Thursday, April 26, 2007

hit me please

I doubt anyone has noticed but I changed the hit-counter that resides at the bottom of this page. I admit I've occasionally checked my stats out of curiosity, particularly at the beginning, when no one used to comment. I didn't know if anyone was reading me and didn't necessarily feel the urge to talk into a black hole.

I put a new counter on because I accidentally deleted the old one while trying to change the counter on my alterblog (so as to verify that no one reads it!) and that is when I realized that I'm approaching 1900 hits, which while being really nothing at all in the big wide Web scheme of things, is almost respectable for a nobody's blog. It's also less than half of the views I get on Flickr (the countdown is on to 4400).

But anyway, I don't really care about that now. I pretty much know who reads me regularly and I post for you, because, as Sally so infamously said, "you like me, you really like me!" or at least to keep a few key people up-to-date on my life.

However there is one hit I'm waiting for and will never know if I get, since my freebie stat tracker is not quite that accurate. I had one hit in Tokyo yesterday and one today. Mike, sir, was that you?

Mike-san (he asked me to call him by his first name but after these several months in Japan, it feels odd/disrespectful to me to do so) is the head cheese of a funky company who interviewed me yesterday for a very appealing job that I refuse to say anything more about for fear of jinxing myself. Mike, if you're reading this, I'm really-really interested.

Anyone who isn't Mike is probably asking, why the hell would a CEO read Pinch Me? Well, on a form I filled out before the interview, in response to the question, "Are you creative? If so, what sort of creativity do you engage in?" I mentioned the hobby in which I am this instant indulging (the job involves writing).

Well didn't Mr. Mike notice the little 4-letter word bee-el-oh-gee while scanning the form during the interview. He asked me for the URL and I gave it to him. Yikes?

Monday, April 23, 2007

missing beets

I was flipping through cookbooks seeking inspiration when I saw a recipe centered on beets and realized that I could really go for some of those flamboyant roots. I've only ever seen them at a "western" grocery store for mucho bucks. Someone please cook and enjoy some boiled beets with a nice honey/balsamic vinaigrette in my honour tonight. Mmmm...

So yes, I'm all out of cooking ideas these days. Ever since we moved here I've cooked three meals a day practically every day, for a total of probably around 500 meals! You see eating out here can be a tad more costly than at home (particularly at dinner when prices go up quite substantially compared to lunch). And since I don't have a job, I do have the time. Now, if only I could find my imagination.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

bullhorns and a thunderstorm

We had to close the windows yesterday because the temperature had begun dropping dramatically after strong winds took the gorgeous weekend weather (Saturday was 25C and sunny) on a turn for the worse, to the point where a thunderstorm is currently in progress and it's a chilly six degrees.

Not that I'm complaining though, since I heard snow was recently forecast back home. I have been genuinely grateful for Tokyo's fall, winter and spring (so far). I do not however, promise not to whine come summer. I dread it almost as much as I used to dread winter back home.

Anyway, though this weather makes doggy walking somewhat unpleasant, I'm actually happy to have some extra glass insulating my sensitive ears from the damn bullhorns that have been squawking non-stop for the past few days.

See it's municipal election time and campaigning here means candidates wave white-gloved hands out of the windows of mega-phone topped vans that slowly wind along the city's side streets whilst something is being blared at a ridiculous volume.

I imagine it's very polite, "Please vote for so-and-so" type of innocuous blather, but no matter. If I could vote, you can be sure I'd pick whomever has amendment of noise bylaws in their platform.

Friday, April 13, 2007

better than kibble

mmm mmm good (if you like liver as much as Grace does)
I'm fine, thanks for asking. Oh no, sorry, I mean Grace is fine. Seems she's the only thing anyone cares about anymore! Little miss whitey-princess sure is popular but hey, when you've got a face like that with gold eyelashes and all, I guess it can't be helped (she muttered jealously).

Seriously, it is true that I haven't really posted much this week. But no, smarty-pants mom-of-Rocky, it's not Grace that's been taking up my time. I was actually much more popular socially this week than usual. Today as a case in point: this morning Grace and I had a nice long walk with a friend, her toddler and their springer spaniel and then I had a lunch date with two ex-colleagues from my last contract that just finished a few weeks ago.

So, about Hiroshima (and yes, about Grace's weekend too, don't worry, I'll get to it)... It's a beautiful city, what with several rivers running through it--actually channels of the same river--and mountains nearby. And though very disturbing to see, the A-bomb dome and Peace Museum are something I'm glad to have experienced.

But my favourite part of our trip was Miyajima, as you might have surmised from the photos. Though now quite touristy, this famous island--long revered by the Japanese as sacred--is so quaint and full of beautiful spots.

Now, on to the pup's weekend. I think her sitter might have spoiled her just a little! Cookies and long walks and this dog had not a thing to complain about. In fact I think it might have been a good socializing experience for her because the sitter wasn't shy to take Grace on really crowded streets, which I hadn't yet done very often for her sake and for the safety of hurrying pedestrians who might trip over her, since Tokyoites aren't that accustomed to dogs bigger than 'fits-into-a-fancy-doggy-carry-bag' size.

But as I knew she would, she's getting less and less shy/fearful of cars. We go on long walks on all kinds of streets: some with wide sidewalks but lots of cars, some narrow with fewer cars, some with lots of people, most with less. She's even learning to sit at street lights and when we get in the house (so I can take her harness off).

And as you can see from the photo, I've already got the dog food-making process down to a science. Forty percent protein, 30% starch and 30% vegetable. Chicken is great for dogs and lucky for me it's really cheap here (the whiter, the cheaper, since it seems the Japanese like fatty meat). She's almost off the kibble too; I've just about got it graduated out of her mix.

I've concocted different recipes every time I make a batch. One time I even used fake crab (also cheap here), rice and spinach. I used oatmeal once for the starch, potatoes another time. But it seems Miz Furry Thang don't really care one bit what she inhales from her bowl. Grrl has quite an appetite. I also made her easy treats (if a bit gross for a non-meat-lover such as me) by cutting chicken hearts into thin slices and baking them at 250 until they're totally dried out.

Dog-owning readers, please consider switching your dog to this type of diet. I didn't research cat food but it's probably just as feasible. (But check with your vet first if your pet has any pre-existing health problems.) It's not much more expensive than kibble but so much healthier for them. All you really need is one or two pots/wok/electric frying pan and a blender or food processor. And a maximum 40 minutes of your time for a batch that'll last you 5-7 days.

Okay so unless I change the name of this blog to Pet Me, I will not be writing long posts like this about dog stuff again! I even bored myself with all this. Sniff ya later.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

mucho more megabytes to go

Just a quick note before I drag Grace out one last time before bed. I've started a Hiroshima photo set but I took over 300 pix so I've still got much sorting/weeding/posting to do, so if you look at the set today just know that it's incomplete for the moment. Arigatou for your patience.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

fake quake shakedown

After much ado, the embassy's bi-annual all-day full-scale earthquake simulation exercise is finally over. Poor Aran was quite involved in the prep these last few weeks and is very happy that it's done.

I experienced it not from either of the roles I'm supposed to play in the case of a real disaster (I'd be one of our complex's coordinators who locates and checks residents off of a list, as well as a member of the medical/first aid group), but as an actor mainly phoning up and harassing the emergency consular and media groups by posing as a quake victim, reporter or distraught family member, and with a couple of live-action cameos thrown in. Meanwhile, my real roles had to be filled by alternates because, according to the scenario, I was missing. It was a long and sobering day.

But then I took my spunky white pupster for a long walk in the late afternoon sun. This doting pet parent is kind of sorry we're taking off tomorrow for a long weekend in Hiroshima that was planned before I ever set eyes on her photo. But her sitter is quite thrilled and I hope Grace lives up to her expectations and doesn't do anything naughty like destroying a rice paper lamp or stealing half a baguette, however minor those missteps were.

Oh and look on the bright side, it will give you a break from dog photos, of which you will eventually get sick, I am certain! Hoppy Easter everyone.

Monday, April 02, 2007

oh to see them fall

sake+blossom=pretty blurThough I did enjoy snapping a few typical photos of the blossoms and attending hordes this past weekend, my favourite part has just begun. I'll be sure to go walking under cherry trees in the next few days just to admire the floating white petals and resulting confetti-strewn paths. I just hope we don't have any more violent winds like the branch-rippers that blew on Saturday.

PS: Our furry sakura flower is doing well and continuing to adjust to people and traffic.

PPS: Movie recommendation for cinephiles: Akira Kurasawa's Dodeskaden. Just a gorgeous, gorgeous film.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?