28 September 2010

NYC Trip and Dog Walking

Ok so I didn't find the time/energy to this post on Saturday! But I'm doing it today. :)

So, we originally went to New York city because 1.) TK had off on Saturday (unheard of!) and 2.) We had a bunch of places in the NYC area that we had been wanting to visit, and 3.) NYC's just a cool place to go to!

We woke up at 4am and left at 5am. That was not fun. The sun hadn't come up yet of course. But it was neat to see the changing off the light when it did come up slowly, as we traveled along. I did managed to snap one or two photos of the sunrise while we were crossing the Delaware Memorial Bridge. Takeshi was snoozing beside me at this point.

We arrived in New York City a little earlier than we thought we'd get there, at around close to 10am. So we had a little time to mull around before getting to our first appointment by 11am.

We planned to definitely go to the 'Hairmate' salon (which has many Japanese hairdressers) in downtown to get our haircuts. Takeshi rarely trusts any other places in the states - he says they would understand the kind of look he'd want more than any American salons (probably). We planned to visit the Mitsuwa grocery store in New Jersey as well.

So since we were going to go to Mitsuwa last, we figured we'd get a hotel in Hoboken somewhere, and ride the subway into NYC etc. Well we ended up getting a hotel in NYC after all, but it was a really cool, small place called the Gem Hotel (http://www.thegemhotel.com/chelsea/index.iml) in Chelsea. It was on a whim, after calling place after place while we were busy seeing things that day (not the best way to get a hotel in NYC, I know). But we finally settled for them because everywhere else was $200 and up a night. F*ck that! Ick.

The TINIEST bed we've slept in since our bed in Leopalace in Suzuka. It was small lengthwise and widthwise. But it wasn't too bad, and it was very comfy. But we were so tired by the end of the day, I could have slept on the floor and been ok! And the hotel was fairly new, and that's always nice to have in a hotel.

So we made it to the haircut appointments. I chatted a little in Japanese with the girl I had, named Kozue. Mind you it was fairly basic stuff. Lol. While Takeshi was getting his hair cut the girl he had had recommended another ramen shop in town besides Ippudo, which had been my idea since grooogrux recommended it to me. She said this other place was better than Ippudo, so I figured that if I was going to take advice from someone about Japanese ramen, it's gonna be a native, right? So off we went for lunch! And it was GOOOD. For the first time since living in Suzuka, I was the only non-Asian person sitting in that restaurant! That's always a good sign for a foreign cuisine restaurant, and you see a lot of natives eating there! That means it must be good. ;) The place was called Terakawa Ramen.

After that we bopped around town some more, just taking in the sights and sounds. We ended up on Times Square at around 9:30pm and found a BBQ joint right off of Times Square for dinner, called Virgil's Real BBQ. It was good stuff and we only got appetizers! They were frickin' huge! We shared some buffalo wings and BBQ nachos. YUMMY. After that we were trying to find something to do and had an idea. The last time we came to NYC we ended coming across a themed-bar/restaurant in NYC called the Jekyll and Hyde Club (). We didn't plan on it, but we had a good time. So we thought, hey let's find another themed-bar to go to since it's late enough at night for a drink. We began searching forever on our iPhones for a club that wasn't MILES away by Subway (since we'd have to ride it BACK to the hotel afterwards too). We picked one, some kind of crime-themed bar. We set off and rode the subway and then walked a million blocks to where it said the address was. WELL, there was a bar there, but it didn't look like a themed-bar. It actually looked like a regular, shifty, dirty bar with fucked-up lookin' bouncers outside. So we said nevermind.... So long story short, after that we spent what seemed like an hour walking around looking for a place to drink - and at THAT point we didn't even need somewhere themed. We were dead tired and wanted a quieter place at this point. So we finally settled for this little bistro place and shared some white wine, and some mussels. At like, midnight. It didn't help that the place had low lighting for effect, and was playing jazz music. I could have slept in the chair I was sitting in.

So we shuffled our tired legs back to the hotel after a return subway trip, and pretty much leapt into bed as soon as we got in the door. So ended our time in NYC.

The next day we were going to be heading home, but not before stopping by Mitsuwa on the way to buy some much wanted Japanese groceries! It was awesome. I wish we had a Mitsuwa near us! Also, beside the grocery store there was a Sanseido book store, and a store with Japanese ceramics/dish-ware in it. At Sanseido I bought 3 manga for studying purposes. I thought it might be fun to practice Japanese by reading some manga, since I haven't bought any manga/graphic novels since high school! And back then they were in English too. I bought the first manga of "ドラえもん" and the first two manga of some manga called "ルレグゥ” (I think I got that right - the title font on the cover is a little wacky and hard to figure out!). The thing I wanted the most was to have furigana in the manga, because I am no kanji expert!

So, we ended up buying a LOT of groceries to last us a while, including Japanese mayo (not Kewpie but pretty damned close), okonomiyaki-ko, pickled ginger, daikon radish, etc etc etc!

Now onto the dog-walking. A summary anyway. Yup I've been at for about 2 weeks now. Overall it's fun, being outside with my furry buddies, even though I will experience the occasional dog ripping up things in the owner's house when I arrive, and a dog running OUT THE DOOR as I try to leave, and so on. I walk all kinds of dogs and I've put together a mix-match of them below. :)

23 September 2010

gettin' to it

Sorry for not posting for a bit here. I am going post about our NYC trip and to bring people up to speed with the dog-walking job (I started doing that last Monday). I've just been having a lack of motivation to do it, and especially since I've got lots of photos I'd possibly want to post along with, so I've been sorting through them. Maybe I'll be up to it this Saturday!

11 September 2010

no human contact

Sometimes I really do hate being alone at home during the day, right now. Somedays I'm fine with it and I find things to keep myself busy. But sometimes I really crave human contact, just speaking with another person. From the time Takeshi leaves in the morning until he gets back at midnight, I don't speak, of course. What am I gonna do, talk to myself?

I'm not that crazy yet...


I think he's been looking online for another job possibly, with better hours than he has now. Which would be so nice for both of us. But mostly for him. He works at least 14 hours a day right now.

Sometimes I wish that he had a job in another field, so that he could have more of a 9 to 5 schedule. Like a job that Sarah's, or GW's hub has. But then, Takeshi would be a different person, and maybe not be the guy I fell in love with. Cooking/the culinary field is in his blood and defines him as much as design/art/creativity defines me. So it's kind of a catch 22.

We're going to New York NEXT weekend. I asked him cuz I forgot. God Laura, you're losing your memory. Anyway, yay next weekend.

I was thinking today that when we go, I'd like to visit the UNIQLO store. I love that store and I miss it! So many cute clothes in there. And who knows - Takeshi, even in his EXTREMELY DEFINED TASTE in clothes - may, MAY actually find something he likes. Perhaps even *gasp* a new pair of shoes. He needs a new pair desperately.

NYC also has a Yoshinoya. We went there once, before we moved to Suzuka, and of course they were everywhere, then. Lol.

Yumm...love their beef bowls. Very tempting, also, to go there.

Gah the sun is setting. It's 6:01pm. The ending of another boring day of waiting for the "gears of my life" to start turning. That interview in D.C. cannot come soon enough. But a part of me is really scared though, and almost hate going to interviews. Because so far, I've been let down do much by possible job positions that went nowhere, after waiting and hanging on for weeks at a time. All I can do, is do my best each time I get an opportunity, so hopefully, that time, it'll work out in my favor.

10 September 2010

crisp touch of fall

Fall is coming, fall is coming! No more humidity! That's what I like. :) It's gradually getting cooler and cooler. Today it's currently 73°F (22-ish°C), with a bit of a breeze. My toes are pretty chilly since I'm sitting right next to the open window. And I hear the ice-cream truck tune playing outside. When is that guy gonna' stop coming around? Jeez. October??

Anywho, things are a bit busier now as it turns out, these days. Ummm....jeez where did I leave off with all this job bullsh*t? Hard to keep track sometimes. The interview with Panera Bread was a no-go. Went in and ended being 10 minutes LATE because of traffic (yeah yeah the usual excuse), because a local firehouse had taken up a huge chunk of the main street to try to collect donations from cars. But my lateness went unnoticed anyway because when I arrived it was about 2pm, and the place was slammed with the lunch-rush. I ended waiting about 12 minutes for the manager to come out to speak to me. The usual questions were asked, yadda yadda and only $8 an hour for cashiering? Ehhhh..... And you'd like it if I could come in really early to work, at about 5am?..........wow. That's frickin' early.

I left after that and since then haven't received a call back. Whatever.

So it turns out that I'm going to do the dog-walking part-time job. The dog-lady (her name is Ellen but I call her that so Takeshi knows who I'm talking about lol) left me an email saying that I can probably start this next Monday. She said she'd be calling me today, but I have no idea when since she is evidently returning from vacation somewhere. This is a good thing.

But on top of that going through, I got an email earlier this week from a design agency in D.C. which I had sent my resume to, to set up a phone interview with me. The president of the agency ended being the one to call me yesterday (which is different), and we chatted for about 15 minutes about what I expected of a position, salary etc. So now I'm scheduled to go in for an in-person interview this next Thursday at 4:30pm.

I knew that once I got the dog-walking job, I wasn't going to STOP looking for a design job. No way. I just hoped that I wouldn't get into this very kind of situation, where I've committed to one person, but am having the opportunity to get a better job almost right away after starting the first job. Ellen is a very very nice lady, but I will drop this job, if I'm offered the graphic design job. I can only hope that it will be as non-uncomfortable as possible. Lol.

So mum and dad, people who are interested - we shall see won't we? I'll keep you posted.

In other (sudden) exciting news, we're probably going to NYC next weekend! Yaaayy. We'll probably leave AT THE CRACK OF DAWN tomorrow (Sat.) drive up to perhaps New Jersey, check in sometime, and then ride the subway into New York. The big motivator for going is that there are not really any hair salons that Takeshi fully trusts to do his hair the way he wants it. I guess this means giving him a haircut that guys like getting back home in Japan. There is a hair salon in NYC that he knows will do it right, and he's about due for a haircut. And also, I'll probably get a haircut myself. My old haircut has grown out, and it would be nice to get a new haircut for the interview as well!

We're also thinking of trying to get to Mitsuwa, a huge Asian/mainly Japanese grocery store/super store? in New Jersey. So that should be cool too. We'll drive back on Sunday at some point and be back in time for me to do the dog-walking the next day, on Monday. Should be a BITCH to wake up so early tomorrow though. Takeshi mentioned a time, something like 5am? Shit. I am not a morning person and he knows it. Lol. But I can suck it up when I need to.

I love New York City because it's so amazing of course, and also it holds many memories for us, since it's the place Takeshi took me to before we left to go live in Japan. It's the last place I saw before I left the U.S. (and at the time, didn't think I was going to be back for a while)

So to end, here are some photos again. The first few are some "home decor" things we bought at Ikea this past weekend of the apartment. And after are some photos from this past weekend also, when we went to an event in my home-state, the Maryland Renaissance Festival. Have a good weekend everyone.

Decorative "tree/bush" in pot

Wine rack! We need to buy some screws so that the thing doesn't brake off the wall from the weight of wine bottles lol, before we put the bottles on it

A mirror! The first mirror we've ever had, aside from the bathroom mirror - what are we vampires? And we need.....screws! to put it up finally

Oil painting still in the works since last. year.

Me in the center with my two friends who are working at the festival this year! They work there as original historical figures, wearing the traditional clothing of the time

03 September 2010

Untitled Work

Here is the finished work that I have been working on, on-and-off for almost a month. I'm pretty pleased with how it came out. My personal artwork began to change ever since I was living in Japan, and most of my art now stems from the memories of living there. Sometimes I'l use stock images from online, but I try to use the photos I took there. I can incorporate colors, images, buildings, people, culture, and textures into these works. I'm trying to pinpoint my own style, and for whatever reason, being in Japan (or maybe just being in another country for the first time) helped me to begin that process. I miss Japan, and a part of me will always be very sad that I am not living there anymore. I don't know when we'll get to go back, but I hope it's soon! Please click for a bigger size.

01 September 2010

sh*tty wednesday

I haven't posted anything for a bit, since there wasn't anything new or interesting going on, most importantly with job news. I've been so nervous, anxious, and frustrated with finally getting any kind of income that I have a hard time focusing on things. I can't do something for very long, besides searching for jobs online. I bounce off the walls.

Yesterday I actually went for a casual interview for a dog-walking job. The lady is very nice and is actually a fellow (retired?) graphic designer who owns the small company. They walk dogs in several areas in the immediate area. After hearing the details, the pay doesn't seem bad at all, especially for only about 3-4 hours of work a day. And it's not boring cashiering or retail work. Just before I went to meet with her, I checked my email and lo and behold there is a response email from a small graphic design studio that I sent my resume to. I was so jazzed of course, and wanted to call this other lady right away to talk about it, but I had to wait till after the dog-walker interview. So later, I call and I talk to this owner of the small design studio briefly about the nature of the position. She had to leave for a meeting so she told me to call her today at around the same time.

At this point my goal is to never get too engaged and hopeful about a possible employment - but could you blame me? First Graphic Design job possibility and the lady said she "likes my work." I've never heard that yet from anyone (or get an email back at all). So I was daydreaming about the future for sure.

I wake up today SO damn nervous that I don't eat breakfast right away. As soon as it's about time, I give her office a ring. No answer. So I tried her cell phone number (which she gives in the office's voicemail message). Nothing. So panicky-me I call her office once more and her cell once more in a span of about 15 minutes, before I leave a voicemail on her cell phone. And then a little bit later I call her office again. And she picks up.

And she "admires my level of enthusiasm" but OBVIOUSLY, being the panicky idiot that I am right now, I bombarded her with calls. She was not pleased of course, but assured me at the end that she will call me back. Which right now, I am half-believing. I was kicking myself mentally the whole time she was talking to me, and I would have burst into tears and groveled over the phone for being such a f*cking annoyance to a busy BUSY business owner - but at the end I said "I apologize." And we hung up.

I feel like shit right now. Recently, I took on the mindset that I as a person who is competing against who KNOWS how many applicants for a single job, needs to be the squeaky wheel so they don't forget about me. But this time, it ended up smacking me in the face. I risked annoying her so that she considers going with someone else. Great going Laura. REALLY GREAT. The first chance you get to have a design job, and you might have fuckin' blown it. She said she'd call me back after she gets stuff laid out and figured out - but a big part of me doubts it. I feel like I blew it at this point...

So I had a bit of cry, ran to the bed, covered up and slept for a couple hours. Wanted to be unconscious for a bit, so I wouldn't have to worry about anything. That's usually how I personally deal with stress - I sleep. I actually had some weird dreams too. Can't really remember them though.

I actually have another interview (got called today) on Friday for a cashiering job, but I hope to get that call before then. But actually, unless that job can pay good enough - the dog-walking job by my calculation would pay me the most right now as a part-time job. And it seems more fun, and I'd be moving my butt around and not sitting on it, or standing in place for hours. So, between those two I'm hoping I can take that dog-walking job in the end, if I don't hear from the studio.

People have been giving me advice about job hunting, and I appreciate it. It's mostly the same set of tips, and I've done most if not all of them by now. Thanks to everyone who has left me a kind word or words of encouragement. It's not easy these days and I am lonely. But it's nice to get messages from people.

It also pisses me off when people I know or who have talked to, who already have jobs but don't know when to INSERT foot in MOUTH when talking to me about it. One of my old high school friends was chatting with me the other day on Facebook. She's in school right now to become a lawyer. LONG story on that, which I have a lot of opinions about but that's another post.

Anyway, we were talking about maybe hanging out sometime soon, and she asks me what my "schedule" is like right now. Psh. My schedule? I don't have one. :/ But I say I'm "available most Saturdays right now blah blah". And she shoots back and says, "I'm free some Mondays, but otherwise only on weekends. :( working full-time sucks." Oh it does, does it?......Poor you. I know what sucks more though - not being able to pay all of your bills every month.

So I send back the message "Well at least you have a job."

She hasn't gotten back to me yet. Maybe she JUST then realized how fucking rude that was to say, or maybe she's just busy busy busy busy.

Anywho....what else to talk about that's not depressing....

I've been on Photoshop in my spare time recently, when I need to take a break from searching for job every day. I'll post the art here when I'm done, and probably on Facebook too. :)

Have a good rest of the week everyone. Send me some sunshine. <3