Thursday, March 21, 2013


Last night I began tutoring a second student, another Japanese volunteer. I asked him about his favorite hobbies and this was his response:

"My hobbies are Mahjong, playing guitar, watching YouTube videos, and young Japanese girls."


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Not Cats

Living on an island in the Central Pacific has a few perks. For example, every now and then I see a dolphin. When that happens, despite any attempts to remain calm, my inner nine-year-old girl comes out and I instantly turn into my younger sister Stephanie at Seaworld circa 1995. Elation.

How the dolphin managed to steal hearts remains a mystery, I mean it's just big fish. But darn if dolphins aren't lovable. You don't see me waiting hours just to spot a trout, and I certainly don't feel the urge to hug a carp. Dolphins however, make me want to skip.

Recently I ate lunch at Shoreline, my usual lagoon-side fish and chips spot. Unusual however, was the table set up with discounted items for sale. I can't resist a sale and the expired herb-flavored Indonesian Colgate lured me in (I bought five at fifty cents each, a steal), but the Japanese fishing hooks kept me around. The hooks were sizable. Very sizable. "Big Game Hooks!" the label read across the top. And down the sides of the package were listed the big game possibilities: "Yellow fin!", "Marlin!", "Swordfish!", "Barracuda!", "Dolphin!".

Wait. What?

That's still a thing?

Cue fiery hell wrath.

Friday, March 8, 2013


Pulling up to my house yesterday after work I almost hit a kitten with my scooter. Frightened, it scurried under the house. And that's when the meowing began. Despite their size, small cats meow with some serious ferocity.

This takes me to a confession: I hate cats.

What's so frustrating about my cat hatred is that cat love is SO trendy right now. And oh, how I long to fit in. I would love to be the butt of cat humor, or visit one of those kitties and coffee cafes in Tokyo. Cat hating alone will prevent me from ever reaching my hipster potential. My birthplace, Oregon, might as well disown me.

In my village there are several stray(ish) dogs. Two of them adopted the area right around my house: Bandit and Sugar Pie. A couple months ago faithful Sugar Pie disappeared. It's not that I missed her, she constantly begged and attracted flies and I actually really disliked her presence, but I had a feeling that she probably wasn't coming back. One hot and windless Saturday a random passerby knocked on the door to tell us that our house stunk. Poor roommate confusedly dismissed him (the occasional drunk comes to our house), but when I went outside to light some charcoal for a barbeque I smelled it too and confirmed his concern; that unmistakable rotten flesh stank was probably permeating the whole island. It didn't take long to locate the motionless black figure under the house. Sugar Pie went out with a bang. And by "bang" I mean she literally exploded under the house. The smell was overwhelming and we called the landlord to "take care" of Sugar Pie. Extracting her from under the house took three men, at least a dozen gags, and one purge. R.I.P. Sug.

I'm rambling per usual, but these are just some of the thoughts that flashed through my mind as I bent down, poked my head under the house, and found what I'm pretty sure were 30 glowing eyes glaring back at me. A shiver ran down my spine and now I was the one scurrying away now; I ran in the house and locked the door behind me, unsure of what to do. The meowing persisted.

Side note: I think the last time I touched a cat was when I was 15 and scored a pet-sitting gig from my next-door-neighbors, the Jensen's. The cats, called Tabitha and Cleo, were a proud pair. And they were obese and required daily thyroid medications.

Also, I'm allergic to cats. 

What have I done? Nothing. What am I going to do? Probably nothing. But I just know that a few of them are either already dead or plotting to die under there. You see, that's what cats do, they intentionally look for ways to cause grief and distress. Dying and rotting under the house I could probably deal with, but come on cats, the nonstop 15-part meow chorus is a bit much, don't you think?

Extra side note: An unknown number of dead cats under the house are the perfect ingredients for a great episode of "Hoarders".

And then this happened.

Uncomfortable yet?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Through collaborative efforts between our agencies, I occasionally work with a woman called Flo, who chews tobacco. This makes me giggle.