April 30, 2007

Happy Queensday!

(although I will have to find out why the balloons are on the inside of the house, instead of out on the street....)

April 29, 2007

Random dots

  • Wheeee, the weekend in London is booked!
  • Just found out that one of my best Japanese friends is transferring to NYC this summer - yet another reason to really make the US-trip work sometime this year.
  • Wisdom comes with age. That's what they say, right? I am starting to believe this less and less. I thought people knew what they want as they get older?
  • My current bedtime reading books are all about (international) law, local government, and more political/judicial things. Good, but quite a change from the usual!

Life from the water

April 28, 2007


Because I think it deserves some attention: Kansai Art Beat

If you live in the Kansai-area, and are interested in whatever arty things happen around you, this is a must-use site (just as Tokyo Art Beat is for the Kanto-region)

I keep thinking that we really need something like this for the Netherlands/Randstad-region as well. Although I quietly think that it exists, it just isn't as user-friendly, and doesn't look half as good!

April 27, 2007


I finally sent an email tonight which I should have sent out months and months ago...

I don't really know why I didn't do this earlier. Afraid of hurting someone? Being selfish and enjoying the attention? Wanting to be nice to everyone? Being intrigued by the minds of men?

Whichever it was, those reasons above are now void. The email is out. And it feels pretty good actually.

Hopefully there won't be a reply. I'm tired of dealing with this (and yes, I know I could/should have stopped dealing with it much sooner).

[update@1 May! There was a reply, but only to say - after a long and convoluted paragraph of how my perception of the situation wasn't right - that he wouldn't contact me again. Good.]

April 26, 2007

Travel preparations

One of my favourite things (but you probably knew that).

For now though, I'm not going anywhere far away. Just to a close-by place I've never been to: Antwerp.

It's only 2 hours (less?) by train away, but I've never actually gotten out of the train there. So, taking advantage of the pre-wedding party in Leuven next week, I'm planning to spend a day there to see why Antwerp is supposed to be so nice. Expect some new pictures next week! (and if you have any suggestions of things to see and do I'd love to hear it!)

And... *whispers* I'm looking at tickets to London.... Mostly to get away, see some friends and just have fun but it might be the right time to start looking more seriously at job opportunities there as well....

April 25, 2007


Today started somewhat unexpectedly - coffee and cake in honour of Johan Cruijff's 60th birthday!

I was wondering why there were balloons outside of my office building but well, this was the explanation.

[To not confuse the non-Dutchies too much, this isn't a national holiday. There is actually a proper reason (well...) why it was celebrated at my place of work but that would be giving away a bit much]

April 24, 2007

Definition of nerdiness

I know (well, hope) I'm not a nerd in the traditional sense.

But still, with my excitement over a satellite model and a dvd-set of obscure black/white films, and being able to fix the website of my new place of employment I'm getting awfully close I think.

Next: I've decided I want a Flickr Pro-account. Argh. At least it won't clutter up my house any more than it already is, so that should be a good thing, right?

I should be moving away from the computer instead of spending more time on it, I thought...

Some people

I'm sure you all know the type, people who make you nervous and feel on edge. You're never quite sure how you're going to leave their office and if it will be a good or bad result.

Today I was sure everything was good. I'd been a bit anxious about the meeting but why should I have been? Things are going swimmingly, right? Much has improved since December. Or so I think.

And that's how the conversation started, with me saying how good things are turning, and her saying how impressed she is with how I'm doing.

And yet. She always manages to turn it into something different by the end of the conversation. Gah.

April 23, 2007

More nerdiness

And a good reason to make some more space on my bookshelfs. I just got home from the shops to get my order of the Kurosawa 3box dvd set. Yay! Excellent procrastination material for the next few weeks!

April 22, 2007


One of my farewell presents at my last job (extremely nerdy probably but I love it)! A much much larger version of this is now circling waaaay above us.

April 21, 2007

What a week

This week included:

# long evenings with meetings, emailing, thinking out new concepts, networking etc - but all with pretty constructive results;

# being swept away by spring, but also coming back down to the real world as quickly and unexpectedly as it began;

# being confronted with more careerquestions (imagine a conversation starting at 9am, Fridaymorning, with my new boss: "So, machi, what is your vision of the future, say 10 years from now?" Uhm, can I have my coffee first?)

# being shocked about whatever happened to the Netherlands: how can it happen that a man is killed because someone takes offence to his appearance? This is just so shocking and sad.

Luckily tomorrow will be spent outside, chilling in the sun. Yay.

April 17, 2007

Back to work

After a week of mostly fun and playing outside, it's back to doing some work. Because there are so many different things going on I haven't exactly settled into a routine yet on how to spend my week with working three days a week, and needing time to get some other things back on track.

So, the evenings this week are mostly devoted to meetings:

- working out a new plan for the alumni-organisation that I'm involved in. Basically, trying to figure out a way to strengthen and expand the network of alumni. Pretty interesting to be involved in, am curious if the plan we have in mind will actually work!

- getting my volunteer work on human rights set up; I've been working on it on and off for a few months but can't really get it started. I'm a bit lost with what I'm supposed to be doing and how I can do this best. The next few weeks should make that a bit clearer, I hope.

- more alumni-type stuff, but for a different kind of 'network'. Less formal and more silly/goofy. Yay.

- oh, and then there's a re-formatting of the Bus People Project, which is long long long overdue...

April 16, 2007

Spring is in the air...

... and I'm loving it!

I think the sun is supposed to leave tomorrow, but somehow I don't think it's going to matter.

A quick review of the weekend:

listened to - !!! and Zita Swoon on Friday (review in Dutch is here)
disappointed with - the workshops I attended on the Afrikadag on Saturday
very pleasantly surprised by - good food and company on Saturday night (to be continued hopefully)

And spent Sunday catching up with friends, getting some new energy from the sun, and celebrating a friend's birthday at the bowling center. The last bit was very geeky, but very fun.

Also, looking forward to - spending time in Antwerp and Leuven at the end of the month. Yay for international friends.

April 11, 2007

Why I love

the Luisterpaal: Cassadaga is online!

I think I might just be getting tickets for this gig in July....

April 10, 2007

Out of the comfort zone

I've been meaning to write a post on this for a while but I don't really know how to write it, or what exactly the point is that I want to make. So, bear with me if it turns into a long ramble.

Since living in Tokyo (and basically also, since starting this blog) I've started meeting more and more people from the internet. It's really become an addition to my social life in the real world. And in that sense, it's been very good as well as I've made some fabulous new friends, met really interesting people, and it has made life just a bit more adventurous.

It is always strange when meeting these people though. I've become fascinated by how contact is never initiated in the same way, or kept up in the same way as a different contact. This is especially true for one-on-one contact - you can be msn'ing for months and finally accidentally meet for coffee, or out of the blue start emailing and see eachother within days.

Some of my other friends are usually quite surprised (well, not anymore, come to think of it) when I tell them I am going out to dinner with a guy I met online, or that I'm going to see a concert of a band that I don't know with people flying over from the US. It makes it very fun as well. I think that most people reading this have some sort of experience with meeting random people of the net though, so maybe you can relate a bit more ;-)

In any case, I've thought about it before, but these past few weeks have been a bit intense in this sense, and will continue to be too, I think. I love meeting all these new people, but it's also scary as hell. It's easy to portray a certain image on-line, but is that really you off-line as well? On-line you actually have time to think about your quick and witty response, but in real life? It's never happened that I don't get along with someone in real life, but hardly anyone is the way I expected them to be. So I doubt I am what people expect neither.

I've also come to realize that it is a way for me to expand my comfort zone, so to speak. I don't seem to be looking so much for a relationship as I am looking just for new people in general. People who are outside of my (great, but in a way also confining) group of friends at home, people who can give a new form of inspiration maybe also (or just give me good tips on exciting new music and gigs). And I think I've also started to see it as a way of pushing boundaries, becoming more assertive, becoming more comfortable amongst completely unknown people.

I was surprised recently when several people seperately from eachother started saying how they really thought I was really sociable, could talk to everyone and have no problems in just approaching anyone. It was good to hear, but so different from what I think of me, and how others usually see me - different from the image that I think I portray. On the other hand, I know I'm getting better at it, and by pushing myself to meet new people (it be either a group of foreign travellers to catch up on traveltales, or a potential romantic interest) I think I'm actually doing myself a big favour by it as well.

Of course, it doesn't mean I will start doing stupid things like drinking champagne on some stranger's balcony ;-)

April 09, 2007

And another one

Another first experience in the jobhunting-debacle, that is.

I'm getting ready to start an on-line test as a follow-up to a job application that I sent out recently. I have no idea what to expect. Never done assessment or psychological tests yet, and this should supposedly only take an hour or so, so I'm not sure what they are looking to get out of it. I also don't know if all applicants need to do this, or if there has been a first selection already. I'm guessing (and hoping) for the latter, which makes me feel just a bit better about my recent attempts again.

As with phone interviews, which I talked about a while ago, I think there's probably a similar philosophy for these online tests to do from home: don't be lounging on your couch while taking it, don't be dressed in your pyjamas, etc.

So, here I am, awake after coffee and breakfast, dressed, at my desk, (almost) logged out of my various windows, ready to tackle this thing...

*deep breath*

April 08, 2007

April 07, 2007

Decadence foiled

During that evening in the pub with friends, that I mentioned in the previous post, we came to a brilliant idea.

We've been saying for ages that we want to be eating out more, make more of an occassion of doing things and so on. So, as we have a weekend planned in Friesland in September, we decided that would be the perfect opportunity to have dinner on the way, in this restaurant.

De Librije is one of the few 3-star Michelin restaurants in the Netherlands. If we want to be eating out more, and want to make these nights a proper occassion, what better way than to go here, right?

Alas, our opportunity at being decadent will have to wait: Friday nights are booked up completely for at least the next year!

(Which then begs the question, who plans dinner a year (!?) in advance?)

April 06, 2007


If it wouldn't be because of the ultimate lack of money resulting from not working, I could definitely continue my lifestyle of the last week indefinitely.

My first (and for the moment, last) full week of being unemployed was very mixed with activities but very good too.

Didn't do as much jobhunting-related stuff as I had hoped, although I did find a temporary part-time job which could be very interesting due to the organisation it is at. It does mean that I start next week already!

Much of the rest of the days have gone mostly like today:

* meeting in the morning to organize some things for a sake tasting in a few weeks time, which started with coffee and catching up;
* respond to voicemail from a friend, and head to cafe with one of the people from the meeting to meet voicemail-friend on a canal-terrace;
* on the way there, pop in to bookshop to order Kurosawa's dvds;
* hang out in the sun for a few coffees;
* head home to do some computer stuff, in the meantime making more plans for evening and the next day;
* cook a dinner, which should turn out yummy;
* meet friends in pub for beer and fun.

:: repeat ad infinitum ::

April 05, 2007

Flowers, cards, champagne

I'm home from an afternoon of saying goodbye to people. Oh, and stressing about making sushi for those people.

I'm on the computer because I cannot bear to look at the card from my colleagues. Maybe it's the champagne. But I really really really don't want to read it right now.

In better news: I'll be the proud owner of the Kurosawa Akira 3-box dvd set very very soon :-D

April 02, 2007

Borscht for dinner, blini for breakfast

How much more Russian than that can you get? Exactly. Not much.

The one thing conspicuously absent from the whole week? Vodka. Not one sip, although it wasn't missed much.

Besides lots of food, we saw a lot of palaces, churches, more churches, museums (well, only two actually), more palaces and so on and so forth. I never realized the city is so big. Five million people, apparently. So I guess it makes sense. The inner city (within the Fontanka river) is apparently UNESCO World Heritage. So yes, it's beautiful. According to my friend the buildings have been renovated a lot over the last few years and it shows. I was there when the ice was just melting away from the canals. It must be stunning in winter, covered with snow!

The rest of the city though, is just big, ugly, dirty and dusty.

The rearwindow of the car above is not an exception, at all. As a matter of fact, most cars couldn't even let you see through their windows... Supposedly it's all part of the season, and there will be a big street-cleaning-exercise in April to get rid of all the dirt. I'm not convinced. I saw plenty of cars exactly like this in Moscow in June last year...

What else. Ah, bureaucracy. In the end it turned out okay (well, I'm back at least). As my friend described it:
exactly because regulations change so often and no one knows what is going on it is possible to survive in Russia as you can always find a way to make it work.

That pretty much summed up my experience as well. No one wanted to take the risk of registering me as they used to before Jan 1 so I ended up paying for a few nights' accomodation in a hotel, where I never stayed. *sigh* Then they told me I should come back to the hotel to pick up a voucher for customs. When we got there the voucher wasn't ready yet. When we got there for the second time the voucher was nowhere to be found as apparently it was sent back to the authorities already. But, I also didn't need it at customs anyway. So why did I have to come back to the hotel again?

Ah well, it's all part of the fun I guess ;-)

Finally, one of the best things was finally seeing a ballet performance in Russia. I saw La Bayadere at the Mariinsky Theatre. Excellent night! The theatre itself is gorgeous and I had a 2nd row seat. Very cool.
Hmm, these probably are the highlights. Enjoy the pictures!

And I think I finally figured out how to put a few seconds of the ballet (well, the applause) here. Not much, but fun to play around with YouTube ;-)


Terwijl ik mensen bel, cv's uitstuur (en nog een uitzendbaantjegesprek heb geregeld, yikes!) vind ik dit:


En morgen wordt het nog beter

om over overmorgen maar te zwijgen

het is beangstigend je te bedenken

hoe fantastisch het over een week zal zijn.


Het is werkelijk overweldigend.

So fuck it, anyway


Uit Manifest van poetryslammers Dorota Kwinta en Marta Skotnicka via Als ik er ben dan bel ik