Ahh! Toronto, my home!

July 12, 2010

Ok, so I’ve been home for over a month now. So many things to update anyone who’s interested on.

Leaving Japan was rough.

Saying goodbye to my office and co-workers was so sad! I didn’t expect it to be so emotional, but it was embarrassingly so. Everyone in the office helped make my transition and life there that much easier. Sure, it was difficult to conversate with them at first, but afterwards, I had so much fun. My Japanese is still terrible (and only getting worse), but being able to still have basic conversations makes me really happy.

One week before I left, I shipped two boxes of *stuff* and packed my suitcase full of everything else I could fit. I was rather peeved, when customs opened one of my boxes. I wouldn’t have been if they had managed to re-pack it so that my things were not destroyed, but they could not. I came home one day to find that my box had been opened, and poorly retaped with clothes bursting out of the seems. They managed to bend several of my books ways that they should not be bent! (I like to keep my books in pristine condition, and they were not longer that).

My last days in Matsumoto were great. I finally realized that I truly enjoy being outgoing and meeting new people. One night I managed to encounter a traveller passing through Matsumoto. We talked a lot about his travels and adventures around the world and I offered to try and show him around the city the next day. Apparently I’m a terrible tour guide, since I really didn’t know much of Matsumoto regretably. At any rate, his travels should take him to North America sometime, and perhaps I can show off Toronto a lot better!

Travelling to the airport was rather easy. I shipped my larger luggage to the airport the day before so I wouldn’t have to carry it on the train and around Tokyo with me (why don’t we have services like this in Toronto? If we do, why is it so unknown?) I spent my last weekend in Tokyo with my friends, Megumi and Maya. It was a very relaxing weekend. We went to some nice restaurants, met with Isaac, and went clubbing. No more shopping (I had no space to carry anything else home). At the airport, Maya and I had some farewell sushi and then I left.

I was incredibly excited to go home and eat everything in sight. That is exactly what happened too. Being home now, though, I miss Japan terribly! It was much more relaxing there. This is partly due to my freedom and lack of resposibilities and obligations. Living alone was a big plus as well. There are also so many little things that made living there that much easier.

Everyone asks me if I’ll ever go back to live and I seriously want to, but I’m not sure if I could live and work there forever. Job opportunities and work environment might drive me crazy. I enjoy living in a country of ‘equal’-er opportunities for women.

After seeing friends and family again, I’ve realized how much I’ve changed. Someone once told me that the friendships I make in Japan are only temporary, but I really don’t think so. I intend to make them last and I miss them dearly.

Summer plans:

  • ROM – Terra Cotta Warrior exhibit
  • Summerlicious
  • Luminato
  • AGO
  • Wonderland
  • The Ex – Must go shopping
  • Jersey Boys
  • Rain the Beatles Experience
  • Miss Saigon
  • New York/Boston/California – anywhere really…I want a *real* vacation
  • Taste of the Danforth

Some ongoing things for the summer:

  • Going to the beach
  • Golfing
  • Working out
  • Work (still at EPSON)
  • Summer school – Intro to Psychology
  • Spend time with friends and family
  • Trying new restaurants in and around the city
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I’m Alive!

March 30, 2010

Okay, it’s definitely been a while since my last post. Tons have happened since then though! This is just an update on what I’ve been up to.

  • Christmas with Yukari at her church. Met some JETs from Shiojiri and American missionaries.
  • Skiing at Gala Yuzawa with Isaac and friends. Most convenient ski resort I’d ever been to followed by first Onsen experience. Very relaxing.
  • New Years in Tokyo with Megumi and Yuuka. Went to a Shinto shrine for wishes and fortunes. New years shopping in Shibuya and Harajuku (Crazy Madness!). Of course no trip with them is complete without at least one night on the town in Roppongi.
  • Tokyo Disney Land and Disney Sea with Aoyagi-san and her family. Made me feel like a kid again. It was so much fun! I LOVE Disney!
  • Skiing around Nagano-ken with Aoyagi-san and her family. Watching kids ski is the cutest thing ever!
  • Skiing in Niseko, Hokkaido and a bit of the Snow festival. Back country and tree skiing in the best powder ever. Skiing followed by outdoor Onsen is blissful.
  • Skiing in Hakuba. More relaxing, more nice weather.
  • Sake Festival in Niigata. Drank so much sake and met english teachers from Niigata. Partied with them until around 2 in the morning, then woke up and drank more sake the next day. I bought a grape flavoured sake and Amazake infused with Sakura. They are both delicious.
  • More trips to Tokyo, this time with new English teaching friends, Andy and Rachel. Stayed at a strange friend’s place. Went to cool art show where I met a Torontonian who used to draw for Marvel (secretly admired him) and another Torontonian who used to dance on Electric Circus (Who remembers that?). Saw a closed Tsukiji Market (Boo).

Work is chugging along. Only 2 months left and it feels like there’s still so much to do. Not just finishing up things here and taking care of logistic things, but also so many festivals and things to do! My weekends are booked for April and probably May.

  • April 2-3: Onbashira bringing down of the log (Yamadashi). This is where crazy Japanese people ride logs down a mountain. There are reports of people dying and many people getting injured in the past. This festival only happens once every 6 years. So I’m so excited!
  • April 10-17: Osaka, Himeji, and Hiroshima with Jen. It’s going to be fun times and lots of eating.
  • April 24-25: Clam picking in Nagoya with Aoyagi-san, her family, and her family friends. That’s going to be interesting.

As of yet, I have no plans for Golden Week. Not many vacation days, so probably can’t go too far. Maybe Tokyo, or Nagoya. This is also the time for the second part of Onbashira, Satobiki, which is the raising of the pillars at the shrines. Definitely must see the Cherry Blossoms in the Kiso Valley. It’s supposed to be famous. I’m going to try and see if I can arrange to go to Shiga-ken to see Akina (my Japanese exchange partner from high school).

I hope I can survive the rest of the craziness here in Japan. It’s going to be a busy couple of months.


Exactly 1 month from today…

May 27, 2009

… I leave for Japan. I’m sorry if people are getting annoyed with all of my updates about that. Mostly on Facebook and Twitter. However, I’m more excited than ever! Knowing the date that I’m leaving has totally amped me up to go. It helps that it was like dirt cheap for my plane ticket too and the company is going to reimburse me for it. Awesome! I should be receiving my certificate of eligibility from the Japan early next week so that I can finally go to the Japanese consulate in Toronto and apply for my VISA.

Things that still need to get done before I leave:

  • Deal with me cell phone: It seems that nobody wants my phone for a year, so now I have to decide whether I want to pay the $500 to cancel my plan and lose my number OR reduce my plan to something like $40 a month and just keep paying it and keep my number in the end. How irritating.
  • Get VISA.
  • Go shopping for business clothes.
  • Prepare for going away parties with family and friends.

It doesn’t seem like too much to do and I have tons of time to get it all done. 3 weeks is more than enough free time for me I think. It might actually be a vacation for once! Outrageous. I think it will be the first time since the start of first year where I actually had time off from school and work. Of course I can see myself popping in on Basie from time to time. I also want to take Basie with me to Japan to work on during spare time there (like the dashboard). I’ll also likely pop in on my replacement at PMH to see how he’s coming along. But I’m definitely going to try and take it easy and relax for once.

That’s really exciting! Can’t wait!


Week 2 on Basie

May 22, 2009

Shortened week this week and what did we accomplish? Lots!

  • I did my first screencast EVER. That was fun, but you can hear people talking in the background. It’s posted up on the Basie Blog
  • Have a better understanding of the code structure and can make small modifications to test things on my own without bothering the guys too much.
  • Read code reviews just so I can get a feeling of what’s expected and what’s considered good/bad code.
  • Closed pretty much all the mail tickets in the Basie Summer project. Yay! Actually, the last thing was waiting on some code from Florian. He finished that so I started looking at it and basing the mail hiding system on that. Turns out there’s a bug in it and also Eran started on the mail app anyways. That was a little disappointing. But I’m looking at the Wiki app to try and fix that bug for now. Yay! Otherwise, the Wiki is done. Yay!
  • Met with OLM team about the source browser. That was lots of fun to design the code structure and see what they need compared to what we need now and in the future. Very interesting ideas thrown out there.
  • Did some usability testing for OLM team. I got to play around on their test system. Found a few bugs, gave them some suggestions to make it more usable. All-in-all lots of fun and they seemed to really appreciate it, which was nice. My comments are on their site Wiki page.

Time for weekend of…not sure what i’m doing. Hopefully something interesting OR some relaxation. Either or is fine by me.


It’s been so long

April 30, 2009

Hello world!

Everyday I learn that there are more and more people reading my blog. Thanks to everyone who does! I’ve been off the map for a couple of weeks now. I blame exams and nice weather mostly. There are lots of other things that need to get done before leaving for Japan, but everything has to happen one step at a time.

First things first, finishing up my time at the Princess Margaret Hospital. I’ve been cleaning up my files and organizing them so that my successor will be able to comprehend my cryptic labels and filenames. Looking back at my time here, I’ve definitely learned a lot about medical imaging, and working closely with my boss with him being the ‘client’. It’s interesting to see all the features of the applicationĀ  that are no longer needed, but kept around because we might need it later. I do feel like I learned a lot more about code style, development, and mathematical theories during third year that would have been useful to have prior to beginning this job.

Second, working for Greg and Karen for the next month. Doing UX design is always fun. I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to be working on, but I’m sure it will be interesting. They’ve promised to work me hard, so let’s hope I survive.

Third, preparing and going to Japan. I’ve been waiting for my certificate of eligibiliy from Japan, and I can’t really do much until I get that. So I feel like I’m in limbo. I’d like to get all my preparations done and a flight booked, but I can’t and it’s driving me nuts.

Things to do along the way:

  • Extend driver’s liscence (it’s supposed to expire in August, but I’m not going to be in the country. I hate driving)
  • Get VISA from Japanese consulate
  • Book flight to Japan
  • Seeing all my friends before I leave for the other side of the world
  • Go to farewell party for Mrs. Xuereb (I really want to attend this event, but it’s on June 19th and I’m afraid I might not be here for that šŸ˜„ )