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Thursday, November 29, 2007

My supermarket, an endless source of delight!

I've had a few pictures on my phone that I've been meaning to post so I figured I'd get them all up now.

Have I mentioned the giant fruit? Like, size-of-a-small-child's-head giant fruit? It seems to be the fresh produce of choice here. It's difficult for you to fully appreciate the scope of these gargantuan growths from my crappy cell phone pictures, but I'll try anyhow.



I have quite small hands and a fair size laptop.

This little baby is a sweet potato thing that was brought to a private lesson I teach by one of the students.


It was insanely purple, but tasted like potato and was a little bit... bacon-y? It had kind of a smokey-ness to it anyhow. It confused me a little at first because apparently it's called satsuma, which in England is a small orange/tangerine (called mikan in Japan). Delicious, but disconcerting due to my brain screaming at me that it should taste totally different every time I put a spoon of it in my mouth.

Next up, nothing says Christmas like フライドチキン (fried chicken)!


Actually, some one told me that people tend to eat fried chicken at Christmas here. New Year is the traditional family time, but Christmas was just sort of imported by companies here. KFC make a big deal of it I think? It's become a time to eat order cake and eat chicken with friends/significant others. There's Christmas music in stores and a little section of decorations and things, but I don't think many people really celebrate it though. I don't get time of work for it (well, I do because I booked it off for Thailand, but technically).

Hope every one's Thanksgiving went well (oh you Americans and your practice Christmas!).

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ranting, oh the ranting.

I got a lovely comment from Megan on my last entry that left me wracked with guilt that I hadn't 'come clean' with you all a week ago.

Things have been very, very bad, and I'm a little depressed. Possibly (now I look at it) not in that order.

If any of you have lived abroad for an extended period of time, you'll know exactly where I am. That point where the honeymoon is over, and everything that seemed exciting and new and wonderful seems is just hard. Usually I try and keep non-food related Japan things in my other blog, but given where my head's at, it's all related.

Little things set me off. I walked to the store to get groceries and I couldn't get money out of the ATM even though it was open (Japanese ATMs are a rant I will save for my other blog but God...). Annoying, but no problem because I have my credit card. Half way through my shopping I remember that Japan, arguable the most technologically advanced country in the world today, seems to have some sort of objection to anything that isn't cash, which means that I'm going to have to ask if they accept cards. The store was really busy and I was going to have to ask one of the people at the cash register, which was painfully embarrassing because it meant I couldn't find a quiet corner to spit out my pseudo-pig-Japanese (and accompanying mime act). The closest I could manage to the sentence I needed to say was karedito karedo... ii desu ka? (credit card, is it ok?), which made me feel even worse because I've been in Japan almost 4 months and I can't string together a basic sentence? How fucking stupid must I be?

So I interrupt the woman at the cash register and it's worse than I imagine because she starts babbling at me and the only word I understand is genki (cash), and I'm hearing ka a lot which means she's asking me questions but I can't answer them, and eventually I have to be rude and just walk away from her else I'll burst into tears in front of the people waiting for her to get back to her job.

Eventually I call my friend, have a meltdown over the phone, get the proper sentence (Karedito karedo de haruii imasu ka Can I pay by credit card?) and manage to catch a kind loking older employee who is returning the baskets. After a smile and a karedito karedo ja nai from him, I abandon my cart in the corner and leave the store. Because of course, the large, chain-store, 24 hour supermarket doesn't accept cards. Of course, what was I thinking? AARRGH!

Food has been ridiculous. I have eaten myself to the point of sickness almost every night this week. A few days ago I was feeling especially bad because it was the first day of my period so feeling sick and over full felt even worse, and I actually had to stop talking to a friend on IM because the slightest mention of food was going to send me crawling to the bathroom.

On top of that the temperature dropped really quickly and I was completely unprepared in terms of clothes. Which led to me having to order things online because I'm too fat for Japan. I do realise that this is true for pretty much every westerner, but it's not good for my poor, already bruised ego.

This morning I woke up and the world had settled into a strange and uncertain calm, the same as you get after you've had a huge fight with someone and now that it's over you're left sort of circling each other warily, unsure of your reception.

I bought a nice cleansing face wash to help my recent (but given the circumstances not entirely unexpected) terrible skin. Bad skin always makes me feel so ugly, especially as I have trouble finding the right shades of make up here so I can't cover it. I am going to make special efforts to use it, and remember to take of my make up and moisturise before bed. My new coat arrived today so hopefully the walk to school won't be so miserable from now on. The Japanese also don't believe in insulating their houses, so it's been bitter cold in my apartment too. The walls shake a little when the wind blows hard, it's not reassuring. I've decided to focus on just heating one room of my apartment and then running very quickly to bed at night. The heater is dehydrating me so I'm going to try and drink more water. I need to clean the house again today, I always feel worse when I let it go to seed.

I have no idea what's going on in your blogs because I stopped checking them when I stopped updating. I'll check them after finish this novel/post.

I'm OK I suppose. I don't want to leave, and having lived abroad before I know this will pass. I'm just so tired of every little thing being so difficult.

So tired.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Que?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Stomach says: MWAARRGH

Oh, things have not been good at Chez Me.

The scale was banished to the naughty corner last Thursday and hasn't seen the light of day since. This may be a sign that I'm not yet ready for children. I haven't weighed myself since, and I toying with the idea of just not weighing in tomorrow and abandoning the challenge. I'm not sure if that way lies madness or salvation. Yes I know that people swear by throwing out the devil's metal and glass plaything, but I've never been one of them. Ever.

On one hand I want to know what I weigh (and what damage I've wreaked, why is it that it takes weeks and weeks to lose a certain amount of weight but only a week to gain it? I'm calling bullshit right now), and on the other I do not at all.

It's a conundrum. I'm working on it.

Damn I want me some bakery. I am thisclose to just walking to the supermarket already.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A day in pictures

I have been meaning to clean out my junk/spare room and figure out something to do with it for a while. It just seemed like such a waste of space in a small apartment you know?

It was a daunting prospect; my predecessor had used it for storing suitcases/boxes and drying laundry, just as I have been since I got here. I got restless Friday night and decided to actually do something about it instead of just picturing it.

Before:


This is actually the picture my pred sent me before I got here, but trust me when I say that their isn't much difference between that and what I started with. I just swapped his junk for mine.

So I cleared everything out. Wow there was a lot of crap stuffed in that small space. Then I took the sofa out of my TV room and put it in there, I never use it anyway (I'm always in the chair at my computer table) and it was too heavy for the tatami flooring so it was leaving marks, along with the bookshelf out of my bedroom.

After:



I also set up my kotatsu in my (now empty) TV room! A kotatsu is a type of low table with a heater attached to the underside, and a blanket to keep the heat in. In cold weather you sit in it (and try not to fall asleep!). This is extremely useful as Japanese apartments seem to be make of paper and wood, which means there is no insulation.

The Kotatsu:


In continuing with the picture theme today, here is a clue as to how my eating has been since Thursday:

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Dear Scale,

My hatred for you burns with the fire of a thousand suns

No Love

Me

(I was under 215 on saturday! UNDER 215! The bastard).

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Dear Scale,

I think you and I need to have a little chat. How are you?

I ask because you seem to be having a few mood swings recently and they're beginning to worry me a little bit. Is it your job? Are you bored of the tedium of day to day life? Is the abuse you're forced to endure getting you down? It's just that we were doing so well earlier this week, the days running hand in hand through a field of wildflowers, the nights nestled under a blanket watching old movies together, do you remember that Scale? Do you?

I'm trying to be here for you, but you have to remember that your actions can hurt people too. The inexplicable gaining of a pound yesterday morning, for example, surprised me. You can't just act out like that and not expect there to be consequences, those outbursts of yours can be hard to forget. I ate a few things I shouldn't have yesterday, but it's really difficult to explain to a classroom of teenagers why you won't join in the English club trick or treating with them without embarrassing yourself, and with your scathing retort still stinging my ears I may have gone further than I should. Still, we could have been grown ups about it. We could have accepted that things happened, apologized to each other, and let things rest there.

What was absolutely unnecessary was that number you spat out at me this morning. It was obscene - there could have been children present! I am aware that I didn't drink my water yesterday, did you really need to throw it back in my face? Does that make you feel big? No, seeing an explainable gain this time does not make it better.

It's obvious to me that we've both made some mistakes, and I'm going to give you today to think about what you've done. In return I agree to drink my water, and eat salad and fruits at some point during work. I'll weigh in tomorrow for the challenge, at which point I hope you will have come to your senses and gone back to the number we agreed on this weekend so that we can put this whole ugly episode behind us.

Love and kisses,

Me

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Panky o tabemasen!

I understand chocolate flavoured bread. Not all chocolate bread, the white sliced loaves with chocolate swirls that seem readily available here don't really appeal to me, but I get it as a concept. A chocolate croissant is delicious, a thing of beauty, and (did it not contain enough calories to make my gut explode) I would include them in my daily diet accompanied with a smug sense of self satisfaction.

In which case I'm not sure why the latest item on my 'Japan eats what?!?' list disturbs me so much, but it does. Because come on Japan:


Bread flavoured chocolate. Really Japan? Really?

It's not a new thing either I don't think, or rather, it's been here since I have (which admittedly isn't the longest time ever). For some reason switching it around like that unsettles me just a little. Enough that not even the advert with the lovely Mao Inoue and the scary monkey can completely sell me on it.


For those of you who are curious,'tabe' is the stem of the Japanese verb 'to eat', and 'masen' is the present/future negative form, basically meaning 'I will not eat'. I may go back through my posts and label the delicious things 'tabemasu' (I will eat). I have a feeling that if I look closely there will be a few too many things I have eaten. Hehe.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Baaa

I woke up to a rather indifferent scale this morning. Given how nice it was to me over the weekend I can only assume the poor dear needs a rest and a cup of cocoa to stop it's head spinning with the new numbers. I'm totally making it sound like I've lost more than I have, but they were new numbers, all.

A question to the sodium minded, how much is enough? A quick perusal of Google came up with some wildly different answers so I was wondering if you would all like to weigh in? I don't know if it makes a difference but I'm a 24 year old female.

I feel a bit of a sheep even being concerned about it. Providing I get my water in then I don't tend to bloat, and I don't add salt to anything. My good friends the stir fry sauces contain some, but not as much as I was assuming during the Great Bloat Fest '07 (I came to the conclusion that lack of water was to blame), and aside from that most my food tends to be fresh so there's very little prepackaged sodium worries. Everyone else seems terribly concerned though so I think it will be interesting to see how much I take in a day.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Bobbing along

The scale showed me something nice this morning so now I've just got to focus and try and build on that. I'm not going to give a set number until next Wednesday's weigh in

I've said it a few times now but it's nice to finally see some movement. No, not movement, progress. I had so much time where I just went up and down the same few pounds, and then those months during The Big Move when I stayed constant or up a little. It's coming off slowly right now, but it's actually coming off instead of fluctuating. I was beginning to think this was it, despite everything, and I would just maintain forever.

Bangkok is quickly approaching, Ye Gods the excitement! I'm sorting out money right now, and how much I should save for spending/living versus how much I can send home to my English account for saving/credit card payment. Things are supposedly very cheap in Thailand so I don't think I'll need anywhere close to what I was going to take, which will mean I can send an extra $400 home.

I don't want to jinx it (turns around three times and spits) but I want to be close to 200 by the time I go. Under 200 would be amazing, but close would be fine. However, on the same note I want my clothes to fit because I don't have the time, money, or inclination to order new ones before I leave (oh noes! my wallet's too small for my fifties and my diamond heeled shoes are too tight!). Maybe I should just stop worrying about it and cross that bridge when I come to it.

Friday, November 02, 2007

A hypothetical for you

or: Reasons I don't miss America

I get Hungry Girl alerts sent to my inbox, a throwback to when I lived in Florida. I quite enjoy reading them so I never bothered to cancel when I moved away. In my newsletter today were some nutritional info details from Chili's.

So, say you split an order of the new 'Texas Cheese Fries with Jalapeño-Ranch Dressing' with a friend. The starter was a little heavy so you follow it with a Chicken Cesar Salad, and then because you've gone out to eat, you treat yourself by sharing a piece of pie for dessert.

Easy to do right?

So you go home knowing that you haven't eaten perfectly but hey, you went to the gym this morning, and you made a pretty good entree choice, and you didn't have a dessert to yourself, so it can't be that bad.

Easy to do right?

So you toddle off to count up your points and are dumbfounded when the total comes up as 2845. Seriously you guys. 2845. You know why?

Because the nutritional stats for the new Texas Fries sharing appetizer (appetizer!) are dire. This is a direct quote from the newslatter:

PER SERVING (1 skillet): 2,070 calories, 160g fat, 3,730mg sodium, 73g carbs, 8g fiber, 85g protein -- POINTS® value 54.

If you follow the rest of my little scene then you add 1010 calories (76g of fat) for the salad, and an stonking 800 calories (39g fat) for just half a piece of chocolate chip pie.

Madness.

Imagine if you'd just gone for it and shared the appetizer, followed the Cajun Chicken Pasta, and had a Chocolate Molten Cake to yourself? 3805. On one meal. And darlings? There are worse places to eat than Chili's (*coughhackRubyTuesdayscough*).

It's times like this I'm glad we don't have those brands here. And that the family chain restaurants here put calorie counts next to the pictures. It's just so easy to do, you'd never think how many calories could be in these things.

Oh, and if you haven't signed up for the Hungry Girl alerts, do it. They regularly have 'swap-out' recipes to replace the massive calories of those fatty favourites we all know and love.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Challenge Weigh In

So it's November 1st and Challenge WI day, don't you just love it when things arrange themselves conveniently like that?

After some thought I have decided to label last week 'TOM' as I bounced up and... well, up, a lot that week so have no idea how much I actually weighed.

The final result this morning was 99kg. This isn't huge loss but I'll take it and run thankyouverymuch. A nice little treat for me is that finally get one of these snazzy graphics:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

With this being a new month my total loss for October was 5.28lbs (I've just realised I never put my month by month listing back up after I changed my layout. Hmmm, maybe I'll put that back up later).

So the good news is it's coming off. The bad news is it's coming off so slowly you may expect me to be under 200 sometime in 2009! Can't complain though, at least it's moving, which is more than it's done for many a moon.