Thursday, June 21, 2012


 Hello friends. Enjoying your summer? Not so much, here on the other side of the Pacific. I feel like I’m melting… a little more every day. I’ve never been a huge fan of saunas… and Japan is one. giant. sauna. Furreal? TURN OFF THE HEAT JAPAN. Luckily we finally got our air conditioning units, which are scheduled to be installed sometime next month.

We’ve officially been here for 3.5 months (woah, minute to enjoy THAT moment), and I can without a doubt profess that I love Japan. The people are amazing, the food is way too delicious for my own good, and the transportation system is awesome. While I miss driving my car, I love the fact that we can hop on a train (or a couple) and be in Tokyo in an hour. And we don’t have to worry about a designated driver for the next year… another plus! However… there are a couple things that I still do not really understand…

  • It’s getting up to the 90’s here. Throw in some humidity and it feels like 2370 degrees Fahrenheit. And yet, every day, someone offers me hot tea. AND PEOPLE ARE DRINKING IT. What the what?!? How? Why? I sputter trying to understand how hot tea makes this hellish temperature any better 
  •   One of the teachers I work with at the Junior High sings her lessons. Uhhh yeah. That’s right. She SINGS her lessons. Like, from the hour chime, something in her head tells her “Ok, this is your musical hour. Everything that leaves your mouth must be said in some sort of musical tune”. I have plenty of friends who wish their life was a musical. Well, I am not one of those people. And I can assure you it is not as awesome as you imagine it to be. In fact, it’s a little annoying.  “OooOohHHhhh kAayyyy everyoneEEee!! TakeEEee outtt yourrr textyyyy boookkkssss ooOhhHHh”. I’m not even kidding. On top of that, she calls me by the wrong name every single class.
  • Another thing, most of my teachers feel the need to add vowels to the end of all English words. It perplexes me a bit. Most commonly with the words “take” (take-ey), “textbook” (texty-booku), “page” (pagie), the list could go on. A bit strange, no?
  • A different teacher has stopped referring to me by name. Instead, he just calls me “Asian”. I’m not quite sure how I feel about this… because while I am Asian, so is he. So is the entire class. I’m attributing it to his terrible English. Class goes something like this:
    •  “Everyone, listen to Asian”
    • “Umm, please say this in Asian” (Yeah, apparently the word has multiple meanings
    • “How do you say in Asian?”
    • “Asian will read now”
      • The first time he said it, I looked around. Mainly because I couldn’t believe it, but also because I am one of 37 Asians around. How was I supposed to know that I was the one “Asian” he was referring to.
  • The elementary school kids use the words “Oh my God” and “Shut up” on a daily basis. They say it for no reason; shout it randomly in class, whenever the fancy strikes them really. I can inevitably infer that these are the words they hear and remember from movies, tv shows, etc. It’s a bit annoying to hear “OhmiGAWD” 40+ times a day, but the worst is when a teacher uses it. The same teacher mentioned above (who calls me “Asian”) said it 7 times within the first minute of class. I know because I counted. Really sensei? Why ya gotta be like that?

Alright, I’ve ranted long enough. Here are some pictures!!

One of my teachers brought me omiyage from Disneyland Tokyo! So cute!
How we make it through the week: Costco Pizzas!!
Don't mind the panda bear pillow pet in the background

To accompany our "Funny Dog" bedsheets: Shopping Bear bedspread!
Even the beer is cute here. Mini-me can!
And also, MEGA-CAN!!

Robert trying to be taller
Apparently, a "what not to do at the train station" poster
 We all nominated ourselves as people in the poster. Robert is the one being ridiculous in the top left corner, I'm the one getting sappy over my text in the right corner, John is the one with his music too loud, and apparently Robert is also the one too into his game-boy. Robert also showed us first hand what not to do at the train station. The train rushed by and Robert said "Yeah, they freak out if you walk to close or make your hands go all crazy like THIS" (and then he proceeded to walk too close to the zooming train and make his hands go all crazy or whatever). And then I had a heart attack.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My dad

Well, it’s a bit late but I definitely wanted to do this.

This is for my dad.

Once, someone asked him how old his children were. Josh and I were 16 and 19 at the time, but my father responded with “Uhhh… they’re 11 and 14”. I’m pretty confident that if you asked him today, he’d still give you answer that sets us back about five years.

He’s got a terrible memory. Like really really terrible. He can’t remember my friends’ names to save his life, he can’t remember how old his own children are, but he always remembers the important things.
Our favorite stadium: Fenway Park
  •  On Friday nights (after cheering at the football game), I would be at home shining my boots, ironing my uniform, and studying codes in preparation for my CHP Explorer meeting the next morning. As I would whine, cry, and complain about how tired I was, he would silently grab my boots and start shining them. He would tell me to get some rest. I grumbled about how it wasn’t fair, I should be out at the football-cheer party too! All the while, my father silently shined my boots until they were mirrors.
  • He missed at least 4 Superbowls to sit through cheer competitions, braving the thundering music, screaming teenage girls, and over-priced stadium food just to wear a red “Tesoro” shirt and cheer me on. Even after a 24 hour shift, if he could be there, he WAS.
  • He’s used every lopsided, misshapen, uneven ceramic creation I’ve ever made for him
  • When my Mom was going through dialysis and had to have her diet cut to a ridiculous amount of calories + disgusting mush, he put the whole house on the same diet so my Mom wouldn’t feel left out.
Gave him the stole- couldn't have done it without him
He's patient, kind, and the most over-protective father the world will ever know. Thanks for always calling to check up on me, send me messages reminding me to take study breaks, and footing the bill to many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches over the years.Thanks for teaching me how to ride a bike, how to shine my boots so they are mirrors, and fold my shirts so they have the creases we like. Thanks for teaching me how to ride a motorcycle before I could drive and always always always being there for me. Thanks for always telling me how proud you are of me. I hope you know that I'm proud of you to. Thanks for protecting me always and never failing to step up when (and even when you're not) needed. You're my hero.

To the best dad in the world: Happy [belated] Father's Day. I love you.

Christmas 2009: We went skydiving over the North Shore of Oahu together
 Booya! Did your Dad skydive with you? Coolest dad ever, amiright?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The town of Nikko.

Last week, Robert came home with an offer. The teachers at his elementary school were visiting Nikko to plan a trip for their students. If John and I wanted to tag along, we were more than welcome to. Pfft, heck yeah!! I thought. No brainer… we get to see more of Japan! And we don’t have to pay for train fare!! “Well, let’s just think this through a little more”, my more logical half pondered. He brought up things like being stuck in a car for six hours, it taking all day, blah blah. I think it boiled down to me calling him a party pooper and sticking my tongue out at him (the sophisticated, classy lady that I am). So on Saturday morning, the three of us put on our flip flops and headed down to meet Robert’s co-workers (we’ll skip the part where we were all late to meet them two minutes from our front door). 

When we came to the station, I spotted a tiny sports car. “Dang,”  I thought “I hope that’s not our ride”. But because Murphy is always on my side, throwing down his stupid LAW every chance he gets…OF COURSE it was our ride. For those of you who don’t know, I’m not the best traveler. Which is a shame, because I love to travel. You name it: car, boat, train, airplane… If the conditions are less than perfect, you can find me clammy and white-knuckled, concentrating on breathing and not having a second taste of my last meal. We were no more than .02 seconds into the drive (oh, and since I’m the smallest I got the middle of the back seat), when John looked at me with wide eyes that said “are you going to be ok?”. I blinked a loonnnggg blink (which translates to “heeeyyyylllll no” if you’re not fluent in Jaquielyn-speak). 

We got on the freeway and the teacher let his car speak for herself. It seriously felt like we were taking off on a roller coaster. It was so fun!!! So fast and exciting!!... for the first five seconds. But then it was three hours later and my breakfast was begging to see be splattered on Robert’s shorts. Luckily everyone escaped vomit-less (thank God for Mitsuya Cider).

Oh and the fun didn’t stop there. There is a famous road in Nikko with 48 twists and turns. Essentially, Lombard Street ON CRACK. Both John and Robert passed out on the road… I was not so lucky and experienced every. Single. One. of those 48 turns.
 Some interesting history though… The ancient Japanese alphabet used to start with the letters “I”, “Ro”, “Ha”, hence the name “Iroha-zaka Winding Road”. There were 48 letters in the ancient alphabet, so 48 turns in the road. At each turn, there is an alphabet letter. Fancy that, education while you hurl.

So beautiful!
 Nikko was gorgeous, and I’m glad we went. The hike felt great, but also made me a little homesick. Breathing the fresh mountain air only reminded me of Tahoe, and our summer days rock climbing there. The shrine was breath-taking and awesome. We saw so many cool things that I wanted to buy, but I ended up with only cookies to give my favorite school as “omiyage”.
Our "hike". We all managed in flip flops

SOOO random!
 Robert’s teachers are probably the nicest people I’ve ever met- they somehow managed to pay for all our lunches, tickets to the shrine, AND gas to get there and back. The only thing we managed to pay for was the parking fee (a mere 500\). We even tried blatantly shoving cash in their hands at the end of the day, but they both wouldn’t budge on the matter. Ah, the Japanese are just too dang polite!!
Giantest waterfall everrr

One for Patty and Dave

Team Pokemon
Toshogu Shrine

Hear no evil, Speak no evil, See no evil

Sleeping Cat

Group Shot!
Had to get the *couple* shot
  John was gracious enough to keep the “I told you so” until we were back in our apartment (out of the vomit danger zone).  While I think it was worth it, my stomach may disagree with me. I guess moral of the story is that when your more logical half speaks, maybe listen. Maybe don’t call him names and act like a 2 year old. Oh and go visit Nikko… but take some Dramamine.
Uncomfortably seats 5 grown adults

Saturday, June 2, 2012

This week...

[Improvements have been made]

  1. Mastered how to clean my plate like a legit Japanese person. Like no grains of rice or ANYTHING left on the plate. It looks like Ankles (awww Ankles) licked it clean. Yes, this is quite an accomplishment in the school circles.
  2. Apparently the language barrier/my face/my lame jokes are funny. I've made all of my classes bust up in laughter at least twice. Again, a serious accomplishment. What it boils down to: I'M FUNNY IN JAPAN.
  3. Started to run before work. That means waking up at 5:30. Today was day #3 and I'm announcing it to you all to help keep me accountable. Along with becoming funny in Japan, I'm also getting fat. Ok, maybe not fat but I'm definitely not getting skinny (which means I'm obese by Japanese standards). So PLEASE feel free to post on my facebook, email, etc. asking me how the runs are going and whatnot. I need help, friends. 
  4. Remembered that this is the first (and probably only) time that John and I have the same job.  
When I brought this up to him, he responded "Well, we're not having the exact same experience." While this mayyy be true, it is a whole lot more similar than him saving lives and me training dogs/working in a bank/executive assistant. And with our new jobs, I actually know what he's talking about instead of trying to get excited over a pericardiaocentesis or whatever exciting medical condition/procedure/drug/something-or-other is going on.

PS. Google thinks that I spelled "pericardiocentesis"wrong. I assure you, I did not.

And because I brought it up (and never thought I'd miss a flippin' cat as much as I do- I'm a dog person, for crying out loud), here is my all time favorite picture of my faves.

Seriously? The. CUTEST.