Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tokyo Sunset

Sadly I did not think to save a clean copy of this picture before adding the caption in SnapChat.

Saturday, October 26, 2013


Looking down from the balcony of my apartment.

We had a 7.3M earthquake last night.  It was enough to wake me up (at 2am), but mostly because it felt like it went on for longer than usual.  I do get concerned during earthquakes here, but it is possible to tell very quickly that the quakes are not near the magnitude of the 9.0M Tohoku earthquake I experienced on March 11, 2011.

(My apartment is just six stories high and underneath another 15 or 16 floors.  My thoughts during an earthquake usually include hoping I will not die sandwiched between all that concrete.)

Looking up from the core of my apartment building,
right outside my front door.

Otherwise, the weather is cooling down--right now it's 57F--but the apartment's heating system is not yet available.  They set a specific date each year when the cooling system is turned off and the heat is turned on.  Until then I'm wearing a couple of sweaters when I'm at home in my apartment (older Japanese construction is famous for being poorly insulated--but in my apartment I think it's mainly the big glass sliding doors out to the balcony that are letting all the warmth out).

We're getting close to the end of the project I've been working on and things are in good order, which means that I've now had a few nights of rest.  This has been such a relief from the three (or more?) straight weeks of leaving work between 2-4am and wrapping up work remotely at 4-5am only only to get started again at 9am.  As you can imagine, I got to a point where I was completely out of clean laundry and had no food in my refrigerator.

In any event, I survived.  I missed my college reunion, which was severely disappointing because all the other members of the five-person dance team I was on were able to make it.  We haven't all been in the same place since 2002.

Pretty typical, actually.  This is what it's like here when a deal is on.

(It's time for a vacation--I've accrued the firm maximum six weeks and am planning to take some of that time to go home in November.)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Holiday Plans

I'm still in Tokyo, having stuck around to finish up a large transaction while we try to figure out if I'll stay for the extension. Because I miss home most during American holidays, I decided to make the trip back to California at Thanksgiving no matter what else was going on. I let my family know and then today they sent me their flight itinerary--they're going to visit my brother in Dallas to see his new house over Thanksgiving.


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Another Week

This last week was brutal--I billed at least 13 hours per day and maxed out at 16 hours billed on my busiest day. It was the type of week where I don't sleep and, other than work, accomplish only basic survival. This means eating, mainly from the convenience store in the office building. (I almost never made use of Seamless back in the US, but it would really help to have it here.) And showering. That's it.

Happily, a major deliverable was sent off at about 4am Saturday and I spent the rest of my Saturday sleeping. Now I'm foraging for food and planning to find a movie on iTunes to watch... and I'm writing this post, which means I'm taking some time for reflection.

There is so much I want to say about work, but I just can't say it here other than I got to wear jeans on Friday because the partners were away at their retreat!  Jeans are standard on Fridays in our Southern California offices, but not out here.  (It's the little things.)

I've hit a few financial milestones recently:

  • I paid off my car.  The year before law school, I was in a car accident that claimed the Ford Focus I had been driving.  In my youthful exuberance, I splurged on a new car (a VW Beetle, my then-dream car!) and took out a loan to do it.  When I started law school, my parents offered to pay off my loan if I would, in turn, repay them once I finished law school.  That story had a happy ending: I finished paying my family back this week.  (Jury is still out on whether I should have just sold that car before coming to Tokyo.)

With those two items taken care of, I'll have a non-trivial amount of "extra" money available to me each month for the rest of the year to throw at my student loans and downpayment savings account.

Also this week, I logged on to Facebook feed to find an update from an ex's wife announcing the birth of their first child.  I'm Facebook friends with neither the wife nor the ex, but with a childhood's worth of mutual friends between us these updates make their way into my feed when our mutual friend's comment on their posts.  The moment reminded me of when a mutual friend forwarded me a link to my ex's wedding website.  In lighthearted news, I laughed out loud when I saw that the child was named after his favorite whiskey.  Wow.

ETA: Just finished grocery shopping. My heart broke a little when I discovered this package of raspberries costs USD12.25.