Sunday, December 13, 2009

Just Can't Get Enough

When I become interested in something, I tend to go into OCD-collector's mode and want everything associated to it that I can get my hands on. This has been a long standing personality trait: when I was in elementary school I had to have every single beanie baby EVER (I grew past that, thankfully), in high school I collected all things CLAMP (I only dabble now, not as obsessed), and in university my interests shifted towards Johnny's Entertainment (it's been like 5 years now and I am still into it... ha.)

The picture above is my Tokidoki collection about 6 months ago. I've loved Tokidoki for a long LONG time, but when the brand first came out I was still in high school and had no money. I kick myself now, as a lot of the bags I've acquired since then were much cheaper and easier to find when they were first released, of course! I find the Tokidoki community is similar to the makeup one in a lot of ways... people help each other find their dream items and it is SUPER competitive to get limited editions items... which is pretty much every single Tokidoki bag ever, since the designs and bag styles change every season!

So what does my collection look like now...?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

You and Me, We're Meant to Be

So I have been stuck at home because I pulled my back at work and according to my doctor and physiotherapist, the best thing to do is rest - and be patient. Which would be fine, except the last 2 weeks it has also been SNOWING like mad, so I end up stuck in my house as the roads are too bad to try driving on. I think they said on Friday that there were over 200 accidents reported :S.

In any case, in between resting and physio, I am either on my laptop (the first week laying in my bed as sitting hurt, now at my desk) or playing my DS. I am SO happy I got a DS for my birthday or I think I'd be even more stir-crazy. Anyway, with all this extra time on my hands the inevitable happened... I finally tried out G-Market.

All the blogs I read are horrible influences. XD;

I didn't even want to try going through the makeup section, so instead I thought I'd look for accessories. And after one of Yumeko's posts, I knew I wanted headbands. I placed the order a couple of weeks ago, and it finally arrived!

I ordered from this shop: Glam Girl

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Caught in a Bad Romance

The times you are most likely to find me cleaning are in the nights leading up to my night shifts; I need to 'switch' myself over so that I sleep all day and am not a zombie at work the following night, so I usually try various methods to keep myself awake until 5 or 6 AM (at which point I flop in bed, cover my windows, and hope to sleep until 2 or 3PM). Usually, this involves a lot of internet surfing. Unfortunately, the last time I had to switch over my router decided to be moody and wouldn't work, and I was not in the mood to call TELUS Help-desk at 3AM, so instead of surfing the internet, I ended up reorganizing my make-up drawer.

Do you ever get those moments where you get overwhelmed by the amount of something? A year ago this happened to me with Johnny's Entertainment stuff a LOT and lately it happens with makeup. Usually when I reorganize my collection, oddly enough. :P When I first got into makeup I had a little tiny train case that everything fit into, then I expanded to a larger black traincase from my sisters around my birthday last year... and then after I came back from Japan and my parents had bought a new desk for me my makeup expanded to a mostly-full drawer and a shelf. And now? Two full drawers, although as I was twittering a few days ago, the one drawer has a lot of lotion and stuff in it since it was half empty.

So what does my current 'stash' look like?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I have something that I love long-long...

I was randomly contemplating re-organizing my makeup again when I heard the doorbell ring today. I do order a LOT of stuff online, so this kind of event is not out of the ordinary, but the only place I have recently ordered from is Imomoko, and since that package did not have tracking, I didn't think that'd be the reason for the mailman ringing the bell (besides, since all I ordered was eyeliner, I am 90% it would have just been left in the mailbox). Assuming it was for my sister, I opened the door (the mailman had already left) and was surprised to find a huge white box from UPS addressed to ME.

And no, I am not that bad a shopper that I forget how much I buy online. You get paranoid when it takes 3-6 weeks for Canada Post to deliver international packages when you're like me, and therefore track things so you know exactly where packages are. ANYWAY, confused but excited, I ran up to my room to open the box with my keys (for some reason, even though I end up taking like at least one pair of hospital scissors home a week, I can never find them when I need to open things), and to my delight, it was my Dior Diva gift!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Shiny Pretty Things

Very very VERY belated post about ... well make-up. First a mail-swap, and then my somewhat-belated haul from Shoppers Drug Mart (in which I paid 66$ for... well you'll see).

This blog probably wouldn't exist without Yumeko. After I came back from Tokyo, she poked and prodded me about posting not just on LJ, but also on Blogger so she could comment. I thought it would work out well, as many of my LJ friends were not into makeup, and many of the lovely girls I'd met on various makeup blogs were all on Blogger. In any case, I still stalk Yumeko (frequently) and we would often moan together about brands that weren't available in our respective countries, so we decided to do a swap.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Mail makes me nervous so after my first successful swap on MUA, I decided I was only swapping with people I talked to.

This girl sent me WAY TOO MUCH STUFF:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Living In A Winter Wonderland...

So while I have grown up in Calgary, and I love it here, I am still surprised at how early it snows EVERY YEAR. Kelsie and I joked to Tomo in Japan that on average, it usually snows at least once a month in Canada. Luckily we missed out on the August/September snow (we just had hail… which is flying chunks of ice).

I was not prepared for this two days in a row:

Seriously Calgary. I actually did go out the first day which was terrifying as none of the streets had been plowed yet, and as we got about double the amount of snow today, I vetoed myself out of leaving my house, other than to shovel the driveway. Because winter driving is scary whether I’m on the road or not. I think the news said there was at least 200 collisions yesterday morning due to the slipperiness.

It’s supposed to Chinook on Friday though, so just watch, all this snow will melt and it will be super slushy. Ah well.

At least it’s pretty.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

My New Favourite Place...

The downtown core in Calgary has been undergoing renovations for the last year or so, trying to compete with the newer, bigger, expanded malls. I end up downtown a LOT as Kelsie takes the bus to get everywhere so it’s the easiest place for her to get to, but also because there are a lot of little boutiques and bigger department stores than in the nearby malls. Lately my desire to go downtown has been quelled by construction though. TD Square is always really dark and it’s very VERY disconcerting to see exposed pipe and ceiling over your head.

However, despite the construction, I have found my new favourite place to visit, and it IS downtown, so I have a feeling I will be there more often. :)

Friday, October 9, 2009

And the day goes by...

I had a wonderful day! Except that it was –20C when I woke up, which is SO NOT COOL and it is way too early in the month to be so cold! I’m glad I unpacked my winter jackets from storage yesterday! Not a lot of snow yet but I’m sure it’s coming… and then all the leaves will get wet and rot which will smell awful.

ANYWAY. Today was mostly focused on food; went for lunch with my mom and (nursing)Kelsey, then did a bit of shopping; and then out for dinner with the family this evening. Dinner was fantastic. In fact, I think I am still digesting, so I’m all sleepy, so this will mostly be food!porn. We went for steak :D. I’m not a HUGE meat-eater, but I love getting steak in restaurants, haha.

The Flames lost their first game of the season :( but we are 4-1 which is a pretty good record, AND it was the second consecutive day of games, so I think they were tired. But what an awesome start! Only 77 more games to go before playoffs :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Bright, Indestructible

First, a brief history of my quest with eyeshadow bases: when the Bay first started carrying Too Faced, an SA was nice enough to give me a ‘deluxe’ sample of the Shadow insurance, which I eagerly tried as I had noticed that when I just applied my makeup for work, about 9 hours into my shift it was either gone, or really gross looking. Unfortunately, TFSI didn’t really help this at all, and in fact, made me feel greasy. So that was a no-go.

Next I tried Urban Decay’s primer potion. This was a lot BETTER than TFSI was on me, but at the same time… hour 9 I’d see fading, and a bit of creasing. Not as much as with no primer at all, and less than compared to TFSI, but still …. creasing. I began to think that maybe my version of ‘last all day’ was not everyone else’s. I mean most people (or bloggers I’ve met) seem to work office jobs, with 8 hour days on average. I needed/expected my makeup to last through 12 hour night shifts, last through running around, and hauling my patient up and down. So maybe I was being a bit hard on these primers.

I tried MAC paint pots on their own, and same results – exactly – as with UDPP. As I now had full sizes of a couple of paint pots AND UDPP, I decided to try combining them… and this was the solution! My makeup lasts ALL shift now, and I’ve actually fallen asleep (oops) with it on and woken up with it looking fine. So :)

Where does that lead me? Well...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Difficult Things to Say…

Lately when Kelsie and I compare days she talks about programming, and I, as always, talk about my days at work. HAHA neither are really similar but I appreciate that she lets me vent about my day even though she’s professed the desire to never work in medicine, at least a nurse… I feel less helpful to her as all I can do is nod and go ‘hmmm’ when she talks about programming as I have NO IDEA what it is about (and she knows this, and laughs at me about it).

Work has been really good lately! Even if I felt like I lived at the unit for the last week due to the weird non-regularity of my rotation and a few trades; even one of my patient’s family members commented on it, going ‘Justine, it feels like we see you every day…’. But it’s been rewarding :) And busy. In a good way, mind you. Which brings me to this post title… the patient I talked about a few days ago ended up not doing so well after I had him (which was only 4 days ago, yikes) and along with his family, made the difficult decision to withdraw care and become palliative – basically, comfort care until he passed away. These meetings are always difficult, and while a part of me was grateful that they had made the decision based on what was best for the patient, I was sad as the patient and his family were absolutely lovely, sweet, and supportive the entire time he was in hospital!

I didn’t actually have the patient (we’ll call him F for the rest of this) this last run of three shifts, but I ‘covered’ him for 2/3 days, and I actually had the patient next door to him, so I made sure to say good morning to F and his family whenever I saw them, and if his nurse was busy and I was not, I’d run and help with things. I generally do this and nothing comes of it (nothing more unusual than a thank you from my colleague) but this must have made an impact because yesterday, the day F was going to hospice, I was covering him again and thus was darting in and out of the room more often. Which was nice, if bittersweet, as it’s never very happy and uplifting to be caring for a patient you know will die, but you’re just not sure when. F was pretty comfortable, and his family seemed very at peace with everything. One daughter had hugged me the day they’d made the decision and thanked me for everything… and this was the first moment that I realised I didn’t know how to respond to that. So I just hugged her back. Yesterday, after I left the room to chart a bit, I heard F’s daughter (jokingly, I thought) tell her father and her siblings that they were going to take me with them to the hospice so the trip wouldn’t be so scary. I knew that wasn’t meant for my ears, but it was nice to hear.

Later in the afternoon, F’s patient was in another meeting for her other patient, so I was helping get F onto the transport stretcher so that he could be transferred comfortably to hospice. I gave him a bit of pain medication, helped the family check through the room to make sure nothing was left behind, and then… we were done. But even though his ‘discharge’ from ICU was bittersweet, I felt like I needed to say something to F’s daughter, who I’d by far spent the most time with in the 4 days I’d been fortunate to care for him. But what do you say when the discharge is because the patient is going to pass away peacefully? Normally we say ‘good luck’ but that didn’t seem appropriate at all. So I hugged her, wished them a safe trip, and told them ‘God bless.’ I don’t know if that’s exactly what F’s daughter expected to hear, but she hugged me really tight, got a bit teary, which made me teary, and whispered ‘You’re the best. Thank you so much for everything. We couldn’t have done this without you.’

Is it weird that made my day? I’d clearly made an impact on F and his family, and even though I hadn’t had him for his final days on our unit, his family remembered me, and were comfortable asking me for help. I think the entire experience for me was a good one, and I definitely learned a lot…

But I wish sometimes that I had a handbook called “Things to Say to Families Who Thank You When Their Loved One is Dying In or After Your Care’.

Haha, this post is a bit emo and morbid. But I actually feel really happy about the whole thing. I just wanted to write it down so I remembered it. :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

the search for the perfect green…

I’m not sure why, honestly, but lately I’ve been into green eye shadow. It started probably a few weeks ago when I decided to myself that if/when I got my makeup done by someone else (just for fun, or at beauty events) I would try colours I didn’t normally wear. I own a lot of pinks, a few purples, and a few blues, but no greens. So my first try was with MUFE at Sephora, and then at the NARS counter at the Bay… and this time (shocker) on my own.

I confess, the only reason I did a green eye on my own was because the palette was 5$ and I figured even if I loathed the palette or couldn’t figure out how to use it… 5$ is a lot better than paying upwards of 15$ for a single eye shadow, yes?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Crazy Little Thing Called Love

Kat laughed at me the other day when I vehemently denied liking lipstick. I don’t mind it, but I tend not to buy it… I am more in love with glosses and lipstains. Plus I hate having to ‘touch up’ so I rarely remember to bring a lippie along when I DO wear one. In any case, the last six months has basically been my descent into being even girlier than I already was, LOL. Mostly in that I am starting to buy and wear jewellery. Mostly necklaces, since my ears still seem to hate all things not-gold by being loving and giving me ear infections. :P

I’ve bought all my recent necklaces online, and while I whine to Yumeko that blogs are bad for my wallet (they are) I’ve met lovely girls and snagged some lovely pieces while on them. And it will only continue!! I got my lovely necklaces from Worship at the House of Blues just before I went to go watch the Lion King which was fantastic timing :D


I love how she giftwraps everything! And Canada Post didn’t dent the box this time. :P


My two Beaux necklaces and my Little Bit of Black necklace… I am using the box as a temporary jewellery box as I do not have one. XD; I went YEARS only wearing 2 different pairs of earrings.


<3 I’m so happy I bought both Beaux necklaces, the gold and silver goes with all 3 pairs of earrings I own!! Thank you again to Old Cow, these are lovely!


I know I still have to post about Yokohama but I am waiting on some pictures from Japan before I post… my camera died halfway through the day so I am missing some things. :)

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Today was such a beautiful Saturday, and it is a great weekend to not be at work!! My mom’s old unit had a farewell brunch for her this morning which I went to out of obligation (my mom didn’t want to go alone, and my dad was not about to go) and my own self-interest (two of my really good friends work there still)! The food was kind of eh (better brunches are on Sunday, apparently) but it was fun to see everyone again :)

And then because Kelsey (my nursing one, not the one that went to Japan with me, who, for future reference will be Tokyo-Kelsie) is WAY too nice we ended up chilling out at Market Mall for like 3 hours because she promised a co-worker she’d buy her a LUSH massage bar… but call said co-worker at work to see which scent she’d want. Unfortunately, co-worker did not start until 1515h… and we got to the mall at like noon. I am totally a shop-a-holic but I am at Market Mall ALL THE TIME because it is the closest one to my house, and so is Kelsey because she lives near me, and we’d both just been there a few days ago, so we didn’t have as much stuff to look at…

Luckily the Bay was holding an I ♥ NARS event, which was fun! They had salsa dancers performing, a live DJ, and 2 NARS Makeup artists doing free makeovers at the front of the store. We weren’t going to get our makeup done but we’d already rounded the mall several times and they offered… because I was hovering near the beautiful table full of NARS products *__*

I’ve been into greens lately (trying them out, if not buying) so I asked if we could use the Rated R duo and I LOVE how it turned out. I think my MA was super pleased because she kept telling other people to look at my eyes because she loved how they looked!



And you can see a bit of my necklace from Old Cow. I LOVE IT and can’t wait for my Beaux necklaces to get here!


By the way all I have left to post about from my Japan trip is Yokohama and all the KAT-TUN concerts, and those are forthcoming…

Saturday, July 18, 2009

With me, there is no posting in a timely manner…

I will finish these Japan posts… sometime. Actually as the last 1/3 of our trip consisted of KAT-TUN, KAT-TUN, and more KAT-TUN (4 concerts in 5 days) I haven’t actually got a TONNE left to post about… as I didn’t take pictures while we were shopping, really. Oops. XD;

I’d been looking forward to Kyoto the most out of everything we’d planned prior to actually being in Tokyo; due to unfortunate circumstances we only ended up spending a day there, but I know now that I will definitely go back for 2-3 days the next time I am in Japan.

Actually the reason I REALLY wanted to go to Kyoto was in part due to KAT-TUN… Jin posted about Kinkakuji (the Golden Pavilion) in a J-Web a couple of years ago and it must have made a really big impression because once we knew we were going to Japan for SURE, it was on my ‘MUST DO’ list.

Just pictures this time, because everyone should go to Kyoto for themselves. Our one day was amazing :D

Japan 213

Japan 298

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Or: in which Justine is asked several times what the Japanese word for “hot” is.


I’ve been neglecting documenting my trip, and while I am fully aware of it, I’m still going to blame work. I am finally done paying back my trades, which is AMAZING, as working six 12-hour shifts in eight days several times in the last month was not fun at ALL, and I am ready to not think about going to work for at least two or three days. Thank goodness I am off until Sunday!


I have a lot of other things to post about (makeup, birthday parties, etc) but I am still (somewhat) determined to post about my trip in fairly deep detail, so …




Okay I will sheepishly admit that I am sure Tomo and/or Kazumi told me the name of all the places we went, but given that I am not super organized whilst actually DOING the travelling (it all gets used up before, as I’m sure you can tell) I don’t actually remember where we were… but we were close to Tokyo Tower? Kazumi and Tomo had clearly picked up on my desire to see as many shrines as possible on this trip so the day after we got back from Osaka the plan was to meet up for lunch and then go to Tokyo Tower, which Tomo worked really close to. Luckily for us this also included temples (I love them and hope someday I can see more of them) and meeting even more nurses… much to Kelsie’s amusement/sorrow.



This was our first experience with Tokyo being over 30C (and it would stay that way for pretty much the rest of our trip) so we were both dying by the time we had gone through the traditional Japanese garden, the shrine, and finally the uphill walk to Tokyo Tower. But it was totally worth it! It was also randomly gratifying that when we stopped because I wanted a bottle of water EVERYONE bought one and/or used the time to stand in the air-conditioned convenience store. Huzzah, even Japanese people got hot! Kelsie and I felt less pathetic.


Tokyo Tower was lovely, and it was the only time Kelsie and I succeeded in paying for both ourselves AND our Japanese hosts … at least with Kazumi and Tomo. Although I actually think our own 'Calgary Tower’ is taller… there isn’t as much to see. Like it felt like we would never see the edge of Tokyo… which we didn’t.



Because Kazumi and Tomo were also alarmingly efficient, we went to Inokashira park right after Tokyo Tower… worth noting that at this point we had lost the additional 8 nurses we’d started out with, and it was back to being Kazumi, Tomo, Kelsie and me… this was fine with us! Inokashira park was a lot of fun (I loved all the street entertainers) and every time we stopped to watch someone performing, Kazumi translated all the talking for me :D



And much later, we went out for dinner and drinks in Shinjuku! We met up with two of Kazumi’s friends who worked for Hewlett Packard which made Kelsie happy… finally someone who worked in her field! One was a friend who was getting married that weekend, and the other a girl named Mapi who helpfully told us that Kazumi’s nickname was ‘Smile-man’ because he was good at making friends with girls. LOL.


For the record, I don’t think Kelsie and I ever would have found our way back to the JR station if Tomo had not walked us back there himself… and I think I have told pretty much everyone about the most embarassing moment of the trip (for me) which consisted of the following conversation:


Justine: Congratulations on your wedding this weekend!

Soon-to-be-Married: Thank you very much! I am very excited.

Mapi: Ah, all this talk about weddings… are you married Justine?

Justine: Oh no, I’m not. Kelsie has a boyfriend though.

Mapi: Oh, so you’re single? *smiles, gestures to Kazumi and soon-to-be-married* You must like Japanese men right? Which of these men do you like better?
Justine: *RED*

Kazumi: Ah no, don’t ask that!


And then I stammered out that of COURSE I liked Japanese men (and of course, Kazumi) and then I quickly vacated the room to walk back to the station with Kelsie and Tomo.


Finally, week one done! Next… Kyoto, Yokohama, and a week of KAT-TUN concerts :D

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Real Time Interruptions



There is SNOW on my roof (this is the view of the townhouses from my room) and it is JUNE.


At least we didn’t get a few INCHES like some of the city, but STILL.





Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Beautiful weather is not good for my productivity

At least on the blogging/scrapbooking front. I mean I’d much rather be outside right now as it has been absolutely gorgeous since I got back than blogging or scrapbooking, frankly. XD; Which is probably good as I tend to act like a computer-hermit, but it’s not very good for my grand resolutions to keep better track of my life (and my Tokyo trip, even).

That being said, while I am slowly accumulating a lot of other things to talk about, I AM determined to at least blog about the trip in its entirety because it was so awesome and this way if I don’t end up scrapbooking for a year I’ll be able to look at my blog and go RIGHT THAT’S WHERE THOSE PICTURES ARE FROM.


Anyway so prior to the actual vacation, Kelsie, Edith and I had had several discussions with each other and various friends who had been to Japan about places we ‘needed’ to go see. Mostly, I wanted to know exactly how long we should be planning on spending in cities other than Tokyo, especially since we’d rented an apartment for the whole trip rather than for specific spans of time. From my girlfriends who had experienced Japan (or lived there) most recommended a day or two (depending on how much food I was planning on eating) and from all the guys… they really liked Osaka so they thought more like 4-5 days! We ended up only going for one day due to scheduling concerns (looming KAT-TUN concerts) and Kat’s whole seeing-a-dead-body-her-first-day-there story. But Osaka was so awesome, and we met such lovely nurses, that when we go back to Japan we’ll definitely spend at least a couple of days there.

Kaiyukan! And Minoru

What Kelsie and I both decided we HAD to see related to water; Kelsie really wanted to see the ocean and I wanted to go to the aquarium, to the point that I’d spammed her with website links until she agreed that yes, the aquarium did look pretty awesome and we should go. Minoru, Rika and Setsuko (and us) had one day transit passes that also included aquarium admission (these were adorable) so after lunch and Osaka castle we made our way towards the aquarium, which involved 3 different trains AND the subway… so I’m extra grateful for them because I don’t know that we would have been able to find it on our own.

The bay was lovely (and by the aquarium) and the aquarium was AWESOME. The water tunnel was not as long as I thought it was (apparently this aquarium is in Yokohama?) but still cool to stand underneath it and see fish swim over you (but this does not translate into pictures very well).

Obligatory picture of 'Kame'. There are a lot of these on my camera.

I did take picture of things OTHER than turtles, but for anyone that knows my fandom interests, I love turtles and take pictures of them, though I would never have one as a pet (the emotional trauma I would experience if it got hurt would not be worth it).

Iconic whale shark... it's on all the merchandise

I didn’t get a picture, but there were these creepy almost 2-Dimensional fish, and Rika, Minoru, Setsuko and I spent almost 5 minutes staring at them waiting for them to blink (not sure why) and when they did it was really gross… like not an eyelid closing more like a vacuum sucking the eye back into the socket… makes me shiver thinking about it. This is probably why I don’t have a picture. Kelsie was confused at the time because she heard all 4 of us go ‘EHHHHH’ really loud when the fish blinked, LOL.

After the aquarium we went for fancy desserts, although this was actually really close to Kaiyukan. Like everything we’d gone to, the attraction was very helpfully surrounded by a mall, LOL. And they were running a sweets festival.

That’s a snow ice sundae! Not even ice cream. Pretty and delicious <3. Ours was mango chocolate with mochi :D. Rika and Minoru and Setsuko had a green tea mochi snow ice, which was also delicious (and gigantic). In our battle to try to pay for ourselves we lost AGAIN even though Kelsie managed to hand money to the poor cashier first, Rika yelled at the cashier and made her give the money back so they could pay >_>;; Someday they will come to Canada and we will pay for them!

After the aquarium we went to Osaka tower for drinks and dinner and this weird type of gambling that I was half-decent at, but if we’d realized we could have redeemed all the little balls for candy we’d have done that instead of playing all of them >_>. Oops! Rika and Minoru seemed to think it was really funny to keep putting 100Y coins in the machine to prevent us from leaving. For dinner we had kuchikatsu and cocktails (or beer, for the truly Japanese) XD; which was delicious and deep-fried though at some point our guides stopped telling us what we were eating… and waited to see our expressions. Needless to say I *DID* eat everything… and so did Kelsie. But if she couldn’t finish something because it was gross I did, LOL.

Beef.... 'challenge'. This was not very comforting, and it tasted very odd.

And that was pretty much Osaka! So awesome! Oh, one more thing because we did end up talking about it for the rest of the trip. We had so much fun with Setsuko, Rika and Minoru that we ALL lost track of time and had to run for the subway in an effort to make our Shinkansen… we cut it very close, made it to the station with about 4 minutes to spare and then started sprinting for the gates… didn’t make it though as Kelsie nearly twisted her ankle from running in flip-flops and I was not going without her! So we ran up 2 flights of stairs, through Osaka station (which is big), through the gates (the security guard told us we could make it), up an escalator and arrived on the platform right at the ticket time… just to see the doors close. Because everything in Japan leaves RIGHT ON TIME. Breathing heavy from hauling ass, we went back down to exchange our tickets and saw our guides waiting for us! Rika and Setsuko almost cried because we missed the train, but we assured them it was OK, as we could book tickets on the train in 40 minutes and we weren’t paying for the individual ticket.

Needless to say we were VERY early for the the train the next time we took the Shinkansen, LOL.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Wait, backtrack, not ready to leave Tokyo behind…

Just got the first half (!) of my pictures developed for hopeful scrapbooking this week (if I can keep myself motivated) and I am now struck with the urge to post about the trip although at this point it has already been over for 3 days. :(


Kelsie and I made it home safely, but not without like 3 hours of turbulence on the Tokyo – LA flight, and then frustration in LAX (again). But more on that later. As I’m sure most of my f-list knows, we spent the whole last week (just about) at the KAT-TUN concerts, and as we spent a LOT of time at Tokyodome we didn’t take nearly as many pictures… I mean other than the first day and then when all the KAT-TUN posters went up, but otherwise the amount of picture taking drastically decreased. But I haven’t really posted since before we went to Kyoto (and I don’t think I posted about Osaka at all) so … well let’s start with Osaka. XD;


Bento breakfast!


First off, this is PROBABLY when Kelsie and I started eating too much katsu-don, for the record. In any case, it was a very good thing that we had the JR Rail Pass which allows you pretty much unlimited non-NOZOMI Shinkansen use as we went to Osaka on a Saturday, forgot the rapid line didn’t run on weekends, and ended up missing our morning Shinkansen by about 10 minutes. Major oops. Luckily the nice officer at the ticket counter re-booked our tickets and reserved seats for the train immediately after so we had time to grab bentos (the lovely katsu you see there) and sit on the train waiting for it to leave.


Let me say, I LOVED the Shinkansen. Looked like a plane, almost as fast as one, and enough leg room. Plus, the trays didn’t move when someone leaned their seat backwards. Why can’t plane seats do that? I hate getting hit after meals when they haven’t cleared trays yet. Anyway, experienced the odd sensation of ear popping due to the speed I think… and then after the first hour I fell asleep. So totally missed Maihama and a few other stops in between after Shin-Yokohama. Oops.


Going so fast my ears popped... didn't get a good view of Mt. Fuji though, sadly!


Thanks to Kazumi, we were lucky enough to meet our guides in Osaka, Rika, her boyfriend Minoru, and Setsuko who Rika had described as her ‘English-speaking friend’. This turned out to be a GODSEND and the Public Health Department had been trying to call Kelsie and I to make sure we didn’t have any swine flu symptoms as Japan had just confirmed their first case… and of course it was someone who had travelled to Alberta. Setsuko was able to tell the agency for us (in Japanese) that we were feeling fine, and no, nothing ‘suspicious’ appeared to be happening (ways swine flu had at this point sidetracked my trip somewhat = 3).


Minoru, Kelsie, Me, & Rika @ Osaka Castle


Our tour guides were absolutely amazing ♥ ♥ ♥. We hiked to Osaka castle, opted out of actually going all the way up as it was about 35C and ridiculously sunny at this point, and then walked through the park before getting lunch as Kelsie and I had asked for something that was ‘really good in Osaka’. I would like to point out that it was VERY gratifying to see Minoru, Rika, and Setsuko take out maps. Kelsie and I no longer felt like losers for needing to pull ours out every 10 minutes in Tokyo. XD;




I liked Okonomiyaki which is weird as I normally hate cabbage and won’t eat it, but this was delicious and a lot of fun! Very odd to have beer with lunch but Setsuko reassured me that this was ‘very normal for the Japanese’ and I liked Japanese beer a lot more than Western stuff. Not that I’m a fan of beer. Okonomiyaki was very fun to cook and I managed to flip my pancake over with no splatters! Kelsie accidentally hit Minoru with a flying bit of cabbage but we all thought it was funny, and there were no stains, so it was okay. :)


I have a lot more to talk about / squee about but this entry is getting kind of long so it will have to wait until later. I’m still a teeny bit jet-lagged so I think I am going to take a nap! And then maybe go for a walk. :D

Friday, May 15, 2009

Best 3 Hours of My Life

KAT-TUN concert was AMAZING. Did not feel like 3 hours had gone by at all. Can’t even process what we just watched, but my brain is just like &hearts; &hearts; &hearts;

Memorable Highlights:

  • Opening with RESCUE and ONE DROP = EPIC
  • Kame free falling from the top of Tokyodome = heart stopping
  • Jin joining Junno for Junno’s solo
  • Ueda playing the piano – really well – and hitting all his high notes
  • My Angel, You Are Angel &hearts;

Didn’t like Jin’s solo – too distracting, wanted CARE, and/or a live Crystal Kay. Actually, we met the female back dancers after buying con goods in the morning strangely enough… Kelsie and I were sitting at the station and they wanted to look through the book. Very strange.

THEY ARE SO MUCH HOTTER LIVE. I can’t wait to do it again tomorrow!!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Where does the time go? @_@

It’s already the 15th!! I’ve been uploading and posting pictures, but no blogging as despite coming home earlier (between 9-11ish as opposed to 10-1AMish…) I think Kelsie and I are still mostly tired and exhausted though this trip has been SO worth it. It’s been a busy last 5 days, at times frustrating. We had a wonderful day with Kazumi and Tomo again on the 10th, and then on the 11th Kelsie got tonsillitis and we spent 5 hours at a clinic… neither of us were in very good moods that day and we ended up spending most of the day apart (though she got to see Junno, and I went shopping so maybe we both needed the break). Found Tokyodome on the 12th, FINALLY went to see Kyoto on the 13th, and spent yesterday wandering around freaking out about getting KAT-TUN tickets (which ended up falling through but I got another set of tickets anyway :D).


So pictures only for now, as I have to get ready. First con tonight!!




Saturday, May 9, 2009

Too much to post about, not enough time to sleep…

Man I think I am like 2 days behind now (in posts AND pictures). The last 2 days have been fantastic, so maybe I will just do posts on each thing I want to talk about, but we have done SO much in the last 2 days… I think we are both running really tired but it is so worth it. And at least we are sleeping REALLY well at night, LOL.

Day 3 was our second day on our own, and while Kelsie and I had initially planned to do Marunochi to see the Imperial Palace and then Yokohama, our plans ended up changing when I tried to ‘reserve’ a tour time for the Imperial Palace… since it’s closed a lot in May for various holidays and all the ones we COULD make were full. Up early enough, so we decided to do Harajuku and Yokohama, but that eventually changed to Harajuku, Nishi-Ogikubo for an afternoon, and Shibuya as it was raining (always).

Thus the day turned into a Johnny’s-filled day. Obviously our plan was to (hopefully) FIND the Johnny’s store even if we didn’t get in because we were leaving late, take a peek at how much the tickets for the con were costing, and do a little bit of shopping. Also, to find the giant KAT-TUN billboard in Shibuya and take a gratuitous amount of pictures with it.

So how did Harajuku go…?


Awesomely! We had crepes for breakfast (which were huge, super sweet, and mine ACTUALLY HAD A SLICE OF CAKE IN IT) and then wandered around until we found Gokuradoh, and the shop owner there was nice enough to draw us a map directly to the store. About a 10 minute walk/hike later (Harajuku seems like it’s all hills) we saw the shop and a couple of employees in navy blue hoodies with the Johnny’s logo standing outside. I am pretty sure Kelsie and I started for a minute before the employees were like ‘Dozo…’ and waved us in. The shop was SO HOT inside but we ended up spending like 30 minutes in there anyway getting shop photos. No guesses as to who mine mostly are :P. The system was amazingly efficient *_*. Once we were done writing down all the quantities of the different sheets, I think it took the girl ringing me up a total of 7 minutes to enter the numbers, find the photos, count them up, and hand them to me. Totally ideal. Plus, the ‘embarassing yellow bag’ was small enough to fit into my purse :)

We spent another couple of hours in Harajuku just shopping, bought some paparazzi photos from Gokuradoh (which was equally hot, less efficient, but had a really cute [male!] shop assistant there to help us) before we headed back to Nishi-Ogikubo for lunch… as Kelsie and I were not about to haul all of the stuff we bought for another 6-8 hours before being able to put it down.

And then… Shibuya. I did eventually want to go clothes shopping (this still has not happened) but we were both very excited as one of Kelsie’s friends had gone the day before and had LOTS of pictures of the billboards (and random things, which you will see shortly).


Saw the KAT-TUN poster, and I think it made our day. And it suddenly hit that we were GOING TO SEE THEM LIVE. We took about a million pictures of the poster from different angles as we are both losers, but it was worth it. We then started our search for an HMV to buy the album, as they are having a 20% off sale if you buy two (which we would be). We didn’t find the album but what we did find….


Shige and Yamapi’s disco suits from the Koi no ABO PV. You can see Kelsie standing next to Yamapi’s suit, which holy cow, was a LOT shorter than we were expecting. This led to a search for the other 4 costumes as we were both wondering how tall (short) Ryo was if YAMAPI was only as tall as Kelsie…


Really short apparently. For reference, I am 155 cm (5’1”) and even taking into account the raised platform the costumes were on, Kelsie and I were pretty sure that Ryo’s suit’s shoulders were maybe JUST above mine.

So now, obviously, we are excited to guess at how tall KAT-TUN is in person, since NEWS is apparently more petite than we thought. :D

Thursday, May 7, 2009

On Being On Our Own…

So due to unforeseen scheduling and weather conflicts, Kelsie and I ended up being completely on our own the whole day, which meant that (more or less) we were responsible for figuring out what we wanted to do, and how to get there. I’m sure this probably sounds really easy, but as we spent our first day lost in Shinjuku after a LONG flight, we were both a bit nervous… and yesterday Kazumi and Tomo pretty much planned our day and led us around, this was a big change.




I think we did pretty great! We found Ueno park (and zoo) on our own, had a really cheap (and cute) breakfast there, took a monorail (fun!) and saw the Zoo. We also went to Akihabara, which was less exciting and more exasperating than I thought it would be but this was probably due to several things: my interest in anime has waned, the sex/AV shops were creepy (and we seemed to end up near a LOT of them) and every electronics store we went into had lots of stuff but got unbearably hot as we went up more and more floors. Had a bit/lot of heartbreak seeing the new pink Sony touchscreen cameras… wanted one really badly but with the exchange rate the camera would have been about 500$ CAD without a warranty at all… so alas I will have to wait until they come here. I also really want a Japanese unlocked cell phone but I already knew that was not a possibility, so the heartbreak wasn’t as bad ;).




We also went shopping in Ikebukuro which improved BOTH of our moods greatly, and I found purses for my sisters, makeup for me, and shoes (for me). My feet were really swollen by the end… I am used to having to wear shoes for 14+ hours, and being on my feet for most of the day, but not in strappy shoes! I ended up buying sneakers and another pair of flats just so I could change them… tomorrow I am taking a break from strappy shoes.




We also made it home, stopping at Shinjuku station, without getting lost. Both of our feet hurt so we had planned to just eat at Shinjuku before returning to Nishi-Ogikubo, but were thwarted by busy restaurants and then accidentally going to a bar… that didn’t serve food. We ended up eating at ‘American Diner’ right at Nishi-Ogikubo station which was cute, tiny, and cheap… but the food and decor was an interesting mix of Italian/Irish. Also, our waiter was very cute :D.


Tomorrow the plan is for Yokohama and Marunochi!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Today was the most amazing day ever…


SO amazing that my head is having a lot of trouble slowing down and processing all the information. Today was the first ‘real’ day of the trip as yesterday was either spent on a plane or on a train on the way to the apartment.

And it was AMAZING. Kelsie and I were up really early so we went exploring our little tiny neighbourhood which was SO quiet and had a nice breakfast at one of the many cafes near the apartment. We also did a bit of ‘essential’ shopping and managed to find about 6 different combinis… and then decided that we could both spend at least half of our vacation in combinis and be perfectly happy.

At 11AM, we met Kazumi at Nishi-Ogikubo station. I met Kazumi about 2 years ago at a CNSA conference; we were Facebook buddies since then and when I told him that I/we were going to Japan, he was nice enough to offer to meet up with me! I assumed that this was just going to be for lunch, and then Kazumi would send us on our way. Fortunately for Kelsie and me, I was very wrong. This made the day AWESOME. Kazumi was first WAY too nice about paying for food (coffees) and then explained the SUICA pass (finally!) and walked us through buying the passes (we learned that the ticket machines have English instructions). We then met up with one of this friends Tomo, who was very nice, very tall, and VERY skinny. And who immediately apologized that his English was ‘very bad’ though Kelsie and I would spend the rest of the day reassuring him that his English was actually very good (and better than Kelsie’s basic Japanese and my non-existent Japanese).

We went for lunch in Shinjuku which Tomo ended up paying for despite our protests and attempts to give him money; exchanged our train passes, and then started on the walk to Tokyo University, where Kazumi and Tomo are both working on PHDs… in nursing and pharmacy (Kelsie: They are REALLY smart, holy). At Tokyo University we got to tour the nursing faculty, meet one of Kazumi’s professors, meet several co-PHD students, and download and print directions for all of our ‘sight-seeing’ on the trip thanks to Kazumi’s kindness - we assumed that that would be it for the day with them and we’d be on our own. Very, VERY wrong. I think they both took our list of things we wanted to see as a challenge and thus took us to as many places as possible in one afternoon.

The list:

  • Inokashira Park (near Nishi-Ogikubo)
  • Tokyo Tower
  • Meiji Temple
  • Imperial Palace
  • Yokohama
  • Yoyogi Park
  • Ueno Park & Zoo
  • DisneySea
  • Shinjuku Green
  • Rainbow Bridge
  • Joypolis

The Districts:

  • Shibuya
  • Shinjuku
  • Asakusa
  • Harajuku
  • Ginza

We managed to hit all the districts, Meiji temple, and then Kazumi managed to track down someone to tour us around Osaka and we learned that Tomo worked about 5 minutes from Tokyo Tower…. and wanted to take us there!

Asakusa was AMAZING, Meiji shrine was fantastic even under construction, and then to meet more of their friends for drinks…

And the best part?


Actually… that part is also AWESOMELY COOL but I think I need another day to process and post everything…

More entries to come!!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

In Transit…

So Kelsie and I survived our first flight to LAX, and we’re now past the second round of security and waiting another 2 hours for our flight… I suppose we could have spent more time outside but we both just wanted to sit and get it over with. Experience thus far: pretty decent, Air Canada flight was fine, the touch screens are interesting though it both took us a few minutes to figure out where to plug in our headphones… watched Marley and Me which made me a bit teary, but otherwise it’s been quite pleasant.


We also walked outside to get to our terminal, and holy crap was it hot. At least it felt a lot hotter than home, especially once we got off the air conditioned air craft.


Got a lot at Duty Free (much better selection than the one in Calgary) mostly Dior … :) of course. 2 Eyeshadow quints, 4 lippies… Kelsie pretty much laughed at me but it’s a much better deal than getting it at home! Not to mention I got quints that aren’t available in Calgary, 673 Earth Tones (which I’ve spent ages looking for) and 859 Graphic Lights.  They had the Pearly Lilas quint which looked Gorgeous but it was out of stock :(. The SA at the Duty Free was fairly sure they’d have it on our way home… crossing my fingers!


Also: ate McDonald’s for lunch which… blech. The fries were pure grease and while the chicken nuggets were OK, they were also much MUCH greasier than at home…



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On the other hand our SAL flight to Tokyo was pretty amazing. Cramped, but amazing. Hot face towels before lunch and a ‘light meal’ (which was also huge), pillows and blankets, and free liquor!\


Will post more and pictures tomorrow, time to collapse now!

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Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Things That Happen at 4 AM…

Picture 010

If I happen to look at all awake in this picture it is because I am very excited that

[1] My Japan trip is on MONDAY!!!

[2] It is almost 5 AM as I type this so it means I get to go home in 2.5 hours. If you ever see my twitter, you will probably notice (or end up noticing) that I count down frequently.

I normally don’t mind working nights but it was SO HARD coming to work today knowing that yesterday everyone was sure I was going to get the night off… and I hadn’t slept at all today since it was beautiful out (and I weirdly had a lot of energy…) so I am, now, of course, exhausted. Not that it matters…. I still have to be awake and on top of things for these last 2.5 hours!

Working nights is weird. Even in a hospital, most units and departments tend to slow to a crawl as patients sleep, the exceptions of course being the Emergency Room and, where I work, the Intensive Care Unit. Some nights even we slow down a bit… you still have all the same hourly tasks but there isn’t as much of an urgency in the air. Tonight, not so much. 2 admissions later and I think my entire hallway is out of energy and running at half-speed…

So on my last break I went to a (usually) quiet hallway between the hospital and the medical school, stretched myself out under a borrowed blanket (they get washed after, no worries), stuck my iPod in my pocket and tried to nap… this was unsuccessful. I can’t sleep on nights. I did feel better having lain down for about 45 minutes but as soon as I got back my patient decided it was HER turn to make 3 different RNs run around… lots of fun.

Although as L, one of our MDs put it, at least the night goes by faster when you’re busy. I suppose for most nights I’d rather be busy than bored, but honestly at this point I’d rather be bored.

I’m really not sure where I was going with this. Just a random snippet into what my work-life is like sometimes I suppose.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Testing Windows Live Writer…

Finally gave into Yumeko’s requests for a travel-blog, but as she can’t comment on LJ I’ve started a blogspot account… seeing if this works so I can be lazy and only post once!