Smoking Japan 

I think these signs area hoot - I took photos of a few of them on my various trips but its good to see nice clear images of them.

Found via ii-ne-kore - you can check out more of the signs on that sight.
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In case I haven't mentioned it, I am not a native Los Angelean. I'm originally from Texas where every thing is bigger and people wear cowboy hats for real.

One of the things I didn't realize I missed were the cicadas. their "weeeeewiiiiiiirrrrrrweeeeeeeewiiiiiirrr" noise is music to my ears. I was so pleased to hear them daily on our trip back in august. It brought back some good memories and made Tokyo feel very much like home.

If you are not familiar with the noise they make - watch my video at the end of the Tabata post the audio is just cicadas and me talking.

Here is a cicada close up:

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Tabata - Amanda Sport adventure 

I mentioned before that Husband had bike problems before we left on the trip. Amanda Sport was close to Tabata station but we still needed a GPS to find it since it was tucked away in a little neighborhood.

I took my own photos that day and here are just a few:

City Mascot - I have no idea what the cutsey turtlesque thing really is but it's adorable.

Here is a shot outside the station - that little french pastry shop was calling my name but we didn't end up stopping there.

Husband and I leaving.

A shot from inside the store. That's Mr. Chiba - the proprietor

Between some houses...

Amanda Sport bike stash - right outside the front door.

these were from a community garden right around the corner. It was so peaceful to stand there and listen to the cicadas...

and some video I took right next to teh garden so you could hear the cicadas...

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As you may or may not know - I am trying (although slowly) to learn Japanese using Rosetta Stone. It's going well, but I was having a tough time remembering letters to read the words that are shown in the software.

Well, turns out there is an e-learning site run by a friend of a friend - where I can just learn to read hiragana and katakana.

Enter SMART.FM - awesome name for an e-learning site, huh? Their iknow software is pretty sweet and gives you specific items to study.

In 2 weeks, I've 100% learned 8 pieces of hiragana and am familiar with the 96 pieces.

my one gripe with the site - is that they should dump all the social networking features - they make for a REALLY wonky and confusing User Interface. Just because you are a good instructional designer does not make you a good interface designer.

and this would be the friend that recommended the site:

Photo courtesy of my husband - the amazing photographer

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Nakano - my visit in Japan 

One of the places we went in our otaku visit to Japan was Nakano Broadway Mall. Nakano is a little suburbanesque area of Tokyo that happens to house one of the best old toy collectors mall we could find.

Nakano Broadway Mall houses the largest Mandarake Husband and I could find in Tokyo and they happen to have their main distribution center in the mall as well. They buy and sell just about any anime stuff you can find and have an AMAZING super old school shop that is essentially a museum. Think of them as the Half Price Books of Manga.

Here is the entrance to the super high dollar,super, super rare store that will make pot belly robot fans cry...

My favorite thing in this store was the Vaseline Glass they had on display. I had no idea what it was until after I came out of the store and Husband gave me the low down. But this stuff is the most beautiful glass I have EVER seen. It glows green because of URANIUM!

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tokyo bike drama  

I mentioned it one of my previous posts but I didn't tell you whole story. My mobiky died about half way through our trip. What I didn't tell you was that husband's broke before got on the plane. I'll let him tell the story of the differences in our two bikes and how I will be buying a bike friday early next year.

Meanwhile - have a gander at the AWESOME photo he took of his bike.

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food in Japan is good 

good canned coffee:

See the sandwich in the back ground of that one? AMAZING! It was a crustless egg salad and a crustless turkey with cucumber!! NOM NOM NOM!

good soda:

Best soda in Japan by far! light and refreshing it was like drinking liquid ginger but it strangely NEVER gave me heart burn.

Great candy:
Crunky = Nestle's Crunch

See off to the left under the red package? Can you make out the little durian fruit on the package?

It was AWFUL!!! I will never be convinced to eat durian now - I tried some of the hi chew candy in the durian flavor and omg - I almost spit it out because it tasted like moldy wet gym socks. definitely not my favorite.

I will post more pictures later.

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I'm still on vacation in my head 

really, I am

I'm wrangling the updates but here are a few for now

1) The dog is doing better
2) Mobiky sucks - it died on the trip
3) Paper Olive won best vendor bug on
4) Hurricane Jane has a new line out - check out her lower pricing!
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three more sleeps til home 

I'll be back in LA on Saturday and back to the blog soon. see you then!
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two more sleeps 

I have to sleep two more times before I can go get on a plane!

I'm so excited!!! BUT we spent a fair chunk getting the fuzzy one back to normal before we went so will be SUPER strapped for cash the first week.

Check him out though:

He turned on the hazards - the button was right next to his shoulder in the picture but he got up higher and put his elbow on the button.

We borrowed a car from a friend for the weekend to take him to the vet and get the MIL from the airport.


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