Sunday, November 11, 2007


Recently, at my gym, there was a contest. Each time you went, you received a stamp on a card. After three stamps, you redeemed the card for a can of sport drink.

The first time I turned my filled card in, I received my sports drink and a note. It said:

There is a present when three points are collected.
Moreover, the BIG present is a hit in Secandchans.
Let's Try!

What they (probably) meant was:
Here is your present!
We are also entering your name into a second chance drawing!
Good luck!

So, I am deciding to give you all a secandchans...

My last game, name those cities, was mildly popular. Mildly.

For those of you who made an attempt (that'd be Aunt Jenni and Anonymous), you were both right or close on 6 of the 7, with Aunt Jenni edging out the (anonymous) competitor 6 correct guesses to 5:

Rosanzerusu (Los Angeles)
Nyu yoku (New York)
Rondon (London)
Ajia (Asia)
Yoroppa (Europe)
Osutoraria (Australia)

Neither of you got Burajiru, or Brazil. (duh...)

Now, as I sift again through my Japanese lessons, I am finding more everyday, familiar words that seem plainly out-of-the ordinary when translated into Japanese. So, if you think you're keen and sharp, give the secandchans a go:
Let's try!!

1. enjinia

2. robii (informal place)
3. Itaria

4. purezento
5. kado
6. enpitsu
7. terebi
8. chokoreto
9. kohii
10. takushii
11. biiru
12. Kurisumasu
13. sandoitchi
14. aisukuriimu

Good luck.

(and depending on the replies, there might be a thurdchans?)

Friday, November 09, 2007

Dear Mom and Gary,

I know it is going to be a year before you come to visit me in Japan, but there are a few things you'll need to know to help you get along. Since I've come, I've been collecting little tips for this exact reason, and I've decided to let you in on them a little early.

For starters, I will do my best to help you avoid Japanese toilets, but it is likely that before you leave, you will frequent a facility that does not care to take the more Western style into consideration. Please begin to practice for this now. The best tool to get you started? A spade and a 3x1x1 foot hole in the ground. Plus, I'll clue you in that it's much easier to use it if you face forward, not backwards. This is firsthand, tried-and-true knowledge on that that could save you some awkward embarrassment...

Raw fish isn't as bad as it looks. And it's much better than pretending what you are eating at Outback is anything close to what you'd expect to eat at Outback.

Mom: You are just going to love driving in Japan! Everything; the road, the steering wheel, all on the left side of the road. Just perfect for you southpaws! Imagine, for the first time in your life, reaching for the radio with your left hand. I bet it'll be a dream come true!

Garyls: The mailmen here are so friendly and courteous. Just like you! I'll see if I can't introduce you to a few...

There's no Dr. Pepper, or even diet cola. You'll have to do without. But there are lots of nice drinks you'll love. One, called Pocari Sweat, tastes just like it sounds. And green tea really is green and sometimes looks like powdered green chalk. I'm sure once you've tried it and gotten used to the pungent aroma, you'll really, really like it.

I hope you guys like soy sauce!

If you're really nice, I'll translate for you. Or, I just might sit back, watch you fend for yourselves, and laugh silently. (I guess it really depends on how many boxes of Cheerios you bring?).

Fortunately, at 165 centimeters, I don't stand out a whole lot. The bow-legged Japanese girls in heels keep up with me. But you two, measuring in at roughly 172 and 178 cm, well, you're screwed. The good news for me - when you get here, the little children at the shops will stop staring at ME so much...

Oh! I'm already so excited to see you both and welcome you to my part of the world! We'll have such a good time!


Saturday, November 03, 2007

A letter to my uncle

Dear Uncle Brad,

I think that eating hot dogs and enjoying them while getting pictures taken must run in the family.

I want to tell you, though, that when it comes to captured moments, you were much, much more graceful than me when YOU were photographed eating a hot dog.

That aside, though, I was much hungrier for this hot dog than you were. Much hungrier. So much hungrier for a hot dog, in fact, that on that day (which was today), I decided that that hot dog (and the accompanying Dr. Pepper) was the best food I had had in three months.

Let it also be known that Shizuko, my student photographer, was lucky to capture this shot only an instant before the whole thing went in my mouth and into my waiting belly without a single chew.

Aunt Barb would've been so proud, and not a bit shocked, to see truly how fast I ate that thing.

God I hate sushi.


your niece Wendy


My new love is Indian food.

Indian food. My new love is Indian food.

I can't get enough.

Sag curry, made of spinach, with cheese nan.

When we eat out at Indian, my meal costs as much as each couple, as I've made it a habit of buying two portions, one for lunch the next day. One weekend day I had Indian for breakfast and lunch (would've done dinner as well if I hadn't eaten it all during the first two meals).

When I told people that I've never eaten Indian food before, they were shocked. Then I told them I was from Iowa, and they understood.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

The ability to go...

I am mobile!

Blessed, blessed mobility!

Last month, I purchased a car on the same day that internet became available at my house. In one day I was twice as mobile as I was the day before. Then, a couple of weeks later, in my apartment, I finally got a cordless phone, which allows me to walk further than 1.5 feet away from the fridge when I'm talking to friends and family (very handy)!

The internet is great. It is fast, and lets me keep in touch earlier. I'll still pretend that I am too busy to write e-mails (wait, who's pretending?), but am more likely to get back to you sooner now. No excuses...

My car is a sweet little thing. It's a Honda Logo, a car which can't be bought in the States. It's small but mighty, and has a turbo engine. It has a lot of great little features, including CD sound, electric windows, heaps of space, and good gas mileage. A few weekends ago I went rafting, and my car was the one of choice, as it does well on petrol. I fit three large adults, plus myself, inside, with room to spare. And it goes super speedy. Pretty good for the tiny little thing that it is.

Helpful tip (and random tangent...) for driving on the left side of the road (disclaimer - only will work for me - don't try this at home): I just remember to drive on the side of the road that is the same as the wrist I have tattooed. Or, just follow the person in front of you and hope they're going to the same place you are...