Thursday, March 29, 2012

18974 hours of Ellen

So while everyone's computer-ing... I got super caught up watching a google hours of Ellen. Yeah, that's right.  A google hours. What? I'm a nerd ok? Instead of silently snort laughing and annoying my other roommates, I thought I would load some more photos.

My super cute rainbows (thanks Mom!!) got initiated with the 3 mile walk around Iruma today. If they weren't broken in before, they are now!!
And yes, I kept this picture small because my feet are weird

Our first Japanese Ma-ku experience. And Robert's a-creepin in the back

Uhhh yeah. Their McDonald's has a burger called Big America. Ironic?

QUICK, it's a test!! Fire engine or truck?

Super cute! Kawaiii!!!
And I quote... "It's an inch and 3/4 hose!!"

That one time we walked around Iruma for three hours

And the Ellen clip that never fails to crack me up. These are probably two of my absolute favorite celebrities. Taylor Swift. Surprised?

I've seriously watched this one five times. And snort laughed every time. Who knew Dennis Quad was such a good sport?
Until next time minions!!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Throwback: Vegas Post

Tangos in Vegas
 Not a whole lot of new stuff for the blog just yet. Don't worry minions, new apartment, new job, all new stuff is in the works.

So this post is a few months behind. Before leaving for Japan, the Tango family took a mini-vacay to VEGASSSS. This was the first time that both my brother and I have been to Vegas together while being 21+. My grandparents made the trip out as well, making it a super fun reunion for all of us.

To start things off, my brother treated all of us to a Royal Flush drink at the Cosmopolitan Hotel (super snazzy) in The Chandelier (even snazzier- three floors inside of a chandelier).  

Standing on a couch. Anything for a good picture

Super tasty!! Cheers! Thanks Josh!
Not quite sure if we're related...
At The Chandelier
And then we went on the search of the giant shoe. You know how it is... women and their ridiculously cute shoes. If you'll notice in the first photo, my mom is holding the heel of the shoe so it doesn't tip over.
Where's Mama Tango?

Red shoe! And the "cheer hand"
I think the most beautiful thing in Vegas is the Bellagio water show. It may have been raining, it may have been freezing, but I dragged everyone outside to catch the show AT  NIGHT set to Andrea Boceli's Con te partiro. There is seriously nothing like it

 Three generations of Tangos at the craps table. Finally got my grandfather and dad hooked on the glory of craps
John may or may not have been yelled at in mystery language for this photo
Since we were there a week after John's birthday, my mom couldn't resist calling over the waitress to help us celebrate the big 2-5!
His threat to give my mom FREE dessert for the next five dinners backfired
Free ice cream sundae!!
So the last night, penny slots were our best friend. We decided to be adventurous and play the most ridiculous looking games possible. I decided on something like Mister Froggy Prince or something while Jonathan decided on....
 He rammed a bunch of buttons and somehow turned ONE PENNY into $20.00. I don't know... penny machines love him
YAYYYY Vegas!!!!! Thanks so much to my Josh for letting us crash in his room with him, being the main photographer, and introducing us to the royal flush (next time, yardsticks and red gummy bears!). Thanks to my grandparents for the many meals (Portuguese sausage and rice FTW) and fun stories. Finally, a HUGE thank you to my parents for a ridiculously awesome time. We had such a fun time learning the ways of the penny slots (and free drinks) and how to make the most out of your $1- Tango style. Love you!!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

90% pictures!

Hello minions!!

We’ve officially been in Japan for a week now. Today at lunch, Robert asked us how we felt about Japan and what we’ve been the most surprised by. Conclusion: WE  <3  Japan! My favorite thing is how nice and helpful people are here. Even with the limited vocabulary and terrible accent I have, people will go ridiculously out of their way to help you. Just today at the grocery store, I was trying to find non-fat milk. The quest resulted in one grocery worker assembling a team of 4 people to hunt down the milk for me. Talk about customer service. Now onto pictures!!

So we’re only going to have this bedding for a year. And since we’re both pretty much 12 year olds, we went with the best. Bedding. Ever. I present to you… funny dog.

"Which dog is funniest?" -Robert Raney

After so many meals of instant stuff (instant rice, instant yaki soba, instant cup o’ noodles…), I could only take so much. I decided to splurge from the 100¥ yaki soba boxes that we’ve been eating and cook the very first homemade meal. The rice was still instant, but whaddya going to do about it?
Mini asparagus wrapped in bacon

The entire kitchen

Final product!
 White day. Japanese valentine’s day except just the girls get stuff. I shrugged and told John, “Don’t get me anything… unless you want to get me a chocolate or something”. Now by chocolate, I meant a Hershey’s bar or something simple. At around 11:00 pm, John announces “I’m going to go to the vending machine” [which is literally right outside the door]. Twenty minutes later, he’s not back and I’m freaking out. He dropped dead. He got one of those super rare aneurisms that kills young healthy people and is lying on the side of the road. I know, I’m insane. Who jumps to that kind of conclusion?
Turns out... he was getting me ice cream and chocolate

Amazing chocolate! Best White Day ever!!

Pictures from an awesome dinner! Guess which Raney kept wanting to take pictures and which Raney is fed up with pictures.
Take 1: excited

Take 2: can't forget about the EYESSS
Take 3: Robert's over it

Only took us one take. We're pros

ALRIGHT. Found the post office! Who wants a letter from Japan? If you figure out how to leave a comment on this blog post (not the facebook link, but the actual blog), I’ll figure out how to send you a letter from Japan!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What I’ve learned about Japan (so far)

  1.  It. Is. Freezing. The clear blue sky is deceiving, for when you peak your head outside to check the weather- just know that the bone chilling wind is waiting around the corner for you. Do not be fooled into thinking you will be safe with a simple California jacket.
  2.  If people tell you “It’s ok, lots of people speak English there”. They are lying. No one speaks English. And when you tell them you’re sorry, you don’t understand Japanese- they will continue to speak Japanese to you. Really fast, no less. Just smile, and say Arigato Gozymas! That’s what I do and it seems to be working out fairly well for me.
  3. We are fat. Now, I don’t think I’m fat. This isn’t some woe is me cry for attention. But as my stomach cried for a second ice cream last night, Ai and Robert claimed they were so full, so full from the tiny excuse for an ice cream cone. So… we’re obese. Me and my endless stomach for sweets.
  4. You need a friend. Preferably one that is bilingual. OR BETTER YET, one that speaks fluent English with some Japanese and his cute girlfriend who speaks fluent Japanese and some English. And it’s preferable that they show you the best places to eat/survive/buy cheap stuff around town. This is one big fat CHECK MARK that we have (score).  
  5. Be kind and polite. Because the Japanese are some of the most polite people I have ever met. No one crowds, pushes, glares, or does anything remotely rude (at least not that I’ve seen…yet). OH! And no one litters. There is not a black disgusting gum mark on the ground. Weird thing is, there are no trash cans around either. John and I usually end up with pockets full of the day’s trash since there’s nowhere to throw it out. Awkward? Maybe… We just don’t want to be the ignorant foreigners
  6. You will be a giant here. Like…. I am taller than most people here. It’s nice.
  7. Produce costs an arm and a leg… but holy crap, my 298¥ orange was the best one I’ve ever had. 
And now... pictures!!!
Team J
Double date! With the second cutest couple in the world

Yaki Niku! SO DELICIOUS!!!
Amazing kare buns. Perfect for chilly mornings

Everything is so stinking cute here!!

First grocery store experience! Only half is instant stuff
 Until next time friends... I'll leave you with this very awesome picture. This is what trying new stuff looks like (sometimes).

"It's good Jaquielyn! Try it!!" It was actually just mochi

Monday, March 12, 2012


Today we explored the city of Iruma (pronounced “EE-ruma”, versus the gaijin way of “Uh-ruma”). We finally bought a comforter and futon to use when we move into a bigger apartment. For now, we are sleeping on Robert’s couch that lays down into a bed. 

Iruma Fire Department
Japanese Fire Truck
The most exciting part of today was probably COSTCO JAPAN!!!! It felt just like home- half Kirkland/American brand products and half Japanese products. There were blocks of Colby-jack cheese, flour tortillas, and more importantly the Costco food court was the exact same. While we gorged ourselves on pizza and hotdogs, a couple of Japanese kids next to us stared. I smiled and waved, but the little Japanese boy did not waver and continued to stare at me as I shoveled food in my face. Oh well. 

Found in the seafood section. Octopus anyone?
On the left, seafood pizza (with shrimp). On the right, corn pizza
All John needs to survive... ketchup
In the past twenty four hours, even the little things have started to feel more comfortable. The money feels less foreign in my hands and the “Arigato gozaimasu!” feels more natural. We bought a train card today and took our first bus and train trip from Iruma to Hanno. Tomorrow will be our first day without Robert… He has been immensely vital to our survival here. I’m fairly certain that without him, I would have eaten all the cookies/candy/snacks I brought from home (meant as omiyage or gift for my co-workers) for every meal. Instead, he made midnight runs to get us dinner and breakfast PLUS treats. And let’s be honest- without him, The Water Incident of 2012 probably would have escalated to a full down breakdown in the sushi restaurant. 

You can pay for things at the train station (like snacks!) with your PASSMO!
While I was in the states, moving to Japan (even by myself) sounded like an awesome adventure that would be fun to conquer. Now that I’m actually here, I am so incredibly relieved that we have Robert to show us how to survive

Vitaminwater vending machine!
Until tomorrow, my minions- have a wonderful day (or whatever time it is in the states).

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sushi and The Water Incident of 2012.

We decided on sushi for a late lunch. Now, keep in mind it was around 2:30 PM and we hadn’t had any water to drink all day. We sat down at the table and there is a faucet for hot water. The screen is all digital and our sushi arrived to us on some sort of “bullet train” system. It was all pretty neat until I realized how parched I was. Looking around for iced water (because boiling hot water was the exact opposite of what I wanted), and Robert said “Uhhh, I don’t think they do that here?” My heart sank a wee bit but I settled on apple juice.  It was fantastic but only came in a tiny juice box, and I had to think about when to ration the sweet precious nectar. John asked for a sip, and I tried not to glare at him as I stubbornly handed the box over to him.
Bullet train delivers sushi from the kitchen
Touch screen to order, call over the waitress, everything!
Apple juice... temporary relief
As I looked around at all the kanji/hiragana/jibberish while trying not to be disgusted by the mayonnaise on everything, I felt myself start to really warm. What have I gotten myself into? One whole year?!? What was I thinking? I can’t even get cold water at a restaurant, what else am I going to be incapable of? All I could think of was how insanely thirsty I was and all the things I had left behind. The look on my face must have been quite panicked because Robert and John both asked me if I was doing ok. Both had the decency not to call attention to my minor freak out and Robert calmly asked for a pitcher of ice cold water. I drank the refreshing liquid of life and felt relief wash over me. John finally laughed and said “Look at how much better she looks now that there’s water!” 
Hamburger sushi... with mayo of course

On the walk home, every five minutes was peppered with comments of “OH NO Jaquielyn, we don’t have water! Are you going to be ok?!?” And thus was labeled “The Water Incident of 2012”. 

omg. water
 So all you can relax at home... I got my water and I know I will be ok. The convenience stores are chock full of the Japanese snacks I used to LOVE growing up... seeing nori on potato chips gets me way excited and if all else fails, I will survive on 7-11 food.