For the past 18 months, my life has taken a turn for the cute.  Of course, it’s no coincidence that eighteen months is about the amount time I’ve been together my girlfriend, Akemi, who hails from Japan: the Land of Cute (kawaii).  Yes, in Japan, cute is not only omnipresent in entertainment and fashion, but food and handwriting as well.  And, since moving in, Akemi has transplanted a bit of that kawaisa to Canada.

Akemi is so expressive, at times I feel like I'm dating a cartoon character.
Fruit messages are de rigueur.
The shades, the hands tucked into the sleeves of her coat, the tilt of the head. Christmas Card worthy.
The fruit at my house not only boasts messages but the occasional face as well.
About to tuck into her naruto.
Messages, faces and, occasionally, names.
All dressed up and ready to go in her new shiroi coat.
Settling in quite nicely. The cold weather has afforded her the opportunity to show off her cute fashion sense.
Even eating can be cute.
Akemi is all about appearance when it comes to food. At the grocery store, she'll dismiss certain produce as "chotto ugly". Her fruits and veggies should be as cute as the truffles she makes - these for Ivon. His response when I gave them to him today: "Akemi is so cute."
Pinky pyjama party!
Even her flipping me off is done in cute fashion.
Cute Cooking 101: It's all about the apron. She's become a bit of an aficionado. Every weekend while we were in Toronto, she would visit the apron shop. Yes, there's an apron shop.
Pointing out her cute ear muffs. It was either these or the Hello Kitties.
Out and about. Cute. And me.

Sending out the last of the paperwork for Akemi’s sponsorship application tomorrow.  Hopefully, it will be accepted and she won’t have to leave the country in late April of 2012 (coincidentally, her visitor’s visa expires on her birthday).  Life would certainly be a hell of a lot less cute without her.

The gang.

Thanks to everyone who asked about Maximus (pictured above, he’s the bewildered-looking black pug in the front).  He’s having a very difficult time eating because of the melanoma in his mouth.  He’s scheduled for surgery on Wednesday that will remove part of the tumor and hopefully make him a little more comfortable.

47 thoughts on “November 10, 2011: Cute Overload!

  1. “Sending out the last of the paperwork for Akemi’s sponsorship application tomorrow.”

    Cool, Best Wishes. 🙂

    and Best Wishes for Maximus also. 🙂

  2. Cute blog entry tonight, Joe! Will keep Max in my prayers, as always.

    I’m having a tough time here tonight with our Cocker, Summer (Dinky). She’s had a huge problem with glaucoma over the years and we had to have her left eye removed a while back. Her right eye has gotten progressively worse despite her meds, and where her left eye used to be, there’s something causing the whole thing to be full of pus and blood and has become painful. The only way to determine what’s going on is surgically, but she’s almost 15 and my vets don’t feel that the outcome would warrant putting her through this. Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen her decline, and what little vision she had left in the right eye is gone. I knew it was coming to this, but was hoping she’d make it another month so that my daughter could say goodbye when she visits in December. Right now, she’s finally fallen asleep in the big dog bed next to my desk, and she looks so tiny and frail it breaks my heart. I have no idea what I’m supposed to do without her, but I can’t continue to let her suffer, either. Tomorrow, we’ll do steak and ice cream and anything else she wants. Please keep her in your prayers!

  3. You, sir, are a lucky man.

    Best of luck goes out to Maximus for Wednesday, and Deni, my heart goes out to you.

  4. Wow. She does exude cuteness. I think I’m going to have to watch The Dark Knight on repeat (I’m thinking 3-4 times will offset the cuteness and allow my brain to function again). I do have to admit that her picture is the only time I ever smiled while seeing someone give the finger…

    I do hope it all works out!! It’s been a lot of fun to hear about Akemi (and about Akemi). And we definitely don’t want sad bunny making a reappearance 😉

  5. I agree: Akemi is cute. Her artistic vision is inspirational to me cause I have no artistic qualities. I would like to, but sadly no. I do appreciate it in others. Akemi is cute. and does cute things. and makes cute things. and makes others cute things. and makes the space in which she lives in cute. that must make your life really fun and cute.

    Many, many years ago when I was in high school I was to take Home Economics and it was required to sew an apron. In talking to the teacher I didn’t want to sew an apron, but a skirt, something I would make use of. She said all women need an apron. I said I won’t. I will never wear an apron. Well, all these years later, I have never worn an apron. but quite honestly, there are many times I should have.

  6. {{{Maximus}}} Nice to see the gang all together!

    I really need to get an apron. You can tell what I’ve cooked by reading my shirt…it’s like reading tea leaves, or something. A little omelette here, a little mustard there, a little…ya know…it’s not just what I cook, but everything I eat, too! I think I’ll just start dressing in plastic. 😛

    Akemi is cute…so cute that in that picture of you two you look like father and daughter…ya ol’ dog, you. 😉

    (Hey…I totally understand, Joe. People mistake me for Mr. Das’ mother all the time. 😛 )


  7. Joe your a lucky man you should marry her um I’ve only been following the blog since last december and would like to know how you guys met.

  8. Hope Max’s surgery works for him. He is such a lucky dog to have you to take care of him.

    @ Deni – thinking of you and your baby Summer. She is another lucky dog to have you as a parent.

  9. ((Maximus)) good luck on the surgery. Cute overload – I trust that everything with the visa gets sorted properly. Wouldn’t want that much cuteness to get away.

    @Deni – my heart goes out to you. It’s a terrible position to be in.

  10. @ Zed of Earth – (RE: The school stuff) No, I don’t work with kids, nor do I have kids, but I do like kids. I try to be as encouraging as I can, and if any of my friend’s kids needs a listening ear, I try to give it. I think because I haven’t had kids they don’t think of me as an ‘adult’, so feel a little more at ease with me.

    As far as how I felt back in school…well, unless you’ve been there it is hard to understand. But I was there – I was there as a teen dealing with all those miserable things like self-image issues, depression, insecurities, and the rest. I had also come from a safe, small ‘country’ grade school, and I thought those kids were my friends. But they were the same kids who turned on me on the bus. Why? Who the hell knows. All I know is that it made me a bit cynical and I stopped trusting. I didn’t trust my ‘friends’, I didn’t trust the teachers (because it was a teacher I talked to and who, in turn, ratted me out). I didn’t turn to my family because I was embarrassed. So on my own I decided I didn’t want to have friends – not close ones, anyway – I’d rather keep everyone at an arm’s length. That way they can’t hurt you. I think that incident changed me more than anything else in life. I’ve gotten a bit better over the years, but I still keep people at a distance. So, yeah…the bus thing had a big impact on me. I had a lot of hate festering inside, and a lot of bad thoughts, too. Would I have acted on any of them? All I can say is that I didn’t. Even now that I’m all grown up and mature and know how to handle my emotions better, I still deal with issues relating back to school. Therefore, I can also relate to other kids who have gone through some sort of bullying or peer pressure, and who take their own lives, or do other destructive things, because of it. At that age it is just very hard to deal with so many emotions, and even harder to deal with rejection on top of it.

    That all said, right when I was dealing with the thing on the bus I went to Jamaica, and when I came back everyone had forgotten that I wasn’t supposed to have a seat on the bus, and I was able to sit. And a couple years later I went to Hawaii, and a couple years after that I went to France, and all of my little adventures helped make me my own person, with my own drummer, who didn’t need to be defined by anyone else. I’m quite happy where I am, actually, and though I still may have some issues because of the bus thing, I also realize it helped me learn how to empathize with others who get bullied or pushed around, and that has made me a kinder person to others. Except Joe. 😉 (jk, Joe…you know I love ya! In a non-creepy way, of course!)


  11. Hopefully, it will be accepted and she won’t have to leave the country in late April of 2012 (coincidentally, her visitor’s visa expires on her birthday).
    some birthday present.
    hopefully things will work out, but if they don’t you could throw her a combination birthday/going away party.

    hope the surgery helps maximus

  12. Akemi is almost a cute overload! ALMOST. It’s always fun when you include pics of her! And, at risk of sounding creepy, you’re pretty darn cute, too!

    OK, back to lurkerdom.


  13. So, let me get this straight: You have a an adorably cute girlfriend and adorably cute dogs. You are effectively surrounded by — indeed overwhelmed with — cute. Joe, you’re taking more than your share. Leave some for the rest of us!

    (PS. Seeing pics of Akemi chan remind me of why I love going to Japan. She represents some of the best elements of that wonderful country)

  14. Awwww! Akemi is such a sweetheart! 🙂 She is very kawaii! ^_^ She has such a child-like innocence that sometimes we adults tend to forget. She likes to have fun and make you smile, Joe. I hope and pray that Akemi is able to stay with you. 🙂

    Awwwww…your baby doggies! 🙂 How’s Maximus? I pray he’s okay.

  15. ROFLMAO at Das. Bad das. Funny though.

    sending my best for good results for Maximus.

    Oh Joe, we’d all be sad if she leaves in April. Or ever. She should have her own reality show– Akemi Adjusts to Canada and Bizarre Foodie Canadian.

    And she is more than cute–she is adorable and exudes kindness. And you deserved the flip off for taking her pics in her pjs. LOL but after you photographed her underwear, that’s pretty tame.

    @daubermas Glad you got encouraging news!

  16. @ Deni – {{{hugs}}} I can really feel for you in this. Tough decisions. I’m dealing with the same sort of thing with my old cat, Marbles. She’s nearly 18, and we’ve had her forever. She keeps getting a recurring bladder infection that could be something worse. When she’s on antibiotics she’s okay, but once off of them she starts mewing, constantly, and loudly. I get very little sleep some nights because of it. And yet, I just can’t bring myself to make that final decision. I weigh the whole suffering thing against the maybe there’s something else we can try thing. It’s such a hard thing to deal with because we love them, and feel so responsible for them. I wish you the best, in whatever you decide.


  17. G’day Joe

    Best wishes to Maximus, hope it all goes well. He is just too cute!!!

  18. @ Dasndanger
    Thanks for responding. I hope I didn’t come on too strong in my previous. I do understand where you’re coming from in relation to self-destructive behaviour; in my previous I was thinking more of violence to others rather than to oneself, and not spur-of-the-moment violence but the type that is planned and gloated over. I think I probably misunderstood your meaning. My bad!

    I’m sure the kids you know are thankful to have a friend like you; when you’re a kid, and having any kind of problem, your family is probably the last people you’d tell. So to have a trusted adult confidante is great. 😀

    Have you thought about writing teen fiction? Judging by your postings here, you’ve got a real talent for writing, a vivid memory of and insight into those years, plus alot of interesting experiences to draw on.

    ‘I think that incident changed me more than anything else in life.’

    I’m right with you there. I really hate it when people say, ‘Oh, that was years ago, get over it,’ when someone talks about a bad school experience. They’re not called your formative years for nothing, right? I’m still haunted by my school years, and I desperately wish I could ‘get over it.’ But my pesky subconscious won’t let me. 🙂

    My experience with people has made me firmly believe that animals are better. They don’t lie to you, they don’t say one thing and mean another, they’re not petty and mean for the sake of it, and they don’t go out of their way to deliberately hurt or humiliate you. Yep, animals are better than people. 😉

    France, eh? Mmmmm, patisseries…*drools unattractively*

    @ Deni
    Sending sympathy and best wishes for Summer.

    @ daubermaus

    ‘Sending out the last of the paperwork for Akemi’s sponsorship application tomorrow.’

    I guess you’ll need a truck to transport all the paperwork required. 😀 Good Luck!

    There is method, I think, to Akemi’s cuteness. It is showing how much she cares. 😀
    Nice jammies, by the way, Akemi. 🙂

    And, Mr. M, I want your kitchen. 🙂 And, I like those light fittings in pic #9. And the colour of the walls. Actually, I want your whole house. And Akemi! 😉

    Hope all goes well for Maximus.

  19. Awwwwwww, cuteness! Akemi makes me homesick for my second home.

    Good thoughts for Maximus.

  20. Akemi certainly IS cute! And good luck to Maximus. I’m keeping him in my thoughts.

  21. @Gforce, Ponytail and Nola Shingledecker: Thanks so much for your kindness. It’s going to be a tough day.

  22. Joe, before reading the captions and just looking at the pictures and this posting just oozed CUTE! Likewise I sometimes describe my girlfriend น่ารักมากมาย (cute a lot). I wont share pictures here as this is your blog but they do bring smiles. Japanese women really have that short skirt and high boots still down, shwing. Is not winter in YVR similar to Japan? I guess you were good to get out of YYZ when you did.

    Best of Luck for you two on Akemi’s VISA application!
    Fingers crossed on Maximus’ surgery!

    Your “friend” Tara needs a cute Japanese girlfriend? Hmmm? Something she didn’t tell her boyfriend?

    A.P. should be back on the field this Sunday, so go Snow (evil) Monkeys.

  23. @Das, Tam and Zed of Earth: Thank you so much for your kind words of support. We’ve decided to put her down this afternoon; the whole situation has become unbearable for her. She’s totally disoriented and scared, and nothing really comforts her. I have a feeling that there’s a lot more to this than just the glaucoma, but either way, it’s time. I’m glad you guys are here for us.

  24. @ Zed of Earth – Oh, trust me, there was a bit of “the type that is planned and gloated over.” 😈 But it only happened in my imagination and so I was able to…what’s that thing called? Transference. Yeah, that’s it – I numbed myself and transferred my feelings onto other things and lived through them, thus my attraction to tortured characters who, in their fictional worlds, take vengeance out on those who wronged them. During my high school years that meant watching a lot of Clint Eastwood westerns. 🙂 Then there was Mad Max, and a few characters I can’t even remember, and Johnny Depp in just about anything, and then Wolverine, and of course, the Wraith, but eventually I found my ultimate kindred spirit in Elric. If only I had that soul-sucker, Stormbringer, back in high school! 😀

    Ah, but so much easier (and healthier) to live vicariously through the world of fiction, doncha think? 😉 I have certainly grown up since then and don’t hold stuff in like I once did, but a lot of that has to do with – I hate to say it – the internet. There is just something so very therapeutic about dumping all that pent up frustration on complete strangers…lol. Like the goat that carried the sins of Israel off into the wilderness, the internet has carried all my woes and pains off into cyber space. Of course…because it is the internet, it may all come back to haunt me some day, but there’s really nothing I’ve said here that I’m ashamed of…I mean, why be ashamed of surviving?

    As far as writing, well…I don’t think I have it in me. Sure, I can write a page, but 195? 250? 500? ACK! I don’t have the attention span for anything like that!

    And I gotta agree with you on animals. They accept you unconditionally, and if they do attack, it’s because of instinct, and not because of anything inherently evil. *See all my comments defending the Wraith… 😆

    Reminds me of John Wilmot’s Satyr Against Mankind, and this verse:

    You see how far man’s wisdom here extends;
    Look next if human nature makes amends:
    Whose principles most generous are, and just,
    And to whose morals you would sooner trust.
    Be judge yourself, I’ll bring it to the test:
    Which is the basest creature, man or beast?
    Birds feed on birds, beasts on each other prey,
    But savage man alone does man betray.
    Pressed by necessity, they kill for food;
    Man undoes man to do himself no good.
    With teeth and claws by nature armed, they hunt
    Nature’s allowance, to supply their want
    But man, with smiles, embraces, friendship, praise,
    Inhumanly his fellow’s life betrays;
    With voluntary pains works his distress,
    Not through necessity, but wantonness.

    Fitting, no?


  25. Summer went so peacefully, thanks to my wonderful vet. I’m a wreck, but strangely enough, I’m ok with it. Give all your furry babies two extra hugs tonight, and make one of them from me. Thanks, guys!

  26. Akemi is very cute indeed. Canada should welcome her permanently just on the principle of increasing its per capita cuteness. I find it amazing/great how Japanese value the details of presentation. As shown if you spend 5 minutes in our local Daiso store.

  27. @deni
    It’s so sad to have to put an animal down – I really don’t know if the pain ever goes away. I still cry over my last Siberian – she was such a lady.

    I am happy to hear the positive news. So much has happened with medical research and cancer and the new drugs that they are still developing

    The best that you can do with Marbles is to show her love and be close to her. I know that they appreciate the closeness at the end.

    Re schoolyard shenanigans… I have news for you. These kids grow up, go into the workplace and make it their life’s mission to make life miserable for their co-workers or a nightmare for the office if they are bosses. I just found out yesterday that my job is no longer – after 19 years… woke up this morning and realized all over again that it was not a bad dream. Nerves are shot and on the way home from visiting my brother in the hospital (stroke on Monday), paid for gas and while walking out of the pay shack, completely missed a little step, which was brightly lined with yellow (which I missed seeing (too much on my mind), fell flat on my nose, teeth and knees and sprained something in my hand. There were a bunch of good souls around who helped me clean blood and stuff up. Needless to say, it could have been much worse and I think that the worst thing that will happen is a swollen & sore hand and possibly 2 black eyes. I will have to slap myself into shape and not let these people win

    Do you think it’s something in the water? Someone told me that it’s full moon time – maybe that’s it!

    Hugs to all, I guess this is what’s called “the circle of life – what will be, will be and you do what you have to. Joe & Akemi best of luck with the paper work. Thank you for including us in your daily travails.

  28. @Joan001: You’re right about that, the pain never really goes away completely, although it does ease up after a while. I had to laugh when you said your Siberian was such a lady. Summer was anything but. She was the loudmouth, the troublemaker, the cat shit eater. Basically, Pigpen in dog. The ones she loved got loved, the others, well, they got flipped off!

  29. (Been gone for a while, buried in work this week, other commitments, family, major car repairs, mouth finally easing back on pain, etc.)

    Akemi, you are so cute. Talk to us in the blog more often. 🙂 Joe, I’ve heard of a “paperwork pregnancy” when someone adopts a child. This sounds like “paperwork labor,” a true labor of love.

    Deirdre, my prayers are with you. There is no easy way. There’s only what your heart tells you is best. God bless your kitty girl.

    Deni, I too am so sorry. Give yourself lots of time for your heart to recover. My mom had a cocker spaniel named Holly. She was almost 14. I still miss her soft, silky ears. Ironically today, my nephew found the figurine of a black cocker spaniel we keep to remember her. In a way, our memories brought him joy as he played. You made Summer’s “owies” go away in the only way you could. You are a good dog mommy. Am praying for the healing that will come in time, that will make your memories joyful.



  30. @ Joan001 – {{{hugs}}} Boy, you’ve had it bad, too. And it MUST be something in the water. The other day I went into a house that was being painted, and I stepped on the drop cloth…and it was like ice on the hardwood floor! I tried grabbing Mr. Das, but he thought I was pushing him so he kept scooting away from me, and I ended up coming down on my left knee, right on the wood floor. OUCH! Hurt like the dickens, and I ended up with a scrape and a bruise, but fortunately it all seems to be on the surface, nothing inside feels damaged. I guess it was my extra padding…sometimes it pays to be fat. 😀


  31. Akemi has inspired me to start writing on Mr. Das’ bananas. I think the first message will be “Do not leave the peel on the counter!”. 😛


  32. Sorry to hear Maximus still isn’t feeling well. I hope the surgery helps him some.

  33. I second Das’ suggestion for a fat Joe picture! Turn-about is fair play. Or you could do a fat Ivon would be hilarious, or fat Lawren, or fat Tara, no wait a minute, us girls need to stick together, no fat Tara, maybe a fat Robert Cooper, or fat Alexander. Fat Carl!! 🙂

  34. @ Das
    ‘There is just something so very therapeutic about dumping all that pent up frustration on complete strangers…lol. Like the goat that carried the sins of Israel off into the wilderness, the internet has carried all my woes and pains off into cyber space.’

    Yeah, it reminds me of fairy tales where the put-upon protagonist told all her/his woes to the old stove or the hearthstone. 🙂

    Thanks for the wonderful poem; it encapsulates much of what I think about animals and people. 😀

  35. Joe, if you’re putting in a sponsorship application for Akemi’s permanent residence status in Canada, she may be able to stay past her birthday even if you don’t hear back yet.

    It depends how you submitted the application, however.

    If you applied for her status and sent it to the Canadian office as an “in Canada” applicant, then she’s able to stay in Canada with the intent of her application being accepted.

    If you submitted to the Canadian Embassy in Japan however, then she’ll have to go back if you haven’t heard back by the time that her visitors permit expires. You can always apply for an extension to her visitors permit up until the last day before her current one expires and again she’ll be able to stay on the assumption that the request for extension will be accepted.

    I did all this for my wife when she came from Korea. I took a side-shot picture of our application, it was about 2 cm thick!

    That all said, if she is staying on the assumption that her residency or visitor permit extension, she will not be able to leave the country until you hear back from Immigration Canada.

    Good luck with it all, it is great that you’re taking all these photos as they want to see that, heck you could even use this blog as a proof of your relationship and you have us as your references! lol.

    That said, git on with it and marry that cutie! We want to see her wedding dress! 🙂

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