Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tasty souvenirs

The boyfriend goes to Toyota (the city and the car factory) for a reunion and is so sweet to bring me back some souvenirs. Strawberries covered in white chocolate and some very special pudding.
Take a closer look the breasts made our of pudding isn’t the only odd thing about the pudding lady, she’s also wearing earrings made of fried shrimp!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Tommy the Butterfly

I really liked the butterfly I made for the craft swap, so I also made one for my Etsy store. This one is a boy and he’s quite dainty. His name is Tommy and he loves dinner parties and magic shows.

He’s the eleventh monkey’s 53rd creature and about 12.5 cm (5 inches) tall. He’s looking for someone to hug him and become his friend and you can find him here.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Look at this!

So I just checked my craft swap partner’s blog and saw this:

Wow!!! Awesome stamps which I know I’m going to use a whole lot! I can’t believe how well-made they are! That monkey stamp is just insane, so good! And yes I know that ‘eleventh’ is misspelled. Gina discovered that herself after stamping it and made a new and correct one. She just forgot to take pictures before sending it to me. But I will take a lot of pictures when they get here! Thanks Gina!

Of course, Gina also has an Etsy shop where she sells her hand carved stamps, and you can even order a custom stamp. These are a few of my favorites:

You should really check it out, because her stamps are amazing! I’m so happy she was my craft swap partner!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Thirsty anyone?

Drinks in Japan are weird! I thought that the red bull coke drink Yasu in Guam was strange and disgusting, but here in Japan they create even more insane combinations. Like coke and beer, appropriately named Cola Shock. Or even worse (or so I imagine, because I’ll never try these concoctions) chocolate beer! But if you don’t like beer, like me, why not have a chocolate cocktail? Or for those that don’t drink alcohol and prefer soda, like Yasu, there’s always some sparkling chocolate!
Unless someone else offers me a sip, I will never sample these drinks. So I will probably never be able to tell you whether these drinks are as revolting as they seem. But a couple of weeks ago I bought warm chocolate coffee from a vending machine at the station, and it tasted like beer and chocolate (really! Yasu tasted it too) and it was absolutely gross.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Craft swap

Katie from Skunkboy Creatures organized a craft swap this month. I had no idea what it really was, but it sounded like fun and I wanted in! I emailed Katie and she partnered me up with Gina from the States. I was so excited that I already started working on my creature for the swap before I knew who my partner was. And this is what I made:

The first big butterfly I’ve made and of course she’s named after my craft swap buddy. She’s the eleventh monkey’s 52nd creature and about 12.5 cm (5 inches) tall. Oh and apparently she likes some of the same things as the human Gina.

I really hope Gina will like her felt butterfly and I’m very curious to see what she has made for me!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Eri the Ape

Another farewell party tonight, this time at Ninnikuya. A restaurant that puts a lot of garlic (ninniku in Japanese) in all of their dishes! Delicious, but smelly. We were saying goodbye to Eri this time, and I made her this cool neon-black ape, to accompany her on her new adventure of starting her own business.

Eri is quite a tough chick, who sometimes seems more like a guy than a girl and even drives her own motorbike! So I didn’t want to give her something too tooty fruity. I think this ape suits her well!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Yasu's choice

Yasu likes a lot of food that I don’t like much so he never really gets to eat that when we’re together. But my taste has changed since I first came to Japan and I almost liked nothing, so this weekend I let Yasu choose what we were going to eat. He wasn’t really comfortable with that much power, and he kept trying to find out what I wanted. But I told him it was all up to him and he in the end he was brave enough to even choose food he knew I’ve disliked forever, like Chinese, ramen and curry.
We also had some Thai food, with which I have no problems, but it was nothing really special. Chinese food is still a little too greasy and too saucy for me, but the fried rice was really good. The ramen was pretty good, and I’m really starting to get used to it. The curry was really good which was the biggest surprise of the weekend. I had to sample Yasu’s food before I even dared ordering my own plate. But it was really tasty and spicy! We went to a small restaurant in Tsukamoto that Yasu had been dying to try for ages, and I’m sure we will be returning to this place many times. 

Starbucks tumblers

Just before Christmas Yasu and I were given these two Osaka Starbucks tumblers and a prepaid Starbucks card! We love, love, love Starbucks! And after we got back from Guam (where they don’t have Starbucks) all we wanted to do was go to Starbucks and try out our new tumblers! Today we finally did!
It’s nice to bring your own cup because you get a 20 yen discount on your drink. But afterwards you’re stuck with two dirty and drippy cups that you’ll have to get home in some way, without making the contents of your bag all wet and smell like coffee. But that Starbucks card is nothing but awesome! Free coffee for weeks!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

ABC craft store

Look what I spent about 7000 yen on today:

A coworker told me about this huge craft store in Tennoji and she really thought I should check it out. And I agreed with her! Who wouldn’t want to spend a couple of hours wandering around the hundreds of aisles of eye candy in a 5-story craft store?!

This store is amazing they have almost everything you can think of and more. The only thing missing was a collection of embroidery floss in all colors, which is so weird that I think I somehow missed that section... The best thing was their button collection. I’ve been to quite a few sewing and craft stores in Osaka now, including another really big one in Umeda, but I’ve never found a good place to shop for buttons. This store in Tennoji has all the buttons I can dream of! I wish buttons weren’t so expensive though, otherwise I would have gone button nuts and bought them all! I’ve forbidden myself to buy any more felt, because I’m also felt nuts... Which was really tough because they sold lots of yummy felt in the ABC craft store!

Monday, January 11, 2010

A hard day's work

All day today, I’ve been working on two new designs, one of a little cat and one of a little monkey head. I turned both of them into brooches. They’re so small (they fit in the palm of my hand) that it’s hard to believe it took me a whole day, but it did!

My mother commissioned me to create a very small black cat brooch, to cheer up one of her coworkers who just lost her cat. And because my mom is my best customer, and the sweetest in the world, I made her the monkey brooch in her favorite colors. Hope she likes the brooches!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Kumiko the Bear

I made another gift for a friend! It seems like I’m only sewing presents these days, yet I can’t stop doing it because it’s so much fun to make people happy with some handmade goodness! This time I made a bear with different colors in the front than in the back, just to try something new.

I’m sending her to Inuyama to live with Kumiko, one of my dear Bon Jovi friends. I met her at a Bon Jovi concert in Nagoya, when she was practically sitting next to me and turned out to live in the same little country town as me! I’ve been missing her a lot since I moved to Osaka, and I just wanted to let her know that I still love her! I hope she likes the little blue and white bear.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Keiko and Tomomi the winking love birds

Giving presents is fun. Giving presents that I made myself is even more fun! During the last days of my winter vacation back in Japan I was sewing a couple of winking love birds for two very special ladies (they signed as witnesses on our marriage papers).
I’m happy to report that both Keiko and Tomomi loved their little felt friends! I heard them say ‘kawaii’ (cute in Japanese) over and over and that’s always a good sign.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Our heart on top of the Sky Building

Remember we had a pink heart lock engraved December 21st? Well we wanted to hang it on top of the Umeda Sky Building, with all the other heart locks on lover’s deck, but that area is only open at night. And that day we were flying to Guam in the evening so we had to come to finish the job today.
In the picture with all the hearts, ours is the pink one in the top right corner. We hope it’s going to be there forever, so that one day we can come with our kids and show it to them!

Too much medication

Our last couple of days on Guam I started to get sick, not sure what caused it, maybe it was all the freezing restaurants and the heat outside? I was on vacation and I wasn’t going to give in to sickness. So I bought a bunch of painkillers and some cold medicine to help me ignore the fact that I should be in bed. On the last day, I found a poster on a restroom wall with 10 symptoms of the swine flu, which scared me. As I was reading the list my mind yelled ‘check’ at 9 of the symptoms! Yet, I didn’t seem to suffer from fever, the most important symptom. This was confirmed at the airport in Osaka when they didn’t stop me at the body temperature scanner. So no fever, no swine flu, I reasoned. But the list of symptoms still freaked me out and I wasn’t getting any better, so today we went to see a doctor, and he gave me even more medicine to replace the store-bought medicine I was taking and which wasn’t helping.
It was a bit discouraging to have the doctor prescribe me 6 different kinds of medication, but I guess he knows what he’s doing. And he told me I don’t have the swine flu, yay! And this doctor speaks English! What a relief to be able to communicate with a doctor without Yasu constantly having to translate everything. Anyway, I hope to be back to normal soon, because I start work tomorrow and my voice is almost gone, which makes teaching a bit difficult.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Aaah, Japanese food!

Guam was awesome! We had the best time there, and we ate a lot of American food which we enjoyed. But now that we’re back we’ve realized how much we’ve missed Japanese food!! Last night we had the most gorgeous meal at an izakaya (we were to busy with eating to take pictures) and today we had conveyor belt sushi for lunch!
It’s really great to eat food that doesn’t leave a greasy aftertaste in your mouth and doesn’t make you feel like you’re going to explode. And sushi is always delicious!

Friday, January 01, 2010

Bye bye Guam

So we checked out of our comfortable hotel this morning and dragged a huge amount of luggage around the island the rest of today. Luckily we still had our comfortable rental car to store everything in so that was no problem (just hope all the chocolates souvenirs survived Guam’s heat). Right now, we’re at Guam airport, playing around on our computers waiting for our flight home.
Of course we didn’t go hungry today, and we revisited two of our favorite restaurants on the island. Denny’s for one last American breakfast and Ruby Tuesday’s for one last steak with mashed potatoes. Oh and we also had our first and only ice cream at Dreyer’s today. Which is quite remarkable when you’ve been vacationing on a tropical island for almost two weeks!
We’re sad we’re leaving, but we’ve had an absolutely wonderful vacation! And we made many memories that’ll last forever.
My creation

Freeze! Or we'll shoot...

On our last day here we thought we’d rob a convenience store:
Just kidding of course, as much as we’d love to live in the States, we do not want to reside in some American prison. No no, we just went to a shooting gallery. The outside looked pretty Japanese, catering to those millions of Japanese tourists who visit Guam all year round. The inside looked scary with all the guns and the weird characters.
We were already a bit freaked, because you know, we were planning on shooting actual guns with real bullets. But we had made up our minds and we were going to do it! And so we did.
We used the cheapest and lightest automatic gun (a 22 caliber I believe) they had, which was more than enough excitement for us. It was strange to pull the trigger the first time and I was surprised when the slug shot out at the back. But after that it just felt like I was playing a game of Duck Hunt on my old Nintendo.
Of course the idea was to hit that paper guy all the way in the back in the middle of his chest. But I wasn’t very good at it. I tried aiming at the middle but I kept hitting him on the left. So then I just started aiming to the right of the paper and then some of my bullets hit the middle. Yasu eyes aren’t good enough to see that far, so he was basically shooting blind, yet he still did way better than me!
It was a bit expensive, a bit scary and a bit hard, but it was really fun and definitely worth a try! And an explosive way to start the new year.

Happy 2010!

We have many resolutions and plans for 2010. We’re already working hard to make our dreams come true in this new year. Well, not exactly right now because we’re still on tropical Guam. But we will continue working on our wild plans when we get back to Japan tomorrow.
I’m a little superstitious, and believe that when I share too much, the universe will intervene in some unwanted way... But, I can share one very important New Year’s resolution: I’m going to accept the fact that I’m turning 30 this year and somehow be happy about it!
Happy 2010