Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Weekends of Excitement, Weekends of Illness

Karma seems to have caught up with me. After going 'woohoo, I am super healthy', my immune system has decided to teach me a lesson. First labyrinthitis and now a 38.6 °C fever and sore throat. Right in the middle of peak business season too *sigh*
But before all this medical drama, I got to do a few of my favorite things.Matcha-kun invited me to one of his group's smancy dinners, and then to a Mozart concert as well.  Getting all dressed up for fancy events and dinner is always fun. Recently I have been working on moving towards a more vintage look, and my new faux-fur swing coat is the cat's pajamas.
I then spent Saturday in Nasu with Hippy-chan and Nats-chan, running around taking pictures in the snow, checking out vintage stores and going to an awesome onsen in the mountains. Not only did it have a (cough) unusual bit of decor near the entrance, but we got to soak in the hot water while also being snowed on. So cool.
We were supposed to go skiing the next day, and I had been looking forward to it for weeks. But of course, despite the weather being perfect, my immune decided that it was the right time to break down, so I left early. Le sad. Now to go drink another liter of Pocari...

Monday, January 21, 2013

-2 Karma Points

Once a week I hit up my hot yoga studio, to combine a tough workout with a mental scrubbing. The fact that the room is deliciously hot is a big plus as well.

Depending on the teacher, the music and atmosphere will be a bit different. N-sensei prefers no background music, and instead does some vedic chanting at the beginning and end of the session herself. Some of the more old-school instructors use Adiemus, and others seem to like gamelan music.

The other day the soundtrack started off fine, semi-decent new-agey music. As we started moving through the Sun Salutation there was a kind of squeal mixed in. A couple positions later there was giggling, and I started to have a sense of foreboding. The chattering and squealing soon after confirmed my fears: babies' voices had been added into the music.

Why?! How in heaven's name is that relaxing in any way? It will distract those who have or want children (apparently it is an instinctive response) and is disturbing and irritating to those of us lacking maternal instincts.

I was hoping that the yoga class was going to help me unwind, but I ended up leaving more wound up than a cuckoo clock and eating an entire bag of crisps.... (okay, so that was my own choice, whatever.)

Monday, January 14, 2013

What to do, what to do....

Yay, I am back and healthy once again, praise the kami!
While stuck at home, forbidden to go anywhere, I was really bored. I am very much one to create my own entertainment, but I usually do so by exploring the city and all its food-related delights.
So, a super quick little guide of recommendations for anyone bored in Tokyo, looking for something interesting to do:
1. Kappabashi
A 15 minute walk down  'Butsudan Road' (where all the altar companies have their showrooms) from Ueno station lies Kappabashi, a street full of restaurant goods. These range from awesome crockery to individual taiyaki forms, and of course the amazing plastic food you see in restaurant windows. There are also a few antique stores hidden here and there, and Kappabashi Coffee is a lovely place to chill. The buildings are pretty awesome too! Since it is right between Ueno and Asakusa, you can then make a detour to the park and Ameyokocho, or head over to the temple and kimono stores.
2. Food adventures
Craving a taste of home, an exotic flavor or just a new experience? I take trying new foods very seriously, and think it can indeed be classified as a hobby. Seriously, Tokyo has every single cuisine you can think of, and the more esoteric restaurants are often hidden away in fascinatingly odd little places. I have found tons of neat places, many thanks to the excellent, which has a good listing of exotic delights. Also, Japanese regional specialties are awesome (like Akita prefectures' kiritampo below. Matcha-kun informs me they are traditionally made by women, in the shape of their husaband' It is always intriguing when he momentarily loses his prim and proper facade.)
 3. Tokyo Station
The restoration is finally complete, and it is beautiful, a gorgeous bit of Meiji brickwork! Plus under the nearby traintracks there is a rather tasty looking Thai place, which one day I would like to try out.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Oshogatsu, Tsutaya and rude awakenings

So now it is the Year of the Snake... not sure what to make of that, since I am a Rabbit. Sounds like a dangerous combination!
I am an enthusiastic supporter of the traditional New Years vacation pastime of clearing out Tsutaya by watching ALL the movies you have wanted to see for a while (but not had time to do so), suitably accompanied by platefuls of mochi and icecream. I watched some old favorites as well, but as for the new(er) bunch:
-Dark Shadows: Good, as all Burton movies, but kinda lost the plot towards the end
-Narnia, Voyage of the Dawn Treader: Decent, but the overly perky actress kind of bothered me
-Kokurikozaka kara: Visually beautiful Ghibli movie, a must see for all Showa fans
-The Borrowers: Pretty animation, relatively short
-MIB 3: Ok, but far too predictable. I did love the Wharhol gag though.
-Bride Wars (there were no decent movies left!): Good for feeling intensely self-satisfied if you are not a fan of the wedding industry.
Ah, it was glorious, but I swear time speeds up during vacations, for now I am back to work. No matter, onwards to a profitable new year!