Thursday, August 26, 2010

100th Post- Here's Your Sign!

Yay!  I made it to 100 posts!  While I have been consistently inconsistent, at least I have something to show for it all!  I was waiting to download pictures from a fantabulous trip I made, but that might take a couple more days.  So instead I thought I would share some funny signs I have seen around Tokyo.  I have posted many to my FB page, but I don't think I have shared them here?  For those of us have lived in and/or visited Japan, you know that the signs written in English can be pretty funny.  They can be funny because of the way the Japanese is translated to English- lovingly dubbed "Engrish", or just the subject matter and illustrations will give one a chuckle or two.  I hope you enjoy! 

From Ueno Park by the entrance to the toilets.  "Please understand it 'beforehand'"-
meaning before you realize you have no tp and have to use your...?
From the Narita (Tokyo) Airport.  They have the lovely electric toilets with all the gizmos.  They are all over Japan.  Narita is very thorough to explain the system to its visitors.
Ok- it's not technically a "sign", but it just cracks me up.  Dog Freaks is a dog grooming business.
 I know, that's only three (or technically two) signs!  I thought I had more- I just can't find where I put them- probably on Hubby's computer (Brother is hogging it right now and the network is not cooperating).

But- stay tuned- I will have more in the future!!  I promise!

Here's to 100 more posts! *throwing confetti*

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Check Your Facts People!

I know, I never post twice in one day, strange.  But I just did a little internet search to do a little fact checking on a disturbing email I received.  I am not an extremely political person, nor do I want to use my blog for political purposes- unless it is something I feel will benefit the military and military families.  I am a little biased in that respect.  I did not vote for Obama, nor have I written him off to be a bad president.  The jury is still out on that one.  Just because I did not vote for him does not mean I am totally against him.  I just liked the other guy better.  So I really take issue with emails circulating around that are written to discredit our president, by using personal and sometime even racist, attacks.  To top it off, half of that crap isn't even true!


Just because someone typed it up all pretty and clicked "send", doesn't make it true.  And how is easy is it to cut and paste to make something sound so terribly different than it should have?

What spurred this post is an email I received from a loving family member.  It claimed that Obama called veterans selfish- referring to the opposition veterans voiced against the proposal for veterans to use their own private health care to pay for combat injuries.  The quotes in this email were not only sensational- but totally false.  You have to be smarter than the average bear to make it to be president, I just don't see the President saying such things.  The said proposal was withdrawn, by the way.  There is more to it, of course.  Reading the details, I did not agree, and I am glad it didn't come to pass.  Oh, and this was all from last year.  That goes to show you how long these emails float around in cyber space.

So how do I get my point across to said loving family members, without ticking them off?  Any thoughts?

It's hot out there, but not I am not complaining (much)

Baby, it's hot outside!  I swore I wouldn't complain because I complained so much about the cold last winter and spring.  I was mighty disappointed in the winter here in Japan, I thought we would have a more tropical kind of winter.  Instead, it was cold just like in Washington.  Well, maybe not AS cold, but still pretty darn cold, with some snow to boot.

It is hot here, with high humidity.  When you step outside- it is like going into a sauna.  But we have AC, so the hot weather is much more bearable. 

 However, did you catch my mention of a little car accident a while back?  The car I bought from my neighbor back in April is now totalled.  Well, technically, it could have been fixed- but the cost to fix it was more than the car is worth.  Basically I was driving to my house and a guy came out of nowhere (having run a stop sign), I didn't have enough time to stop and couldn't get out of his way, so he hit me.  He didn't see me until the impact either.  No one was hurt, we were all very lucky in that respect.  I was lucky too, that this was on base.  Getting into an accident off base is everyone's fear I think.  But I can say this was my first international incident, seeing how the other guy is a Japanese national.  I had one of my ladies' groups I teach English to, in the car with me.  So the guy I got into the accident went over to them and told them in Japanese that the accident was MY fault.  They knew better of course!  He even tried to lie to the liason (the interpreter), and said I was turning and he hit me in a different part of the street.  But she saw the tale-tell signs of skid marks and pieces of my headlight where the accident actually ocurred.

Like I said, no one was hurt.  I realized later that the guy was obviously distracted, and it could have been so much worse.  What if a kid had been riding his bike or someone was crossing the street?  I did feel awful about my poor ladies, they were a little shaken up, but so supportive and concerned about me.  They are so sweet, I love them all.

it's smooshed!

My lovely Japanese ladies I teach English to (and who were in the accident with me). 
Check out the doll- it was a gift from them.  It is so beautiful!
So that was back in June.  Here it is August and I still don't have a new car, nor have I received any compensation.  It is still in the works.  It didn't help that security botched the first report and then took over a week to correct it.  It has all been a very frustrating experience to be sure.  I have Hubby's car, but it has NO AC!  It is just a two door little hooptie, it is like driving an oven on wheels.  I rented a car for a couple of days so we could drive to Brother's ortho appointment and do some other things that required being in the car more than 5 minutes.  The rental is a little Nissan, nothing fancy, but it felt like a luxury car when we blasted that AC!  I felt a little sad turning the keys back in.  Wish me luck on getting a new car, I am so dreading the whole process.

A little note about Japanese traffic laws and such.  For us Americans, we will get at least 10% liability even if the accident is really 100% the other party's fault (for accidents that are off base.)  Someone told me it was explained to him that it is because we are in the country, therefore we have 10% fault.  If we are not here, there wouldn't be an incident.  If you get into an accident and the other party is injured, you have to bring gifts and money to them when they are in the hospital.  It is called gomen-nasai (I am sorry).  And be sure you don't bring an inappropriate gift.  A potted plant is a bad choice- because has roots and you don't want the person to "grow roots" in a hospital and therefore never leave.

Drunk driving is no joke either.  I can't remember what the blood alcohol limits are, but they are extremely low, and even lower on base.  If you have just one drink you are done for the night.  If you have many drinks, you are done for the night and the next morning too.  I seriously will not drink if I have to go somewhere in the morning, it is too risky.  If you are in a car with someone who is drinking and driving, you will go to jail with him if caught.  The penalty for drinking and driving in Japan is prison with hard labor.  Though I did hear that the US government helps provide better prison quarters, I am sure it is still no trip to the park.

I totally understand the strict rules on D&D here.  The roads are too narrow and too congested with not only cars but pedestrians, bikes and scooters.  One must be at the top of his or her game to drive.  Actually, I think maybe the US could do with some stricter laws.  It would probably save more lives, what do you think?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Food Fun Friday- Ramen Baby!!

Welcome to the 2nd edition of Food Fun Friday.  It's already 9PM here, but for you state-siders it is still pretty darn early.  I am sad to say we only got off base to eat once this week.  Today I was on a mission to eat sushi, but unfortunately the whole dang town had the same idea and the line was out the door at our favorite "cheap" place to eat sushi.  Instead of driving to the nicer (more expensive and probably crowded as well) sushi joint, Sissy and I headed to the mall once more.  This time we hit one of the little restaurants, instead of eating in the food court. 

In Japan you'll notice that most of the restaurants either have big colorful pictures of their food, or an actual plate or two (and sometimes many many plates) of "display food".  It is like they prepared the dish, but then preserved it somehow so that it can be on display.  It reminds me of the fake fruit bowls back in the 70s and 80s.   Except of course everyone knows better than to try and take a bite of the food dispplays here.

So we picked by looking at the food display- a little ramen restaurant.  Here they have the  ticket machine where the customer places his or her order.  Usually they have the menu items in English, but not this place!  Lucky for us the waitress spoke very good English and she helped us place our order.  A kids plate for Sissy, pork ramen for me, and some gyoza to share.  Sissy's plate had fried rice, orange Fanta, and peach Jello.  Of course it was all very delicious (oishi).

entrance to the ramen restaurant at the mall

food display in front of the ramen restaurant, kind of weird, but it is very helpful for those of us who can't read sticks!

"kids' set"- they don't say "combo" they say "set" here, so I always ask for the kids' set for Sissy.  She got a toy as well.
My delicious pork ramen.  The white thing with the pink is a slice of boiled egg with a design done with food dye of some sort.  Did you know that slurping your noodles is totally acceptable in Japan?  In fact, it can be considered a compliment to the chef.  The men are much more boisterous than women in their slurping.  I have to say it always make me giggle.

GYOZA!  If you are unsure of what to order (read- scared), then order the gyoza, I haven't seen anyone mess it up yet- it is always TASTY!

For desert we stopped at the crepes place.  I LOVE CREPES.  Yum.  I have always ordered the dessert crepes, with ice cream or whatnot.  But next time I think I will try one of the savory crepes, for example the teriyaki chicken looks mighty delicious.

Atlanta Crazy Crepes, these guys are everywhere- very popular (and yes I have a punch card.)  Their motto is "Hold it in your hands, Love it in your Tummy!"  Yes indeed!

our crepes, best food invention ever

My final mention for food is a favorite of mine we discovered in one of the millions of convenience stores.  (I plan on devoting a post to 7-Eleven in the future.)  We thought it was just frozen fruit- but when you bite into them you not only get the fruit, but vanilla ice cream on the inside.  So yummy!

fruit/ice cream balls, what more can you ask for?