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:: My Urban Eyes ::

All that I see, and then some.
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:: Friday, September 29, 2006 ::

Crochet and Espresso


On Tuesday I celebrated my day off with a trip to the closest big box craft store in Emeryville. While I love independants to death, the only yarn I've been able to find in the city is beautiful and expensive ($12/skein and up) or just expensive (what should be a $2.50 skein selling for $5).

So off on BART to Emoryville, which turns out, is a suburban wasteland. They had a free bus that looped around "town", which was good, because absolutely nothing was in walking distance. Even the things that were were separated by freeways and their cloverleafs. (Lingustic note: both 'cloverleafs' and 'cloverleaves' are valid plurals of cloverleaf, a kind of interstate interchange. On the other hand, when refering to the plant they are "clover leaves", space included. Huh. I guess when we reappropiate words the grammar can change along with the meaning--neat.) Anyway, it's not a friendly town for those without a car, athough the bus system is certainly trying.

Find my way to big box store number one to find a quite small, ill-stocked store that doesn't even have cable needles. I do manage to snag a skein of cute baby yarn, though.

Once I was able to find the bus stop going the other way (yaaargh routes splitting as if there's one way when there isn't) I take it to big box store number two, which lives up to all of my ideals--nice sized yarn section, cable needles, hooks in all sizes and two different brands, a nice person on register to give my money to. My take ended up being another skein of baby yarn (for knitting and hopefully some preemie hats for the hospital), some nicely shaded Red Heart, and some awesome Caron Simply Soft in dark brown and heather gray. The lattermost is the beginning of an afghan in ripple stitch. When I told Mark about it I hyped it as "something great to cuddle with on the couch or have on the bed!" forgetting that he radiates heat and never gets cold on the couch nor in bed. So maybe it'll just be a blanket for me. -_^

Everything else is going really well. I still love work, yea! ^_^ Next week Starbucks is implimenting a company wide pay raise, which in my region means a bump of almost a dollar an hour. I won't qualify for it until I reach my 6 mo. mark at the beginning of Febuary, though. :/ It'll be an awesome bump when it happens--January 1st city min wage rises to meet infation (yeaaa living wage law!), going up $0.35/hr. At six months I'll get bumped up the remaining $0.65/hr or so, plus the pay raise that comes at my six month review. That will certainly make waiting a little easier! ^_^

I'm up to speed on bar, even rush speed, which is a lot of fun. It's kind of like a puzzle--in what order should I start these drinks so we have them made in the least amount of time? It's a fun challenge. When a customer asks for a drink to be remade, though, the entire system crumbles and things get backed up. Sometimes it's legit (we mismade the drink, the cup was mismarked, the customer forgot to ask for non-fat milk) and sometimes it feels like they're milking the system ("I wanted a venti, not a tall", "I wanted a quad espresso, not a solo"). We smile and make the drink to their liking, but sometimes you wonder if they are honest mistakes.

Next week our maple drinks come out--maple latte, maple frappuccino, probably a maple creme, too. We already got some syrup in so we got to sample it--very sugary, but very very good. I have trouble drinking a plain ol' latte, but a maple latte? No problem.

One thing that a lot of my coworkers (and I) are worried about is gaining weight at work. We get free drinks before, during, and after our shifts, so it's easy for calories to build up. One coworker only drinks tea and coffee which, unsweetened, are less than 10 calories a cup. Another always has a glass of water nearby to quell the urge for a mocha. I'm doing my best to stick to splenda-sweetened tea, and when I do get a maple or chai latte I use non-fat milk and use fewer pumps of syrup. Every little bit, right?

...right! ^_^

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:: Kazen 8:55 PM [+] ::
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:: Tuesday, September 12, 2006 ::

Golden Year


Now that I'm basically settled in and have time to breathe, I find myself thinking about Japan a lot. It's all too easy to picture myself there--at the University, walking to the train station, doing all-night karaoke at Jankara, exploring Namba with friends. The bittersweet part is that I can remember the spacial elements so clearly. I can still remember which escalator to take to get to the 300 yen store in Vivre and what buildings line the road to school. I can close my eyes and bike down the steep hill to Tsutaya at 11 pm to get the newest game for my DS Lite. Seeing it and knowing that it's half a world away makes me want to cry.

My time in Japan was a golden year in my life. I made amazing friends, saw incredible sights, and grew and changed in more ways than I thought possible. While high school and college bring the prospects of reunions and homecomings, a study abroad is final. There is no way that all of us can get together again from all corners of the globe, stay in the dorm, and hang out 'like old times'. This is something I realized during my last few weeks in Japan, but denied in order to enjoy each moment to the fullest. I guess this pain, this bittersweet natsukashii, is what I get on the back end.

But I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. It reminds me that these are things to remember, friends to cherish, and a self discovered. In that sense, I hope this awful feeling lasts a long long time.

To everyone I met in Japan: I remember you, I miss you, and I thank you.

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:: Kazen 11:26 PM [+] ::
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:: Monday, September 11, 2006 ::

The Fad I'm Glad to Miss


Over the past two weeks I've found myself thinking, "Last year, at this time, I was in Japan" quite a bit. It's a bittersweet natsukashii, or nostalgic, feeling. While sometimes I see a dorama/music video/quiz show that makes me wish I were back in Japan, now and then something comes along that makes me glad I'm back home:



This ad is all of the rage in Japan now, the media you cannot escape. These girls even perform the ad live on morning and variety programs. Crazy, eh?

As for the move, it went really really smoothly. We had six people total and it took two hours for two van loads. The couch (!) also arrived yesterday, and the cable guy came in to do his thing. Today is a lot of unpacking and settling in.

The apartment is awesome--Mark and I are taking such joy in the little details. Things like the bathroom actually being a walk away from the bedroom, having a couch to nap on, a rug in front of the couch to put your feet on, a kitchen with actual drawers. Not to mention being able to stretch without smacking something or someone. -_^

It's my day off, but the city is calling me--time to do some shopping! ^_^

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:: Kazen 12:24 PM [+] ::
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so - do we ever figure out what they're advertizing?
 
Eeep, I forgot to say! It's a kind of sauce to put on noodles, I believe.
 
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:: Friday, September 08, 2006 ::

The View from There


  

The view from our new apartment! To the left is the Ritz Carlton on Stockton. If you look down Stockton you can see all kinds of stores around Union Square like Cody's Bookstore and Macy's. It's even more spectacular in person--completely mind blowing.

We're all set up to move this Sunday--van rented, friends cajoled, fridge being eaten through. It's only a half block, but all of the pains of moving remain.

In other news, work is going awesomely. My coworkers rock, the customers are cool, and the work is fun. This week I've finally gotten on bar, which is actually putting together the espresso drinks. There are a lot of recipes to keep straight, but many are similar, which helps. Next to work on is my speed, and steaming milk to get awesome foam.

That's it for now... wish us luck for the move!

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:: Kazen 10:19 PM [+] ::
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good luck on the move, better you than me. You'll do fine. Love, Love, Love.
 
My third visit - I think I'll post a comment. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY for bigger apartments! Heck - you both moved across the country by yourselves. I'm sure you two can manage doing the 1/2 block thing with friends :-). I have faith!

-e
 
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:: Wednesday, September 06, 2006 ::

Balloon Walk




Lower California St.

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:: Kazen 10:36 PM [+] ::
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