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I haven't been completely honest with you.
I've been sick with the flu this past week
and I never mentioned it. I thought it would
pass quickly, but it hasn't, and now it's
kind of affected my schedule.
Yesterday I stayed in bed the entire day,
my chest was so congested that it felt like
I had the lung capacity of an elderly chipmunk.
Actually, I did drag myself out the front
door for about 30 minutes so that I could
take today's picture's for Hunkabutta --
don't feel sorry for me, it's a labour of
Today is the first day so far that I've been
relatively normal. This afternoon we went
to White Rock beach (just down the hill from
where we're staying) with Melody, Bret and
their kids Otis and Sylvie (who you might
remember from their Tokyo visit on Hunkabutta
in April). This evening Karen and I went out for
a movie and dinner while Jack's grandmother
I hope that by tomorrow I'll be back
usual sloth-like, but jovial, self.
Next Tuesday is when we're going up to the
Sunshine Coast (a few hours North of Vancouver)
for a three-day mini vacation, and that's
when the real fun should begin. Karen and
I are planning on living on the Sunshine
Coast when we eventually move back to Canada.
On this trip we'll be visiting Karen's cousin
David; staying at bed and breakfasts; checking
out the towns in the area; and maybe viewing
a few homes that are for sale. This should
make for some good pictures.
As for now, I'll try to be more honest with
you in the future.
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It's good to be home.
The first thing that struck me as we left
the airport was how great the air smelled,
like candy for the lungs, full of leafy oxygen.
We had been Tokyo for so long that I had
forgotten how crappy the air quality was
Everyone is ecstatic over Jack, and he has
been in his usual great mood. We're staying
at Karen's mum's place in White Rock (a Vancouver
suburb on the sea). We've spent most of our
time so far with Karen's dad Gary and his
friend Jean. We've been walking along the
beach near his house in Crescent Beach.
We're only going to be here for two weeks
and then I'm going back to work in Tokyo
and Karen and Jack are going to Ontario to
spend 10 days with my parents. Since time
is so short here, Karen's feeling a lot of
pressure to visit all of her family and friends.
I'm just trying to relax and tag along to
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Yesterday afternoon we put Dave on a bullet
train bound for Nagoya. He seemed to have
enjoyed himself here in Tokyo. He got to
do all of the things that he was hoping to
do -- such as check out vintage motorcycles
and go surfing.
Tomorrow, Karen, Jack and I will be going
to Vancouver. This will be my first time
meeting most of Karen's extended family.
From the stories that I've heard, they seem
like a quirky lot, but amicable... (just
I'm not sure how I'm going to post to Hunkabutta
from Vancouver. I lost the USB (picture transfer)
cable for my camera when I lost my company's
notebook computer in August. Anyway, I'm
sure that I'll figure something out, although
there may be a slight hiatus in Hunkabutta
In Tokyo, many products and services are
sold through vending machines. Consequently,
you tend to accumulate a lot of pocket change.
Tokyo tip #2
In order to minimize the amount of pocket
change that you amass, overpay for vending
machine items, when you can, so that you
round up to an even number.
I'll give you an example of what I
Canned coffee vending machines are ubiquitous
in Tokyo. A can of coffee costs 120 yen.
Lets say that the coin denominations that
you find in your pocket are as follows: two
ten yen coins, one fifty yen coin, and one
500 yen coin.
Now, in this situation most people would
just use the five hundred yen coin, but then
they would receive 7 coins back in change
(three hundreds, one fifty, and three tens).
The best thing to do is this situation is
to pay 520 yen, this way you will get back
only four 100 yen coins. Bang, you've just
reduced your pocket change count by three
I know that this tip seems pretty obvious,
and that most people do this kind of thing
already when they pay for items in a shop.
But I don't think that most people realize
that it is also possible to do with a machine.
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Want to hear something that's funny in an
ironic sort of way? As you may recall, on
Monday my Hunkabutta post was about a 'Japan
Tip' which admonished: 'While using the train,
choose one specific pocket to be your "designated
ticket pocket" so that you always know
where your ticket is.'
Well, I guess Karen's brother Dave doesn't
read very well, because right after checking
out Hunkabutta on Tuesday morning he took
the train with me to work because he wanted
to meet a friend in Shinjuku. I dropped him
off at Shinjuku station, but when he got
to the exit gate...I think you can guess
what happened. That's right -- no ticket
to be found. He had to buy a new one in order
In his defense, I should say that he thought
he had dropped the ticket while he was on
the train because at one point he had pulled
his cell phone out of his pocket in order
to answer a call. That's why he gave up the
search for the ticket and just bought a new
As it turns out, he had stuck the ticket
in his coat pocket (which was the most convenient
thing at the time) and then later, while
on the train, he had gotten hot, taken off
his jacket, and put it in his back-pack.
Hence, there was no ticket to be found when
he searched all of his pockets.
Alas, if only he had heeded my advice...
'designated ticket pocket.'
I haven't mentioned this yet, but Karen,
Jack and I are going to Vancouver on Monday
for a vacation. I'll be there for two weeks,
and Karen and Jack are going to stay for
a month. They'll also be flying out to Ontario
to spend some time with my parents.
I'm not sure how I'm going to do it, but
I should be posting some pictures from Vancouver
-- you know, mountains,trees, whales, junkies,
schizophrenic hookers, stuff like that. The
usual B.C. fare.
I like inserting vacation pictures
flow of Hunkabutta because it adds
contrast to my regular Japan-based
Let's hope it works out well.