Wound quite tightly
This past month has been pure insanity. It kicked off with the Lunar New Year on the 31st of January. Pdub and I went to a dim sum “buffet” in Shin-Sapporo’s Sheraton hotel. Personally think it may be the closest you can come to genuine dim sum in Sapporo otherwise you will have to fly down to Tokyo. The first work week of February was a bit rough because I was preparing for my guests from NYC who would have been appearing during Snow Festival time. I had to clean a lot, do you know how when you live on your own, your standards of cleanliness are lower because no one is there to judge you? I’m not saying I was filthy, but plastic garbage, PET bottles, paper trash all piled up. Balancing that, my trip to Tokyo, researching about Hurricane Sandy and correcting science essays at work, I had a full work load.
I took a half day on Feb. 7th and flew down to Tokyo. I had to bring my Hurricane Sandy presentation sheets with me and my goal for that weekend was to finish Parts A and B of my presentation. I split it up into 4 parts so it would be manageable:
- Background info on NYC and how hurricanes are made
- Hurricane Sandy - where, when
- Effects of Sandy - flooding and what not
- What’s happening now - rebuilding the Rockaways boardwalk.
In addition to that, I took my students’ science essays for me to proof. I got to the airport early and was correcting them on the bench in front of the security gate. Luckily, my groups had minimal errors and I was able to read through 2 before getting on the plane. When I got to Tokyo, I spent a good while trying to find my hotel. Every time I go to Tokyo I stay somewhere different, I think this trip was my fifth time going to Tokyo. I’ve stayed in Ikebukuro, above Ueno, and now in Shibuya. (Google Maps is horrible BTW. I used them yesterday to get to a restaurant and I was lost in a maze Susukino sex shops and sad host boys.) Eventually I got to the Tokyu Stay Hotel and I really liked it. It’s up and down a hill from Shibuya station so it’s super convenient. Usually because it’s Tokyo, I kind of rough it, but I think I’m embarking on a new trend in life: Treat yourself. I got to my room and took off a layer of clothes, the temperature difference from Sapporo to Tokyo was about 15 degrees difference, Sapporo was somewhere in the minuses, maybe -12 and Tokyo was 1 or 2.
I met up with Shu who started working for a new company called Trippiece. Trippiece is a website that helps people plan vacations with other people of similar interests. According to Shu, it’s quite big in Tokyo, but no where else. So she was hired to try and get users from other countries. A media channel came through to film and were blocking the exit which delayed our eating until 9 pm. Eventually we settled on a Korean BBQ place and started frying up stuff. We ordered a bowl of makkori and I didn’t like the taste much, leaving Shu to drink most of it… HAHA.
The next day, we met up with Alan and went to see the Andy Warhol exhibit in the Morii Tower in Roppongi. It was a good indoor activity since Tokyo experienced it’s first major snowfall in over 13 years. Girls were running around on the slush in high heels. People were trying to protect themselves using umbrellas, foolish. The exhibit was cool. I learned that Andy Warhol was a, I guess you’d say, hoarder. He had hundreds of cardboard boxes where he’d file away random things he enjoyed. Things such as Clinique cartons, magazines, and letters. Later on in the day, we split up so they could find their hotel in Shinjuku and I went back to Shibuya to rest and do some work. I wrapped myself in blankets, placed my coat and scarf under the heater and took out my Hurricane Sandy research. We decided to meet to have some Vietnamese food, but had to choose a new restaurant and settled on okonomiyaki.
The next day, I met up with them for brunch at Slappy Cakes, a Portland pancake and breakfast food restaurant that’s found its way into Japan. In keeping with the tradition of Treat Yourself, I decided to have a pina colada and a country fried steak. Later in the day we built a snowman in Yoyogi and then I went off to catch my plane. The trains were messed up. Usually there’s a scrolling panel that would tell you when the next train is coming, but after the snow…NOPE! Instead they had a man announcing where each train was going and I was worried I’d miss my flight…little did I know, I didn’t have to worry since my flight was going to be delayed anyway. I’ve never had a delay of over 15 minutes before so I had no idea how Japan handles it. Well, I’ll tell you, dear readers, they handle it by sending you an email, but unfortunately I didn’t see the email until I was already at the airport. Boo on that. I could’ve used more time to play in Tokyo instead of marking essays in a restaurant overlooking planes taking off. (That panini was good though… My brain was cooked though. I had that insane laughter that comes with exhaustion and an intense need to sleep.)
My initial plan was to get the 4:55 flight and get back to Sapporo by 6:30, settle in for the night, clean a little bit more for my guests and then go to sleep. I ended up landing in Sapporo at 9:50 pm and decided to run to catch the 9:59 train. It. Was. Intense. I collapsed on the train and listened to some music. I got back to my apartment around 10:45 and cooked up some instant ramen which I ate in front of the heater.
Next day, Feb. 10th, I went to work and some of the Japanese teachers were saying it was a miracle that I even made it back to Sapporo. They had read that Narita was a “no man’s land” where buses and trains could not reach. I took a half day again and rushed off to get the Jessicas from Sapporo Station. The Jessica I know, I’ve known since elementary school. We used to walk home together and read comic books together. She was bringing her friend who’s name is also Jessica, but goes by Jello (a portmanteau of her first and last name.) I brought them to the Snow Festival in Odori and later we had a tabe/nomi at the Jingis Khan place. We also did some drunken karaoke and I brought them to the omiyage store. I was super excited to have a holiday on the 11th and sleep in. I think I ended up sleeping until 9 am and then waking up and started making more slides for the Hurricane Sandy presentation.
This is getting quite lengthy. I’m gonna just go bullet form now.
- Feb 11 - 13: had to care for the Jessicas. They caught a plane to Osaka on the morning of the 13th and I went to work. I took a half day then too in order to get my hair cut.
- Feb 14: A buttload of essays to mark at work. Rewarded myself with copious amounts of chocolate. Had plans of going to happy hour, but just went home and spent time cleaning my apartment. I was running around like crazy, I had a mountain of laundry to do and the floor needed sweeping.
- Feb 15 + 16: Slept in. Went to the hospital to visit a sick child ;) and then had dinner with Pui Wing in Sapporo Station. Came home and made more PPT slides. 16th was spent making more slides and marking essays I brought home. I think I went out to buy ingredients to make jambalaya. Realized I hadn’t cooked in over a week.
- Feb 17 + 18: work, gathering more info, finalizing PPT. Came home and gorged on salmon jerky, Coca Cola, Cheetos.
- Feb 19: presentation day in the LAST period of the day. So exhausted, had no energy to be nervous. To reward myself, I bought mini pizzas and an entire cheesecake (Japanese sized so basically a mini cheesecake).
- Feb 20 + 21: Finish marking, input grades, chase down students with missing papers, record for the upcoming exams. I decided to go to the spa after work and before going to an izakaya. The spa is called Pulau Bulan which means the island of the moon. I had a damn nice time. I’ve been so stressed for nearly the entire month of February. It’s been awful. Met up with some friends for some drinking and then midnight karaoke, came home at 3 am and went to sleep. Didn’t wake up until 11 am.
- Feb. 22 - Woke up at 11 am, moved very slowly. Had some food and decided to be proactive. Graduation is coming up so I wanted to have something nice to wear. Went out to look at some clothes, then dropped off a bag of clothes at the H&M because they recycle clothes. I’m all about not wasting stuff. Later on, went to Amanda’s goodbye party which had a lot of people. Everywhere. I was still kind of tired and the sheer amount of people was overwhelming. It was nice to see everyone though, I was just tired.
- Feb. 23 - Pui Wing and Jen came over for brunch and then I watched a whole bunch of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo episodes. I took a nap around 5 and woke up around 6. And here I ammmmmmmmm.
Tomorrow is a new week! Monday is a normal school day and Tuesday begins finals. Then Saturday is graduation and I think I know what I’m going to wear. If you’ve made it this far in the post, I congratulate you. I didn’t even put any photos or anything to entice you. Don’t care! Just updating to say I was alive, but just barely, I’m on the mend though.