Thursday, January 31, 2013

How do you like that breast?

Chicken breast, mind you. Whaddya think I meant? LOL

I was looking at 2 long days in a row at work with one having a meeting in the evening and one having an early morning meeting, so I went to treat myself to a nice dinner with a glass of red wine at the UK pub I like to go to. The special was beef and bleu cheese pie, but since I'm not a fan of bleu cheese, I went for the grilled chicken and cheese sandwich. Man, that's one thick sandwich! The sandwich had grilled chicken breast, thick slice of cheese and salad in between tasty rye bread and came with piping hot potato wedges.

One good thing about getting booted out of the office promptly at quitting time is that you can sit back, enjoy dinner with a couple of glasses of wine and chit chat with the owner or other customers but still be home in time to get a good night's rest. Me needs me beauty sleep. LOL

Ding dong . . . quitting time . . . now get your asses outta here!!

OK, how many companies do you know that have a day set aside very week to tell the staff to get the hell outta here and enjoy life? Sounds great, hey? Not so much as it sounds.

From a couple of weeks ago, the company I work for started making announcements through the PA system to remind the staff that they're expected to leave promptly at quitting time "to enrich their after work hours and to add variety in their lives". Uh-huh . . . well, as with any other company around the globe, the company's making cutbacks, including staff, so they're expecting the staff to take on extra workloads but still finish their projects on time. :> They just imposed a no-overtime policy last October.

My work relies on other people finishing their reports so I can translate them, so my time alternates between bored and busy, bored times being longer than busy times. I try to keep myself amused by catching up on current events by reading the Y! news or surfing for images to use for blings or gifs.

These days my inbox is getting flooded with emails (by flooded, I mean I'm getting more than 5 emails/day LOL ) asking me to do the translations pronto. :-S Dudes . . . :-w . . . I sift and sort, see what I can take care of right away and what'll take more time. I had a couple totally 33 pages E/J translation. UGH!! E/J translation is draining and takes twice the time than it does for J/E translation. But it is nice to actually have something to do instead of twiddling my thumbs all day long.

Gotta say, working at a Japanese company surrounded by geeks is different from what I'm used to. Never saw such a collection of dudes who totally lack in creative imagination . . . LOL

Strawberry fields

Holy Shite! I got left behind!!

The day started off with the alarm clock rudely waking me up at 5am on a Sunday morning so I can be on the train at 6am to get to Ikebukuro to join a day trip I foolishly agreed to. The train ride was uneventful and I managed to find the meeting place with little trouble.

A gal pal I met through this site (and popped her girl on girl cherry) started a business and part of it was organizing day trips to venues near Tokyo. She contacts me through FB asking if I'd be interested. Shabu shabu lunch and strawberry picking sounded like fun so I said I'd go. Tochigi is well-known for its strawberries and there are fields and fields with greenhouses growing strawberries. She didn't mention that we'd be touring shrines in Nikko first until later, but I told her I won't be going in the shrines but will roam around the surrounding area taking pics. I do not like shrines or temples and have no interest whatsoever in touring around them. Hell, I live near Kamakura, temples and shrines galore without the 3-hour bus ride. Come to think of it, there are strawberry fields about an hour away, but the quality isn't as good as I'd get in Tochigi.

I was the only one from booniesville and the rest of the tour participants were living in Tokyo, so they enjoyed the chance to get out of the big city. I can get that. I don't like Tokyo all that much. My gal pal is a Filipina so most of the group were her friends from the Philippine network, with the exception of one of the hubbies and gal pal's BF. It was interesting that some of the group thought I was a Pinay and started talking to me in Tagalog. Uh . . . huh? Lo siento, no hablo . . . wait . . . that's Spanish!  :))  So I spent the day listening to Tagalog flying around on the bus.

Egads! Is that snow I see on the ground?! Seems like it snowed the day before in Nikko. BRRRRRR!!!  The snow was so fine and light, it was fluttering down from the pine needles from the breeze, glittering in the sunlight as it fell.

The tour started with touring the shrines. The major shrine in that area is the Toshogu, which is the mausoleum of Ieyasu Tokugawa, the Tokugawa shogunate founder and also dedicated to the spirits of Hideyoshi Toyotomi and Yoritomo Minamoto. There are lavish carvings which would make for good pics, but I wasn't feeling like climbing a bunch of stairs to get to a shrine I'm not interested in the first place. So while the rest of the group were I was roaming around the surrounding paths taking pics and staying in the sun to warm my freezing ass. Now we were told a time and place to meet after touring the shrines so I mosey on over to the meeting place to find that there's nobody from the group in sight. WTF?!  Where is everybody?! I saw that my minor carrier had reception at the parking lot, which was a good 15 minutes away on foot, so I didn't think anything about it until I went to call my gal pal. EEK! No reception!! Plan B, text with tablet . . . wait wait wait . . . no reply . . . WTF?! Then I logged into FB to see if there was a message for me. That's when I got a text from her through FB. Seems like they thought everybody was there so they headed off to where lunch is before the meeting time, and I was there 5 minutes before, even. Ho-ly Shite!! Either I made no impression whatsoever so can be so easily forgotten or made such a strong impression that I left a shadow of my presence behind. Either way, I got left behind. Later I learn that my gal pal dropped and stepped on her cell that morning and cracked the screen so couldn't receive texts and she used someone's iPhone to log into FB. 30 or so minutes into waiting, the tour guide, who was in tears, came to get me and take me to the restaurant. She was profusely apologizing since it was something that shouldn't be happening in the first place.

Lunch? I was told it was shabu shabu, but it was more like sukiyaki. They didn't have to be so stingy with the meat, tho. The rice with chestnuts was good. I liked that. It wasn't a filling lunch, but since we were going strawberry picking, it wasn't a big deal since we needed to save room for the strawberries.

Hi ho hi ho to strawberry fields we go. After an hour long bus ride, we get to the fields where we saw rows and rows of greenhouses growing strawberries. There were poles for the roofing along the paths between the greenhouses and couldn't help giggling to myself thinking about how my 6'2 friend would be banging his head on these poles at least once had he been there since he has a bad habit of mindlessly following the shorty walking in front of him. LOL We were given a few instructions on how to pick the strawberries and warning that there's a wooden box where the bees are kept to pollinate the flowers. It was all you can eat for 30 minutes. That doesn't sound like a long time, but strawberries can fill you up long before the 30 minutes is up. Man, were the berries sweet! So sweet that you didn't need condensed milk to go with the berries.

I picked up a couple of bottles of fruity vinegar that make a nice refreshing drink when mixed with soda water at the shop (adding vodka doesn't hurt, either ;) ). They had cakes other sweets that used tons of strawberries and looked mighty tempting but since I had a long train ride home, I decided against getting a cake.

The bus ride back to Ikebukuro was uneventful and I dozed the whole way. I was pleasantly surprised to find seats the whole way back to my neck of the woods. I lucked out on one of the trains since nobody seemed to sit next to the foreign dude. LOL He was mildly shocked when he found that I spoke English. He needed to get out, so he said sumimasen (excuse me), where I said I'm getting off too (in English, of course).

All in all, I'd say I had a good weekend. Of course I wasn't happy when my alarm clock rudely woke me up at 6am on Monday morning, like it always does. Next weekend sees a new month. Hopefully a new hello will come along as well.