Saturday, February 12, 2011

Straight Permed!

Yesterday, I had a day off school (Nations Founder's Day, celebrating when the first emperor was crowned in 660 BC), and spontaneously decided to do what should have been done years ago, I got a straight perm. Man, it's awesome.

The process (perm plus cut) took a mere 5 and half hours. It started out with a shampoo and then my hair being plastered down with think gunk. It made it lay so flat, my hair looked about 3 inches longer than I thought it was. Then my hair was covered with plastic wrap and I sat under a heating (?) machine that resembled some kind of alien mind reading device. It wasn't the normal one I imagine when I think of perms, it had moving parts. When my hair was done cooking, I got another shampoo, then a dry and flat iron. I thought I was almost done, so I was a little worried when my hair looked almost as puffy as usual. But after the very very meticulous flat ironing, I received another helping of gunk in my hair, another brain melting and another wash. After another hair drying, my hair was so straight! It was weird seeing my hair wet and straight, since usually it's really curly when it's wet. So that was about 4 hours.

Then my hair cut, which started out with another shampoo. Now, when I go to get a haircut, getting my hair washed is my favorite part. There's just something about it that I enjoy, and that was before I got my hair washed in Japan. I got a blanket for my legs, a small cloth over my face, a warm towel for under my neck and nice scalp message. It was great! While I didn't get the message and warm towel all 5 times my hair was washed yesterday, twice was fine with me.

They guy who cut my hair studied in Tokyo and was really creative with his scissors, it was fun to watch him work. When the hair cut was finished I got my fifth washing and a final blow dry. Man, am I pleased. 5.5 hours later, I walked out looking like a new girl!

I suppose you want to see the finished product... (next morning)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


This photo was taken on Jan 31st. I can't really describe how excited I was when I opened my door to walk to school and saw the snow on the ground. I was smiling all the way to school, hoping that it would stay until lunch time when I could play in it outside. Unfortunately, it was gone by around 10.

Exactly a week later, it was warm, humid and felt like spring. Weird.

Hokkaido Snow Festival

Last weekend I journeyed to Hokkaido for the annual Sapporo Snow Festival. I got an insider tip that if you go the week before the festival actually starts, you get to see the famous snow and ice sculptures being made, with the added benefit of flights and hotels being mu
ch cheaper (and they really were).

So I headed out for my four day weekend on Thursday and was giddy with excitement at the all the snow. On the train from the airport, I didn't want anything more than to dive into the vast fields of meter high snow. While walking around downtown Sapporo, I was having the time of my life just stepping into the snow or giving it a little kick. It was awesome. The first evening I strolled through the park with the sculptures, to see what was going on...

The next day starred out great, as I headed out early to play in the snow in the parking lot. I made a snowman. Then my friends and I wandered around a middle-of-nowhere suburb of northern Sapporo, in search of a place we could make butter, and the entrance to a park that supposedly had more snow sculptures. Apparently, all but one of the entrances to the farm were closed and by the time we figured that out, we'd gone to far and were over it, so we trudged to the park. It was warm this day and the snow was melting, which didn't go over well with my cheap, definitely not waterproof (but worked well enough in the snow) boots. While we didn't find any snow sculptures in the park, we did go cross country skiing... I don't know what percent of the time I spent actually on the skis, and not flayed out on the snow after falling. Maybe I wasn't THAT bad, especially for being on skis for the first time ever. It was a lot of fun though!

While Friday didn't work out as planned, Saturday was most productive. We ate fresh sashima at the fish market, visited the Sapporo brewery museum (not as cool as I'd hoped), went by the sculptures again to see how they've progressed (many were finished) and headed out to a nearby town called Otaru. Here we visited a very strange German microbrewery, where the Japanese staff walked around in very ugly German dresses and funny folk music played in the background. Our trip to Otaru was really focused on the candle-snow displays. There were three of four walks in the city, each path lined with various small snow creations, lit with a candle. It was really nice. The canal also had some floating candles.

The site-seeing was great enough, but one the best parts of the trip was the local specialty foods. Oh man, the food. Let me show you,Lamb barbecue, known as Genghis Khan (pronounced Jenghis)- came with a nice roasted garlic dipping sauce

Fresh crab, ikura, and uni (sea urchin) from the fish market

Gelato- Lavender (purple) and Salt (light green). Delicious alone, even better mixed together.

Soup Curry- I was hesitant at first, but I've been craving this from the minute I finished it. It's curry based soup with lots of vegetables, potatoes and I had gyoza in mine. So good!

Butter Corn Ramen- Hokkaido special, awesome.