Under pressure

Sorry, I’ve been away!

This summer has been a whirlwind of travels, adventures and friends. But with that comes a complete surrender to the idea of having any time for yourself. For the most part I love that constant hussle, but there’s always a point when I am ready to get home, ready to relax and ready to have some consistency.

Our summer tour is almost over, one more festival in Toronto and we head home after touring since May and doing almost 200 shows. It’s my favourite time of the year, even though it leaves me dead tired 🙂

This year when we return we are not exactly headed back to peace and quiet though. We are producing our own circus show with some very good friends of ours from Japan. I have faith that it will be amazing, but planning and organizing a show while on tour is no easy feat!

So here’s to the last festival of summer and the premier of our show in September. CHEERS!

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Jet lag giveth and Jet lag taketh away

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I’m usually pretty strict about getting over jet lag as soon as possible.  Combined with my talent for sleeping on any form of transportation, I have hence avoided jet lag since my first trip overseas.

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I can sleep anywhere!

This time coming back from Japan I’m not sure what happened, but I blame movies on planes.  I used to get all sorts of rest or paperwork or reading or even THINKING done on long plane rides.  They were nice unavoidable chucks of time that were largely free from distraction.  Now there are movies and wifi and my oasis of enforced personal time is gone.  Sure I could just not press play… but I always do and it makes it harder for me to want to get any rest.

The flights from Japan to Canada had me getting back home 5 minutes before I left with the time change.  So I arrived home at 4 pm having not slept for the last 25 hours and while I should have done anything I could to stay awake at least until 10… I decided to “just take a little nap”.  Ahh foiled by the old nap routine, it’s almost as classic as, “I’m just going to rest my eyes”.  My nap turned into more of a sleep and I woke up at 11pm, wide awake.  Stayed awake until around 7 am when I finally fell asleep again. This downward cycle continued until I was basically awake at night and sleeping at day also know as still being on Tokyo time.  Throughout the whole time feeling like a walking zombie and getting almost nothing done… and I had so much left to do!  To break the cycle I decided to go cold turkey, stay up all night and the next day to get back on schedule in one foul swoop.  Which gave me about 30 waking hours to kill, and a list a mile long of things I wanted to get done before the ticking clock that January has become runs out.

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In a semi comatose state I managed to complete:

* New website for myself : www.kimberlycraig.com

*New website for Street Circus : www.thestreetcircus.com

* updated resume

*set up linked in

Part of me is proud, and part of me is annoyed that I was able to do all this in a day and yet have been putting it off for over a year.  I’ll stick with proud for now I guess 🙂 With almost a week to spare I only have two things left:

*work goals

*read “getting things done”  (I find it kinda funny that I have been too busy getting things done to read this)

While jet lag rendered me useless for a couple days, it sure made up for it in the end 🙂

Reading japanese: step 1

I can’t seem to get into a good working rhythm this month to get everything done. Fun mini projects keep getting in the way. I think it’s a result of thinking up the million and one projects I am interested in on New Years. The most recent one: Katakana.

Last time I was in Japan, Katakana was the one thing I really wished I would have learned. This time around, even though it was a shorter trip I really wanted to give it a go. I’ve been using this awesome book :

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I haven’t managed to learn them all yet and it gets a little more complicated than I thought (of course) towards the end, but overall it’s been a small effort that has yielded great rewards! Katakana is EVERYWHERE (in Japan)!

Now when I’m looking around, instead of seeing a blur of characters that are meaningless, I find pockets of decipherable symbols… it’s like a word search treasure hunt! The best part of katakana for me is that once I read it, it’s most likely a word I am going to know.  You just have to get used to listening for the japanized version of a word or phrase.  Here are some examples around Tokyo that got me so excited 🙂

 

tomato

to-ma-to!  Ok so the picture of tomatoes is also a clue…but still, SQUEEE!

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i-be-n-to-su-pe-su … event space!

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fu-a-i-na-ru fu-a-n-ta-ji…    Final Fantasy!

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ha-n-ba-ga … hamburger

do-ri-n-ku … drink

…and on and on.  Menus are the best  for katakana 🙂

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ma-i-ku … MIKE, as in microphone!

Now I just have to squeal a little less when I am able to read something!

 

Why Hello, Hello Kitty

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Now I don’t want anyone to get alarmed… but I think Hello Kitty is following me.

It’s not like I’ve never noticed her before.  I’ve seen her around at the occasional stationary store or on children’s toys… but now I see her everywhere.  I expected her to be everywhere in Japan.  I mean they have an entire theme park where she is the star, Sanrio Puroland.

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In fact from the website I think she may be Queen:  http://www.puroland.co.jp/english/welcome.html

There is also a hotel:

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Plus almost anything you can buy, you can buy with her face on it:hello-kitty-beerresized hello-kitty-cross-necklace HelloKittySushiKit_large

However I think she hopped into my bags when I wasn’t looking, how else can you explain her being everywhere I have been?!?

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In Ajaccio, Corica

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Looking a little rough around the edges as she ran to keep up with me

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All over the place in Cartgena, Spain

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I next spotted her in a Target in Texas

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Shortly thereafter I saw her in a bookstore in Canada

Then she started to reach out and feign interest in my interests:

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And showing up at my work:

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hellokitty following me

I just can’t shaken this creepy feeling that she’s watching me…

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and waiting for me…

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So I’m putting the word out

hmm

When in Rome…

ruins, ruins everywhere!

So I arrived at 7 am in Rome, which is 12 am in Winnipeg and 2 pm in Tokyo. I didn’t really know what time zone my body was in, just that it was time for a nap. My hope was that my body’s time clock would be so confused it would just give up and go with Rome’s.

As much as I wanted to nap, the hotel didn’t seem to care about my circadian rhythm. So off to explore as much of Rome as I can with 30 euros and a half awake brain. Here’s how the day went more or less:

Pro:

I’m in Rome there is so much to see!

Con:

I forgot to grab a map and almost everything looks like a potential ruin.

me, mapless and lost

Pro:

There is a German tour group passing me, I bet they are more organized. Ja, ja, ja, eins, zwei, eins, zwei

Con:

Everyone here is at least 65 and starting to give me the evil German eye. Even with taking pictures and tying and retying my shoes to slow me down they are going to catch on pretty soon… or think I’m a creepy stalker.

the man on the left in on to me! 

 

Pro:

A MAP, see ya meine Deutschen Freunde, thanks for everything!

 

Hmmmm, Circo Massimo and the Colosseo – sounds like a good place to start… they’re so close 🙂

 

So just in case you are wondering The Circo Massimo (aka Circus Maximus) was Rome’s chariot racing stadium and general entertainment venue seating 150,000! The space is massive, and even though nothing here remotely resembles what it looked like in Rome’s height… it’s just cool to be standing in that kind of history.

Here’s what it used to look like:

 

As I get closer to the Colosseo (aka the Coliseum) I notice it’s a tad busy for a Thursday in the beginning of November… what’s going on?

 

Oh it’s All Saint’s Day and everything else is closed, so every tourist in Rome is here…perfect.

There’s like a million people here!

Oh well I guess there are worse things than standing in line for a couple hours to see one of the great wonders of the world. Like it could be raining for those two hours… oh good, it’s raining 😦

 

I hate rain, and every part of me wanted to leave that line immediately. Except the part screaming, “but it’s THE COLLISEUM. You may never be in Rome again, this place is layered with almost 2000 years of history. Thousands of slaves worked for 8 years to build this thing and you can’t handle a little rain!”

Needless to say it was worth it.

who left this column laying around?

You may have noticed how amazing my photos were in this post. Especially the old map of Rome, I made those arrows myself… thanks GIMP!