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Stayed in a hotel in Nagoya briefly, on our way to Hakone where we hope to see Mount Fuji. Crossing fingers; rainy weather may work against us.

They went out drinking last night,I may join them later. I am not much of a drinker, but I am interested in sake.

Watching Bruce Campbell vs the Army of Darkness on the bus. THIS IS MY BOOM STICK hahaha.
Metal hands with about 2 minutes of transition scenes. Awesome.

"Welcome back to the land of the living. Now pick up a shovel and get digging."

At a random rest stop, and this place has absolutely everything to say about restrooms in Japan. First, the standard: toilet seat warmer, butt washer, bidet, oscillator, derriére(accent?) dryer, "power" odor remover, button that generates a "flush sound" for 25 seconds, flush button on the wall, just about at elbow-level (which i appreciate because it is more hygienic but i don't think it is deliberately designed that way). You also have the antimicrobial fluid you can use to wipe the toilet seat, as well as the more normal disposable toilet seat cover. Then you have the mommy's helper, a chair you can stick your toddler in while you go, and the... I forgot its name, but it's basically a second, smaller toilet seat which goes on top of the adult toilet seat to better fit kids when *they* have to go.

And all that is still pretty normal, including the metal rail you can grip along the side, until you realize that there is also a *holder for a cane*. Oh, and tissue paper. There is always tissue paper. Told you the toilets in Japan are good.

On the way out we saw a map of the restroom, which pointed out which restrooms are Western-style and which ones are Japanese-style, as well as the special amenities available in each. What it does not show you is the vanity area: mirrors with ledges on the wall across from the sinks. Also the cute little half-height sink, again for the kids.

Rode the Hakone Ropeway (cable cars). It was pretty foggy so i did not get to see much, but on the upside, i got to walk through fog. *Fog*!

It is pretty cold up on Owakudani (volcano) and Hakone Lake (lake). Guide said it was near zero. I think he is exaggerating a bit, but still, my nose and fingers went numb. Heehee.

I suspect i am not supposed to get my gloves wet. On the other hand, they'd be pretty useless if they were destroyed by the first sign of bad weather... wouldn't they?

Passed by Mt. Fuji briefly, but weather was pretty bad so they did not let us up past the gate at the base. Aw.

So the day pretty much didn't go as planned, but we ended up staying at a(n almost) ryoukan, or Japanese-style inn. It was modernized, but there were tatamis, and the beds were pretty much mattresses on the floor, and the food was more in the traditional manner. My family did not appreciate it as much, because there were so many pickles *g*. However, the ebi tempura was pretty good, despite their objections. The batter was light and flaky, not the floury thick mess that you usually find in cheaper restaurants.

There was also an onsen, both public and private baths. Decided to take the public one because a. the experience; and b. private baths are ¥3150 for 50 minutes.

I went with my sister and it was...interesting. Not too awkward. I would have stayed longer but hot water is *hot* and I am not used to feeling so cooked. My favorite pool was the open-air one, because it is so cold above then you get into the water and ohshit your legs are suddenly superwarmed.

After that, we went on a hunt for sake. The vending machines only served overpriced beer, so a few of us walked twenty minutes through cold winds and light rain to the nearest convenience store. We got several oversized cans of not-overpriced beer (Asahi and Kirin), a bottle of normal sake, and a carton of plum-flavored sake.

The best beer I have ever had is still that in China, and I don't even know the brand. Kirin was very strong and sour, almost made me gag. Asahi was more to my taste. The sake is the best alcohol I have ever had, though (except maybe for vodka ice, which is sweet). Normal unflavored sake was slightly bitter, but pretty smoorh not too bad. The plum-flavored sake was sweet and slightly plum-tart. Pretty good! I hear that there are other flavors; that is probably worth pursuing.

Think I've mentioned that I am not much of a drinker? I had one papercup total of all the alcohol on the table, and i was already feeling tipsy so i excused myself and went up for a bit. When I came down there was an old samurai with the group, telling stories (it is possible that he was lying, but he was very strong for a 79-year old man) (He said that he had kissed a thousand American girls and five hundred French girls. Now that, I don't believe. (Maybe if it was the other way around.)). I am slightly envious because I only caught the tail-end of the encounter.

And then in the morning, it began to snow! I have only been where there was snow a few times, and only actually stood in falling snow twice, if today counts. Snow on the ground: Lake Tahoe 2x, Whistler (Canada) once, and some other mountain in Canada where we used snowshoes. Falling snow: Whistler (skiied once!) and then today at the base of Mount Fuji. But like I said, I am not sure whether today counts, because the snow melted as it hit the ground -- or my hair, cheeks, shoulders, skin. So it was more like standing in fat, icy rain *grin*

Also four and a half degrees. Μmm.

I MADE IT TO TOKYO.

Suntory White Water tastes like de-pinked Pepto Bismol. Suntory Pop Melon > Fanta Melon Soda. Suntory Ginger Ale is just ginger ale.

Went to the Tokyo Tower and stood on a thick plexiglass hatch and stared down 150 meters. *shudder* i hate heights.

Dropped by the Imperial Palace. The wind flayed the canvas off the metal skeleton of four umbrellas. Our fault, we were trying to go against the wind.(someone just defined "windchill factor" for me ahaha).

Am a bit cranky. Spent three hours at toyota car dealership and the mall beside it. That's three hours of cars, people, clothes, and aching knees, none of which fit into my definition of a good time.

Dinner was good! Beef sukiyaki, hotpot style. On the floor below the restaurant was what seemed to be a Japanese festival permanently transported there (Odaiba), complete with horror house and the fish/paper ring thing. There were some cute little things, but the cheap stuff looked cheap and the expensive stuff was expensive. Maybe we'll have better luck at Akihabara tomorrow.
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[Poll #1155065]

(This comes from a discussion that aveleh and I are having, because I haven't seen/read The Princess Bride, but I have both the movie and the book on hand, but started reading the book first).
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Went out with friends to Shangri-La Plaza today, and watched National Treasure. It was pretty good. What I liked most about it is... (cut for spoiler) )

I liked it; it was interesting.

Speaking of things that I like because they're interesting, check out this gorgeous take on the Cinderella story (not a fairy tale; not for kids. Warning, contains sex. I would babble on about it, but I don't want to spoil it for you. Also, words fail me). I've linked to part ten, as it links back to parts one through nine, so do take care not to scroll down that page until you've read the first parts. Originally found via the wonderful [livejournal.com profile] keilexandra.


--

I was late to the movie because I accidentally left my wallet at the office last night and had to drop by there first to search for it. Found it in my jacket pocket, untouched. After the movie, I handed out boxes of chocolate truffles (my pasalubong from Hong Kong!). Some milk, some dark, some white, some hazelnut. I hope you guys enjoy them ^_^

Discovered an easter egg for the mall -- a set of out of the way restrooms. No lines! Woohoo!

I felt ravenous after the movie, so I suggested dinner (Pho Hoa; Vietnamese noodle place. Never eaten there before. Flank+brisket+tendon noodle soup is quite good.) Kinarir ni [livejournal.com profile] habeo ang hoisin sauce ;) Kinarir ko naman ang bean sprouts at basil. Wanted to have some mango crepe, which apparently was infused with pandan, but I was too full after the noodles.

Dinner conversation revolved around various languages, including English in the Philippines, PHP, Java, Lisp, Erlang. A few quick dips into load balancing (which sadly I know little about), and the rules governing domain names and valid email addresses rounded out the small talk nicely.

[livejournal.com profile] jan247 had to leave early! Sad! But okay, we understand. Some things are more important than friends ;p And then it was just me, [livejournal.com profile] habeo and [livejournal.com profile] iruka11. Headed to PowerBooks, right next door to the restaurant. There was a sale! Everything was at least 20% off, so I bought four books: silly book about being a Filipino (You know you're a Filipino if...), The King of Attolia and The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner (I've read The Thief, set in the same universe, and liked it, so this seemed a good gamble), and then bought Dragonhaven by Robin McKinley.

I just remembered that someone may have recommended that last book to me last year (before it was published), though that wasn't in my mind when I picked it up from the shelf. Hmm. Aha, found it.

I love the smell of books, the feeling of covers under my fingertips (matte, glossy, smooth, rough, everything), the fonts and colors as they sit there on the shelf. I have a hard time keeping my fingers and my eyes away from them. I tend to get dizzy when walking past shelves of books, especially long ones, because I'll be trying to walk forward to get to the next set while my eyes (and occasionally fingers) are still trying to read everything behind me.

I'm still revelling in the feeling of having money in my pocket. This is the first major thing I've bought for myself since I started earning*. I mean I've bought books before, but I didn't have to pay for them or anything.... It feels good to own my books completely utterly entirely.

*lunch and treating my family to dinner do not count!

Had on a blouse that was cut lower than I usually wear. The deep V has an amazing slimming effect, but it meant that I had to take care that I didn't accidentally flash anyone when I crouched down to get at the books on the lower shelves. I also had on my sister's sandals so I could walk tall (the things I will do for more height ;-)), and I keep forgetting how much I like the crisp click-clacking of hard heels against tiles. So nice. Tried not to be too obvious that I was enjoying walking so much, but so nice.
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Watched Hairspray, the 1988th version last week. It was fun! Campy! It had a message, but it wasn't too preachy. The premise (a musical based on the old movie) sounded interesting, but the 2007th version had a Serious Message, and it made damn sure you knew it.

I am annoyed at the "woe is me I am fat" subplot for the mom. I think that the original was much better -- not as heavy-handed in conveying the message about accepting people for their differences, etc.

I also dislike (majorly dislike) the Link character in this movie, as well as the song that Tracy has for Link (the one where she ends with peering in at him through the boys' bathroom window). The original Link was cool; the remade version had bad hair and was a wimp. The original Tracy was a bit of a ditz over Link, but she wasn't entirely shallow.

Despite the bad acting and bad cinematography, I adore the original movie: it was cutely teenagerly awkward. The remake is more polished, but it isn't as good. Seriously, this movie has ratty hair, crazy dances, and campy villains; and yet the remake somehow made it generic.

Maybe it is the polish that makes the characters in the remake fall flat for me. Because the movie is trying to be grown-up, the characters aren't as outrageous, and what worked in the campier original setting is just off, off, off. The one person I like in the remake is the dad, Wilbur, even though (or maybe because) he wasn't a major character in the original movie.

Hairspray

Nov. 26th, 2007 01:48 am
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Just finished watching Hairspray (1988 version; movie). I think, with that, it's time to head to sleep.
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Yay! I knew they'd pull through!

I have a bunch of friends I go out to watch movies with. The group shifts a lot as people drift in and out, and no one actually makes it to all the outings, but we usually have from fifteen to twenty-five people in the group. Don't ask me how we manage to get tickets; I don't know. We eat dinner afterwards but usually have to split up across two restaurants because few restaurants are ready to accommodate such a large group on short notice.

So Saturday we're heading out to watch Harry Potter! We're already thirty strong. I don't know how we're going to get tickets, but someone is going to take care of it, so yay :D

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