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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Da Best


Kung gets mo, para sa'yo ang post na 'to.
Kung hindi, bawal itanong. Confidential.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The World Through Rose-Colored Glasses

So the G9 powered up one day and decides that from that moment on, all pictures shall be pink.


Now this should make me happy - my camera viewing the world through hot-pink colored lenses. But it annoys the hell out of me. Why? Because my nice pink stuff disappear in the pictures. And I never wanted the entire world to be pink - take for instance the hot pink urinals in Metro Manila for which Bayani Fernando shall burn in hell for eternity.

Seriously though, this is such a bummer. I'll try taking it to the repair shop but I'm not keeping my hopes up. Partly because it's probably going to be expensive, and partly because I've been scouting for a replacement already (I move on fast). If Leicas aren't so bloody expensive I would've bought one this afternoon. And no, I'm not buying a dSLR because that would just be pretentious.  I just want a real good point and shoot with maybe a couple of manual functions, preferably one that looks old-school so I wouldn't have to worry about it looking outdated. I'm looking at the Powershot SX200 but the flash is so darned annoying. Any suggestions?

Party Week

A year or two ago my cousin brought home a magazine and there was this person who answered "party" to just about everything: "Party lang" "OK nga yun eh, mas party" "Basta party". And if you proceed to track down his Friendster account, it's one big party as well: "Me and my Party Mommy" "Party at Petronas" " Tragedy: Not Party". It was hilarious but has nothing to do with this post. I just remembered. 

So anyway the point is we have been doing a bit of party-ing this week.

Monday and Tuesday I had meetings in the mothership office so the boss and I had our hundred millionth sign-off party which is essentially dinner in some restaurant where I can't order by myself accompanied by lots and lots of alcohol (at least for him).

Wednesday is the office farewell party for Lee, who will be going home this week. I hate it when people go home because it reminds me that I will be going home soon, and I don't want to. At least, not right now. Life is too wonderful here. Granted, love life is zilch, what with the language barrier and the fact that Japanese men tend to be prettier than me (and wear skinnier jeans than mine), but that can wait. There are much grander things, like shoes and clothes and make-up.

So anyway, back to the farewell party. It's quite possibly the most wasted I've been, and even then I'm still very much functional. It's just a little difficult to walk in a straight line. And I only had five drinks: 1 cassis-orange (which was not so good; that restaurant sucks), 2 cassis-oolongs, 1 peach-lychee thing, and "first love" which is Calpis with i have no idea what but apparently that's what first love tastes like (I beg to differ; it's way to sweet). The next day I woke up fearing a major hangover which never materialized; I only had a couple of rashes because apparently the alcohol allergy thing is still there.

Thursday is rest day, and Friday night is (as always) movie night. This time it's Terminator. Now I haven't seen a single Terminator movie. All I know is Arnold Schwarzenegger and John Connor, who is Sarah Connor's son (and that is all thanks to the trivia game at the former office *waves at Eugene*).  Anyway it's all metal crunching. And a butt-naked appearance by the governor of California who wasn't even in credits because it's CGI. And a well-placed Sony Vaio product placement. Sorry Steve, there are no Macs in the future. But all in all it was okay. A bit idiotic at times, but okay. Although I did feel like watching The Devil Wears Prada afterwards - after all the gunfights and warplanes and combat boots it's time for Hermes and Jimmy Choos (speaking of, I visited the boutique in Takashimaya but I'm standing by the no-touch rule so I basically just gawked).

Saturday night is the Inagi farewell party for Lee, which involves squeezing all the residents (except one hehehe) of our apartment into one room. We will probably get a memo for too much noise again. The official party lasted until around 11, and the extended videoke session ended around 4, at which point the sun is already up and about.

Which brings us to today - I woke up around 2, planned to go shopping but laziness got the better of me, and so I'm stuck at home with a broken camera and a truckload of clothes to iron. Howell, party lang.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hormones

Dictionary.com:
–noun
1.Biochemistryany of various internally secreted compounds, as insulin or thyroxine, formed in endocrine glands, that affect the functions of specifically receptive organs or tissues when transported to them by the body fluids.
2.Pharmacologya synthetic substance used in medicine to act like such a compound when introduced into the body.
3.BotanyAlso called phytohormone. any of various plant compounds, as auxin or gibberellin, that control growth and differentiation of plant tissue.


Hmm... so whatisdiz?



Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Me Likey

Hey, I haven't done this in a while.

1. Cassis Orange
Confession: I've been drinking at least two glasses a week ever since I got back. But when you've had a really really rough day why would you deprive yourself of a bit of alcohol during dinner? Anyway I've been trying out variations - cassis grapefruit, cassis oolong (ordered by mistake but it's quite nice too) - but the best is really cassis orange so I'm sticking to it. And this is probably the millionth time I've mentioned this drink so I'll shut up now.



2. When you are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
I've always liked David Sedaris, but now I love him. Actually I kinda hate him - everything I wanted to write about Tokyo he managed to put into words, only a hundred times wittier. This had me chuckling to myself in the train, and it took a great deal of effort to tone it down lest I be mistaken for some crazy laughing hyena:
It was he who spoke my favorite line of the evening, five words that perfectly conveyed just how enchanting and full of surprises this Kabuki business really is: "That drum is my parents."
3. Kate Liquid Foundation in OC-D
It has the fugliest, cheapest-looking bottle (seriously, even Ever Bilena foundations are better packaged), but what's inside is probably the best foundation I've tried to date.


It feels very light, does not cake, but it covers all but the most stubborn discolorations. And it's the right undertone - not too pink, and not too orange either. And it's a breeze to blend - I apply with a flat-top kabuki and I'm done in two minutes, tops. The only downside is I use a bit more than, say, MAC studio fix, but at 1/4 of the price I'm not in the mood to complain.

4. iPhone SW 3.0
I got the software upgrade for free, and all of a sudden my iPhone is able to function the way a real mobile phone should - I can forward and delete individual text messages, send MMS, and yes, cut and paste. And I get to have Spotlight on my mobile phone, too, which is pretty neat. The changes aren't so revolutionary, but with all these teeny tiny changes the iPhone suddenly became something worth buying (I got mine for free and I never recommended anyone to buy it but now I would tell you to go get one).

5. Drip Coffee
Because I'm too poor (and lazy) to own an espresso machine, I'd have to be content with drip coffee. But hey, it kicks instant coffee in the nuts so it isn't so bad. And it's a breeze to prepare and clean up too - I buy those filter things with coffee grounds in them already and you just set it up on top of a mug and pour hot water and voila, I'm functional again.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Schlepping Bag

Just exactly what possessed me to buy this bag I would never know; but I've been obsessing over it for days so what the heck.


Relax, it's just a canvas tote, albeit a wee bit overpriced. It reads "Jacobs by Marc Jacobs for Marc by Marc Jacobs in collaboration with Marc Jacobs for Marc by Marc Jacobs" and if that's not sarcasm I don't know what is.

I saw this in Shinjuku yesterday, but I was a bit hesitant to buy it, so I decided to think about it first but by the time I got home I was furiously looking for it online, but as I was about to order our internet connection went out. Which leads us to today, which is supposed to be my hibernation day, but with no internet it was just unthinkable to stay in the apartment. So I decided to go to Kawasaki, away from temptation.

I haven't been to Kawasaki in a while now, at least not for shopping (the last few times I visited it was only to eat at CPK). And I don't know why but for some reason I haven't really gone around Kawasaki Be, which is a department store full of nice expensive things situated just right across the train station turnstiles. So I decided to look around but I wasn't allowed to touch anything - because it's when you touch them that you fall in love (and spend money). And then, there it was - my bag staring at me in the face. And then the store speakers started blaring out Lady Gaga. End of story. What more is there to say?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Friday Night Movie Night

So we've taken to watching movies now. Maybe because it feels like something we'd actually be doing in the Philippines, only five times more expensive and ten times quieter.

Transformers Revenge of the Fallen has the most uninspired and predictable storyline held together by forty five minutes of metal crunching, closeups of Megan Fox's... assets, and lots and lots if cheese. And an Oompa Loompa.

And as is the common practice, we stayed in the cinema for the entire length of the movie, and by that I mean until the final credits have rolled. So to the Table Person, Ager slash Dryer, and Mold Shop Supervisor, take comfort in the fact that the people in Japan were watching the entire ten seconds your names were rolling up the big screen.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Graduation Day

Today our official office party planner graduated from his post to make way for umm... fresh meat, I guess. Now this saddens me a bit, because I'm a selfish little brat and he has been making sure I get my cassis orange fix and who knows if the next party planner would even buy cassis orange?

Anyway, every party there's some sort of entertainment thing just to have something for people to fuss about. The past couple of parties it was Bingo and the prizes were stuff from the 100yen shops. This time it was Kurohige Kiki Ippatsu (Pop-up Pirate). If you've watched the Hard Gay videos (and you should, you really should) you would know what this is about. It consists of this barrel with a pirate on top, and you each take turns to insert swords into slots in the barrel until the pirate pops out. I have the Hard Gay version but it's a miniature.



Now in the hard gay video, the person who makes this happen loses, but in our case whoever does that gets a prize - you toss a coin and you either get a box of (critical) tissue or you get to select one of the special gift things. Luckily when I won (yes I won!!!) the tissue already ran out so I got to choose, and I picked out the one with a pink wrapper which turned out to be this cute furry keitai (mobile phone) holder.


See how godawfully cute? Bonus points if you can tell me what kind of creature it is.
It's a frog! No, it's a sheep! But why is it green? It's a worm! A caterpillar! It's a... ahh... it's a cute!!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Five-Minute Blog Post

Just because I have to keep this blog alive (more for me than for my 2.5 readers, I have this need to document my life somehow). Completely random ramblings. Numbered outline instead of bulleted list because numbers make so much more sense than bullets and provide easier reference (and I hope you are reading this, DV engineers who do not number their enumerations and lists in their documentation).

1. I am happy to report that I am now able to drink two full glasses of cassis orange without feeling extremely dizzy. And new discovery (i.e. ordered by accident): cassis-oolong is almost just as gooooood. If anyone can explain why this drink is not available in the Philippines when it is sold in practically all restaurants in Japan, then by all means enlighten me.

2. I actually missed my job during the break. Well not really, but I'm happy to be back. I was in full-on talaba mode at home (sleep, eat, play computer games, sleep, eat, TV, sleep, eat); at least now I'm a bit more useful. Or a bit less useless.

3. So the boss tells me that he has to keep himself from laughing at me during morning meetings because, and I quote, "I sound girly." I don't even know how to respond to that.

4. Weekend shopping: 2 books (David Sedaris and Malcolm Gladwell), 2 pairs of slacks from H&M, 3 Uniqlo hoodies (hoard mode because they were on sale), MAC lipstick (a recent discovery - it tastes like cake batter!!!), and random make-up stuff.

5. Kate, an offshoot of Kanebo, has the most amazing liquid foundation. Ever. End of story. I'll try this out for a couple more days and if they don't break me out (fingers and toes crossed), I'm buying twenty bottles. Have I mentioned it's dirt cheap? And I got it on sale? And that it's perfect? Granted, the plastic bottle looks extremely cheap, but it comes with a pump, and really, that's all you need.

6. Is it possible to gain twenty pounds in two weeks? Because I seriously feel like I did.

7. The rain is driving me crazy. For two straight days I've come home drenched and icky and tired (and drunk, but that's another story).

8. I'm on the hunt for the perfect mascara. The best I've tried is Majolica Majorca, and it's near perfect. However, I found that the only way to get it off is to take your lashes off as well. Givenchy was a sad sad disappointment; cool concept, but the formula sucks big time. And then everything else is just blah.

Time's up. See you again tomorrow.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Isang Linggo

One week in Tokyo already; would you look at that.

It feels like a year, though. Work was just so draining this week; today I was actually feeling lightheaded, but that could be attributed to the patent reading. I hate patents. Worst documents ever. If I wanted to read this much I would have been a lawyer and earn big bucks, you know.

Oh, and last Wednesday I had my annual medical check-up. Everyone else already had theirs (mine was re-scheduled because I was on vacation) and yet no one felt the need to inform me that the clinic was a good fifteen minutes away from the office. ON FOOT. Needless to say my feet were for all intents and purposes dead when I got home.

As always it took ten years to obtain a blood sample from me - it has been a problem year after year. For some reason they have difficulty finding whatever it is they need to find by poking your arm repeatedly (a vein? artery?) My first medical check-up for work they had to pierce me twice and it bruised so horribly I looked like a heroin addict. This time the pretty, soft-spoken nurse probed my right arm, changed to the left arm, went back to probing the right arm, then the left again - you get the picture. Finally she gave up and called someone else, who did the exact same thing. After a few more decades she thinks she has found it, and so she inserts the needle, but oops, no blood. So she the proceeds to move the needle around for a good thirty seconds until finally she exclaims "Yatta!" and hurries to collect four vials of my precious precious blood (and it's precious only because it took years to extract) .

Anyway, apart from that it was work work work. To be honest I did miss work. And my morning Starbucks Discoveries Seattle Latte (yummiest coffee ever - it's really strong and really creamy which is quite difficult to pull off). And the real fast internet access. And Pepper Lunch. And the pretty apartment (although it's a mess right now, as always). And the outlet stores.

Oh, and today we received our bonus payslip. Though it was significantly less than last year's, I'm actually pretty pleased because, well, I was expecting worse than that because hello, recession. Besides, it's pointless to dwell on things I have no control over. There are a billion more things to smile about, like shopping tomorrow. Stay tuned. ^^

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Tuesday

Just so you know, yesterday's post was the end-product of two glasses of cassis orange, otherwise known as the only cocktail I will drinking from now on. In fact, our monthly office party planner has promised me that he will not forget to have at least one can present for me during our drinking parties.

Today's post is brought to you by only one glass of cassis orange (taken while eating sukiyaki); I turned down the second round because I have physical exams tomorrow. And like most exams, if you fail, you have to retake (and shoulder the cost of the second try). With questions such as "Do you intend to improve your exercise habits?", I am so so so dead. If you really must know, my answer to that is "I don't intend to". Exercise and I, we don't get along well.

This afternoon we had a dental check-up (by very pretty nurses and doctors, I must say), which went like this.

I will check your teeth. Please open your mouth.
...
The doctor will now check your teeth.
...
You don't have bad teeth.
...
I will check your gums.
...
Your gums are fine.

It's almost like I'm in a video game or something. After the check-up the nurse with pretty pretty lashes handed me a pink toothbrush with a short demonstration on how I'm supposed to brush my teeth (to be fair I didn't know you're supposed to go from side to side - horizontally instead of vertically - in the area between your gums and teeth).

After the check-up the boss and I headed to the mothership office, which was an hour and a half away, to attend a 15-minute meeting. Argh.

After that we had dinner, hence the glass of cassis orange. Dinner with the boss is the only chance I get to eat in restaurants that are not "point-and-shoot" (you point to the stuff you want from pictures in the menu which is how we get by without having to utter a single Japanese word), and are more often than not subsidized so it's always a good thing.

And now I'm having a bottle of green tea-flavored Coke. It tastes like normal Coke at the onset, but it leaves a very distinct green tea aftertaste which I hate. But it's new and I wanted to try it out so there.


Oh, and the new iPhone is out. Not very appealing, I must say. 3 Megapixel camera? Higher megapixels on mobile phone cameras just scream interpolated pixels, which to me is cheating. And really, if you want decent pictures, then go get a digital camera, right? And then every other new feature seems to be from the iPhone OS 3.0, which I can get for free anyway (on June 17 - mark your calendars). So all in all it seems a bit blah. But let me rethink this whole thing when I'm a bit more sober.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Scents and Sounds

Tokyo smells like the way it used to when I first set foot here. Actually it smells the way it does when I'm here for business trips. It smelled different when I was here as an assignee - it smelled less foreign and more like home.

I don't know what it is about me and scents, but nothing is more nostalgic than getting a whiff of the cologne you used to slather way back in grade school (ahem, Angel's Love, Angel's Breath, Angel's Smile, pretty much anything the angels have). I'm sure I have mentioned my rule of not repeating perfumes so I'd always associate them with one portion of my life (but I have broken this a million times over but maybe I'll do it all over again). Places have scents too, but they're annoyingly difficult to describe, but I'm sure you catch my drift. Anyway, the point is, Tokyo smells like the fun, mysterious, exciting Tokyo again; and not the comfortable, homey, same old Tokyo. It's a good thing, yes?

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Back to the Fuchu

Hey, I made it in one piece.

The flight was not as turbulent as I expected, and JAL food seems to get better and better - fresh fruit for dessert and no more cold soba, thank God. And thanks to the new in-seat monitors, there were in flight movies from Manila to Tokyo (before only NHK was showing) and Confessions of a Shopaholic was on. Oh, and re-entrants get their own line in immigration so the whole thing was super fast.

My one single inconvenience was the "detailed" customs inspection, which they seem to be doing on everyone. Thank goodness my mom did the packing for me. If I did everything myself the suitcase would have exploded when I opened it and there is no way I can put everything back inside after. So the customs officer opens my (neatly-packed) suitcase, takes one look at the many many things inside, and he sighs heavily. He didn't (and couldn't possible) check every single thing, so he relegated himself to just inspect a couple of random stuff - Boy Bawang packets, a can of crab fat, and a bottle of Aveeno lotion. He did see my underwear, though, because he opened every single compartment and garment bag. So as a corollary to the always wear nice undies rule, bring nice undies too.

When I got to the Limousine Bus counter, I was informed the next bus was leaving in three minutes but since the gate was right outside I decided to get that and I had to rush outside but I made it with time to spare. Now after the Limousine Bus the real adventure begins - trains and transfers with three pieces of luggage all by myself. Let's just say it's something you wish you'd never have to do ever again. Ever. I did find all the elevators just fine, and I was able to get a sit on the train from Shinjuku to Bubaigawara. But when I transferred to Nambu line (from Bubaigawara to Inaginaganuma), there were no more seats, which was fine since it would only be for like 5 minutes. However, people started pouring in when we reached Fuchu-hommachi station, so I had a bit of a difficulty getting out.

Last hurdle - schlepping 26.5 kilograms of random stuff up two flights of stairs (14 steps each). Luckily Tony found me halfway through the second flight and saved me from fainting (or throwing a tantrum).

So now I'm a bit settled. Well not really since all the stuff is scattered everywhere, but I've had a good nap and it's feeling less foreign and more homey.

I'm a bit homesick though. At this time everyone back at home would be in the new bedroom (they merged two rooms to form one huge area with two beds and a couch and God knows what else) and we'd all be playing some form of computer game - be it in one of the two laptops, or one of the two *ehem* DS Lites (the third one was for a cousin), or the PSP, or my iPhone. This includes my mom, btw. Ever since she discovered Cooking Mama on my iPhone I've never been able to pry it off her hands. She'd return it to me with the battery empty and "oh, someone texted you..." so my apologies if I was unable to reply to text messages (and missed calls even) when I was in the Philippines. I do think it's pretty cool that my mom has learned how to play video games, because now she can relate to the addiction; before she can never really understand how we can spend hours staring at the computer screen, now she is the only person I know who has actually finished Zuma up to the very last stage.

Anyways, I'm beat. Tomorrow I fix everything up (that includes myself). And maybe post pictures of my shoes (quick story: the customs officer opened my Charles and Keith shoe box sitting atop a sea of Boy Bawang to find a billion things tucked with my shoes - packets of Joy dishwashing liquid, Dove soap, hand sanitizers, etc). And maybe do a teeny tiny bit of shopping? ^^

Flight No. 6

My flights to Japan are never really without any misfortunes - spats with menopausal immigration ladies, getting lost while looking for the dormitory during a torrential downpour (OK, it was just drizzling but still...), forgetting the keys to my luggage - and well, this is no exception. You would think I would have everything down pat by now.

It all starts with, well, stuff. At first my mom and I were worried that I don't have enough things in my luggage so my things are going to be rolling around. We couldn't have been more wrong. My check-in luggage registered at 26.5 kg (I didn't get charged because JAL is awesome like that). This is after lots of editing - I left my extra bottle of contact lens solution and a huge bottle of lotion behind, and all my clothes are in my second hand carry together with all the dried mangoes (because they're quite heavy). My first hand carry is the MacBook bag which he shares with a PowerShot G7, a PowerShot G9, and a Canon lens (I have no idea what, obviously not mine). At any rate, I am so dead later.

Oh, and on our way to the apartment in Katipunan the ghetto, we passed by this DOST building in UP, and my mom suddenly remembered that my DOST clearance letter, along with the million photocopies I made of it, were locked safely back at home, 4 hours away (2.5 hours if you take SCTEX). It was around 9 pm, and we were panicking. Although I wasn't asked for it on my most recent trip, this whole BID watch list thing is quite random - my first two trips, no questions asked, and then the one after that, this horrific monster of a lady starts shouting at me insisting that DOST paid for my college education. So I always make it a point to carry the clearance letter with me (along with the million photocopies). We were already considering just going back home to get it which would have been a very stressful and expensive 8 hours (5 hours if you take SCTEX). Thankfully I found a second letter tucked in the billion papers I kept in the apartment (I trooped to Bicutan to claim the damn clearance, only to find that they sent the exact same thing to me by snail mail a few days after), which was quite a relief, I must say. In fact my mom was so relieved she took charge of packing everything into my luggage. Ehehehe.

The million dollar question: did they ask for the clearance?
The answer: Dingdong Dantes.

He lined up for immigration the same time I did, and as a result flustered immigration officers stopped paying attention. I didn't even get a nasty glance for forgetting to fill in the other half; usually this warrants a loooong lecture. And the lady behind me actually took a couple of pictures while exclaiming "Oh my God! It's a Blessing! Blessing!" ahahahaha. The most starstruck I've ever been in an airport was when I saw Barbie Xu from Meteor Garden but it was partly because she carried a light blue Birkin.

Anyway, time to go to the boarding gates. Wish me luck.