Friday, June 24, 2011

Blog for a Blog Award + Shameless purchases

My dearest Caroline decided to give me a blogger award. I told her I don't quite understand why I'd ever be worthy of one, because the main audience for this blog is my mother (hi, mom!).

Thank you, nonetheless, bb~

I believe the conditions of my award are to give it to 9 other bloggers, but I barely read 9 other blogs and according to my profile I follow 11! So uh... I recommend reading those blogs! For sure!


Remember that placenta face mask I bought a while back? Well, it was pretty MEH in my opinion. It smelled okay and thankfully it didn't do any bad things to my skin, but I didn't see much improvement in anything either. My skin is all right for the most part; I suppose if I went and smeared McDonald's french fry oil on my face I'd have problems but I don't plan on doing that anytime soon.

I failed to mention in that post that I also bought foam hair curlers. THOSE THINGS I LOVE.

I tried them out before I went to Disneyland (first time results above) and kept it up for a few days at work. If I manage to keep them in place correctly while I sleep, it makes my hair all wavy to make people think I've been to the beach (even though my hair doesn't actually do that when I go to the beach). They were 420yen, so if they didn't work out I wasn't gonna cry over wasting too much money.

I was looking forward to eating dinner and clubbing with Xanny but sadly it won't be happening :( Before I got the bad news, though, I made Caroline come shopping with me so I knew I'd be looking fly and wouldn't embarrass myself or my fabulous company. I can only avoid such embarrassment so much, as I am a foreigner in Japan, but I try. The stocking shop had a 3 for 1050yen sale HOT DAMN.

Nothing crazy by Japanese fashion standards but I don't see this kind of stuff in America being worn by the general female population. Not outside a Hot Topic, anyway.

One more day at work and then the weekend~! I NEED IT. I've been fairly stressed out and it'd be nice to consume some alcohol somewhere interesting.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Food for Thought

Reader beware: this is going to be a WALL-O-TEXT post.

In my last super awesome Disney Sea post I mentioned that I'm not a very reactive person. I try not to let things in my life bother me and can generally roll with the punches. However now that I'm older and have full voting rights, I find myself more interested in American social issues and politics and BOY CAN I GET WORKED UP OVER STUPID STUFF. Every once in a while I tweet something ridiculous some politician or another says about a marginalized group, abortion, religion, the president (who I helped vote into office), etc. I have pet causes that I can rant about *forever* and some things I shamefully have little to no understanding of, but I try to keep up.

One of my pet subjects is food. I became interested in some issues in food politics while working at a restaurant headed by a fairly big-name chef in Hawaii. Chef makes very conscious and vocal efforts to promote local agriculture (he tries to use as many locally grown products as possible on his menus) and occasionally brought up government policies that affect the industry. He'd talk about how new safety regulations make it harder for the smaller farms to get their products in stores while not making much improvement in the safety of the products; how Hawaii imports 80% of its food supply and that adds to our dependence on oil; all kinds of stuff I had never thought about. I hate to admit that I actually learned useful things from those torturous Sunday afternoon meetings at the restaurant, but I did.

I started reading a few more articles online or in the newspaper - things I wouldn't have even looked at before. Public school lunches became a big deal around then, as the economy was going down the drain and education budgets were being cut all over the country. You can only get rid of so many art classes and computer labs before you're forced into cutting the budget for school lunch programs. I started reading Fed Up with Lunch: The School Lunch Project, partly out of nostalgia for school lunch (which I only ate in high school, but still) and partly because of the reactions the readers and the writer, an elementary school teacher using the pseudonym Mrs. Q, had to what was being served.

Most of her posts back then consisted of a few photos of that day's lunch and commentary, varying from how the kids liked it to how she absolutely could not stomach it and threw it up as soon as she got home. Allow me to be an obnoxious hipster for a moment and say that I started reading her blog before she "made it" and was all over CNN and got a book deal and all of that. She'd give bits of information about her school and the student population - most of the kids in her classroom participated in free or reduced school lunch programs and for all she knew this was the only "good" meal they'd get all day. Mrs. Q would post link to articles on lunch programs, education legislation across America, how artificial ingredients (dyes, sugars) affected student performance and behavior, and other related topics. I found her entire blog to be informative and well-rounded, and I was happy to see her blog mentioned around the internet. She was doing something good.

After she finished eating school lunch with the kids for a full school year, she went back to her normal diet. She talks more about what she buys at the supermarket, what she cooks for dinner, and how she manages to be gluten-free and dairy-free. She now posts photos of her homemade lunches and the daycare lunches she packs for her son, which is great food porn and maybe what public school lunch should become. She still links to great articles on everything related to school lunch, helping to further my study of food politics. Her blog has more than 5,000 followers, and to me that means she must still be doing *something* right.

But with all the changes, I think she's veered away from her original purpose (as I understood the original purpose) just a little too much. Mrs. Q writes more and more about her own diet, rather than what the kids are eating, and comes off with just a little bit more privilege than she did before. She recently came under attack from her readers for writing some harsh comments about a coworker at her school who made a habit of eating school breakfast without paying for it. The ethical questions she raised were fair, but she also made comments about that person's weight and diet that were judgmental and condescending. She was called out on it, and was SO SHOCKED that people were offended. I read all the posts in regard to her comments and cringed at most of the things she said, most notably her apology where she didn't apologize for anything, how she still stood by her comments about her coworker, and that she could not be bothered to be "politically correct" all the time. If you were still offended by the things she wrote, well you can just find another blog to read because she was just being honest and people who care about being PC are too sensitive and she's done talking about it. Oh and she joined an obesity council to make up for her atrocious comments, just to prove she doesn't think fat people are bad.

I don't know if you can see how my own writing got so much more vicious as that last paragraph went on, BUT THAT'S HOW MAD IT MADE ME. I respected her a lot for the attention she brought to the issue of school lunches and education budget cuts. The fact that people were reading her blog meant that maybe people were educating themselves like I was; maybe people would start to eat healthier and push for better funding in schools and make a difference and all that crap that I shouldn't be so naive to think would ever happen but I still do. Mrs. Q was leading the way and it was awesome!

It's a little less awesome now. I'll still check in from time to time, but I don't read the blog as often I used to read it anyway. I would've been okay with the weight and diet comments had she actually apologized for them rather than giving the "sorry if YOU were offended, but YOU took it the wrong way and I didn't do anything wrong" apology. I'm not sure I can deal with her comments about being politically correct, however. If you have a strong following, a book deal, and are speaking at national conferences, you have to err on the side of caution when you say things. Her indignant responses to being called out were epic in the worst way possible. If you make no concessions for your readers' feelings and why they're offended by your comments, why should you expect them to make any concessions for you?

Sorry this wasn't a fun post, I had to get that off my chest.

Friday, June 10, 2011


This past Monday Tracy and Marissa half-dragged me to Disney Sea. I'm not normally a big Disney person and I'm not attached to many cartoon characters here in Japan (at least not attached like EVERYTHING I OWN MUST BE _____ ), but I went along since I've never been there. I went to Disneyland with John way back when, which was fun but I wasn't left with a burning desire to go back. I figured Disney Sea would be the same.

As far as I can tell from my other post, prices haven't gone up - 6000yen for admission and about 5000yen between food and souvenirs. That translates into a higher dollar amount but what do I care, my paychecks come in yen bwahaha. I was told Disney Sea is more about the *atmosphere* than rides and attractions, which was kind of true. Just walking around the park was nice and some of the movie-themed places were REALLY well done, but I'll get to that in a bit. 

They split up the rides pretty evenly between the two parks. Disney Sea has Indiana Jones, Tower of Terror, Journey to the Center of the Earth, among others. I was forced into going on all of them, much to my dismay. Had Tower of Terror lasted one more second I would've thrown up lunch, and I didn't realize that Journey to the Center of the Earth's ride was the one where you're blasted out the side of the volcano. THAT WAS A BIG SURPRISE omg.

Have some photos!

Mickey's head is everywhere! Kind of like Hello Kitty's...


Almost threw up all over poor Marissa,
who managed to survive with a numb arm the rest of the day.


See that loop in the middle? I went on it. FML.

Indiana Jones, take 1.

But for me, one of the absolute best parts of the day was stumbling upon part of my childhood. I have been told many, many, many times that I watched The Little Mermaid everyday as a toddler. I knew all the lines and could sing all the songs, and my father and older brothers still make fun of me for it even though it was 20 years ago (omg I can't believe I just wrote that).

The Little Mermaid portion of the park is an indoor bit that's aimed at entertaining the young kids; it reminded me a lot of Puroland. The ground is that spongy stuff that you find at public parks in America, the rides are fairly lame, and the place is packed with strollers. It wasn't great and we almost decided to forgo any exploring to head straight to the gift shop, but I just wanted to see around this one cave. You know what I found?


We all took turns taking pictures with Prince Eric.

I'm not a very sentimental person. My reaction to most things in life is, "Meh." I STOOD IN THE ENTRANCE AND MY JAW DROPPED. I always loved Ariel's grotto in the movie and for just a little while I felt like maybe Disneyland was a magical place. I'd go back to Disney Sea just for this.

After at least half an hour, we managed to pull ourselves out of the grotto and continued with our day. Tracy and I had a few gyoza dogs (steamed manapua buns with gyoza filling in a hot dog shape) and Marissa became addicted to the curry popcorn in Aladin land.

We ended our glorious day in the medieval science castle place, looking at optical illusions and astronomy things and riding this contraption some old dead white guy designed.

All in all a day well spent. Someone tell Marissa how they make their curry popcorn.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Placenta on MY FACE?

This past weekend I had an overnight work thing and I got to meet some of the other foreigners in my company. The girl I shared my hotel room with professed to me her love and undying devotion to her amazing skin care regime, which was made up entirely of products that use placenta extract.

Yes, really!

The way she talked about how absolutely fantastic these products piqued my interest and I started looking for them when I got back home. Apparently these types of placenta extract products are popular in Japan and when I went to Loft, my favorite kill-time-looking-at-stuff store, and I found a few things without much effort:

Sounds like this product wants me to challenge a placenta,
or perhaps challenge my placenta? IDK JAPAN.

Placenta extract collagen mask

I know Caroline SWEARS by collagen masks but I've never tried one, so I bought the uber-awesome placenta extract one to try out. I don't read a lot of Japanese but I can read PLACENTA (lol) and see the face mask outline. Other than that I really don't know *specifically* what this product is supposed to do. I'm sure it'll be great to have baby on my face~

I tried to find similar Western products, but the best Google could give me were a few placenta extract shampoos available on Amazon. If you want to read about some really interesting uses for placenta, search for cookbooks and recipes (heh heh).

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


I'm working on a more serious post, but it's so problematic and I don't like it and I'm just gonna rewrite it I DON'T KNOW.

So yeah. I'm alive and everything. Yay.

I haven't done anything terribly interesting lately. Didn't make any awesome purchases this past weekend. BLAAAAAAH.

Lame post is lame. But I've been slaving away on the other post and it's not going anywhere and I felt like I had to post *something*.

So uh... Have a picture of my third J-husband Naoki of EXILE/J Soul Brothers 2nd/3rd Generation for your trouble.

Unlawfully taken from his talent agency website.
I <3 YOU BB~

His hairstyle makes me want to listen to that song by Will Smith's daughter.