Yes, you read about it here first, folks. Yummy or Crummy will be adding another blog post here sometime in the very near future. Do hold your breath, and don’t sit back and relax, because before you know it my new blog post will kick you in the teeth and throw you down like your daddy never could, no matter how much he drank.
Archive for the 'Travel' Category
I’m in Minneapolis for the rest of this week. This trip was rather last minute, but I think it’s going to be a good one. I took a walk around downtown, and I like how it feels. Sort of like a smaller Chicago, but things look newer and cleaner. I only walked for maybe 30 minutes, but I got the sense that smart people have planned the city. Maybe it was the light rail tracks and the skybridges that connect the buildings.
The flight I was on yesterday was — well — interesting. Does Northwest Airlines offer particularly attractive discounts for senior citizens? That’s the question that crossed my mind, because I swear, 90% of the passengers looked about twice my age. So bizarre was the sight, I started to look for a buffet line. OK that wasn’t nice — I expected (but didn’t get) this kind of thing with my trip to Sarasota last month, but not for Minnesota!
Anyway, here’s what made the flight a bit more stressful. I assume I’m not the only one to do this — whenever I get on a plane there’s always that faint “is this the plane that’s going to crash?” thought in the back of my mind. So yesterday, I couldn’t help but sweat a little bit more after seeing all my fellow passengers. I’m no mathematician, but as you get older each day, your chance of dying that day is incrementally greater, right? So collectively the same stat for 160 old people must be greater than, say, 160 average-aged group…? Right? Well I’m happy to report that we didn’t crash, and everyone arrived at MSP safely. Good times!
Lucretia and I are back from Japan! We were there for three weeks — the longest vacation I’ve had while also being employed full-time. Check out the photos on Flickr.
I had a ton of fun on the trip. It was nice to finally get over how much I felt like a foreigner inside. I simply accepted the fact that I’ve been living in the US longer than in Japan, so it’s natural to feel out of touch. Once I did that, it was really easy to just enjoy all the cool and weird things that Japan offers to tourists!
- Super ice cubes and bendy straws
I don’t know why, but the ice cubes in the drinks we ordered in Japan melted at an amazingly slow rate. So by the time I was done with my drink the cubes were still maintaining their original shape and size. Might be good if you don’t like your drink to be watered down, but I found it a little annoying because I usually like to keep sipping on the mixture of the melted ice and the drink residue. And the Japanese people love bendy straws! Almost everywhere we went, the drinks came with bendy straws. Awesome!
- Super displays on trains
If you live in Japan, you spend A LOT of time riding trains and subways. It’s well known that trains in Japan are almost always on time, and the densely woven networks make the trains convenient for everyone. Well, the attention to detail is paid not only in the timetables and the networks, but inside the trains themselves. On some trains, the display by the door tells you: the current and the next station, number of minutes to the next station, which side will open, transfer information, where the stairs, elevators and escalators will be in the next station in relation to the car you’re in, AND it does this in both Japanese and English!
- Super lack of personal space
When we took trains in Kobe, Kyoto, or Osaka, we could easily find seats during off-peak hours. But we learned that in and around Tokyo, trains are always crowded. Luckily we never really had to get on a REALLY crowded train during the peak of the rush hour, where somebody has to push your butt in with a stick so they can close the door. But at least a few times we felt somewhat uncomfortable with the lack of personal space on a crowded train. My dad, who’s retired now, told me that the train he used to take was so crammed, he literally could not move any part of his body once he got on — for an hour!
I’ll stop here for now — I’m going to try to create a series of posts about Japan. This is going to take a while…
(Creating a new category, Travel)
Oh how I missed you, Japan!
It’s been more than two weeks since we arrived here. I hope to do a more detailed post later, but I wanted to do a quick update to talk about three things.
Oh my frigging sweaty balls! I forgot how humid and uncomfortable summer can be in Japan. We change our pajamas daily because we wake up every morning in a pool of our own sweat.
Niigata area was hit again with a big earthquake. It looks pretty scary, but fortunately for us we were not affected.
The day after we went to Kyushu, a pretty big typhoon entered the country. We were greeted with rain and some strong wind, but we escaped the worst from this potential disaster, too. In other areas people suffered landslides and drowning.
Time and time again I’m reminded of the resilience of the people here. We feel lucky to have survived these things!
Lucretia and I are leaving for Japan tomorrow. I’ve been jokingly calling this trip a “Look-at-me-I-have-a-wife Tour.” All kidding aside, this is the trip that we have been meaning to make since we got married in August 2005. My father has been wanting to gather all the extended family members who couldn’t come to the wedding in Seattle, and hold some kind of a mini reception in Japan. We had a very ambitious plan last year to go to Germany for the World Cup, and then to Japan in one trip. Eventually the common sense set in and we had to abandon the Japan part (FIFA couldn’t move the soccer tournament — what jerks!).
So anyway we booked this trip back in March, but the timing couldn’t be worse from the work point of view. Of course the big project I was supposed to work on has gotten pushed, and now it’s slated to kick off in mid July, when the original schedule would have had me finished with it by now. We’re in the middle of trying to recruit so we can grow our department and handle the crazy amount of work that’s been pouring in. So I’ve been working rather hard during the past few weeks to make up for it. The reality is everything will be just fine, but it’s still difficult not to feel guilty about the whole thing. I’m usually pretty good at separating work and personal stuff in my head, but I have a feeling I’ll be dragging this one a bit.
The other concern is that it’s been five years since the last time I was in Japan. What that means is more people to visit, and more souvenirs to bring. Not that I don’t enjoy bringing gifts to people, but I feel uneasy when I don’t even know what these people might appreciate or exactly who to buy gifts for, even. I will be seeing some of my cousins whom I haven’t seen in over 12 years. I don’t even know how old some of them are. Here is a (not-so-complete) list of what Lucretia and I are packing to give to various people:
- 20+ bags of Tully’s coffee
- 9 boxes of smoked salmon
- 5 boxes of Aplets & Cotlets candy (by request)
- 4 Starbucks (original Pike Place location) mugs
- Kenji Johjima bobblehead
- Various t-shirts, including Mariners, Seahawks, and general Seattle related
- Various toys for my nephew and niece, including Blockus
- NY Cosmos t-shirt from Thorwbackmax.com
In addition, we sent 20+ sets of photo-frame coasters from Crate & Barrel. We knew those would be way too heavy and cumbersome to carry. We’re glad we did that — we still have enough goods to fill one whole suitcase.
So there are certainly some crummy things about this whole thing — but wait! I’m also very excited about the trip. For one, I’m super relieved to be finally taking a vacation. I was starting to feel really burnt out, so no matter what I said above I’m NOT feeling guilty about taking a break. I’m also glad we’re going to Japan of all places. There’s a lot I want to do (ride the sick-looking bullet trains) and buy (hopefully some DS games). Obviously spending time with family is something I’m looking forward to. I’m definitely enthusiastic about the next three weeks.
Check my Flickr page for photos. We’ll do our best to upload as often as possible!