Monthly Archives: October 2011

Japan Day 6 – Wandering around Umeda

Today was a day to wander around Umeda with my mom, sister, aunt, and aunt’s sister-in-law. It always involves eating and shopping for odd things. First was my failure to pick a decent place to eat. We went for omurice, or rice omlettes, and there was a good place at the top of Yodobashi Camera but the place we went was in the basement of the Hankyu Sanbangai. That’s my mom, my aunt, and my not-really-my-aunt. It just wasn’t all that tasty. Not awful, but not great. Afterwards we went wandering around shopping at Yodobashi Camera at first, getting hats for my mom and my aunt. My mom kept telling … Continue reading

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Japan Day 5 – Travel to Osaka

We left Toyama today around noon and, fortunately, I wasn’t as hung over as everyone else thought I’d be. That’s because I hid from the drinkers and went to Baskin-Robbins instead but I still didn’t sleep worth a darn last night. We got into Osaka in a rain storm to the hotel that we had so much trouble booking. And wouldn’t you know it, they put us in a couple of smoking rooms. Fortunately, that was easily fixed. In the evening I got to meet my old co-worker’s family. He’s remarried and now he has three boys. They seem like good kids, though. Oh, and I googled it and it … Continue reading

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Japan Day 4 – More Toyama

We were joined in Toyama by more of the Kawasaki clan and on our travels through town we made a short trip to Koffe, a specialty coffee roaster south of the train station. The owner even made a trip to Ventura to demonstrate the Japanese method of making single cups of drip coffee. My sister and I also got a cappuccino and I’d recommend looking up the coffee shop if you’re in Toyama. The coffee was delicious!

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Japan Day 3

We were in Toyama for day 3, going to a hot springs and shopping at the local mall. Not many pictures, though, because there’s really no reason to take pictures of a bunch of old naked dudes or of the inside of a mall. The most confusing thing to me at the hot springs was when I was looking for the toilet. There was a sign for the “Rest Room” which turned out to be a room full of lounging chairs for after you soak and there was a sign for the “Bath Room” which turned out to be the way to get to the actual baths. I finally found … Continue reading

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Japan Day 2 – Road Trip

Our usual second day in Japan. We drove from Maebashi with my mom’s friend Mieko to Toyama to see our friends the Kawasakis. It was a beautiful day in Maebashi. We headed towards the expressway and saw some things I found interesting, including a zinc factory built on a hill. Most structures I see nowadays are built on flat land. As we headed towards Nagano, there were some interesting hills and I think one of them is the one that the writer of Crayon Shin-chan fell from. We got on the Japanese expressway (with a speed limit of 70-80kph – a non-speedy 44-50MPH) and headed towards Nagano Prefecture. On the … Continue reading

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Japan Day 1

Not much to say about the first day in Japan because we got to Narita at 5PM (1AM Portland time) and after getting our rail passes and my rental cell phone, we got on a bus for Maebashi. Four hours later, we arrived at the train station in Maebashi and went out for dinner with our friends. The big surprise is that we were met by Dr. Kobayashi who is generally too busy to see us. It’s always around 10:30PM by the time we get to dinner but the okonomiyaki restaurant is open at that time. I passed out soon afterwards. I saw an interestingly tiny car, on the way … Continue reading

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Tired and stressed?

I’ve been tired at the gym before and today was quite special. I’m thinking it might have been a good idea to take a nap instead, but I often think that when I go to the gym. But now that I look at it in retrospect, I probably do need a rest. Good thing I’m going to be eating instead of exercising for two weeks. I usually don’t get very stressed out about my trips to Japan. I think it takes me about 10 minutes to pack, if you don’t count the time I spend deciding what sorts of electronic entertainment I’m going to pack in my carry-on. That takes … Continue reading

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Crankity cranky.

Sometimes after going to the gym I feel kind of cranky. I figure this may be because of low blood sugar, or maybe it’s because I spent over an hour in a doctor’s waiting room for the second time in a week. Last time it was worse and closer to two hours, but it was in a specialist’s office where the news for the person before me could have been really, really bad. Today the doctor was pretty thorough and nice, so I wasn’t mad after all the waiting but my feelings of discontent might have just built up over the day. Or maybe it’s just because I’m tired and … Continue reading

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Getting ready for Japan.

It’s almost time for my yearly trip to Japan. I was thinking about all the silly things I’ve bought there, like a knit/fleece and gloves with the iPhone touchscreen-capable fingertips. Those things are probably sold here (I saw North Face had similar gloves), but I realized every time I use them I think about my trips to Japan. Other than that there’s nothing new except being kind of tired lately. Might be psychological or the weather dropping 20°F but I’m not the only one who has felt tired lately. I figure it might just be the seasons changing. Now if only I could sleep better (or have the sense to … Continue reading

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Busy and tired.

Honestly, I tried posting earlier in the week and it was, well, weak. I can summarize in a few words, tired, gym, up too late. Rinse, later, repeat. I didn’t actually get it put up onto the intarwebs for the three people who read it because MY COMPUTER LOCKED UP. Actually, it sort of locks up every time I reboot. It’s friendly that way. We’re getting ready for our trip to Japan and it’s been pretty easy to get hotels in the past. The sites we’re used to let us reserve without pre-paying, and then we pay cash with whatever money we might have in Japan. I have some left … Continue reading

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Every year I say I’m not doing this any more.

I stood out in the cold AGAIN, volunteering for the Portland Marathon. Got to call for one ride for a guy that didn’t look as well as the guy who had the ambulance called for him. I sure hope they’re both OK. But it was a complete mess this year. Ambulances weren’t being routed properly and medical staff were getting angry. And I was pushing for AID06 to stay open longer. We’re supposed to be there until the sweep vehicle comes through to signal the official tail end of the marathon — or at least close to that time — but they were torn down 45 minutes early, an hour … Continue reading

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Still tired.

An exciting Friday night was spent watching TV shows, some through closed eyes, while trying to stay awake. But I did finally give in to a week of little sleep and hit the hay at a sane time. When I got up I still felt like sleeping and I went to the gym and walked around like a zombie. I’d like to sleep in tomorrow but I volunteered for the Portland Marathon again and that means I get to set my alarm for EARLIER than a normal day and stand around in the rain for a few hours while waiting to see if anyone needs a ride back to the … Continue reading

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