Once Upon a Tanbo

Archive for November 2007

Feeling a bit in the mood for something different, this post is an
interview, from the lovely Illahee.


1) Where is your favorite place on Earth?

My favorite place on Earth.. wow, thats tough. I would have to say
maybe London or maybe just all of England in general. Since my dad
is/was British (hes American now) I used to go there a lot when I was
little. And I love the atmosphere there. The food, the scenery, the
people.. I was back before I left for Japan and I really loved it. If I
hadn’t met Ryohei and decided to settle down here, it would have been a
place I would have wanted to live for a while.

2) What do you like most about yourself? The least?

I like that I am a very easy-going person. Its easy for me to roll
with the punches and I’m pretty lax on people, actually probably too
much so, Im also very optomistic which can be helpful, and I think is
one of the things that keeps me sane here. As for things I don’t like..
I think I might be starting to become a control freak. I plan so many
things, I have a little memo book with all of my plans in it that I have
to count daily and then when it comes to taking trips etc I have to have
everything all planned out espicially with transportation etc. I also
think that I am a little too thrifty. I probably spend way less than I
could and live just fine. But its always like I’m saving up for
something but I really have nothing in mind.

3) Do you have a secret hiding place for treasures? What’s in it?

Ohh.. Hmm, not really unless you can’t my apartment where just tring
to find socks and other items of clothes is a daily adventure. When I
was younger I had books that I would put special toys and letters from
penpals and friends in. I also think I hid my diary in there. I wish I
had more secret treasures in Japan but they are all somewhere in my moms
garage back in California.

4) What is your favorite Japanese food, and can you make it?

I love Niku jaga and I just learned how to make it!! I really should
have tried a long time ago but since I’ve been living alone for so long,
making food has not always been high on my agenda. Of course now that
will be changing so I also have to adapt to that. Ryohei hates western
food (lucky me) so from here on out my menus are going to mainly be
washoku.. I also love okonomiyaki and I am thinking about getting a hot
plate so that I can make table top okonomiyaki.

5) Are you a morning person or an evening person? Do you wish you
were the opposite?

If you look up evening person in the dictionary my name and picture
would be there. I am the classic night owl. Ever since I was a kid and
my parents would put me to bed and I’d still be up reading next to my
nightlight 2 hours later. I am sooo bad at morning. I am very very
grumpy for about the first half hour to hour after I wake up. If I wake
up naturally I am fine.. however my normally waking up naturally time is
about 9 or 10am so thus with work, that doesnt really go well. So yes,
it would be nice to be the opposite, I think I would be much more
healthy as well.

Ok well thats a wrap!! Thanks so much Illahee for the questions! They
were really interesting and a nice change of pace from what I usually

Ok blogging world!

Now it’s your turn. If you want to be interviewed, leave me a comment
including the words “Interview me.” I will respond by emailing you
five questions. I get to pick the questions. If you don’t have a valid
email address on your blog, please provide one. You will update your
blog with a post containing your answers to the questions. You will
include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the
same post. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask
them five questions.


Hey blogging world.. its been a while!
I think its been over a week and a half since I last blogged. Of course
with how crazy its been over the last week I haven’t even had time. I am
feeling incredibly stressed out, and considering what I nice week I had
with Ryohei I feel like I shouldn’t be.

I flew out to Tokyo two Fridays ago for a conference and then Ryohei and
I flew back to Kobe last Friday for Thanksgiving and general relaxing
here in Kobe. It really was a good trip. It was a decent conference and
it was a break from the office atmosphere and Thanksgiving was
delicious. Last year I celebrated with some JET friends but this year I
went up to Osaka to a house that had an oven thus.. real turkey and real
pumpkin pie. It was four international couples. 2 married, 2 dating with
either American or Japanese nationalities. Over all it was very fun! We
even played old fashioned Milton Bradley games like “password” note..
not the best if your teammate doesn’t really speak English.

I realized that Ryohei’s level is quite lower than most of my friends
DH/DBF levels. This is probably because a lot of other couples I know
seem to do half/half or more English but we’ve constantly been doing
J-go for the past over a year. This is great for me.. but I wonder how
its going to be when we have kids. I feel like if the husband speaks a
decent amount of fluent English and the kids can hear it from both
parents they will obviously have a better grasp of the language right?
Obviously I dont have kids yet, but I still think about. Actually.. we
went to visit Mandy and her baby (hes soooo cute by the way) and Ryohei
was holding him and my bosei (maternal instincts) are just throbbing. No
no no no…. at least not until Ryohei gets a (good) job. I must control myself since
lol.. we aren’t even married yet.

Well, we will be pretty soon. We’ve decided to “up” the date when we
turn in our paperwork etc. So now we are thinking late February. We are
both quirky like that so we are considering Feb. 29th since it happens
once every leap year. We normally just celebrate our anniversary as when we
became a couple, so having a big “wedding anniversary” only every 4
years seems nice. Like I said, most people I’ve run it by seem pretty
flabbergasted, I think its cool.. (i am so unromantic ;_; )

Anyways.. this week is just stress. Stressball stress.
Not only do I have to de-get used to being with someone, thanks 10 days
of being together. But I have a huge project at work culminating on
Friday and Saturday where I will be working crazy overtime and also the
JLPT on Sunday which I feel very unprepared for although I have been
studying it just feels like its not sticking.. add to the fact that
Friday and Saturday = no studying time.. and yah. I realize that I wont
learn that much more in the last 2 days, but I’ve always had a decent
procrastinator memory. I realize even if I fail this year its not the
end of the world.. but it just sucks to have to wait a whole year to
even get a chance again.

So yah.. sorry this time is boring. I just feel the stress dripping off
me. Ah.. I’ll write more about the Ryohei situation too.. he’s
(supposedly) handing in his resignation today which means that
officially from New Years on he’s mine well on Sundays that is, Monday
through Saturdays he belongs to school.

Ok ok.. Im going I swear!


Posted on: November 13, 2007

The last few days have really sped by.. some of it was ok, and some of
it was just not good.

Theres a lot of stuff going on inside my head at the moment, so todays
journal may not be very coherent but I need to collect al my thoughts so
bear with me.

(1) So Ryohei is 100% moving in with me the first week of January. All
this planning has happened in the last week or so and its a lot to
process! All the details aren’t entirely clear but for all intense
purposes, he will be quitting on December 21st and moved out of his
Tokyo apartment by December 27th. From there he will go to Niigata to
spend New Years with his parents (I will be joining from the 28th or
29th) and then we will return to “our” apartment around the 3rd or 4th
of January. His Komuin classes will start on January 7th.

(2) In have a work conference in Tokyo next week so I will be heading
there on Friday night to see Ryohei for that weekend. We are planning to
go to the ramen museum in Yokohama!!! Im really excited about that. My
conference is Monday through Weds. but since Friday is a national
holiday, I am just taking the whole week off to spend there. On Friday,
Ryohei and I are flying back into Kobe to celebrate Thanksgiving in
Osaka.. and he’ll stay with me and probably start moving some stuff in
until that Sunday. So I get 10 straight days of Ryohei!! Of course in
less than 2 months now, I’ll have all Ryohei all the time, but still I
haven’t seen him for about 3 weeks now and I’m starting to get.. weird.
I always do after a certain amount of time has passed. I know that I am
very lucky to have gotten to see him as much as I have during these 10
months that we will have spent apart. The longest that we will have had
to go without seeing eachother has only been 26 days or so. Which really
isn’t too long.. if we had waited until Spring to move in together it
would have been quite a bit longer though. (I’m pretty excited about
this except for one thing)

(3) One of the only minuses to Ryohei coming to Kobe is that he has
pretty much no source of income, nor does he plan to for the first 4,5
months that hes here. Which pretty much means that most of the financial
burden is on me. Its not really that I mind, I just hope that it doesnt
become a source of tension, I may make him get a part-time job, although
I know that will pretty much kill him since hes going to run out of the
savings that hes made pretty quickly between paying for school, train
pass, phone bill etc. I’ve told him I can take care of rent and
utilities and food for the most part. But, there isnt going to be much
fun in the S&R household until after the spring. The only thing that I’m
really bothered about is that we were planning to go and introduce him
to my family in America in March and we will most likely not be able to
now. But I haven’t been home in almost a year and a half and I think
maybe even if I got alone I might just have to go home for a week. But..
I really want to introduce him to my family espicially since we are
getting married next year.

(4) So many people are sick.. a lot of the people in my section at work
are sick and coughing and clearing their throats. I have been lucky not
to get a winter cold yet and I pray that if I have to get one, that it
wait until after the JLPT to hit. But, with all the sick people at work
it is making me paranoid.. please body!! Just hold out another 2,3
weeks, then you can be sick all that you like!!!!

This has been a pretty relaxed week..

I visited Mandy in the hospital yesterday! She looked very tired but
happy, baby Toshi is so cute and small!! I haven’t seen a newborn
forever so it was almost frightening to touch him, but he was so good
and hardly cried at all! Mandy affectionately referred to me as his
godmother, and although that doesnt really have a lot of weight to it in
this country, I was still really touched by her gesture! I guess I have
to spoil my “godson” every once and a while from now on.

Starbucks FINALLY released the winter drinks!! I decided to splurge and
order a Grande Gingerbreak Latte! It was very very yummy and put me in a
holiday mood, but it was too big! Haha I guess I’ve gotten used to living in Japan! I used to get big Starbucks lattes back home
all the time. Oh well, getting a just a tall saves me money and calories so I’m

This afternoon was beautiful. Theres a park next to my work
which has a memorial to all the people who died in the Hanshin-Awaji
Earthquake 12 years ago. Its under a waterfall and very pretty and
sometimes I go down there just to look at all the names and feel.. I
both relaxed and sad at the same time. So today I went down to take a
look there were some flowers and a
note set out in front of one section. The flowers were a birthday present to a man
who died during the earthquake. The note talked about how his
grandmother was still healthy and that they had his favorite coffee and
mr. donuts donuts in celebration of his birthday. At the end it was
signed, from your mom.. Ahh.. it was so sad.. I couldnt stop the tears
rolling down my face, at that moment a salaryman walked in and just
stared at me – the crying gaijin – and I felt so embrassed so I
left but I couldn’t stop my tears. I still had time left before
my break was over I went to the other side of the park and watched the
giant water fountain. The sky was so blue and the wind was crisp and
beautiful and I had one of those moments where you really do feel
thankful to be alive and to be here in this world. Sometimes these
moments of clarity just hit and make me feel like I have to appreciate
all the time I have here and live each day I have to my best ability. I
get so sad and depressed espicially about the LD thing, but I have a lot of other things that I should be
happy and thankful for.

I guess this post is a little early for Thanksgiving, but I really am
thankful to be here and have all these good things going for me. I need
to remember this feeling!

So this was an eventful weekend. And then at the same time I feel like
nothing really happened at all. I woke up Saturday morning feeling awful
I don’t know if it was the cold going around my office or exhaustion,
but I had a fever and could barely get out of bed without feeling dizzy.
I was supposed to meet up with one of my friend Ana in Osaka that
afternoon and had to cancel since I didn’t know if I would like through
the journey. I decided to sleep it off and ended up taking a very long
nap in the afternoon. I’m wondering if it was just exhaustion from the
last week because when I woke up I felt fine so I called her to see if
we could reschedule but it ended up not working out so I decided to just
relax at home for the rest of the evening.

However about an hour late I got a call from my other friend Mandy
(fellow californian!) who is over 9 months pregnant. Her husband was at
work and she was having light contractions so after talking for a while
I decided I would go over to her house and wait with her until her
husband go home. He wasnt due home for about 3 more hours but at 7ish
she started getting more intense and frequent contractions and decided
to call her doctor, after talking to him she decided to call her husband
home from work and we all went to the hospital together. She was told
that she wasn’t dialated(spelling?) enough yet but she chose to spend the night
there anyways and I left for home.

So she called me the next morning to tell me she gave birth to a healthy
baby boy, Toshi. She sent me a picture and he is so adorable!! I’m going
to visit them in the clinic on Wednesday. I’ve never had a close friend
with children before so I’m looking forward to having a little one to dote on until I am in the position to have one of my own!

But yay Congrats
to Mandy and Nobu on their beautiful little boy!

Ok.. so Sunday is usually the one day a week when Ryohei and I actually
get to talk. And he had gone out the night before with some of his old
sempai from his college days and told them about his work situation and
they had told him, you should just get out of there as early as
possible.. and of course since his Japanese sempai told him this he is
now seriously considering it. So he called his parents to talk to them
about it, and apparently his dad got really upset and wouldnt hear him
out at all and told him that if he didn’t work harder at his company
that I would leave him. So Ryohei was obviously pretty upset.
And then I was upset, so far I have a pretty good relationship with his
parents so I would hate to be out of their good graces espicially before
we get married. I am just afraid that they are going to think this
American came in and poisioned their oldest sons mind with dreams of
becoming a komuin and etc.. apparently his dad thinks that he won’t pass
the exam and that by quitting his job now he will be doomed to be
jobless and poor forever. So Ryohei in his fit of rebellion told me now
he has extra motivation to pass the test so that he can prove his father

Anyways blame it on PMS, or blame it on me just being a bitch.. but I
got really upset and was pretty much just crying and feeling like crap.
And then I said some inappropriate things and made him cry and then I
snapped out of being a bitch and apologized and then we both calmed
down. I am usually a really calm nice person but before my period I get
so emotional and I tend to be way overreactive.. usually Ryohei is ok
with it, even used to it.. but I think the whole thing with his Dad got
to him so both of us were pretty boro-boro over the whole evening. But
as always things are fine with us now.. we both just need to vent
sometimes, and once its done its done. Thats one of the things I love
about him, neither of us will hold a grudge. Just get out the dirt and
get over it and move on to better things. But in conclusion, Ryohei is
considering leaving his job earlier than planned and moving in with me. The earliest
he could leave would be right before new years, so about another two months. We’ll probably talk
about it more when I go to my conference in Tokyo in two weeks and see him.

Back to the Monday drag!

I am one of those lucky individuals whoses moods are easily influenced
by the weather. In particular bad weather. Today I woke up to grey skies
and a slight pitter patter of rain. The main thing I hate about rainy
days is waking up to them. I like to lay in bed listening to the
soothing rain sound and be lulled back into a deep sleep, not so much
the case on a Thursday morning where I still had to shower, make a
packet of Chai tea, and get dressed/ready for work.

Despite these obstacles I was off to work and everything was ok, but
then I realized I left my cellphone in my apartment. Since I had just
left the building I decided to go back and get it.. thus adding an extra
4 minutes to my journey and causing me to miss my usual train. However
the train after it is still ok to get to work on time, just a little
more stressful since I usually like to arrive a few minutes early.

I’m starting to get more and more annoyed with the whole fingerprinting fiasco that will
be starting in Japan as of the 20th. It makes me so frustrated, and
although I am planning to send a letter and complain, I fear that it
will be a long time until things anything will be done. I’m not planning
to take an international trip until March so maybe the government will
have started to take some sort of actions by then to reacify what is
sure to be a disaster. For me personally the inconvience of waiting in
lines will be about it (besides the feeling of being degraded just because I wasn’t
born Japanese) but by not even offering benefits to those with PR or
Japanese children…. I hope that they rectify this or abolish the whole thing altogether. (yah right)

The thing is I really like living here.. I’ve thought about, oh what if
I moved back to the states, but honestly at this point there isn’t
really anything driving me to do it. I suppose if I could find a good
job.. but I know anything I want would be out of my league at this
Besides the fact that I wish I could find clothes that fit properly (I have a white girl ghetto booty), and I
wish I could eat international food more often.. I really like
living in Japan. Even if I got a job back at home I would really want
one that would allow to travel back here often.

Anyways, I’m just feeling down. And the gloomy rainclouds outside my
office windows aren’t helping.

I’m so tired of being alone. Every morning I wake up alone. Every night
I go to bed alone. I can talk to a small video box on my screen for
however long I want but its not the same. And its not going to change
for another 4 months. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like things are ever
going to work out and we will be in this holding pattern forever. The
days when we actually lived close enough to see eachother every weekend
seem far and unreal, like they were just a dream. And, the time we spend
together now is so fleeting and also feels unreal. I want the real
thing. I want the coming home and having a person, and the fights and the making up,
and the little things that annoy you, and making dinner for two, and watching a movie to relax and falling asleep halfway through
and mostly not feeling so alone all the time.

Ryohei really is a great boyfriend. But its not great, because hes not
here. And no amount of talking on video chat is going to make me feel
any different. I’m pathetic..