... tends to stay at rest. Or rather, a girl who doesn't update her lj tends to not update her lj.

Not like I have anything spectacularly interesting to write, but I thought I'd let you all know that the last few weeks have had my sense of time all askew, thanks to Señor Really Big Earthquake. Or should I say, Really Big Earthquake-san?

Anyway, my work schedule was supposed to look like this:

7th-11th: preschool and afternoon lessons;
14th-18th: preschool and afternoon lessons;
19th: graduation day;
21st-23rd: no preschool, afternoon lessons;
24th, 25th, 28th-30th: Spring School, no afternoon lessons;
31st & 1st: holiday

What ended up happening was:

11th: preschool, but afternoon lessons VERY VERY CANCELLED;
14th: came in early, left early (classes cancelled);
15th: came in at 10:30, boss sent us home after lunch;
16th-18th: school closed;
21st-23rd: no preschool, but we had afternoon classes;
24th & 25th: preschool (Spring School = cancelled) and afternoon lessons;
26th: graduation day;
28th-30th: preschool (Spring School = cancelled) and afternoon lessons;
31st: teachers' prep day (no classes);
1st: teachers' prep day, afternoon lessons.

So, yeah. Last weekend wasn't really a proper weekend, since we had the graduation ceremony in the morning, then the parents had rented the party room at Shidax and we spent the whole afternoon eating, drinking and singing. It was lots of fun, and it was really cute to watch and listen to the kids sing the Doraemon theme song over and over and over and over again. And then a Pokemon opening song at least 348904 times. And then Hyo sang at least half of Michael Jackson's discography. XD

Speaking of Hyo, I solemnly promise to share with you the Star Wars story he wrote on his last day of school. I took pictures of it (he illustrated it), which I haven't uploaded yet, and it's the funniest thing I've read in years. I should tell him to send it to George Lucas, because it's a way better script than the actual movies. XDDD

Since yesterday we had no classes, I took half the day off to get some stuff dealt with, namely sending in my application to take the JLPT in July, get my city taxes sorted out, and renew my international driver's license. All this took longer than expected because I dropped my bike off to get the flat tire fixed before going to city hall; the guy told me it would take about an hour, as they had lots of other bikes to fix before mine. Two hours later, they still hadn't called me, so I went back to the store and asked whether my bike was done. My "But two hours ago I was told it would take an hour..." did the trick, and a different guy fixed it right away. I was kind of relieved that I didn't have to pull the tearful "But I'm going to be late for work!" card -- my bike was ready in ten minutes. But as I was on my way to the drivers' license bureau, it suddenly started to pour and I took refuge in the entrance of an apartment building. An older lady was doing the same thing, and we ended up chatting about travelling and sakura and she kept showing my pictures she'd taken with her phone, of Shakespeare's house and of sakura in a nearby park. Finally the rain let up, I got my license, and was caught in another downpour on the way back. This time I was near a conbini, so I bought an umbrella a cycled to work in the rain.

Anyway, that's it for now. I'm sure there's other stuff I wanted to share with you, but it'll have to wait until at least tomorrow. I'm tired.

Jishin

Mar. 12th, 2011 12:34 pm
Because it would be silly to waste all that typing, here's what I posted about yesterday's earthquake in my Travelpod last night. (It's here, if you want to see a couple of pictures of the things that fell on my kitchen floor).

It's unusual for me to post a super current, up-to-the minute update, but I'm mostly doing this to reassure my mother.

As you might have seen on the news, Japan was hit by an earthquake this afternoon, of a magnitude of 8.9, followed by several aftershocks.

The quake hit a bit before 3 o'clock.  I was at work, and we'd just finished sending our preschoolers home with their parents.  I stepped into the washroom, and just as I was sitting down, everything started shaking.  What is it with me and being caught with my pants down?  First the plane to Beijing, now this.

After a second or two, I heard my coworkers shouting that we should go outside.  What was I to do?  I finished my business as quickly as possible, but didn't flush, for fear the pipes might be damaged; that's how hard the earth was shaking.

I ran outside, still in my slippers -- in Japanese fashion, we never wear our outside shoes inside the school -- and joined my coworkers, along with a couple of kids who'd arrived early for their afternoon lessons, and people from nearby businesses.  One little girl had been dropped off by her mother, and she was in my coworker's arms, crying.  We took turns holding her, as much to comfort her as to calm ourselves down.

All told, the earthquake lasted... I want to say twenty to thirty seconds for the initial shaking, or at least it felt like that.  Then there were several tremors, and about thirty minutes later, another big shake, though not quite as strong as the first one.  Still, it was violent enough to send us to the parking lot beside our school's driveway, since we figured at least we were out from under the power lines there.

Of course, everyone had their cell phones out and was trying to get in touch with family and friends to make sure they were safe, but the networks were so overloaded that it took nearly an hour before some could get a signal.  Since we have wi-fi at work, I was able to send an email to my mother, because I knew she'd soon be up and would no doubt hear the news and worry about my safety.

In Japan, the school year starts in April and ends in March; today, we had a videographer at school to shoot scenes for our year-end video.  He was still around when the quake happened, and later he told us that he'd been living in Kobe in 1996 when the big earthquake hit.  "I seriously thought I was dead," he told us.  "Lots of people in the buildings around mine were.  Compared to that... this wasn't so bad."

Never have I been so glad I live within walking distance from work.  The trains have all stopped running, and thousands of people are stuck waiting at various stations.  Passing by Kichijouji Station on the way, home, we saw the queue at the taxi stand stretch all the way around the corner, and figured some people would be waiting for hours.

I've got the tv on as I write this, and they're showing videos from all over: chunks of the ceiling crashing to the floor in Ibaraki Airport; a tsunami sweeping storage containers, cars, boats, and even buildings inland near Sendai; office workers grabbing onto desks; workers at a supermarket preparing food boxes for distribution; a ship being driven against a breakwater; piles of debris from the tsunami along a street in Iwate Prefecture; an oil refinery in Chiba burning into the night, the flames reaching skyward and lighting up the clouds.

Tsunami warnings have been issued for nearly the whole coastline of the Japan, as well as for other nations around the Pacific rim.  Phone lines are down, large areas are without electricity (Tokyo, or at least my part of it, has been spared), and the trains won't be running for a while yet.  Imagine: Shinjuku Station on a Friday night is bad enough when the trains are on schedule, but now, with no way for all those people to get home?

When I made it home, I was relieved to find that due to my kitchen floor being some sort of thick linoleum, the bottles that had toppled from the top shelves hadn't broken.  The only damage was to a tea cup that now has a tiny chip on the rim, and my bottle of Thai chili sauce that leaked a bit; either I hadn't screwed the cap back on properly, or it was dislodged when it hit the floor.  Apart from that, a couple of things fell of the shelves in my room, but that's it.

Tabitha was hiding under the computer desk when I got home, and didn't come out until I'd called her several times.  Her tail was all puffed up, poor thing, but it wasn't long before she was her old self again, meowing for her dinner and demanding affection.  She's curled up on my lap now, no doubt content that her little world is back to normal.

I just felt a little tremor.  Apparently, we're to expect them for the next couple of days, perhaps even strong ones.  It still feels unreal to me.  I don't come from a part of the world that's prone to earthquakes, and until today, the strongest one I'd ever felt was within my first two weeks in Japan, an earthquake in the sea a ways out from Tokyo, a 4.5 that had the bookcases in my fifth-floor room swaying back and forth.  This was much stronger than that, and really felt like turbulence on an airplane, though the motion was side to side instead of up and down.

The main thought going through my mind as the ground shook was that there was a  fundamental wrongness to the situation.  Because if the earth won't stay firm beneath your feet, what can you trust?
How weird. Though I got home before 10:30, I feel like it should be much later. That's what happens when you get home near midnight every Tuesday for months, and then suddenly you don't need to stay late for rehearsal anymore! ^_^

This is it, folks, the last day of forced writing. From tomorrow, I'll be free! :D

I jest, I jest. Considering I only failed to post on two days, and for the most part, I had no trouble with the writing itself, I declare my Non-NaNoWriMo to be a smashing success. I'll check my final word count tomorrow. And then maybe I can get working on my million sewing/knitting projects, some of which need to be finished pdq!

So here they are, my last two anwers. Can I get a drum roll?

Great Expectations )

One last moment )
My wrist is screwed. And it had been doing so well these past couple of weeks, not even a twinge of pain! Grar. I'm not sure what set it off this time, but I really hope it'll be okay for the recital... Of all the body parts to worry about for a ballet show, this is pretty silly. :P

I went to Nippori today, and showed remarkable restraint! I spent barely over Y2,000, and much of that was on trim. Haha, like I'll ever have time to sew again... ;___;

Perhaps everyone else has this problem too, but there's just so much stuff I'd like to do, and I haven't got the time to do it! I suppose I'm managing pretty well this month, what with all the ballet and the writing, but that means that Chinese and sewing have basically been cast aside, and the only reason I've been knitting is that I've forced myself to watch movies to relax. *ded*

We're two thirds of the way through November! [insert exclamation of disbelief at the swift passage of time.] If I make it through the month only having fallen a day behind once, I'll consider NonNaNoWritMo a smashing success. My excuse for yesterday was that Harry Potter made me stay out until one in the morning.

Harry Pottaaaaah! )


And here are the memes, both yesterday's and today's entries:

Japan: favourite character and folklore )

30 Days: a regret, and this month )

Travelpod can wait until tomorrow, time to zone out with my glass of wine. Which movie shall I watch?
Kimberly and I had lunch at Outback -- in spite of the fact that it was past 2:00, and we hadn't eaten since before 10:00, we only managed to eat one little loaf of bread, barely half a blooming onion, one cup of soup (me), one garden salad (her), and we didn't even finish the 300g steak with vegetables and fries. In our respective countries, that would be a portion for a single person (well, not the onion, but all the rest), and the two of us weren't even able to eat that much!

My tummy was very round all through ballet rehearsal and then a class. And even after over three hours of dancing, I wasn't the least bit hungry. I picked up a few things in Kichijouji, walked home, and since 8:30 I've been puttering around. I have my supper laid out in front of me, but so far, I've just been sipping at my wine. It's good wine, though.

Supper: prosciutto, tiny yellow tomatoes, gruyère (I caved and bought a small block of it for Y1,000 the other day), soda crackers, and the aforementioned wine. Once I get the rest of this post done, I'm going to put on a movie, eat, and knit.

Daily life )

This week )
Overrated and underrated )

My siblings )
Having these daily writing prompts really gets me to, you know, write! Amazing.

But before I start on those, I've just had this rather silly idea for Christmas gifts. I'll need to get started on them soon, so please comment if you would like a unique, hand-made-by-me little something for Christmas/New Year's/Solstice/whatever. You will also need to give me your mailing address at some point, if you don't live in Japan or I possibly won't see you before I leave for Canada. For now, simply tell me:

1) one or two colours that you like;
2) animal, vegetable, or mineral;
3) useful, or just cute?

^_^

Food )


My day )
I'm glad these two are short! Let's see if I can get them done in under ten minutes -- it's still technically the 4th! ^_^;;;

Favourite place )

Today's food )

Meme Time!

Nov. 2nd, 2010 06:55 pm
My Neighbourhood )

My first love: )
My head hurts, my eyes are sore, I've got sand in my ears, I'm tired, and my apartment is a disaster. On the bright side, I took myself on a little trip today, which included some beach time (hence the sand), seeing some old friends*, and a flavour of ice cream I'd never had before.

Also, I earned two more stickers for my sewing page! :D So I've more than honoured that part of my vow to Haengbok-sshi, even though I'm failing at the other parts.

Damn, I just realised that I haven't studied the old putonghua today, so no sticker for that... Oh well, I can still get some stretching in before I go to bed.

* Those weird bugs Emily and I saw by the water in Beppu, but these ones were smaller and not as colourful.
My brain, she is not working so well today. Wasn't yesterday either, apparently, because I checked the wrong train schedule for today, and though K and I didn't end up being late to the English Fun Fair, I made us run through Shibuya Station just in case. K didn't really mind, because she's been hopped up on Contact cold medication all week. The other day at work:

K: Omg, why didn't I start taking this stuff sooner?! :D
Me: --__-- What?
K: It's got something like 70mg of caffeine in every dose! :D
Me: *yawn* ... isn't that the equivalent of a can of Redbull?
K: I don't know, but I haven't felt this genki in ages! :D
Me: ... it can be nap time now? ---__---;;

Watch me blather on about What Chinese Food Means To Me! :D )

Heh, looks like the fluffy, perfect fried rice and fried shrimp rolls I had for lunch were even more filling than I thought -- I totally forgot to eat supper! D:
[livejournal.com profile] nekonezumi and I are elbow-deep in planning our Great Train Adventure. Ironically, it will start with a night bus and end with a flight back to Tokyo. In between, however, there WILL be trains, and we may or may not be reduced to sleeping on park benches/in a net café/at Denny's in Hiroshima, because we're going to be there during the long weekend, same as everyone else in Japan.

Because I am lazy my partner-in-travel is much better at internet research than I am, I volunteered to do the legwork and get us various tickets. Plane tickets were purchased yesterday, so this evening my mission was simple: go to Shinjuku and acquire bus tickets for the first leg of our journey, which resulted in simultaneous "Oh, Japan. DX" and "Oh, Japan. <3" moments.

I went to the JR terminal first, but their bus to Okayama was already full. They directed me to the Keio or Odakyu bus services, so I decided to check out Keio first. What can I say, their secret entrance to non-same-day ticket sales amuses me. I took a number, sat down, and awaited my turn, which took about 10 minutes. When I told the clerk where I wanted to go, he picked up the phone to call... who knows? There was no answer, so he checked the time, and told me he was very sorry, but reservations for green buses (and the bus I wanted was apparently one of them) were only possible before 7 p.m. (WHYYYY?) It was 7:04. He was quite apologetic, because he'd seen me come in before 7, but then he asked me if I understood Japanese (I was all, "Uh... I'm speaking nihongo to you, aren't I?", but I guess he meant written Japanese), brightened when I said I could, and handed me a pamphlet that explained how to buy bus tickets at your friendly neighbourhood Family Mart or Lawson.

When I stopped to think about it, it made total sense that you'd be able to buy travel tickets at the convenience store, because seriously, what can't you buy from a Loppi machine? XD
Last Friday I took a night bus to Nagoya, all in the name of sparkly tennis. Of course, I took the opportunity to kick around the city on Saturday, saw some of the sights, then met up with Sarah after she got off work. She took me to the most wondrous kaitenzushi place ever, where you can not only grab stuff off the conveyor belt, as usual, but you can order from a touch screen, and they send you your order on a second, special conveyor belt -- by shinkansen. God, it was amazing. God, I am easily amused. XDDD She also showed me Shinesman, which is this hilarious, obscure little OVA from ages ago about a team of sentai-wannabes who work at a - duh dah daaaaan! -- TRADING COMPANY! I would totally join their team. You think I could be Shinesman Periwinkle?! I would go perfectly with Moss Green and Salmon Pink! ^o^ Then on Sunday morning, she told me all about the "Two guys, one suit, OMG they're soul-bonding!" show that I'd missed because I was sleeping.

Now, I know you've all been waiting with bated breath for my thoughts on the newest chapter in the tenimyu saga, so here it is. Or rather, here are the notes that I took yesterday. Before you read this, though, know that after the first show I saw, I was rather disappointed by what seemed to be lackluster songs in general. However, after seeing it after they've been doing it for a while, the guys came across as much more relaxed, and their voices were much stronger. Overall, this show is more solid than I gave it credit for. And since they have ALL of Shitenhouji there, it can't help from being kind of awesome, right? click here for much silliness )

And that's all, folks. Overall, I was very pleased by the Nagoya show, as it was better all around. Stronger singing (especially from Rikkai!), better interplay, much more settled. I didn't get all the stares from the stage I got in Tokyo (prolonged eye-contact with Masa, for instance, and a hilarious double-take by Shiraishi when he was taking his bow), but I got them when the boys ran down the aisles.

I must admit I'm curious to see the Rikkai support cast, but... but it doesn't include Masa! *waaah* I'd say that new Yagyuu isn't as pretty as Baba, but who cares, he barely does anything this show anyway. XD
My account of the Conquest of Fujikins! Long and rambly, but... lots of pictures! The Expedition Starts Here )

They say that if you climb Mt. Fuji twice, you're crazy... but I want to do it again. I didn't expect to feel the way I did when I reached the top, but that mix of exhilaration and awe was worth it. I felt as though I could do it all over again, right that instant! I am one quarter Austro-Bavarian, after all, so I guess that mountain blood has to count for something, right? So if anyone is interesting in going with me next year... ^.^
Tomorrow, perhaps, there will be a lengthy, detailed post about my experience climbing Mt. Fuji. But for now, this says it better than any words I have.

For this, I would do it again. )
When I watched the sunrise in Atami with [livejournal.com profile] kurayamihimitsu and [livejournal.com profile] rynn_sama, we confounded the Atami Jogging Club by dancing to "Caramelldansen" and "Viking Horn" as the sun rose out of the sea.

What should I dance to with [livejournal.com profile] later_uk and [livejournal.com profile] nekonezumi to confound everyone on top of Fujikins?

I'd better get back to cleaning my apartment and packing for tonight. I've got a jacket, gloves, my camera, hiking boots, knee supports, [livejournal.com profile] later_uk got us super sexy headlamps, and snacks will be bought later today. What else do I need?

In unrelated news, every new Green Day album confirms my love for them.
I've found myself a travel buddy! [livejournal.com profile] nekonezumi and I will be climbing Mt. Fuji together on the weekend of Aug. 29-30. Is anyone else interested in joining us? ^_^

So I've suddenly noticed that the first weekend of July is already over, and there's lots of stuff I want to do with my summer! Unfortunately, I'll be missing the biggest of the fireworks displays (i.e. the Edogawa ones, which were the best last year, in my opinion), what with being back in Canada and all (leaving on the 1st of August, back on the 16th), but I've got 3 weeks left before I go home. In that time, I would like to:

- go to the beach
- see some fireworks (here's a listing: hanabi - I was thinking the Sumidagawa ones on the 25th, but I'll also be back from the motherland in time for the Setagayaku-Tamagawa ones on the 22nd of August)
- go to a matsuri of some kind ([livejournal.com profile] umbrellaofdoom posted this link)
- find another excuse to wear my yukata (just get dressed up and walk around town? XD)
- go shopping at Ikebukuro Sunshine City before the summer sales are over
- ???
- profit!

But seriously, if any of you want to join me on any of the aforementionned activities, or if you have any suggestions, suggest away!

Yesterday I ate only one proper meal, but it was a hell of a big one. Despite the fact that E's propane tank was empty, the bbq was a success, and we all left with full bellies and leftovers. I finally got to meet E's baby in person (she's adorable!) as well as her husband, and I was the only single person there, as well as the only woman there, save one, not married to a Japanese man. Met N and had lots of fun chatting with her. She mentionned she'd been to Bolivia on the course of her honeymoon, and I said that I'd always thought that would be a cool place to visit, just because hardly anyone seems to go there.

Me: I'd like to go to Mongolia, partly for that same reason.
N: Oh, I've been to Mongolia, and it was really interesting! I volunteered as an English teacher there a few years ago.
Me: *o* You're awesome.

Today I had breakfast, at least. But lunch, which was at Costco and included a guava slushy and pizza and chips and caaaaaake, was so big that I skipped supper and am still not hungry. I may have some ice cream later, though. :D
Yes, my shiny new three-year visa, let me show you it. Or not. But it's here in my passport, and it's preeeeeetty. ^.^

Not so pretty was having to go out to Tachikawa to get it. Seriously, that place is so depressing, I think I'd go mad if I had to live there. Around the station is not so bad, but the rest of what I saw from the bus, around the immigration office and walking back to the station by a different route, was mind-numbingly grey and sad. Except for the Chinese restaurants I walked by, they were wonderful. At least, they smelled wonderful.

Anyone want to find some dim sum with me?

Last night was fabulous. Well, my mad dash from Kichijouji to Ikebukuro -- with 6 minutes spent squished against the doors of the train on the Saikyou line, barely able to breathe -- wasn't so great, but Kuroshitsuji musical? Oh, so good. I went in knowing the bare minimum about the characters, having only read the first chapter of the manga, but I emerged even more convinced I'm going to enjoy it quite a bit. The Undertaker was awesome! I only wonder how on earth he could see through his wig, because I was right up in the second row and I only once caught a glimpse of one of his eyes. XD

Rainy season-induced fluffiness notwithstanding, I really like my hair this length. Now I'm trying for a sort of garçonne look, and wish I hadn't so assiduously plucked my eyebrows during my teenage years. Not that I ever over-plucked them, and I've never been sorry I nipped the unibrow in the bud, but a little thicker would be nice... /whine

My apartment seems deserted now that Becca and V are gone. A is still here, but there's only one of him. I started him on Prince of Tennis last night (he's watching as I type, chuckling to himself), and we had a long discussion about which BL movie he should watch. My answer: Boys Love, just to laugh at the ending!

No I'm going to potter around and get ready for bed, because once again this weekend ne sera pas de tout repos.
Kirakira mitts are mostly done. My mum helped out by ironing. ^_^

I took my brothers out for sushi and karaoke last night, and it was revealed that B1 can sing! B2 we knew about, what with him being the lead singer and guitarist of his band, but I can't ever remember B1 singing, so it was a nice surprise. We had fun belting out Bon Jovi and Green Day songs together. <3

Today we rented a car and I drove us all out to Fuji go ko, though we only saw four of them. Very pretty, the weather was perfect, and we had a lovely view of Mt. Fuji. On the way back, I was telling my father about how disappointed I was to learn that the "san" in "Fuji-san" was another reading for the kanji for mountain, and not Japanese people calling it Mr. Fuji. My father said "Mr. Fuji" sounded a bit too formal, that he wanted a closer relationship, so I suggested "Fuji-kun".

"Fujikins?! 8D"

One of the things my family brought along was scans of all our family slides, including this picture of me when I was eight years old and heading off to Camp Woolsey (that's Brownie camp for you non-Ottawa folks!). Click here for lolz! )
Yesterday was Parents' Day for my preschool, so all the teachers, kids and their families gathered in a local park for a morning of fun and games. The weather was glorious, the kids were excited, and everyone had a grand time. After we finished lunch, I noticed one of my afternoon class students playing in the park with some friends, so I called out his name as he ran past me. Skidding to a stop, he looked at me in astonishment and squeaked out, "Doushite wakaru no?!" When I pushed up my sunglasses, his face did the most hilarious transformation to an "OMG I just ran into my English teacher outside school!" expression.

Actually, what was even funnier was how last Friday, I reminded the kids that we'd all be seeing each other Sunday. "Why Sunday?!" they wanted to know. I explained that we were having a special activity Sunday morning so their mummies and daddies and brothers and sisters could come a play games and have a picnic with them. Hyo thought this over for a minute, then looked troubled.

"But... But Kamen Rider Decade is on Sunday! D:"

One of my students, Leo, is an only child on whom his parents, grandparents and aunts dote like there's no tomorrow. He doesn't come to preschool on Fridays because he's started going to a prep school. For kindergarten*. He's three and a half years old. Apparently, the prep school classes consist mostly of having the kids practice sitting quietly at their desks and not touch papers or pencils handed out to them until the teacher says they can. Why don't they just call it obedience training?

As usual, having actual sewing "jobs" is making me fantasize about all the other things I could be sewing for myself. Because when I don't have anything lined up, I'm too lazy, but now? My brain is just about bursting with ideas. I suppose it wouldn't be too much to make myself a scarf, right? I'd just need to cut it out and change the serger thread. :3

Yoshi, let's costumes! :D

* It's a private kindergarten that receives over 500 applications a year... for 40 spots. @_@;;;

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