Monday, February 23, 2015

Fasten Your Seatbelts.

Look, we’re happy and doing well here in Nagoya.  But we’ve had a few bumps here, and I should probs acknowledge them in a post now because they’re going to affect things in the future.  

It would be good to have laid out some context.
So here’s where we’re at.

Click to embiggen - we're at the yellow star in the middle of the picture.
We’re settling into our apartment in Tsurumai, which is a 'borough' (for lack of better word).  There are many little inner communities like this which make up Nagoya at large, and we’ve found that generally speaking, whatever train/ subway station you’re nearest is the borough to which you belong.  

We started here with the few pieces of furniture that we picked out on our trip in December, a suitcase each of clothing, and of course, Mac and Bubba.  We’ve since stocked up a lot of little necessities at the local Daiso, which is a 100 yen shop.

I don’t really know how to do justice to explaining a Daiso, because that’s essentially a dollar store in the US, but the variety and QUALITY of the stuff at the Daiso blows dollar stores out of the water.  Like all these cooking utensils.  Or these beautiful porcelain soy sauce bowls and bunny chopstick rests.  Or our kitty coin bank.  I love Daiso.
when we put coins in there, we call it feeding the kitty.  I don't know why it makes me giggle so.
We’ve had to do so MUCH Daiso shopping (actually I’m writing this knowing full well I’m about to go to the Daiso yet again), because there was a labor strike at whatever California sea port that all of our stuff is supposed to ship through.  Our stuff should arrive in a few weeks, but we weren’t prepped for a long wait, and thus we didn’t pack stuff for such a long wait.  This is particularly tricky because while we can certainly get whatever we need from the shops around here, we don’t need two of everything once things do arrive, and we don’t have space to store those things.  So thank goodness for Daiso because I don’t feel too bad about throwing out dollar-worth items.

Meanwhile, we found a bit of an issue with our apartment.  Bit is maybe an understatement, but I’m downplaying because I don’t want my family to panic.  Don't panic family, we're fine.  Here’s the very condensed version:

There is mold growing on one of our pocket-style doors.  It is severe enough that they need to take the wall down to fix.  We are obviously not financially responsible for any of that, but we do need to relocate for the time that the construction is underway.  We picked our temporary housing for this last week, and will probably move over there this weekend.

If you’ve sent us mail, no worries!  It will likely make it to us in time, and even if it doesn’t, we will be able to collect our mail from the post office during this time.  But maybe hold onto it for a bit if you haven’t slapped a stamp on there just yet.
We got this on the 17th.  So, you know, pretty quick for international mail!
In any case, this is a fairly big blip in the plan - we were enjoying getting used to this area and how to navigate it, and it’s disappointing to get ripped away from that so early on in our experience.  We’re hoping that the work goes off without a hitch, but we’re a little nervous that it is a bigger construction project that’s been proposed, and no one knows what’s really behind that wall until they take it down.  Blargh.

The temp spot we picked out seems lovely; it’s a free-standing, traditional-style Japanese house in a nice neighborhood.  We’re a bit concerned that because it’s an older style home our internet connection (now that we just FINALLY got connected to the world again!) is not going to be great.  We’re also a little concerned that it’s in an area that’s less built up with stores and ease of transportation, with less foreigners, so we’ll be getting a little more of a “critter in a zoo” attention.*  But it’s certainly doable, and it’s closer to The Mister’s work than this home, so we’ll make it work.
Click to embiggen - we will be relocating to just past the yellow star at the bottom of the picture.
What do you do to keep your cool when you get a wrench in your plans?  
Tell me in the comments!

So that's what's up.  I'll check in next week from the other side of the train tracks (literally!)  In the meantime, you can keep up with our daily shenanigans through my almost abusive level of photo spamming on instagram (@KpQuePasa).  Feel free to check that out to see such greatness as our tour of the Nagoya Castle, some videos of real life SAMURAIs, and of course, the super old, important tree in a park which Mac recently pooped on.  In front of small children.  We're not going back to that park. 

probably pretty safe bet to say that I'm going to post lots of food pictures too.
Duck Soba!
today's little language lesson
Bokkusu-nai ni subete no anata no koto o irete kudasai.
Please put all your things in a box.

*I am struggling with a polite society that has a different definition of polite.  Namely, if I caught someone so openly staring at me because I’m different in the US or heck, even Mexico, I could have straight up been within my rights to say something to the effect of “what’s your problem?” and/or call them out on it.  That’s not really how it works here, particularly as a lady.  Though I do like that Mac sticks out because generally everyone in the neighborhood already knows his name, and the pet store people ADORE HIM.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Stream of Conciousness: Post-Plane.

Hi Friends!  We're here and happy in Nagoya.  We just got our internet up and running yesterday, so I've got some blog catching up to do.  Let's start with the post below, which I wrote the day after I got here. :)

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Restless Regret

Quick Houskeeping Notes:
1.  Looking for valentines?  Don't forget my stationery company,, has put out TWO different FREE downloadable designs for Shark-Themed-Love.  You can find them by visiting our website HERE.

2.  This will be the last post from the states (!) - but we haven't quite gotten internet set up in the Japan apartment yet, so next week might be a bit lacking.  I'll figure something out. :)  In any case, no worries if you don't hear from me first thing next week friends.  (Also I'm sorry I was stupid and packed my sketch book, so we're a little low on drawings for this post.)

3.  As you can see, we're just about at that time where I reinstate live-tweeting Bubba flying.  Last time it was pretty entertaining, maybe it'll be the same this time, who knows?  In any case, you can follow along with that on Thursday by following @KpQuePasa on twitter.  I'll be using #AirBub15  If you've got a twitter, feel free to tweet at me, I'll be checking the tag as long as I have a connection (I'm not sure if the flight will have internet).
This happened last time when the Mister and I went.
Now on to the Main Event:
Hey folks!

As you’re reading this, I’m simultaneously refreshing my phone every 30 seconds to track Mac’s flight to the Land of the Rising Sun, and making my way to Detroit to board my own plane with Bubba.  

(jokes aside, don’t phone and drive friends.  I’m probably being smart enough to pull over at rest-stops for my checks.)

In any case, over the weekend I wrote this blog post and scheduled it to post from a fluffy hotel room bed, while waiting for the snow storm that hit Michigan to calm down a bit.  Next week, assuming our apartment internet gets figured out, we’ll start posts FROM JAPAN!  Let’s keep our fingers crossed that my next post will be about Japan, and that nothing else of consequence happens in the little time I have left in the states.

So let’s back up a bit.  When last we checked in with our heroes, I had mentioned that with all of our worldly possessions and furniture gone, we would be checking into a hotel that evening.  And as I hit “post” on that one, The Mister came into the bedroom where I sat on the floor so we could review our options.

While The Mister’s Company takes very good care of us throughout the moving process, sometimes the roundabout way that we need to access company resources can prove problematic.  Such was the case in a hotel stay, as we would need to pay for the room out of our pocket first, then turn in paperwork to be reimbursed.  Pairing the slow reimbursement system with the Japan Branch’s system of only one paycheck at the end of each month, we were not setting ourselves up for greatness.  I mean, not totally unmanageable, but not ideal.  

But, we reasoned, we’re young!  We’re spry!  And we’re resourceful!  So what if we don’t have a mattress?  We have a blanket each, and a pillow between the two of us, and those “help you sleep” pills that we’ve been saving for jet lag.  We can just camp out on the floor.  We are a brilliant couple who is about to capitalize on our flexibility in the face of adversity.

We were both enthusiastic about this - at 9pm, we took the sleep aids and hunkered down on the floor in the corner of the bedroom.  And we both fell asleep… for like half an hour. 

Even the extra strength sleep aids couldn’t mask the fact that we were sleeping flat on the hard, cold, floor.  I woke up alone - to the sound of the water running in the bathroom.

I think I had a small (We’re talking infinitesimally small.  Smaller than the Ant Man teaser trailer small) advantage to the sleeping on the floor party, in that I tend to sleep like a vampire - flat on my back.  The Mister sleeps all curled up on his side, and with no mattress to cushion him, his hips were hurting something awful.  So while I didn’t sleep any longer than he did on the cold hard floor, I was at least still groggy from the sleepy pill, while he was wide awake.  And he decided to take a bath.  

The bath ended up being where he ended up sleeping all night.  Not because he had actually intended that when he originally got up, but more because I wrongly interpreted that as his intent when I heard the bath going, and stole the pillow and his blanket to myself, then burrito’d myself up so tightly that he didn’t have the heart to take ‘em back.*

So I “slept” in a ball, The Mister slept in a tub, and in the morning, we checked into a hotel.
click to embiggen
*speaking of sleeping in a burrito of blankets - why don’t they make these for adults? Because I would buy the crap out of that.  

Have you ever overestimated your youth and had it come back to bite you in the butt?  
Tell me in the comments!

today's little language lesson
Sa-may wa, dai-ski-des.
I love sharks.