Monthly Archives: October 2008

My sister is a big pain.

So I may have mentioned what a pain it is to shop for my sister. Function doesn’t matter all the time, just whether things are “cute” or not. And then sometimes function does matter. Basically she’s a pain in my ass. She sent me on another smaller pen quest (only two pens) and I bought a couple more address books for her. I doubt she’ll like either of the address books and one of the two pens doesn’t seem to exist in this part of Japan. Nobody had even heard of the company in two stores. Whatever. In any case, I also found out that her friend Carolyn, who was … Continue reading

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Uh wuggah wuh, uh wuggah wuh.

There are a lot of things that make me wonder when I’m in Japan. Why was the hotel restaurant full of Germans yesterday and Koreans today? Why, for chrissake, do Japanese men wear tan shoes with black suits? How did my old co-worker’s son spend $2000 in two months on his cell phone bill? And why the hell was this girl reading a “CSI:Miami” paperback on the train this morning? I may have forgotten to mention that I had them change my room last night. I’m now facing the train station instead of a wall and while I don’t watch the trains go by all the time, it’s fun to … Continue reading

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Just for my sister.

A fuzzy picture of a Japanese monkey at Minoo waterfall! Now off to do her shopping. 🙂

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They sprung my ma.

My mom’s out of the hospital! Hooray! And since she sounded fine the first day, and even better on subsequent days, I’m thinking she’s fine. She probably just had poo-related problems. That’s my opinion and the opinion of at least 2 of the 3 Drs. Kawasaki. I spent the day with my aunt and my pseudo-aunt and pseudo-uncle. I have pictures of most of the day in fuzzy iPhone style. It should have been multimegapixel sharpness since I bought a new digital camera, but it turns out that when they tell you that the battery isn’t pre-charged in Japan, they mean it. In any case, I wasn’t bleary from the … Continue reading

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Vacation is a time for dieting and exercise.

Hah. So I ditched my hospitalized mom and proceeded to Osaka on my own. I met my aunt here because that was the plan, but we both were here early and did different things to kill the time. Last year when I visited for the first time in 16 years, I had a list of things I wanted to eat. I think I ate most of them quickly. There was saba (mackerel), croquettes, tako-yaki (octopus dumplings), and most likely other things I can’t remember right now. I had most of the list finished on my first day with my pseudo-aunt and pseudo-uncle (for those who don’t remember, they’re my mom’s … Continue reading

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Exciting day in Japan.

Well, not really. The best part is that my mom looks a lot better and it seems like she had yet another misdiagnosis of pneumonia. She has no fever nor any other obvious symptoms and we (me and some real doctors) playing armchair quarterback think she just had volumetric shock. All I did today, really, was go to the hospital a couple of times. I did have lunch at a Japanese all-you-can-eat restaurant and as you’d expect from an all-you-can-eat restaurant, it was so-so. I’m ditching my mom, leaving her in the capable hands of Dr. and Mrs. Kawasaki who we were visiting here in Toyama, and heading to Osaka … Continue reading

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Second day on the island.

It was hard to sleep in the inn because of all the noise. Not from all the drunken revelry of the middle-aged Japanese men (which usually happens in these places) but from the wind hitting my side of the building. It rattled the windows and kept most of the people awake, but I had earplugs in. My camera is still dead, but here are some grainy iPhone pictures instead. We went around the southern half of the island and saw lots more weird stuff. We finally ran into other traffic as we got close to the tourist spots like the gold mine and the bird refuge. We ate at a … Continue reading

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Stuck on the island.

Here’s day 2 of my trip to Japan, posted on day 4. I’m up early because we didn’t get back from the hospital until about 12:30AM but my aunt kept calling around 7. The people I’m staying with like to sleep in and I’m OK with that, but my jet lag makes me get up early. Right now my tentative plan is to ditch my mom here if it’s OK with the people I’m staying with and go meet my aunt in Osaka. She has my mom’s bank passbook (for people old enough to remember passbooks) and I need to get that anyway. We took the “Jet Boat” to Sado … Continue reading

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So much for my vacation.

We made it off the island and survived the traditional Japanese inn and the abalone being cooked alive on the table in front of us, but as soon as we hit the train my mom started having stomach pains. By the time we were off the train she was shivering uncontrollably and we had to call an ambulance. I have now experienced a Japanese ambulance (chaotic and 3rd world) and a Japanese ER waiting room. She’s now in a room with 3 other people while she recovers from pneumonia. So I guess the rest of my vacation may be spent sitting around a hospital. And then figuring out how I’m … Continue reading

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Finally in my hotel.

I’m pooped. The worst way to start the trip was to wake up repeatedly in the middle of the night having to rush to the bathroom, but I’m not the one who gets to decide these sorts of things. We left home at 10:30AM for a flight that turned out to be later than my mom thought, and we left Portland at 1:55PM. We arrived in Narita around 5PM Japan time, which makes it around 4AM Portland time. We boarded a train to Tokyo which took about an hour, and here’s a picture of my mom’s friend in the train. She came to meet us at the airport and is … Continue reading

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Man, I’m bad at packing.

So I’m leaving for Japan tomorrow and I haven’t started packing. In fact, I doubt I’ll do any packing at all tonight. I’m planning on going to bed early and doing it all at the last minute. Honestly, it’s the way I usually pack. It’s a vacation, after all, and last year I even packed a pair of slacks that just went to Japan and then came back with me without being worn. All I really need are a bunch of t-shirts and a couple pairs of jeans, I think. Long sleeve shirts for the days it’s colder. No big deal. The hard part is deciding which laptop to take … Continue reading

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Great, NOW I get sick.

First, I have a question: who’s the fat sleepy looking guy on the inside of my passport? I had to leave work early today and even skipped out on the gym because I feel like doodie. Mainly it’s something that you could call the “stomach ‘flu” which means I really can’t get very far from a bathroom. This is even after all the weird concoctions I’ve been drinking to try and stop this. Seirogan, Pepto Bismol, etc. The worst part is that the bathroom next to my bedroom still isn’t finished. And, of course, I’m supposed to leave for Japan in two days. Yeesh. Speaking of bathrooms, I went out … Continue reading

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