Monday, December 31, 2007


Most Japanese households perform a ritual cleaning called Osoji, in preparation for the new year. It's a pretty thorough cleaning and time-consuming enough that most Japanese now wait until a weekend to do it, making do with a symbolic cleaning of the family altar if New Year's Day falls on a weekday.

My mom always did a thorough house cleaning on New Year's day. I followed that tradition to some extent, but I do mine before now, a gaijin version of Osoji.

This year, my Osoji took approximately 28 hours (over two and a half-days). I have a three-bed room, one-and-a-half bath house. The cleaning takes so long because it's top-to-bottom and truly involved. Some of the things I do: I pull down the curtains to be laundered, I pull stuff out of drawers, closets, off of shelves, etc. I also pull up the area rugs and move the furniture and scrub and wax the floors. I usually pull a muscle or two as well. I clean the stove, the fridge, change out fire alarm batteries and stuff like that. Wax the woodwork, clean the ceiling fixtures (guess how many dead bugs in my living room light? Too many!) This year, I had the added fun of snaking our bathroom drains. There's some interesting um, stuff(?) that gets built up in those drains. Yuk. I put aside items to go to charity (clothes that don't fit or I don't wear). I take down the Christmas tree and all the other holiday decorations. I also put up our shiminawa and kadomatsu.

As I'm typing this, it's been snowing all morning and it's looking pretty and white outside. My house is sparkling clean and so cozy. Best wishes for the new year!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas in Japan: Part III

Originally uploaded by bakagaijiin
Here's my Happy Holidays!
Hoping yours were wonderful, too!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Enuff Fluff

Enuff Fluff
Originally uploaded by bakagaijiin
The internet is a truck.
A wonderful, fluff-filled truck.
A wonderful fluff-filled truck that arrives via USPS to my mailbox.

Goldie, if you want some fudge, you need to email me your snail mail addy.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Christmas in Japan: Part II

Okay, so what kind of real fucking American grocery store runs out of MARSHMALLOW FLUFF DURING THE HOLIDAYS? The commissary here, that's who.

Today, I was picking up some baking supplies for this weekend, hoping that a massive dose of Christmas tunes, holiday baking of breads, cookies and making of candy as well as liberal applicatons of booze and putting up the tree would get me in the holiday spirits, because, for the first time in my life, I really don't give a shit about the holidays. I was actually kind of excited about baking/candymaking, so I got my chips and flour and sugar and sprinkles and stuff like that, but still needed to get Fluff for the fudge. So I push my cart over to where the Fluff normally is and IT IS SOLD OUT! IT'S ONLY THE FIRST WEEK OF DECEMBER. SWEET ZOMBIE BABBY FUCKING JEEBUS. THIS PLACE IS TEH SUX0R.

I was shaken right down to my blue-collar/white trash roots. NO FLUFF! Yeah, yeah, I know you candy snobs are like "Make fudge the proper way, luzr!" I honestly don't feel like dicking around with doing it from scratch. And ya know what? Fluff fudge is easy and the guys at the office like it. But it requires MARSHMALLOW FLUFF OF WHICH THERE IS NONE!

And there is no way I'll find it in the Japanese suupa. Or if I do it will beconsidered a "gourmet import" and will cost 2,000 yen (about 20 bucks).

My god. NO FLUFF. I had to console myself with a large whiskey with some eggnog in it.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Christmas in Japan: Part I

(clipped from Daily Mainichi's English Website, because they don't do permalinks)

Electric eel used to power Xmas lights

Aqua Toto Gifu's electric eel and the Christmas tree lights it powers. (Mainichi)
Aqua Toto Gifu's electric eel and the Christmas tree lights it powers. (Mainichi)

KAKAMIGAHARA, Gifu -- An aquarium filled with exotic fish here is using an electric eel to power lights on a Christmas tree.

Each time the electric eel at the Aqua Toto Gifu aquarium touches a copper wire in its tank, it sends power that lights up globes decking a Christmas tree.

Officials expect the "eel Christmas tree" to be a popular attraction for dating couples in the lead-up to Christmas Day, when the tree will be removed.

Electric eels are capable of generating electricity in their bodies. They have notoriously poor eyesight and use electric shocks to stun prey so they can catch and eat them.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


I am home once again. After 20 days stateside, I've decided if it takes me another three years to get home, it'll be too soon.

Pictures on my flickr photostream.