My neighborhood garden walk

Here in my neighborhood, only a few meters away from the ocean, we’ve gotten very little spring weather this year. It’s either been terribly cold or almost steamy-hot outside. May is the segue-way month into summer, and also into the rainy season. Already the stores are displaying summer-themed goods, from beach toys to grilling sets. However, for the last few days we’ve been getting nothing but drizzling rain. Anticipating summer is exciting, but the rain is a real annoyance. During May, many people are already mold-proofing their houses, myself included.

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Back in Black

April 3, 2010

Yokohama Landmark Tower

I know I haven’t updated in nearly a millennium, but I haven’t had time to adequately research how to use my Mac. For instance, I didn’t know how Mac handles photos with iPhoto software, and wasn’t able to post directly from my file library. Most of my writing centers around photo-taking, and this was a huge block for me. However, now that I’ve spent time to learn my Mac’s software (I haven’t touched a Mac since 1994), more posts will appear on this blog. For instance, now I can post photos taken from hundreds of feet up in the air, panicking during a windy night on the MM1 Ferris Wheel! See above.

Halloween

October 23, 2009

Apparently, Halloween has caught on here in Japan. I’d been aware of this for some time, but I’ve never actually been in Japan during autumn before. I’ve been mulling over why it’s caught on, and surely a large factor is the colorful and standard motifs, such as witches, ghosts and jack-o-lanterns. I also suppose that the spirit of the event might strike a cord similar to O-bon, which I have sometimes described to friends as being akin to Dia de los Muertos in the Americas. Not that many of these events resound deeply in our pagan ancestry anymore, candy-colored and packaged up as they are, but I’d like to think there’s a similar atmosphere running amongst them.

Pumpkin flan for Halloween, made with kabocha pumpkin from Hokkaido.

Pumpkin flan for Halloween, made with kabocha pumpkin from Hokkaido.

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Sea Paradise

September 16, 2009

DSCN0385

Over the course of the last weekend, we did some touristing around Yokohama and went to one of the larger attractions, not far away form Minato Mirai, the large amusement park, called Sea Paradise, or SeaPara. I’ve always liked going to aquariums, and this one was purported to be fairly large. We headed out on Sunday, which is generally the most busy shopping day here. In general, most Americans shop on Saturday and tend to rest up for Monday on Sunday, but in Japan Sunday is the big, super busy day. Most of the schools in Japan are on a 5-day week (back in 1992 it was a big hurrah when schools gave students off a single Saturday every month). Plenty of private schools still cater to the “education mama” crowd by retaining the six day week, however. Additionally, some companies run a six day week, and I’ve heard tell that some even run a seven day week. Obviously, retailers stay open during weekends as well. At any rate, the weekend isn’t the holy institution it is in the States. We have the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to thank for that.

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House Warming Party

August 31, 2009

Well, the worst of the summer heat may soon be over in Kanagawa-ken (at least near the sea here on Miura peninsula where we live) but the cicadas are still out in force during the middle of the day. I had one visit me while I was hanging laundry, but he whisked off before I could get a picture of him. Now, we mostly find dead or half-dead ones on our porch and balcony–they went through a period of flinging themselves at our windows, which was nerve-shattering until I learned it wasn’t birds that were doing it.

We hosted a small party the other day in hopes of meeting some of the people Darrel works with, and also as something of a house-warming party. We’d originally planned a cook-out, but the weather is just too nasty for outdoor entertaining. Read the rest of this entry »

Open House Pt. 2

August 19, 2009

Our bedroom, windows to the south and west.

Our bedroom, windows to the south and west.

This is the second part of the open house, which is all photos of our second story. I apologize that the photos aren’t that great, I was running out of steam and often got a terrible shot. I thought about reshooting everything. However, I know myself well enough that I’d never get around to it, so in the spirit of moving forward, here’s the last few areas of the house!

Upstairs, the largest room is our bedroom, which has a lower ceiling than our last bedroom, and although larger, feels smaller because of it. Since the windows face east, we don’t get hit with sun in the morning, and the room stays bright in the evening. There’s nothing remarkably Japanese about it, other than the large, deep oshiire closet.

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Open House Pt. 1

August 12, 2009

Okay, so here’s the virtual tour of our new house. It might take some time to load on slower connections, there’s a lot of photos. Enjoy!

Our Kitchen

Our Kitchen

Notice how the sink and counter is entirely metal, rather than plastic, tile, or stone. When house-viewing, we found every house had that feature. You can also barely see the little trap doors beneath the island, which is a floor pantry for dry goods. We put MREs in there for fun (okay, for typhoon season actually).

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I’m having something of a cursed time of it trying to get photos off my camera, then fixed in PS because the camera wasn’t set to handle indoor photos, then somehow off of iPhoto, which is a bizarre and annoying application, and then finally onto my journal here. Plus, I spent at least3 hours looking for the upload cord for the camera–the first thing to be undiscoverable since the move. It did finally pop up, but by then the thing missing was my good humor. At any rate, at least I have a start.

Our kitchen!

Our kitchen!

Okay, so it looks like WordPress is going to be quick for getting the photos on here. Now I just have to edit some of the screwed up light on the originals, which I might not have time for today. Apparently my camera isn’t smart enough to know when I’m shooting indoors unless it’s told, because a lot of them came out near black, despite it being a sunny day.

Speaking of sunny days, despite the announcement the rainy season was over in the Tokyo area, hah! It’s pouring again today. It’s now August! I feel like the rain must’ve come expressly for my arrival, and I appreciate the gesture but for the first time in my life I am sick of rain!

Oh yes, I also get my new glasses today! Apparently years of constant reading and writing has left me slightly near-sighted. I’m an official member of the Stanton clan now.

We’re Online!

August 1, 2009

Finally, we’re entirely moved in and now have internet and TV in our house. Our provider is J:COM, which has a lot of support for English speakers, however our TV menus, remotes, and HDRs are entirely in Japanese. I’ve become pretty good at figuring out and remembering kanji commonly found on all manner of hardware and software these days. I’ll be sure to detail all the bizarre hardware we’ve encountered since we’ve started living here.

More updates to follow, as well as photos of the new house.

No Net!

July 15, 2009

We’re moving into our new house tomorrow, and we’re probably not going to have our net back for another 2 weeks, so I figured I’d add a post announcing the fact.

Darrel passed his Japanese driver’s test today, and so we went ahead and sealed the deal on a Nissan Cube we’d called about last week. More about driving  in Japan and our car later as well.

I hope to begin adding photos and really fleshing out the posts, as it is, we’ve been in a week-long orientation all of last week (which I probably could have skipped…) called the “AOB” or Area Orientation Brief. The week concluded with everyone taking their written driving exam, which I passed. I’ll be taking the actual driving part this Friday.

It was an overwhelming week for me, and I didn’t get a chance to settle down and post. I’ve been rushing around doing everything like purchasing Japanese rental insurance, studying for my driving exam, filling out medical applications, etc. I’ll maybe touch on a few points next week, but it’s likely to be busy this week as well.

I’m just very happy that I figured out how to use my phone and the Yahoo Keitai services, let alone drive a car, sheesh.

Our place looks awesome btw. It’s two stories with a yard and a covered parking slot just 5 minutes from an ocean boardwalk, grocery store, and train station. We’re also immediatly next to a park and a flower garden “promenade” (path) that runs through some of the neighborhood. Photos soon!