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Clever Inventions

Lately I’ve been shopping for furniture and been amazed at the technological and design advances that seem specific to Japan. Single beds with enough drawers and secret compartments to store all my worldly possessions! Mattress pads and blankets that, supposedly, have some kind of heating or cooling effect depending on the season. Desks and bookshelves that fold up and slide away. I forget the wonder of the every day things around us, so I always like coming across new things like this, to remind me how clever people are.

Spring Sakura

Sakura season has come (and gone) again! I saw the blossoms on Saturday, and Sunday when a storm raged through Tokyo and winds shook the house, I was sure the flowers would be completely gone by Monday. But when I went out they were still there. I know sakura are popular for how they represent fleeting beauty, but when I saw them hanging in there, I liked the idea of celebrating sakura for their resilience despite their short time.

Degrees of Curiosity

I watched a video from TEDxTokyo ( about the curiosity ancient peoples must have had to bring us the food we have today. Think about it – who was the first person who tried their milk gone bad and discovered cheese? Really, who was the first person who decided to drink something coming out of an animal and discovered milk? And think of all the dangerous looking plants out there, like pineapple, or even kiwi, which are more innocent looking but hairy. I don’t know that there’s a lot left to be discovered for the sake of the human race by being curious about food, but as the talk suggests, there’s a lot to be gained by seeing something that initially might be scary and deciding to go see what it is anyway.

My Soundtrack

Movies have soundtracks, right? Characters have music that accompanies them, tells the people around them what the mood of the scene is, gives us some hint of their personality and their feelings. But why should characters in movies have all the fun? When I go running I like to have my own soundtrack – mostly things borrowed from action movies, because if there is a time when you should feel like a superhero, it’s running for miles before most people are even awake. But I also like having my own soundtrack while I’m just walking around the city, or going about some mundane task like writing. Give it a try, find your theme music.

March 4


I really have to stop this.

Almost every day, I had to stop by the snack store.

And I am not talking about just 1, but at least a few.

Recently, even though the Japanese snack seems SOOOOO healthy and delicious compare to the US sugar junk,

I am starting to あきる 。。。

And with the 8% sales tax now, really have to rethink my “lunch overspending” habit.

So poor …

March 3


The snow was not all bad for me.

Snowing is romantic, but only when if you can mostly stay indoor or VERY CLOSE to home.

The TV was broadcasting crazily about the heavy snow and all,

but compare to the -70 degree celsius that I had when I was in Minnesota,

the amount Tokyo had was like a child’s play.

But cute.

March 2


Yes, this photo is from March.

This year, during March, Tokyo has been snowing …

A couple days the snow was SOOOO full that it completely covers all streets.

Sometimes it gets really tall.

But after a few days, when it melts, only the hardest “snow” left.

That meant “ice”.

残り生きるのは、いつも the toughest モノだよね、と感じる。

March 1


This photo is actually from last month.

As you can see, it is about Valentine Day.

I almost did not notice it because it was soooo unnoticeable …

… on a very hidden wall.

The message is cute, extra food for couples …

But how sad it would be for ppl who just had their heart broken and see this …

Off-Label Purposes

I was with a friend at the grocery store the other day. I bought some shirataki noodles, and she gave me a puzzled look. “What’s that for?” she asked. “Spaghetti! I have them with tomato sauce,” I said. She gave me an even weirder look. “That’s not how people usually eat them,” she said. “I know,” I answered, “I use them for off-label purposes.”

Arguments on the Train

When I lived in the U.S. I heard people arguing on the bus or train almost every day. Strangers would get mad at each other for stupid reasons, and they would yell, and it would escalate. People said really awful things to each other. The other day, I heard my very first argument on a Japanese train. Someone asked what station we were at. Another man answered grumpily that you could see by just looking. They went back and forth like this. I wasn’t exactly comfortable listening to all this, especially when I was sleepy, early in the morning – but it was definitely the most polite argument I’d ever heard.

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