April 2004 Archives

Pretty funny

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This made me laugh. Also, while you're visiting my brother's blog, may I suggest you check out pictures of my nephew and niece? I think they are fantastic little beings and are the cutest! My grandmother is totally cool too.

What is not pretty funny is that my phone died. Maybe dropping on the sidewalk was more than a simple protest against my infatuation with Tokyo phones.

So bear with me while I figure out what to do.

Enzyme Bath

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Dav surprised me with a wonderfully relaxing afternoon at a spa near Bodega Bay. It was kind of for my birthday, but we've decided not to focus on particular birth dates, and instead surprise each other with gifts whenever we want to, and this was one of them. It was an Enzyme Bath and massage at Osmosis.

My mom introduced me to a similar rice bath in Tokyo. It was amazing and I blogged about it. BoingBoing picked it up and someone left a comment over there about this Osmosis spa, and Dav noted it thinking we'd go one day. Ah, the power of blogging; little did I know that posting back then would lead to a nice day at a spa!

After walking around their beautiful meditation garden, we drank tea in a private room overlooking a Japanese garden, then made our way to a huge wooden box filled with fermenting cedar and rice bran. It was similar to the one I tried in Japan, but here, we got to be in one box together. I liked being able to wiggle my fingers over to Dav's as we gently baked in the fermenting mixture. Over the 20 minutes in that box, there were times I felt like erupting with heat and kicking my legs free for air. But just at the right time, the spa person came by with iced water or a cool towel for our feverish heads.

We finally slowly got up and laughed at each other since we looked like, um, I don't how else to describe being entirely covered in dust, head to toe, every nook and cranny. Almost looked like we were covered in freckles. After dusting ourselves off in the garden, we showered, then were led to our massages. I'd been wanting a massage for a long time and with the enzyme bath, my muscles were already jelly and just waiting to become complete mush. The best part was that we got our massages in the same room. I really liked the whole couple thing; even though we didn't talk, it was nice to be close and know he was feeling just what I was feeling.

Anyway, sorry if I made you jealous. This doesn't happen every day to a girl. I'm super lucky and can't wait to think up my gift to Dav! :)

On the way home, we kept passing beautiful rolling hills full of cows. I don't see cows frequently and really wanted to pet one. So Dav parked on the side of the road where several cows were hanging out near the fence. I was so excited to touch a cow...but as I approached - and I crouched down not to scare them - they started moving away. Then I noticed the whole entire heard ALL looking at me as if I was a big elephant. I haven't felt so self-conscious since junior high! Sadly, it was quickly evident that they had no interest in letting me pet them. Ah well, at least I got to try.

Working cat

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Transcription by tfc in mtn view:
Dav and I went out to dinner in the Castro and walked by a furniture shop showcasing a bed and on the bed was a fat furry cat. Sure caught our attention; Dav first thought he was dead until he stretched. Cat at work selling beds at night. They're good at sleeping, so why not?

follow-up

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The cat sock was found inside the bedroom! So this may be a trend...

Anyway, both cats are napping now in the closet with their paws sticking out. Have to save up energy for their nightly prowl.

My morning ritual with Wakame

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For the past several months, Dav and I have noticed that Wakame, the girl cat of our furry family, brings a toy sock to our bedroom door during the night. Every morning, we wake up to find this sock, with its tiny golden bell attached, placed right in the middle in front of the door . And every morning, I pick it up and place it back in the cat toy pile that is in the living room. I began feeling that I 'had' to put the sock back so Wakame would be able to carry out her nightly ritual.

Well, this morning there was a change. Wakame brought the sock toy into our room. When I first moved in, Dav kindly changed the whole bedroom door so he could cut a cat door into it. This way, we could actually close our bedroom door and the cats could still go in and out freely.

This first picture shows where the sock usually is: just outside the door in the long hallway to the living room. The second picture is the new sock drop-off point: just inside the room by the cat door.

Yes, I picked the sock up again and put it back in the toy pile. Let's see where it'll be placed tomorrow morning...

Schuyler and Jo get married!

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Quicktime 6.5 Movie (.3gp)
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Quicktime 6.5 Movie (.3gp)
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Transcription by Dav:
Jo: [Cheeky Red Robot drawing] we just got married. i am flabbergasted by that.

Thank you for witnessing our ceremony!

Schuyler: something as true as this is [psychedelic happy face] oh lover I'll cover you

Two friends got married today. A group of us gathered on a hill in Bernal Heights and witnessed them exchange vows. Very warm and touching. Schuyler sang a song to Jo and we took tons of pics. Here are notes from the newlyweds.

High tech

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Transcription by Anonymous:
At a meeting and we're sitting around a beautiful high tech table with our laptops plugged in. But here's a design flaw - we're usign a tissue box to prop open the hide-away cover that holds the plug sockets. Kinda funny, no?

Phone fun

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Ah, I feel so ancient; I took the top 2 pictures with a film camera that I dusted off for my Tokyo trip knowing my phone wouldn't be working there. Finally developed the film, had Dav scan them for me and now here they are...days later from the actual event.

As much as I appreciate my loyal Nokia phone, while in Tokyo, I was in love with the current Japanese phones. As if in a symbolic expression of protest, my phone escaped from my bag one night and dramatically splattered against the sidewalk. Gen and Paul took a sympathetic interest in my phone.

Later that evening, Paul showed off the Mogi game he's playing. As we walked in Naka-meguro towards a yummy dessert place, he searched for virtual treasures in the vicinity that he could "pick up" with his phone. He kindly sent me a screen shot that I begged for.

If I were living in Tokyo, I'd be working my butt off to be the Mogi queen! What a fantastic way to get people to explore the city. I can imagine that I'd spend a whole Sunday afternoon strolling new neighborhoods, looking for virtual items, snapping and marking places that catch my eye. Anything that gets you out of a regular pattern is good in my book :)

Scenes from Tokyo

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I took these pics with my Nokia phone while in Japan. The phone doesn't work over there, but I carried it around and turned it on every once in a while to take these.

Here, you see

  • Barak and Mena during Karoke. They really got into it! And although the pic I took of one of the song titles looks like I just cut it off, it really did say "When I'm Sixty-Fou"!
  • The biggest oyster I've ever seen. From when my mom took me out to good sushi.
  • I found a magazine on design and furniture named Kokochino. Kokochi with an Italian spin. The subtitle translates roughly to "For those who want to live comfortably."
  • A nice bowl of ramen after a long night out. It's fast-food, but good fast food. I sat and watched the 2 cooks put out more than 20 bowls, each individually made to order with slight variations, over a span of 15 minutes or so. Their movements were so in synch that it was like they were dancing together. And they switched roles effortlessly from the noodle maker, soup maker, stir-fryer, etc.
  • It's hard to see here, but upscale clothes shop sign says, "No Concept But Good Sense." Sounds good to me.
  • Smile

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    I woke up this morning, did some emails, and realized that I'm looking forward to getting back to SF. Seeing the Japan team of our company here, and talking with them about projects and where we're going, has made me all the more eager to be in SF and help it all happen. This thought made me smile since my last few posts have all been about being back here. I obviously love Tokyo, but I also love what I'm doing and part of that really is based in SF. Gotta get my phone working again, see my cats, and see Dav.

    Ha! I can't believe myself!

    This is me

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    ...but I need (yes, I need to share with the world wide web) to say that I just came home from a wonderful but short evening at Morena...my old neighborhood bar run by an amazing woman named Kyoko-san. I used to live 5 minutes from there. I would visit after a night out when I wanted to wind down before bed. I used to visit after a day of work and wanted a little company before heading home. I used to visit if I wanted to meet up, by chance, with other neighborhood visitors I got to know there.

    And it was very hard tonight (and yes, a bit sad too, since I'm on the emotional side) to leave in time to catch the last Yokohama-bound train to get home to my parents. It was hard because every cell in my body wanted to turn right down the dark but comforting road that led to my old apartment, past the kaiseki restuarant that only takes reservations for the lucky 5 who can eat there, past the intersection where there are 3 vending machines where I used to buy tea on the way home, past the various houses that had plants I watched grow over the seasons, past the skillfully parked cars sleeping in tiny garages that I once took pictures of as I walked home and promptly moblogged, past the elementary school that was quiet at night but beautiful because it had a school yard with trees and open space, and finally, to my faithful home of 2 years that was the best place to live in Tokyo in my mind.

    I couldn't turn right. I no longer live there. But I felt that I 'should' turn there.

    Yeah, yeah. I'm allowing myself to feel all this and I'm posting it since this forum has become a method for me to express and process what goes on inside me. At times I'll write about missing black socks or about a new hat I bought. Now, however, I need to write about whatever this is all about; a business trip that turned out to be a meaningful re-connection with a location full of wonderful memories.

    Since I don't have

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    Since I don't have my phone to update you instantly, I struggle with experiencing so much each day and not posting about it. These photos are from a dinner on Tuesday! It was a traditional 'irori' grill dinner with beautiful vegetables, fish, and meat bites that were cooked individually before us. It was a wonderful dinner and I used Seki-san's camera so I could get snippets of it. It feels weird, however, to post this now since so much time has past.

    Since then, over the past few days, I've experienced so many other things, met up with old pals from my Tokyo days, and had many thoughts run through my head. I want to share all this. Yet I'm not used to having to sit down, days later, to organize what I want to say. I miss being able to post random thoughts as they come up during my bumbling everyday life.

    The gist, I guess, is that I'm having a fabulous time. I'm getting to catch up with groups of friends and it feels like I haven't left. It's comforting that I can be here and still find pieces of my old life. It's reassuring that I can live in SF and keep a parts of Tokyo. My worlds don't have to be so divided.

    And as I ease back into being here, I'm also reconnecting with aspects of myself that I don't emphasize when in SF. I really am a 'context' person. It's not that I'm two-sided, but I definitely react and adjust to people around me. So when here, I am a little different and think/care about things that I don't in SF.

    I suppose it's back to the cultural debate that always goes on within me. Having only a week here, and this being my first time back since I moved to SF, there's been a cultural leap. This surprises me and I find myself constantly thinking about what SF and Tokyo mean to me. Although I've been in SF for a little over 7 months now, I'm realizing it takes quite a lot of time for me to fully adjust. When moving to a new place, initially, everything is new and getting life in order is the focus. Now I'm comfortable and have a rhythm. So I'm finding the adjustment process is more internal and deep. SF life is busy and full of fun distractions so I haven't been conscious of the internal adjustments...Now that I am back here, I'm remembering my old life and old self, and noticing I have changed.

    In what way though? What am I gaining or losing? What do I want to gain or lose? I'm amazingly happy, so does it matter anyway? If there are aspects of myself that I miss while being in the Tokyo context, can I import that by being more conscious of how I've changed?

    When in Tokyo, I feel more American because I am different and can never be fully Japanese. When in the States, I feel more Japanese since there are subtle things I just don't get or take to. I communicate differently, have different connotations for things, and don't see things the way others seem to. As all these questions go through my head, I also wonder why I keep trying to figure all this stuff out.

    All I do know is that I'm going to head out to town again today and thoroughly enjoy myself.

    I love being here!

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    It's been a whirlwind since landing here with work, meetings, and running around town. I love it though. To see the quirky details of Tokyo streets, eat beautiful meals served with impeccable service, and hear Japanese all around me! The first night was freezing - I could see my own breath - but now it's warmed up considerably and everywhere we walk, we get glimpses of sakura falling like snow at every gentle breeze.

    But it's hard not to have my phone for moblogging. Now that I have somewhat fresher eyes to see Tokyo, I really wish I could moblog. Sigh. Seki-san took this picture of a mango pudding that we had for lunch dessert. It was so cute and Seki-san spotted me looking longingly at it and took a picture for me. He emailed it to me so I can now upload it for this post. Certainly, not my usual method.

    After tomorrow night, I will be staying with my parents and will be taking a few days to relax and catch up with friends. That will be very nice.


    I am on my way to Tokyo. For work and a few extra days to visit family and friends, and soak up some good 'natsukashii' Tokyo vibe. My phone won't work there, so I'll post via laptop without pics. I remember that heart-sinking feeling I used to have when Dav drove me to SFO after a blissful visit here when I lived in Tokyo. Now it's different, thankfully, but I will have to part from my parents after seeing them. Can't have it all ... and I certainly am thrilled to visit them. Will touch base with Tokyo friends once settled : )

    Coda is waiting

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    Maile just went out to pick up lunch for all of us and left sweet Coda here. Immediately, she started wandering around the office looking for Maile. Came by my desk to peek out the window. Then sat by the door waiting...She's lying on the floor now, resting. I'm sure she'll jump up and down when Maile comes back. So will we since she'll have our lunch!

    dogs at work

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    The other day Barak had brought in Mocha. Today, Maile brought in Coda. Yes, Coda is huge! But so gentle as if she knows she needs to be careful in how she moves. I wanna hug her mightily, but I would be covered in dog hair from head to toe.

    Hmmm, how can I get my cats not to throw Dav and I out if we bring home a dog...

    the little joys of life

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    We had tempura soba tonight. And for dessert, I dug out a box of tiny chocolate hamburger snacks I had bought in Japantown. I just wanted a little chocolate to complete the dinner, but the cute hamburger versions brought a smile to both Dav and I. I just love Japan for creating yummy and oh-so-fun-to-look-at snacks. I'll be in Tokyo next week and be sure I'll be filling my suitcase on the way home with snacks galore!

    For friends in Tokyo, I want to see you! Not sure what my schedule will be like since I'll be going for business, but hopefully I'll have a night to dance around and see you!

    When I was a kid, I went to Nova Scotia with my parents and brother on vacation. All I really remember is being sea-sick on the boat ride over. I was miserable. I also remember that during a walk around some town, we came across "Ian's Corner Store." My brother Ian was delighted and we promtly took a picture of him casually leaning against the entrance as if he was a very proud owner.

    I was a bit jealous cuz having a name like Mie made it harder, no impossible, to find things named after me when we were living in the States. Like those mugs with preprinted names or key chains and what not. I could always find Ian, but never Mie.

    Well, Anil came across what I've been waiting for. A splendid restuarant in his NY neighborhood named Mie. Ahhh. Now I just need to get over there so I can snap a picture of me leaning against the entrance way.

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