Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Tonight's work-related outing was to the Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku, which looks a little like this:
A robot serenade in the waiting area
Pre-show entertainment
Gangnam Style (note the glowsticks for audience members)
Totally work appropriate
Also included: dinosaurs, sharks, and a panda riding a cow (yes, you read that right).

Sunday, January 19, 2014


Here's what's new around my neck of the woods:
  • Got completely caught up on secondment work.  Not a single email in my inbox when I left the office Friday!
  • Nearly finished drafting a manufacturing and supply agreement for a pro bono client.
  • Refinanced my student loans with SOFI (affiliate link).  This included the discovery that my credit score is now in the 800s--quantitative proof of being on the right track is so rare in adult life that I was happy to hear this news.  Reducing my interest rate from 6% to 2% was a pretty big thrill too.  (There were no fees, just in case you were wondering.) 
  • Lost a few pounds.  In the 100 days leading up to bridesmaid duties, I'm ditching my (three-a-day!) Coca Cola habit and logging an hour of cardio three days a week plus light resistance training on alternating days.  So far this has been successful in elevating my mood and helping me lose some weight.  I've been needing to make this change for a while and committing to a nice, round 100 days wasn't too intimidating.  I hoping soda won't tempt me anymore by the time I reach the 100th day.
  • Called a good friend I hadn't spoken to in months.
  • Ben and I are back on track.  We're saying "I love you" again and planning to see each other when I'm home in April.
I'm doing okay.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Cinnamon Rolls in a Tiny Kitchen

I live in central Tokyo, which means I live in a small studio apartment with a tiny kitchen:

This little kitchen is considered pretty swank because it has a 2-in-1 washer and dryer (the thing that looks like a dishwasher under the counter on the left) and an 2-in-1 oven and microwave (the black thing under the electric range with two burners).  I've learned to be grateful, but that doesn't change that this is the smallest, most ill-equipped kitchen this American suburbanite has ever had.  Add the tiny kitchen to the difficulty in running down otherwise standard American ingredients and I've been doing a lot less cooking than I'd like.  (You guys, we are so spoiled in the States.)

This means that a lot of what I eat comes from a konbini and, while convenience store food is much better in Japan than it is in the US, it's still not great to make it a regular habit.  In an effort to improve my mood and because I had spare time over the New Year holiday, I cut down some recipes, converted them to metric and visited multiple grocery stores to gather what I needed to make some basic meals and a few holiday treats.

Exhibit A: Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls

Pioneer Woman's recipe results in enough rolls for an entire neighborhood, so I started with KitchenMadge's Small Batch and cut it in half for a yield that my tiny kitchen could handle--12 miniature rolls.  They baked up nicely and left my apartment smelling... like home.  (Living in Japan for a year has led me to realize that much of America smells like butter.)  I skipped the frosting because I couldn't track down any powdered sugar, but these little guys were great without a cloak of icing.

Prior to Baking
If you're in Tokyo and wondering where you can find a small/cheap baking dish (my furnished apartment didn't come with one), I got mine at Tokyu Hands near Tokyo station.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Things I was grateful for in 2013:
  • Working in Asia for an entire year.  I chose my firm because of the strength of its Asia practice and hoped that I would spend time working here at some point in my career.  Mission accomplished.
  • Maintaining financial discipline.  Big law attorneys are paid well and big law attorneys working abroad are paid even better.  I'm proud of myself for maintaining financial discipline during what may turn out to be one of my highest-paid years in the workforce.  I paid off a car loan, achieved positive net worth, and saved a bundle.
  • Finding the limit of my lawyerly ambition.
  • Enjoying great physical health.  Despite the lack of sleep, terrible diet and a lot emotional distress, I didn't so much as catch a cold between January and December.  I recognize this as pure luck as I sure as hell didn't earn it.
  • Visiting two new countries.  I never imagined I would find myself in Malaysia or South Korea, but life is full of surprises.
  • Spending time with my extended family at my cousin's wedding.