is the name of my favorite TV program over here (in Japanese it’s 魔女の２２時 or “Majo no Nijuniji”). Every Tuesday at 10pm, I run into our tatami room and turn on the TV knowing that it’s going to be an enchanting hour. And no, it’s not some run-of-the-mill show about the supernatural or some shit like that (I had to curse there for alliterative effect. Please forgive). It’s so much better. Just watch!
As you can see, the “witches” here are just normal ladies who discover some magical solution to their beauty dilemmas and then go on national TV to share their secret! In this particular episode, a Korean woman living in Japan becomes so stressed out by her job that her skin goes all kinds of bonkers and she starts to grow a third eye (I might have mistranslated that last bit). Then all of a sudden, her friends and students start telling her that her skin looks gorgeous and they want to know what she does to it and tell them now, now, now! She realizes that it must be the leftovers she’s been eating of the Korean soup she makes for her habitually hungover husband. The “Pugoku,” which takes 3 minutes to make, (Here it is. I know you want it.) has transformed her skin and now it’s baby soft and “puru-puru” (like “purin” or pudding- that’s a good thing).
Oh, and the reaction when she makes her big reveal? They do that on every single show. Don’t you just love the collective “EEEEEEEEEEEHHH??!!”? And if you’re very observant you’ll see that Haruna Ai, the woman I love and have written about before, is a member of the panel. So many reasons to watch! What are you doing still reading this silly blog? Get your very intelligent and attractive selves over to YouTube right now for some more witch watching.
As far as I’m concerned, there are few things in this world more entertaining than watching someone put their makeup on. And the lovely ladies of Pixiwoo (who are sisters by the way- love that!) produce the most amazing makeup tutorials I have ever seen. I guarantee they will awe and inspire you and you will spend the weekend watching every single video.
Yeah yeah, I know I haven’t written in a couple of weeks. Or months. Or almost a year. Oh, what is time really? It’s just so abstract. Let’s ask Stephen Hawking.
So, I won’t bore you with what has been happening over here in Japanland (read: I’m too lazy to tell you what has been happening over here in Japanland). No, but really not much. Fall came and went, a particularly harsh winter wintered itself all over the place making every living thing incredibly cranky and curse happy. Spring arrived last month and brought with it cherry blossoms and drunken crowds of flower gazers passed out beneath the pink canopies of the trees. A new school year started which means there’s a new batch of 1st grade students who are so adorable it’s almost painful.
Golden Week (the spring break of Japan) graced us with her 3 day presence and my husband and I took his parents up to Nagano to see family. What a beautiful place and his extended family were so warm and welcoming. (Not surprising. He comes from good people). We stayed in an onsen town at a traditional Japanese inn. A fabulous time was had by all. Here are the pictures to prove it:
Love Like Fire is a band started by our (yes, that is the royal “we”) buddies Dave and Ann. This is the latest off of their soon-to-be released (right Dave?) album.
If you haven’t already, push the play button.
Okay, now that you too are in love with it, tell everyone you know. A tune this catchy and gorgeous should be shared.
Alright. I’m off to find a way to install it into every karaoke machine across Japan.
And the living is easy. But let me tell you, the heat. Oh, the heat! I can’t even muster the energy to describe to you just how sticky-icky-icky it is right now.
Yeah. So in the interest of not drowning in a pool of my own sweat from the strain of typing, please enjoy some summer in Japan snapshots:
This is Haruna Ai. She’s a TV personality and singer and the cutest thing to come out of Japan since Hello Kitty. Here, she’s pretending to be Jin Akanishi’s ex-girlfriend (he’s a member of the hugely popular boy band Kattun). Watch the clip and you’ll see why I am totally in love with her.
Alright. Now get this: Miss Haruna was actually born a boy. She’s a post-op transexual. Yeah, I know.
Around here, lads turned into ladies are called “newhalfs.” Quite a few of them are featured on Japanese variety shows and let me tell you, these gals bring the pretty like you wouldn’t believe.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I feel the sudden urge to go put on lots of lip gloss.
(Before I begin, let me just say that dang, it has been a long ass time since my last update. That straight perm seeped into my brain and made me so melancholy that all I could think to write were lyrics to Smiths songs and quotes from Wuthering Heights.)
I’m sorry Anthony Bourdain. I know you’re one of my biggest fans and never miss a post. But this one? You ain’t gonna like it. Brace yourself.
I love sushi made by machines.
That’s right. Not painstakingly crafted right in front of me by expert hands, but put together by a cold, hard lump of steel placed on top of a counter somewhere in the restaurant kitchen.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I truly do appreciate the art of sushi and admire the mad skilled sushi masters whose work I have had the honor of witnessing and tasting.
Machine sushi is where it’s at man.
My reasons for making such a bold statement?
It’s entertaining. Look at all those pretty plates floating by. It’s a sushi merry-go-round! Wheee! What fun!!
Don’t like what you see? Simply press a button and order what you want, silly! Mr. Machine will manufacture it for you and send it out on the conveyor atop a plate with your table’s designated color. Exciting!!
Then, when you are completely sated with fishy goodness, push the handy-dandy bell button for an actual person to come count up your plates and hand you the check. Oh the suspense!!
Okay sure, I’ll admit it. Sushi produced by chrome claws may lack the delicacy of nigiri made by super adept sushi chefs. But to me, it’s still pretty damn good. And when the bill for 2 people comes out to less than $30? You better believe I’ve found my new favorite food factory, er, restaurant.
Mr. Bourdain, I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.
For your viewing pleasure (I hope that’s all), here are some pics from my latest visit to the salon (“Nambu”) for a touch-up and a trim.
Her name is Imoto. She travels around the world for a show called “Itte Q” wearing a school girl’s uniform and Groucho eyebrows. When the weekend goes by too fast (as it always does), I know I can count on her to ease my Sunday blues.
In this particular episode, Imoto is in Jamaica. It’s magical in so many ways. Watch it. Her lust for life is the cure for what ails you.
Mid-March in my neck of the woods means the sun is showing up, but there’s still some wind hanging around to bite you in the face for fun because it has nothing better to do. It’s always such a relief to walk into the teacher’s office first thing in the morning and be greeted by a blast of hot air. The classrooms are heated as well, so there’s not a whole lot of suffering happening now amongst the kids besides the usual teen angst. However, there is a rather large room that does not have heat available: the school gym. And normally, this is fine. Students work up a sweat playing basketball and twirling batons. They don’t need no stinking heat. But hey, guess where the graduation ceremony is going to be held on Friday? Yep. As the dress code is very formal, I’m thinking it would be frowned upon if I show up wearing a ski suit, so I’ve had to come up with a new strategy.
Meet my cute new friend that I picked up at the local 100 yen store (that’s the dollar store to you and me). She’s a cat. She’s pink. She has velcro behind her head where you can insert one of those hand warmer thingies (called “Kairo” in Japan). She’s going to be my date for graduation. We’re going to have a real good time together. I’ll hold her in my hand, place her on the back of my neck, put her in my shirt, and maybe, just maybe, she’ll get lucky and find herself in my pants.