Tuesday, January 31, 2012

good Japanese lesson

My lesson today was good. It's getting quite fun, once I learn to relax and not take things so seriously.
I even managed to wake up by myself! The early lesson time is rough, but it makes a good start to the day. Now, time to focus on work.

Friday, January 27, 2012

I totally identify with this bride's thoughts.

Rather than be thin, I want a flat stomach. I also want to exercise more just to feel healthy, but above all, I want a flat stomach.

My reasons:
* If I had a flat stomach, I would look good.
* A flat stomach is a symbol of success.
* I am not confident about the way I look
* If I had a flat stomach, I could wear anything.
* If I had a flat stomach, I'd feel beautiful.
* If I had a flat stomach, I wouldn't care what anyone thought of me.
* If I had a flat stomach, I could own the room!

Funny what hopes we pin on something that really isn't important.
But this is what my mind is thinking.

I know from experience that dieting does not create confidence or self-worth. I know so many brides who lose weight for their wedding, still feel insecure and gain all the weight back on the honeymoon. Skipping the "weight loss" and working directly on our insecurities is the only way to create a confident and sexy bride. And amazingly enough, it's the most effective weight loss strategy and the ONLY way it's permanent.

After a few months of confidence boosting exercises, forgiving her past, connecting with her femininity, deepening her relationship with her fiancé and discovering her life's purpose, Julia far exceeded her goals for the kind of bride she wanted to be.

It makes a lot of sense. I should try this.

I got a belly dance dvd a while ago, but it's boring. It's well done and instructive, but boring.
My tai chi book is even more boring! I guess hoping that I could learn tai chi from a book was already rather doomed to failure.
But rather than waste money, I want to slog my way through each. I'll do one exercise a night starting tonight.

"I see you there, patching that wok"

Saw La Cage Aux Folles in Japanese. It was so much fun! The lead actor was really good. For some reason I'm totally relaxed and happy after seeing that show. I guess spending 3 hours in someone else's life is a good thing.
And musicals are totally fun.

The title of this post has nothing to do with La Cage Aux Folles, it's just an expression I ran across that I found very amusing.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Ginza: Futon Mandarin 胡同マンダリン

Coworkers took me to an elegant Chinese restaurant in Ginza. The interior is really "Mandarin" - spacious dining area of dark carved wood, circular tables, discreet wooden screen partitions - like a clean 1920's Shanghai parlor.

The service is very unobtrusive, although the servers are not always visible. The food is delicious; their lunch sets are a great deal. I tried the gyoza set - 7 plump panfried gyoza with a light pork and vegetable filling. The lotus root レンコン added a pleasant crunch and texture to the dumplings. However, the lamb and vegetable dish looks fantastic, and the roast duck noodle soup is delicious according to my coworkers. They're quite generous with the spices, so the vinegar pork may be a bit spicier than you are used to.

The egg drop soup was also delicious - simple, hearty, and well done. It wasn't crowded at all on the day we visited, although apparently it does get full at times. It's a calm, relaxing place to have a quiet lunch. Pricewise it's comparable to other restaurants in the area, with sets around 1000 yen.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

stove top lasagna

I have a lot of lasagna sheets left over from a rice cooker recipe experiment (that didn't go very well), so I thought I'd try this stove top recipe next.
It should be more successful, I hope. Living without an oven is fine, but it makes a lot of American recipes pretty difficult.

Sunday I tried out a pre-made adobo mix - not bad. But it doesn't taste anything like proper adobo, hehe. I'll have to get some recipes soon.

Around my neighborhood, it's kind of difficult to find carrots not grown in Chiba.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

muji food products - mini review

Mujirushi Ryohin 無印良品 carries a wide variety of food products in their bigger stores. Based on a recommendation from a friend I checked out a few things.

uni ウニ(sea urchin) pasta mix - thumbs up! Delicious.
ika sumi イカ墨 (squid ink) pasta mix - good too. But not as completely delicious as the sea urchin pasta mix.

Japanese matcha 抹茶(powdered green tea) latte powder - disappointing. It's quite sweet but not enough of a matcha flavor.

I also bought a chai mix but based on the matcha latte, I have very low expectations - most chais are not spicy enough for my taste to begin with (Starbucks, I'm looking at that vapid liquid you call chai).

Thursday, January 12, 2012


My new Uniqlo jeans are too big. Boo for not being able to return them as I've already worn them.
Do I buy another pair in the correct size? Or just give up and wait for a sale on the super soft Gap jeans that are twice the price?
I think I'll wait for some Vicky jeans. So far they're my favorite pair ever. In fact they're on sale now; I'll go try them on.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I love the start of a new year

Even though it's only symbolic, I love the fresh start that it symbolizes.

I should have a fresh start every month. A time to take stock of everything and make small/big adjustments.

One of my goals is to get through the belly dance DVD that I bought last year.
I haven't done anything yet - I'm not sure why. I'll go to the onsen tonight, hit the grocery store for some chicken to pan-fry, and put on the dvd while the chicken cooks.

I also took serious advantage of the New Year sales in Tokyo. However, I haven't the patience to look at everything on sale (every store has a sale - I literally can't visit every store!) so I've just hit the GAP, Zara, Banana Republic, and Uniqlo. I wish I took more advantage of the Japanese brands, but the shoulder sizing and arm sizing tends to be too short for me, even at Uniqlo which has more forgiving sizing than the smaller boutique brands. So it's more efficient for me to stick to the western brands. Pants fit nicely though and it's hard to beat Uniqlo prices! I try not to convert prices to USD though.

I have to characterize my spree as a binge; over the holidays I got:
GAP: a light brown down jacket
GAP: a thin tan cashmere/wool turtleneck
GAP: a workout tank in a blue-purple
GAP: a long-sleeved workout top in black
GAP: a black and white boxy short-sleeved cardigan
GAP: a black zip up knit vest trimmed with soft fake fur
Banana Republic: A soft blue cropped suit jacket
Uniqlo: warmup pants in dark blue
Uniqlo: Dark regular boot cut jeans
Uniqlo: pink wool turtleneck
UnderArmour: two sports bras
UnderArmour: pink heatgear v-neck top - super comfy

In retrospect, I should have passed on the tan turtleneck and the soft blue suit jacket, but I will definitely wear everything. The jacket will look nice with my tweed brown skirt. Anyway, that's my winter shopping for the year! Urgh.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

lemming: Nanette Lepore bag

This Nanette Lepore bag would require me to seriously streamline what I carry around in my bag, but isn't it delightful?

some small reviews

Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes smudge on my upper lids, but they work pretty well on my lower lids. So it's still liquid liner only on the upper lids. Everything else usually smudges.

MUFE HD foundation in 115 is too light for me.

I like My Beauty Diary masks, but the plastic sheet included is a waste of packaging... Anyway, they're not available in Japan so I'm happy to try all the Japanese masks :)

patisserie Sadaharu AOKI paris Earl Grey macarons and La Maison du Chocolat dark chocolate macarons are delicious. The shops in Marunouchi are really nice; I had a pleasant stroll enjoying my macarons and looking at the pretty lighting on the main street. Sorry, no pics of the macarons; I ate them too quickly.