Saturday, May 31, 2008

Interesting pictures

I thought I would share with your some interesting pictures.

1) That is a view from my front door of the mountain I live near. Ok....maybe it isn't interesting but I sure think it is beautiful!

2) I was at the supermarket recently and saw this salad?! I always assumed salad was pretty low calorie but I guess some people need that pointed out to them in a foreign language! I swear if you add English to something here it immediately becomes cool!

3) Japanese always complain that American food is huge....but this 1800 yen (about $18) sundae blows that idea out of the water. Of course this is meant to be shared but this thing is really really big. Every time my honey and I go by this restaurant he practically drools when he sees it!

4 and 5-ok I have blogged before about crazy Japanese TV and I couldn't believe this when I saw it so I tried to take pics to show you. The first one is the same guy in the 2nd picture. They set it up like it is some important contest (hence is face up close looking serious). Basically this guy has to strip down to his "pantsu" (underwear), stand in front of the big yellow sign and try to stay standing as some guys blast him with water from a fire hose! This was (sadly) entertaining to my honey.

Did anyone here about the fact that Gocco's parent company has decided to stop making goccos as of June 30? This was announced in Japan the other day. I'm sure many people will be upset!!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Orange blossom scented walks, the crazy neighbor and hell is coming

Ok.....Lots has happened since my last post. We will start with the crazy neighbor. There is this "obasan" or "baba" (kind of means old lady ....and she calls herself this....the word "obasan" is a whole topic I should blog about another time) who lives downstairs. I have lived here for 5.5 years and the only I trouble I had with her before was her parking in my spot-I don't have a car but my friends and assistant do so needless to say, I need my spot. Well since I took over the "little house" (my office) she has gone off the deep end. She has been acting so out of character for a Japanese woman that people think she must have gone off her rocker. First she yells at my honey and calls him "baka" (means idiot but really a bad word in Japanese) and tells him that since we have both places it is troublesome for her! Ummm....excuse me? She is not the landlady or area leader (another blog topic) or in any way affected by the fact that we have 2 places. Another day she bangs on the door while my assistant is working and demands to know who she is...umm....I pay my assistant well but not enough to be yelled at by a strange old woman! Then the last straw was 2 weeks ago. My honey and I were downstairs in the office working past midnight and she banged on the door. I asked "dare desuka? (who is it?) and I could tell by the surprise in her voice that she had thought that it was my assistant working. She demanded that we don't work past 10 because we keep her awake. I said no. I told her that this is our office and she can't tell us what to do. I was soooo angry because had it been my assistant she would have really yelled at her. And I was mad because there is no way we can affect her sleep-the office is not attached to the apartment building. We didn't have music playing or the outside lights on and the lights around the building are brighter than our inside lights (plus we have blinds on the windows). We finally complained to the company that owns the building. They came over and talked to us and said that they know she is a "difficult" person etc. Then they suddenly started offering to pay for things! They offered, and in fact had someone come over to fix our air conditioner hose (it looks fabulous now) and they offered to pay for other things. I was in shock! In Japan landlords are famous for NOT paying for anything and in fact when you leave a building you have to pay THOUSANDS of dollars in "damages" never mind that you pay THOUSANDS of dollars (well, the equivalent) in key money just to get the place. So....they must have been scared that we would move out! The people next to obasan moved out and I always wondered if it was because of her. So...since then all has been ok. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Orange blossom scented walks. OMG!!! The last few weeks, while taking our evening walk, the most fabulous and heavenly smell has been everywhere. I don't know about you but orange blossoms are my favorite scent! I must have looked like a dog sniffing and breathing deeply to try to smell as much of it while I could. I tell you those walks are sometimes just the best things....beautiful stars, the sound of the wind in the trees, the scent of orange blossoms and walking with my honey....what could be better?

Sick. I got sick again! Started with a cold sore. Then a sore throat followed by a major cold. I can't believe I got a cold again! I had one in April and missed work and I missed 2 days of work again! Sadly it seems I might have passed it on to my honey....he tells me I gave him "bad chi". This is his thing lately....everything negative has to do with "bad chi" and he is constantly telling me to "smudge" (smudging, basically is using incense to clean a room's energy-get rid of the "bad" energy or to invite in "good" energy). I swear we keep our favorite etsy incense maker in business!^__^

What else?...Oh we have had our first few sales on our new site! YIPEE! Due to being sick I haven't put up much but I will soon!

Oh...yeah...."hell is coming"...this refers to the fact that summer is around the corner! We have had some hot humid days and it is just a warning that soon there will be 4 months of hell (June-September). In June there is "tsuyu" which means rainy season and after that....hell. Hot, soggy "beta beta" (means sticky or muggy) terrible weather that makes me question why I live in such a place. It means mold growing on your shoes in your closet (hasn't happened to me but it is common), mold everywhere, where (in my opinion) there is little difference between day and night-both suck! I love it when people use the word "sultry" like "it was a sultry night"...sounds almost romantic but really what it means is that even your bra and panties are soaked with sweat...nothing romantic about that! Hmmm... I should keep the rest of this rant for when it really is that hot and humid!

I'm sure there is more but that's it for now!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

My New Web Store Is OPEN!

Well it is finally open!! I have been working hard building the site (I did it all myself-well....with the yahoo site builder) and figuring it all out. We only have a few things up at the moment but we have lots to list and lots of shopping to do! Last night I had my mom buy something so that I could see how it works on both her end and my end so that I don't look like an idiot for my first customer! Any thoughts or comments are welcome! If you don't like something please be gentle when you tell me as I feel like I gave birth to something! ^__^

Oh for all the people interested in the bento book I have 1 bento book up (the one in the post below) but I will be listing more in the next few days.

I'm actually quite excited by this new store as there are so many fabulous things I can buy...I mean everywhere I go I see things that I think people will love! Inside our office has been rearranged and more drawers and things bought to accommodate a whole bunch of new inventory-I guess I will have to pace myself as the products don't take pics of themselves or list themselves so I will have to learn to control the shopping urge!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Would love your thoughts on bento cookbooks

Thanks to everyone who responded to the entry on what they would love to see on my new web site. I have another question for you all. I have gotten a lot of requests for bento boxes and accessories which I do plan to offer. I am wondering about cookbooks....not for the recipes per se but for the ideas for your kids' lunches. I remember the first time I saw my students' lunches....I was shocked! They were soooooo cute.

So....the question is....would people be interested in buying these cookbooks for ideas? This book, for example, not only has recipes (in Japanese) but shows you (with pics) how to cut apples into flowers, rabbits etc. It gives ideas on how to dress up veggies (no recipe per se...just add things to make eyes etc), how to roll sandwiches etc. I figure you can get ideas from this book to then use American (or French or Greek or Russian etc) food as substitutes. This book has 128 pages and would be around $25 (there are lots of these kinds of books at different prices, this is just the one I picked up to blog about). People love Japanese craft books so I thought about these....thoughts?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Looking for people's ideas.

My honey and I will be opening another web site soon as we get a lot of requests for things that we can't sell on etsy because they are neither handmade nor supplies. We have some ideas of what we want to sell but I would love to hear from others...what would you be interested in seeing on the web site?

We are thinking of cute things like pencils, pencil cases, swimmer items (a brand here in Japan) like bags, fabulous kitchen items, pottery (eventually), cute kid things like bento boxes etc.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Thanks!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Updates and "happenings"

Well, I can't believe that more than 2 weeks have passed since I last blogged!! I have been seriously feeling like a hamster on a wheel-going nowhere fast!! thankfully this week is "golden week" (that really is the name of this time of year) and I have 10 days off!

Ok....since everyone is talking about food prices I thought I would share some pics from the supermarket. Yup...that is a $20 watermelon, $30 melon and $30 for 2 mangoes!!! Sadly.....this doesn't seem any different than normal! I remember when I first came to Japan I thought I would never eat fruit again since in the summer (I came to Japan in July 10 years ago)in Canada fruit is everywhere-lots of it for good prices. Now...not all fruit is that pricey but it is amazing how expensive some things are here!

Ok other news...

I had a "happening" (that is how my students like to say it). I was at a mall, in the restroom minding my own business (putting on lipstick I think) and this old lady is talking. Since I was the only one there besides her, I figured she was talking to me, so I listened. She told me I was beautiful. I said thank you. She said it many times and asked where I was from etc. We chatted for a minute and she told me again I was beautiful and then with a smile she said "chotto futtoi"...which means " a little fat" (anyone not rail thin is "chotto futtoi" in this country but yeah...the word applies to me but still.....). Now.....what do you really say to that? The thought "anatawa chotto toshi yori" (you are old) came to mind but I didn't say it. The thing is she didn't say it with any malice but ....she would NEVER say this to a stranger if the stranger was Japanese . Trust me on this!!! I was talking to a friend about this today and we tried to figure it out and I think it is that they think we are all so open it is ok to say anything to a foreigner. I have been asked if I wanted to make love by a stranger on a train. I have been touched, poked etc. One lady at the local "hokka hokka tei" (freshly cooked-better than burgers-Japanese take out food) took off my ring and tried it on and asked how it looked on her. Again, she would NEVER do this to a Japanese woman. I have been asked all kinds of personal things about my sex life, money etc. I don't usually get upset by this (ok...being asked for sex by strangers...didn't thrill me) but it is interesting how a society famous for being so polite can think it is ok to do or say some of these things. Oh well, at least she didn't grab my breasts! Yes....that has happened to me many times and it has always been they are not lesbians...just curious (ahem...I do have rather large breasts).

Hmmmm.....what else? The other day, my honey was complaining that his jeans were a little tight. I wasn't surprised since I had lately been telling him that he has a little belly. So...I told him to get on the scale. We were both shocked.....he gained 20 lbs in 2.5 months since working at home!! Now....he is really really thin so it isn't out of the normal range for his height (6 ft 5 inches) but it is sudden. His eating habits haven't changed but he isn't moving around like he did at work and walking to the train station etc. So....because we don't want this to become a problem, he is starting to limit his "treats". He has been patting his tiny belly and says "akachan" (baby). He is tooo cute!! Ok...another cute day he tells me he likes my "bums" and asked him to repeat and he said "bums" so I said is "bum" and he said "why...there are 2 of them!" I'm like "well...there are 2 halves that make 1 whole I guess". Gotta love the cute mistakes!!

Well, I'm off for now!


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