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2012-2Q

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Inadvertently, my blog posts are now coming out at about a rate of once per quarter, which kind of sucks but hey what are you going to do?  I’m sure of the at most three people who still follow this blog (myself included), only one might be annoyed.  Oh well, let’s take a recap at what exciting and not-so-exciting things have happened to The Leong since our last episode.

 

. . .

 

Uh, surely something happened right??

Well I guess I should mention work, since that is what I have to do every day.  We had our busy season through April, which was pretty hectic but I’ve become a lot more comfortable with the job since last year’s busy season.  Of course once that was over things got much better and I don’t have to go in on weekends anymore to grind away at the sheer pile of excitement known as accountingologymatics.  That’s a word right?  Sorry I’m new at this stuff.  But really, I didn’t find the season to be that bad this year, although it was a lot of hours and a many times where sifting through paperwork and starting at a computer screen all day really got tiring.

Because work was busier, I only took one class during the fall semester, and it was an 8AM class – and yes, it was as awesome as you would imagine.  Especially fun was the 30-40 minute rush hour drive towards and through downtown St. Louis.  I suppose I am really fortunate now that my normal commute to work is less than 10 minutes, while only a few years ago it was more like an hour and a half, mostly on disgusting, crowded Tokyo trains and subways.  There is not much else to share about this past class (primarily because it would be too much excitement and you would probably be really jealous of me) although I am happy to say that I destroyed it and earned the grade “You’re the man now dog.”  I think this is worth a 4.x on the standard grade point scale.

Not soon after tax season ended, in April I took a weekend trip out to Bloomington to meet up with some friends.  It was awesome to see everyone, and going out in Bloomington with friends is still a lot of fun.  I don’t think it would be a lot of fun if you were by yourself, because the population has definitely stayed the same average age while I have aged a bit in the past 6 years.  OK so that last sentence is unnecessary, because 1) who would go out by themselves? and 2) of course it is more fun with friends.  Never mind.  And in case you haven’t noticed by the lack of coherence in this post, I am just typing as fast as I can, with little to no editing or care given to trivial matters like “paragraphs,” “writing flow,” or “engaging readers.”  But yes Bloomington was a lot of fun, and as proof of the kind of misfits I was hanging out with, I would like to share this photo of the infamous Nikolai “Hold Button” Roberts7000.

I took another vacation last month, but that will have to wait until my next post.  It should not take me another 3 months to get around to writing it, I swear.

Whoa it’s almost April

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I’ve been putting off writing a blog for a while since I’ve mainly just been lazy, but partially also because I’ve been busy.  Working full time and going to school three times a week has left less time for publishing complaints and stupid pictures onto the internet.  But since I realize it’s been quite a while since my past post, and I don’t want to go several months with no updates to this crappy website, I’m just sitting down for 10 minutes to crank out a quickie.  Ew.

Topic 1: JAPAN
Hey you might not know this, but Japan got super mega knocked with a disaster trifecta earlier this month!  Of course you know this, I was just being sarcastic.  So yeah in case you were unaware of my current whereabouts, I am back in the United States and have been since the end of summer.  If you’re one of the four creepers who read this site, you already knew that.  But there apparently are still several people who didn’t know where I was, and so they assumed I was still in Japan.  Imagine that!  Someone not keeping their eye on my every move around the planet!  So once the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear stuff came about I had more than one person contact me all like “hey Anthony where are you I hope you’re not dead” etc.  Thank you for your concern, but yeah St. Louis county didn’t get too much damage from the earthquake that hit Japan.  No seriously, it’s nice that you did ask where I was.  I don’t really know what to say about the Japanese disasters other than it’s a horrible thing and I’m glad that no one I know (that I have heard about, either directly or indirectly) has been injured or anything.  While the area that I lived in (Chiba/Toyko) wasn’t in the tsunami area, they still got (are getting?) a ton of earthquakes and the nuclear problem is pretty widespread although possibly a bit blown out of proportion.  I hope.  Times are still tough in Japan but I hope that things will all get back to normal sometime soon.

Topic 2: WEATHER
It’s finally feeling like spring here, even though a week ago it was actually snowing where I live.  Strange midwest weather.  I’m definitely happy that things are getting nicer outside, with the only drawback being that I must have developed some pretty wicked allergies having been away from the area for so long.  Getting some random allergy attacks is pretty weird although not really a problem as much as they’re just annoying.  Still not sure if it’s actually pollen, mold or something, or if I am being secretly poisoned with nuts in all of my food by a squad of ninjas.  I hope it’s seasonal allergies.

Oh no I’m getting distracted by the interwebs.  Weather must have been too boring a topic!  Onward we march.

Topic 3: SUMMER TRAVEL
This summer I’ll hopefully be able to get some traveling in, with the family and also on my own.  Where should I go?  I’m thinking primarily within the US for now but international isn’t out of the picture just yet.  My youngest brother turns 21 in a few weeks so maybe we’ll go take a Vegas trip after the spring semester is over.  I also wouldn’t mind hitting up LA or New York or something, and a drive out to Indiana at some point is probably called for too.

Topic 4: OTHER
OK so I’m not really going to have many other topics during this brief mindbarf onto the WordPress page.  Last week I was actually all raring to write a detailed complaint post about the idiot lady in front of me in the checkout line at Target, who pretty much held up my evening by a whole 10 minutes, but then I got distracted and found something better to do.  Like eat dinner.  It would have been a very classic NR7000-esque post, but unfortunately the fire is gone and I probably won’t be writing about that subject ever.  It did make me think about how much I’ve grown to dislike shopping in real stores and how important Amazon Prime has become.  Speaking of, I got a pretty sweet remote control helicopter a while back and I don’t even care if you’re snickering to yourself right now about me getting another toy.  It is pretty awesome and on an even deeper level I think I’m just amazed at how far toy technology has come since I was a kid.  I mean for $25 I have a freaking helicopter!  It can hover and fly around the room and land on the top of my cheese ball barrel.  You pretty much have to see one for yourself to beleive it.

That’s enough for now.  A whole 15 minutes of me rambling.

Landlocked

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I am still in the final stages of recovery after last night’s partial food coma, brought on by going to a casino buffet here in town for birthday celebration/gambling thing.  The food there isn’t especially great in terms of flavor, but they do have a lot of variety I guess.  One of the items they had on the buffet was sushi.  As you can imagine, it was standard American buffet grade sushi.  Soggy seaweed, bland crumbly rice, cucumber, a fish-like substance, and some kind of “exotic” Asian ingredient like black sesame seeds.  I’ve noticed this is gaining in popularity here (in the US), even having sushi as a selection at various buffets, etc.  Here in St. Louis, which is pretty much about as far as you can get from the ocean, there are about a dozen more sushi/”Japanese” restaurants than I remember there being 10 years ago.  That’s just off the top of my head – there are probably many more.  But does that mean they’re any good?

Well I don’t really know.  I haven’t actually been to any of these newfangled sushi shops stuck in the middle of the United States, primarily out of fear of food poisoning or just plain being afraid of eating gross food.  Sure I’m biased since I just moved back from Japan, but in my experience up to now, a lot of the sushi in the US is pretty terrible.  I don’t really like the emphasis on rolls with all kinds of crazy stuff in them, although sure that’s the kind of cosmopolitan sushi re-working that is popular on the east coast.  And since that’s what’s popular over there, it has filtered across the country and that seems to be mainly what they have in the Midwest.  While there are of course some of those fancy US-style sushi rolls that are decent, I’d almost always rather eat plain old traditional workin’ class salaryman sushi.  Less focus on making something crazy and just focusing on fresh ingredients that speak for themselves.  I think when the Choshimaru (kaiten sushi place) in Chiba near my old apartment had the “aurora salmon” on special for 150 yen a plate a few summers back I ate like 10 plates worth in one sitting.  You can’t really beat fresh fish like that.  Melts in your mouth.  And now I am drooling all over my laptop.  Even the cheap places like Kappa Sushi are about 20x better tasting than most sushi I can remember eating stateside.  I haven’t tried much in California though, and I’m sure they have some pretty good places out there.

Prices are also going to be a main problem, because even if I’m able to find a place here in town that has great quality sushi, I’m positive the price for standard grade (good) sushi will be several times more expensive than even a high-end place was in Japan.  I understand that transportation costs, etc will factor into that but there will inevitably be a markup just because there isn’t much variety and this is a specialty food here.

So yeah sushi in Japan = fresh and delicious.  Sushi in St. Louis = scary and intimidating.  I’ll try to get out and actually give some of these places a chance – maybe a place that seems more like a somewhat authentic Japanese restaurant rather than a trendy place catering to Americanized varieties.  How did this entry turn into me rambling about sushi?  Eh.  I think in the long run, sushi is going to be the equivalent of pizza and Mexican food when I was living in Japan.  Amazing and abundant in one country, more rare and not nearly as good when you’re living in the other.  There were a few decent places I knew in Chiba/Tokyo that had pizza or Mexican food, and even a few really great ones.  But for the most part they were few and far between.  Sushi places in St. Louis will likely be even harder to come by.  I have noticed though, that my #1 favorite food genre, Chinese, is pretty much universally good (as long as you choose a decent restaurant, but they’re not as hard to find I don’t think).  Maybe because whether you’re in America, Japan, or probably anywhere else, you can find places actually run by Chinese people.  We are all over the place, after all.

On the passive To Do list: find a decent sushi place in St. Louis.  Also while I’m at it, if I can find a good Korean BBQ that would be awesome too.  I am open to recommendations.

Next stop: Tokyo

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I’m back in St. Louis now, after an exciting 2 days of a process I’d like to call “Tetris with Anthony’s stuff,” where I had to manipulate the placement of my furniture and personal belongings first into my parents van and then into my car, so that everything will fit without having to throw it away. I did fairly well, in the end only having to throw away my kitchen trashcan, giving away some toys and stuff, and selling my bed, a magazine rack, and a table that you can hide secrets in. The process overall was not too bad, although I just slept about 12 hours to try and compensate for the lack of sleep and rest that I had over the moving process. I drove back to St. Louis yesterday, leaving Bloomington forever (kind of), and had a fine drive until just before the Illinois-Missouri border, when I drove directly into a HUGE storm system, complete with lightning strikes every few seconds, torrential rains, and wind so strong I could feel my loaded car swaying to the right. But I lived.

I’ll write some more over the next few days, perhaps as I’m waiting in airports or sitting on an airplane next to an old man or fat woman. It’s always one of those, and they always want to talk to you. I’m sorry, but unless you happen to be a movie star or a really hot chick, I probably don’t want to talk to a complete stranger. Especially if this is for a 12 hour flight to Tokyo. I’ve remedied this over the years, mainly by sleeping for the entire flight, which I seem to be able to do when no one else can. My other trick, if I don’t fall asleep immediately upon sitting in my airplane seat near the window, is to make myself look as angry, big, and dirty as possible. How do I do this, exactly? It’s hard to describe, but you wear a big jacket, puff our your chest and shoulders, have your bag open and looking like you’re a pain in the butt, and you have an angry look on your face. Hopefully, if there is enough free seating on the plane, this will cause people to not want to sit next to you, because who wants to sit next to a disgruntled guy who looks like he’ll be a pain in the butt to sit next to? But I digress.

After wasting pretty much my entire morning sleeping, eating lunch, and watching News Radio with my brother, I figure I’m going to go to the store and get supplies for the trip. I need to buy a few more dress shirts, and some random stuff at Target, then I should be ready to go for tomorrow. That is, of course, except for packing, which I will most likely not start until around 3AM, since I have to leave my house around 4:30 or 5AM to make it to the airport and leave on my 7:40AM flight. Believe it or not, I’ll be happy once I get to the airplane, because I’ll be able to rest and relax for a good few hours, before landing in Tokyo, partying with the JET kids who are there for 1 night overlap with me, then having to knuckle down and figure out this whole baby bottle thing. I have a feeling this 2 week trip to Tokyo will be busier than I thought.

Super Karate Monkey Death Car

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I’ve slacked off recently with my blogging, so here I go back with it. I’ve been in Bloomington for about two weeks, having spent the time before that back in St. Louis. I have the summer job/internship with Handi-Craft Company, translating websites and doing research for them. I’ll be going on a two-week business trip to Tokyo at the very beginning of August, which should be really interesting. You forget how bad your foreign language skills are when you haven’t actively used them in almost a year, and then get back into the practice of scavenging the internet for information on baby bottles, plastics, and retail distribution. The main enemy of course, for Japanese at least, is kanji, which to those of you who don’t know (you all actually do, I think), is like trying to decipher hieroglyphics only kanji are about a million times harder. My work vocabulary includes fun words that I can barely read or pronounce in English, let alone Japanese. Some examples include linguistic gems such as bisphenol-A, polycarbonide, polyethersulfone, and of course nipple.

Outside of working on researching baby bottle stuff, this past week seems like IUSTV is making a comeback, at least on my Outlook calendar. Had 5 IUSTV-related meetings or engagements from Monday through Thursday, which is light compared to what I used to do, but it’s still hard to believe I won’t be doing this for much longer. I think subconsciously I just like keeping myself busy (yes, I consider watching TV and surfing the web being busy), because I can’t think of too much time when I’ve had absolutely nothing to do. Even when I was getting bored at the beginning of summer, I went and picked up this baby bottle gig.

I’ll be back in St. Louis this coming week to meet with my boss at Handi-Craft, and also to take back hopefully another full car load of my stuff, which over the past year or two in Bloomington has inflated to the “ridiculous” level. I’m going to try to sell off stuff on eBay and OneStart, but otherwise who knows. I know I’m going to end up with several boxes of stuff at my parents house either way. I have 1 month left in Bloomington, will be in Tokyo for those 2 weeks, then will be in St. Louis for about 3 weeks until September 7th when I leave for Japan to work the AEON job. I definitely have a better feeling/plan for what I’m doing the next few months, which I wouldn’t say at all back in April or so. Once I get to Japan, I’ll have to start thinking of more schemes so that I can make it big being as lazy as possible. For now, I’m going to watch some more News Radio season 4, which I actually purchased real DVDs of. You know a show is good when I’ll actually pay money for it. I figure just like the other discs of this series, I’ll watch these enough to make it worth it.

Nellyville

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I’m back at home in St. Louis now, for a week or so. The drive back was pretty uneventful; I was able to make it in a little under 4 hours, which is good time. There was some middle aged guy in a purple Toyota minivan on I-70 who really liked tailgating me, so of course I had to show him what driving is all about. Unfortunately, we did not get into a Tokyo drifting race, but I sped way ahead of him nonetheless. I haven’t been back home since I left from winter break in January, so it’s nice being able to see the fam and relax. Apparently, one of my uncles is in town from California as well, the one that I haven’t seen in a few years. I’ve never met his wife either, although they’ve been married since before I was born. We might be having a huge Leong family dinner on Friday night, so this should be interesting.

In other St. Louis news, I have a “secret interview” tomorrow, but I’m not going to talk much about it yet. We’ll see what (if anything) comes from it.

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