Friday, December 29, 2006

No more camera envy: Xmas & Year End Party at the Blue Corn

Xmas morning. Valerie's camera is the one that inspired Santa to bring me one just like, only black.

Here it is!

A trio of photos I took at the New Sanno after I discovered the Sepia/Retro filter. I may be using this one for awhile.

Now, Macky's Year End Buzz Party at the Blue Corn. Man, pretty much everyone we know in Japan was there, except Michael & Shingo, who were having there own party that night. Lots of pics. Lots of great music. Then there was Jeff & me. I had a cold, we had never practiced with just the two of us, but Jeff made me do it anyway. I'm glad.


Toulouse-Lautrecesque kissy-face. Not pretty. Tomoi likes to do the secret Buzz handshake with me, because I can never manage to get the wraparound snap at the end. My thumb is too short, I plead.


Abbey is just gettin' warmed up

And even Martin showed up

Cool candles made by Sakai-chan

Oh, the tequlia was flowing


Toru. Tequila.

Abbey and his hotpants


DJ Macky Ramone!


Here we are!

The finale: Jeff sang "Linda Linda" with pretty much everybody. It's a famous song in that circle, by the Blue Hearts.

That's it. I've been on the computer for hours. Someone sent me a link to "The Nine of Clubs Memoirs" and I've been strolling down memory lane all day. My right hand is freezing stiff and my head hurts. My legs are warm, tho, because Santa also brought me a little heater for under my desk. I'm gonna go take a hot bath and hope the children don't kill each other and just play their videogames like good little winter-breakers should.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

I just can't do it.

There are too many wonderful pictures, mostly taken by Valerie, of her visit, our adventures, the kids' Winter Performance, our beautiful trip to Kyoto, the Blue Corn Xmas party, Xmas Day, etc. She took great pictures and I honestly don't see the point of trying to figure out which ones to steal and then laboriously copying them over here. Instead, I will provide a link to her pictures and call this one a guest blog. Go here:

In the next day or two I will return our regularly scheduled program, including Macky's End Of The Year Buzz Attitude Party at the Blue Corn, complete with pictures from my cool new camera. Right now, I'm just too tired from the back-to-back visitors and the subsequent cold that had me in bed all day after Val & Katie left.

Oh, and I did see Casino Royale again today, this time on the big screen. My first real movie in Japan. It was Digital and crisp and gorgeous and godDAMN Daniel Craig looks even better when he's bigger. That's all I need to say about that, I think, and all you want me to say.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Why is my text in kanji?

I signed in to update my blog, and lo! everything is in Japanese. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Blogger is no longer in beta and that it recognizes that I'm typing in Japan. I don't know, but I hope I can fix it.

Anyway, I haven't updated in a while because Valerie & Katie have been here and I've been playing tour guide, and the holidays, and blahblahblah. I also have the kids' winter break to deal with, so I still have no time to do a real update yet. But, look here soon for details of our fabulous adventures and many pictures courtesy of Valerie and her cool digital camera, because my batteries died. And in the future, the pictures will be better than ever, because Santa brought me an awesome new camera just like Val's! Thanks, Santa!

I have to go take the kids to get new shoes, because D is running around with giant holes in his and looks totally ghetto. That's what you get for 1000 yen: disposable shoes.

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The madness begins

Sorry if this post is later than usual. Karla is visiting and I haven't had much time.

The kids and I went to the xmas party at the local Japanese elementary school. The floor was really cold. The whole gym was freezing, in fact. Apparently we were supposed to have brought indoor shoes, but Jeff got the message on his cell phone, and he was in the US. All the kids were given color-coded nametags and had to sit in lines according to color.

There was a weird 'magic trick' by some old teacher,

a couple games,

and an ornament-making activity.

Then the kids won at Bingo. Actually, the game kept going until everyone won something, but the prizes were swell.

Jeff got home later, thankfully, and I almost immediately went out drinking. Sunday, he took the kids out all day. They went to a free zoo where they had penguins in their natural habitat of a model of Yokohama and a small-animal encounter area. Later, they had super-stacked pancakes that made the kids' eyes bug out.

Monday, Karla arrived! On Tuesday, we had a fun trip to the American Embassy, because Japan is en route to Thailand and Cambodia for Karla and she belated learned, at the airport, I believe, that one needs to have a passport valid 6 months out to enter Cambodia. She was going to try to fix the problem when she got here. We luckily had directions from a handy Navy base handout and found it no problem. You have to go through a few checkpoints and leave such things as food, drink, cellphones, and cameras behind. Then you take a number and wait. Surprisingly, when we were expecting a US DMV kind of situation, we were out of there in 10 minutes. Sadly, it was fruitless. She could take the chance that a passport could make it to the US and back by Saturday, but it wasn't likely, so no Cambodia this time.

We spent the rest of the day wandering about the area, where we found a pretty little garden behind some office building,

trying to get into the East Imperial Gardens near the palace, but they were closed,

and wandering a bit in Hibiya park in the rain after a nice coffee. Karla loves trees and gardens and stuff, so she enjoyed it despite the weather. The maples were really lovely at this late date, which surprised me.

weird organic teddy bears

I think these are plants wrapped up against the cold, very strangely and artistically

We made for the nearest subway station soon, though, to get out of the rain and cold and back to home to collect the children from school.

Oh, the guilt. D had complained in the morning that his tummy hurt, but like most moms, I figured he was just trying to get out of going to school, so I made him go. When we got to school to pick them up in the afternoon, we learned that D had thrown up twice and had spent the day sleeping in some schoolroom (I don't even know if they have an infirmary). They couldn't get a hold of me, because our cellphones were down because our phone bill goes to a friend who helped us get our phones before we had an address and it hadn't been paid--long explanation. Anyway, no phones, so someone took D all the way to our house, but we weren't there, obviously. Of all the times to not have a phone! I felt so bad for D, and the school must think I'm a neglectful mom. Sigh.

The next day, I kept him home, and we laid around most of the day, then went on a walk to show Karla around the neighborhood a little. This is our neighborhood friendly cat, which we enjoy petting in lieu of Blix.

A potted plant graveyard

A grapefruit tree???

There were some surprises for me, like a nearby temple I didn't know about.

We met Helen at night for drinks. We met a friend of hers recently returned from London called Jenji , and a magician called Tatsuki. He did cool things with cards and balls.

This picture was taken after they had all done a tequila shot. I don't do shots of any kind, let alone tequila.

Thursday, we had a hard time getting motivated, but we did finally get to Oguchi for a little shopping, then band practice @ Shingo's, which went well.

Friday morning, we made sure we got out of the house at a reasonable time and spent the day in Harajuku.

These are from an odd diva shop where they sell all kinds of bizarre patent leather and spangle-covered outfits. I've seen some of the 'cosplay' and 'gothloli' girls around, but I don't know where one would wear the Vegas Showgirl outfits.

Lots of shopping, a stop for ramen with Helen, Ian, and Lara, who work nearby, and a quick, eye-and-foot-soothing stroll to the Meiji Shrine. More lovely maples.

Tomorrow, Saturday, Karla leaves and the family goes to Tokyo for a work xmas party at the New Sanno. Sunday, Val & Katie arrive and full-on tourism ensues. I'm looking forward to it. I don't how much time I'll have to post before they leave, because there's a trip to Kyoto, the Blue Corn Xmas party, and Xmas itself. Xmas is weird this year. I haven't quite got my shopping done for the family, we will have guests, and I'm still so out of my element here that I don't know what it's going to be like. Anyway, in case I don't post before then, hope everyone has a wonderful holiday!

In case you thought I forgot, here's this post's random picture. This is a vending machine in front of the local supermarket.