Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Summer time. . .time for summer uniforms

I tried to take a picture today of three little school girls who were playing that game, rock, paper, scissors (can't remember what it's called in Japanese). They saw me pull out my camera and dashed away, but I managed to get one blurry picture of them.

The schools have finally allowed the children to switch to their summer uniforms and these little girls were dressed in light cotton dresses with their cute little white hats and socks.

I wonder just how many school uniforms there are in Tokyo. Can't believe how many different ones I've seen!

Caution: poop zone

Well, maybe that's what the sign says. I'm not sure because I can't read kanji, but I'm fairly certain that's the message because overhead, on the train station sign, is a nest with four little baby swallows who are just about to abandon it. Apparently, the momma and papa birds have become quite messy, therefore the need for a poop barricade. And just in case anyone still wasn't sure where not to step after seeing the barricade and reading the sign, the train station staff took it upon themselves to run tape all around the poop as an added cautionary note. Cracks me up!

This picture of the nest is really bad because I couldn't zoom in on it with my camera, but you can get the idea. There are four little baby birds (although in this picture only three are visible), who have really overgrown their poor little nest. Today they were all panting from the heat, with their cute little yellow beaks gaping. Last night when I came through the station, one of the babies had swooned over the side of its nest, looking as though it had been out on a bender. Should have taken a picture but I didn't. Tonight, only two were occupying the nest but the other two and their parents had found another perch atop the ticket machine. This little family apparently loves trains. . .

Update: Peter--one of my blog readers-- translated the sign for us. Thanks, Peter!

There is a swallows nest overhead,
excretement are dropping.
Because of this, please be careful.
Station master

Monday, June 19, 2006

Are you kidding me?

All over Tokyo it seems to be the rage to go to "hot yoga" classes. By hot, we're talking at least 100F (around 38C) or more in the yoga classrooms. I googled for hot yoga and up came over 15 million hits!

Maybe it's just me, but there's no way in Hell I'd ever go to a super-heated yoga class! Yoga's supposed to be cool and beautiful, and dripping sweat all over the floor or splattering it on others as you do a dog-like full body shake with your wet hair does not appeal to me in the least.

Yes, I already know that the heat is supposed to help stretch out your muscles more gently, but I've also read that it can over-stretch the muscles and do considerable damage to muscles and joints.

So, thanks very much, but I think I'll pass on this latest exercise fad. I get enough sweating and muscle stretching walking to and from the train stations and up and down the millions of stairs in Tokyo!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Awesome photo!

This was sent to me today by a friend who lives in Seattle. It apparently was taken in North Seattle by another friend. I'd love to visit this beautiful "dancing tree" when I get there next month!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Making plans

My tickets are purchased and I can't wait! In less than five weeks I'll be flying to Las Vegas to see my daughter and her husband. J & T have invited me to come spend a month with them while J's casino remodels--and bought me the tickets as a birthday gift!

I don't actually have any vacation time until December, but my boss was kind enough to let me take a one-month leave from work. I think he'll be glad to get rid of me during that month of hellish Tokyo summer heat and humidity because all I do is complain about it. This will be my third Tokyo summer and I didn't think I'd live through the first one! Coming in late May from the cool Pacific Northwest, where the temperature rarely gets over a comfortable 75F (around 23C), it was a very difficult transition. Maybe it's my Irish genes, but I just don't think I'll ever adapt to the steamy heat of Tokyo in the summer. Once the temps hit 65F (18C) here, I'm a sweaty mess.

So, off I go to Las Vegas, where the temperature has already broken heat records! This week it hit 108F (42C) and it's only early June! Usually, it doesn't hit that temperature until mid-July. J thinks I'm to blame. She said that everywhere I go, the temperature rises. I'm beginning to think she's right! It's uncanny how that happens, and I'm the person who can't stand hot temperatures! What am I going to do with global warming?

The day after I arrive in Las Vegas, we'll throw our bags in the car and drive up to Seattle to visit friends and family. It's a 2-day drive, so J, T and I will have lots of time to yak. J's husband is one of the funniest guys I've ever met, so I know it will be fun driving with him. Well, actually, now that I think about it, we're all pretty funny, so it should be a real hoot.

We'll spend a week in Seattle and then drive back down to LV where J and I will get to hang out together for at least two more weeks. We're not like most mothers and daughters, I think. In our case, we really, really enjoy hanging out together! We're so close that we actually have this freaky psychic communication thing going. For example, she was just recently talking to T about hummingbirds and their tiny eggs. Out of the blue, with absolutely no discussion of that conversation, I sent her a link to an amazing pictorial of the birth of two hummingbird babies. We do this sort of thing all the time! T says the hair rises on the back of his neck when we do this kind of stuff.

So you're probably going to hear the countdown for my trip in future blog entries.

666 uber species

OK, everyone knows that cockroaches are the true inheritors of the earth. That's a given. But this morning something disturbingly bizarre happened. I think there's a new Uber Species!

Despite the fact that I keep a relatively clean apartment, never let trash accumulate, keep all food put away, and wash cans and bottles before putting them in the trash, I've found a few of the vile creatures in "hotels" placed strategically around my kitchen. Up to this point, I've never actually seen one in the room I now occupy. (In my previous room in the same house, I saw plenty of them! But that was, I imagined, because my room faced the next door neighbors mega-trash cans and was directly above my landlady's kitchen.)

Anyhoo, last night I came home, flipped on the light and walked up the flight of stairs into my tiny kitchen, only to catch the movement of something LARGE racing into the sink! I'm the kind of person who nearly pukes at the sight of them, so it numbed my brain to realize that I was going to have to have a shoot-out with this home invader. I grabbed a can of RAID, or whatever the Japanese equivalent is to that American brand name, and cautiously stalked it as it ran for cover behind my little cooktop stove. I got in one good blast before it disappeared.

"Oh crap," I thought to myself. "Now where did it go?" It completely disappeared, and I thought it had escaped into some ill-fitting wall trim. So I opened my shoji to escape from the kitchen into my room, slamming it shut behind me.

A few minutes later I carefully slid the shoji open and saw the Beast, lying on the floor, on its back, in its death throes. I promptly shot it a second time with the roach spray to put it out of its misery, poured myself a drink, and retreated back into my room.

During the night I woke up a couple of times thinking, "Ah geez, now I'm going to have to pick the damn thing up and throw it in the trash!" You've gotta understand something here. . .I'm a total wuss about insects! (Many years ago, after my divorce, I once called my ex to come over to my apartment to trap and release a very large spider that was terrorizing me! Thankfully, he was kind enough to do it!)

So, you can imagine my shock and horror this morning when I slid open the shoji, and. . .and. . .there was NO DEAD ROACH! It was gone!!! I looked everywhere and couldn't find it! What kind of cockroach was this thing? It was on its back, DYING from two direct hits from my AK-47 can of RAID! And now it's gone??? What kind of nonsense is that?

I know yesterday was 6-6-6. Could this have been the Beast? Or is there a new uber species of cockroach in Tokyo that's impervious to the, formerly, deadly spray?