Monday, June 26, 2006

long time no see

Well, I am in my new flat and back online. Life is grand.

I am loving living on my own again and all of the freedom, quietness and prepared meals that it brings. For my first post in over a week and in celebration of having a place of one's own, I think I will write a list. Today's theme: Things you can do when you've got your own place.

Things you can do when you've got your own place:

1. Get up at noon.

2. Go to bed at noon.

3. Take a bath any time of day or night.

4. Take as many bathes as you like.

5. Walk around in your pants.

6. Walk around without your pants.

7. Take your time flossing and not worry that somebody is waiting for the bathroom.

8. Leave the seat up.

9. Leave the seat down.

10. Pee in the shower. (Not that I do, it's just that you CAN, see.)

11. Come home late.

12. Not come home at all.

There are just an endless number of great things you can do when you are on your own. I can't recommend it enough. If you currently live with somebody else, I suggest that once a year you check yourself into a hotel for a week and do all of the above in differing orders (even the peeing in the shower, at least once) just so that you don't forget who you are as an individual. I met myself again this week for the first time in a long time. He's a bit of a strange guy, but really cool.

Monday, June 19, 2006

the big move

Well, today is the big move... to the small mansion. Have been busy all week with the gas man, water man, telephone man... get your mind out of the gutter, Matt.

The internet guy is coming on Friday- until then!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

japanese lesson #2: let's drink

In honor of my new mansion (I move on Friday!), I thought I would use it as an opportunity to teach you some more handy Japanese. Today's lesson uses the verb "NOMU", to drink.

NOMITAI: I want to drink
NONDEIMASU: I am drinking
BIIRU: beer
BODUKA: vodka
JIN: gin
WAIN: wine
TEKIRA: tequila
MIKUSU DURINKU: mixed drink
KOKUTERU: cocktail
NOMISUGI: I drink too much
NOMISUGITEIMASU: I am drinking too much
NOMISUGI KOTO GA SUKI: I like to drink too much
NOMISUGIMASHIYOU: Let's drink too much together
NOMITAKUNAI? Don't you want to drink?
EH? NOMENAI? What? You can't drink?
SHIZUMU HODOU NOMU to drink until you drown
NOMU NOWA YAMETA I've quit drinking
JODAN! Just kidding!

Will be moving and settling in over the next few days, so I may not post unitl next week when my internet is connected. Unitl then!

the wedding on the bridge

I am back from my weekend away at the hotsprings resort town of Nasu Shiobara, about an hour north of Tokyo by bullet train. This was the fourth year I participated in the "Flower wedding" that my friend's event company puts on. It is sponsored by the tourism bureau of the town and it consists of five (!) couples walking across the longest suspension bridge in Japan (billed as the "longest virgin road" in Japan... trust me, there were no virgins anywhere near the bridge on Sunday, let alone on it) and then get married.

My job was to go up on Saturday night, soak in the hotsprings (onsen), drink a ton of beer and watch Pay Per View. Oh no, that was the perk. My job started on Sunday were I donned a tuxedo and led the couples from the hotel to the bridge. Then I lead them across the bridge. Then I went home.

Yeah, it's a bit anticlimactic- like it is every year. The difference was that this year we had the good fortune to be doing this outdoor event in the middle of a downpour. With no umbrellas. Everyone got soaked. Think cold, shivering ringboys (one of whom dropped a ring into the mud) and wet, crying flower girls trying to scatter soggy flower petals that just stick to their tiny, numb fingers.

After the wedding, their was a reception in a tent in the flower garden where the bride's dresses got so muddy that after a few glasses of champagne they just didn't care anymore and started to run around in the sludge chasing little ring boys and flower girls.

I made the mistake of giving my card to the MC when she asked for it; she keeps texting me with messages that have little hearts in them. I guess love was in the air.

Friday, June 09, 2006

a life in the day of ian (sic), part ii: my new mansion

Back by popular demand (not really), I share with you "my today".

7:00 wake up, shower and put away my futon (so the spiders can't get to it)

8:00 have breakfast (the last melon bread... tomorrow it will be sweet bean-filled bread) and catch the subway

9:00 to the bank branch in Roppongi (the famed entertainment district) to figure out what is happening with a foreign check I had deposited. it turns out that foreign checks take one month to clear and for that service the bank takes a few percent cut off the top (but they gave me some free tissues... ) bureaucracy!!!

10:00 a few more stops on the subway to my immigration lawyer's office where I picked up passport with my new visa in it!

11:00 to the landlord's office with my realtor to sign the paperwork for my new "mansion"! Yes, I am moving.

I now hold the key! (to my new flat)

12:00 go to the new flat and get the grand tour (including how to properly dispose of rubbish within the City of Tokyo guidelines... read: "lecture")

13:00 met my partner for a quick celebration lunch at a restaurant near MY NEW MANSION!

15:00 after dropping by home for a quick change, went to work for a couple of hours

19:00 here I am, typing at the computer and thinking about curtains, fridges, etc and looking at the key to MY NEW MANSION!

It has been a long, eventful week.

And it will be an even longer weekend; for the 5th year in a row, I will be the "leader" at a wedding event that my friend's event company produces. The event: five couples get married on the longest suspension bridge in Japan. My job: put on a tux and sunglasses and lead the couples across the bridge, which sways in the wind above a canyon.

All in a day's work.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

a life in the day of ian (sic)

Mt sister chided me the other day for not having written anything new on my blog for several days; she's half a world away and wonders what I am up to. Well, here's what I did yesterday:

6:30 woke up and had melon bread* for breakfast

8:00 left my house in Gokokuji area of Tokyo and took two subways to Shirokane Takanawa neighborhood.

8:30-10:30 explored the neighborhood around the mansion** I am thinking about renting (because I AM MOVING!!!). I found a dry cleaners, vegetable store, bean-filled cake shop and a homemade tofu stall. What else do you need?

10:30 met with the realtor to discuss the contract for the apartment

11:30 went to Ebisu neighborhood to be interviewed briefly about a story for a financial magazine on one of the companies I work for

12:30 met my immigration lawyer regarding my new visa (which has finally arrived after months of worry and stress)

13:30 met one of my private English students for two hours of English study. "What is your hobby, banana?"

15:45 we watched the Da Vinci Code as part of our English lesson (OK, we really just wanted to see it)

18:30 had a ten dollar "fruits jelly parfait" (my student's treat)

20:00 went to the Foreign Correspondent's Club for a drink. Met a friend there, went drinking at an "izakaya", a traditional Japanese bar, was taken by well-dressed said friend to a cigar bar(!) wearing jeans and split-toed shoes*** where we continued to drink...

??:?? lost time, missed my curfew****, and am a bit hung over now.

And that was my day.

* it's best not to know
** cruelly, the word "mansion" in Japanese means apartment
*** basically, Japanese sneakers
**** thus I AM MOVING

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

in a funk

Well, I haven't been into writing in my blog at all lately. It's strange, because I was really enjoying it, and then suddenly I was too busy or too stressed.

Matt, over at Saving The World, seems to be in a similar situation this week. I wonder if "blogging funk" is like when girls live together and their "blue days" eventually begin to coincide; that there is some kind of blogging hormone. If there is, I am pretty sure I don't want to be regulating my hormones with Matt's.

I am writing today because I have I received encouraging e-mails from a new blog pal Rachel (thanks!) and from my sister, Amanda (I miss you!), who's birthday is coming up. Thanks, ladies.

I have needed it, because in addition to an infestation of spiders (!) in my house, I have received some lovely fan mail as well.

The newest comment on our website the ballad of vicki and jake says:

"God - what an unbearably awful film if the stills/synopsis are anything to go by. Presumably you are some middle class atrocity on the first year of a film studies BA, spending Daddys money and having a gawp at the low life. Trust me, after college you will end up in the press office of some grim council office depressed and masturbating over the arts pages of the Guardian."

And it ends with:

"I hope you get cancer."

Lovely. I have been threatened with death before and was even threatened with death while we were making the film. But it's always been something like "I will shoot you", never something like a disease. I can't tell if I am moving up or down on the scale of "the state of having death wished upon oneself". My guess is that I am one step higher.

I have asked our webmaster to remove the comment. But don't get me wrong, I don't want to hide the criticism we receive. In fact, I want to make a new section on the website specifically for giving our detractors a voice. If anyone wants to respond to, agree with, or otherwise make contact with the sender of the above comment, please do so by sending an e-mail to:

I'm not so adept at using the internet, but since not so many people access our website, I think I can discern that Foxy came across us by looking at this link on Matt's website. The entry is, strangely, about a guy who makes execution(!) equipment that although illegal to use in the UK, he enterprisingly ships abroad. Not sure how Foxy got over to our site from there, but am hoping that he (or she) just pushed on the link for "the ballad of vicki and jake"(which is located in a menu to the right of Matt's entries) and not that Foxy was drawing any kind of connection.

Since I am back on Matt anyway, it seems that he has hayfever. It also seems that this makes him better than those who don't. Let me just say that I made my "hayfever debut" this year and my doctor said that that was about right since I had turned 30 and was now, officially an OJISAN ("uncle" in Japanese) and no longer an ONIISAN ("older brother"). Gee thanks. Anyway, that puts Matt's rate of decay at a higher pace than mine, so he may be younger than me now, but...

I feel a bit better now.


The e-mail address on the comment was fake, so don't bother to respond to it. It figures that a person who would write that kind of personal attack wouldn't own up to it. Just plain weak.