Sunday, November 26, 2006

My boss wears a girdle, and I have 2 month's worth of "pet bottles"

True story. So I'm back in town from Tokyo - had a conference in Shinjuku this past week and decided to go down early for a much needed vacation. I got a free ride down with a friend in his truck last Friday night, so I taught him some very useful English along the way. He now knows how to say "I gotta pee", "you are lame", "I'm a pimp", "you suck", and "I'll lay the smackdown on your ass." Gotta start with the basics, right?

So once we got down to Tokyo, the main 2 highlights were 1) food, and 2) meeting other CIRs from around the country. I had some pretty nice Korean BBQ, a Thanksgiving dinner starring pumpkin pie (but no gravy), some Mexican food twice, and some pretty good Indian food. On the people end, it was really good to network with people - in addition to fresh faces I got to meet a few people that I had talked to online but never had a chance to actually meet yet. It was fun.

Oh yeah, and there was this 20th anniversary dealie for JET, so they had a big reception and ceremony and stuff which I scored an invitation to - the crown prince of Japan was there, which was cool. Even cooler though was this one chick from Kyoto that spoke at the panel discussion they had in a really thick Kansai accent. If that means nothing to you, imagine some southern Georgia belle or a guy from the Bronx at a snazzy symposium and you'll get the same effect. I must say though that the Kyoto accent to me is totally hot! What can I say, I'm a sucker for girls with a foreign accent, even if it's a regional one in Japanese. Then again, Japanese accents in English are stupid to me, so I guess it isn't always true. Maybe it only works for girls that are already hot, in which case one could argue it's not working at all... ok, I'll stop now.

Where was I? Oh yeah, anniversary dinner which came with a free extra night in Tokyo, with which I went out to a club. I got to do my "tako dance"(tako = octopus). Then I come back, and my boss is wearing a girdle for back pains. He insists it's because he's too fat, but he's also been under a lot of stress because his dad's in bad shape - currently still in the hospital. So he says that he's as fat as an American, to which my response of course is that I'm American and he's fatter than me, which makes him fatter than an American. Then I told him maybe he should change nationalities. Since he's one of the like 5 people out of 20,000+ in my town that gets American humor he laughed.

And now for the other part of the title. What's a "pet bottle" you ask? Well, that's a pet bottle. Or more exactly, according to wiki... "Polyethylene terephthalate (aka PET, PETE or the obsolete PETP or PET-P) is a thermoplastic polymer resin of the polyester family that is used in synthetic fibers; beverage, food and other liquid containers; thermoforming applications; and engineering resins often in combination with glass fiber." Wiki is my friend.;P

See here's the deal: see that chart? That's a sample trash schedule from somewhere's in Japan. You're supposed to seperate things into like 6 different categories before you throw them away, and they give you this nifty color-coordinated trash schedule to sort out which day you're supposed to throw what stuff away. If you try to throw the wrong stuff away on the wrong day they give it back to you. If you throw the right stuff away but don't use the right bag, they give it back to you. If you don't get there by 8:30am when the truck comes, you get to hold on to it til next time. And the best part is that there are certain things, like these pet bottles, which only get tossed one day out of the month. That day happened to be last week when I was out of town, so now I have an overflowing pet bottle trash recepticle with 2 months worth of the things. I think I might have to saunter over to the local 7-11 in the middle of the night all ninja-like and dump them in their trash can, since that's about the only place you can find public trash cans around here. It's either that or wait until December 21st, the next pet bottle day. I wonder how many I could collect by then...

And finally, I'm cold. That is all.

Friday, November 10, 2006

An overdue update

Ok, so let's see - what's happened since last time... well lately I've actually been feeling rather stressed. Not really because of work, but more because even when I'm not at work I hardly feel like I'm relaxed. Any suggestions on relaxing activities I should get into? I'm reeeeally looking forward to heading down to Tokyo in a week for exactly that reason. There's a national mid-year conference for CIRs starting the 20th, so they gave me a rack load of skrill and told me to make reservations for myself... which of course means that I have $$$ left for, let's just say "extracurricular activities". So yeah, I'm going down the weekend before and know enough people in the greater Tokyo area to enjoy myself for that week. I'm basically thinking of it as a fully paid vacation, which is just what the doctor ordered!

So yeah, there was a pretty cool event last weekend after the Halloween party for Guy Fawkes Day with fireworks and a bonfire and burning stuff and... stuff. I don't feel like explaining it right now, so you'll have to settle for pictures. Wiki is awesome though - basically it's a Brit thing.

Now for those of you that have witnessed my phenominal dancing prowess (not really), you may be inclined to believe this is what the kids call a "raver", but you would be mistaken. He is a frequent client of the local party scene, but in this particular case those aren't glow sticks but rather actual balls of fire stuck to strings. He's doing what is apparently a traditional Maori (NZ) fire dance - you should've heard the "oohs" and "aahs" when he smacked them against his arms... and crotch. If you have the chance I urge you to check it out sometime - mail me and I can send you a video I took with my killer phone.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Ok, so to some of you this may seem strange, but I was never really big into Halloween when I was a kid. My mom's always been sort of anti-Halloween because she bought into the whole "Halloween is the devil's day" deal since it was originally a Celtic harvest festival often associated with spirits and whatnot. So yeah anyway, long story short they never passed out candy and I never really went trick-or-treating... I didn't really have a lot of fun with it until I got older and figured out how much fun smashing pumpkins and costume parties are (and no, I'm not talking about Billy Corgan).

...which segways nicely into this next picture. Not only did I carve this pumpkin this afternoon, but this is actually the first jack-o-lantern I've ever carved! I think it's a sort of weird experience for an American to go all the way to Japan to carve his first pumpkin for Halloween - I told one guy at work it'd be like a Japanese person going to the US and having their first piece of sushi or something. So yeah, I had a lot of fun with that, and hopefully people will appreciate it since it took me forever to get the stupid thing gutted and carved. That little hand-sized thing took me a good hour or so to finish because of the pattern I chose.

We're having a big Halloween party for kids this Saturday, complete with trick-or-treating, candy, apple bobbing, and even a full blown haunted house! I get to scare the crap out of little kids - I'm really gonna enjoy that one. ;P There was a mini-party at this elementary school I visited this morning, and all those kids dressed up and were sooo cute it's rediculous. It's too bad, because I feel like if I don't make at least one of them cry out of fear then I haven't successfully done my job as party coordinator and haunted house designer. It looks to be rather hastily flung together, but luckily Japanese kids have rather vivid imaginations and thus scare quite easily. I'll let you know how things go.