Friday, November 23, 2007

Turkey Day Tokyo

After spending a couple of hours chatting on the phone with family back in The States, we headed down to Omotesando to enjoy a proper Thanksgiving dinner at Fujimamas. There we met up with friends, a hodgepodge including a Brit, a German, two Frenchies, two long-term residents of Tokyo and two New Yorkers. The food was yuhummy – turkey, cranberry, stuffing and gravy goodness. But of course nothing beats an all-you-can-eat home cooked Thanksgiving dinner. After dinner we all made fools of ourselves at a karaoke joint in Shibuya. Inhibitions were lost to the romance of Disney ballads, and white guys pumped fists and rapped to sexed up Too Short lyrics. I’m learning that spending a couple hours with people in a private karaoke room is a quick way to become better acquainted. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Shins

We just saw The Shins play a show here in Tokyo. They sounded great. The venue was very small. The price of the tickets was not! I love going to shows here because I can actually see the musicians. I’m not the shortest person in the audience. We could even watch their fingers and tell which chords they were playing (some of the time). Good stuff. I gave Portland, Oregon a shout out. To which James Mercer replied, “Portland, Oregon? You’re a long way from home.” Don’t I know it.

Monday, November 12, 2007

New Life

I’m an auntie! My sister gave birth to Riley Jane Jordan on November 8. The baby girl weighs 7 pounds 3 ounces. I’ve never seen a newborn with so much hair (covered by hat in photo). I wish I could have been at the birth. Times like this make it hard to be away from home, but we’re really looking forward to our holiday visit in December. I melted when I heard her cooing over the phone. It really was the sweetest sounding thing I’ve ever heard. What an incredible feeling, having a new family member! I’m finishing up the knitting on this baby blanket, and then it’s off to The States to welcome the little one into the world.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Kapital is a Japanese clothing company. They make really nice stuff in an old school 1950s meets the hippie movement fashion. They use a lot of denim, and everything in the store is unisex. There’s a Kapital store in Roppongi Hills, really close to our apartment. Once in a while I like to go in there to take a look at the merchandise and ponder whether or not I could pull off wearing their pricy, super stylish, hippie-sheik, bohemian clothing. Usually I take a quick look around, peek at an overpriced sales tag, and get out of there. But the other night, just before we went to dinner, we stopped by Kapital. I found this jacket at a good price. I think it’s really cute, and I really like the handmade look and design of their label.

Best Way to Spend 200 Yen in Tokyo

We found this park. It’s called Shinjuku-gyoen and it’s so nice (and big). It’s very Japanese in the way the plants and grounds are groomed, but it also includes a French and an English garden. We went there last weekend for a little picnic and frisbee toss. It’s very pretty and clean. It reminds us of Central Park in NYC. I always enjoy the romantic look of cool, tall buildings towering beyond a big, urban park. It costs 200 Yen to get in, but avoiding the chaos of Yoyogi Park (at least the part near Shibuya) is well worth the money.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Girls Dinner

One of my favorite things about my new job is that many of the other teachers are like me – women who have moved to Tokyo to be with their boyfriends/husbands. It’s not easy to meet English-speaking women in Japan, and it’s even harder to meet women you would be friends with without the Japan connection. This is a sad state for a girl like me. Back in the US, time with friends was a big part of my life. I can’t remember how many dinner parties we held at Big Brown (our house in Portland), but I know it was a lot. I miss spontaneous coffee and breakfast dates, afternoons at the spa or nail salon, Mt Tabor picnics, and just plain old chilling out and talking with friends. And while it’s nice to focus on other things right now, and while it’s great to have this time with Driscoll, I’ve definitely been feeling a social lack.

I met my friend Joanna at the school. She’s a British gal, but lived in NYC for six years prior to moving to Tokyo. Somehow, since she and her husband have been in Japan Joanna has managed to rack up quite a long list of girlfriends. I’m not sure how she’s done it. But she has enough of them that she was able to hold an almost crowded dinner party at her apartment (maybe that’s not saying much considering the size of Tokyo apartments). Of course I was pretty excited about this night with the girls.

The get-together felt a lot like being at a dinner party back in The States. One difference was that her apartment is a high rise with a great view (I wish we had prioritized a view when apartment hunting. Why was I so paranoid about the earthquake?). Instead of large dishes of food, the food was miniature – mini quiches cooked five at a time, mini savory scones, and small stovetop cooked or bought dishes (not much room for cooking or for storing large bowls/platters here). Another difference was that after spending almost an entire year in partial isolation with Driscoll, I felt sort of socially retarded, uncomfortable and shy without him by my side (tell me we're not turning into one of those couples). I was also questioning whether or not the comments I made were appropriate. Is it inappropriate to laugh about the seemingly perverted Japanese men with their primped out, fully clothed, prissy, miniature French poodles? But by the end of the night, I’d had a really nice time and met some very cool women. Now the trick is to stop telling myself - I already have friends, they’re just four to seven thousand miles away - and actually start calling some of the girls I’ve met here, hop on a train and go visit with them.