When I wrote my last post, I totally failed to write about Tuesday, so here:

Tuesday: worked all day, rushed to Shibuya to get part of Halloween costume, rushed back to Kichijouji for two-hour ballet class, rehearsed for nearly two hours, didn't get home until past midnight.

It was a good rehearsal, though. We got some new stuff done, and polished up some things. I was glad I'd been to the Saturday rehearsal, so I already knew the new bit.

Next Wednesday is a holiday, but I have a rehearsal. That means I'll have class and rehearsal Tuesday evening, will get home and collapse into bed, then (hopefully) sleep in, and go back to the studio in the afternoon for another rehearsal.

Last night I had to finish hemming my costume. Of course it took longer than I'd anticipated, so I had time to watch three movies. None of them were longer than 1 hour 40 minutes, but still. Three movies in an evening! You'd think I went out of my way to find the three most different movies that I could, but I could have done even better. I was just limited to movies in English by the fact that while hand-sewing, I really can't keep my eyes on the screen enough to read subtitles.

Murders in snowy Minnesota: Fargo )

An ultimately uplifting documentary about religious homophobia: For the Bible Tells Me So )

1930s elegance in a cloud of smoke: Shanghai Express )

Also, last week, I finished watching Alexander Senki, another title I put in my mental list of "Things to Watch" ages ago and only just now got around to. Reign: The Conqueror )

And the Halloween costume? Apart from the inexcusably bad job on the corners of the hem, I'm very pleased. Here's a teaser, because I wouldn't want to spoil it for those of you who'll see me tomorrow!


(We took sexy pose pictures at work after the kids and parents had gone home.)

In other news, I'm still wearing the false eyelashes I got for my costume. I really like how they look! Maybe I should wear false eyelashes every day! (This enthusiasm has been brought to you by the realisation that when I wear make-up, I don't look quite so much like a teenaged boy.)

All right, time to take them off and start relaxing. I've got two kids' Halloween parties tomorrow and then a birthday dinner, so I need some rest!
My Halloween costume! What do I doooooo?

I'm playing around with my fabrics, pinning them on Brunhilde. I love the sequined/embroidered tulle, it's amazing and gorgeous, especially over the spring green.

But I can't decide what to do about a) the sleeves; b) the sash; c) the top of the underdress.

a) I'm thinking that if I were to make them not in the tulle, they'd need to be either attached to the underdress (so I'd need to make a full dress, which I don't have enough green or purple for) or the same colour as the sash. But the purple voile is a bit to stiff to hang properly as sleeves -- I'd want a bit more weight to them. I'll probably just go with my original idea of the tulle, possibly with some sort of cuff on the sleeves and on the hem?

b) The purple voile was my original idea, and still probably the best, but no more than three layers, I think. Otherwise, it'll be too dark compared to the embroidered flowers. But then, I have this really pretty pink voile! The only problem is there's no pink anywhere else. Hah, like that's ever stopped me from combining colours however the hell I want. XD;

c) At first, I was thinking I'd make a full underdress, but then I saw sequined tube tops in Shibuya. Sure, it would be partially hidden by the skirt and sash (going for high-waisted), and there are already sequines on the tulle, but is there such a thing as too many sequins? No. The only question is, should I go with green, or purple? Of course, my first impulse is green, but then would it look weird to have deep emerald green on top when the skirt is a good deal paler? The sequins on the tulle are pretty much that dark, though... Purple would create more of a contrast, but the odds are I'd get more use out of the green. Hmm. I'll take swatches with me to see what looks best.

If I weren't making this to be worn for parties with young children and for swanning about Kichijouji and Ueno, I'd make a train and have super-long sleeves. I'd even have enough tulle for that!

Damn, I need to think of a headpiece as well, and find some appropriate make-up. And shoes! To think that I own at least five pairs of sequined and/or sparkly shoes, and none of them are at all in the same area of the spectrum as this costume.

Gah, I really shouldn't start trying a million different sash possibilities, they all look pretty! DX Okay, time to sleep on it.
After having spent the better part of three hours finishing my new curtains, I am about to attempt the herculean task of sorting and reorganisation of my fabric stash. It used to be stored according to my very scientific system: one drawer for silks, one for cute cotton prints, one for heavier fabrics, one for things I plan to use soon, oh hey I have no more room so I'll stuff these random things in a bin! :D

Now things have nearly gotten out of hand (my mother: "C'est presque maladif!") and if there's one thing a holiday afternoon is good for, it's starting on impossible projects.

Wish me luck!
The Onion, never stop being awesome. Today's fit of giggles was brought to you by: Obama = Cactus! XDDD

Tabitha is currently reclining on my ironing board, gazing down at me, eyes heavy-lidded with disdain. Well, it looks like disdain, but it's really just her "I'm really relaxed and I luuuurve you" face. I can hear her purring.

I received a package this morning -- or rather, Tabitha received a package. The brand of cat food I buy her does a yearly campaign where you can send in bar codes from their products in exchange for various items. I'd intended to do it last year, but never got around to mailing in my bar codes. I saved them, though, which meant that I had lots for this year's campaign. I sent in the first 50 bar codes back in... June, I think it was, asking for their cute little eco bag (of course it has cats on it!). The papers said that items would be shipped within three months, so I didn't expect anything for a while. Then, since the promotion ended at the end of August, when I got back from China I mailed in another 150 bar codes in exchange for a bunch of boxes and cans of cat food. It was the cat food that arrived this morning, which leaves me to wonder... where the hell is my eco bag?!

Unless I misread the info and it said the items would be mailed within three months from the end of the campaign? o_O No, I just checked their website, and it says "three months after sending in your request," but I don't remember exactly when I mailed it, so I'll give them a couple more weeks before calling to demand my eco bag.

Ah, Japan, the land of point cards and customer loyalty campaigns that really do pay off. The amount of cat food in the package is worth around Y2,000 in stores, I'd say.

Anyway, I'll continue to save all the bar codes. Maybe next year, I'll have enough for one of the bigger items. With 250, I think it was, you can get either a cat bed or a tea cup set. I'll go for the tea cups, naturally, because I can make Tabitha a cat bed myself!

Speaking of making stuff, I'm definitely allergic to something in the fabrics I've been getting from Tomato. I did some sewing today (instead of doing other stuff I should have been doing -- avoidance! watch me practice it!), all with fabric that I've washed, and here I am wheezing like I've got asthma. I can't even take a deep enough breath to sneeze properly.

Arg, I just had the thought that what if it's not the fabric, it's my machine? Not sure how that would be possible, though. And the way I feel is exactly the way I have in the past when using straight-from-the-bolt fabric on machines other than mine, so I'll stick to my sizing allergy theory. So does this mean I should wash all my fabrics twice? Bother.

In spite of the shortness of breath, I made a new cover for my computer chair, because the old one was beyond gross: the metallic dye on it, which was originally golden, has gone completely green in places that had regular contact with my sweaty body. The new cover also has metallic accents, but they're metallic thread (as opposed to painted on) and it's actually upholstery fabric, so let's hope it holds up better. Also, autumn has finally arrived, so I won't be sweating as much, or at least not until next summer. This new cover also deserves a special mention because I bought the fabric for it exactly a week ago. I BOUGHT FABRIC AND USED IT WITHIN A WEEK! Fabric that I had no specific plan for, even. Just, "Hey, this is pretty! I'll get a metre of it! :D"

I got some curtains mostly done (with fabric I bought within the last six months, GO ME!) in the hopes of actually redecorating. Or what passes for redecorating around these parts, anyway. I really need to make some sort of slip cover for my blankets, because at the moment, and as I keep piling them on as the weather gets colder, my futon's colour story is pretty much, "Hey, try to find a colour that is not represented here!"

Then there are all my quilt ideas, of course, which I continue to believe I will get around to translating into reality. At least I've got the scrap practice one on the go.

Hah, why had I never though to make Tabitha a cat bed?! What a perfect use for fabric I can't think of any other use for. Just need to find some good foam for it...

In the meantime, I'll go cut up some more old clothes. Let the rest of my ideas simmer a bit.

Things I meant to do today but didn't: go to ballet class, scan stuff that needs scanning, write my last China post, finish going through my Kagoshima pictures.

In the hour or so before bed, maybe I can knock at least one of those off the list? *stares intently at Kagoshima pictures*
It's becoming clearer and clearer that I fail at remembering anniversaries, so this one is nearly a week late: last Monday marked the date that I'd been living in this apartment for two years.

Two years! Incredible. You know how when you start something, or go through a change, and everything seems so new and fresh and the days ahead seem to stretch out forever? Then, suddenly, you've blinked and it's two years later and you can't imagine how you initially thought, "Well, I have two years here, then who knows?" because you're so comfortable and why on earth would you want to change anything now? You're just getting started!

* * *

Friday night, I was in bed by 11:30 and slept until 9, I was so exhausted. Sometime between yesterday morning's brief awakenings and further bouts of sleep, I dreamt that I had signed up for a ballet competition, but I couldn't find the venue. Once I found it, I couldn't find the dressing room and kept walking into the auditorium by mistake. When I finally found the dressing room, I realised I had no idea of when I was supposed to perform, and the weird way the order of the performances was listed on the wall wasn't helping. Oh, and also it turned out that I had signed up not for one dance, but two! Then I couldn't find my costumes. And I had no idea what music I was dancing to, and I'd forgotten all the steps.

Gee, you think I might have been stressed about something? XD

Actually, it's post-traumatic stress of sorts, after a crazy week at work. I tend to sublimate immediate stress so that I can function, and my body reacts by either developing a cold sore or storing it up and releasing it after the event, so that after Friday's ballet class, I was nothing but a little blob of spent muscles and liquified brains.

* * *

The reason work was so crazy was that we had Culture Day on Friday. The parents were invited, and each kid had to dress in the traditional outfit of the country of their (read: their mother's) choice, and bring some sort of food from that country. We had the kids sing a song in four languages (Tagalog, Spanish, French, and English), and presented a dance performance. We had a ballet troupe (I led that, of course, and had made their costumes), a hip hop crew and a hula group. OMG the kids were so adorable! Some of the mothers really put a lot of efforts into the costumes, and the food was great. We'd told the kids, who had brought their lunch as usual, that they had to try the special foods before their could open their lunch boxes. I was so proud that only one out of ten kids was even interested in her bento! It helped that the mothers had chosen to make things that kids would like, but it wasn't all desserts. The Swiss rösti was extremely popular, as were the Korean sweets and the French bread with cheese.

* * *

I really like Friday's ballet teacher. She's kind of like a female version of Inui-sensei, but I need to find a good nickname for her; it seems disrespectful to think of her as Perfect Ass-sensei, no? Anyway, she's not so much hands-on, but she's really precise in her corrections and pinpoints exactly what I'm doing wrong and how to fix it, so that it feels like a revelation. "Ooooooh! That's why my position looked off! :O" The only trouble I have is that she sometimes uses imagery in her explanations that I have trouble following. Friday, she resorted to English (her English is quite good) when I wasn't understanding why she was holding her hand out while saying something about my fingers. I do appreciate that she asked me if it was okay to use English, because I'd told her during my first lesson with her that I was fine with just Japanese.

The windows in the studio were open, and near the end of the class, a wasp flew in. At first it hovered around the lights, then started inspecting us. It landed in my hair, and I brushed it away, but it came back.

"Wasps like bright/light-coloured things, don't they?" someone said. The wasp, grown tired of my rebuffs, flew over to the only grey-haired woman in the room. Then, somebody had the idea to turn off all the lights and open the door to the hallway; the wasp flew right out.

* * *

It seems unfair that breasts as small as mine are should become this sore when my period is about to start. Or maybe because they're small, the swelling is proportionally more severe, thus more painful? Bloh.

My period has been doing its usual thing again, i.e. timing itself to come at the most inconvenient times. I'm pretty lucky in that I don't get severe cramps or anything, and I'm fairly regular, but it's nearly a given that whenever I travel, I'll have my period. Last year, it happened a whole three days early, right in the middle of my Hawaiian vacation; it started on the night Emily and I left for our Great Train Adventure; it started the day before I left for Europe this year; and guess what was happening over my weekend in Seoul?! Naturally, the timing for my trip to China is perfect, and I won't even need to be early or late for my period to coincide with my travels. Given that I haven't travelled for more than two weeks at a time in years, and my cycle is an even 28 to 29 days, this seems suspicious.

* * *

I was astonishingly productive yesterday, even though I didn't take a shower. I earned three stickers for my sewing page. THREE! :D I made myself privacy curtains -- I've always found that term funny, because hello, they're sheer! though I understand why they're called that -- for my bedroom window, and then another little curtain for my bedroom doorway using the same fabric, thus using up a whole sari. Do you know how long those things are? I think it was the very first sari I bought off Ebay, so that would have been back in... 2004, possibly 2003. Now the light coming into my room is pretty and green. <3

My third sticker was for finally finishing the curtains I started back in... before Christmas, I think. They just needed to be hemmed, but for some reason I'd thrown them aside in disgust (over my inability to measure stuff properly and cut in a straight line, most likely) and hadn't touched them since. They're woefully out of season now, though, because when I think summer in Tokyo, bare trees are not the first things that come to mind. But at least they're something! It turns out the way to get myself to make curtains is to wash the only ones I have, so that I'm forced to put up something before it gets dark and I want to change my clothes.

Tabitha did her usual thing. Because she wouldn't be a true cat if, faced with nearly 2m of fabric laid out on the floor, she didn't sit right in the middle of the six inches I was trying to cut off.

* * *

When the weather gets hot, my vacuum cleaner has this annoying habit of overheating and shutting off, then taking at least a quarter of an hour to cool down enough to start working again. Last weekend, this happened after I'd only vacuumed half a room, which is bad even by Ion-kun standards, so I was worried. I emptied it, left to cool down for over half an hour, then tried plugging it in again. Nothing, not even the green "I'm plugged in!" light. Uh oh. Hoping I wouldn't need to try to get it fixed, or buy a replacement, I did other stuff for another half hour, then tried again. Still no green light! Sighing in frustration, I looked up at my ironing board and noticed that though the vacuum didn't seem to have any power, the iron was plugged in and working fine. XD;;;

Yesterday, I managed to vacuum the whole apartment in only three "sessions", which is much better than I'd expected. Not that it did much good, because Tabitha made sure there was fur over everything again before the day was half done. But it was nice while it lasted!

* * *

Today I hope to be just as productive. I've already studied for an hour (sticker! yeah!) and written this long post; next, I've got a Travelpod post to finish (the last of Team Okinawa's adventure down south). Afterward, I need to shower (definitely!), then decide what I'll do with the rest of my day.

Have a good Sunday, people! *kisses*
Let me tell you a tale of long ago, a time when I sported a B cup. I bought one of those "invisible bra" thingies to wear under a backless dress, where you just tape the cups to your chest and there are no straps. The dress I was planning to wear them with never got made, and I never even took the thing out of the box, but I still have it, though it's about 3 cup sizes too big for me now. XD;;;

Will anyone give it a home?

And also, in the Things I Have But Don't Need Department, would anybody like a clock radio? It was given to me by a friend who left Japan, a friend who, like me, was astounded that the Japanese have alarm clocks and radios, but you hardly ever see a clock radio. I know you probably all use your cell phones as your alarm, as do I, but I thought I'd offer.

* * *

I've been sewing ballet costumes for the kids to wear for our little performance on culture day. THEY'RE SO TINY AND CUTE! I showed the first finished vest to my boss this morning, and she squeed. "かわいすぎ!!!" I just have to finish sewing the binding on by hand, and then it'll be more stars for my sticker sheet!

Speaking of sewing, Eda came over on Sunday and I helped her make some pillowcases. They turned out really well! I hope she posts pictures! *hinthint* Of course, since it isn't a true sewing project without some stupid thing going wrong or a dumb screw-up -- my modus operandi is usually sewing pieces together backward, or something similar -- two sewing machine needles were bent and/or broken in the process of sewing on some innocent-looking pink ribbon. The ribbon, which has been sitting in my box of trim for years, must have been plotting revenge for some time! XDDD

Arg, I need to renew my vows to Haenbok-sshi in a serious way, because I'm seriously failing these days: I haven't stretched at home in over two weeks, I'm not getting up early enough to study in the mornings, and I haven't managed to complete any sewing project since my giant dress (the stuff for work doesn't really count, as I have a deadline).

At least I'm posting to Travelpod? ^_^;;;
Wow, I'd forgotten how small kids are. It's one thing to work with them each day and hold them; it's quite another to make dance costumes for them. So. Damn. Tiny. (We're having Culture Day on Friday, and as I'm in charge of the ballet troupe, I thought I'd make little vests for the boys and skirts for the girls. We're dancing to The Nutcracker. We've also got a hula group and a hip-hop group. They're all going to be so cute. <3)

Kids being kids )

In news unrelated to kids, I feel I've been rather unproductive today. Though I did go to a ballet class, then to the travel agency to hand over my passport so they can take care of getting me a Chinese visa (less troublesome than going myself, though more expensive), then went and bought some clothes even though I'd told myself I wouldn't. At least I got a whole outfit? XD;

Oh, well. Tomorrow shall be a Day of Sewery, so I'll be able to at least finish a few things, and add a few more stickers to my sewing page.

Speaking of which... Check this out! )
Here's the dress I finished on my way to Korea. Seriously, I spent the train ride to Narita sewing the straps, and finished those and added a hook and eye at the gate while waiting to board the plane. I completed it about five minutes before my seat section was called.

This picture is also a teaser for my account of Seoul, which I'll start posting to Travelpod tomorrow night. Here be a dress! )

And now, a challenge for you all: gratuitous Tabitha spam )
[ETA: One more picture, which I forgot to include.]

When I manage to get to bed at a reasonable hour, it's a chore to drag myself out of it as early as I'd like. And then when I let myself go to bed later, planning on sleeping in, I'm wide awake at 6:20 and am unable to fall asleep again. Sigh.

Perhaps I shouldn't complain, because the reason I couldn't get back to sleep (in spite of Tabitha being warm and purry beside me) is because after yesterday, my brain is fired up and unable to stop.

I know I keep saying, "I'll post about this next time," and I really mean to, but oftentimes I don't, or it gets delayed indefinitely. Perhaps it's because I feel I don't want to be spammy and post long entries about stuff that others might not be interested in. I figure if I only post long entries once in a while, there's more chance they'll be read. ^_^; Anyway, I really want to write about creativity, and the whole creative process, because after a good creative week, yesterday was almost too much for my little mind to handle. Or maybe it was all the fabric fumes*. At any rate, Kimberly and Jamie are both very creative in very different ways, and it was a joy to spend the day bouncing ideas off other people, making stuff, talking about making stuff, and sort of casually brainstorming.

But first, as promised, pictures**! For pictures of Tabitha, my completed dress, my not-yet-completed dress, and miniature fruit, it's this-a-way: Also my chest -- go ahead and laugh, Jill! XD )

That's it for now, folks. I swear, within the week I will write about:

- Tenimyu
- creativity
- a really cool izakaya I went to in April
- OMG I'm going to Korea for a day! :D

* I'm somewhat allergic to the chemicals that are used at the end of the fabric-making process, which is one of the reasons I always wash my fabric before using it. Something that I've been working with must not have been washed, because I'm feeling distinctly asthmatic, which only happens when I'm with Siamese cats, or using fabric that's still factory-fresh. And I know it's not the damp, because even though it's been grey and drizzly, the air isn't damp enough to make my hair start to curl.

** And this is where I visit my Photobucket account and see that, hey, there are pictures and video I uploaded over a month ago that still haven't been shared with the world! -___-;
Today was productive beyond my wildest dreams. I sewed! I sewed some more! I completed a whole project! I got most of a new dress done! I even made small, pointless fruit! :D

Pictures tomorrow morning. Of the dresses, and also the fruit.

Good Night

May. 28th, 2010 11:30 pm
Arg, I need to get to bed soon, as I'm really tired and I have to get up early, but I'm totally into the designing groove now and am busy draping another dress. I want to at least finish cutting tonight so I can assemble it tomorrow!

Jamie's going to help me take pictures of the completed dress, since I totally suck at taking pictures of myself, so you should see it soon. ^_^

Wow, I feel silly for not having sewn in so long. On the other hand, ballet class a pris le bord this week... -__-;;; Though to be honest, that's partly a money issue. I finished my last dance card last time I went, so I need to buy a new one. And without the "I'll have wasted money if I don't go to class" impetus, the fact that I just paid my lease renewal* is making me think I should be saving even more than usual so I have plenty in China.

The "Wheee! I can make my own clothes!" high is triply gratifying because I'm a) using up fabric and notions that were bought a while ago and were just sitting there not being useful; b) I'm not spending any extra money; c) I'm bored of my wardrobe and this way I'm not tempted to go and look in the shops. Because we all know how that ends! ^_^v

* This means that June's rent is twice the usual, and about 2/3 of my paycheque. Ouch. And yeah, I'm good for another two years here. Will write more about that soon, as well as other related stuff.
The dress is finished! YEAY! :D

I really should work like this more, i.e. doing a little bit each day. Part of the reason I choke up -- and the main reason I've done what amounts to no sewing at all since Hallowe'en -- is that I have all these ideas, but keep telling myself I'll get started when I have a big chunk of time free to get immersed in a project. And when is that going to happen these days? Haha, right. Never. So this time, I did a little bit each evening, even if it was only hand stitching while watching Project Runway. And now, I have a dress I'm proud of. The only thing I didn't get entirely to my satisfaction is the lining up of the trim on the side, but that's because I'd already taken the zipper out three times* and thought that 1mm really isn't worth the extra hassle.

So, yay! Now for my next project...

* If you suggested that this is because I couldn't be bothered to baste it in properly, you would be right.


May. 25th, 2010 08:00 am
Have done something to my wrist to make it twinge again. And it had been doing so well! ;___;

Also, have still not completed the dress (but I've been working on it every day, so at least there's progress!); went to bed way too late; got up too late to do anything productive; will be getting home late tonight and will need to cook; have stupid blister on foot; have stupid zit on chin.

On the other hand, the weather has finally improved, and Tabitha loooooves the little catnip mouse I got her.

I really, really hope my co-teacher makes it to work today. -___-;
I've been sewing! I started a dress the day before yesterday, worked on it last night, and am now in the home stretch. The only problem is... I can't make up my mind about the lace! Do I want it just along the top? Do I want it to continue up the straps and across the back? Should I just not use it? Argh.

Of course, the project is taking more time than I originally estimated, but isn't that always the case? Especially since I'm doing it properly, because I don't want to end up with a half-assed job that I won't want to wear. Actually, that's the reason I'm debating the lace, because I don't want to decide, once it's all done, that it's too froofy for me. Even though it's really simple lace edging, and it's black, so it's hardly super girly.

On the bright side, once the lace debate has been resolved, all that's left to do is insert the zipper. Invisible zipper ftw! Mwahahaha...

Later (or possibly tomorrow), a review of Dream Live 7th, which was absolutely awesome, and worth going to twice. ^o^
One thing I did last month was attend the Tokyo International Quilt Festival, held annually at Tokyo Dome. I'd been in 2007 and 2008, but had missed it last year. Overall, I don't think there were quite as many stand-outs as the other times I'd been, but there were still some very beautiful things to be seen. I appreciated the trend of using sparkly or sequined fabrics, of which there weren't so many in previous years.

Be warned that I didn't edit these pictures in any way, so I apologise for the poor framing of some of the shots! Here be crafty stuff. )
Let's see how I did, shall we? My to-do list for the day was:

- moar nihongo! Not as much as I would have liked, but my brain shut down around 10 and I couldn't make myself do anything more. Still, I'm now only a day and a half behind, instead of 3, so that's not too bad -- I have Tuesday off to catch up completely ^_^

- do another load of laundry/put more clothes out to air Still have half a storage bin full of stuff, but it's mostly scarves and heavy sweaters, which I won't be needing for another month or so, most likely, so they can wait;

- sew a futon cover This took a bit longer than expected because at first I couldn't find the fabric I wanted, then when I did, I realised that I didn't have 2 metres, but 2 yards (I'd bought it online from the States -- seriously, U.S., get with the program and go metric, like the rest of the world! :P) which wasn't quite enough, so I had to add yet another fabric, but it turned out all right;

- do the dishes;

- vacuum Ion-kun seems to have gotten over his snit, or maybe it's the cooler weather. Either way, I was able to do the whole apartment without him shutting down!

- get groceries but forgot to buy more kleenex. Oh well, still have most of a box, plus the bag full of advertising tissue packs in my closet;

- start NonNaNoWriMo, i.e. write up my travels for my travelpod;

- watch more Project Runway so that I can finally catch up and discuss it with K tomorrow Watched one episode while darning socks. Have any of you ever darned socks? I can't remember ever doing it before, but these are funky knee-highs, i.e. not as disposable as most of the socks I usually wear. I remember my mother darning socks when I was little, teaching me that the best way to do it is to stretch the sock over a lightbulb. Since I had no lightbulb handy, I used a PET bottle, which works almost as well;

- email some people to whom I've long owed replies (A, A, C, D, T).

7 out of 9 isn't too shabby, what say you? Now I shall get ready for bed, hoping that my knees won't be as sore tomorrow. I really think it's the extra time spent studying cross-legged at my table that's doing it, because I can't think of anything else I've been doing differently.
I still have to sew the bottom of the jacket and sew on the braid, but you know what? I am LIGHT-YEARS further than I was last year at this time. Last year, as you may recall, K and I were both up all night working on finishing the costumes. This year, there will be no all-nighter! *cheers for self*

My sewing super-power is setting sleeves. When I take my time and do them right, as I did for my Prince Charming costume, they look great -- even my seams almost all match up! I'm also not too bad at drafting stuff.

On the other hand, I am still mada mada at setting zippers (I'm getting better, though!), as well as cutting pieces so that the edges line up properly. Oh, and at managing my time wisely. XD

I was thinking this morning that it's amazing how our character can shape our destiny. For instance, if I didn't tend to procrastinate, I wouldn't have signed up for my first semester of university classes at the last minute. If I'd signed up earlier, the Japanese class might not have been full, in which case I would probably never had studied Mandarin. And if I'd never taken that Beginner Chinese class, my mother would certainly never have set me up with G (we originally met for language exchange), and I would most likely have come to Japan several years earlier -- and who knows where I'd be now? I wouldn't have Tabitha, that's for sure!
I was up at 8 this morning for some good ol' nihongo taimu. I've taken to having the tv on with the volume down low as background noise while I study, because who knows? It might reinforce what I'm reading. XD It being Sunday morning, I fell on that silly kiddy show about two guys in one suit, which I hear some of you people like. It was pretty hilarious, I must admit. Since I wasn't giving it my full attention, I didn't quite get some bits. Like why did Dance-Boy -- his actual character name, of course! -- suddenly run through a police cordon, set up his boom box and start dancing in the middle of what was presumably an off-limits area?

This was also research, in a way, because to be a good teacher, one should try to be in touch with what interests the students, and my preschool kids love this show. They adore it with the passion of four- and five-year-olds who think that guys running around in weird armour suits are the coolest thing ever. At least three times a week, they ask me (since the other teachers just look at them blankly when the subject comes up) if I like Philippe. The colour drawings half in one colour, half in another. During playtime, they argue over who gets to be which character (Kid A: "Me is Shoutarou!" Kid B: "No, me!" Me: "How about you both be Shoutarou? XD" Kids: "Okay! :D"), then jump around, striking poses and shouting "Dabburu!"

"It's 'Double'," I correct them. " 'Dabburu' is Japanese."

"Double! Metaru! Toriggaa!"

"Metal. Trigger."

"Metal! Trigger!"

Since I've been correcting them, they're starting to catch on that those cool-sounding names are, in fact, English words. The other day, during a writing activity, Chikara suddenly asked me, "What's 'cyclone'?"

Wondering where he'd heard the word, and thinking it might have been some nature program or book (he's interested in science), I answered that it was a storm with very strong winds. He nodded and went back to his worksheet. Ten seconds later, he asked me, "What's 'Joker'?" Ah, now I see where this is going, thought I with a grin.

The weekend is over, which I think is very unfair. I did a lot, though, so at least I didn't waste any time! Friday was [livejournal.com profile] art_house_queen's and [livejournal.com profile] chimericalyours's joint birthday celebration at everyone's favourite cheap izakaya, and I got to take my fantabulous sequined shoes out on the town while meeting some very nice people. Yesterday, K and I nearly finished the Halloween costumes -- save mine, which I really need to get working on! -- and my apartment looks like a princess factory exploded in it. It's rather disturbing. Today I met up with [livejournal.com profile] akahannah and [livejournal.com profile] lizstarsky for some studying at Saizeriya, and we were kicked out! Well, we were very politely told that it was peak meal time, and if we were only studying and not ordering any more food... That's the first time that's ever happened to me, and I could only think, "This would never happen at Skylark!" XD

[livejournal.com profile] lizstarsky and I needed to head over to Shinjuku anyway, because we were meeting [livejournal.com profile] later_uk and [livejournal.com profile] nekonezumi to book ourselves a trip to Okinawa, which we did with minimal difficulty, since the flights and hotel we'd kimeta-ed (<-- actual English verb, and don't let anybody tell you otherwise!) were all available. So we're going to have ourselves a girly resort trip! I've never done that before, so I'm very excited! Afterwards, we met up with [livejournal.com profile] nekonezumi's parents, who are visiting for the week, and had Korean food for supper. Her parents are so sweet! I hope they have a lovely time in Japan.

Anyway, I've got some more benkyouing to do this evening to keep abreast of things. So far I'm doing quite well with my study plan, though I've not been able to manage as much as I'd like regarding kanji. That's the section that's going to slay me come test time. If they're shown in context, I might manage, but otherwise I'm afraid I'll be relying a great deal on my super wild guessing skillz.
I've been keeping somewhat to myself lately, out of exhaustion, and who knows what else... I've got several things to post about, but for now, some bullet points.

- This girl is funny, hot, has a gorgeous voice, plays the guitar AND the banjo, and owns a bulldog. I've known her since we were three years old, so you can take my word for it, she's awesome. Even more awesome is that she recently got to do a show with Hawksley Workman (yes, she did!), and was featured on the CBC's Vinyl Café, the podcast of which you can download here.

- I got my hair cut last night, and it's quite short! This time, my stylist was a host wannabe who took every opportunity to insert "Okay!" or "Let's go!" into the conversation. Turns out his grandfather was French, so he knew a few French words as well. ^_^

- K and I spend a good part of last weekend working on our school's Halloween costumes. This year we're doing Cinderella, so it means making 4 ballgowns, a fairy godmother dress and a prince's costume. I'm going to be the prince to K's Cinderella, so I guess it's a good thing I'm short-haired and flat-chested, eh?

- I've tentatively made a nihongo study plan for when I get back from the Great Train (and Bus and Ferry) Adventure. Let's see if I can stick to it! It involves daily studying, and I'll really need to switch my brain on for this, if I want to have even a snowball's chance in hell of passing the level 2. Speaking of which, I really ought to send in my application for the test!

- The other day, while deleting pictures of a certain individual from my hard drive, I came across this picture of me. Since most of you reading this didn't know me three years ago, let alone two, and some of you didn't even know me one year ago, here I am almost exactly 3 years ago, September 2006 in Ueno Park, with a much rounder face. Too bad you can't see how long my hair was; it was at least mid-way down my back. Look, Jill, I had boobs! XD )
K and I met up at 10 this morning and headed to Nippori (or Nippofuckery, as it's known to certain people XD) to get our fabric on. We hadn't done so in ages, not since Hallowe'en, and we haven't really spent much time together over the past few months. At work, she's upstairs and I'm downstairs, so we don't really get to talk much during the day. It was really nice to hang out and talk and nearly miss our train stops together again, as well as confound everyone on the Yamanote with our hysterical giggling (more on that later).

K had a mission: to buy material and notions to make tutus for her friend's two-year-old daughter who longs to be a princess. I had no specific project in mind, which is why I ended up buying Y10,000 worth of fabric and trims. *rolls eyes at self* Uh... well, in my defence, I hadn't bought any fabric in months, really, and the 100y/m section of Tomato was particularly well-stocked today. And we certainly amused the owner of the last shop we stepped into. We were totally loopy by this point, me bowing in apology to K, begging her forgiveness for leading her down the path to damnation -- i.e. teaching her to sew -- and K continually upping her estimates of how much pink lace she needed -- "One metre should be enough, right? Oh, what the hell, make it 3! :D" -- and the guy was trying hard not to laugh at us. He was very generous with his cuts, though, and when I handed over the gold and green sequin string (to match the fabulous Shitenhouji fabric I found at Tomato!) and asked for 3 metres, he gave me 4 and only charged me for 3. <3

Anyway, K and I left Nippori after about 5 hours, and kept cracking up on the train. We decided the fabric fumes must have affected our brains, and this declaration set off a five-minute-long laughing fit, complete with me using my hand towel to wipe the tears of laughter from my face. We'd calmed down by the time we got back to Kichijouji, though, and went to Lemon Drop for cake -- HEAVENLY! -- and shopped for a few other last-minute things. I'd intended to buy myself a new bicycle (my old one died ;____;), but I figured I'd spent enough for the day, so I came home.

And the grand tally of what I bought today is... *drum roll*

Fabric: 23m + various remnants and small pieces
Trim: 26m
Sewing machine needles: 10
Earrings: 2 pairs
Necklaces: 2
Bowls of udon: 1
Slices of heavenly blueberry tart: 1
Boxes of cherry-flavoured KitKat: 2

The End.



February 2012

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