Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Happy Halloween!!!

Happy Halloween from Fred and Wilma!!! A yabba dabba doo.....woohoo!

I hope that you all have a fabulous Halloween. Thanks to my amazing friend Elaine, we got these awesome costumes. Sadly, we aren't getting to go to the Halloween party but we're going to London instead, so we should have some great pictures from that. I hope that you all have a great and safe holiday!

Until next time....Jenn

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Images brought to you by...

The Canon PowerShot 870IS. Jenn's parents bought us this camera last year for Christmas and it is great. It even shoots nice little movies (that are my list to get posted some day) and really takes great pictures.

Plus it has some really great features, one of which is the color hightlight where it takes a black and white pick with one color highlighted. I think we've posted some of them already, but this was one of the really cool ones...

But these features can also be used for evil when you see some of the things you see just walking around. This was a few weeks ago after we went to Tokyo Tower. This is why you have to keep the camera handy when you're walking around here.

This picture has not been digitally altered in any way other than highlighting a color that was already there... yes, her hair was yellow and she was probably in her 60's.

Well that makes perfect sense...

This may be the first in a series of signs that don't make sense (to us at least) and I guess it's really kind of interesting what you see in English when you are really not expecting much. But this AM/PM store is in the bottom of my building.

A little close look at the panels in the bottom of the windows...

If that doesn't make you want to go buy a Coca-Cola or maybe some green tea or tastey soy snacks, I don't know what will.

Quick...Catch Me If You Can

Okay, so it's not that dramatic, but you do have to grab the food as it goes by. Yep, you guessed it, John and I went to a conveyor belt sushi shop. It was delicious. I had actually tried it out before, with my friend Sam, but it was a first for John.

The sushi is just amazing here. I have eaten things here in Tokyo that I would have never dreamed of. For instance, in the U.S. I didn't go beyond something rolled, but here the sashimi is my favorite although there are a few things that you can get in a rolled format so to speak. So, if you are unfamiliar with my "textural issues" when it comes to food...let's just say they are quite insurmountable under normal circumstances. So John is basically blown away by my new love of all the non cooked fishes.

The weekend has been a bit low key for a change. I've been a bit under the weather so we just hung out in the area near our apartment. Last night however, we did meet some friends out for dinner, which I'm finding is always an experience. Wait 'til you see the cheese!!! And afterwards we were introduced to the BEST game ever....Apples to Apples. If you haven't tried it out...do, it was awesome.

I hope that you all had a fabulous weekend!

Until next time.....Jenn

Monday, October 20, 2008

Crazy Tokyo - Volume I

So, in an effort to share Tokyo properly with you I try to capture as many funny pictures as possible of both us and things we see around us. And here is the first installment....
Now what do we think was the motivation for this....talk amongst yourselves. No, seriously this was in a storefront window for what I believe to be a upper crust bar. The last time that I walked by they were in the process of changing the window display, so I'm on pins and needles to see what shows up next.
Until next time.....Jenn

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Tommy Lee Jones will be very disappointed if you don't drink BOSS coffee.

I think the list of US celebrities who sell out to hock products in Japan is fairly well documented. Highlights include Cameron Diaz (she used to be plastered all over the SoftBank store where we got Jenn's cell phone), Brad Pitt, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nicholas Cage, to name a few. Do a quick search on YouTube... they are all pretty funny.

But this celebrity sellout has a more direct impact on our daily existence in Tokyo -
Tommy Lee Jones. Besides having won an Academy Award for The Fugitive, he's also known as one of those crusty types who treats acting as an art. Which makes me think these guys must have driven a dumptruck full of money to his house down there in San Saba County, Texas.

My walk from the Roppongi Metro Station to our apartment proceeds something like this

It reminds me of the Apple commercial from the early 80's with Big Brother staring down from above. It's been there a couple of weeks now, and it's still kind of creepy. Funnier still is to see his face plastered on a vending machine (iced coffee is big here... probably a separate discussion), something you would never see back home:

A little internet research revealed that there is an ad campaign backing this up. There are twelve commercials in all, but my favorites are here and here. He's an alien sent to earth to report back on life in Japan (yes, he was in a movie kind of like that).

A Japanese Experience...Karaoke

John and I started the weekend off with the Run for the Cure, which for me was a 5K run and for John a 10K (of course he had to go the distance - ha). It was really great to see everyone take part in such an important cause. There was a large PwC contingent participating, so I got to meet several new people that John knows from work.
It was a gorgeous day...blue skies and breezy weather. The run as I mentioned before was around the Imperial Palace, which is a bit of a hard course because it gets narrow a few times and then also goes uphill for a while, but the scenery couldn't be more beautiful. I so wish that we could have taken pictures of being at the race, but since we were both running we didn't want to carry the camera. As you can see...we were pretty scary looking afterwards, but a great way to start our day.

That night we had plans to go to eat with our new friends that I met at my women's conference and were on for karaoke....which of course called for another Jenn to John heart to heart:

Jenn (imagine a very smiley happy face with loads of extra enthusiasm): Hey honey, guess what, the girls were thinking of us all going to karaoke after dinner. Doesn't that sound great...what do you think?
John: I'm not going.
Jenn: Why not...we have to go at some point...we're in Japan, the land of karaoke. This will be perfect, checking it out with friends.
John: I do not sing.
Jenn: I know, but no one can sing. You don't even have to sing, you can just make fun of the rest of us.

After much more cajoling and wearing him down, we ended up going and had the BEST time! For those of you that might not know, in Japan you get a group of friends together and go rent a private karaoke room where you can just be silly with the people you know. It was awesome! The best was the room next to ours...there was a couple inside and the lady was calmly eating dinner while the gentleman had full charge of the microphone singing it up. It's a whole different ballgame here.

I hope that your weekend was as much fun as ours. Here are a few more pictures of our dinner and karaoke experience. One very fabulous girlie thing to note is that here in Tokyo, when John and I go out to eat, the waitress or waiter always brings up an extra chair for my purse. It's awesome! So, you'll see in the slide show, but at this restaurant, we all set down and they brought little stools for our purses...it was too funny!

Until next time....Jenn

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Icing On The Cake

I'm sad to say that I am no baking queen and therefore my attempts at baking (other than Christmas cookies) consist of some sort of boxed option or cut out cookies or something along those lines. Well, excitingly enough I brought a box of vanilla cake here with us and have been in the mood for some cupcakes. I have looked at all the stores for icing (also known as frosting) in the little Betty Crocker plastic can, to no avail. They have the boxed cake mix and cake decorations everywhere, but they clearly assume that real women chose to make their own icing.

So, if anyone happens to have an "easy" icing idea please pass it along. I now have sad little cupcakes with no "sparkle" so to speak. But at least I did a little baking...points for me!

That's about it from Tokyo, until next time....


Monday, October 13, 2008

Whirlwind Weekend - Japan Style

So, John had yet another holiday (this one was the actual Health & Leisure Day) today (Monday), so we decided to take advantage and make the most of the weekend....and I can safely say we did just that.

Our first stop: OKTOBERFEST

In order to get in touch with our German roots we decide to go and see how Japan throws an Oktoberfest. It was held in Yokahama, which is kind of like a huge suburb of Tokyo (or that's how it's described). We went with our new friends, Nikki, Dave, Sam and little Brooklyn tagged along too. We had the best time...John drank some German beer and I had a glass or two of German wine. It was held in an area near the waterfront and we even had a little bratwurst...yummy!

So, here's a little slideshow if you want to see our celebration....

Weekend Day 2: KAMAKURA

On Sunday we decided to get out of the city and venture over to Kamakura, which is about an hour outside of Tokyo via the train. It's close enough to take visitors (insert your own name here) when they come, but yet outside the city enough to feel like you are getting more of Japan. It was really nice....we only made it to one temple area, but will definitely be going back to see the Big Budda. This was more of a scouting mission to get our bearings, but I have a feeling we'll be going back a few times before seeing it all.

And here are some pictures....we didn't get a picture of the crazy food thing that we had, but it was good. It was like some sort of fish patty grilled and put on two skewers. The lines were out of control due to the holiday for the restaurants and most of the food stands, but we found the one with the patty things that was fast. We are trying out all sorts of fun Japanese treats. So far I can say I haven't tried anything that I hated and usually I've really loved everything.

And last but DEFINITELY not least: Health and Leisure Day

John had Monday off, so we woke up gradually, John made me breakfast...I have the best husband ever and he makes the most yummy breakfast. We've managed to figure out the breakfast tacos here...woohoo! Then we roamed around, went to the bookstore, and decided to hit up Omotesando to see if we could figure out where the International Bizarre is. Some friends have been there and it's supposed to be fun to see, so we were off.

We gawked at the high end prices in Ralph Lauren and wondered what the VIP room there was and how one gets to that level....interesting.
Then we set out to find a pedestrian street that we had seen in passing on another occasion that had lots of interesting looking shops. And that is where we found "it".....all of a sudden we see this crazy looking building with this red piping all over the front.

Who could resist this building? So we see what it is...a gallery and cafe....awesome. We walk inside and there are all sorts of interesting art works in all these little rooms everywhere. We wander around and I'm thinking this is really interesting...and then we go outside to see what the cafe has to offer and that is when we realized that we were in for a show....and it was quite interesting to say the least. I can say that I've seen some "crazy Tokyo" today. Here are a few pictures for your enjoyment....

Well, when it comes right down to it I guess you could say it was just me and the girls.....

Until next time....Jenn

A Japanese Day - Asakusa

So, it's been quite a week followed by quite a weekend. I actually had plans to do something every day last week so that was exciting! One of the big things was to go on a walking tour of Asakusa, which is a big temple area that you can see without ever leaving Tokyo. It was so strange to see it after seeing Nikko with all the trees and the peaceful surroundings and then see Asakusa where the shrine/temple looked similar, but there was no feeling of peace. You can see the buildings of Tokyo right there in the background.

I hope that you enjoy the pictures....

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The wrong way to ride the train...

If you come to Tokyo and ride the metro, this is not the way to do it...

What not to do if you visit the Imperial Palace...

Now why couldn't I have been there for this....


Better yet....a video:

We need your help.....

So, one of my new friends is having a Halloween party. And here is my conversation with John:

Jenn: Hey, we got invited to a Halloween party by Teri and all her work friends, which are Japanese, are going to be there, so it might be nice to meet some new people.

John: Do we have to dress up?

Jenn: It's a Halloween party, of course we have to dress up.

John: I'm not going.

Jenn: Of course you're going and don't worry about the costume...I'll find us something

John: (insert huge sigh)...we'll see

So, I really need some ideas for a good couple costume. The last few years we've been more in the hand out candy role rather than the get dressed up role, so we don't even have any old ones to rely on. All suggestions are totally appreciated...but keep in mind my sewing abilities are at a minimum.

Thanks in advance.

Until next time......Jenn

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

If you need a laugh....

Today started off with me finding the American Military hotel in order to get my eyebrows back into shape. It's easy located near one of the larger Metro stations. Oddly enough as I am walking down the street I notice that this street is looking very familiar. In fact right across the street was the restaurant where John and I ate dinner with some friends on Friday and then had to take a cab home because we had no idea where we were...good times. I have a sneaking suspicion that this is destined to happen again.

In other funny news....I met up with one of the girls that I met at my conference last week for lunch. We finally find the restaurant in what I refer to as the maze that is Roppongi Hills (super fancy collage of buildings containing shops and restaurants and apartments). And now I can officially say that I've eaten sushi from the conveyor belt. It was super yummy, but as we sit down my friend looks at the stuff on the table and puts the soy sauce in her bowl...then she looks at another little dish and says oh this must be the wasabi. Note that the texture was different, but neither one of us questioned it. Then a few minutes later the waitress comes over as I'm about to put the same "GREEN TEA" in my soy sauce bowl....we laughed and laughed and so did the waitress and I'm pretty sure everyone else in the restaurant.

Hope that everyone had a great start to the week!

Until next time....Jenn

Monday, October 6, 2008

Home Sweet Home

So, I have gotten quite a few requests regarding when I was going to post pics of our apartment with furniture and here you go...drum roll please.

We really like it. The location couldn't be better, it's a good size and now with our stuff and a few rented items it feels like home.

We went to the car show this weekend and we have a TON of pics, so stay tuned for those of you car lovers....John is in charge of that post.

Until next time,

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Train Madness

So, the past few days have been a very eye opening experience in regards to the metro and the subway lines. Before Tuesday my days were very much free, so I have been thoroughly enjoying sleeping later than I used to in my career girl life. Well, this week that all changed and John and I were once again sharing bathroom space first thing in the morning. The conference that I told you about started at 8:30am and it's like 30 to 40 minutes away (depending on the shuttle from the metro station).

That being said, I was provided the opportunity to experience the metro in a totally different light. To get to the Tokyo American Club (TAC), I have to get on the Tokyo Metro, ride two stops and then transfer to the JR Yamanote Line. Well, the metro is GREAT...there is plenty of room, no one is obsessively rushing around, all is well with the world. Well....then I transfer to the JR Line to Shinagawa...and my oh my was this a different experience. This was what I refer to as the "true" Japanese metro/subway experience. People EVERYWHERE. We were basically sardines in the metro. And having lived in DC I was used to the sardine experience at rush hour and the mannerisms have some strong similarities....people are sleeping, if you have a seat you don't even look at others for fear that you might see someone that needs priority seating and then you'd have to give up your seat, and a lot of reading or texting. But...once the doors open things change somewhat. People just push and shove their way off the trains...then as you are walking towards the exit I've learned that the best thing to do is look straight ahead and pretend that you don't see all the zillions of people coming straight for you and not changing course because there is no where to go...it is truly an amazing experience.

That being said, I found this and thought it was so awesome.....http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVFKdZ2N7KI&feature=related I apologize to those of you that can't view you tube at work (where let's face it you are most likely reading our blog). It kind of provides some perspective of what riding on the Tokyo metro/subway is like.

In other exciting news...I had dinner with two other girls. Very exciting. I went from knowing absolutely no one to helping one new friend celebrate her birthday followed up by dinner with different friends. It's all so much to take in (in a good way).

Until next time....Jenn

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Tomodachi, Amigas, Amie, Freund, ....simply Friends

So, I've been attending this Women's Conference called Tokyo Here and Now this week. It's hosted by the Tokyo American Club and is a three day "getting to know Tokyo" informational session. And I have some very exciting news to report.....I have found some friends.

When John and I started talking about moving to Tokyo and we decided that I wasn't going to work, making friends was a very important issue to me. Who was I going to do things with during the week while John was at work? How was I ever going to meet anyone here if I didn't have a job? It was a vicious cycle of doubt. But, thankfully I managed to meet several very nice girls at this conference and interestingly enough we all seemed to be going through the same things (i.e., it isn't as much fun exploring Tokyo by ourselves, we spend way too much time at the grocery store because (a) we don't know what anything is and (b) what else are we going to do, and our poor husbands are driving us crazy with suggestions of things that we should be doing).

One of them is from Boston, one is from Michigan, and one is from Minnesota. So, I might have some new phrases or at least new ways to say things by the next time I see you!

Until next time......Jenn