Archive for the 'Tokyo Life' Category

Home Alone With A Stinkin’ Roach

September 18, 2006

The scariest thing on earth: cockroaches.

The scariest thing about living alone: Having to deal with cockroaches.

The scariest thing that just happened to me: Sending a morbid, HUGE, bad-ass cockroach to its death down a toilet bowl.

My hands are still shaking, and I feel feverish. I can’t think of anything more physically intimidating than a big black cockroach head-on, inching closer and shaking its antennae toward me in mockery. I fear them with a fear so pure it makes my whole apartment turn into hell the moment I see one — and I spotted one an hour ago, surrepticiously climbing up my white lace curtains in the kitchen. I saw it; I panicked. A primordial instinct told me to get hell out of my apartment, but where can I go at 11pm on a Sunday? The thought of re-entering the apartment with fear and trembling wasn’t exactly enticing either.

So I opted to look for a can of insecticide — and soon realized I’ve got none. Shit! So I managed to roll up a wad of old newspaper and returned cautiously to the kitchen, by which time The Cockroach had summited my curtain and had proceeded to scoping out my kitchen, twitching its tentacles every which way and moving in unexpected little jerks.

I was genuinely terrified. The Cockroach was now perched high above my head. And then, just as I was gingerly making a move toward the curtain, THE COCKROACH FLEW TOWARD ME.

I think my heart stopped beating. I don’t remember what happened, but the next moment found me sprawled on the kitchen floor and screaming. The thought that The Cockroach could actually be ON me was more than I could bear — I wanted to die. But I was alone in the apartment and noone would ever come to my rescue, so I had to will myself to scramble up and dash into the dining room for safe cover. When I turned toward the kitchen again, I saw that The Cockroach had conquored my oven mittens that hung on the kitchen wall above my dish rack. So at least it didn’t land on me (I really would have died if it did) but NOW what am I going to do?

Mental note: Must throw away contaminated mitten on trash day. Physical action: Called Chris on his cell-y for help.

From there, it took another excruciatingly frustrating 30 minutes for me to capture the The Cockroach alive, transfer it to the bathroom, and send it to its death down the toilet bowl — with lots of emotional support and tactical advice from Chris. Why all this hassle? Because as much as I wanted to get rid of that thing, I was’t about to smush it on my kitchen wall and end up having to deal with the mess later. Gross!!! The only other conceivable solution was to flush it down the toilet. The plan involved one empty milk carton, one wadded-up newspaper, a bathtub cleansing spray (something, ANYthing to temporarily maim the evil thing!!). The Cockroach scampered onto the oven top in the kitchen and clambered all over my bottles of lotions and creams in the bathroom before it disappeared under foamy toilet water. Good riddance! I believe in non-violence, but this was purely a defensive act.

I thought writing about it would help calm my nerves, but it’s not working. I need to go to bed, but the thought of going into the bathroom and touching what The Cockroach had touched makes me sick. sorry, no punch lines or insights — I JUST HATE COCKROACHES.

Thank you to Chris for not leaving me alone with that thing!


Make Fireworks, Not Bombs

August 6, 2006


(Photo courtesy of Ian Chun, 2006)










August 6, 2006






A Hard Life

July 16, 2006

Living in Tokyo is a challenge — maybe more so for plants than humans. A roadeside sunflower still grows toward the sun even after some heartless scoundrel tried breaking off its stem. Signs like this give me hope.


Ignoble Living Conditions

May 31, 2006

I sleep between towers of cardboard boxes piled a meter high. I have all sorts of paper strewn everywhere. If trees can walk and if trees can scream, I’ll be going deaf by their shrill, heartbreaking screams as they witness the carnage in my room. They scream desperately, knowing that one day they could end up being my pink, flowery, hand-decorated notebook that gets filled up everyday (almost pathologically) with all sorts of irrelevant details.

I could have saved an entire forest if it weren’t for my notebook-toting, diary-writing, newspaper-clipping habits.

Moving is such a waste of material stuff and I hate it, but some things just have to be done and I end up throwing away perfectly good plastic binders just because, well, I don’t want to use a binder now inscribed with the words “Chemistry.”

It will all end with a bang this Saturday. Until then, I will continue to sin.

東京小旅行 Part2 (ミジメな終焉)

May 18, 2006












その夜、悔恨の情に駆られ、 溶連菌(?)に蝕まれながら、発熱。なんとミジメな小旅行の結末か。

Marching On

March 8, 2006

Oh, DRATS! It’s been 16 days since I last wrote anything in here. Didn’t I promise myself that I’d change my puerile ways and make habits stick this time around? Apparently it takes more than just wishful thinking to raise one’s will power up to conventional standards. Right. Got that.

Some changes/updates:

1) The Big Decision has been made. Tokyo is to be my home for the indefinite future. “He” has landed a dream job here, and I’m looking forward to a new phase in life. I love my parents dearly and all, but I’m just about ready to bust out of my parents’ house. I want my own little quaint apartment this spring. Maybe in Meguro!!?

2) I’ve started to study Ashtanga yoga. Seriously, devoutly. I am taking classes every morning at 6:30 before I rush off to work, and the fact of it alone makes my spine stretch a bit taller. I can already sense that yoga could be a life-changing practice, but so far I haven’t gone past the painful stage. Every flaccid limb, every untrained tendon in my body have suddenly began to let their existence be known. But I’m enjoying all of it. It’s been only three days, and I already feel much better about myself, mainly about the fact that I’m getting up early enough to get to the studio in time, but hey, that’s progress, ain’t it?

3) One of the magazines I’ve been writing for has gone out of business. It wasn’t a surprise so much as a resignation. It’s been a long time coming. I felt bad about it for exactly a week, but now I feel liberated. I can choose to spend my time elsewhere, and I would love to love to read more so I can write more so I can write better.

4) The collapse of one magazine led to another, more personal debacle. I was asked to write a simple article in Japanese for a professional writer’s union I recently joined, and, man, it killed me. The resulting article was poorly written, and thus ruthlessly edited. So much so that I lost all confidence in my ability to write in Japanese. That’s my long excuse for not writing in my blog for such a long time.

5) But in hindsight, I should have written about not being able to write anymore, which is what blogs are for anyway, which brings me to my final point: I have decided that I express myself better in written English. And so, while this blog will continue to drag on even if no one’s bothering to read it anyway, it will remain close to my personal life and I will continue writing. I am starting another blog, however. This will be written exclusively in English. Call me a wishful thinker!!

Omotesando Hills Preview

February 10, 2006

After work on a vaguely feel-good Thursday, seven girls set out to explore the brand new Omotesando Hills commercial/residential complex — and had a blast!

Good company made for a very exciting exploration, though we didn’t do much else than gawk. Jimmy Choo shoes were a splendor. Tiara had some pretty dresses — Yves Saint Laurent had astoundingly beautiful dresses — a shop was devoted entirely to peppers, another filled with finely aged sake, and lots of lots of gleaming jewelry stores, etc., etc.

My only mistake this afternoon lay in choosing to leave their company and forsaking yakitori dinner. In terms of the architecture, hmm… better not comment on it too prematurely. But I am definitely not a big fan of urban cages made of steel and glass.

Stitching & Bitching in Shibuya

February 8, 2006

The acts of stitching and bitching are uniting women the world over!

Liz and I went to our first Stitch & Bitch session at Shibuya’s Pink Cow tonight, and met 1) a fine artist who knits neat braille sweaters that say “BOOB” in front and “BACK” in back… “Batman” for the gentleman… and a colorful specimen made purely of odds and ends with “Blind with Pride” written in front, among others; and 2) LOTS of skilled Japanese knitters who sported meticulously crafted sweaters, scarves, hats, shawls, you name it!

I am proud to announce the successful completion of my mottled-orange stripey scarf! Pics to follow. A VERY fruitful diversion, but nonetheless a form of procrastination from getting my interview tapes transcribed… Yikes! The deadline approaches with heavy footsteps.


February 7, 2006