Friday, January 30, 2009

Only in Japan (OIJ)

This, my friends, is a common phrase you will hear from me if and when you come visit. 

I jacked it from Leonardo DiCaprio (my boyfriend) in the movie Blood Diamond.  It is so true and applies to the magic, wonder, and complete insanity that is Tokyo.

Having said that, there are lots of things I am going to post right now.  It is going to be another "like woah" blog post, but hopefully it will be relatively interesting?  At least, interesting enough until I come back from Uganda with a TON of amazing photos and stories.  Yes, I am going back to Africa to work at the Engeye Health Clinic for a bit.  I CAN'T WAIT!!!!  

So, remember when I said that if you write something cool and send it to me, I will post it? Well, here is a lil taste of that. This message is from Marion Wise, one of the amazing residents who lived on 5N, better known as the "Women's Issues" floor. 

Really, that was the name of our floor - the beloved all girls floor at UCLA.  I was lucky enough to serve as the RA of this floor, which meant that I was essentially responsible for 92 amazing women. My boyfriend at the time just loooooved this ;) 

We (the "Women's Issues" floor....what a name!) also created our own sorority - we called it Sigma Epsilon Chi (get it? Spell it out in latin....we were so clever!).

Don't even get me talking about the "Wall of Shame" that we had (wow, Marion, we really were an AWESOME floor, huh?)...or perhaps the time I stapled condoms all over our hall to encourage people to have safe sex and discovered them all missing (and probably used) in the morning. Good thing I stapled right through the condom to get those suckers to stay put! Wow....I don't want to even think about that. Yikes.

Long story short, here is a message from Marion about Obama's Inauguration. She was actually there! Lucky!!!

"Dear Family and Friends,

I had the fortunate opportunity to attend the Inauguration celebration in Washington, DC over the past few days, which was phenomenal. I think what struck me the most was that everyone in DC - locals, visitors, blacks, whites, Asians, Hispanics, young, elderly, families, gays, straights - had such a feeling of camaraderie and community, a genuine sense of unity. We knew we were witness to something much bigger than us. The impromptu community we formed was proof that we believe in Obama's message of change and hope and that we were bringing it to life. Our country has the opportunity, the ability, and the responsibility to move forward in our race relations, in our relationships with our countries, as well as to work together towards a "new birth of freedom" (in the words of Abraham Lincoln).

On Sunday I attended the Opening Inauguration Celebration, the "We Are One" concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, featuring many celebrities and musical artists, with performances interspersed with historical videos and texts from our nation's historic leaders. One of the most inspirational moments for me was when Queen Latifah told the story of how Marian Anderson was refused the opportunity to perform because she was black. In response, Eleanor Roosevelt arranged to have her perform on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and she opened this concert with "My Country Tis of Thee." In honor of her, Josh Groban and Heather Headley sang "My Country Tis of Thee," with the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington DC. It was an incredible moment to see 100 gay men on such a major stage, honored for their musical ability. It was also pretty cool to personally know people who are a part of that Chorus' community. :) (You can watch a You Tube video of this performance here: I was also moved by Rev. Gene Robinson's incredible Invocation Address (text here

The Inauguration Ceremony on Tuesday morning was amazing. We arrived at the Mall at 7 am, in time to watch the sun rise over the Capitol. We parked ourselves in front of a jumbotron screen, about 3/4 of a mile from the Capitol building and we spent the next six hours in a sea people with such a spirit of goodwill, excitement, and joy. The roar was deafening when Obama entered - and even more so after he took the Oath of Office. What a magical experience! The audience could not have been more gracious (except toward Bush). In spite of the cold weather, there was a sense of togetherness, of brotherhood & sisterhood that is uncommon among such large crowds. The positive energy in the crowd and throughout the city all weekend was infectious and inspiring; it is evident that change has come.

Feel free to take a look at my photos and videos here: (Please let me know if you have trouble accessing this link.)

Blessings to you and to our country. Hope has won indeed!

Thanks SO much, Marion!  Wow wow wow.

So, remember when I said that if you MADE something cool, I would post it? Remember? Ha! Cause I never actually said that - but I was thinking it. And now I am doing it. So, much to Obama's delight, I am turning my ideas into a reality. All before your very eyes. Check it.

John Leisure - YOU DA MAN! This video inspires! Oprah, here YOU come (I'll be cheering you on!)

So, now to nicely transition extensions (HE)...and fake eyelashes (FE). Ain't no way I can properly transition into that one, but I can tell you that it fits with the whole randomness that is Tokyo, so I am going to roll with it. Seriously, this is the only place in the world where you can buy purple fishnets and a Paris Hilton Flash Drive all in the same aisle (yes, Paris Hilton). Not to mention the lacy bras here that look like the most tricked out doilies your Obaasan could have ever made while on an acid trip. No joke. I have three of them. Just kidding. Well.

Here are some pics of the HE and FE in action! Oh, and me in some yellow tights for fun (yikes!)

Erika-san and I rockin' the HE and FE ;)

Gaijin dudes stuck with us Gaijin ladies - but secretly (or not so secretly) scoping out the Japanese ladies....


Hahaha!  This picture is PRICELESS.  We all have completely different expressions goin' on...

Hello, Dr. Seuss.


How is work, you ask? Intense. But that is a gimme at this point, as I am currently living and working in one of the most efficient and intense countries in the world. Yatta! Got a lotta different things that are keeping me busy right now - can't wait to smell the Cherry Blossoms!

What would this post be without a slide show as well? So, here is a slide show of the most INCREDIBLE shirts I have ever seen in my life. They are truly a wonder. And I bought them all for my homies in Uganda. I hope they love them as much as I do. I hope you do too.

Now, what are we doing in Africa, you ask? Here is our tentative schedule below:


Feb 1 - by late evening everybody has arrived to Backpacker's

Feb 2 - 2 vans to pick up crew at 9am to journey to village
1. exchange money
2. stop by JMS for meds

Gogonya Road, Nsambya
P.O. Box 4501 Kampala uganda
Tel: +256 41 510096 / 510097 / 501937

3. possibly stop by T4T - Dr. Musaazi

4. stop by Human Diagnostics Laboratory

Ploy 19/23, Entebbe Road
P.O. Box 21685, Kampala
Tel: +256 41 4345805 / 4257575

5. stop at equator

6. stop by Byansi pharmacy for more meds/curiosity

Plot 9 Kampala Road
1461 Masaka,
Tel 256 481 21433
Fax 256 481 21433

- unpack
- dinner: introductions, general goal setting for group (as a group), discuss itinerary

Feb 3 - work in clinic, lab

- schedule Technology 4 Tomorrow to come give us training on the high temperature incinerator

- Bryan gets a translator so she can journey around the village

- call Aidchild to confirm Feb 9th appointment with their lab

+256 712403715 (Patricia Wagana, lab coordinator)

- 4:30pm : 2 hour meeting with John and Joseph - first hour: Joseph and John discuss clinic - ups, downs, hopes, goals, changes. second hour: Anny discusses her landscaping/design plan, we talk about what we'd each like to see incorporated

- schedule first movie night with projector

- david hwang's b'day

Feb 4 - work in clinic, lab

- 4:30 pm: craft sale from village women (hopefully)
- group journey around village, say hi to Kawooya (John's dad)

- afternoon: Group meeting to discuss salaries: one meeting with John, one meeting with Joseph

Feb 5 (Fri)

1. Uganda Cares (Kampala)
10 am

Plot 13, Nakasero Road
P.O. Box 22914

2. FINCA (Kampala)
Robert Lule at FINCA in Kampala, February 5th

Fabian Kasi/Country Director
FINCA Uganda
Plot 22 Ben Kiwanuka Street
Post Office Box 24450
Kampala, Uganda
Tel: +256-41-4-231134
Fax: +256-41-340-078

Feb 6 (Sat)

Feb 7 (Sun) - church, wear nice clothing

Feb 8

- Bryan sets up stage for photographs

Feb 9
Dr. Kajubi at Mulago Hospital (Kampala)

AIDS Information Center (Masaka)
Dr. Raymond Byaruhanga
4 PM


Feb 10 

Feb 11 - Consider moving to Extracurricular Activities

Feb 14
1. Craft Village (Kampala)
- Dr. Bob's b'day
- fly out

Finally, what is my favorite quote of all time, you ask? What quote empowers me to get up everyday and begin all over again with the hope that each day will present something new, something important? What quote makes me want to give my all and helps me remember to liberate my mind through my actions? Perhaps a quote by my favorite author of all time - Ayn Rand.

 Atlas Shrugged will change your life, folks. Here goes:

“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won. It exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours.” 

- Ayn Rand

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