“I am going to be toilet paper Santa!”announced Akemi and then, econo-size package of bathroom tissue tucked under her arm, she scurried off to distribute the rolls around the house.

Yep, my girlfriend is mighty unique.  She has an interesting way of looking at things that, at first, I chalked up to her being Japanese but, eventually, realized was something specific to her.  Being Japanese had nothing to do with it.  Being Akemi did!

Take our last breakfast in Montreal for example.  Akemi ordered the freshly squeezed orange juice.  “Small or large?”asked the waitress.  Akemi seemed perplexed by the question.

“Small or large?”I repeated.

Akemi gave it some more thought.  And then: “Small?”.  It was more of a question than an answer.

The waitress headed off to relay our order to the kitchen.  I asked Akemi why the question had proved so challenged.  She shrugged and informed me that it had simply taken her by surprise.  It was, in her opinion an odd thing to ask.  Ultimately, however, she chose “small” because “Smaller oranges are sweeter.”

Akemi’s special way of looking at the world make her endlessly amusing and endearing – and, to no one’s surprise, particularly fascinating to kids.  Children love her!  Our friends Jodi and Steve, for instance, have a daughter who considers Akemi a best friend of sorts.  The other night, she invited us over so that she could play Kinect Games with her on the Xbox.  And Akemi, of course, was more than happy to oblige…


I get in on the action.
I get in on the action.
Steve's fists of fury!
Steve’s fists of fury!


And feet fury!
And feet fury!

After working up an appetite, we headed over to Minami’s for sushi –

And a styling.
And a styling.

This morning, I dropped off Akemi at the airport.  She’ll be spending the rest of the week with friends in Yellowknife where she’ll be taking in the Northern Lights, dog-sledding, and no doubt regretting her decision to submit herself to -30 degree (celsius/-22 Fahrenheit!) average temperatures during the day (and about -5 degrees colder at night).

Akemi and co. Yellowknife-bound.   Akemi is the one hiding behind the red mitts.
Akemi and co. Yellowknife-bound. Akemi is the one hiding behind the red mitts.

Despite her insistence that she was well prepared for the sub-zero conditions and that she could simply rent whatever equipment she needed once she got there, I made sure to send her off with at least a fighting chance at survival: proper winter boots, thermal undies, and a hat that, while admittedly not fashion, would certainly keep her ears from frosting over.

Anyway, I look forward to the pics.  And my “I told you so’s”.

Touchdown in Yellowknife!  C-c-c-c-c-cold!
Touchdown in Yellowknife! C-c-c-c-c-cold!

37 thoughts on “January 8, 2013: Akemi’s unique perspective!

  1. Tell Akemi to spit. Making mini icicles while walking is fun! 😉

  2. Joe! You’re alive! *huggles Joe* No broken bones? Blackened eyes? Bruises? Abrasions? *whew!* Well, back to your normally scheduled programming, then! 🙂

  3. I’m glad you stopped short of posting “Steve’s Ass of Fury.”

    Probably enough of that floating around the Internet already, anyway…

  4. Great photos, Joe! Let us know how Akemi’s doing! I hope she gets to see the auroras and takes a ton of pictures; I’ve always wanted to do that. But for tonight, after a day of poopy diapers, mountains of laundry and a couple of needy Boxers, I think a hot bath and my warm bed sound a whole lot nicer! 🙂

  5. I can’t imagine anyone going to Yellowknife in the dead of winter voluntarily. It seems more like something one would be sentenced to after some particularly vile behavior. I can just imagine it. Someone is waiting for a friend’s plane to offload. They brought their dog. The dog has to make. He/she walks the dog, it does it’s business. The dog’s owner glances furtively about, then briskly walks away. Airport security tackle him/her then bundle them, hog tied with zip ties, onto the next flight to Yellowknife, tossed into the luggage compartment.

    If they survive they’ll never do it again.

    I believe on the level of punishments it lies somewhere between community service and incarceration at William Head Institution on Southern Vancouver Island, nick named Club Fed, known for it’s walk outs and ocean views from the inmate duplexes.

  6. Akemi is indeed awesome, and frankly I believe deserves her own reality TV show. You could produce! 🙂

    I can tell you in that environment, fashion goes out the window in favour of practicality. I really hope that she gets to see some great aurorae, and that she has a wonderful time. I’m looking forward to seeing the pictures, too!!

  7. Kinect is awesome exercise. I play a wicked game of table tennis (grunts included as I slam the ball). That looks like Kinect Adventures? If you ever do “Dance Central” video to us is required.

    Akemi has always sounded like a lot of fun and I could see how kids could get attached to her. She has a child-like quality in her approach to life–like this trip to Yellowknife. She is always up to try something new.

  8. I hope Akemi has a great time!!!! Perhaps some photos of the Northern Lights? *fingers crossed*
    Joe, on another topic. I have big ears. Not like “Dumbo” big ears. But piercings that are over an inch and 9/16’s . I plan on going to a bigger size and want to have some special earrings made from titanium. Would you be able to get me a large straight on shot of the Stargate from SG1? Possibly the front and back? I just need them in a big enough size to email this company that does special orders. [email edited for privacy]
    have a great day

  9. Hey Woody,

    Unfortunately, I’m not sitting on any straight on shots of the Stargate (certainly not the back of the gate) outside of what I’ve posted on this blog.

    Sound like some BIG earrings!

  10. Oh video games, haven’t seen you talk about those on here in ages Joe. I’m a fan of the Nintendo stuff personally, and like the Playstation 3 for the RPGs when I have the time for them.

    You probably didn’t know Joe but games like Monster Hunter and Dragon Quest are ridiculously popular in Japan, the country goes nuts over them. The Ninth Dragon Quest game sold 4.35 million copies, most in the first few weeks of sale in the country for example.

  11. I made sure to send her off with at least a fighting chance at survival: proper winter boots, thermal undies, and a hat that, while admittedly not fashion, would certainly keep her ears from frosting over.

    to woody; i don’t know ho many shots they had of the stargate, but screencaps are you best bet. the following site has several for all the episodes.

  12. Good for you, got some exercise in, and I take it, no injuries to report! (don’t need number 3). Hope Akemi has a wonderful trip!. Put your hat on girlfriend, it looks cold!!
    I have the wii.. so maybe I should look into some exercise stuff on it, forgot all about it. Mostly do the bowling and target shooting. Take it easy while on your own…

  13. I;m glad you sent Akemi on her trip properly prepared for the cold! I hope she gets a good view of the Northern lights. They are amazing.

    And you’re right, I’m not at all surprised that Akemi is a hit with the younger set.

  14. Brave girl Akemi! I don’t think I would go to those temperatures willingly.

  15. Woody, would you send us pictures of your earrings once they are done? And Archersangel, thanks for the screencaps link. It was fun to look at.

    Hope Akemi has a great time, but better her than me. I have never recovered from living the first five years of my life in a quonset hut in Minnesota. My dad was doing his residency at the Mayo Clinic and the snow used to get higher than the roof tops of the huts that the families of residents lived in. My mom used to have to sweep the snow out from the kitchen, etc. that came in under the doors. Thank goodness my parents moved to NC and I have managed to stick to the south the rest of my life.

  16. It sounds like Akemi has a great shot of being a true Canadian–a little cold shouldn’t stop a fab adventure. Crossed fingers for some clear nights for a good northern lights show.

    I noticed Akemi’s slippers seemed to have eyes again….

  17. Awww…Akemi is so sweet, cute and adorable…in every way. I am hoping you always your journey together. You really make the perfect couple. I love hearing
    🌸The Life of Akemi!🌸

  18. Akemi is a real treasure Joe. Hope she has a great time on her trip. Can’t wait to see the pictures. Do you have your Life Alert monitor on? “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” And straigthen up those rug runners on your floors. You don’t want to trip on them. That little girl is really cute too. Would you please show her your Shark Boy and Lava Girl movie? I want to see if she likes it. I bet she would…

  19. Only -30C? meh! A decade ago, that used to be the AVERAGE daytime temp for *weeks* in Ottawa! Besides, Yellowknife it’s like Regina – it’s a DRY cold. The wind is the only prob… So long as she *covers* up, drinks enough water, She should be okay. — BTW, How does She feel about wearing REAL fur? Seal-skin really is the thing to wear up There!

  20. @Joe and Akemi:

    Safe travels Akemi! I’m looking forward to some Northern Light pictures!

    Going to bed now because I’m beat from standing at a booth for 11 hours demoing products. Goodnight all!

  21. Heh. Small or large . . . oranges! There’s a kind of logic to that. Born in another time and place I think Akemi could have been a member of Monty Python!

    Hope Akemi gets to see some aurorae. According to http://spaceweather.com/ it looks like Yellowknife is a good place for it at the moment.

  22. Looking forward to reading Akemi’s adventures not to mention her unique perspective on all matters Joe:)
    Have a great time Akemi, we’ll try and keep Joe in order while you’re gone:)

  23. Wow! You didn’t say Akemi had a girls weekend. I hope they all have a blast! Are you ears burning?

    Did you know you can set up the Kinect to take pictures while you are playing? I’m not sure if your friend just photographed you or downloaded the pictures from the website. It’s kind of fun seeing yourself from a TV angle. The Kinect is great exercise too!

    JeffW: Very cool GPS! I’ve heard they have a new generation TV at the CES. Did you get a gander at one of those?

  24. You were right to do that Joe, you can never be too careful with the cold. -30oC could easily kill someone if they’re not properly protected from the cold.

    On the bright side in those temperatures, you could easily have fun in the snow, and revert to your child like side and build a Snowman or an igloo or something, a good way to burn an hour or two lol

    Oh and by the way Joe, the last Hellsing Ultimate OVA was just released in Japan, I bet they release it on DVD outside of Japan at some point this year, I love this series, it has some amusing scenes, especially earlier on in episode 5 when the Nazi Vampires are preparing to invade London and whats his name has them all assembled on his Airship and tells them to take out their handbooks on the issue, so random and funny. Granted the gore afterwards wow.

  25. Sorry Mr. M., just wanted to ask you something. If Akemi was confused about the size of the drink then would that be an unusual question in Japan? Very cute Akemi’ism’s by the way. Thanks for sharing. The duck slippers don’t look too damaged. I suppose Lulu has some work to do.

  26. Joe…I hate to tell you…but as I was reading Akemi’s OJ story, I was thinking – I KID YOU NOT – ‘well, small because small oranges are sweeter!’

    So, perhaps it’s not Akemi, per se, but instead perhaps there’s something about you that attracts a certain type of person with a certain type of thinking process.

    For instance, I used to look at everything very literally. My sister had this saying anytime someone said, “I see” – she would reply, “I see, said the blind man when he picked up his hammer and saw”. Well, one day I asked her what it meant, and she asked back, “What do you think it means?”, and I said, “Well, I suppose it means that when the blind man bent down to pick up the hammer, he jarred his optic nerve and was able to see again.”

    She just rolled her eyes. 🙄

    Ever since that moment I’ve tried not to look at things quite so literally. Or maybe I was actually looking at them too abstractly? Perhaps that’s why I was nearly 20 years old before I figured out that guerrilla warfare wasn’t fought by…ya know…trained gorillas. 😛 Honest to God. It was quite an epiphany when I first saw the word ‘guerrilla’ in print…totally changed my whole perspective of the Vietnam War and like conflicts at the time.

    Anyhoo…whatever it is, I now try to see the obvious, but for some reason my obvious is not like anyone else’s obvious. For instance (and perhaps this also goes back to my questions the other day about your reaction to the mystery stories), when I read mystery stories I rarely figure them out before the end. I tend to fall for red herrings even when I KNOW they’re red herrings (“Well, THAT’S so obviously a red herring it must NOT be a red herring), and even though I *think* I’m an observant person I often fail to pick up on the real clues. Perhaps that’s why I love mystery stories so much, because the solution usually does come at a great surprise to me (whereas Mr. Das usually figures out the mystery within the first five minutes of a story…and then tells me! 😡 ).

    Okay…I gotta run! Have a good day!


  27. Akemi is one of a kind all right. She’s a really sweetie Joe…a keeper.
    Hope you and her survive her vacation. I’ve a feeling you’re going to miss her big time!

  28. Sparrow_hawk: Good luck! I hope you’re back on your feet soon.

    Das: Yes, I’m very literal too. At five, I remember trying to reason out why “One Minute” from my mom (30-45 minutes) was longer than a “One Minute” from my dad (5 minutes). The time discrepancy was very confusing. 😀

  29. I’m with Das and Tam on the literal thing. I think it just comes from being very analytical and looking at reality in a very “real” rather than interpretive way. There’s nothing wrong with that at all, in fact I think it’s a very desirable characteristic!

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