Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Day 1 at Nijiya

So yesterday I bagged groceries for 5 hours at Nijiya Market. It was my first day and I was pretty nervous, but the people there are so great and helpful that it wasn't so bad.

Most of the time I spent bagging for Stephen and Ivan. They are a couple of jokers :D Goofy guys who both have DSs, so that's cool. I also met Vivian and Yuuka. It was weird because there are four lanes arranged in two little islands of check-outdom, and it was split by sex for most of the time (i.e. except when I was bagging for the boys.) Vivian apparently has seniority among us regular employees, but she seems ok (even though the boys told me to be careful around her.) Yuuka is really fun and talkative. She is taking Japanese in college. The evening head cashier is Judy, who I saw for a bit in the beginning, but then she left me with the guys.

I think there are actually more Chinese speakers working here than Japanese. The managers tend to be Japanese, but many cashiers seem to be Chinese. There are also a good number of Mexican guys who stock (so they told me) and a smattering of other things (which includes me and I think possibly one other Caucasian.)

Anyhow, let's see. Bagging groceries. It's actually more complicated than you might think, unless you know a bit about Japanese culture. You will sometimes hear that they have a penchant for wrapping, and I would say it definitely comes through in their grocery bagging practices:

- Anything cold must be put in a small clear plastic bag (inside the other bags.)
- Fish and meat must be separate in these bags.
- Toiletry items and glass items (sometimes other small things) go in small paper bags
- Prepared food (from the deli or whathaveyou) should go in a separate bag.
- Don't forget to ask how many chopsticks they want!
- Sometimes you need to put regular paper bags inside the plastic bags.
- If it's heavy you double bag
- Some people also bring in their own bags.

I'm trying to think of other things. These are all...theoretical ideals, I think. Most people seem pretty easy-going about it, although they still give tips. Sometimes the customers are more insistent than the people I work with! I almost didn't put a package of chicken in a clear plastic bag once and a lady reminded me. Basically, I think it depends who you are bagging for, but I'm trying to make good habits, because, like I said, some customers are very picky about it. I mean, really, everything should be separate. But sometimes it just seems like putting a bag of chips on top of some chicken (which has been clear plastic bagged) isn't so bad. Stephen told me to bag it how I would like it to be bagged, like how I would find it convenient. To tell the truth, though, I don't care as long as nothing is damaged when I get home! I try to follow the rules ;D

What else did I learn? Well, Stephen showed me the basics of the register, but I don't start that until next week. I learned how to validate parking (which only applies if the total is over $30.) Eventually I will have to count my drawer at the end of the day, but since I'm not actually cashiering yet, I didn't have to stay last night. Oh, I know what else I did. Learned a little bit about produce. Need to learn the codes...not to mention the names of some of the items. It's a little like being in preschool again. Mizuna, shungiku, tokyo negi...


- Locker in the break room. Comes with an improbably tiny key that I feel would be too easy to snap in half or lose.
- Very starchy light blue oxford shirt, blue company windbreaker jacket, blue company apron (i.e. the awesome uniform. This stays in my locker at work.)
- I get half off the deli food, supposedly anytime. This means big bento lunches for about $3.50 and onigiri with salmon for 75 cents. I had one of the latter as a snack the other day, and the boys were right-- I will need practice opening the package. There are also assorted salads, sweet potatoes, fried octopus and chicken, etc.
- At the end of the day, we are apparently allowed to take home extra deli food if we like. Not sure exactly how this works. As I was leaving everyone told me to "Take a bento! Ask Alex first, but, just take one!" So I did.

Today I will read through my NIJIYA MARKET EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK for CASHIERS as directed. I guess there are a couple more papers for me to sign...

I'm excited because I think even if my Japanese doesn't markedly improve, my knowledge of Japanese food WILL. I'm so envious of these people who check out with assorted dried bits of things and vacuum packed whatever that is and frozen noodles, oddly colored pastes, etc. I want to know what all those things are and how they taste and what you do with them! I'm gonna find out!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Job Update

I'm so excited *_*

I went and filled out my paperwork for Nijiya. I will be working as a cashier and wearing an awesome Oxford and jacket (size S.) Tomorrow afternoon I start training! I guess for the first week it will be just bagging. They ease you in, which is so nice!

I already really like the store manager, Jin. He's funny and friendly and seems to really care about the employees. For instance, when I told him I'd prefer to work weekdays he asked why and when I explained that I hang out with my boyfriend on the weekends, he was totally ok with that and said he would help me out! I do work this Saturday, but it's not a problem to do that once in a while.

Hopefully I will make some friends I can hang out with outside of work, too. The break room has pictures of the staff all goofing around together on the walls, so it seems like they get together for a good time once in a while, or something. I already know Jin likes tequila, since it seems to be his "power" source. A lady came into the break room complaining of a cold and he told her, "You should drink some tequila!" I dunno much about tequila, but I think at a job with such a relaxed dress code and goofy people, I'm going to have a lot of fun.

Aujourd'hui sur le 1Up

Ghost Rider

Final Fantasy XIII

I'm sort of surprised how intact the Ghost Rider one is. They didn't change much, but I think the deck is making fun of me ^_~ "2K's God of War killer," I never said that ;p

My New Job

Yay. I now have some semblance of a life (where I do work and don't just sit around playing video games and loving the boy) :D

I freelance for 1Up AND cashier for Nijiya Market.

Nijiya Market is the Japanese supermarket in J-town. There are smaller stores, but this is THE one. In addition to cashiering the best and improving my Japanese, I intend to shop there a lot and learn to cook (more) Japanese food.

To that end I have been searching for a good Japanese cookbook filled with recipes for everyday cooking and not just like...sushi and tempura. I think I found one! Let's Cook Japanese Food Everyday, in addition to having a very exciting-looking table of contents (at least as far as the tofu/egg section I was allowed to browse in the Amazon window thing), has exactly the right kind of title. Notice the optimistic ganbare spirit!!! This could be a sign on an elementary school wall (if said school were peculiarly devoted to cooking Japanese food...) Good signs. Correct signs. I'm totally buying this book.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Digital Comics

Came across this site today.

No matter what else Fuji TV is, the site has nifty digital comics (in Japanese.)

Good for speed reading practice, I guess.

The art is always interesting, even if you don't know what is going on.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Tidbits and Thoughts

I was going to post this yesterday, too, but ended up getting sidetracked. So Viz has arranged screenings of one of my FAVORITE MOVIES EVER (the original Japanese official page is gone : /), only not here. Viz is BASED here, but they couldn't arrange a couple here. Too bad I missed the 2005 SF Indie Fest >_<

Viz Pictures has a pretty slick website. I'm totally into this company. I assume they'll be putting out The Taste of Tea DVD soon. Isn't that what this means? God, I would cry. I love that movie so much.


So, I don't believe I have been linking to my translation efforts. That is the most recent. I'll try to remember to do that. It's all very rough and literal, but it's practice, anyhow. It's valiant.


Got some more work to do ^_^ I'll link when it's up.


I need to keep more Japanese in my brain. Last night while falling asleep I was writing kanji in my head and I really think that is probably the only way to really learn this stuff. It's not enough to study while you write it down on the paper, you have to etch it into your cerebral cortex. Thus, I intend to spend more timing thinking in or about Japanese.


I hadn't intended on saying this, but while I was writing the rest of this I was just thinking... I'm going to restart my vocab blog completely. I'd like to get it on the new system and add labels for parts of speech 'n stuff. Plus it's really...spotty and neglected-looking. I actually posted one this morning, but now that I think of it, the best way to recommit is to start from scratch. (Incidentally, this blog, as you may be able to tell, will never be switched to the new Blogger system. There are too many links I would have to add all over again, so screw it. There would be too many pointless labels, too.)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Deathnote Downloads and Anime TV

Viz is going to be selling downloads, apparently for sale and rent, of Death Note. Now, I admittedly know nothing of Death Note, and am not really as into the fan-sub scene as it would be fun to be, but I sort of wonder how this will effect their business.

The way I understand it is that as long as a title is unlicensed in America, fan-subs are generally not given any trouble (over subbing anime and giving it away for free.) I wonder if this move is seen as a good thing or a bad thing. From the comments on the news link above, it seems like people think it's neat, but they don't want to pay for it. Some want their payments to be "credited" towards DVD purchase, which seems silly. Are your iTunes credited towards CD purchase? Admittedly, it's a different market, where there are weird wait times yadda while things are translated, but I still don't think any vendor would consider such a scheme.

What would be even better is if they just released an English language version of Japan's anime network. Is it still WOW! or whatever it used to be? I mean, we export MTV and stuff, why couldn't we just import that. Have a team of translators whose only purpose in life is to completely translate that channel so that last weeks screenings are available this week in English. Premium cable.

WOE IS ME over premium cable. I wish you could get TV channels à la carte (Speak of the devil, Ian sent me that link a couple hours after I posted this. Wiggy!) I think the boy and I had this conversation one day and decided we would get: Cartoon Network, Comedy Central, TCM, and the Japanese channel. I would totally order subbed -- oh, here we go. It's WOWOW, and it's not just anime. I learned! Wikipedia tells us that it has become famous for broadcasting new anime, but also shows movies and Western shows. Go figure. So here is the channel we would really be looking for, Animax. And if you scroll down that Wikipedia link, it says (under North America) that they actually WOULD like to bring it here. If they would just do it subbed and not dubbed I'm sure many people would be very happy.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Post-shower reggae

as opposed to pre-shower, rest of the day reggae. It's Japanese.

I'm sitting here eating the smallest banana-walnut monstrosity with a dab of cream cheese. Kinda wish I would've picked a bigger one, now, but there should be dinner of some sort eventually.

In addition to shower, I did some laundry organizing and dishwashing, some Internet reading and kanji scribbling.

No e-mails, at least none that I really want. I pestered the bakery who promised me an interview, so I hope everyone is satisfied with my go-getter attitude.

Sorta forgot to go to the pharmacy, but hopefully I can avert tragedy by going tomorrow. Obviously I did some shopping, or I wouldn't have been able make those scone wannabes. So we have milk and eggs at least.

My hair is drying uncomfortably on my neck.

Oh, I also (after my second time through Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea) finished reading Haruki Murakami's latest short collection, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman. It has a nice cover:

Lots of stories, one I recognized from The New Yorker. He mentions that some of them are bits he's fleshed out into novels, and I recognized one of those, as well. It's pretty obvious. Less obvious where it came from because I'm bad at remembering that sort of thing, but I think it might be Norwegian Wood.

Next, I'm going to take a look at Snow Crash, since it's on the bookshelf and Scott really likes it. I like knowing what he's referring to. Not that I'll ever catch up, but I can certainly try.

There is also some really cool jazz mixed in with this reggae, and punk, and...oddities. The Challenging Sushi link is in my sidebar. Should check it out if you haven't yet.

*hair continues to dry*

I made a thing

Banana-Walnut, with oatmeal. Not sure if they cooked all the way through. They were supposed to be scones, but the recipe was imprecise on the amount of milk to add, so they got too wet. Rather than add more flour and risk losing some of the banana-walnut-iness, I just did like...drop biscuits or whatever, instead. My mistake was that when I changed aim I did not change the pan prep, so the cookie sheet is hurting right now. Should've greased it instead of flouring... This sheet is pretty beat to hell anyhow. Not sure why. Should ask my mom where to get a tough one.

I had a biscuit-scone thing. It was quite tasty. I just hope they actually cooked all the way through. I imagine the moistness is due to the banana and being fresh out of the oven...

Hmm, second batch can't be completed due to burning first batch residue...ah well. We'll try again sometime.

PS: This recipe except I used the 1% milk we had (and too much of it, obviously) and didn't use a food processor. Also substituted about 3/4 (nearly a) cup of chopped (and rolling pinned) walnuts for half of the oatmeal. Yum! I bet it would be good with half wheat flour.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Gandamu to Urutoraman

I woke up this morning with the theme song from the original Gundam cartoon in my head. That despite the fact that I had heard the Ultraman theme more than 5 times the previous evening. Go figure.

Yeah, we started watching that last night. I had never seen it and can't pass up something that campy and Japanese and geeky. I'm working on getting the theme song down so I can be really obnoxious all the time.


I think I was thinking about Gundams, though, because I started watching Gundam Wing again. I must've seen the first disc ten times now, but I've still never gotten to the end of the show. I only have up to the fifth disc and I don't even think I ever saw that far. Sort of sad. Anyhow, it seems my free time will continue to be interminable, so I can hop to it. Also, once I get a paycheck I can finish up my collection. Fancily, they have boxed the first and second halves of the series separately. I have no idea why, but it sure rocks for me.

Actually, I don't think I've watched this at all since something like my first year of college, or maybe even high school. Gundam Wing Volume 1 was the first anime I ever bought. Got it at Suncoast and I was sooooo excited. It's a pretty nostalgic show for me (although it's surprising how nostalgic I get for Ultraman, which is from two decades before I was born, not to mention the other side of the planet.) The biggest difference between now and the last time I saw any of this is that I know a lot more Japanese. That's not to say that I know a LOT of Japanese, but just that I can pick out a lot more than I used to, i.e. something other than "gandamu."

Watching Ultraman last night, however, gave me less confidence. They talk so fast! I remember in my French intermediate-advanced bridge class the prof had us pick out lines from movies and repeat them. In fact, we did a whole seen from Le Dîner de Cons in class. I guess this sort of speed training could be useful. I'm not sure it really helped my French, but it's sort of satisfying to be able to say SOMETHING at native speed. Even just "urutoraman" is a bit of a tongue-twister. From "ru" to "to" there seems to be a little bit of a hitch.

Ok ok ok, and CHECK this OUT:

I'm so happy right now. I just wanted to see if I could find the song since it was in my head all morning, like I said, and youtube has this glorious thing for me to find. Not sure who those guys are; one of the comments said the original version was sung by Kou Ikeda, which seems to be the case. I'm still impressed. Should learn this song, too.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Final Grades and other unrelated news

Well, they're posted. A- in Asto and US Politics, A in everything else.

I mailed a box today.

I also did some laundry. We don't seem to have enough room for our clothes.

Just e-mailed for some furniture on craigslist. Hope we get it!

Hum hum...

oh and I'll be back in O-town on the 18th for some lame medical business.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007


The Gong Show is retro youtube. So stupid, but you can't tear yourself away! (Or maybe you can...)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Things of the Day

As of yet unnamed X-mas present:

Isn't he cute? The boy gave him to me so neither of us has to miss pine trees so much. He is a quite prickly and needs plenty of water.

Had my job interview. I'd say it was ok overall. I looked nice, anyhow. I think other than a bit of a low point in the middle, things were fine. Ended strong. Managed to recognize the kanji for legendary, even (which, could it have been a TEST????) Hopefully things will turn out OVERWHELMINGLY IN MY FAVOR. That would be nice.

It's really weird being asked hard questions by people you have met in social situations. I will say that. Especially when they are really hard questions to which you have no idea how to reply even though you could DO what they are ASKING. I think I said something later when I was talking about this like, "I know what you want me to say, but there isn't really a way to say it. It's something you DO, not something you SAY." Kinda yoda, but I think it makes the point. Some of the questions seemed like things that are intangible but quite evident, and don't really need explanations, I would approach a certain project. That is probably something that evolves as you gain experience, at least I would imagine.

I dunno. I don't mean to sound so venomous here. I'm not like...upset or anything. It's just really frustrating to KNOW you can DO what they want, but not be able to explain quiet why...I guess. It really knocks down your, "I can! I can! I can!" message to answer, "I don't know."


Soul Calibur III silliness XD

Monday, January 01, 2007


Well, it's a new year and I have no intention of posting a retrospective over the past one because I tried that for my last day of college and it was abominable and hence removed.

Had a good night playing Soul Calibur 3 (one of my X-mas presents from Scotty) until midnight. One of Scott's old friends stopped by for dinner and left just a little before the new year, which is just as well since I was, for some reason, extremely cold and quite tired. Pretty much zonked out after a celebratory smooch.

That, of course, means that I'm up at quarter to 8 wondering what I'm supposed to be doing. I feel like I have big plans, but I really don't, heh. I added some links in the sidebar, but I feel more like I should start culling things. It's not really accurately reflecting what I read, or even what I SHOULD read, anymore @_@ Become a bit overgrown...

Speaking of growing, Scotty also got me a bonsai for X-mas, which will surely be an adventure. Luckily my dad is pretty much THE go-to guy on plants, and I think he actually mentioned that he had been reading up on bonsai recently, so that pretty much rocks. Won't be quite so out of my depth. It's very cute, and sits in the window by the video games.

We CLEANED. This past weekend we turned the entire apt upside down. All that is left is dishes and laundry, certainly minor in comparison to the sheer amount of dust we swept up. Our bookshelf is overflowing and we still need a couch, but the place looks really great, and a lot bigger, too. The alcoves aren't full of junk, anymore, so the rooms have really opened up.

I need to make sure I get at least a bit of Japanese in everyday, which I'm thinking will come in the form of half gaming-half studying. I study to game and I game to study, rock! Anyhow, now that I'm thinking about that I should probably get to it, so ;p Maybe I'll putz with my links some more later. Probably the solution will end up being not deleting so much as just reading if there is time in the day.