Tuesday, March 31, 2009

More toilet entertainment

Connor was requesting more toilet paper when he dropped the paper holder thing on the floor. It started playing music. So we replaced the holder with a new roll. Now, when you roll the paper off it plays a little jingle. I think I heard 'It's a Small World.' I really don't think I want to know how much toilet paper is being used while the music drifts from the bathroom as a new tune is played with every spin.

Things to do:
#1. Find toilet paper roll holder

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

On vacation. Catch up later after the 1st of April.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

St. Patrick's Day Parade

The Malones and the O'Deas decided to bike over to Omotosando today and celebrate our Irish heritage a bit. It was quite a sight to see us riding down the sidewalks 7 bikes long. There were 4 adults riding, 3 of which had kids on the back of their bike and then 3 other kids riding in between. If that wasn't enough to draw attention, Kate painted half of her face bright green (she wanted the other half white, but we didn't have any white paint). I am pretty sure every Japanese person we passed took a long look at us parading by.

The parade itself was entertaining. The spectators were very tame however. I think we only witnessed two gaijin hollering something loudly and even what they said was not inappropriate. Following the parade we headed home and stopped at a park for a while so the kids could run around. Jack couldn't help himself and found an am/pm convenience store (aren't those on the east coast?) so that he could buy some beer. As he put it, it just didn't feel right to watch a parade and not enjoy a Guinness, even if the parade was over.

The Irish Setter Club - my personal favorite

The -uh - Irish? Girl Scouts?

Just a dog - the Japanese love their dogs

Nicky O'Dea, Brendan O'Dea, Jack Malone and Connor Malone enjoying the parade

Of course Guinness was there

Kate got plenty of attention and a few photos taken of her as well

This guy walked away from his Guinness group to tell Kate she looked great...he kinda hung around and chatted a bit

Just sweet


Now this was interesting! Make sure you notice the Mohawk. What do you suppose is under his Kilt? You hear Tracey O'Dea in the background.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Once a bargain shopper, always a bargain shopper

I've said it's in my DNA, I can't buy anything full price - most of the time, or spend a lot of money on anything unless it's remodeling my house or buying a new (used, see?) car. Even if I had a million dollars I would still find the sales. If anything is on sale here I wouldn't know it unless I stumble upon it and even if it is on sale it's still more money than I am willing to spend. An article I came across today reported that due to the currency exchange rate Tokyo was ranked as the most expensive city in the world. So this is tough, as I haven't been able to do the shopping that I so enjoy. It's a bit like detox for the perpetual bargain shopper, but today I got my fix.

I joined a church here early on so that I could take some of the classes offered about Japanese culture. Since they had my name, they called me and asked me to bake some brownies for their flea market. I said of course and then remembered how much I despise baking in that damn oven. I baked 3 batches of brownies just so I could get a good dozen and a half to bring to the church. The kids weren't complaining as they got all the scraps, burnt edges and the parts that were just too chewy or just not really baked. So I bring the brownies over to the church and already there is a line outside the door waiting for the flea market to open. I had planned to have a quick look, but now I felt my adrenalin pumping, that high coming on when I hit a really good deal. These people must know something that I don't. The door opened and let me tell you those Japanese were good. Nobody was trampling anybody, we are in Japan, they did make their way through quite forcefully, but quietly at the same time. I hit all three floors and could have spent hours sifting through everything, but I was on my bike and already I wasn't sure how I was going to get home. It was hard to leave, but I had no choice. I had to do a lot of rearranging and such to make it all work. I had a bag over my shoulder, one hanging from the handlebars, both baskets spilling over with bags. I looked like a Japanese biking pro, now I just needed to talk on my cell phone while I was riding home. Not this time.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Mask

As we near the end of winter, although coming from Minnesota, this was hardly a winter...I should probably mention the mask. You see people wearing them ALL the time, no matter what season, but they are clearly more popular during cold and flu season. I wanted to snap a bunch of pictures, but I didn't think strangers would appreciate me taking their photo and there were so many good ones, like rows of people on the subway all wearing a mask - so close. Instead, I had my mom act like she was posing and took pics of the foot traffic behind her.

There are a few reasons for the mask, at least these are what we have come up with:

1. To help those with allergies
2. To prevent the spread of your germs to others
3. To avoid the germs of others
4. Keeps your throat moist as you are not inhaling dry air while you try to recover from your cold/cough

Then there are those people who just hack away on the train without the mask and now all I can think is, 'Geeze! Put on your mask!' I am also surprised that at school it just isn't mandatory to wear a mask particularly in the winter. It should just be part of the uniform, particularly in preschool. They come in kid and adult sizes and I believe there are some with designs although I typically just see people in the white version.
Jack was just diagnosed with strep throat today. I am thinking I should go buy him a mask as we are planning on taking a trip to Thailand in 10 days and with our track record I'm a bit nervous.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I don't speak much Japanese, key word 'much'

My newest phrase...Nihongo o amari hanashimasen

We still haven't started our official Japanese lessons as I am at the mercy of Jack who needs to set them up through work. We have officially been here 6 months and my Japanese repertoire probably doesn't reflect that, but I add a few phrases or words from time to time out of necessity.

I love the phrase in my book following the one above:
Koko ni dareka eigo o hanasu hito ga imasu ka - translation: Does anyone in here speak English? Cracks me up because the image it brings to my mind is of me throwing my hands up in the air yelling these words.

I still have my ongoing argument for learning the language. The minute you rattle off a phrase in Japanese they begin their lengthy reply and wait for your answer - and then I have nothing to say and simply stand there and smile. The other day all I said to a woman at the train station was 'sumimasen' (excuse me) and she starts chatting up a storm. I just looked at her and said,
"iie nihongo," (no Japanese) but that was not the correct way to respond. Then she starts apologizing to me 'gomennasai.' What is she apologizing for? I'm the one who can't communicate. That's when I learned my new phrase of the week - Nihongo o amari hanashimasen.

*btw this woman then snuck in behind me on my pass through the turn style into the station - so unexpected!?!?! My mom and I figured she was gabbing about losing her pass card and wanted to get by on mine.