Sunday, November 15, 2009


So on this gorgeous Fall Sunday, Winston and I decided to get out of the house and go to Odiaba. Odiaba is a little part of Tokyo best known for it's gigantic ferris wheel:

Pictured above, Odiaba's big ol' ferris wheel. In 1999 the Guinness Book of World Records voted this colorful contraption as the tallest in the world.

But before our excited Ferris wheel ride, Winston and I grabbed lunch at a Hawaiian restaurant and poked around a mall. This is when we stumbled upon one of the strangest things I've ever seen in real life. A BARBIE STORE. When I say I found a Barbie store, I don't mean a store filled with dolls, I mean a store filled with clothing and accessories FOR GROWN WOMEN, inspired by Barbie.

Winston and I didn't actually go into the store, mainly because I was a little freaked out. But we did however manage to snap a quick picture of the store's front display.

So, after we'd had a yummy lunch and a good dose of Barbie inspired giggles, we each paid the equivalent of $9.00 to ride a ferris wheel. Mind you, this is the cost of a movie in America, BUT this is Tokyo.

Us atop the ferris wheel.

I thought this was a really cool picture....

One last picture of the ferris wheel as we headed to the bay for a boardwalk stroll.

On our way to the board walk for a sunset stroll, Winston saw an instant photo op. I thought this was a really amazing picture. Look at the sun! I wanted to take one of him as well, but since I am camera challenged, it took about 5 minutes for me to do it...darn. At least I tried.

See, Winston's picture turned out WAY better! I think it's safe to say that I won't be a photographer when I grow up.

This is the Rainbow Bridge.

One last shot of the day, on the boardwalk near Tokyo Bay.

Alright folks, that's all for now. More Tokyo adventures to come.....

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween in Tokyo.. We're not in Kansas anymore

I apologize once again for my lack updates, but to be fair I'm full of excuses. I had a pretty rough cold for about a week, the direct result of spending 4 hours a day with toddlers at a preschool. I never thought one of my favorite jobs would involved getting coughed on, sneezed on, slobbered on, (today I even got peed on whilst diaper changing) BUT alas a little case of the sniffles is worth seeing how easy it is for me to make them smile.

So I spent my sick time eating lentil soup and watching the Alien Quadriligy. While I like to think I found a cure for the common cold that I can live with, I should probably admit that the mother of one of my students took pity on me and sent me home from a lesson one day with loads of cold medicine. I find that every time I travel I end up getting parented by proxy.

This is a very sick me eating my very delicious homemade lentil soup. That's right I cooked, successfully. No fires, no deaths, and you know what? other people that weren't me actually admitted that it tasted fabulous and went back for seconds. I can cook now! It's only taken 4.5 years living on my own to figure out how to feed myself.

Regardless I was healthy for Halloween, which is a "yay," considering it's my favorite holiday. Why? Because much to Winston's dismay Autumn is my favorite season (he enjoys the sweltering Summer heat that makes me wish I lived with penguins in the South Pole). Plus, I love carving pumpkins (and baking their yummy seeds), and on a side note I always crave candy corn in October. But only the the yellow/orange/white corn shaped ones. The pumpkins weird me out, which makes no sense because it's all nothing but corn syrup.

Now, I'm also a big fan of costumes. Halloween is the only day of the year wear it's socially acceptable to wear WHATEVER you want. This year, I decided to dress Winston and I as Star Fleet officers. Behold: Captain James T. Kirk and Leonard "Bones" McCoy of the Starship Enterprise...

We got loads of compliments on our costumes, and more than a few chuckles from foreign passer-bys. This surprised me, considering that al I did was spent $10 on some long sleeve shirts, color the collars with a Sharpie pen, smear dollar store glitter paint on some cardboard, and pull Winston and my black skinny jeans out of the closet. Whatayaknow, I'm resourceful.

So, our evening went a little epically something like this. Winston and I trained over to our friend Greg and Nicole's apartment. We ate lots of homemade salsa, guacamole, and had more than a few beers each. Did I mention that Greg and Nicole love me so much the actually bought me my own pumpkin to carve? Well, they did, and I consider myself quite lucky.

Behold, my pumpkin pride and joy.

Now, I'll admit my pumpkin is a bit toothy. To be fair i didn't have any official pumpkin carving tools, it was just a kitchen knife. However, me and my "one tooth wonder hillbilly" pumpkin look quite content.

I believe Nicole and I were discussing how being in the kitchen cooking together made us feel like "adults."

mmmmm. tomatoes

the fruits of our labor

After watching about 15 minutes of Saw, then the Candy Man, then Star Trek, we decided to head out for the evening. Now there are several reasons why I don't usually go out in Tokyo. The first is that the bars are too smokey. They second is that the bars are too crowded. The third is that a beer costs around $10 a piece. But on Halloween, exceptions must be made. Of course, our bar of choice was beyond crowded, so we grabbed a few corner store store beers, and stood on the street to watch the show.

Nicole, our "Naughty School Teacher" doing her best "mom face" That'd be her husband in the background =0)

she looked so darn cute in those glasses with that ruler.

Me, Nicole, and our friend Sachiko (who was an evil office lady)
This is Greg with his Japanese doppelganger. By far, Greg had the best costume of the night.


Buzz Lightyear to the rescue! Apparently Japan loves Disney.

zomygoodness! Robot!

Now, the next few pictures are all going to look the same, but I want you to notice how busy and crowded the streets are.

live long and prosper, or Nicole will beat you with her teacher stick.

Now, before drawing this lengthy post to a close, I'd like to show you all a "funny." Nicole is one of my dearest friends. We met at college, we ran around Europe together, and now we work together in Tokyo.

Now, this is Nicole and I dressed as a duck and a witch for our preschool's Halloween party:

And this is Nicole and I after hours, left to our own devices. We think we're pretty funny.

hope everyone had a happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mutt in a Mug?

While walking home from dinner a few nights ago Winston and I spotted this dog sitting in a comically sized mug outside a pawn shop. Needless to say, the dog looked a little agitated. I'd be in a foul mood too if someone made me sit in a cup. We sat there for a few minutes, as I watched a few Japanese people pet the dog. I decided it was safe to pet him myself. Well, he didn't want ME to touch him, in fact he snubbed me. That's right, I was snubbed by a fluffy dog in a cup.

It was then that I decided that the dog wasn't cranky because he's in a cup. He's cranky because he has a bad perm, his master makes him wear silly sweaters, AND he's a grumpy racist.

It's occurred to me that when I'm in foreign countries language barriers leave me rather trapped in my own head. Then I do things like give dogs personality traits, emotions, AND accuse them of racist tendencies. Darn.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Hat? I think so....

People usually say that New York is "the city that never sleeps," but after a few weeks in Tokyo I'd have to disagree. If I had to use one word to describe Tokyo, it'd be busy. I don't think anyone in this city every just chills out. Everyone on the streets or on the trains looks like they're running late. I feel like the only person in Tokyo who strolls. If I ride my bike to work in the mornings I have to watch out for weaving cabs looking for their morning fares. If I take the train I have to wedge myself into a car, bury my face in a salary man's back, and wait for my station. I feel like the lazy bee in the hive, and it's like stress through osmosis. Between working 2 jobs my schedule is a delicate balance of working/eating/sleeping. Needless to say, my free time has become quite valuable, and since Fall is here there are a few things I can't seem to get enough of.

1. Dresses and Tights.

These ones are all green and patterned. Since I'd rather save than shop at the moment, tights are a nice, relatively inexpensive addiction.

2. Apples

I seriously eat 3-4 apples a day. I don't know what it is, but I can't get enough of them. Considering that apples are delicious and nutritious, this isn't a bad addiction either. At least I'm full of fiber. Winston thinks it's quite funny that I'm a black hole for all the fruit in the house.

3. Tea

I drink Green Tea in the mornings, Chai Tea in the afternoons, and Peppermint Tea after dinner. Maybe it's just because my lion mug is so darn cute, I really don't know. At least I'm hydrated.

4. Crocheting

When I was 19 my beautiful Grandmother taught me how to crochet. Since then, nearly everyone I know has received a scarf for Christmas/ other related holiday. My brother even got his own blanket a few years ago. Well, yesterday I managed to branch out, and make a hat. I was very proud that it not only looked like a hat, but the kind of hat you could buy in an actual store.

it's a hat!

granted, I made this one for Winston, but I just wanted you to see how cute it looks on! Now no one will be nervous when I ask them what color hat they'd like as a holiday gift.

5. Old Movies

Since Tokyo is a big expensive city, and Winston and I aren't really fans of big loud smoky over-priced clubs, when we want to do a little relaxing date night, we throw on an old movie. Lately Alfred Hitchcock has been our director of choice, but if you know your movies you'll see there's a Humphrey Bogart classic on the list as well. Here's a few of the movies we've watched the past few weeks:

1. Rear Window
2. Strangers on a Train
3. The Maltese Falcon
4. The Birds
5. Vertigo

Next on the list are:

1. The Ten Commandments
2. Dr. Zhivago
3. Cleopatra
4. Tokyo Joe

We don't consider ourselves boring, we consider ourselves indispensable wells of knowledge for bar trivia nights. That's just how we roll.

Okay, that's all for now- til I see another dog in a raincoat or a memorable Lolita girl.

Anniversary Pasta

Here's a little Erin/ Winston trivia. October 5th marked 2 years since our first date, which consisted of pizza, a lot of German Beer, and a Journey themed Karaoke contest. And while my new dietary restrictions (dairy doesn't sit so well) prevent me from enjoying normal pizza, Winston and I still enjoy German Beer and a good round of Karaoke. So, to celebrate making it to two years we decided to make each other dinner. And when I say "make each other dinner," I mean I chopped veggies for a salad and Winston spent the day making pasta sauce. Here's our 2nd Anniversary menu:

Beverage: Red Wine
Appetizer: Fresh Garden Salad
Main Course: Whole Wheat Pasta and Sauce made from scratch
Dessert: Really yummy dark chocolate

To get our ingredients, we decided to shop at a local organic shop near the Hole. The folks that work there are super sweet, and the place is just adorable.
So cute!

the boy in front of the organic shop.

GIANT PUMPKIN! I want to cut it up and make a giant pie....

fresh squeezed juices


These tomatoes were amazing. I could have eaten several plain.

It was difficult to limit ourselves and buy only what we needed to make dinner! Everything looked so delicious.

our salad.

our wine! This was actually a birthday gift from my friends Greg and Nicole. Thanks, guys!

Winston and I in our dark and dodgy kitchen of doom.

the final product, amazing pasta.

Winston spent all day on the pasta sauce. It was so delicious. He had it simmering all day, and progressively filled it with yummy seasonings. Since we don't eat meat, he loaded it with lentils as well. What a guy. Mind you, we're still looking for a new apartment so we are lacking a few key pieces of furniture.... like a table. So we used a box...

we opted not to use candles, considering the flammable nature of our furniture...

Tokyo Tofu Burger

So, as many of you know one of the things I've come to miss most whilst here in Japan are Veggie Burgers. Since I ate mostly fruits, vegetables, seafood, and grains in the States adjusting to food here in Japan wasn't a big issue for me. I'm not dying without Wendy's or Pop Tarts. I do however, miss Veggie Burgers like you wouldn't believe.

Since coming to Tokyo I feel like I've had to go through culture shock all over again, which is frustrating. I played the "culture shock" game a year ago, and I'm over it. Recognizing that I've been a little bummed lately, Winston decided to get me a little comfort food and take me out for a "date night". This is where the Tokyo Tofu Burger comes into the story.

Japan has a fast food chain called, "Freshness Burger." I'd say in terms of healthy eating it's on par more with Subway and less with McDonald's. Anyway, they have a "Tofu Veggie Burger" on the menu! Hooray for the little things in life I have to look forward to.

typical one armed couple date night picture.

our waters and my side salad.

the inside of the burger shop. It was all cute and decorated for Halloween.


The French Fries were also full of freshness, not to mention potato goodness.

the taste test
I'd love to know who comes into work extra early to make these pretty chalk signs.

Again, I'd love to know who comes in EVEN EARLIER to make this little chalk sign. It's so colorful and intricate.

the view from the outside.

one of my favorite veggie burger scouts.

That's all, until our next round of Tokyo Tofu Burgers.