Sunday, November 6, 2011

Q for "Quiet"

What a day, what a day...  We had a worrying Sunday because of a little cat!

My sister is visiting us on the weekend to attend her friend's wedding.  As usual, she has brought her "family" with her; a cat, dog, and this time, a new kitten.  She found this kitten on the street a week ago, and keeps him until she found a good home for him.  Last night, she didn't close her bedroom door, and this little one went missing.  He had been missing for almost a whole day without food or water.  We are really worried since he is still recovering from malnutrition and cold and can't cry.  Moreover, he's very small.  We even thought he might have gone outside by accident.  Once, I was alone in the house, so I just kept quiet and tried hard to hear anything moving.  But no sound.  Everything was still....  All the family member looked for him all around the house, even our neighbourhood.  But there was not a trace of him anywhere.  I almost gave up and felt very sorry for this kitten.   


When I came out from my bedroom, I saw a striped tail going between the old piano chair and the dusty cardboard box in the hallway!  It was him.  I shouted for my parents that I saw the cat, and we successfully pulled him out.  He was covered with dust, but looked totally OK.  Now he is fed and purring VERY loudly in the cage.  It was funny because both my dad and I had checked out that place more than once, but we never found him there.  Probably, he constantly changed the hiding place, or he was too small and dark-coloured to be found in the shade.  

Anyway, I'm now truly relieved and happy to know that he is safe and will get ready to be adopted by a good owner.  


Sunday, October 2, 2011

P for "Pillow Talk"

How many pillows do you use when you sleep on the bed?  Without doubt, I would say, "One."  But this is not always an obvious answer in all the countries. 

I was talking to my British friend and, for some reason, we started to talk about pillows.  Then she said there was only one pillow at the hotel in Nara where she stayed.  I didn't see any problems with that, but she said usually people need two pillows in the Western countries.  Ah, that's solved my long-time question: Why Canadian people put many pillows on a bed even though only one person is sleeping?  It was eye-opening.  I think I became even smarter.  :)  It's always very interesting to talk to foreigners.  Next time, I will tell her how to take a bath in Japan in return. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

O #2 for "Oatmeal Cookies"

I couldn't resist repeating the alphabet because this is a fantastic "O" topic.

I used to make very fatty & sweet, but very tasty oatmeal cookies in the shared kitchen in my landlady's cute townhouse.  But they didn't come out successfully when I tried to make them in Japan.  I think I didn't use proper oatmeal.  The other day, I found a recipe of oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies the Internet.  It's here.  (To be fair, I didn't take the title of my blog from this website.  This is just a coincidence.)  It quickly encourage me to go to the store, and this baking project became my major activity of this stat holiday.  I kind of eyeballed the amount of butter, didn't use a food processor, and omitted honey and cream of tartar (since we didn't have them in the kitchen),  so the dough came out a little dry.  But I managed to place it on the baking sheet, and the cookies held their shapes when they are done.  The smell was amazing.  It has been a while since I baked something last, so it made me feel very relaxed and excited at the same time.  The result was perfect.  The texture was exactly what I wanted.  They're filling and delicious.  They'll make a perfect snack for me to travel to Chiba for work tomorrow in the morning.  

They look very different from the ones on the website, but this is my version of satisfactory oatmeal cookies ;)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

O for "Oh, Parents"

I'm not looking forward to this.  What 's "this"?  Two nights without mom.  That means, two nights only with dad.  I have no objection to my mom's visiting her parents, but it is really stressful to be left alone with dad.  Sounds like I'm still a teenager, but what he does to me is just like he used to do to me and my sister 15 years ago; preaching.  At this age, I don't care for being caught in the serious conversation, which mainly consists of complaints and blaming about me being over 30, dependent, single, and hardly making money (according to his standard).  I have my own thoughts, but neither of us is interested in sharing them.  They don't respect or even think that I have something in my mind.  What they do is to insert sneaky criticism into the conversation anytime they have a chance.  Now everyone thought that they desperately want to get rid of me from home?  No.  At least, my mom doesn't.  She wants to see me leave home for getting married or moving to Canada, for no other reasons.  Dad?  I don't know, but he might not be willing to lose the target of his bitching since he seems to think that this is a means of affectionate communication with his daughter, which is absolutely not.  Knowing thoroughly that they are just worried about my future, I should not complain.  They let me stay home and work for the small company for not worthy pay (just for my interest).  If I were a Canadian daughter, I would have been kicked out from home 14 years ago.  Yes, I am thankful.  But if only we could form a better relationship and be more independent from each other even we're living together.

Thanks to this uncomfortable environment, I started to dig up my old plan that has been abandoned for nearly a year.  I will go back to Vancouver as a graduate student.  I haven't told this to anyone else since I'm not sure yet.  But the deadline is approaching, and I don't want to wait for another 2 years, doing an interesting but low-pay job and missing Canada.  If I make it to the deadline this winter and be successful, I will be able to be a student from next September.  I have a feeling that I should bring myself in that country and then think about the way to remain there rather than spending endless years stressed and defeated.  There is a major financial obstacle, but I will figure it out.  Just I'm not going to ask my parents for money again since I've already been in a huge debt from them.  Quickly, I have to make up my mind and start moving.

The reason why I've been living in tight budget is partly because I'm saving up some money for my parents anniversary.  This is my sister's idea.  (The other daughter is thoughtful, you see.)  She has already saved enough money to serve them with a trip abroad.  As one of their daughters, I would like to take part in.  So I've been slowly working on it out of my income.  At the same time, I've been keeping some other part of my payment for myself in the bank.  I didn't have a clear goal of how much money I would need, so there is not much savings in this account.  (Moreover, all of them will be consumed for my winter trip...)  But now, I have a visible financial goal that I have to reach (tuition fee and all), I will work harder on it.  My company won't give me a raise (asking for a raise is out of question in many companies in Japan, as far as I know), so all I can do is to reduce my expense.  I will have to give up my gym membership.  Thinking of all this gave me insomnia last night.  But I feel good to know that finally something started moving in my mind.

I'm such a slow starter (and great procrastinator), it took me what, more than a year?  Gotta keep the fire burning :) 

Friday, September 9, 2011

N for "New School Term"

Long, long time no see, readers.  :)
I haven't written my journal for so long.  Actually, I have a lot to share because I have just had a summer vacation and my birthday!  I have finally got used to the normal work hours.  I had summer work schedule for 4 weeks, but I didn't get the hang of it till it was over.  Now I know what time I should leave home and which train to take.  Kids started schools again and the latter half of this school year has started.  I expect this coming 6 months will be much busier than the first half since we have a parents' conference, presentation day, assessment test, and on top of all, we are planning to launch a new reading program.  Our time schedule is already full and very difficult to squeeze in another class.  But the decision has been made.  We have to do it.

Let's talk about my summer vacation.  I had a week off and spend 3 days in my sister's place in Shizuoka.  It was my first time to visit Shizuoka city properly, and I was first surprised how close it was to Tokyo.  My sister took me to the zoo and the museum, and I even had a completely free day on my own.  Shizuoka city has almost everything and there was not much difference from Tokyo.  (I once had lunch at Soup Stock Shizuoka!  Shame!)  I realized that I haven't travelled much in Japan.  (I tend to think I'd better keep the money to travel abroad rather than spending to explore Japan.)  It was a very interesting experience and made me want to visit more places.  Also, my sister's place was, as expected, very neatly organized and clean  ;)  I was happy to see her, her dog, and cat again. 

And my birthday.  Guess what?  I got a proper birthday cake, with a name plate and candles!!
This made me sooooo happy :)  How long had it been since I saw my name on a birthday cake?  (Usually, I just have regular dessert at the restaurant, or my mom makes one.)  Of course, this cake tasted great ;)  This came before my birthday, but on the actual day, I was invited to my friend's housewarming party.  There were three other people who recently had their birthdays, so they had secretly prepared a big cake for four of us!  It turned to be a joint celebration.  There were two other cakes for personal birthday present and housewarming present, so we enjoyed three different cakes that night!  Yum ;)

I was not looking forward to the day I get older, but I thought it's not too bad to be one year older since I had such a great day this year thanks to wonderful people around me!

Cheers :)


Sunday, August 7, 2011

M for "Micmacs"

These days, I often have chances to watch DVDs on the weekend.  I usually don't see many movies or DVDs, so I always thank my friends who invite me for movies.  I found that, maybe especially Western people, tend to watch lots of movies, and they share their opinions and jokes from them in a daily conversation.  For me, it's good to cultivate more in the movie field to increase my knowledge.  

Then, I watched a relatively new movie called "Micmacs."  This is a French movie directed by the same director as "Amelie", Jean-Pierre Jeunet.  I LOVE "Amelie", and I really enjoyed this new movie as I expected.  I didn't use to understand why people talk a lot about the film directors, but now I understand.  It's like we look for novels from the same author.  The director has his/hers own taste and atmosphere in their movies, even though each movie is in the different genre.  "Micmacs" takes place in a considerably unfortunate setting, but the story is really comical and witty.  The characters are all very strange, but lovable, just like the people in "Amelie."  Now I'm interested in watching other films by this director, except for "Alien 4."  (I know that "Alien" series is highly rated, but I still remember the scary scenes that I happened to watch on TV when I was little.  They still have traumatic effect on me...)  

I'm trying to find the DVD of "Lady in the Water," directed by M. Night Shyamalan, but all I could find at the video store yesterday was Blu-ray.  I have the DVD, but I left it in Canada :( along with my "Ocean's 12" DVD.  Shoot.  I'm sure I will find one somewhere.   

Saturday, July 16, 2011

L for "Lucky Charm"

These days, I found many people around me don't believe in fortune telling or gods.  I'm not religious, but I can't help checking horoscope in the magazines, believing palm reading, and making wishes at shrines and temples.  Then this time, I got my lucky charms.  You might think I'm too childish, but the important thing is me feeling positive ;)  
lovely knots
These earrings are from Mederu Jewelry.  I ordered these on the Internet and waited for 3 weeks!  Finally they came to me.  I used to wear cheap earrings, such as less than 1000 yen, but those materials started to irritate my earlobes.  These bows are made of (or coated with) 10K gold, so it must be less harsh to my skin.  I've been wearing them for 2 days so far, but I feel better than old silver ones, though the holes in my earlobes still a bit hurt :(  These ribbons resemble to my old favorite ones, which were lost during my trip to Vancouver in winter.  So when I found these on the website, I was really, really interested.  After a long consideration, I placed an order.  I'm glad that I can put on earrings again :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

K for "Kitchen"

These days, I rarely work in the kitchen.  I should pack my lunch everyday, but just I don't feel like doing it.  It usually takes 45 minutes in the evening, before I go to bed.  I come home late, so naturally I have a little time for myself everyday.  I don't feel good about sparing three quarters of an hour for cooking when I'm tired.  But I have been slacking off and buying lunch at convenience stores for a week, it's about time for me to be diligent again...

I like to be in the kitchen, though.  But not as much as the girl does in the story called "Kitchen" by Banana Yoshimoto.  Have you ever read this story?  I like Yoshimoto's works, but this is one of my favorites.  I think I have read this piece more than 10 times.  Funny thing is, Yoshimoto's way of thinking, which is embedded in each character's lines, really touches me when I'm in trouble.  "Kitchen" is her first work.  She has written numbers of  stories and essays, and I have read many of them,  but I still prefer this story than the ones that came lately.  I have the English translation, so I'm going to lend it to my British friend.  Hope she likes it.

By the way, the green curtain at my bedroom window is growing healthily (thanks to my mom's loving care).  Now it has enough length as a curtain, so the only thing it needs is to spread it's vines sideways!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

J for "Jammies"

I'm talking about pyjamas :)

I used to wear T-shirt and shorts or pants in summer when I sleep, but last year, I realized that nightdresses are much more comfortable in sweltering nights.  I have a few already, but I decided to get another one today.  (Don't remind me that I'm nearly broke now.)  It is a long pyjama top.  I was going to wear it alone, but when I tried on at home, it was a bit too short to wear as a dress.  But with shorts underneath it, it is pretty nice.  Now, I think I have enough nighties to sleep well through this hot season.

Mine is the one with bigger checkered pattern.