Happy Holidays

The boss is so going to kill me.

In the picture: MAC Studiofix (I got the Strobe Cream sample for free), Lush Imperialis Moisturizer, MUJI earmuffs, (dirt cheap) aviators, Nike maryjanes, Lacoste beret, and, eh, a 500Gb Time Capsule.

I'm not even going to attempt to explain.

And oh, I'm not done yet. At the start of the year all the stores (or at least most of them) have this thing called a "Happy Bag" (or box, or in the case of Adidas, can). So it's basically a bag that contains a shitload of products, but you can't see what's inside. The price varies, but from what we've seen it's from 5-10k yen. Now, the people in the office tell me that if I want a happy bag, I should go to the mall really really early, and I should have a lot of fighting spirit. If they want it that bad, it must be that good. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go gear up.

Have a Happy New Year everyone. ^^


Ang tao lang sa opisina, bukod sa mga bossing, ay si Rustom, si Lolit (bakasyon si John Pratts), at dalawang katorse-anyos na mini-Kurt Yu. In fairness, may Christmas Tree. At meron ding cake. At chocolate potato chips. Pero, walang Pasko. Trabaho lang. The end.

The S Files

My boss, Mr. S, is not the typical Japanese boss. Not that I would know what a typical Japanese boss would be like, but I'm pretty sure he would not address me as "tsong". I actually find it hard to respond when I answer the phone and my boss would go "Hi tsong, kamusta ka?", and even more so when he ends his text messages with "sige tsong, talong".

Now I can't annoy him like I do my half-Filipino, half-Chinese, half-Japanese (yes that's a total of 1.5 heehee) former boss BK, but I do try my best. Although I think I've found my match. Look what happened to my office homepage entry:

My answer: Shopping
Homepage: Shopping (Wasting money!)

Me: Mr S! You changed my entry! I don't remember saying my hobby is wasting money!
Mr S: Ah, really? Must be a typo.

Message to other group members
My answer: I love you all
Homepage: I love you all! Treat me to Pepper Lunch!

Me: You changed my message!
Mr S: Ah, you see, I was really really tired last night. So many many typo.

And then this morning, in an e-mail before going to the mothership office for our regular meeting:
Ella-san. Let us leave a bit early today, considering your walk performance. :)
I walk slower than usual now because every single fiber in my body is sore from snowboarding (which, by the way, despite the pictures and badass video, he still thinks I have no "sense" of).

And then during lunchtime:
You went to Pepper Lunch?!? You have meeting with customer! Ano ba yaaaaaan!
And then during the aforementioned meeting:
Ella-san, you should sit far away from the customer. So they don't smell you. 
And then during dinner:
Ella-san, libre ka na. 

And all is forgiven. ^^
Sige tsong, talong.

I hit the slopes and it hurt

Because I can never really thwart peer pressure, this is where I found myself one fine sunshine-y Saturday morning.

Yes, I went snowboarding. If you can call the acrobatics I did snowboarding. I seriously didn't realize I was capable of doing so many stunts. By stunts I mean various ways of falling and contorting and generally just hitting the ice.

But it was kinda fun. And I did get to stand up and, you know, move. Never mind that my rear hits the ice real hard every single time (I fall so I can stop).

I'd say I laveet, but let's wait until tomorrow morning when I wake up and everything starts to hurt.

Special thanks to Jred for the lessons and to Lee for bearing with my incessant questions.
Pictures by B, my new phone.  

Moshi Moshi

After four days of zero connectivity (the reason for which I have yet to find out), I caved and applied for a SoftBank postpaid account. It's not the easiest thing in the world to do, and up 'til now I'm still not sure if I understand the plan (primarily because it seems to good to be true). But I was able to get one, special thanks to S and (Big) J for helping us poor, illiterate people.

And so Nish meets his Mini-Me.

This is the coolest phone ever. The keyboard is qwerty, and the display is great, and that grayish cross thing right below the screen on the cover is actually 6 touch-sensitive buttons. Oh, and did I mention it has a TV tuner? And a 2D barcode reader (although this is a standard feature in Japanese phones, I believe)? And a music player? And a 2MP camera? And that it only cost me around 10k yen (roughly 5k php)?

It even came with a SoftBank mascot charm.

And, well, one more teeny tiny thing. So we were walking (aimlessly) around Shinjuku station and we chanced upon this store that was giving away shoes for free. Well, alright, not free, but 1000 yen for a pair of shoes in Japan is unheard of. Especially if they're made in Japan. So no way was I going to pass this up (would you???).

Mr. S is going to kill me. "Ella-san! Shopping again?!? Ano ba yaaaaaaan!!!" He's a tad bit worried that I might go broke, and not without reason.

Anyway, it's time to hit the sack. I leave you with my food pics.
First, the headless shrimp sinigang (because I can't find undecapitated shrimps in the grocery) with a year's supply of radish (the radishes here are ginormous).

And this is dessert:

Sweet dreams. ^^


Productive weekend!
I did my laundry, ironed my clothes, vacuumed everything, did my groceries, cooked baon for the week (I'm now tired of the food in the restaurants surrounding the office), cleaned the bathroom, installed hooks in the kitchen to hang the pots and pans in, had my internet re-connected (long story how it got disconnected in the first place) and in the process also connected my phone (all this time it was not working pala), finished Chapter 10 of Pimsleur's Japanese lessons, and - how could I forget - went shopping.

This time it's outlet stores. Let's skip the small talk and proceed to the loot. Because I really really hafta sleep. It's getting colder and colder and in effect harder to get out of my cocoon each day.

I know, I know, I don't need another bag. At all. But I really really really like this color. Nish's bag (from the Samsonite Sensu collection) came in this color, too and I actually really wanted to get that one but they ran out of that color. It's just bright and cheerful and it makes me smile. And it's also a steal at 50% off in this store called Lowry's Farm. And it comes with a detachable shoulder strap, which I find could be useful at times (meaning there are times when I wish my bag had a shoulder strap). Damage: 5 pepper lunches.

Ankle-length booties. Because all this walking is damaging all my shoes. When we go to the mothership office we walk for more than a kilometer. No kidding. So I really have to rotate. Seriously. Whenever I look at my Aldo heels I get depressed. Anyway, I scoured every single shoe shop in Minami-O until I found these - and this one is the last pair in size 22.5 (cm). Now normally I'm a 23.5 (my pink chucks were 24.0 but that's because it's the smallest men's size), but luckily they fit (with room to spare, actually). So now all I have to do is get myself some UGG boots and I'm all set for life. Damage: 10 pepper lunches.

Oh, and a couple more things. This is the view from my balcony:

When it's a tad bit windy the leaves all come off and it's really really pretty. But really messy, too. They're all over the stairs and the corridors. But I still think it's pretty.

And since I did mention I was, ermmm, attempting to cook:

Shrimp and broccoli. Because a head of broccoli is half the price of a medium-sized ampalaya (bitter gourd). Yes, I am still not over it.

Chicken adobo. With Kikkoman soy sauce and apple cider vinegar because they don't have Datu Puti and Coconut brand soy sauce here. But it still smells divine. Itadakimasu!


This morning I had a meeting at the mothership office, the highlight of which was spending ten minutes in the ladies bathroom because I was too early. But man, that was one pretty bathroom - all white and pristine.

This was on the way back to the Fuchu office.

It took all my self-restraint not to go running across the heaps of pretty pretty leaves. And the fact that this lady was trying her darndest to sweep 'em up did help (she's in the far right, if you look real hard).

Fall is a lovely lovely season. And Japan just continues to grow on me. Never mind that I can't understand more than half the things I hear (and see) each day. Never mind that ampalaya costs twice as much as broccoli. Never mind that shopping for vinegar and soy sauce is such a challenge. I'm falling hook, line, and sinker.

Sige Tsong

The boss, Mr. S, while discussing the project status: "So this task is tapos ka na?"
As we are leaving the office: "Taralets?"
After seeing his picture in the local magazine: "Ah, pinakagwapo desu ne"
On the phone: "Hello, kamusta ka tsong?"
In an e-mail: "Sige, tsong talong!"