Thursday, January 30, 2003

It's been so cold lately that birds have been dropping dead out of the sky. I have never seen so many frozen pigeons and sparrows on window ledges or in the streets. This is a sign that we should all move to Florida until it gets warmer

Another sign that I should leave is all the frozen spit on the sidewalks. Usually the afternoons will be warm enough that they will evaporate. But with daily highs of 20 degrees they just freeze and collect as more people hock lung biscuits. yuck.

posted by Alison 1/30/2003 09:22:00 AM : (0) comments : splink

Monday, January 27, 2003

Funny French Slang

posted by Alison 1/27/2003 01:27:00 PM : (0) comments : splink

Friday, January 24, 2003

I've just returned from a trip to Boston for an interview at MIT's Media Lab. I was kind of taken aback at how friendly, open and well rested everyone looked. I expected to have a 15 minute interview and then be tossed out because everyone is busy, but I had long conversations with several students and two faculty members. I was impressed with the atmosphere, too. The basement looked like a children's museum and even had a kiddie pool filled with legos sitting in the corner. As much as I would like to go to MIT, my chances don't look that great. The acceptance rate is about 2%. Ow.

I also took a peek at Harvard. I've been assured by many people that the right graduate school will choose me, but I'm still afraid that I might not have applied to that one. Bleh. April is too far away.

posted by Alison 1/24/2003 10:55:00 PM : (0) comments : splink

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

It has been another weekend of protests. It's been too cold for me to work up the desire to go out and look for myself, so other than the scattered protesters I've been seeing around the National Gallery it's like there's no one here.

On that note, I have some nice pictures left over from the protests in September before I broke my camera:

flower shop In preparation for the coming protesters most businesses closed shop for the weekend and boarded up their windows. This picture is of a little flower shop just off of Pennsylvania Avenue. The signs read "Please leave my babies (sic.) store alone. Thanks for your consideration. -K.D." Virginia Police Most of the cops were from outside the District and seemed to be in a good mood. I ran into these police officers from Virginia while they were having lunch in front of the Department of the Interior. They had seen few protesters all day and looked pretty relaxed sitting in the grass.

The demonstrations did come to campus on Saturday. yarnThere were very few and their goal seemed to be to block shuttles carrying WB/IMF delegates to their buildings. There were only a few dozen protesters who would sit in the street and string yarn around in an attempt to make a barrier. Instead of trying to move them, the vans would just travel to the next block and enter that way. Repeat. Status QuoThis went on until the protesters blocked our mini frat house row and all of fraternities emptied out to chant "status quo" at the people sitting on their street. After reading various blog entries from protests past that express annoyance with our frat boys, I'll admit that I thought this was pretty funny. They live here. If they're allowed to be obnoxious anywhere, it's on this block.

posted by Alison 1/22/2003 12:12:00 PM : (0) comments : splink

Saturday, January 04, 2003

Ah. Tokyo. Although it's not my favorite city in Japan, it's good to be back. Stephanie has already been bouncing off the walls from our trip to Akihabara (or if you prefer Akibahara). She's 13 and a lot more than I bargained for, travel wise. Carolina came in today via the Narita Airport Express and by some miracle I was standing right next to the door she came out of. Those trains can be quite long and with a curved platform it's hard to see more than a few cars away.

Back in JapanI'm the only person who speaks Japanese in our little group, so even ordering food takes massive amounts of communication. I was really stressing about my ability to get back into living in Japan, but it's like I never left. We all have JR passes, the holiest of all train passes. For about $230 dollars you can get unlimited train rides on any Japan Rail line. This includes the Shinkansen minus the Nozomi train. But with just the coming and going on the Yamanote Line, not to mention the train rides to and from the airport, we'll probably get our money's worth. We'll be travelling all the way to Kyushu which would cost around $250 if we didn't have our passes.

posted by Alison 1/04/2003 04:24:00 AM : (0) comments : splink

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