crystal's capers

one girl's international adventures

Friday, September 29, 2006


My computer is f.u.c.k.e.d.

The last couple posts have not been appearing when I log on to my site. Apparently others can view them without trouble. See, they still appear in my Dashboard, so I know they're there. Then it dawned on me that it's not just that the 7-8 blogs I frequent have coincidentally failed to update in the last couple weeks, but rather that my computer is also somehow preventing me from viewing said updates. Otherwise, my Internet is working fine (Googling, emailing, etc. etc.) Please help!

If you know what the hell is wrong with this thing, feel free to comment on this blog (not that I can read it, but comment get emailed to me). Thanks!


Sunday, September 24, 2006

Things I Miss

As you can guess, there are many people that I miss desperately, but this post is about things, so here goes:

Yesterday Tressa, Leah and I ventured out to visit a new mega-mall in the middle of nowhere. Actually, this mall, completed about four months ago, is about 30 minutes this side of Mito, our prefecture capital. That makes it about an hour from Chikusei, traffic willing. It was my first time in this mall, and I wasn't quite prepared for the slew of emotion it produced. Weird no, that a mall can produce emotion?

Well, this mall is very western. It's not an outdoor retail outlet, it's not a roadside stall, it's not a hodgepodge department store. It features a restaurant section as well as a cafeteria, a Starbucks among other coffee shops, western stores and brands, sale racks, and international food grocers. Spelled out: H-E-A-V-E-N. I had to keep a tight grip on my pocketbook for fear over an all-out shopping spree. Even so, I did go a little crazy: why buy one tanktop at $5 when you can buy four? I miss that.

This got me to thinking about other things that I miss. For starters, within the mall, I miss clothes sized larger than six. Tressa, for instance, is by no means chubby, and she takes the largest size of mens pants. Where do big Japanese ladies shop!?

I miss cranberry juice and sour cream. As predicted, 7/11 discontinued Cranberry Water. A loss I mourned for weeks. Months even. Granted I likely ate too much sour cream back in Canada, but after over a year-and-a-half of none, depression has set in.

At home, I miss sleeping on a real bed. I mean, Japanese-style futons aren't bad, per se, but they are not a bed. You kind of have to scramble out of them, and they certainly don't fill a room. And, as I like to believe I am the Princess and the Pea, I have stacked four on top of one another; now they sag and shift and despite the lack of pea, my sleep is usually fitful and unfulfilling.

I miss a refrigerator that holds more than half a grocery bag of groceries. I love vegetables, but to eat them every day I basically have to buy them every day. This is what people do here. there are tiny shopping carts at the grocery store and the cashiers look at you like you're a glutton if you fill yours up more than halfway. This is bloody annoying. My freezer holds the equivalent of one small package of meat. It's worse than that actually, because mine has a two-inch think layer of ice around it, to boot.

I, and my clothes, miss a dryer. The act of hanging my clothes is not so bad, but the result is devastating. Nearly all my shirts have miserably lost their shape; all my pants have stretched out to the point of no return. Any way you hang a T-shirt, it ends up with weird triangles protruding from it wherever you attached it to the hanger. I need a whole new wardrobe. What's more, the actual drying of clothes is completely dependent on the weather: if it's humid or rainy, they may never fully dry. You basically have to wait with your fingers crossed that the sun will shine at least once during the week, and then rush home to put on a load of laundry. How many times do I have to put on damp, grainy underwear? Add to that the stains that never fully disappear because there is only a cold-water cycle, and I am in Laundry Hell.

How do people live like this?


    • At 3:25 AM, Blogger PAPA AMORAS said…

      Why are you writing in 'RED'?

    • At 12:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

      By all means I AM chubby...haha! I agree with the slew of emotions that come with that mall. We will have to go again soon. Love ya!

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Another Eventful Saturday


Monday, September 11, 2006

Stir Crazy

It been a while since I shook my bootie so when the ladies asked if I wanted to join in a night of debauchery in Utsunomiya, I was all "Hell Ya!"

Our evening tried to start at the good ole Lion's Head, but do to a football match on the big-screen, we ventured upstairs to Dart's Bar instead. A discussion over whether we should get in contact with one of our few remaining Utsu pals, Marco, produced the introduction of his current girlfriend who just happened to be seated next to us. Sooner or later, Marco did join the mix. Somehow when I ordered a Spumoni I ended up with a Gin-and-Tonic and I knew the God of Drink was out to get me.

Get Your Own! View Slideshow

Some time later we meandered over to Birdland, our favourite Ustunomiya Meat Market (um, because it's the ONLY Utsunomiya Meat Market). I guess we arrived there around midnight and my bootie didn't leave that dancefloor until we left around 4:30am. The place was so hot that we all walked out looking like we'd just had showers with our clothes on and smelling like, well, you know...

Highlight of the night: Tressa being told by a Nigerian man that he was falling in love with her, wanted to marry her and then she could quit teaching and he would pay for her to go to school for whatever she wanted. I guess he was looking to surpass Gentlemanville and carry straight through to Creeptown; for future reference, if you're looking to impress a lady with your money, perhaps start by simply taking her for a nice steak dinner.

All-in-all, it was a fabulous evening, though I hope to have another lengthy hiatus from the terrible Sunday-hangover. Thanks to Trex, Jod, Daich, Drew, Jen, Billy & Tomo for attending.

In other news: today is half-time for Riccardo & my first separation: 42 days down, 42 to go!! Love you baby!


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Hit The Deck!

So this morning I'm teaching my classes like the Eigo-no-clown (English-Clown) that I am. We're going through Colours, and I'm all like:

"What colour is this? Blue! It's blue! Where's blue? Point to something blue!"

and so on. Then the sliding doors start shaking a little. I'm like:

"Meh, whateva,"

and carry on

"What colour is this? Green..."

Well, Nihonjin Sensei (Japanese teacher) comes running in from the adjacent room and she's all yelling in Japanese.

"Um, sumimasen, wakata-nai,"

I don't know what she's friggin talking about, but the kids sure do. All of a sudden I've got a baker's dozen of 2-year-olds scrambling under their desks and covering their heads for the EARTHQUAKE. Okay, it was a tremor, but talk about cute to see the kids peering out at their Eigo-no-clown and wondering why I too haven't hit the deck.


Monday, September 04, 2006



Thunder Showers?

We planned to go camping this weekend, but bad weather on Friday combined with forecasts of thunder showers forced us to cancel. Too bad we awoke to a beautiful 30+ degree weekend...


Friday, September 01, 2006

Another Survey: 4 Things about CRYSTAL

Some things about CRYSTAL
Four things you may not have known about me.....

A) Four jobs I have had in my life:

1. Optomotrist Office Janitor
2. Campsite Attendant
3. Accounts Payable Assistant
4. Property Manager

B) Four movies you would watch over and over:

1. Pretty Woman
2. Old School
3. Shrek
4. The Sweetest Thing

C) Four places you have lived:

1. Vavenby, BC

2. Clearwater, BC
3. Kamloops, BC
4. Chikusei, Japan

D) Four TV shows I love to watch:

1. The OC
2. What Not To Wear
3. For Better or Worse
4. 30-Minute Meals

E) Four places I've been on vacation:

1. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
2. Japan
3. Thailand
4. Kamloops, BC

F) Four Web sites I visit on a Frequent Basis :


G) Four of my favorite foods:

1. Thai green curry with fresh fruit and pistachios
2. Greek Salad
3. Any cheese
4. Nacho Cheese flavoured Crunchies

H) Four Places I'd rather be right now:

1. with Riccardo
2. in BC
3. on a sunny beach with a fruity yum-yum drink
4. in bed

Survey courtesy Ashley!


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