006
So we head out and sine it is before 11 most shops are not open yet, but we do enjoy a bit of window shopping along the way. Eventually we find the side street that he bakery is supposed to be down and wander our way into the side streets. Not too much later we find it, door open and the nicest smell coming out from it. It is still well before 11, so they are not technically open, but Motoko asks the lady who was sweeping the entrance something i can't follow, i think if they would have any apple pies, and after a glance at the large American standing behind her she invites us in to purchase two. Thanking them we leave with Motoko simply glowing in pleasure of actually seeing her favorite cake/baking shop. We decide to save the applie pies to eat at the theater later, and continue our walk.
Back out on Aoyama-dori (Aoyama street) we continue toward the Meiji Garden. While walking past a shop whose name i never did look at, I spotted a couple leather iPod Nano cases, and called Motoko's attention to them. She immediately fell in love with them, but since it was not 11 yet the shop was not open. I suggested we could walk back by here on the way to the baseball game later that night since it is in the same area.We continued on then and came to the area that the Meiji Garden was supposed to be, but we never did find it. We wandered around the area for a good 30 minutes before deciding that enough was enough and I suggested that we just go to the Meiji Jingu Shrine, which was one of the other things we had discussed. Motoko agreed and looking around i asked her if she felt like walking or if we should take a densha. The Meiji Jingu Shrine sits just outside the Yamanote line eki in Harajuku. Harajuku is the next eki north of Shibuya, and we had walked northeast from Shibuya trying to find this Meiji Garden. I figured that it could not be all that far from where we were and thought i could find it no problem. By this time Motoko was becoming used to my confidence that i could not get lost very easily, and if i said i could find something that i probably could, so she said sure let's walk.
After about 10 or 15 minutes we came to a break inthe surrounding buildings that let her see the Shinjuku tower building ahead and to our right. Shinjuku for reference is the next eki north after Harajuku. When she pointed this out to me i smiled and said, "well that means i'm going in the right direction, if that," i pointed at it, "is Shinjuku and Shibuya is that way," and i waved left then ponted straight ahead, "then that way must be Harajuku." She shook her head in amazement, laughed and agreed.
A few minutes later were were passing a small shop and Motoko exclaims, "kawaii(cute)!!" and stops walking to look in a store. I stop along with her and she asks if we can go in. I agree, and hold her parasol as she begins to look at those half circle almost horseshoe shaped headband hair things(that is fancy guy terminology). She ends up purchasing two of them, although she only wore the off white one the next two days. Leaving the store we continue in the assumed direction of Harajuku. 10 minutes later i spot a Yamanote densha (all JR lines have different color stripes on the cars to visually let you know which line it is), so i know we are close. Moments later the intersection we come two has a street sign saying Meiji-dori. We go under the rail line, and there is the entrance to the Meiji Jingu Shrine. Motoko just shakes her head.
The Meiji Jingu is one of the largest shrines in Tokyo, and as a bonus for Motok and I there was a wedding that day. As we were passing through the bride and groom were getting their pictures taken. The brides kimiono was very nice looking and was a many layered affair that took 3 women almost 5 minutes to fold up appropriately so she could walk. The shrine itself is very large with a lot of detail around the entire complex. Exiting the shrine from the opposide we enetered, put us right at the Harajuku eki where we got on and rode the Yamanote around to the Ginza area to go watch Inside Man.
We arrived and got seated right as the last of the previews was ending. The movie itself was pretty good, and the ending was interesting. I don't know if all Japanese theaters are like this or not, but it is not general admission, we had assigned seats on our tickets. As the movie was starting Motoko broke out the apple pies she had bought that morning. They were every bit as good as she said they were. I will add the bakery is a 100rganic place, so i wasn't sure what to expect. But it was GOOD.
After the movie we took the densha back to Harajuku and walked to Aoyama-dori so we could go by that shop with the leather iPod case. It turns out they had 3 different colors. Motoko really liked them but wasn't sure about the price. I tried to buy it for her but she refused.
We arrived at the Jingu stadium right as the players were taking the field. so it was good timing once again. I would like to note that general admission seats in the outfield were only ï¿½1500($12). Reserved seats in the outfield were only ï¿½1900 if i was reading the signs correctly. It was the Tokyo Yakult Swallows vs Chunichi Dragons. Beers cost ï¿½700($6) some things are the same the world over. The score when we left at the top of the 9th was 3 to 1 Swallows. We left because we had not had dinner yet and it was after 20:30.
We walked back to Shibuya and settled on just getting a dessert instead of a full meal. We talked and I walked Motoko back to the eki so she could go home. I walked back to the hotel and after taking a shower, i filled the tub for a hot soak and promtly fell asleep in it. I woke up an hour later severely pruned, but my muscles had relaxed.
Next time: wednesday
Saturday, July 1, 2006
After the Sunshine City Aquarium, we headed took the Yamanote to Tokyo eki. Because we wanted to go to the imperial gardens. We walked up to the gate of the imperial palace and I took a few pictures, then we headed towards the gardens. Unfortunately the imperial garderns are not open on Mondays. This was not as bad as it could have been because what i had planned for the area included a national garden also, which was open. We walked half way around the imperial complex instead of through the gardens and arrived at the Kitanomaru National Garden. I took a bunch of pictures here too. A few of them i think are very nice close ups of some of the plants.
When we exited the garden we still had some time to kill before we were to meet Motoko's friend Aki for dinner so Motoko led us over to a large shrine that was at the next street. It turns out this was Yasukuni Shrine, where World War Two leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal are honoured along with the nation's war dead. Personally i think that China and Korea are overreacting to the various Japanese PM's visting this shrine. Then again Japan in WWII did not occupy US territory like they did China & Korea, so maybe that allows me to take a longer view. Either way, while we were at the shrine, you could see the preperations for the summer fesitvals. They were puttin up poles and stringing lights all along the main paths into the shrine. I wish that my school break at Lindenwood had been 2 weeks later than it was, it would be so neat to see the country decked out for summer festivals. Of course i want to see the country in spring and fall and winter too.
Leaving the shrine Motoko wanted to catch a JR densha(train) so we had a pleasant walk through Tokyo to the next JR eki. We hoppped that back to Shibuya. While on the way, Motoko got a text message from Aki asking if it was ok for a friend of hers, Naoko, to come along because aparently they had something to do in Shibuya. I said sure and we arranged to meet up with them at one of the (billions of) Starbucks in Shibuya. We all met up and sat in Starbucks talking for about an hour. They asked me to show the pictures i had on the laptop, and they were all so happy over my nieces, just as Kimi was. Apparently this meeting was all i would get to see of Aki, because Naoko and her were going shopping. There was some kind of sale goin on. I could tell Motoko wanted to go, but she started to blush furiously when i told her that we should go along. At this point my interest was up. I finally got them to admit what they were shopping for. they were going shopping for bras and panties. There was some big sale at one of there favorite stores or something. At this point i should mention that Naoko spoke english almost as good as Motoko does, and she was backfiring anything said in english to Aki. I looked at Motoko and said "you want to go don't you? Fine let's go" but she turned so red it was cute. Naoko fired that statement to Aki and they all laughed. In the end i couldn't convince Motoko to go, but i thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Motoko's friends, and getting to see another side of her.
We all left Starbucks with Aki & Naoko heading shopping and Motoko & I headed off to dinner. We had done a lot of walking and we were hungry. We decided to try the okinomiyaki place from the day before and they were not busy, so we went in. It was good, though not as good as the okinomiyaki i had last year in Osaka, which is well known for it. After dinner i walked Motoko to the eki and that was pretty much the end of the day. I went back to the hotel and watched some random TV before passing out.
I'll continue the week later right now i've got to go meet Dwarf and company at Show-Me's.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Saturday at noon i met up with Motoko as planned, and then we headed to the Atago Jinja (shinto shrine). There was a festival being held, that is you prayed at the shrine you would be blessed with 1000 days of good luck!
After that we hopped the Yamanote line to Harajuku where we ate a late lunch at Fujimama's, a place Motoko wanted to go to. I had a swordfish sandwich that was very good. Motoko had biscuits & gravy that came with apple & chicken sausage. Yes chicken and apple sausage. She was a bit surprised at it, and she didnt' know what biscuits and gravy was either. But she liked it.
After lunch we walked around Harajuku for a while looking at shops, Motoko pointing out her favorite shoe store, and ended up walking to Shibuya. We walked around Shibuya for a while going in a few stores. We stopped in Tower Records and picked up a Magazine called Metropolis, it is apparently Japan's leading english magazine. We looked at going to see a movie, but nothing seemed very interesting. Too bad i am not staying through the weekend, because Cars is being released on July 1st. So we walked around Shibuya a bit more then settled on meeting in Saitama at 11:00.
Motoko seems amazed at how well i can travel around the country, but it not very hard. Japan's rail system is absolutely simple to use, the only hard part is finding the right ticket price on the big map by the ticket machines. There is not always one with the station names in romaji(roman letters), but even with that you only need to know a couple of the main stations by their kanji and you will have no problem getting where you want to go.
So Sunday morning i wake, head over to Shibuya eki(station) and it only takes a moment to find that the price for Omiya eki is ¥540 and i want the Saikyo Line. Knowing that, all the platform signs have romaji on them so it's a snap. I was on the 10:17 commuter express and hit Omiya by 10:57. I met up with Motoko in the station and then we walked around the area close to the station and did some shopping. I found some gifts for my neices and a few other people. Then at 13:30 we went for lunch at what seemed to be an italian place. We were meeting up with Motoko's junior high friend Kimi.
I had omurice, basically an omlet laid over rice. It was absolutely oiishi(delicious). I dont' remember what Motoko had, it was some kind of meat on a roll and cheese soup. Kimi had spaghetti that looked relly good too. We talked for a while with Motoko translating because Kimi couldn't speak English and my Japanese is only good for a few phrases and random words. I had a few pictures on my laptop from Busch Bash and Motoko wanted to see them. My nieces were a big hit. Kimi kept said kawaii(cute) over and over about Darla. We all laughed at Danielle's expression in the picture where she got her cell phone. and of course Dalanee is just kawaii.
After that Kimi left and Motoko and I took the the densha(train) over to the next eki, where Saitama Stadium is and went to the John Lennon Museum, it was very interesting. After the museum, we shopped a little more in a building that could basically be called a mall in the US, just with more variety.
After that we took a train back to Shibuya and decided we were hungry so we stopped at an okinomiyaki shop near my hotel but it was really busy, and while i was content to wait, Motoko didn't want to. Then she remembered i had found an Outback (yes that Outback) when i was wandering around friday night, and asked if we could go there. I thought i could find it again so we set off. Ten minutes later we were there and i didn't even get lost. Motoko was once again amazed at my direction sense, and i was amazed that she said she thinks it is very hard to travel by train and find things around the city. She said her mom gets lost all the time when changing trains.
Anyway we found Outback and got seated right away. Pretty standard fare no matter where you are in the world. Motoko had french onion soup, I had the chicken salad, and we ordered a Typhoon Onion. Japanese verion of the Bloomin' Onion. instead of a split open onion, it is a bunch of onion rings layered in a mound and fried. We ate and talked then heaed back to the eki.
We decided to meet at 10am in the Ikebukuro eki and to then to to the sunshine city aquarium. It is 7am now so i'll tell everyone how it was next time.
Friday, June 23, 2006
Anyway i'm off to find something to do for a fewhours till i can get breakfast.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Monday, June 19, 2006
Then i took Aijou to the vet for his second boosters. Gotta take him in 2 more weeks for his final shots then in 3 months to become an it.
Other than that i'm so ready to head to Japan again, i think my mind is already there.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
Thursday, June 15, 2006
so now all that is left is a oral poetry analysis..
mines on Ode to a Grecian Urn. i just have to google up a few menaing for the poem, and bio of the author and talk about it for 5-10 minutes. this part will be a snap.
|John Keats. 17951821|
|625. Ode on a Grecian Urn|
|THOU still unravish'd bride of quietness,|
|Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time,|
|Sylvan historian, who canst thus express|
|A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:|
|What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape||5|
|Of deities or mortals, or of both,|
|In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?|
|What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?|
|What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?|
|What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?||10|
|Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard|
|Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;|
|Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd,|
|Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:|
|Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave||15|
|Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;|
|Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,|
|Though winning near the goalyet, do not grieve;|
|She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,|
|For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!||20|
|Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed|
|Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;|
|And, happy melodist, unweariÃ¨d,|
|For ever piping songs for ever new;|
|More happy love! more happy, happy love!||25|
|For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd,|
|For ever panting, and for ever young;|
|All breathing human passion far above,|
|That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd,|
|A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.||30|
|Who are these coming to the sacrifice?|
|To what green altar, O mysterious priest,|
|Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,|
|And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?|
|What little town by river or sea-shore,||35|
|Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,|
|Is emptied of its folk, this pious morn?|
|And, little town, thy streets for evermore|
|Will silent be; and not a soul, to tell|
|Why thou art desolate, can e'er return.||40|
|O Attic shape! fair attitude! with brede|
|Of marble men and maidens overwrought,|
|With forest branches and the trodden weed;|
|Thou, silent form! dost tease us out of thought|
|As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!||45|
|When old age shall this generation waste,|
|Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe|
|Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,|
|'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,that is all|
|Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'||50|
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
paper due tomorrow that i've barely got anything done on. not because i've put it off that bad, btu because i simply don't get this crap. i can write about anything interesting... but writing about some dead author just because someone else considered him a literary genius? f- that. it's BORING.. which makes the writing hard, and easy to put off.
I had not problem with all the Communications papaers i had to write because i got to write those on subjects of my own choice..
Monday, June 12, 2006
Sunday, June 11, 2006
Spent noon to 6 over at a friends place playing a d20 Modern campaign. Call it Harshlands. we only played thisone once a month but it was a damn good game. ran for only 9 session but it was never meant to be a long running game. We are taking July off and then August is GenCon baby.
Saturday, June 10, 2006
Depart June 23
Return June 29
Wish i could stay longer, but i don'thave any more vacation days not already set for other events of importance. Hotel should be under $500 US
Wednesday, June 7, 2006
Tuesday, June 6, 2006
more importantly i'm down 24 pounds from last year's check up. though only down 4 pounds from 2003. but even if i 'm only down 4 from 3 years ago i am down 2 inches on the waistline. i bought 4 pairs of slacks from Lord & Taylors going out of business sale last night. and it was a sweet sweet thing to buy them a size smaller than i have in 10 years.
Sunday, June 4, 2006
This weekend i watched .. (The Queen's Classroom) all 11 episodes and 2 specials. See the d-addicts wiki for more information.
It was a very touching school drama. I admit i cried a bit in the last episode. The child actors were very good in my opinion. The teaching staff were very shallow characters except for Akutsu sensei of course. Stereotypical weak principal, uptight suck ass vice principle, etc. But truely how much depth do you need to develop for such minor characters.
Friday, June 2, 2006
she had an ipod shuffle my dad had found at a gas station on the ground. i snagged the craptastic music off it, then showed her how to put her own music on it when she gets home, then loaded it with a bunch of US pop music and told her to let Danielle (my niece) listen to it for a while.
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
I apparently tried to poison myself with my own cooking. Monday evening i was thinking about stuff to make for for lunch for the week when i noticed i had a pound of hamburger that had been in the freezer for a long time. so i thawed it out and cooked it up and after a little poking around i found a cna of manwhich in the cabinet. it sounded good so i whipped it up, cooked up 3 cups of rice to go with it, then seperated it all into 4 gladware containers for lunch.
I had one yesterday for lunch at work and apparently it something wasn't good. because about 1am it started coming out both ends. I definatly did not plan on spending my entire day chained to the bathroom. Hell i had to use an unpaid sick day at work because all my vacaiton is used up with my trip to Japan at the end of June and then trip to GenCon in August.
Man has today sucked.