Friday, November 16, 2007


Japanese hair salons are fancy. I'm talking fancy-shmancy. You get head and shoulder massages, beverages and snacks served to you while your hair is getting trimmed, and all sorts of high tech equipment used to dry, mist, and wash your hair. I don't go. Well, I went once. I said to the man, do something exciting and fun. Something new. And I ended up with this:

But it was worse because he actually shaved the sides of my head. I smiled, paid, and cried on the car ride home.

I take J though. He doesn't like the old barber shops they have here and because of an unfortunate ear incident a couple years ago, I'm not allowed near him with a pair of scissors. So he goes. Occasionally.

Yesterday was the day. I took him to his usual place only to find out the guy who always cuts his hair quit. We were bummed. He was a nice kid. But there is this new guy. So fine. I sit down on the other side of the room and read and sneak glances. I watch as he gets his hair washed, shaved, trimmed. Someone comes and gives him candy. He then gets his hair re-washed. He sits back down for the re-trimming when one of the girls who works there walks up. She is all sexy with black kohl eyeliner and stilettos and a mini skirt up to here. Now, you must keep in mind J is twelve and at the girls-are-yucky stage.

She saunters up to him and hands him what looks like menu. He reads, hesitates, orders. She leaves and comes back and sets a pump bottle of something down on the table. Hmmm. They talk a few seconds and then I see him carefully stick out his hand from underneath the cape and I watch as the girl oils up her palms and begins to give him a hand massage. I suppress a giggle. She massages all the way up to his elbow and then goes to the other hand/arm before click-click-clicking back to the other side of the room. Gradually the overwhelming smell of coconuts reaches my nose.

After we paid and were on our way home J asks me if I saw what happened. I pretend I didn't. He explained it like this: "You wouldn't believe it. They hand me a menu with names like, Rose and Cucumber and Herb and I was like, Who wants to drink a cucumber? I mean where's the orange juice? I finally picked the the only thing that looked drinkable, coconut and mango."

He smells his hands and goes. "Guess they don't serve coffee anymore."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

AW Chain Number Twelve

Kate over at Finding Brodie wrote a perfectly hilarious post about writing and why people do it. She talked of sadistic editors and masochistic writers, about how despite low income, a potential for alcoholism and probable depression writers still gotta write.

So while I agree, I thought I'd flip the coin and talk about my own personal demon, why I don't write.

The house has to be clean, the dog walked, and the dishes washed. I usually vacuum, shower, and hang out laundry as well. It's like some great routine that starts the moment my family leaves the house in the morning and lasts up to two hours. Eventually though it does get finished and I can sit down at the computer. However, invariably the phone rings, a cat meows, or an e-mail falls into the box. Yesterday's interruptions included a man going door to door selling bread out of the back of his truck, a nap, and a woman on the phone wanting to sell me underwear -- she said she'd bring it to my house if I was interested.

It's always something.

I find it takes a different kind of concentration to write. When studying I read, jot down notes, re- read. But with writing I mull stuff over, I have that all-powerful 'What If...' forever nipping at my thoughts and steering me into new directions. I hit walls and come back. But what really amazes me is how when things get tough my mind will forever find some errand to save me from the task at hand, did I feed the newts? open the upstairs windows? water the flowers?

Like just now, I look over and see that the dog has climbed the cat tower and is trying to get my attention. Awwww. So I have to find the camera, take a picture, upload it, resize it...

Here are a list of the other participants. In Chain Twelve I hear we're all wearing black and white stripes this time!
Virginia Lee: I Ain't Dead Yet!
Playing With Words
A View from the Waterfront
A Thoughtful Life
Gillian Polack: Food history
So, You Majored in Creative Writing; Now what?
Life in the Middle
Finding Boddie; A Simple Way to Snort Your Breakfast
Kappa No He

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Tokai Earthquake Preparation

I do a little local radio show once a week. One of the main purposes is to help inform all English speaking expats who live in the Shizuoka area about the predicted Tokai Earthquake. It's supposed to be huge, devastating. In this area a big one hits every 100 to 150 years and here we are at like year 153 now. "Any day now" seems to be the mantra of Shizuoka-ites.

There are all sorts of ways to prepare, but here is a fun one. A friend and fellow radio DJ brought this if for one show.

It's toilet paper that has printed on each little fluffly square some tid-bit about earthquake preparedness.

Here it says that gasoline stands are built to withstand enormous earthquakes and they might be a good place to run if things start falling. Yea, right.

On this little piece it gives you a list of provisions you should have packed away in your Earthquake Bag. Things like: duct tape, food, flashlights, batteries, gloves, wet tissues, drinking water, and undy pants.
And this darling tells you that you should buy or make an emergency toilet.

I said this joke on the radio when we aired this show and I don't think I've been very funny since. It went something like... "So when you're sitting on the toilet waiting for the Big One you can read and learn all about the Big One."

Ba dum dum!