22 June 2006

World Cup Madness!

So I am really liking my new apartment, it's a fun older building, wood floors, high ceilings, etc. feels very New York. it's on a side street that connects Little Italy to Portugal Village, so barely a day has gone by in the past two weeks without a parade of honking cars and cheering people celebrating all the World Cup victories of those two countries til the wee hours of the night.

Being back in Toronto during the World Cup is great because there's people from all over the world, flags hanging from windows and car antennas. Pretty much any time any country wins there are people celebrating in some part of the city, which is really cool.

I'm supporting Mexico, which barely managed to squeek into the next round, despite playing all of thier games very well and some absolutely terrible refereeing against them in thier game against Portugal yesterday. Now they have to play against Argentina. Fingers crossed ¡México olé!

In other news, I went for an interview at a placement agency, so she said she had some jobs which looked suited for me. I should hear back in a few days. Fingers crossed again.

Also, this weekend is Gay Pride in Toronto. Should be very gay. I'm looking forward to it.

17 June 2006

God Damn It!

Japan mulls comeback after whaling defeat

For the love of God, what is the freakin deal with the bloody Japanese obsession with whaling? It's not the 1840s for Christ sake! Why won't they take a clue from, uh, I dunno, *every other country in the whole freakin world* and just let it go!!!

Shortly before I left Tokyo, a student asked me what I thought about eating whale, clearly knowing exactly how every foreigner feels about the issue, but just looking to get a rise out of me. Well, I was certainly not in the mood for any diplomatic beating around the bush that day, let me tell you!

Takashi: "What do you think about eating whales?"
Me: "Well Takashi, it's wrong and people shouldn't do it."
Takashi: "But it's traditional Japanese culture."
Me: "Right, but it's also traditional Japanese culture to wear a kimono. If traditional culture is so important, why aren't wearing a kimono right now?"
Takashi: ". . ." [standard Japanese scilence in response to a direct question]
Takashi: "That's different."
Me: "Why?"
Takashi: ". . ."
Me: "To be honest Takashi, I don't see how it is different. People used to do lots of things in the past that they no longer do anymore because times and attitudes have changed. I think eating whale is one of those things."
Takashi: ". . ."
Me: "Anyway Takashi, open your text to lesson 23..."

Aaah, why why why must Japan always insist on being so contrary!

05 June 2006


Oh! My! God! Yesterday afternoon, walking down Yonge Street, I met BJ and Tyler!!! Without a doubt, my all-time favourite Amazing Racers *ever*, I was so excited to meet them. They were very friendly and personable, genuinely happy to meet a huge fan and they all gave me a big hug, including Tyler's lovely girlfriend Ayumi, whom I had learned all about just the day before watching "Kintaro Walks Japan" –Tyler's movie about walking from Kyushu to Hokkaido.

Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me, but it was totally awesome to meet them. It totally knocks my previous brush with greatness on it's ass (almost knocking Franz Ferdinand lead singer Alex Kapranos down the stairs at a concert in Tokyo).

Well, if I was worried about moving back to Toronto, this certainly made me feel good about my choice. Congratulations BJ and Tyler, and thanks for taking the time to hug a fan! Cho tanoshikatta!

Japanese for Half-Assed People III

This is one word I'm determined to introduce into the English language!

Conbini: コンビニ: (kon-bee-nee): n. convenience store.

I love this word because it's very kawaii. "Convenience store" is so bland and boring –and also not very convenient for being so long.

Japanese people love shortening words and making abbreviations, so the word conbini comes from CON-VE-NIence store (there's no 'V' sound in Japanese, so they had to change that bit). Another example; SEXUal HARAssment becomes sekuhara.

Here are some more of my fav Japanese abbreviations. Can you figure them out?


01 June 2006

More observations

So, I walked around yesterday. Here are some things that I noticed;

1. Streets with garbage cans on them — yeay!
2. White trash — boo! (I'd actually kind of forgotten about white trash and what it was all about. Japan doesn't so much have anything equivalent)
3. People who walk on the street at a normal speed — yeay! (One of my biggest gripes about Tokyo was how freakin slow everyone was)
4. Diversity — yeay! (Walking down the street I just kept staring, mouth agape, at all the non-Japanese looking people (basically everyone))
5. Pollution — boo! (It's only May, and there's already been Air Quality Advisories. Even in Tokyo, you couldn't acutally see the pollution, but here there's been a gross haze in the air since I arrived)

You are all, no doubt, very concerned with my ongoing shopping crises, so here is the latest. Shopping level seems acceptable (but far from great). Yesterday I went for a bit of a wander in the shops and there were some decent things. The calibre of fashion you see people wearing depends on what street you're on; Church St, dysmal; Bloor Street, pretty okay. The introduction of H&M has raised the stakes a bit I think (they weren't here before I left for Japan). One major problem: a derth of expensive underwear options. I went to Holt Renfrew (Canada's chi-chi department store for those non-Canuks reading), and all they had was boxer shorts! For three times the price of what they cost in Tokyo! I am most dismayed and dishearted by this recent development and may require the assistance of my Tokyo crew to aliviate this dire situation. I still a little bit couldn't believe it –I mean, boxer shorts are so 1993 people!