crystal's capers

one girl's international adventures

Monday, January 30, 2006

Winter Blues

Two fairly uneventful weekends in a row. This trend will soon be remedied by a riproaring excursion to Tokyo next Saturday.
I'm pretty sure I watched about 093447425 DVDs this weekend (including the entire first season of Sex and the City) - I love it when large numbers start with "0" because it adds to my retarded inaccuracies. My bedroom became Mega-Bed again and Jody, Tressa and I camped out and nursed Tress back to health - she's been sick since being trapped in Narita for 48 hours last weekend... I'm thinking Thriller: "Trapped in Narita" - the story of two ladies' weekend in airport hell.
Made dinner for Koji on Sunday night (Thai), which was nice.
In other good news: Tressa and I recently resigned our contracts for next year (yay! raise!) and before doing so made the request that our company move us into nicer/cleaner/newer apartments; we were not holding our breath that they would oblige: fees to rent just one apartment can cost upwards of $2500 (much of which one does not get back when they move out). My boss, Cynthia, phoned Saturday to tell me that she'd actually been thinking of moving us for a while and, since we asked, something of a fire was lit under her ass... so, WE'RE MOVING!!! Well, probably not for a month or two, but still, YAY! So glad we asked.
While lazing about all weekend the girls and I came to the conclusion that this phantom, Winter Blues, is a little less elusive when one is abroad. We are all just a little more jaded and cynical about being in Japan lately. Personally, I'm finding more difficult to brush off the blatant racism and sexism, to deal with the often annoying differences in lifestyles, and honestly, to breathe the air. I guess it just wears on a girl. Jody and I agreed that we would have the worlds best jobs, if they weren't in Japan. Not to worry folks, it's mostly good here and I'm sure this bout of depression will warm up with impending summer.


    • At 8:43 AM, Blogger Fluffica said…

      well don't leave before i get my skank ass to japan for a visit

    • At 9:11 AM, Blogger Crystal said…

      of course not, don't be silly... well, at least not back to canada

    • At 10:22 AM, Blogger Fluffica said…

      i just realized i probably shouldn't write "skank ass" when your mom reads your blog. just for the record my ass is neither skanky nor assy. it's more saggy. sorry kim. :(

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

maturity matters

so i've got this friend with an Ex. i try not to get involved, but, it's when Ex's use their Former Significant Other's friends' blogs to gain ammunition to bad-mouth said FSO (to their face, or otherwise) that i feel that i have no choice. i mean, come on, i don't want to have to sensor my blog but i love this friend and this immaturity is uncalled for. everyone has faults; in this short life we should be trying to find ways to help one another, not seeking out new material with which to belittle the people we (once) love(d), especially people who considered your own long-term well-being when making important decisions.

to the Ex, and i'm sure you're reading this: you are a rational young man. take a breath, realize what is best for you both, and be willing to make compromises. you were together a long time, that should count for something.

...and leave my f*cking blog out of it, thank you very much.


I am so non-political, but...

a word about the current state of Canadian politics is in order: ATROCIOUS! That's my word. Conservatives into office - are you kidding!?! Are we so retro these days that we're into actually reversing our rights and freedoms; political decisions circa 1965? Since when are we so willing to become more of a USA-lapdog than ever before? Does this mean that the so-called "majority" of Canada (i.e. everyone from Ontario, East) is in support of the Bush Administration?

Maybe I'll have to stay abroad until Canada can grow a friggin backbone.


    • At 12:17 PM, Blogger Christopher Barzak said…

      I said the same stuff when Bush was re-elected. Canada's not the U.S.'s lapdog. Canada is the Bush administration's lapdog, and the U.S. is the Bush administration's lapdog too. It's a group, not a country, that's pulling the strings around the world right now. And I believe they stole their power rather than acquiring it fairly. So many people in America were just astounded by *both* elections of Bush. I can't see it as being anything but rigged. I think the whole world is being taken for a ride by this group that ascended to power out of nowhere.

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Monday, January 23, 2006

Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire

Yesterday Jody and I ventured to an amazing theatre (complete with FRESH popcorn) in Tsukuba for a matinee performance (still $18.00) of Harry Potter 4!!


I had geared myself up for the worst, since several people I've talked to were less-than-impressed with this installment of Potter. There was agreement that the new director took too much artistic freedom and didn't focus on the significant events in the novel. Having seen it, I have to wonder though, if they weren't slightly biased by the knowledge that there was a new director involved, because, honestly, I didn't sense a large difference.

On the other hand, perhaps I was slightly biased myself, since The Goblet of Fire is likely my favorite read of the series, thus far. Also, the induction of hotties like Krum couldn't hurt, even if Harry himself is my actual love-match. In any case, despite the length of the movie, I thought it was quite "brilliant" (as Ron says) actually, and would highly recommend it.

As for whether is movie is too scary for youngsters, I think the entire series should be about 7-and-up in book and movie form... if you're kids get scared easily, don't take them!

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: 4.5 out of 5 stars


    • At 5:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

      It may be hard to sort out the debates between whether the latest Harry Potter was Hot Or Not, so let me set the record straight: For those unaware, the latest Potter was actually released in TWO versions. One was the Adult version, which seemed very dark and at some times quite scary! The second was the 'G' rated family version (probably the one which anyone who was less than impressed sat in on!) -Rebecca

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Let it Snow!

Snow began to fall in the wee hours of Saturday morning, and didn't stop until the wee hours of Saturday night; about eight inches, in all.

Japan is gorgeous when it is snow-covered; and no one leaves their houses, so everything stays pristine so much longer than in Canada.

When I say no one leaves their house, I really mean, no one leaves their house. Unless absolutely necessary... for Tressa and Dianne, this is was the case: Dianne's flight back to Canada was due to depart from Narita at 7pm on Saturday. They left at 2:00, just in case. The trip took hours longer than usual and upon arriving at the airport they learned that all flights were delayed. Postponed. Then cancelled altogether.

Dianne was then set to leave Sunday, at 5pm. This meant Tressa and Dianne got to spend a luxurious night in the AIRPORT!!! as all hotels in the area were booked solid. Can you imagine!?! 24 hours trying to sleep in crowded, uncomfortable airport seats! ugh!

Then, around 5pm on Saturday I receive a text from Tressa asking me if there is a snow-day Monday (school cancellation = no work)... uh, no. The roads here, especially during the day, are fine. I call our boss, Cynthia, just in case, and she assures me that school is still in session. Too bad we didn't get truckloads of snow on Monday or Tuesday... (Tuesday is my busiest/longest day of the week)

So Tressa had to drive the icy roads from Narita back to Shimodate late Sunday night so that she would be back in time for a 10-hour day of work Monday morning. Being a Canadian driver, a little ice doesn't bother Tress... but the crazy Japanese freakout drivers do... she saw three accidents within 5 kms and it took her an hour to get to the "Welcome to Japan" sign just outside the Narita entrance. Further, I think she had to actually leave Dianne at the airport. Egad.

Why does it always snow at the most inopportune times?

Pictures courtesy Jody. Thanks!


The New Kids in Town

Friday night was Tressa's mom, Dianne's, last night in Japan, and she had waited five long weeks to experience infamous kareoke with us!! What's more, Trav's replacement, Jen and her husband, Drew, are newly settled into their place and we were all very excited to initiate them, uh, I mean, welcome them, into our little group.

Jody and I met up with Tress, Dianne, Daichi, Mi-chan, Yoshi, Sagi-San, Chris, Willow, Peter, Drew and Jen at Shidax for a night of sing-songing. Of course we partook in nomi-hodai (all-you-can-drink) for the full four hours, but then when the majority were ready to call 'er a night (around 1am) Jody, Willow, Chris and I all renewed our room and sung for another three hours!!! Whoa! .drunk.

When we finally got home, (everyone was crashing at my place) the snow was falling and we zonked out about 10 minutes into the movie we put in (on my NEW DVD PLAYER!)

The lowdown on the newbies: Jen is 24, Drew 25; they have been married for 5 years (Christians) and are from Portland Oregon; Jen will work in Trav's part-time position and Drew may or may not work (I've suggested a job I was offered in Oyama); they seem really nice and fun and we all look forward to seeing them again!


Congratulations! Miss Jody Whito Sensei, who has recently been told that her contract is officially being renewed and as such, she will be staying a second year in Yachiyo (village neighbouring Shimodate)!!! YAY!! The good times will continue!


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Further Evidence...

My mom sent the following email regarding my post about my non-birthday:

You are right - you never turned 26. See, many people believe they don't actually progress to the next chronological year until the exact time they were born on the anniversary of their birthday. You said you crossed the dateline at approx. 3:00p.m. on Jan. 7 and the date immediately jumped to midnight Jan. 8 - so technically, for you, it never was the time of your birth 7:57p.m. Jan. 7th and therefore you did NOT turn one year older. Happy 25th unbirthday, again!


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A History Lesson

So I have this supergreat private student, Yoshiko, who I may already have mentioned. On her suggestion we have been spending a good part of each lesson reviewing journal entries that she creates for homework. Usually these entries are based on Japanese culture, and I have been thoroughly impressed, but never so much as tonight. A few of my own questions were answered...

Please know that there are likely discrepancies. My apologies.

A few Emperors ago (Emperors are appointed like royalty, in the death of their fathers, and "rule" until their own deaths), Japan was ruled by Tenno; his rule corresponded with World War II. Somehow Tenno convinced himself and all of Japan that he was a messenger of God(s) (Buddhist God(s), that is) and gained the complete faith of this nation. Because his demands were the will of God(s), everything he demanded was justified and right. It was believed that God's(') will would be protected and, as such, if war was necessary the Japanese people would be protected and would win. Thus, in the late 1930s the Japanese people set out on attacking Korea and China.

As we all know, World War II was finally halted by two catestrophic atomic bombings in Japan, and Japan lost the war. Japanese people could not reconcile their defeat with their previous belief in their God(s), and most abondonded religion altogether; this is why Japan is now a highly agnostic (for lack of a better term) nation when they had previously been quite spiritual. Further, Tenno was seen as a regular human, and a crazy one at that.

Having forced Japan into submission, the United States comprised a Japanese Constitution (similar to their own) and forced Japan into democracy; Japan abides (to some degree) by this same constitution today. The constitution states that Japan may not have arms or military forces (though that they have minimal forces for self defense is overlooked), and it is my deduction that this is the reason for the current American Military presence in Japan.

Talks with my other student, Yuji, have suggested that many Japanese people are unhappy with the constitutional laws regarding Japanese military forces, especially considering the current volitility of Korea and the development of and search for natural resources by China.

Ironically, despite the rather harsh lesson on the distinction between a God and a human, the Japanese symbols for Emperor that follow even the current Emperor's name translate as "God" and "Son."


Japanese Name?

Already been named, by Trav. It's Yukie (pronounced Yu-ki-ay). Eh, here's another one:

Your Japanese Name Is...
Nayoko Kujo


Monday, January 16, 2006

Goodbye Trav

The downside of living in such a transitory environment is that people leave. I guess I'm lucky that no one superimportant to me has left yet, but now the inevitable has occurred.

Having finished his one-year contract, and needing to return to university, Travis Dewan is departing for Australia. For good.

Trav was one of the first people I met when I came to Japan and he played an enormous role in making the last seven months here both bareable and enjoyable. I can honestly say that I don't think
I would have lasted here without his love and friendship. I am lucky to know him and to have had him in my life even for such a fleeting moment.

Trav is an old sole, a warm spirit, a thoughtful friend. Everyone he meets is made better by him. I love him like he is my little brother and my only wish is that we will meet again. A great excuse to go to Australia, no?

Thank you Travipants, for all that you have given me, literally and more importantly, emotionally. I will never forget our times together. Best of luck in your future; I know you will be a shining success in whatever path you choose. All my love.

Bon Voyage.



do you know what happens when you put olive oil in the refrigerator? it gets so thick that it won't pour. so people, please don't leave your olive oil in the refrigerator, or in my apartment.
my beautiful lucky bamboo agrees, it's cold. i think it's the ice forming around its little ceramic bathtub that is causing my sole plant to die a bitter yellow death. not my fault, i might add.
a tourist might think this weather quite mild... hotels are heated. my cardboard walls do not insulate me. i freeze. always.
yet, japanese people seem also to think this weather mild. at my kindergartens the kids still run through the playground in shorts and bare feet, they are often topless to boot. crazy buggers. i freeze. always.
hmmmm... an exception: i do not freeze when teaching; in fact, i boil. teachers who apparently sense that i freeze the rest of the time have come together to sweat me to death, or asphixiate me, either/or. as soon as i enter their classroom they run to their little heaters and crank what needs cranking... before long the room is putrid with kerosene, and stiflingly hot. great environment in which to be genki!


My Non-birthday Party

Well, I didn't turn 26 on the 7th of January, not exactly anyhow. And how, you ask, can I figure this one??

I departed Canada at 12:20pm on January 7th, and crossed the International Dateline approximately three hours later; this means that, for me, my birthday was only about 15 hours long. I deduct that since I was not party to an entire 24-hour birthday this year, it does not quite count. As such, I will remain 25 for another year. Or, as my good pal Dan decided, I
actually found a loophole in the system and reverted back to 14. Dan my dear, what are you implying?

Anyhow, not only did I have a quaint luncheon with Canada-folk and a terrific fondue dinner with family to celebrate this non-birthday, but my Japan-friends threw me quite a hootinanny as well. Actually, we were celebrating Daichi's 25th birthday (on the 10th) and Trav's goodbye (omg! ***sniff***) as well.

Tressa stole away from her mom for the evening and met Jody at my apartment. It was so great to see my ladies, since it's been nearly a month. We definitely had some catching-up to do. Not only
did the girls shower me with all the latest gossip, but also with gifts!! YAY!

The Score: 20 hand-coloured DVDs (from Rebecca & Mike), $50 GC and CD (from Kelsey), professional hemming of 4 pairs of pants, sheets, DVD player (unfortunately returned), necklace, jagermeister & redbull & money (from parents), caesar fixins (Ashley),
hand-made scarf (Shortbus), earrings (Amy), necklace (Nori), nicknacks (Daichi & the ladies), planted roses (Mie & friends), DVD player, champagne set w/champagne, nailpolishes & stickers & birthday cake (Jody & Tressa)... (My apologies if I forgot anything/one. It's not because I'm not appreciative, it's because I'm so freaking spoiled!) Crazy!!!!

Saturday was the big night. We met
up with everyone (by everyone I mean about 25-30 friends) at the izakaya (pub) we frequent in Yuki. It was terrific!! Yeah, I was drunk before we left my house... so... yeah. After spending several more hours drinking we headed to a divey club in Oyama. Divey. So divey that at one point the music of choice was the song from the Disneyland Electric Lights Parade; of course many of us chose to march around the dance floor saluting wildly to this ditty!! We were pretty much the only people there... which was actually kind of cool since there were enough of us to make it fun. I danced the night away, generally making a fool of myself as per usual; alas, this time I can get away with it because it was, afterall, my non-birthday.

Miraculously no cookies were chucked neither during the evening nor the next day, likely because of a early-morning stop at
Denny's. I'm pretty sure the Denny's staff went birzirk when 15 people staggered in at 5am. Weren't prepared for that.

Jody and I stumbled onto my futons around 6:30am, as dawn approached, only
to be awoken by Tressa thundering down my door at 10am (she had to take her mom to the beach Sunday (ugh!) and needed my hanko (stamp, equivalent to my signature) for a dinner with our bosses). Oh the hangover!



only because i wanted to change my display picture... :)


Friday, January 13, 2006


Ya'll musta missed me because I just had almost 60 hits in one day; a record!!! Thanks everyone. Love ya.


    • At 1:22 PM, Blogger King Of Hearts said…

      Great Blog. Keep it Up.

    • At 1:27 PM, Blogger Crystal said…

      ok, what are you selling?

      ("Great Blog. Keep it Up. If you want to learn more about penis enlargement visit my blog at")

      haha - thanks!

    • At 5:34 PM, Blogger Fluffica said…

      i was checking for like only a freaking week for a new update. GAW!
      love you hammy mc hammerstein (L)

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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Return to Japan

For those of you who wondered whether I made it safely over our Great Pacific Ocean, I will put your query to rest: I did.

Actually, my flight back was somewhat more enjoyable (if you can call flying "enjoyable") than its Japan-to-Canada counterpart. Taking two flights rather than three reduced my travel time exponentially (despite the actual overseas flight being almost 3 hours longer), and the jetlag going East is almost nil.

I have mixed feelings about the airline my budget chose: Air Canada. Though their newish plane offered comfier head- and foot-rests, I did not get a choice when it came to in-flight entertainment. The food was adequate though the portions were noticeably smaller than those offered by United (on the other hand, as mentioned, meals are randomly cancelled on United flights; though it was safe enough to feed First Class passengers, of course).

Of my time in Canada, I have to say, it just went too fast. My 15 days in the West are a blur of shopping, drinking, family gatherings, shopping, meals among friends, drinking, shopping, and gift-giving/receiving. My thanks to everyone who went out of their way to make my time in Canada either enjoyable or productive. I am lucky to be loved by so many generous souls.

Back to the "grind."


New Years Bash

My good pal Cameron hosted a fantastic New Years celebration at his new house in Barriere this year! It was great to have most of the crew there to help me ring in '06 in style! Even Shawna and her mystery boyfriend, Tom, drove up from Quesnel. Here are the pics!

It was a night complete with varied drinking games (poker; tap, pour, spill; 3-man; 21; fuck-you...), tons of food (most grocery-shopped at Tannis'), spilled drinks (on me, not by me, for once!), cookie-chucking (i.e. Paol's 14-hour Cookie-Chucking Extravaganza where he commandeered the sole bathroom), semi-formal attire (mmmmmm, men in suits!), surly rednecks with ADD (I mean that in the best way, of course), glamour-shots (hello? would it be a party without glamour-shots?), song-splitting (grrrr), and Goooooood Times!

***Please note the pictures that I finally added to my previous holiday posts!


    • At 7:13 AM, Blogger Jody D. White said…

      Your hair looks AWESOME! I am SOOOOOOOOOOO Jealous! I really need a hair cut and a professional dye job. You look great!

    • At 3:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

      wow girl, you guys looked like oyu had a blast wish I could have stayed for it!

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