Flash Floods

Author: mirai  //  Category: Uncategorized

My boss was out sick yesterday and a part of today.  Now, I am not the type to wish ilfortune on people, but he has been getting on my nerves so much lately, that it sure feels good to not have to deal with him.  Even if its only for 1 or 2 days.

It rained really heavily in Tokyo today.  I went to lunch at around 2pm as I normally do, and went to the park as usual.  It was still cloudy out, so I knew it could rain at any moment. But I figured that I would just head back to the office as soon as it started coming down.

What I didn’t anticipate, was a flash flood, and that I would up getting stuck outside underneath an overhang of a building while it absolutely pissed down rain for about an hour.  I stayed underneath the overhang until it started let up a bit.  From where I was, I could see the stop light at Hibiya crossing, and the stairs that lead down to the subway station and the underground passage.way.  I figured that when the rain lets up a little, I’d just make a mad dash across the crossing to the underground passageway when the light turned green, and then head back to the office.

As soon as the light turned green, I sprinted as fast as I could, being careful not to slip and fall in the process.  The light was green so it was just a matter of getting across the large intersection…or so I thought.

As soon a got to the crossing, I noticed a small crown of people on the side of the street.  The light was greeen but they weren’t crossing. I immediately figured out why.  As I looked down at the ground, I noticed a huge lake of water about ankle deep, that went from the curb to practically the middle of the street. Nowbody was getting across this intersection without getting the feet soaked.

 I saw this old lady (about 60 years old) screaming at the police, who were trying to shovel out months of neglected leaves that were clogging the storm drains,  because she needed to get across the street.  She did this for about ten minutes.  She then realized that the police didn’t care so she flagged down a taxi and climbed in.  The taxi rolled a bit a then stopped abruptly.   I couldn’t hear the conversation between the old lady and the driver, but I knew what was being said by the facial expressions and hand gestures.

It was obvious that the lady wanted the taxi driver to just drive her across the street and let her off, but the driver either told her that that was too short of a distance or he would still be charged the minimum fare, 660 yen.  After several minutes of less friendly facial expressions and hand gestures by both parties, the old lady climbed out, yelled at the police some more and left.

A few minutes later, the police managed to unclog the storm drain just enough to drain the water so that it was only a few centimeters deep in some areas.  I made my dash to the under ground passageway across the street, but by the time I got back to the office I was soaked…what a day!!!

Double Wedding

Author: mirai  //  Category: All Posts, Family and Friends, Life in general

I managed to survive the two weddings last Saturday.  Graham and Ayako’s wedding was very nice.  It was at a pretty fancy restaurant near Shibuya.  The venue was very quaint and the food was excellent.
Graham was dressed in a traditional Scottish kilt to honor his mother’s Scottish herritage.  This was the first time I’ve ever seen anyone in a Scottish kilt up close.  I’ve seen a few people in the States dressed in Scottish traditional clothing, playing bagpipes, but it wasn’t quite the same.  I must admit I was quite surprised when Graham admitted that he stuck to hard Scottish tradition by wearing nothing underneath the kilt.  I definately didn’t want him to prove that although I could tell he was dying to!
Ayako was dressed in white laced wedding gown. It wasn’t a typical gown though because this one really clinged to her tightly almost like a evening gown. She looked gorgeous, because the gown really did compliment her figure.  I don’t think there are many people who could wear a gown like that and make it look good like the way Ayako did.   They were truely a handsome couple last Saturday.
The wedding was also a good opportunity for me to see people whom I hadn’t seen since the days I worked at my last company.  I hadn’t seen many of them in over a year now.  Most people hadn’t changed, but they said that I had changed a lot.  This was a bit odd for me. Aside from my hair being a bit longer, and me weighing 5 kilos less, I don’t think i have changed too much.
I wanted to take a bunch of pictures, but in the franticness of preparing for both weddings, I had forgotten to recharge the batteries in my digital camera.  I managed to get a few shots in before my camera became totally unresponsive.
The second wedding was way across town in Shinagawa.  It was for a family member who lives in Kawasaki.  This was more of typical Japanese “cookie cutter” wedding at the Shinagawa Prince Hotel.  As a matter of fact, they were having like 4 or 5 other weddings in the same ball room that day.  And amusingly, they were all identically set up.  Japanese weddings are so one-patterned, its ridiculous!  I would never want a typical Japanese wedding for myself.
Sunday was a quiet day at home.  It was the first day in two weeks that I had any peace at home.  In the morning, I took Jenna to the vet to have her ears looked at.  Unfortunately, she still seems have a bit of an ear infection so I got her some medication.  Princess is healthy, but I got them both a round of vaccination shots just in case.  It had been a while since their last one.
For the rest day, I watch F1 on cable.  It was a pretty damn good race all the way up to the end.   

The Happy Couple Ties the Knot

Author: mirai  //  Category: All Posts, Family and Friends, Life in general

My boss has been away for the last three days on a totally  unnessary business trip to Korea. But, I’m not complaining, because while he’s away, things seem to run so much smoother and I get so much more work done.  Unfortunately he comes back on Monday, but next week is a short week due to Golden Week in Japan.  I plan to make a trip to Yamaguchi to visit realitives during that week, and get some much needed R and R.
This weekend is going to be a busy weekend for me.  Saturday, I have two weddings to go to (yes, on the same day).  I have to go to family member’s wedding and my friends, Graham and Ayako, from my previous job are getting married.  I like to think I had a part in getting the happy couple together, because if it weren’t for me, they’d probably still be just admiring each other from a distance (laughs).
It all started about 2 years ago at a going away party for a fellow co-worker.  We were all parked at a local “British-style” pub in Tokyo. Graham, being the social butterfly that he is, was drinking himself silly and socializing with the rest of the crew, while Ayako and I were in a quiet little corner having a conversation about relationships and life in general.  I wouldn’t call Ayako “shy” per-se, but she defininately does (did) have a self-esteem problem, which I never understood.  She’s very attractive and probably wouldn’t have any problems landing any guy she wanted, and yet she up until then, she always complained about how she didn’t have a boyfriend and how old she was getting. She’s only about a year older than me by the way.
So this conversation continued throughout the evening while she happily pounded away a few mini-jokki’s of Guinness’ (the nastiest concoxion known to man…IMO).  Being only a couple of inches shorter than me and weighing like 20lbs less than me, the alcohol hit her pretty hard and I decided to take advantage of this (not in a bad way of course).  Since we were on the topic of her being an old over-the-hill unattractive bat, I decided to give her an ultimatum.  If she didn’t have a boyfriend by the same time the next year, that she would have to sleep with me (no questions asked).  Of course, I was kidding (cough cough), but since she was pretty loaded, SHE AGREED!  But deep down inside, I didn’t want to win this bet and I had no intention on collecting on it even if I did win.
So I asked her if she was interested in anyone at the moment and I don’t quite remember what the answer was.  As a matter of fact, I think she answered by saying something like “no guy would be interested in me”.  But I knew for a fact that one person was VERY interested in her (although he was too much of a meathead to admit it), and that was Graham who was still floating around the pub being…well…Graham.
So I kind of asked (while pointing to the Mac geek) what do you think of him?  And she responded “I like him, he is so sweeet and funny”.  So I knew I had bite here.  I then asked “would you consider dating him at a serious level?” to which she replied “yes”.  I then said “then ask him out!”
She never went for that though.  She figured that Graham was nice to everyone and not just to her.  So I decided to be bold and say “He likes you a lot..k?  If you ask him out and he turns you down, I will take him outside and beat the shit out of him”…which I could only do only if Graham were really drunk.  But she was too hesitant and it didn’t happen. I then told her that I guess she is just destined to be my love slave. (giggles)
The following Monday, I dragged Mac-boy into a conference room at work and told him EVERYTHING, but he didn’t buy it.  He said something like that he tried to be social with Ayako outside of work a few years earlier and that she turned him down cold. But I know that things change, and people’s opinions change. I told him to try again, but he refused to. That meant I had to think of some way else to get these two stubborn people together.  But before I did, I wanted to make sure that Ayako was serious about what she said and that it wasn’t just the alcohol talking that night.  So, Ayako and I talked a bit during our break time and she said that she meant everything she said that night (except for agreeing to my ridiculous ultimatum). NUTS!
Aside from throwing these two into a dark closet, I didn’t see any other way to get them to talk other than to be a complete pest and ask them almost everyone time I see them “are you gonna ask him/her out?”  I think I did this for a good month or so, until Graham finally told me that they were together.
And last summer, Graham had announced that he and Ayako were engaged which prompted the “is she pregnant?” question in everyones mind.  But anyways, I’m glad that my two cool friends are tieing the knot and I look forward to their wedding tomorrow.

A Walk in the Park

Author: mirai  //  Category: Uncategorized

I had to work yesterday (Saturday).  Usually I don’t mind working weekends because nobody’s at the office and I can get a lot more work done than I can normally get done in a weekday.  Plus, I get a compensation day for time served.  But lately, I’ve been really valuing my weekends, and having to spend a nice sunny weekend in a cold, dark, and depressing office is a real drag.  Even though I get a free day off, it doesn’t seem worth it anymore.  I now have a total of 24 holidays this year (15 paid holidays, 4 carry overs from last year, and 5 compensation days from all of the weekends I have worked this year).

My boss is being a real asshole lately.  The last time I asked for a day off was right after we converted the telephone systems last January.  I asked for only one day off and he denied it.  He said I had too much pending work to do.  Yeah, like since when have I not had any pending work?  I had tons of pending work from the first day I started with this company, but its no excuse to deny a person a day off (especially a compensation day).  I can understand denying a person a regular paid holiday when its too busy or the opportunity is bad.  A paid holidy should be allowed at the company’s discression. That’s a given. But, I consider a compensation day as time (my private time) that I’ve invested or loaned to the company to get critical work done.  So I think it’s only fair that I get to take my compensation day off repaid  any time I want, no questions asked.  Now I have five of them and I have requested to have my Golden Week extended by one day.  If he denies this, I may consider taking this up with HR or confronting my boss at a more higher level than I usually like to do, considering I have yet to take any holidays this year.  Stangely enough, this is the same guy who just last year encouraged me to try to take as many days off as I can because he hates seing anyone being stress out from working too much.

Last Friday, I spent my lunch hour at the park.  I have been doing this a lot lately because I don’t really have any close friends or people whom I can even relate to at work.  This is probably the one and only thing I miss about my old company.  Even though the job sucked, the people I worked with were pretty cool.  I always had someone to spend my lunch hour with.  But at this company, almost everyone is older than me.  There are a few guys who are about my age, but I have nothing in common with them.  The ladies are all older than me and almost all of them are single.  Normally, that wouldn’t be a factor in just having lunch with someone, but this is such a small office that I’d rather not get socially involved at any level with any person of the opposite sex outside of the office. So I pretty much spend my lunch alone.  Its okay though, because its the only time of the day that I can really concentrate on my personal thoughts.

Anyways, my days at the park have been interesting.  I usually just sit on the bench playing with my PSP or reading a book, while watching people.  At that time of day, I usually see housewives and their young children playing.  Its funny to watch how stupid parents act around their children.  Especially in Japan. Japanese parents tend to really spoil their children, or be really obsessive around them. Like for example there was the is little kid (maybe 5 years old or so) playing on the swings.  Nothing too unusual, the kid was just swinging gently back and forth. Yet, her mother would yell “Ki wo tsukete” (be careful) like every 10 seconds, while she looked on from the bench and talking to another child’s mother. After a while it got really annoying.  The kid was just swinging the swings like any other kid.  Eventually, the mother pulled her kid the swings, who was otherwise seeming to have fun on the swings. Mother tells her kid “mama kowai kara mo yamete!” (I’M afraid so please stop).  She pulled the screaming and crying kid away and sat her next her on the bench while she continued to have her conversation with the other mother. That’s all she really wanted to do, gossip, or so it seemed. I rolled my eyes out of disbelief and went back to playing with my PSP. I think a child falling of the swings or getting a few scrapes and bruises is okay.  Its a natural part of growng up and being a kid.  And this mother was denying her kid thar experience…even though its not a positive one.

I remember when I was a kid, I use to take my dog to the park (by myself) and fly a kite or play with my friends or my dog or whatever.  And I wouldn’t go home until dark.   I may have been a bit older that this child, and I did have my share of scrapes and falls but thats life.  I simply learned to be more careful the next time.

I suppose once you have your own kids, your point of view changes.  maybe I might baby and spoil my own kids too…

Spot ID Check

Author: mirai  //  Category: Uncategorized

I haven’t written an entry in a while.  I apologize to those who have been concerned about me.  I assure you that there’s nothing to be worried about, but thanks for the e-mails!

An odd thing happened to me last week during my lunch break.  I was walking around Hibiya Dori, and this police office comes riding his bike up to me.  He stops, gets off his bike, looks at me and points to my shoes.  I look down somehwat puzzled.  Then he says, “Your shoe is untied” (in Japanese). I thanked him (in Japnese) and proceeded to tie my shoe laces.  At that moment, he moved his bike in my path as if he wanted to block me from walking any further.  I gave him a strange look as to say WTF are you doing?  Maybe its just me, but I easily get offended by this, because he’s obviously singling me out because I don’t look Japanese.

He continued to stare at me, as if I were the very first foriegner he’s ever seen, and in complete silence.  Eventually I asked, “did you want something else?”(again in Japanese)  After a few more moments of silence, he finally mumbled, “can I see your passport?”

Now, allow me to explain here. At this point, you’d think that it would be safe to assume that a person who is able to understand “Your shoe is untied” in Japanese, and be able to say “Did you want something else from me” in Japanese, and wearing a suit, is probably NOT a tourist. But this dummy didn’t figure it out yet so I decided to have some with him.

I told him that I wasn’t carrying a passport (which was the truth -no resident does), and I proceeded to walk.  He got really nervous and started to stutter and fumble around.  I could have gone further with it, but I didn’t want to take the chance of him dragging me to the nearby Koban during my lunch hour and explaining to them that Iwas joking.  I pulled out my resident card and waved it in his face.  He apologized and let me go.

As I was walking back to the office, I started to reflect back at how useless the Japanese police are.  They even made international news recently when a couple of police officers were filmed runnning away from a bosozoku (gang member) swinging a bat. 

At that moment I looked acrossed the intersection only see another police office in the middle of the avenue directing traffic.  “What’s wrong with that?” you may be asking…  Well, for one thing, all of the traffic light were working, so people were just  ignoring him and obeying the traffic lights…