Thursday, May 31, 2007

the plum rain begins

I think the rainy season may have begun. While it has a very poetic name—tsuyu, the kanji for which literally means "plum rain"—the reality of a wet June-July is going to be less romantic I'm sure, principally due to puppy-walking obligations.

Of course this could be a last May shower before a karatsuyu (rainy season timeframe that sees little rain). One can only hope.

The G-dog doesn't care too much about the ame (rain), unless it's really pouring then it gets in her eyes and tickles her snout. Though maybe she, like I, prefers nekonkeame (cat's-fur rain), but in her case it wouldn't be because misty light rain is less bothersome. Anything related to neko (cats) in any remote way will get this inu's attention right quick, even if a cat just once maybe sort of walked near it.

But these days she's almost as concerned with trying to eat as many overripe fallen squished cherries she can quickly nibble off the pavement before I drag her away. Hopefully there aren't as many plum trees around Tokyo as there are cherry trees, or else plum season will be trying on my nerves (and/or G's tummy), to say the least.

Well, I've got to go out into the jan-jan ("cats & dogs" type of rain) now for the last G walk of the day.

Friday, May 25, 2007

i used to be a bad ass

Living in Tokyo has made me feel dull. I'm not rich, young, cutting-edge and/or drop-dead gorgeous, as are an astoundingly high proportion of Tokyoites. And though I was only ever arguably 1 or 1.5 of those things, at least I was proud of my anti-establishment, take-no-shit attitude/lifestyle. These days the only tough grrl thing to which I can lay claim is listening to Swedish post-garage rock.

And after trying to convince myself to accept the fact that I'm just getting old, uh, -er, I recently caught an episode of Sex and the City. Of course I don't own any Manolo Blahnik's (nor would I really wish too), and I'm not claiming to be in any such ballpark of fabulousness, but the characters on that particular little show and their "I'm over 40 and lovin' it" gumption have sparked a new desire in me to not fade away gracefully.

So today I left my habitual if somewhat too low-slung for my age jeans in the closet and donned a skirt, big earrings and a bracelet too. Maybe tomorrow I'll dress all in black.

You go, bad ass!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

i speak Japanese

I know it doesn't sound like a real big deal, but I made my first phone call entirely in Japanese this morning. I made an appointment at the vet's without chickening out and asking to speak to the bilingual vet herself, like I did last time. In Japanese, I told the receptionist that I wanted a "yakusoku" (appointment) and was able to successfully answer all her questions. It felt good.

I'm sure I could have done simple things like order pizza or schedule a haircut before now but we're not big pizza fans and I've made appointments online for two different hair salons (both of which communicate in English). I do get by now in stores without as much hand gesturing as before, but the phone has always caused me to freeze up/get tongue tied so it's an important step.

So finally, nearing the end of my first text book, I feel I can say that I know basic Japanese. And the more I learn, the more I understand bits of train station announcements and TV ads, and the more I'm encouraged not to give up.

PS: No Grace isn't sick, she's as genki as ever (though I think she still has tapeworm); she just needs her rabies shot and heart worm goodies.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

stupid 'only human' me

Someone may or may not have noticed I haven't had much to say lately. I've been struggling with the blues and allergies too (I hereby rechristen Tokyo land of the blooming plants); so my emotional low is physically complemented by the feeling that I've got stones for arms and legs and that I could fall asleep at any moment and not wake up for weeks.

But while my down mood has a few roots, none are culture shock or homesickness (though I do miss my people). The main factor is the "damn, that was my dream job" dejection. It's harder I think, to be in the race and then lose in the last stretch than it is to not ever get an acknowledgement of your application. I try and remind myself that the competition in Tokyo (population 35 million souls) is fangs-sharpened fierce, even for English-only positions. This particularly interesting job, which I interviewed for a few weeks ago, got 500 applications.

But the real kick in my gut was learning that I did poorly on one of the four tests, hence my rejection. It seems I shouldn't have left that shortest test for last (apparently I got sloppy as time ticked on) because it was the piece they were obviously most interested in.

Not that I have any urge to complain, since I am totally conscious of how f-ing lucky I am. I'm just here, quietly licking my wounds and trying to listen to Aran, who's always keen to pump me up. He's the one who convinced me to not take just any job (I was offered a project management post at a design firm a couple of months ago and just this weekend decided not to apply for one particular contract at the embassy) but to hold out for "the one".

So, though it's human nature to worry and regret, I guess I've just got to try to appreciate the luxury of dreaming again.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

still wonder-filled

Those who haven't followed this blog all the way back to the first post 8 months ago may not know that Pinch Me is so named because of my initial awe at finding myself living in such an impressive megatropolis. Well, this past weekend I realized that my eyes are as starry as ever.

We had our first real guest to show around (a friend of a friend who 2 weeks ago moved to a small village near Mount Fuji) and we took her to all our favourite spots. Friday we had fine hot weather for an architecture-themed tour in our city ward, Minato-ku. This included Tokyo Midtown, a huge and stunning new shopping/office/hotel complex that is but a 10-minute walk from our house, and Roppongi Hills, another such complex. This stuff certainly ain't the Rideau Centre, folks.

Saturday was equally summer-like for her visit with Alain to Ueno and our trio's trek around Asakusa. But unfortunately on Sunday it poured rain all over our Harajuku plans, though she nonetheless got to see many of the dolly-dressed girls and a crowd of greasers (yes, à la 1950s) who would normally be dancing like maniacs in Yoyogi Park if it weren't for the awful weather.

And for those of you who prefer dog talk, we are equally as wonder-filled at our luck with the adopted mutt who has Graced us with her presence. She's as sweet and puppy-cute as ever and is by now completely adjusted and not afraid of much. Except maybe my poor Japanese teacher, who loves dogs but at whom Grace barks like a fiend for some bizarre reason.

PS: No, still no news from Mr. Mike but last week was "Golden Week" and many offices were closed. At least I hope that's why...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

tuggin', jumpin' & snappin'

Finally getting with "it" and testing the whole youtube thing. Not a real exciting video but it stars your favourite Pinch Me character, a real dog's dog who loves tug o' war as much as the next mutt, Miz Whitey Pup.

Listen carefully at the last frame. She's got a good quick jaw on her this little thing.

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