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Mar. 15th, 2011


Funny(?) but true

I'm at the Tokyo immigration bureau to pick up my visa, and the line for re-entry permits is HUGE. It seems to mainly be Asian people who are ready to leave Japan RIGHT NOW. (No, literally; there are several people who have suitcases with them.)
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Mar. 14th, 2011


Mini post-earthquake update

I'm at work, and one of the only people here because they're scheduling rolling blackouts in Tokyo to conserve power that have taken out half of the trains. (Actually, I kinda panicked and fled the house as soon as I heard, so I ended up at work half an hour early. ;^_^) (ETA: There are about a dozen people here out of 60. It's actually kinda funny.) We're all be asked to conserve energy as much as possible, but to be honest, they're not enacting blackouts in the center of the city, where I live, so there's really no problems. (Seriously, I'm getting off super easy in light of things; it's kinda amazing. If I can manage to find a loaf of bread sometime today, I'll consider myself a complete winner forever.)

I really don't have it in me to go into detail about things because it's just far too heartbreaking, but suffice to say, things are still extremely messy up north. We're still getting aftershocks fairly consistently, and they're expecting a magnitude 7 aftershock within the next 3 days. (In fact, we just had a large-ish aftershock right now. Hurray...)

Anyway, a few less deep thoughts from the past couple of days:

  • I hit my local supermarket when it opened at 10am on Saturday; it was CROWDED with people who appeared to be buying everything that they could get their hands on. The supermarket is two floors, with fresh and prepared food on the first floor, and dry food, dry goods, and frozen foods on the second floor. Right at the top of the stairs is the alcohol section. Anyway, I went upstairs to get some frozen vegetables... and all I could think to myself was, "Dear god, they lost a lot of wine." The ENTIRE second floor just reeked of red wine.
  • Speaking of cloying smells, I live next to a small Buddhist temple. You usually don't notice it but for the past few days, there's been a change. You can smell the incense a block away.
  • My 7-year-old niece in Canada was at a friend's house when she heard about the earthquake and tsunami, and she proceeded to freak out. She was relieved to hear that I was okay, but then she apparently got worried about whether my friends were okay, too. Awww, it's okay! We're all fine, sweetie! T_T
  • My niece admittedly wasn't only worried about me. My Canadian brother-in-law's sister and husband are ALSO living in Japan (in the Tokyo metropolitan area and are also okay). Coincidentally enough, these are the in-laws who were visiting Thailand in the big 2004 earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia. They were hit by the tsunamis, and were apparently scuba diving at the time. I'll everyone know if they travel anywhere with a coastline from now on. ;^_^

Mar. 11th, 2011



(See subject.)

To expand, there was just a pretty damned large earthquake, apparently centered in Miyagi Prefecture. It lasted a good couple of minutes, getting strong enough that it was hard to stay seated in our chairs and even my fellow Japanese co-workers were talking about whether we should try to flee. (To which one of the management said, "Look, there's no where to run TO," which is, okay, true, but also not exactly what you want to hear.)

It started with up-and-down shaking (okay, THAT is freaking scary) and then side-to-side shaking. It doesn't sound like it was THAT bad (magnitude 5-6  [ETA: according to the Japanese system; higher in the Richter scale] [ETA#2: never mind; it was a 7 on the Japanese scale, 8.9 on the Richter, and absolutely disastrous]), and we're in Tokyo, but I'm also on the 11th floor of a building in Odaiba, aka probably the first place to flatten in Tokyo. (It's a man-made island, in Tokyo, so, um, yeah.)

We did get a good laugh when we got a building safety announcement towards the end of the earthquake in which the guys helpfully announced that the earthquake was almost over.

Also, just now (hurray! aftershocks!) they helpfully announced that aftershocks would likely be coming... followed by a screeching alarm in the background of the announcement.

Ummm.... can I go home now? T_T Deep breaths...

ETA: I just got back into the bldg as we were asked to evacuate during the alarm-screeching aftershock. T_T I'm fine, but the 11 story climb back to the office (elevators still down) was pretty exhausting. Trains are down, so I don't know when I'll get home, so I'll see what happened later... although I'm pretty sure that I probably lost a dish or two. T_T I'm heading home, so we'll see what happens! I'm going to start walking. Wish me luck!

ETA#2: I finally got home at 8:30pm; my feet are exhausted. There was no damage or anything at my place, but I've been watching the news, and Miyagi, Iwate Prefectures were simply pummeled. The earthquake wasn't even as bad as the tsunami, which was MASSIVE and truly destructive. It's pretty horrifying to watch the footage. T_T

Mar. 9th, 2011

ron gets whupped

Fun with Earthquakes

This was an actual conversation during work:

Minako-chan: ???
Co-worker #1: [look up] Are we swaying? Are we having an earthquake?
Co-worker #2: Oh thank god. I thought I was just getting woozy.
Earthquake: [shake shake shake!]
Co-worker #1: Okay, now I'm going to hurl.

It's good to know that I'm not the only one who gets motion sick during earthquakes. lol!

Feb. 28th, 2011

senor draco


My mom collects important-looking mail from home and ships it off to me 1-2 times each month with magazines and candy or whatnot. This latest care package included the best mail every:

My very own invitation to become a member of AARP.

Peeps, I loled. I loled so. hard.

(Also, I'm totally keeping the trial membership card, just for kicks.)

Feb. 2nd, 2011

ron gets whupped






Jan. 31st, 2011


I think we have a communication problem here.

Here is a dramatic reenactment of how we solve software bugs at work:

Before Xmas
Minako-chan: Hey, I just found out that you released a "new" version of the English software a month ago, although no one thought to tell me about it. FYI, I'm experiencing bugs A and B.

After New Year's
Co-worker #1: Thanks I'll look into those problems when I have time, and may or may not fix them any day soon since no one really cares about English.
[Note: I'm not really joking here; he actually said that since he's busy with the Chinese version, he wasn't going to bother updating the English version unless it was actively killing puppies or something.]

Early January
Co-worker #1: Oh hey, bug A isn't a bug after all. You need to include a new line of code at the beginning of the file. It's what I wrote in the email with the release notes.
Minako-chan: ...which I never got. But no bug, so thanks anyway. Let me know when you figure out the other one!

Minako-chan: ...so I thought this was the right format for these variables, but it's not working. Am I doing something wrong?
Co-worker #2: No, that's the right format. Are you using the latest version?
Minako-chan: No, I'm using the one before that, since the latest version still has bug B.
Co-worker #2: Huh? No, that's just part of the testing tool or something. It doesn't actually affect anything.
Minako-chan: Wait, what?
Co-worker #3: Oh yeah, you need to reset your options. You know that random option in the menu that's always been turned on and has never done anything? Well it does shit now, so you need to turn it off.
Co-worker #1: But at least you're right about the format for the variables; that possibly IS a bug. I'll look into that, some day, eventually, maybe, and tell you whether something's wrong.
Minako-chan: ...Well thanks for keeping me in the loop.

End scene.

Jan. 24th, 2011

ewan working

Scottish humo(u)r

I'm not sure how many people will be entertained by this, but my dad sent me this link to a comedy sketch about what happens when you combine voice recognition with Scots. He recently got a new car with a voice-activated, hands-free cell phone system, and his only comment about this video was, "No wonder I can never call some people."

Jan. 21st, 2011


"But what class am I supposed to be?" is the REAL question

You know you're playing too much Valkyria Chronicles II on your commute when you get off the train, start heading towards the station exit, and then nearly stop on the stairs because you're thinking to yourself, "I should get to a safe spot before my AP runs out."

Jan. 19th, 2011


Housing for the new(?) generation?

This was the opening line of a Yahoo article today:
Here's what Generation Y doesn't want[ in terms of houses]: formal living rooms, soaker bathtubs, dependence on a car.
This cracks me up because (even if I'm only borderline Gen Y), I agree with this 100%. I would also say no formal dining room (either a dining room and no breakfast nook or a large breakfast nook with no dining room). One of my hobbies is looking at floor plans for houses and apartments (idk; it's always been a thing for me), and I sometimes cringe when I look at how much space is wasted by really pointless additions, such as jacuzzi baths or fireplaces or random hallways or misplaced doors. Also, personally, I never use balconies and wish places would stop coming with them. Unless you grill or spend a lot of time drinking in front of the sunset, it just becomes another place that you have to clean and kick bugs off of. I mean, I use my balcony in Japan to hang my wash on, but when I lived in the States, never. My college roomie and I actually had a long discussion about what the hell we could possibly use the balcony for, and we eventually decided to lock the door and slide a couch in front of it because the damned thing was taking up precious space in our living room.

Jan. 17th, 2011

ron gets whupped


I completely managed to fail at the art of eating this weekend. I went out for lunch at my super-yummy local ramen place and ordered the ramen with soft-boiled egg. Only when I stuck my chopsticks in the soft-boiled egg to cut it, the yolk squirted straight onto my shirt. I swore and wiped it away. But that wasn't the end of it! I had eaten about half of the egg, and I had the other half resting in my spoon while I used my chopsticks to cut it into smaller pieces. But when I cut a bite-sized piece off of the egg with the chopsticks, the remaining egg flew off of the spoon, launched into the air, hit me on the chest, and then dribbled down into my lap. I ended up covered in egg; it was totally embarrassing. I'm just glad it was a local place so that I could go back home and change right away.

In better news, I met a friend of a friend for the first time this weekend, and this new girl is HYSTERICAL. She's originally from Kyoto and she speaks the best Kansai-ben that I've ever heard in my life. It's just insanely thick; it's the strongest thing that I've probably heard outside of an anime or something. Just think of every Kansai-ben stereotype that you've ever heard of, and that's how this girl spoke. Every time she opened her mouth she cracked me up.

And in best news, I got My First Platinum Trophy for Lego Harry Potter on PS3. lol It was spectacular. I will fully admit that I laughed and laughed when Lego!Cedric exploded into Lego bits.

Jan. 11th, 2011


Happy New Year!

Well, Happy New Year to all. I had a rather adventurous break. I went home for Christmas to visit family for a week, and then I flew up to Colorado to visit kinomakoto (and applcheeks and darth_teca [wave]). Two of my sisters and their families were supposed to show up, but literally two days before they were supposed to arrive, I discovered that Calgary sister and family were sick with the stomach flu and therefore were not coming. It was somewhat disappointing, although what can you do. Stomach flu doesn't wait for holidays. (Unless you're Detroit sister, who was almost hysterically mad at Calgary sister for refusing to come. It resulted in a lot of conversations like this:

Detroit sister: I can't believe her. I would have come if I were sick! If they had to throw me on a stretcher and stuff me in the plane, so be it! [point] Why just two days ago, [Detroit Niece] had a 103 degree temperature!!
Detroit Niece: [cough cough] Let's play a game, Aunty Minako! [COUGH!]
Minako-chan: [inch away]

It was... special.)

I should have really taken a picture of all of the awesome food that I ate and made it into a giant collage called, "Americana: My Hips Don't Lie." We're talking mac & cheese --with bacon!-- and bean burritos and bananas foster pancakes with bacon and eggs and fried gator and Tex-Mex breakfast skillets with massive bran muffins and jalapeno poppers and some more bacon and eggs and birthday cake. GLORIOUS. As you can possibly guess, I tend to miss all-day-breakfast when I'm in Japan. I tend not to actually like breakfast for breakfast, (I actually prefer stuff like curry or spaghetti or whatnot) but I *love* breakfast at other times of the day. And sure I can make myself bacon and eggs when I get a craving, but it's harder to whip up muffins and loaded omelets and stuffed pancakes last minute.

And then I had a horrible flight back that involved a broken seat and major motion sickness and lost luggage, but I digress. It was a fun trip!

Best quote from the holidays from my 4-year-old Nephew, who had seen "Toy Story 3" in 3D over the summer. His mother offered to play "Toy Story" (the first one), but he stubbornly refused, insisting that he wanted to see "Toy Story 2" instead. When my sister asked why, my Nephew replied:
"Because I want to see a movie in 2D, not 1D!!"
We tried to explain that "Toy Story" was ALSO in 2D, but alas, we eventually gave up.

Weirdest revelation of the holidays: Mommy and I saw "The King's Speech", which was pretty awesome. In a nutshell, it's about King George VI (the Queen's father) and his problem with stammering, and his attempts to cure it with a renegade speech therapist in time for his rise to the throne. It's funny and moving and really good, and after it was over, my Mommy and I were discussing the movie. Mommy made a comment about how the King's stammering was different than how she pictured stammering, but she followed it up with the comment:

Mommy: That's how my stammering problem worked when I was in 4th grade.
Minako-chan: O_o Wait, you stammered?
Mommy: [nod] I could barely talk; I just couldn't get the words out. [fondly] My teacher pulled me to the side and asked, "What's wrong?" and I just CRIED lol.
Minako-chan: O_O

So apparently Mommy used to stammer (she insists that she still stammers a bit, but I've never noticed), but it was apparently kinda funny or something? idek I seriously had no idea.

Jan. 7th, 2011

ewan working

Work is weird.

I would just like to point out that one of my coworkers apparently feels that the office is too dry, which is why she decided to use a spray bottle to dampen all of the carpet around her. It's... slightly bizarre.

Dec. 18th, 2010



So I finally stopped in Ikebukuro to visit the Cafe du Monde. For those who don't know, Cafe du Monde is VERY famous place in New Orleans that sells fantastic beignets, or powdered-sugar-covered puffs of airy, doughy deliciousness. So how was it?

Cafe du Monde

SO INCREDIBLY AWESOME. It was simply fantastic; the genuine N.O. flavor. I was a bad girl, though, and skipped the famous Cafe au Lait in favor of jam tea. Sorry, coffee! I just like tea better!

In conclusion, I'm probably lucky that this is in Ikebukuro, not Shinjuku, or I'd be stopping by constantly.

Nov. 30th, 2010


Kitchen 45, Minako-chan 0

I broke a plate while doing the dishes, in the most bizarre and unbelievable way possible. I was washing my dishes, I stacked the plates/bowls according to size as I went, and when I tried to pick up a medium-sized plate to rinse it, only the lip came up. The middle of the plate had fallen out. Yes, the plate somehow managed to break cleanly in two, but along some sort of inner circumference line. To make matters worse, it was bloody Corelle. Who the hell breaks a Corelle plate in such a way that the MIDDLE falls out?

Posted via m.livejournal.com.


Nov. 18th, 2010

senor draco


I present to you, the main cast of Harry Potter, being taught to speak proper American.

Tom Felton made me cry with laughter.

(Or in other words, nothing has changed.)

Nov. 14th, 2010

papanga parn!

I lol-ed

Nov. 10th, 2010

ron gets whupped

Train rage!

D'omg, I saw the funniest thing on the train this morning. A Young Woman and an Older Businesswoman got off a very crowded train at Shinjuku station. The Young Woman got off the train and stepped to one side since she was getting back on. I have absolutely no idea why, but as the crowd of people passed her to get off the train, she stuck out an arm, and using her entire forearm, shoved the Older Businesswoman further onto the platform. At which point the Older Businesswoman barked, "What the hell do you think you're doing?" and started punching the Young Woman in the arm. The Young Woman actually looked shocked!!! (shocked I tell you!!!) that the Older Businesswoman was fighting back. She hit the Older Businesswoman once on the arm, at which point the Older Businesswoman let off one last hard punch to the arm and stormed off. I felt that my good deed for the day was when I didn't point and go, "HA-HA!"

Nov. 2nd, 2010

ewan working

Of Servers and Men

There's some weirdness going on at work. A dramatic reenactment:

IT Guy #1: I updated Server #2 with the 10/06 software version just like you asked.
Minako-chan: I hate to point this out, but actually, the latest version of the software is the 10/14 release. Can you update it again?
IT Guy #1: Are you sure you want me to update it? Because it'll affect Server #1, too.
Minako-chan: What the hell are you talking about? You updated Server #1 over two weeks ago.
[over in the IT area, people start jumping up and holding frantic conferences]
IT Guy #2: [running over] We're having major problems updating the server, actually. Is there any way that we can temporarily use the 10/06 release instead?
Minako-chan: Um, technically, yes. But the reason why we didn't use that version for very long was that the variables were completely broken.
Boss Guy: Well, damn. That won't work. And we need the demo ready for tomorrow.
IT Guy #2: Um, I guess we'll get it done?
[everyone runs off for frantic work]
Minako-chan: Wait, so what the hell is running on Server #1 then!?

End scene.

Oct. 5th, 2010

papanga parn!


So a couple of weeks ago, I spent a few days visiting my sister, my niece, and my uncle & family in Hawaii. I haven't been back for many many years, so it was quite fun. Plus, my niece is turning into an awesome young lady, and we had a blast together. Also, I learned many things on my trip:

A) I'm apparently not as allergic to cats as I thought.
I stayed with my sister and niece, but they have a cat, and I have allergies. Between eye drops, plenty of Claritin, and refusal to touch the cat no matter how many times he rolled onto his back and gave me his best LOOK HOW CUTE I AM COME PLAY WITH ME look, I pretty much survived. (Ignoring the first morning when I couldn't breathe and my sister went, "WHY DON'T WE GO OUT FOR THE DAY". By the time we got back home, the medication had kicked in and I was fine for the rest of the trip.) I think that when I didn't immediately flee into a cat-free environment, my body went, "Eh, fuck it. I guess we'll just have to deal."

B) Don't forget the sunscreen.
Long story short, I forgot to do my legs one day, and I got burnt nice and crispy. [slap forehead] The sunburn wasn't sore and didn't blister or anything, but it stayed bright red for several days and entered the peeling stage a few days ago. TBH I kinda like the peeling stage. ^_^ It's kinda fun, peeling off skin in big chunks. It's like when you stuck your hands into glue when you were a kid. Only, you know, with added risk of skin cancer. ;-_- Yeah, next time I'll remember the sunscreen and buy a bottle of Elmer's glue.

C) The Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear actually smells like strawberries.
My sister and I were shopping for another niece's birthday, and we ended up in the Disney store. They had their Toy Story 3 stuff out, and I pointed out the adorable Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear. My sister and I then had a conversation that went like this:

Me: Look! Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear!!
Sister: [seriously] But does he smell like strawberries?
Me: Ha-ha-ha... [big sniff] O_O He DOES!
Sister: OMG you're kidding me!! [grabby hands]

Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear actually smells like strawberries. It's the awesomest thing EVER. My sister and I were ridiculously excited.

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