japanesedream_72: (happy)
When talking about the weekend, I barely know where to start. :P A little family time when I first arrived at my mom's was followed by a whirlwind of activity. We nipped out to shop for a bit, including picking up some humourous cards for my brother, Mark (whose b-day is today, 6/22! ^_^) & a couple of boxes of brownies from the bakery in lieu of a b-day cake, which might've been a bit heavy for a summer BBQ.

Mark's gotten quite a bit of work done on the house & yard. There's also a tire swing now, & a little pool for the kids. We all chatted & got to look around & see what's changed since our last visit, then played with the boys a bit, & gave Mark some goodies (my mom got some, too - it was kind of a joint party, since her b-day was earlier this month). Then he fired up the grill & we had a nice lunch, followed by birthday brownies (with candles & singing)!

The rest of the day involved other folks Mark knows - basically, friends, neighbours, & a couple of Danielle's relatives - popping in & out to enjoy the festivities (she, unfortunately, had to work). There was lots of tire-swinging & water action, the latter including Mark throwing Bridget (Mattie's girlfriend) into the pool! She & Mattie ganged up on him & (eventually) got revenge, LOL. XD

I took LOTS of shots & video! I've just finished converting all the videos (I shrank all the photos last night ~ these things always come out so huge with this kind of camera!) & sending them to Mark. Here is a small sampling. :)

Tire swing fun - Mattie helping Church, Trey, & Anthony figure out how they can all fit on there at once

The gang's all here - my mom, Bridget, Mattie, & Mark

Cute couple - Mattie & Bridget

Shenanigans - Johnathan dunks Anthony in the pool (Mattie lends a hand, literally; you can only see his arm)

Come on in, the water's fine - Church, Trey, & Anthony go for a swim

Chillin' - Johnathan watches Mark & his friend, Ken (who came with his daughters), as Anthony dives into a flavoured-ice cup...

...with adorable results!

As you can see it a bit in the second-to-last photo, above, my nephew has this green hooded towel, which I think makes him look like one of the Ugly Dolls (http://designsolutionstore.com/images/ugly_doll/ugly_group.jpg). We all agreed he was like something out of Where The Wild Things Are, walking around with it on, so we called him The Little Troll. I then took it upon my insane & artistic self to create The Troll Pictorial:

The Little Troll in his native forest

The Little Troll nervously watches a group of humans

The Little Troll is befriended by the children & is invited to play

The Little Troll finds love among human adults & is adopted

The Little Troll, enraptured by television

The Little Troll, all tuckered out from frolicking amongst his new people

The Little Troll, awake in the evening, spies some ladybugs in the back yard

Back to my mom's in the evening, though the twins & Bridget stayed over & came home on Sunday. My mom & I (or, at least, I) dozed off for a bit during the "House" marathon, then watched that re-re-make of "Night of the Living Dead" with Sid Haig (I mentioned it in my previous entry - http://japanesedream.livejournal.com/375820.html). Of course, we weren't tired after that, so we were up until about 4 am talking & watching tv. :P

Sunday, we did some more shopping; my mom picked up an outfit at a very good price. She'd already given me 2 skirts on Sat., so I didn't need to buy anything - I was gonna get some blackout curtains for the living room, but they don't seem to make curtains of any kind for large bay/picture windows anymore; you have to buy them 1 panel at a time, & it might take 5 or 6 to do a window like mine! XP

Can't remember if Johnathan showed me those videos (mentioned in my previous entry) on Sat. or Sun.; maybe a couple each day. XD I still had Diru's "Hageshisa..." video on my camera, & showed him that. Naturally, he liked it, but I was showing Bridget, too (on Sat., before we left for Mark's), & she said it sounded pretty good. ^_^

In any case, after we got back from shopping, we saw my mom's neighbour's brother, who chats with my mom when he's in town (he's a cross-country truck driver), & talked to him for a bit. Then we went in & had some lunch. I always bring a couple of DVD options for us to look at, so they watched Tetsuo: The Iron Man (http://www.mandiapple.com/snowblood/tetsuo.htm). They enjoyed it. They certainly couldn't say they've ever seen a film like it before! XD

Sadly, it was soon time to pack up & hit the road. What sucked was that, as soon as I pulled in my driveway, I turned to get one of my bags off the floor & WHAM!! I threw out part of my lower back!! XP It's better now than it was, but is still a little sore. I might go to chiro on Friday after work, 'cuz I want to be in good shape for the company picnic on Saturday!!

In other news...MONSTER's back on! :D I'll be happy to finally see how the story ends.
japanesedream_72: (gackt)

This is the theatre where we're going to see Diru next month. Plenty of places in the vicinity for food & lavatories. Which is especially helpful if you plan to sit in line for 6 or 7 hours.

It was very easy to locate, & there is some lovely architecture nearby. A church stands just across the street from the subway when you arrive on 23rd St. (& right next to the subway we'll have to take back). Here is a close-up of the archway. There was also the clock tower, on the same part of the block as the theatre. Once I got back to the Times Square area & hit my haunts, I took a slightly different route back to get to the subway (just on a whim; I'll be doing the usual the day of the show), & found this hotel. Groovy, ne?

While I forgot to stop in Sephora to get the make-up I'd run out of (I'm doing okay with my stand-in stuff, but I'll have to hit Menlo Park one of the weekends before the show, 'cuz that mall & the City are the only places where I can get it), but had a nice time looking around Kinokuniya & Book Off. There was a lot of stuff I'd have liked to buy, but things were SOOOOO expensive! They had some DVD's, live stuff from Diru & Vamps & a Hyde 'best of + concert video' set, all of which cost WAY too much, esp. when I'm saving my money for the Diru show. Thought I might find some CD's, but no joy. They still had Vamps' "Evanescent" single in Kinokuniya, but I still think $12 is too much to pay for 2 songs, one of which I already have. I was hoping something like the Kozi solo stuff or Gackt's "Crescent" might show up, but no sign of the former. The latter, they had on what might have been vinyl or some kind of album-sized laser-disc (it was in a case, so I couldn't tell; I just saw the word 'digital' on there), but I didn't know if I could play it or even afford it. They had "Machine Girl", but since I haven't seen it yet, I didn't know if it was worth $20. I found a cheap copy of "Pistol Opera" in Book Off, which I've been wanting to see for years - the visuals are so bold! - but it was a Japanese print, & I didn't think it had subtitles. They also had the "Moon Child" special edition, the DVD + commemorative book (I'm assuming it's the photobook I've swiped seen so many pics of on the 'net), but I already have the movie, & I didn't want to shell out $40 for the set. And that's to say nothing of the pretty, black & white Goth-Loli dress I saw in Kinokuniya...$375!!! Unless that thing has been on Mana's body, ain't no way I'm shelling out that much for any garment.

Looked at a few interesting books, too. There was a whole rack with J-zines featuring Gackt, for some reason. I know he's popular, & is in a lot of them, but so many at once! If only I could read better...they're a bit too pricey just to look at pretty pictures (pretty as he is, lol). Anywho, as per my M.O., checked out the GL Bible section; looks like they got a new issue (33, I think they're up to), & of course, Mana-sama was in it. Oddly enough, so was Courtney Love! (Understand, I adore Courtney, but it was really weird seeing her in that particular publication.) Also found a book called "Tokyo Gaikokujin" (Tokyo Foreigners), with pictures of the Japanese domeciles of foreign-born residents. There were Americans, Indians, all sorts. (*is jealous*) It was all in Japanese, so I couldn't tell too much about it (it was also expensive). Another book had these little cartoons, & it was written in both English & Japanese. Really funny stuff! It was called "You know you've been in Japan too long..." Strangely, a couple of the things in there already apply to me! I also learned there is a term for what I am: a henna gaijin. Gaijin or Gaikokujin means 'foreigner', but a henna gaijin is a 'wannabe Japanese'. And I definitely wanna be!

I'm always a bit sad & envious, but moreso sad, when I'm in those places, because my knowledge is so lacking. Even the things I can read seem overwhelming, 'cuz there's so MUCH that I can only glance at things (or I'd be there all night!), & what I can read, I have to read VERY slowly. But it gets balanced out by how comfortable I am there, & I just keep telling myself, "Someday." I hope I'm not lying to myself.

In any case, a gaijin dude I'd seen in one of the aisles at Kinokuniya recognised me when he saw me later in Book Off. I didn't get a chance to check the upstairs manga section at Book Off (I can't remember if they have English stuff up there or if it's all Japanese; I usually spend most or all of my time there mired in music & movies), but I couldn't find any Banana Fish. I did find out, though (at home, not in the City), that "Monster" might start showing on Sci-Fi/Syfy next week (they do Anime on Monday nights). Toshie said that's pretty good.

I got to use a little practical Japanese, though, in Chiyoda Sushi, where I absolutely had to go (after passing up buying the Kill Bill set for $14 - I might be able to get them cheaper in Princeton), as I hadn't eaten since breakfast & it was nearly dinner time, so I was getting a bit dizzy. They're really nice in there. Had a lovely meal of brown rice, pumpkin tempura, & these mixed vegetable batter-cooked thingies (not tempura, though; I don't know what you'd call them), with Calpis (a sort of milky soda) to drink. Picked up some foods for home, too - dorayaki (bean paste-filled wheat cake), daifuku (sort of marshmallowy things), hijiki onigiri (a rice/seaweed thing; hijiki is, I think, brown rice & dark seaweed), burdock with carrots & sesame seeds (burdock is some kind of root; I usually get either that or lotus root when I go there, whichever is available), & a dinner bowl of whitefish & other assorted yummy things over white rice. Oh, & another bottle of Calpis.

After that, it was back Penn Station to catch the train. I lucked out, 'cuz it started boarding 10 minutes early. I'd brought a book with me (Koji Suzuki's "Dark Water"), so I got in some reading on the way there & back.

And that was my day.

I have tv.

Jun. 11th, 2009 09:49 pm
japanesedream_72: (happy)
Picked up my new cable box tonight, & hooked it up. The DVD player is still in the back room, & the VCR's aren't hooked up to anything, but the box is, at least, working. It was giving me an error, but the screen had a phone number to call, which I did. They were very professional & helpful, & got it working within a few minutes. At least I've got my former channels back, like TLC, Spike, SciFi, Travel, even TCM (they're showing "The 7 Samurai" tonight)! I even get a little bit of on-demand. I don't get free movies like my mom, but I get something.

japanesedream_72: (Default)
(or, "It's a good thing you did that, a real good thing!")

Yeah, thank my mom for the tag lines there. ^_^ And for this mega-nostalgia trip clip! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ux3laLkueZk

That stemmed from our conversation when I called her to tell her about my day. Now I get to tell you:

So Michael, my friend from work, came over this morning, & I drove us down to the train station. Took the train into the City, & had a good, long walk. But, unlike my Japan Day experience, we actually found stuff without wandering very much, 'cuz he has a sense of direction! Took the subway up to 72nd, & walked around Central Park, or at least a nice portion of it. Actually hit a few spots I hadn't seen my previous time there, which, of course, required the taking of photos (Strawberry Fields was decorated today, too, so I also got a shot of that). Strayed a little off the beaten track at one point - we were going in the right direction but exited too early; it was okay, though, 'cuz I got to show him Columbus Circle (59th), & we walked up the rest of the way (back to 72nd). On the way, I saw a few nifty buildings I'd never seen before, & took pics of them. Passed the entrance to Tavern on the Green, too, which I'd never seen (though I didn't get a shot of that - it was only the sign). Went to lunch at Kumo Sushi, where we had bento (tried the Teriyaki Tofu one this time - YUM!) &, of course, green tea ice cream. My friend had never had that, & hadn't ventured into chopstick territory before, either (despite having had Japanese food before), so that was fun to introduce him to. He dug the food, & was very good with the hashi (sticks) for a first-timer. Also taught him a teeny bit of practical Japanese. :)

He was kind enough to pay for lunch (I offered to chip in for my half, but he wouldn't let me, so I left the tip), & we missed the majority of the rain - it was starting when we left the park, but I'd brought my umbrella; it poured while we were eating, but had almost stopped as we were leaving - & took the subway back to Midtown...where it started to pour again. As my umbrella wasn't quite large enough for 2 people to fit under comfortably, we stopped at a souvenir place & he found a nice, large one, which he bought. I showed him some landmark buildings/areas, like the Chrysler & Empire State bldgs., Times Square (including the theatre where I saw Diru, & where the line stretched - the restaurant where I had dinner that night isn't there anymore! It's a Levi's outlet now), Rockerfeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, NBC Studios, St. Patrick's Cathedral (which we went into for a minute; my first time in there - it's SOOOOOOOOO beautiful!! But I didn't take any pics 'cuz there was a wedding going on), Bryant Park (which we went in - I'd been outside it but never in it before), the NY Public Library, I can't remember any more. Took him, of course, to my haunts - Kinokuniya (where I showed him Mana's many appearances in the Goth-Loli Bible, as well as perusing various issues of CURE, one of which had an article on Jun's new project, another of which had an article on Riku's band, Chariots - including a very scrummy photo! But I saved my cash (don't think I wasn't tempted, though), showed Michael the CD & DVD section (no "Bara no Seidou", though I picked up a flyer for one of the Death Note live-action films), then made our way to Book Off - which they've rearranged! The same thing happened to me in Tower when I was in Shibuya. MUST be a Japanese thing. So I got promptly lost (I used to at least be able to go right to the L'Arc), but found a couple of my bands eventually, or should I say, where there stuff would've been if they'd had any. Took a gander at the anime & whatnot, debated whether or not to buy that Death Note soundtrack again (yeah, it was still there), decided against it (though again, tempted), & headed back to Times Square to check out Virgin Megastore. Didn't buy anything, but looked long & longingly at many things I would get if I could afford to get them all...

Back to Penn Station via the subway, where we ducked into Penn Sushi. I bought a bottle of green tea (which I think was the same brand I bought at Narita Airport when I landed in Japan), as well as some desserts I'm always itching to try but never do 'cuz I end up buying sushi &/or gyoza & shumai instead. But since I had sushi with my lunch, I went in for the mystery desserts today. There's a green cake thing (sort of rolled around a bit of cream), a brown cake thing that may or may not be stuffed with something, & green tea daifuku. (I saved the cakes but ate the daifuku a little while ago - they're like marshmallows! Very lovely!) Used my own bag, natch, & had a little conversation with the bishette who works there. I always see her when I go there, but haven't really spoken at any length with her. I can't remember who started it, it might've been my friend asking me what the word for delicious was for the umpteenth time (not that I minded - it's "oishii", in case you were wondering), & she said it, too. He asked if she were Japanese, but it turns out she's Korean. I used my Rirakuma bag, which she thought was cute, & she & another, older lady who I guess works there, too, or runs the place or whatever, were trying to read it (I knew it meant something + bear, but I just found out it means "relaxed bear"), & I was showing them the katakana. It was kind of a neat little moment.

We had some time before the train, so we wandered about a bit, looking at different shops & whatnot. Ran into one of the guys from work, Luis. We were introduced to his wife & son, & his parents - the latter were here on vacation from Puerto Rico, & Luis had taken them into the City to show them the sights. We chatted for a bit, then went on our way.

When it was finally time to board, we were on the niftiest train!! It was a double-decker!! I'd never even been aware that those things existed! The seats were like airline seats - more comfy, even! And there was a digital thing that noted the upcoming stops. It was so cool! Got into some conversation with a guy sitting across from us. Between throwing about tiny bits of French, talking cinema, & concocting the Great Cult Crossover - The Kiss Saves Santa Star Wars Xmas Special (Kiss, light sabers in hand, saves Santa from Darth Vader, who can't stand the sound of rock music) - it was a hoot & a half.

Back to the station, finally, & drove home. But the day isn't over yet. See, Michael used to live in Arizona, & got to know some of the Goth community there. You'd never think this person who is kind of soft-spoken, a chemist, a little nerdy-looking (& I don't mean that in any derogatory connotation whatsoever), who likes watching comedies, would be into music like Goth or metal. But he can actually dig that sort of thing, & was interested in hearing the Japanese take on it. So I'd had a few CD's in the car, & it was pretty intriguing (& fun) to see him react so positively to stuff like Dir en grey, Moi dix Mois, & Phantasmagoria! He asked about my J-rock colleciton, & if I had any video that he might be able to see. So I let him hang out for a little bit when we got back & showed him clips by Diru, Malice Mizer (Klaha era), Hyde, Gackt, & Mago. If I can figure out how to do it on this computer, now that my Music Match Jukebox seems pretty much defunct, I said I'd make him a sampler. (Worse comes to worse, I'll do it on audio-cassette.)

Said our good-byes after that, & he was off home. I called my mom, finished my tea & daifuku, & came on-line. Will probably pass out after Death Note.

EDIT: Photos!

Just a quick shot before company arrived.

Pretty picture by the water’s edge, Central Park.

Another pretty shot of the lake, Central Park.

Strawberry Fields, Central Park.

Teriyaki tofu bento from Kumo Sushi.

Grand Central Station, exterior.

Interior of Grand Central Station.

Japanese desserts - daifuku, sponge cake, bean paste cake. Please note, the sponge cake pic I had to nick off the ‘net since I forgot to take a photo of mine before snarfing it. ^_^

December 2013

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