November 2004 Archives

Hardest Writing Ever


I think I just wrote the most difficult hundred words ever.

MJ's mother passed away from a sudden and mysterious illness this afternoon. MJ telephoned from Adelaide to tell me.

At her request, I updated Cerebral Soup with a notice to her constant readers. How do you relate such tragic news to an unknown and invisible audience of near-strangers? Though I did my best, it didn't even approach adequate.

Annual Xmas Rant


I cannot easily express how much Christmas irritates me.

I enjoy giving. I like fruitcake. The scent of evergreen boughs and bayberry candles is delightful. Choirs singing traditional and religious carols please me.

But I despise shopping. I don't like the expectations, the pressure, the greed. It turns me cold. However, like rubbernecking at a traffic accident, I'm compelled to examine the depths to which consumers are sinking this year. Here's what I've found: has gift ideas for your Hairdresser. Marcasite earrings; that's what every hairdresser wants. Or for Teacher, some "dessert excuse" plates with cute drawings of cakes and phrases like "just a sliver, please."

Wrong, wrong, wrong. If you feel generous this season, give your hairdresser an extra-big tip and your teacher a gift certificate for books or school supplies.

Maybe I'm just utterly unsentimental, but don't you think you could do better for your mother than a personalised "#1 Mom" picture frame from Wal-Mart? Surely mom has some personal interests beyond the circumstance of motherhood.

What about Dad? Pretty much every web-based shopping guide thinks dad wants an MP3 player this year. Tod suggests a bottle of booze instead.

The "Teens and Tweens" on your shopping list may be a bit of a challenge, but I was shocked (and you know that's not easy to do) by's suggestion of ammo as an "outdoorsy" gift for teens. Nothing says Christmas like a stocking full of hollow point cartridges.

Enough. I will turn away from this accident that is "the holiday season" and focus on the way ahead: a new year, a new leaf and all that malarky.

Togo Shrine flea market


Looking for old fabrics in Harajuku.

Wine Icon


Icon on a bottle of Spanish wine

What an odd diagram to put on a bottle of wine. We had all sorts of ideas about what it represents, not all of them fit for the dinner table. Then we tasted the wine (spoiled by improper storage) and decided that it indicated "pour directly down drain."

What do you think it means? Is this a standard symbol in Spain or the EU?

One Creative Accomplishment


creative perspectivesAfter you wrote out that list from last week's column, didn't you feel better? Lighter? I know I did. But there's a long list on my desk now! I've crossed off many of the mundane chores, but the creative To Do items get pushed aside somehow.

Well, let's do one today. Accomplish something creative you can cross off the list. Pick something you can get finished today. For my creative task, I've edited photos to make the desktop backgrounds and screen-savers that some of my regular readers have requested.

So here they are, with several bonus images because I was having fun!

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Hakone Glass A
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Hakone Glass B
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glass c
Hakone Glass C
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Shrine Candle
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shrine water
Shrine Water
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slag clover
Slag Brick with Clover
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Train Tracks
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Tangy Cranberry Sauce

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recipe thursdayI love cranberries but I'm not so crazy about very sweet sauces for meats. So this low-sugar cranberry sauce is just the thing. Best if made a day or two ahead so that the flavors can blend.

Tangy Cranberry Sauce
makes about 2 cups

350 g (12 oz) fresh whole cranberries
1/4 c sugar
3 mikan (mandarin oranges)
1/4 c water

Wash the cranberries and remove any mushy ones. Put the cranberries, water and sugar together in a pot and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 6 minutes, until the cranberries are all split open. Juice the mikan and add the juice to the pot. Turn off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a blender or food processor, or with a handheld blender or food mill, puree the berries, allowing a few lumps for texture. Chill overnight or up to three days.

Lists and Visions

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I've been playing with a few nifty things lately that I thought might be worth sharing. Two of them are cool tools for my iSight.

deliciousLibrary.jpgDelicious Library ($40) turns the iSight into a bar code scanner, allowing you to inventory your collection of books, CDs, games and videos. It looks up the details in Amazon's database and shows you cover art. A related tool, DeliciousExporter (free), allows you to generate web pages from the information.

Here's my library in progress--I need to rework those ugly templates and finish scanning the books. We have a lot of old books, too, so I need to do something about the cover art for them. If you hold your mouse over the blank covers, you can find out what the books are. Tod's offered to do the CDs.

iGlasses.jpgiGlasses ($8)is very super handy for controlling the iSight. It gives you access to the video adjustments of you camera in iChatAV. There are a few presets for dark conditions, including a freaky green "night vision" mode. Some options are just plain silly, like upside down and a rotation through the spectrum that makes you look like you're in the disco. I use the sepia and black/white presets.

The best thing about iGlasses is you can make your own adjustments and save them. So now I don't look quite so magenta when I'm chatting with friends.

43Things.jpg43 Things invites you to build a list of things you want to do with your life, either by clicking on one of the random items you see listed, or by typing in one of your own (it will be added to the pool). It is strangely compelling to read all the things people want to do--from "buy curtains" to "travel to all 7 continents" This is my list: 2164


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Video Reel

Clips from Hello Tokyo November 2003

title sequence
Hello Tokyo

0'46" .mov (6.2 MB)

chapter 1
Figuring Out a Few Words

1'58" .mp4 (1.2 MB)

chapter 4

1'12" .mp4 (923 KB)

TICAD Opening October 2004. (2.2 MB MP4) duration 0'22"
Opening sequence for a World Bank speech (cut)

Andy July 2004. (1.2 MB MP4) duration 0'34"
A clip edited for a Nike marketing research project

Let's Make Ume Shu May 2004. (29.7 MB MP4) duration 4'38"
How-to make Japanese plum wine

9F, East Tower January 2002. (76 MB Quicktime) duration 5'25"
Perot Systems Japan reviews 2001 and previews the coming year's goals.

What is e-commerce? May 2000. (5 MB Quicktime) duration 0'30"
This clip is the opening sequence to a 15 minute educational video for UBS Warburg Japan.

31 May 2000. (98 MB Quicktime) duration 6'03"
This is a personal project, capturing a day's events and filmed on my husband's birthday.

Perot 1999 January 2000. (78 MB Quicktime) duration 5'45"
An end-of-year celebratory video premiered at Perot Systems Japan's annual party.

WriteHire (336 KB RealMedia, 312 KB RealMedia) duration 0'30"
Two 30 second promos for a freelance writers' job service.

Househunting in Tokyo (16 MB Quicktime) duration 1'00"
Setting to music the frustrating and complex experience of househunting


Feature articles
Managing Designer Expectations Todeco
The Parent Trap Tokyo Classified
The Hunt is On Tokyo Classified
Get a Move On Tokyo Classified
Robotops Metropolis

Travel pieces
Niijima: Exiled to an Island in Tokyo Tokyo Classified
Meguro River Walk Tokyo Classified

Technical writing
HTML workshop
Wire Tap Metropolis


Wireless Watch Japan site development using PHP-Nuke
Foreign Correspondent's Club of Japan site architecture and project management
Kristin Newton, glass artist site design and implementation, including Flash
Right Brain Research site design and implementation, including mailing list and weblog
Wordpainting site design and implementation; content coordination


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statement on work

The whole point of work is to be productive and to enjoy it. I love jobs where at the end of a long, arduous day I can say Look what I did today. I made this.

When 'this' happens to be a well-crafted communication, whether it's a corporate newsletter, a video presentation, a feature article, a user's manual or a play, then I'm most content. But at various points in my career 'this' has also been a workshop, a class syllabus, or a swatch of handmade felt.


Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Masters' degree coursework. 1996.
Pittsburgh Filmmakers'. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Coursework. 1996.
Pennsylvania Institute for Culinary Arts. Pittsburgh, PA. Coursework. 1991.
Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. B.S. 1988.


Videography and non-linear digital editing. Grammatically correct, engaging, written communication. Multimedia and web interface design. HTML, Front Page, Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Image Ready, Fireworks, Premiere, After Effects, Quicktime, Toast, PageMaker, Authorware, ColdFusion, PHP.

employment summary

Self Employed. Freelance Writer, Videographer and Web Designer. March 1996 to present.
Perot Systems Japan. Tokyo Test Centre. July 1998 to June 1999.
Perot Systems Asia Pacific. Asia Pacific Test Centres. April 1998 to June 1998.
Duquesne University. Multimedia Consultant. October 1996 to January 1998.
Chicago Kent College of Law. Manager, Computing Services. August 1995 to March 1996.
Duquesne University. Educational Computing Consultant. July 1993 to June 1995.
Telerama Public Access Internet. Director, Telerama School. March 1991 to May 1995.
Foxholly Studios. Graphic Designer and Copywriter. March 1991 to July 1994.
McCrerey Farm, Inc. Vice President. September 1992 to June 1995.
EMCO Foodservice Systems, Inc. Marketing Assistant. August 1989 to February1991.

volunteer activities

DigitalEve Japan. International women's IT organization. Co-leader of national chapter: February 2001 to May 2002. Technology Team Coordinator: February 2001- present
Japan Webgrrls. Volunteer trainer, November 1999 to February 2001. Annual Event Coordinator, July to October 2000.

publications and presentations
published work
  • Contributor to Todeco. 2004.
  • Contributor to Four Corners. 2004.
  • Enhancing your Computer's Performance in Number 1 Shimbun. September 2004
  • Upgrade is an Uplifting Word in Number 1 Shimbun. August 2004
  • Backup is Not a Four Letter Word in Number 1 Shimbun. July 2004
  • Gaining a Creative Perspective in Design-in-flight. July 2004.
  • FCCJ's Untapped resource in Number 1 Shimbun. April 2004
  • Metropolis' twice monthly Tech Know column. February 2001 - June 2002.
  • Robotops in Metropolis Issue 417.
  • Knowledge is power in Tokyo Classified Issue 368.
  • Exploring Mac World Tokyo 2001 in Tokyo Classified Issue 364.
  • What's Myline? in Tokyo Classified Issue 361.
  • Kiku Matsuri in Tokyo Classified Issue 343.
  • What's Up Pussycat? A Day with Hello Kitty in Eye Ai. September 2000.
  • Craft Experiences in the Shikoku Region in Eye Ai. August 2000.
  • The Parent Trap in Tokyo Classified Issue 325.
  • Big is Beautiful in Tokyo Classified Issue 320.
  • All Tied Up: Shibori in Eye Ai. June 2000.
  • Get a Move On in Tokyo Classified. Issue 319. 6 May 2000.
  • Meguro River Walk in Tokyo Classified Issue 318. 29 April 2000.
  • Tachikui, Feats of Clay in Tokyo Classified. Issue 312, 18 March 2000.
  • The Hunt is On in Tokyo Classified Issue 311. 11 March 2000.
  • Disclosing Yourself in Japan in Regans Annual Report Review. March 2000.
  • Blossoms, Petals, Posies in Eye Ai. March 2000.
  • Historical Yokohama in Eye Ai. January 2000.
  • Mochi Celebrates the Season in Tokyo Classified. Issue 300/301 25 December 1999.
  • Niijima, an Island of Calm in Tokyo in Eye Ai. October 1999.
  • Exiled to an Island in Tokyo in Tokyo Classified. Issue 280. 7 August 1999.
  • Life in Japan travelogues. Spring 1999.
  • Yamada Reizouko Ou review in, Spring 1999.
  • Portrait of a Kissaten in Epicure Exchange, Spring 1998.
  • Spending an Allowance on the Internet in Big Blue Box, Volume 4, Number 2. Watertown, MA. 1997.
  • Chatting with Cyberfriends: Conversing a New Way in Big Blue Box, Volume 4, Number 1. Watertown, MA. 1997.
  • Cutting to the Cutting Edge of Fashion in Big Blue Box, Volume 3, Number 3. Watertown, MA. 1997.
  • Canned! Vending Machine Coffee in Tokyo in Epicure Exchange, Fall 1996.
  • Teens and Telephony in Tokyo in Big Blue Box, Volume 3, Number 2. Watertown, MA. 1996.
  • Safer Surfing: the Influence of Filters and Blacklists on Web Development in Big Blue Box, Volume 3, Number 1. Watertown, MA. 1996.
  • Impulse Freak comic collaboration. SITO, Omaha, NE. 1996.
  • Using the SamplePrep Web Service in Analytical Sample Preparation and Microwave Chemistry Research Center in Microwave Enhanced Research. Skip Kingston,, editors. American Chemical Society, Washington, D.C. 1996.
  • TICAD reception background, World Bank GDLN. October 2004.
  • CocaCola Japan Bottler's convention modules. Media Sense. October 2004.
  • NIke marketing research project. Ministry of Culture. August 2004.
  • CocaCola Japan "People Day" modules. Media Sense. January 2004.
  • Subtitiling project. The Innovation Group. May 2003.
  • Hello Tokyo. November 2003.
  • 9F, East Tower. Perot Systems Japan. January 2001.
  • Two promotional videos. November 2000.
  • E-lifestyles promotion. Japan Webgrrls. October 2000.
  • Househunting in Tokyo. June 2000.
  • TK2K. June 2000.
  • What is E-commerce. UBS Warburg. May 2000.
  • 31, a film. May 2000.
  • Millennium Party. Perot Systems Japan. January 2000.

    View samples in my video portfolio.

presentations & workshops
  • October 2004. Writing Menus. (lesson 1, lesson 2). Media Tinker.
  • January 2004. A Brief History of Zero. Media Tinker.
  • November 2003. Tokyo, Japan. VideoCrown multimedia presentation. Design Festa.
  • August 2003. Illustrated MT Templates. Media Tinker.
  • May 2002. Tokyo, Japan. Managing Sites with Dreamweaver. DigitalEve Japan.
  • November 2001. Kamakura, Japan. IT Careers for Women.
  • November 2001. Tokyo, Japan. Digital Video Workshop. DigitalEve Japan.
  • September 2001. Tokyo, Japan. Women in IT (panel moderator).
  • June 2001. Tokyo Japan. Usability and User Interface Design. DigitalEve Japan.
  • December 2000. Tokyo, Japan. Digital Video Workshop.
  • August 2000. Tokyo, Japan. Web Publishing for Japan Webgrrls.
  • May 2000. Tokyo Japan. Intermediate HTML for Japan Webgrrls. A half-day workshop for web page creators.
  • March 2000. Tokyo, Japan. Hajimete Internet, A half-day seminar for International Women in Communiction.
  • November 1999. Tokyo, Japan. HTML Workshop. A half-day workshop for beginner web page creators.
  • December 1998. Studio Infini, Tokyo, Japan. Travelogues : Monologues. A one-woman, multimedia exhibition.
  • August 1997. Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA. Opportunity Knocks 97. A five-day student employee training workshop.
  • June 1997. Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA. Summer Institute on Teaching with Technology. A week-long multimedia development workshop for university faculty.
  • December 1996. CAUSE Annual Conference, San Francisco, CA. "Support Models for Faculty Development" poster session.
  • November 1995. EDUCOM Annual Conference, Facility Design for Teaching, Learning and Technology poster session.
  • June 1995. Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA. Summer Institute on Teaching with Technology. Three, week-long multimedia development workshops for university faculty.
  • April 1995. Faculty Development Resource Association, Pittsburgh, PA. Navigating the Internet workshop.
  • September 1994. PREPnet Annual Meeting, Pittsburgh, PA. Internet Basics workshop.
  • April 1994. Faculty Development Resource Association, Pittsburgh, PA. De-Mythologizing the Internet workshop.
  • March 1993. Council of Independent Colleges, Pittsburgh, PA. Hands-On Internet workshop.

3rd stage Purplitis



Medical researchers discover terrifying purple scourge!

This is my head. Doesn't it look like something out of a medical textbook? I tried to dye my hair purple. Salon De Pro "Hair Manicure" didn't do much for the hair color, but look at the lovely tint of my scalp.

I will never dye my hair purple again
I will never dye my hair purple again
I will never dye my hair purple again
I will never dye my hair purple again
I will never dye my hair purple again

But I might try blonde...

Roadside shrine

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Unexpected beauty in Kohinata, Tokyo

A random chapter

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I've been engaged mostly in NaNoWriMo writing, along with some attendant procrastination and husbanding of migraines, and have not had a lot of energy to observe the world around me for retelling here. So I will share with you the world inside that pours out onto the virtual pages of my word processor.

Below you'll find words 7367 through 8259 of the 17,014 I have written so far. (I am woefully behind--will I make 50,000 by the end of the month? I do not know.) Please recall as you read that this is not written for quality but for quantity. I will go back and qualify it after November 30th.

Googling for details

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While writing this silly novel of mine, I've fallen back in love with Google. Because I am short on general reference books in my library (though we do have quite a collection of O'Reilley titles and Japanese language primers), Google is where I turn for fact-checking.

Some of the tidbits of info I've tracked down quickly for the book:

  • How big is a wedding cake to serve 200 guests? (Greystone Bakery)
  • What is the price of a pair of size 26 fancy dress shoes in Tokyo?(Ginza Washington)
  • What time is the tuna auction in Tsukiji? (Wikipedia)
  • What's the correct order for names in a wedding announcement? (New York Times)



creative perspectivesIs your head cluttered with things you need to do? All those mental reminders - don't forget to pick up Sally's birthday present; ask Mr. Jones about that e-mail; prepare the invoices - important as they are, they all get in the way of your creativity.

When you unclutter your head, your creativity flows. But how to get rid of those mental To Do items?

My favorite way is to make a list. Write down everything that you need to do--short term and long term. Then let yourself forget them. It's not that you won't do them, but your list will be your memory and your brain can simply feel free to focus on other things.

And it's a quite pleasant high to cross things off the list!

Goya Chijimi


recipe thursdayGoya is the Okinawan name for a bitter gourd that's called "balsam pear" in English and niga-uri in Japanese. I've eaten it many times as "goya chanpuru, a scrambled egg dish, but found this recipe for goya chijimi on Suntory's Macadia site.

Goya Chijimi
serves 2

1/2 goya
1/2 mentaiko (spicy cod roe)
2 eggs
2/3 c flour
pinch salt
1/2 Tbsp oil

Slice the goya in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds, then slice into thin crescents. Separate the mentaiko. Mix the eggs, flour and salt in a bowl. Add the goya and mentaiko. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Divide the batter into four pancakes. Fry on both sides until golden brown.

Voice Acting


This week, I'm taking a voice acting workshop to improve my reading aloud. We've learned many techniques for breath control, projecting our voices from different parts of our body, dramatic uses of pitch, and building characters in various ways. These are all helpful and will certainly make a difference in my ability to interpret stories.

But something dangerous is happening. I'm rediscovering the tantalizing joys of acting.

Although I did theatre from high school (Nuremberg Community Players and the high school drama club), through university (Duquesne University Red Masquers) and my early married years (Upstairs Theatre), I was never so keen on acting--I enjoyed it immensely, but other actors were way better than me and I hated auditions. So I applied my meagre talents to technical theatre: costuming, lighting, props, set decoration and construction, stage management. I know my way around backstage in the dark.

This voice workshop is rekindling the excitement of stage work. I will have to be careful not to fall back into the theatrical world--too much theatre makes Kristen crazy.

I failed every course in my sophomore year of university because I spent too much time being a thespian. I quit a job once because they complained I took too much time off during productions.

Friends: do not let me audition or volunteer.

Art Therapy

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A couple years back, I took an art class that focused on creative problem solving. It turned out to be a rather scary deep look into each students psyche.

From the exercises we did--mainly drawing representations of problems, then redrawing them or adding solutions--it was possible to see inside the minds of the artists a little bit. I came away with some startling insights.

So today when I was feeling sort of stuck and unfocussed, I decided to draw out one of my problems and see what I came up with. Although I didn't really find a solution, I did make a pretty picture:



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macadia.jpgTod spied this in the liquor shop the other day. "It's rosehip liquor," he said as I perused the wines. Sounded interesting so we picked up a bottle along with a bottle of more traditional chilean Pinot.

Macadia is tangy and sweet with a hint of spice. It drinks more like plum wine than a strong liquor. As it turns out, it's not just rosehips. It also contains maca, aka Peruvian ginseng. What an odd combination. I did some poking around and found Suntory's press release:

Suntory is to release healthy liqueur “Macadia” --Wine for “beauty” and “high spirit” with soaked maca and rose hip from Andes --

...Recently, customers’ health consciousness has been on rise. In such a trend, Suntory has pursued the development of liqueur that uses healthy ingredients, by utilizing both product development on alcoholic beverage business and research development of healthy product business. Suntory then, has focused on “maca” and “rose hip” that contain vitamin, mineral, and amino acid and newly released healthy liqueur “Macadia” as a drink that can be enjoyed by women. It is particularly targeted to women who are highly interested in beauty and health, enabling them to enjoy alcohol and satisfy their health consciousness at the same time....

On the Japanese site there is a Macadia column with beauty advice from a color analyst, an esthetician, and a nail artist. There are recipes for foods that pair with Macadia (watch for goya chijimi in this week's Recipe Thursday). And of course, the CM Library. There's only one, The Story of Maca and Rosehip. They're cats...


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Faucet in Hamarikyu park, Tokyo

Words are flowing out of my fingers quickly today but I've done little else of note. My NaNoWriMo word count stands at 10,639. Yeah, me.

NaNoWriMo report

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National Novel Writing Month is just about 13/30ths over. Today I topped 5,000 words of the 50,000 I'm scheduled to write. It seems like I'm really behind, but I effectively started yesterday, so I might still make it in time if I write just a tad more every day. 3000 words a day is my goal and that's hardly anything, really.

I'm posting my word count in at NaNoWriMo and you can check my progress.

The ideas are falling into place. I have a working title--Party Wedding Plan--and I'm enjoying the process of writing in bulk. It's bad writing but there is a lot of it coming out of my fingers.

Read on for the shortest chapter so far, a mere 420 words:

The embarrassing stories continue



Mom & Jean delight in posting stories about me and Tod on Dynamic Duo. Thanks, UltraBob for giving them such a memorable vacation activity. If you want to discover how utterly clever and cute Tod & I were as children, here are links to each of the stories thus far:

The Red Rug
The Food Critic, chapter 1

Tod's Early Computer Education
Sleepwalking and Elimination
Tod's Sister Checking In
The Construction Project
Native American Improv

The Moms return home today, but I have a feeling that they will continue the storytelling.

Looking up

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Painted ceiling. Asakusa, Tokyo

Let there be light

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Devotional candles. Asakusa, Tokyo

Warning: children's stories

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Now see! oh! see, what a dreadful thing
The fire has caught her apron-string;
Her apron burns, her arms, her hair;
She burns all over, everywhere.

from The Dreadful Story of Pauline and the Matches in Shockheaded Peter by Heinrich Hoffmann


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Dalle de verre glass in the Symphonic Scultpure, Hakone Open Air Museum

Bad lessons

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Oh, no. Please, no. There are better mentors, Mr Koizumi.

Koizumi wants to learn from Bush how to cope with world criticism

TOKYO — Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Thursday he wants to learn from U.S. President George W Bush about how to endure global criticism in exerting leadership, fueling views that he is resolved to go along with Bush's policies on Iraq no matter what.

"He is exerting leadership despite being criticized so much by the world and enduring massive criticism from the domestic media. That's something. I have to learn by watching it," Koizumi told reporters when asked for his view on Bush's leadership following his reelection. (Kyodo News via Japan Today)

Giveaways in Ginza

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At the southwest corner of the Ginza Nine shopping arcade is a open plaza under a roof. On weekends and holidays there are often long lines of people waiting to get freebies given away by various companies and promotion boards. Over the years, I've snagged mysterious juices, teas, and the occasional sweet.

Today, for the effort of standing in line for about three minutes, I received some literature about Japan's oranges and a trio of mikan stacked in a clear plastic container. A smiling Mikan Girl dressed in a Chanel-style orange suit with a matching hat and a white ribbon pageant banner handed them to all comers--so Mom, Tracey, and her parents got them, too. It wasn't quite as rewarding as mikangari, but the mikan are nearly as tasty.

Hasedera Jizo





Jizo statues at Hasedera. 5 November 2004

New banknotes



Japan's currency is probably the most valuable in the region and as a consequence, counterfeiting has gone up in recent years. The National Police Agency reported a 25-times increase in forgeries over the past five years. They expect to recover 30,000 fake bills this year.

So the Bank of Japan launched an anti-counterfeiting measure and released new banknotes on November 1st. I spotted one "in the wild" yesterday.

The 5,000 yen note features a new face, 19th century novelist Ichiyo Higuchi. She was a pioneer feminist writer. I haven't ever read her work, but I guess I ought to.

There are, of course, all sorts of new measures to foil counterfeiters and you can read about them on the Bank of Japan's About Money pages.

And so I don't forget in a few months when most of the old bills are gone, the old 5000 yen notes look like this:


Childhood stories

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A few months ago UltraBob's mother, UltraMom, shared some hilarious Bob stories with her readers. Ever since, Bob has been pestering other mothers to embarrass their children with childhood tales on his website.

My mother is the first guest mom. Her story of The Red Rug is over on Dynamic Duo.

Really getting into the spirit of this, Tod's mom had Maureen fax evidence from America, so check Dynamic Duo for more soon.

Elegant sufficiency


At dinner this evening we talked about dinner table phrases.

F.H.B. is McQuillin code for "family hold back" - a warning to the family that food was running low and guests should have second servings before the family.

M.I.K. offered the opposite message: more in kitchen.

But the phrase that got us all interested was "I've had an elegant sufficiency; any more would be a burden." It means you're full and don't want any more food.

It turns out that this isn't unique to grandmother Bobby McQuillin. It's from a poem called Spring written by James Thomson in the early 18th century:

An elegant sufficiency, content, Retirement, rural quiet, friendship, books, Ease and alternate labor, useful life, Progressive virtue, and approving Heaven; These are the matchless joys of virtuous love.

"An elegant sufficiency" has morphed into "my sufficiency is suffonsified." Eh? Explanation available at World Wide Words

Shadow porn

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Suddenly the evening light seems richer. Shadows appear where none were a month ago. It's intriguing; my eyes are opened to the play of dark on light. I've been trying to capture the essence of them.

Still life with keitai

First words


Nanowrimo began today. My output as of this morning is kinda light. If I don't write more than 200 words a day, I'm not going to make 50,000 words by the end of the month.

But here is the first line, for those of you who are following along:

The doll-sized brass statue of Ganesha that she’d bought in Bangkok all those years ago wasn’t really the classic Indian elephant-headed god at all, but the head of Ganesha grafted onto the body of a dancing Vishnu.

Do you have any idea where this is going? Neither do I. We'll see...

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  • Tracey Northcott (@keitaigoddess): I am such a loser - sent off my cards read more
  • Tracey Northcott (@keitaigoddess): Hi Babe, Haven't seen you in ages it seems. Ash read more
  • Hi Kristen, Tell me about it. Our last (3 month) read more
  • Tracey Northcott (@keitaigoddess): "We deeply apologize to our customers for the heavy burden," read more
  • Carolyn Farwell: Oh the gif you've created is so funny! You have read more
  • Tracey Northcott (@keitaigoddess): I am going to miss you!! read more
  • Eric Smith: Hey Kristen: Met you on a train a couple of read more