Friday, July 29, 2005

Away We Go

This will probably be my last post for a while. Tonight I go to Starbucks with Alex and Charlene, then to an after-hours party at the restaurant, then Toronto tomorrow. There's a reception for which I have to register at 2:45, so if I catch the 11:15 bus from Niagara Falls I'll make it there with enough time to register at the Loretto College (hope they still have rooms). After the Hilton reception I may go out with the other JETs, I might not. I definitely have to go to Chapters to get a book to read on the flight, as I finished Harry Potter a few hours ago (dammit). We have to register for boarding at 10:30 AM on Saturday, so I'll take the Bloor subway all the way to Kipling and then get on the shuttle to Pearson. Simple. So, Mom, since I know you're reading this and sick with worry as usual, I HAVE EVERYTHING UNDER CONTROL!!!!!

And Jiemei rocks my world. I think I have an excuse to go to Hong Kong City University now.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


Attention all: I will be disconnecting for the next two weeks or so. My cell phone will no longer belong to me past today. Internet and mail use will be sporadic, perhaps once a day, as the computer is going too and I have to go next door to use theirs. Since I won't have a computer in Japan for the first two months or so, do not expect to be in touch with me very often, at least for a while. Internet use is available at the Board of Education building where I will be spending most of my time, though, so it's not like I'll be completely out of it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Update Again

I will be spending the night in Toronto on the 23rd and 24th now, not the 24th and 25th. So it is once again possible (I think) for me to come up to Barrie on the afternoon of the 25th (Monday).

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Because the place I'm staying in Toronto at (guest suite again) has a minimum of two days, I will be staying overnight on Sunday and on Monday. So it will be very difficult for me to get to Barrie. However, if you (Brandan) can come to Toronto for lunch at any time during those two days, we can meet up.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Off to Ottawa

I'm going to Ottawa to visit my family for a few days. I'll be back on Wednesday. For everyone else, I'll see you (Jiemei) on the 24th, you guys (Chris, Tony) on the 25th (Monday, Chinese Bun), you (Brandan) on the afternoon of the 25th, and you (Charlene, Alex, Sensei, anyone near St. C) on the 26th at Suisha.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

My Wonderful Weekend in T.O. + Discovering China

After I finished work on Saturday the 16th, I hurried home to try and sleep before Jamie (杨洁玫)was scheduled to arrive the next morning. We did all the tourist stuff in Niagara, like Maid of the Mist and walking along the Parkway, before eating at Yukiguni and then catching the Tripmate bus to Toronto. We got off at Spadina-Queen and went to the bus terminal to get my ticket to Ottawa when I go home next week (seven-day advance fare, cheap, yeah!). Then we started the long journey to Scarborough to find a place to stay, because we didn't make arrangements in time to stay with her friends.

All I can say is, 她是一个了不起的女人。It's actually too bad that she's going to Hong Kong and I'm off to Japan. Well, not really, but you know what I mean. We share a lot of interests, such as our mutual loathing of interracial couples for reasons of
yellow fever
and the usual getting-a-white-boyfriend-to-practice-English/fashion-statement motif still present in Chinese/Japanese society. Anyone who bothers to learn the language of their Asian girlfriend to interact with grandparents (i.e. Chris Charlton, Jack Layton) is immediately exempt from my raging discrimination.

On Monday we went to the Bluffs beach, except that a) it was scorching hot and b) we walked for about twenty minutes in the wrong direction. After arriving at the rocky beach, we celebrated our arrival by sitting in the shade for a while and occasionally saying "it's hot". Eventually I had enough and decided to go into the water. After some swimming, I discovered that having enough hair on my body to be considered fur is still not enough to prevent a sunburn. As a result, my back turned a nice shade of red. Didn't hurt though, unlike that time when I was ten and the skin just peeled off my back. Perhaps the hair held it together this time. So around 4 we packed up and headed to Scarborough Town Centre, to see a movie and then go stay at her friends'.

After getting off the subway at Warden (the train went out of service just one stop short of the transfer to Scarborough Town Centre!!!), we waited at the other platform to catch the next one. And then I saw what appeared to be a beach ball stuck between the rails. Hurrah for the TTC. I did like the driver's droning voice as he ordered everyone off the subway, though - "This train is NOT IN SERVICE. All passengers MUST EXIT. This train is NOT IN SERVICE. This train IS NOT IN SERVICE". Like his anger at us not getting off was just building and building to the point of explosion. We did get on the subway again and arrived at Kennedy with no problems, and I rode the Scarborough Rapid Transit for the first time. Again, I must point out how noisy the TTC vehicles are compared to the Japanese ones I usually ride. Perhaps Iwate will change my perspective, I don't know.

We saw Batman Begins, which I thought was good. We both thought it was amusing that Bruce Wayne's secret school in Tibet was staffed by men dressed like Japanese 忍者. Basically we enjoyed the air conditioning in the theatre a lot. After that we walked to the 曉楓園, an apartment complex probably better known as the Lee Corporate Centre (I think). They are populated mostly by Hong Kong/Guangdong Chinese, though I did see the occasional whitey and black person there. We stayed in a guest suite - if your friends are coming and you don't have room in your apartment, why, just stay in a room especially made for this purpose! At $40 a night it's cheaper and better than a motel - you just have to have 关系.

On Tuesday morning I headed out to Spadina (about an hour from Scarborough, I found out) and relaxed in a Second Cup with their "icepresso" concoction, mostly because Tim Hortons' ice-capp machines are always broken. More expensive but hey, I got a vanilla flavour. Anyway, I waited there for Chris to arrive, as we were going to meet Professor Austin at 12 for lunch. Our plan was to eat at a restaurant called the "Traditional Chinese Bun" at Spadina-Dundas. Since neither Chris nor I had been there before, we went early to try and find it. Good thing too - it took nearly an hour, since we looked everywhere BUT the corner it was on. Fortunately, I had decided to bring my dictionary, so after looking up the character for "bun" (包) and showing it to a woman selling phone cards, we were directed on our way. We then discovered the restaurant with its sign proclaiming that yes, the name of the place is "Traditional Chinese Bun" or 中华经典包子铺. Inside, we had absolutely delicious buns and 饺子, as the sign had said. Within, we bored the esteemed professor to death with pictures of our trip to Japan, but we were fortunate enough to see pictures of his house, which is a converted church. Kind of like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade but with a more rural Ontario setting. Afterwards, we headed to a shop that sold silver coins from the French Colonial period of Vietnam for a dollar, and we viewed some of the replica posters of 1930's Shanghai advertisements that were on sale for five. We all enjoyed the art.
I, of course, was more interested in the porcelain jars. And the Chinese complain that we Japanese are oversexed maniacs!
After that, we parted and I enjoyed my last night in Scarborough. My time in Canada is coming to a close ... only 14.5 days left before departure.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Seven Samurai


Wednesday, July 06, 2005



Sunday, July 03, 2005

バカな客(第三話)+ Throw Away the Aborted Child

This is for you, Chris. Another one today.

拙者:Would you like anything to drink before you decide?
太男:What beer do you have on tap?
拙者:Nothing. All we have is canned or bottled.
太男:What do you have that's draft?
太男 (thinks):Give me a list of all your German and Dutch beers.
拙者:We don't have any.
拙者:We have Japanese beer.
太男 (blank stare): ... I'll have a Perrier.

The following is a list of things I would like to impart to anyone going to a restaurant:

1. Read the menu.
2. Realize that "ethnic" (if that is even the right word) restaurants are only obligated to supply that specific food. For example, an Italian restaurant is not obligated to carry Greek beer or foodstuffs. If it did, it would be a Greek restaurant. Similarily, my Japanese restaurant does not have Chinese or German or Mexican beer, although the manager has some jasmine tea in the pantry because she likes it. If you want to eat Japanese food as your main course and drink German beer and snack on Thai spring rolls as an appetizer, go to some place with "international" or "worldwide" in the title.


Since anyone who wants to enter Japanese university has to pass the 外国人留学生大学院入試, I've decided to start studying my Japanese again instead of operating through osmosis at the restaurant. Gotta get my Level One of the 日本語能力試験 first though. I still have the book I used to pass level 2, so I'm using the level 1 section of it. Came across a really funny character though. I learned the word 廃棄, which means rejection or denunciation. I didn't know either character, so as usual I looked up the 解字 or how-to-understand-the-character guide. This is what I found for :

In English, that is:
Ideograph. "Upside-down child" or newborn babe + forceps + both hands. Use forceps strongly with both hands to remove the baby and throw it away.
Basically, the 棄 character, which by itself is すてる and means "to discard", is an ideograph of an abortion.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

It Continues to Become Awesome

The Race Queen has just emailed me saying she's passed the primary selection board to represent Japan at the next Miss International competition. Oh, and she's not interested in becoming a diplomat anymore. Nah, just being a career lawyer is good enough. After a short stint in modelling, anyway.