July 2010 Archives

August Hooping Events

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Sunday, August 1: Inopoi @ Inokashira Park from 1:00 FREE
Saturday, August 7: Edogawa Hanabi Hoop Jam @ Iidabashi from 4:30. FREE
Wednesday, August 11: Circle (hawaiian edition) @ Yoyogi Park from 6:00. FREE
Thursday, August 12: Hoop Lounge @ Super Deluxe from 7:00 FREE
Sunday, August 22: 4th Sunday Spin @ Yoyogi Park from 12:30. FREE

Details are on Facebook on the “Hooping in Tokyo” page. Impromptu hoop jams are bound to spring up, so Like the page and get the updates. We're also on mixi!

Plus there are all the regular classes around town, including Deanne’s hoop classes at FAB Academy (and I'm teaching on the 6th and 20th), Ayumi’s classes at Hoop Tokyo.

Tickets for Spin Matsuri are now on sale and we have an amazing lineup of workshops this year: choreography, flow, poi, spiritual connections, gymnastics, dance, games - all suitable for any level of hooper.

On World Hoop Day on 10/10/10, hoopers around the planet will unite to dance together. This is the first section of our routine. Will you join in? Practice with friends, dance with joy, and video your performance on 10/10/10!

Check my YouTube channel for tutorials on these moves...and you can follow the developments over at hooping.org to get the next section.

Music: Dynamite by Taio Cruz
World Hoop Day: http://www.worldhoopday.com/

The Choreography for part 1:
8 counts: clap on even beat
8 counts: arms up, out, grab, up
4 counts: circus start
4 counts: cowgirl
8 counts: low lasso
4 counts: sparkle down
4 counts: sparkle up
4 counts: plane change front
4 counts: spin
8 counts: baseline pass
8 counts: isolations

Happy Decade


Ten years ago today, I wrote my first post on this site:

Today’s Weather in Tokyo: hot and humid. (It is summer after all!)

Thus began a decade of online diary entries, essays, rants, whinges, and celebrations. I am so very glad that I created a record of so much of my life.

You've received 2,999 entries including 237 recipes, 27 audio recordings, 37 tutorials, a 3-year series on creativity, a one-year series of forty word portraits, and hundreds upon hundreds of other bits and bobs in the ever-changing landscape of my existence.

From my perspective, some of the best parts are unwritten: all the thoughts rattling in my head, the emotions I did not pour onto the page, the associated memories of times and places described. I can relive them any time I read through the mediatinker archives. You know a lot about me, but those unwritten memories layered over the entries are my own special secrets.

Now let me mark this anniversary entry by sharing one little interior vignette with you. At the time of the very first entry, I sat on the floor facing the air conditioner in the upstairs back room of the Marble House in Sendagi. My pasty white legs were glued with sweat to the scratchy tatami and I had a glass of water at hand. The sun beat down on the veranda; the metal steps to the playharbour were too hot to climb. I sat on the floor because my computer was propped up on a box; I had no desk then. I felt sticky and cranky and quite uncertain that Blogger was going to work for me. I wondered if blogs might just be a fad that everyone was going through and maybe I'd be better off keeping up my mailing list and regular website. But I wrote the first entry anyway, laughing to myself that someday I'd regret having written something so banal for the premiere entry to my new website.

And that's the story behind the first post. I'll bet you didn't realise one dull sentence could hold so much information. If you don't keep a journal of some sort, I hope this encourages you to do so because even the mundane can trigger special memories to the author.

Lots of things have changed since 2000: the technology, my passions, my goals and certainly my hair color. And as it turns out, some things haven't changed. It's hot and humid ten years later; I'm still sticky, pasty white, and have water at hand. And I'm still a little cranky.

Spinning Fire

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You may recall the first time I tried a fire hoop in November 2008, I fell over and banged myself up. I did a little better this weekend at the beach, when Roon Roon generously allowed me to spin with her fire hoop and air fire toys. Tod and I shot some video of the action and I edited together a little memory piece:

The fire adds an interesting complication to my hooping. Many of the tricks I do automatically and the way I transition between moves would catch me on fire. The rich experience of the sound and light in the fire hoop is overlaid with a constant stream of internal chatter: hey, no you can't do that outside break; watch your eyebrows now; will jumping through the hoop singe my legs; oh, hotter than I expected; whew, safe!

Should I make the effort to become proficient with a fire hoop? I think the obvious answer is yes. So now maybe I need to go play/practice with the fire people at Shinjuku Zatsugidan and buy myself some quick wicks from hoopdrum

Long Service

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Fifteen years ago today, Tod started a new job with Swiss Bank Corporation in Chicago. The bank has undergone almost a half dozen mergers, acquisitions and name changes, but Tod is still with them. His role has seen a lot of changes, too, as he's progressed from Unix sysadmin to Unix engineer.

Thanks to that chance interview in 1995, our lives are very different than they might have been. I was going to list some of the opportunities and experiences his job has created for us, but there are too many. Pretty much everything we are and do now is due in some part to Tod's long service at UBS.

So congratulations and thank you, darling, for sticking with this gainful employment thing for so long. I am ever grateful and very proud of you.

Shizuoka Surprises


This weekend I took a handful hoops on the Shinkansen to Shizuoka for a hoop picnic with Ellie and some of her local hooping crew. We had a fun afternoon getting silly in the spin. I had so much fun that I took no pictures or videos, as usual...

One of my Tokyo hooping friends, Arika, came up as well. Her family is from the area and it was a good excuse to visit. When she arrived at the park with her second cousins, Rina and Aki Ichikawa, she asked me if I'd like to come back to their house after for tea. Long story short, I ended up spending the night and crashing the family Obon feast the next day.

Three generations of the Makino family and an interloper

It was a treat to hang out with an family. Being a half of childless couple is a situation I love, but there is joy in the bustle of a three generation household hosting guests where cousins and sisters drop in. There was lots of back chat about how we'd get from point A to point B, phone calls made to arrange things, consternation over whether anything had actually been arranged, discussion of drink supplies, lots of laughter and endless talk.

The Ichikawas are a very talented family. Yoshiharu is an architect, Mayumi paints, Rina plays piano and dances and Aki is a budding actress. Sachiko, at 79, keeps everything together. Her husband, Seiji, is currently in Cambodia visiting a aid project he's part of.

Eri, me and Rina with hoops in the rotary near Kusunagi station

We watched TV, played in the park, hooped in the rotary, and had conversations in Japanese and English (sometimes simultaneously). I was treated to a peach crepe in the family's cafe, ate four homecooked meals that I didn't have to prepare, borrowed pajamas from Mayumi, dried the dishes, and tried to participate as much as possible while simultaneously not causing any trouble. Ha!

I learned all sorts of things over the weekend. Thanks to some entertaining and educational TV shows, I finally know the difference between atsuage and aburaage, which are both deep fried tofu. And I learned about the subtypes of DNA that Japanese have - none of which originated in Japan (Take that, Japanese racists, your genes were made in China and Korea).

Cousins Aki and Eri napping on the engawa after lunch

On Sunday, I was moved to tears when Rina played a valse on the piano for me. I had a session of Ito Thermie, which blends elements of moxibustion, shiatsu and acupuncture into one treatment. What a lovely and relaxing therapy practiced by Mayumi's twin, Hiromi. At the same time, I learned a new word that will be very useful for hooping - tanden 丹田 - the energy center just below the belly button that corresponds to the 2nd chakra.

Buildings in the Makino family's farm complex

Then we drove out to the center of the family love - a mikan farm currently owned by the 4th generation of the Makino family. I met more than 20 members of the family including Arika's parents and siblings, paid my respects at the family altar, ate delicious foods from farm fresh produce, and mapped out the Makino genealogy after the Obon feast.

The Makino butusdan with Obon offerings

On the way home on the Shinkansen with Arika and Haruki after one last dinner at the Ichikawa's, we made as much happy noise as possible by being frightened by ghosts outside the train and pulling faces. (Next time you see Haruki or Arika, ask them to show you buta megane, pig glasses.)

It was the sort of weekend where, on returning home, you wonder that only 36 hours have passed. It felt like a week. Thank you, Ellie for organising the hoop picnic and getting me out of Tokyo, and Arika for keeping me away. I was very happy!

Bunkyo Eating Out Rally

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Bunkyo-ku is having a restaurant rally from 7/1 - 12/28. Seventy six of the area's designated 100 special restaurants are participating. By eating at these restaurants you can win prizes including hotels stays, restaurant vouchers and tasty treats. Prize drawings are on 9/30 and 12/28.

Tabe-aruki Course
You must collect stamps from 5 different restaurants or participating food shops. You can enter as many times as you like but each entry must be on a separate entry sheet. You must make a purchase to get a stamp.

Complete Course
Eat at all 76 restaurants! Don't try to cheat, you must make a purchase to get a stamp.

Entry forms and the 100 Best Food Brands in Bunkyo (食の文京ブランド100選) map are available at the Bunkyo Tourist Information Center the first floor of the ward office. Further details, including a PDF list of restaurants and prizes, is available on their website, but I've made a spreadsheet version of the 76 restaurants sorted by cuisine and address. There's the original Japanese plus an English version in the spreadsheet.

Bon apetit!

I posted a version of this today on Being-A-Broad, but I know I'm going to want to refer to it again, so I'm reposting here with some modifications. (No promises on the grammar being correct, but these phrases usually work for me.)

"I’m vegetarian."
Bejitarian desu. ベジタリアンです。
This is may cause your waitress to look at you askance. So get ready to explain yourself.

"I don’t eat meat and fish."
Oniku to sakana wo taberaremasen. お肉と魚を食べられません。
Now she is sort of getting it. But if you are vegan you'll need further explanation.

"I also don’t eat milk, cheese and eggs."
Gyunyuu, chi-zu to tamago mo taberaremasen. 牛乳 チーズと卵も食べられません。
At this point, the waitress is frantic. Be prepared with the next phrase!

"Vegetables, fruit, tofu, noodles and rice are ok."
Yasai, kudamono, otofu, men to gohan ga ii desu. 野菜、果物,お豆腐、麺とご飯がいいです。
Whew, you are not going to starve in her restaurant.

"Is there meat in it?"
Oniku ga haitte imasu ka? お肉が入っていますか? 
It never hurts to ask. Ham sneaks into all sorts of things here.

"Does this soup have bonito or sardine broth in it?"
Kono su-pu wa katsuobushi toka iwashi ga haitte imasu ka? このスープは鰹節とかイワシが入っていますか? 
90% chance the answer will be yes after the waitress runs off to check.

"Which food is only vegetables?"
Yasai dake no ryouri ha…? 野菜だけの料理は。。。?
Use when gesturing at the menu after too many "that has meat in it" answers.

"Can you take out the meat?"
Oniku nuki dekimasu ka?. お肉抜きできますか?
It doesn't hurt to ask, but be reasonable. You can't do niku-jaga or beef curry without the meat.

"Remove the meat, please."
Oniku nuki, onegaishimasu. お肉抜きお願いします。
This can be generalised to “X nuki” to have anything taken out of a dish.

"Without the cheese, please."
Chi-zu nashi, onegaishimasu. チーズなし、お願いします。
Again, can be generalised to ” X nashi” to have an ingredient omitted. Nashi seems to work best for things on top - egg, dressing, cheese, etc.

"Which dishes have only a little oil?"
Abura sukunai no ryouri ha…? 油少ないの料理は。。。?
Generalise “X sukunai no ryouri” for low salt, low spice, etc

"Do you have organic food?"
Yuuki ryouri ga arimasu ka? 有機料理がありますか?
At this point, the waitress is apoplectic. Be kind, smile.

"This is difficult. What do you think?"
Muzukashii, ne. Doushiyo? 難しい,ね?どうしよ?
When all else fails, see what the waitress suggests.

One Product to Rule Them All


Yesterday I splurged on a shower gel that claims to have UV properties. I also bought some citronella-impregnated rubber bracelet things to ward off mosquitoes. So this morning, MJ & I brainstormed the perfect summer product - one shower gel to handle all your summer irritations. We proudly announce the concept of:


Summer Morning Shower Gel

* 24 hour UV protection (SPF 30++)
* all natural citronella insect repellent
* caffeine infused for morning energy
* nontoxic, aluminum-free antiperspirant
* hair defrizzer and styling product
* cooling menthol skin refreshment
* powder finish when dry
* fresh garden peppermint and basil scent

And be sure to try the Glitter version with all-day sparkles!

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