Saturday, June 21, 2008

Me love you long time

What is it about being alone that is frightens women into compromising themselves for man? I know I've made a big assumption there, but what else could it be? Ok, I'd admit that some would be motivated by money, but for the most part it's the fear of loneliness.

In Asia, marriage is considered a sign of a successful life, age is considered a liability and intelligence is considered undesirable on a woman. With those kinds of pressures it's no wonder there's an abundance of amazing women hooking up with bottom of the barrel loser guys.

These are amazing women who have to dumb themselves down to be more desirable. They feel compelled to giggle excessively and pretend to have interests equal to their mates. They must be made up perfectly at all times and go out of their way in service of these guys.

These are guys who treat them poorly, guys who cheat regularly, guys who are jerks, dickheads, obnoxious, sleazy, and pervie... They put up with it just to have a bit of company. To make sure they're not alone for their b'days or holidays?

Rather than accepting these guys, I've chosen the alternative. I've chosen to be alone. And while it may seem sad on the outside, I believe I've made the happier choice.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Women of Yesterday Today

My time in Asia has been quite an eye opening experience in a number of ways. One bit of knowledge I'm taking away with me is the state of the whole women's progress movement in this region. Frankly, I don't think there is one.

Living in the US, you sort of buy into the portrayal of the strong nuclear family with an equally strong mother figure. One with equal decision making power or even the entire upper hand. But it isn't like that at all for most women.

Women in most places of the world, are still being held under the proverbial thumbs of man.
- In the Caribbean, domestic violence against women is rampant and the problem ignored.

- In the Arab states, women aren't allowed to open a bank account without the written permission of a man.

- In Africa, everyone knows about women circumcision and the raping of virgin girls to cure AIDS.

- In China, well in China they're still killing off their girl babies aren't they? or maybe they've just completely switched to giving them away to the Americans.

- And in Japan, professional women are still made to fetch tea for men in the workplace. What's up with that?

So yeh, although I am so pleased being a woman of the 21st century with all the choices and independence it affords me, I am very much aware the women of yesterday are here today. Yup, I'm aware.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Vietnam Memorable Moments

I had such a fabulous time in Vietnam. I had magical moments, funny moments, scary moments, somber moments. I was chuckling to myself about this particular story involving toilets. This isn't gross, I promise.

So I'm using the bathroom in the hotel room, and I see a sign that says "Do not flush the paper". So I think to myself "well, there's no paper towels in here anyway. so don't know why they need that sign." and I keep using the bathroom as normal.

So my friend Ing says "ah Deirdre? have you been flushing the toilet paper?" And I go "well, YEhhhh." She says " in Asia, you shouldn't flush the toilet paper. the plumbing can't handle it in most places." She said " you put the paper in the trash and use the hose to wash if you do more than pee." So I say "OK" but I think " WHATEVAH, I'm not doing that".

So at about 3am, I wake up to use the bathroom per usual and I do the usual. Wouldn't you know? The toilet started to overflow! OMG I was so shocked and mad at myself for being so stubborn. Nooooow what do I do? So I weigh my options. Option 1 - Go get help and admit I did wrong. Option 2 - Go back to bed and pretend nothing ever happened.

So I did the honorable thing and went for help. I was so embarrassed but luckily Ing slept through the whole thing and never got a chance to say "I told you so". And to be honest, that's all that really matters. I did get scolded by the owner the very next day though. Darn!

Outside of that, the things that I will always remember are captured in the pictures below.

The Scenes

The Poverty

The Coffee... with condensed milk

The life threatening traffic

The Shoppiiiiiing

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Dee's Top 10 Amendments

Yeh I knew this would happen. Complaints! Well I'm only human so let's make amends.

First, this is Ryu. I already messed up the roll call so I can't give him a number. Let's just say he's so important that no number can equal him... ok that's a bit of a stretch. Anyway I call him my Japanese first love. He was one of my very first friends when I moved here. He helped me immensely in selecting my apartment (which he insists on reminding me of every chance he gets). I think I make him nervous with my forwardness but ironically I think he enjoys it... a lot. ;-) He's the stingiest person that I know. hehehe.

Now, my dear friend Chika didn't like the description I gave her. She said it needed more"flower". So this is what we came up with... hehehe

"Chika smells soo nice if you hold her; moreover, when you touch her, you feel like you're in heaven... with flowers". hahaha I told you she makes me laugh too too much.

Anywho, for giving me so much trouble, I'm uploading a clip I have of her doing her cute little dance. Yeh, I'm bad. (^_^)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Dee's Top 10 Boys

Yeh I'm a little bit sexist. I believe women are the superior gender. Is there a problem?
Still I might be sexist but I'm fair. And it wouldn't be fair for me to leave out the special guys in my life. So here they are...

#10. David - Husband of Shamim, luxury goods is this Londoner's business. He's very posh and proper with lots of knowledge about the finer things in life. Still he can hang with the rest of us as he raps flawlessly to Eminem (his favorite rapper). A great chef and a savvy businessman, he's the most gentlemanly gentleman I know.

#9. Ian - Also British. Likes to make music and poke fun at me in his spare time =) Able to put a room of people at ease, he makes an awesome MC. He captures your attention when he speaks and gives really good speeches whenever he's asked... or not asked. He's the most charismatic man that I know.

#8. Sam - Fluent in Japanese and half Filipino, he provides much comfort to me being one of the few black professionals in Japan. Unfortunately he got relocated to London... well I guess not so unfortunately because I've been invited to visit. YaY. Anyway he'll be back. His heart is Japanese and Japan misses him. He's the jazziest kat I know.

#7. Roger - Yes this is my manager... well my ex-manager now. But I felt like I hit the jackpot with him as a manager. I regard him as my dad away from home. Born and raised on a farm in New Zealand he has an endless stock of amazing and funny stories. He's the zaniest grown man that I know.

#6. Borre - From the land of Norway, this guy is afraid to fly. hehehe, ok that's not funny. He cracks me up all the time. His humor isn't of the obvious kind but I totally get him and he totally gets me. He let's me pinch his cheeks although he doesn't particularly enjoy it. He's the most laid back guy that I know.

#5. Jason - Also fluent in Japanese and also a black professional in Japan, I look up to this guy. (and not just because he's tall). He's a networking phenomenon, he knows everyone and everyone wants to know him. His jokes are loud and his laugh is infectious. He's the jolliest guy that I know.

#4. Brandon - He is all geek and all good. Incredibly smart and inquisitive, he can be very annoying. But we enjoy exchanging witty or downright silly banter inside and outside of the office. He is the "most likely to succeed" person I know.

#3. Simon - Husband of Ing. He's one of those guys that can do anything he puts his mind to. He's a wonderful artist, loves technology, has a great eye for interior design, and very good with all things that involves mathematics and puzzles. He's one of my hiking buddies and the most versatile person I know.

#2. Abdus - Born in Mauritius and raised in London. I love his Londoner blue collar accent. Because he's Muslim he's the worst restaurant companion. His religion restricts him from a lot of the fun foods and his fitness kick restricts him from all of the rest. He did eat cake on my birthday though! shocking! He's the fittest person that I know.

# 1. Justin - Australian guy. Took me a looong time to warm up to him and look what position he's turned up on today. He has a passion for wine and Japanese ladies hehe. I've welcomed him into my inner circle of friends as he's become one of my top advisers - one who's opinion I value (even when I disagree). He has the most upright posture that I've ever seen.

THESE are my guys.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Barely Boarding

Japan is the perfect place for most all outdoor activities especially winter sports. Takes only a hour to get to the nearest mountain, which makes it easy to do weekend trips and day trips as many times as you care to.

I've been heading to the slopes once every year for the past 4 years. This year we went to the creme de la creme of snow resorts: Niseko. Known for Australians and oh yeh snow. But seriously, why are so many Australians here? I never really got to the bottom of that as I was busy tumbling down the slopes... head first mostly.

I hate skiing, I hate boarding, I hate snow, I hate cold. But still I do this to myself every year. Every year once I year I summon up all my courage and give it another go. I know you're asking the question. It's a question all my friends have asked me before. Deirdre, why do you keep going?

I'm not entirely sure really. But I think I'm hoping that this trip will be the turning point. This will be the trip where I return having loved it. So I keep hoping and I keep going. And I must say... this year... yeh this year I almost enjoyed it... ALMOST.

Stay Tuned for Next year's update!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Dee's Top 10 Girls

I had my cards read in Thailand over the holidays. One of the things she said she saw was that I was surrounded by a lot of good people. Good people who love and care about me. Well now, I didn't need a psychic to tell me that (^_^)

So I wanted to show you who these people are. Without them, my stay here would have been downright intolerable.

#10. Kaori - Born and raised Japanese but French by heart. She's married to a gorgeous French man and speaks English with French accent. Some say she even speaks Japanese with a French accent. She is the most elegant and sophisticated lady that I know.

#9. Irene - American born Chinese. Grew up in Jersey. Soft spoken with a very calm demeanor. She incredibly focused on her work and her goals. Even with all the chaos, when you're around her you can't help but be calm. She is the most mature lady that I know.

#8. Shamim - British born Indian. The youngest daughter of an enormous Indian family and an even bigger and multicultural extended family, she's lived the experiences of a woman twice her age. She's afraid of no one and can speak to the CEO of any company just as easily as she can the bathroom maid. She's the most fearless woman I know.

#7. Sandra - Born in Korea. She's travelled to Pakistan, Egypt, Nepal and countless others all by herself. She prefers to travel alone and loves to go off the beaten track just for the fun of it. She's the most adventurous woman I know.

#6. Tomoko - Japanese rebel. Studied in Vancouver but speaks English like an LA girl. She's addicted to tattoos and hair dye. She knows what she wants and does exactly that to the horror of her parents. It's weird to say but she's the most unapologetic person I know.

#5. Esther - Hong Kong born. We lived in NY at the same time but never crossed paths until we ended up in Japan. With her by my side, we rocked out the Tokyo nightlife. Now she's returned to HK and Tokyo has never been the same. She is the friendliest person that I know.

#4. Chika - She's ready to go any time any place. I can always count on her when I want to hang out or if I just need company. She has the cutest little dance. haha. She makes me laugh so hard all the time. She is the most energetic woman that I know.

#3. Ing - Born in Indonesia, she spent her teen years in Australia and he adult life in New Zealand. Now she's here for a little while and I'm so very glad. She's a little bit too wholesome for my taste but together we have become weekend brunch experts, coffee hideout experts and odd things to do in japan experts. She's the most honest person that I know.

#2. Susan - More affectionately known as Suzie, Sushi or Su-san. Scottish girl through and through. Some people have a hard time understanding her English and I've learned a lot of cool slang from her. She's outspoken, thoughtful and understands fully the matters of the heart. She's one of my dearest confidants and the toughest woman that I know.

#1. Denisha - You've seen her picture peppered throughout this page. She's African American with Latin blood. We have lots in common but what makes our friendship great are the many many many things we do not have in common! We've shared a great deal of experiences together and, although she's relocated to Hong Kong, we haven't missed a beat. She's the most imaginative and logical person that I know.

THESE are my girls.

Friday, November 30, 2007

28 and counting

It's weird, I feel like I'm getting older faster than I'm growing up. Thankfully, I've lived a carefree adult life. But because of that, I can't help but feel a little bit self-indulgent and immature.

At my age, my mother was married, raising a 9 year old and a 5 year old, a bank manager, volunteering at the children's home and a multitude of other things. That's so amazing to me because at my age, I still don't wanna clean my room or comb my hair. Haha, where is the progress right?

So you see, in comparison, it's hard to wrap my head around my dwindling youth. Still, although my progress to being a full fledged grownup might be slow, I will continue to enjoy the journey.


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trip to Taiwan

Taiwan isn't exactly a tourist destination. When people think of visiting Asia, this isn't on the top of the list. But, since it's only a 2 hour flight from Tokyo, I had a spur of the moment impulse to hop on over and check it out.

I only saw the capital, Taipei, but I would describe it as the coupling of the Japanese and Chinese cultures (at least what I imagine Chinese culture to be). Still, whatever you do, never ever call the Taiwanese Chinese. Worst yet, never speak against Taiwan's petition to have a seat in the UN.

Outside of that, the things that I will always remember about Taiwan are,

Foot massages




And People.

I recommend it.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fitness Month

So what have been up to lately? Trying a little something called fitness. I really didn't know what I was getting myself into to be honest. What I imagined in my head was a lot different than the reality.

I tried my hand at Pilates. Picked up Hot Yoga. During weekdays I climbed the stairwells at work... up to 20 of the longest flights I've ever encountered! Did a few Charity Run/Walks. And went hiking up several mountains, including the most spectacular of them all - Mt. Fuji!

At times, I regretted starting this so-called Fitness Month. But at the end of it all, I'm glad I did it. I felt more accomplished after each event. I forged stronger bonds with my friends. Plus I walked away with everlasting memories.

Here are a few shots of a hard but fulfilling month!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Simpsonize Me Dot Com

Think I got it pretty close. (^_^) What do yah think?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Goodbye and Good Luck

They call this the pass-through city. Not many people stay; not many people make this their home. So, you come to expect that people will leave. You expect it, but you don't like it.

I've lost a few good friends this year. But this one is particularly hard for me - my sidekick, Denny.

We were a team of explorers - practically inseparable as we became Tokyo misfits, breaking social order one rule at a time.

I've really enjoyed my stay here because of her. I had many first experiences with her. And, I uncovered a lot of things about myself around her.

She's someone that has definitely made a difference to my life. But this is a new chapter for both of us. Good luck Denny, will miss you... deeply.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Coco Winery

My mama always wanted me to be more cultured... well actually she wanted me to be more of a lot of things but that's another story. And here I am at my first visit to a vineyard and winery.
This entire estate was created by people with learning disabilities. A professor, who observed that his special needs students were doing poorly in the classroom, put them to work on a hill so that they could have skills and be useful in the society.

Over 50 years ago, they started planting simple table grapes. Today they've created what's considered to be the best vineyard and winery in Japan.

We were there to lend a helping hand in the fields. In general, grapes need to grow in dryer climates but we were in the midst of the rainy season - not good for the grapes. As a result, we had to cover the bunches with bags to protect them from mold, bugs and disease.

After all of our fine work, we received a full guided tour of the entire facilities. We learned about the wide variety of grapes, how to make wine, store it, bottle it, everything.

Then we got to sample serveral types of wine. I seem to have a liking for the cheap, sweet stuff. No Surprise there!

It's amazing all that goes into making the perfect bottle of wine.

What d'ya think of me now? Am I cultured or what?