Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Well, I haven't been to the gym for a while. Two months actually. The time went by so quickly. First, I went away for Christmas. When I came back, I was sore from skiing and then visitors arrived. Then they left and the next day, another visitor arrived. Then she left and Wayne and I madly tried to make the apartment more user-friendly. Then I started school. A number of times I planned to go to the gym, but it was so cold riding on my bike that I thought I'd go home and wait for Wayne to get back with the car. By the time he got home, I was warm and settled in the apartment that I really didn't want to go out again. Then I got sick. Then I had more visitors. Then I got sick again.

Finally yesterday, I was ready to go back. Ready and eager. As I hadn't been to the gym for two months, I hadn't paid my January or February fees. I knew I'd have to pay both and was prepared for that.

Well, I arrived and the staff scanned my card. I got a shy look from the receptionist who asked me to wait. She ran and got someone. That women then looked at the computer and got someone else. They disappeared into a room together. I was asked to wait some more. The first women shyly said "So you haven't been here for a while....?". I agreed.

The second women came back to tell me the news. My membership had been cancelled! As I had been so slack and not been for two months, they cancelled my membership, ok, as I hadn't PAID for two months, they cancelled my membership. Bugger! I was told that I could sign up again, but would need to fill in all of the forms once more. Mmm.... problem there... I can't read Japanese and last time Natsuki helped me sign up. I asked if they had my old forms on file, which they did, so luckily I was able to just copy everything off them.

As with most things in Japan, it took time, but finally, I was once more a member, with a new card and everything. The funny thing is, it ended up costing me much less, about 10,000 yen (about $100) to have my membership cancelled and renewed than what I was going to pay for those two months.

I also have a private shoe locker at the gym which I pay for. In Japan, gyms will only allow you to wear "indoor shoes" and I was sick of carrying them to work and then to the gym each time I went. I told the receptionist that I also needed to pay for it. She asked me if I wanted to have my locker from the same day my new membership started (this coming Friday). I told her that actually, my shoes were still in there. She gave me a cute, sly smile and said "We'll start it from Friday" then in a whisper - "Don't worry, your shoes are still in there".

I now can't wait to get back to the gym this Friday. The weather is warming up and I'm feeling the need to get moving again and to work off that winter insulation I've been growing ;)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

Quote for the day from the hard copy of Japanzine, also found on-line here.

"News in Brief....
Husband Unaware He's Been Receiving Giri-Choco from Wife for
23 Years"

Hehehe..... you'll get it if you've ever lived here during Valentines Day....

For those of you who haven't, giri means obligation and well, choco is short for chocolate. Unlike the romantic intentions of Valentine's Day in other countries, in Japan, chocolate is given not only to a loved one, but also co-workers, teachers and friends or to anyone you feel obliged to. On this day, chocolate is usually only given by females to males. The girls and women receive gifts on White Day, which is March 14th.

I scored a nice little chocolate stash today, mostly homemade from students.

Here's a video for one of my favourite Japanese chocolate snacks, Pocky. I thought it was fitting for today.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Tired now...

What a night and what a morning! I think I've now done all I can. I've changed passwords twice (the second time after clearing out spyware), done three spyware scans, cancelled credit cards, increased the security on my internet banking, reported the issue and rung suppliers about the credit card issues.

Luckily the person never got any money from me, BUT I had to pay Paypal extra fees because of all this! Not happy about that at all!

It's quite ironic actually, as yesterday I gave myself a "sorting out my life" day. I figured out where every single cent I owned was. I sorted out Superannuation and checked on where the money was being invested, I checked investment account balances. The lot! So if there was ever a day when I was going to notice someone trying to take ten Euro from me, it was yesterday.

I'm quite worn out by all of this now. I'm picking up my parents in about 8 hours and still have to get out futons, finish cleaning the kitchen, do some remaining business stuff, but really all I want to do is eat McDonalds (I can't believe how much of a comfort food it has become since I've been in Japan), have a good stiff glass of vodka (none in the house right now, but the sake is looking tempting) and go to sleep. I can tell you though, I'm going to watch my accounts like a hawk now!

**** And the winner is.....
Mel! (the other Mel) - with a total of 670 critical objects. I don't feel so bad now.

Hopefully all accounts should be back up and running in a week.


195. 195. 195!

That's how many "Critical Objects" were found on my computer! Damn the stupid Microsoft Defender for not picking up a single one!

I feel violated (by someone hacking into my account - not by the spyware). I'm upset, I feel physically ill and I've had little sleep. I feel stupid for not having better protection on my computer. I feel stupid for trusting the protection I had. And I feel angry.

I'm also feel so glad that I have a wonderful husband who didn't get angry when I woke him up in the middle of the night asking how I check for spyware on my computer. He didn't get angry and he could tell me what to do straight away. He understood when I came to bed half an hour later upset and wide awake and sat up with me while I went over all my "What ifs". He's such a wonderful boy.

I know highly recommend everyone to download the free software through Google - AdAware. Do a scan on your computer. Check who's watching. Don't let these bastards get to you.

Bad case of the "what if"s

Since my last post I have just changed all my passwords and tried to get to sleep. Tried. As I was finally drifting off I thought, "What if the suspect email I got and clicked on the link managed to somehow install spyware on my computer. What if the minimal amount they tried to take from one account was a way of getting me to freak out and change my passwords. What if when I just changed all my passwords, they have been watching and now have not one but ALL of my passwords! What if!!!"

I now have two spyware scans running and in the last few minutes, they've already found 75 "Critical Objects"!! You're not paranoid if someone really is watching! I have firewalls, I have the bloody useless Windows Defender, I have virus protection and yet I have now 94 Critical Objects! That's 19 more found in the time it took me to write two sentences!

I really want to sleep now, but too scared that someone is watching.....

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


You think it'll never happen to you.... Well I always did... I was careful with passwords, careful where I access my accounts on-line, but it has happened. Someone is trying to get into a number of my accounts!

I was first barred from my eBay account the other day as someone had tried to use my credit card details so that card was cancelled. Today, I got an email that almost looked legit from Paypal asking for all my details. Almost. I had a good look at it and picked the mistake and reported it. Now my account has restricted access because in the last hour someone has tried to withdraw money from it! Bastards!

I now have to go through everything, change access details, the lot! What a pain. I'm just glad that three financial institutions I use have picked this up quickly. But someone has tried to hack into three of my accounts!!!

Scary! Very scary!

** Update
Not only a bastard, but maybe a complete idiot! Whoever has hacked into my account has tried to purchase credit for a phone account, so I have their phone number!

I'd like your opinion... do I call the number? Wayne says I shouldn't (he's worried about legal implications), but I'm pretty fired up and annoyed right now.. I'm thinking I should...

Sunday, February 04, 2007


One great thing about visitors is the care packages!

The fabulous Christine brough with her; Darrell Lea Chocolate Bullets, flat bread and..... HOT CROSS BUNS! Ahh... I love Hot Cross Buns! Wayne and I just had some for breakfast with a lovely hot cup of "Cha Cha Chai" from T-licious.

I may have a cold, but I'm in food heaven!


Argh! I have a cold. I hate colds. I hate that feeling that your head is going to explode.

What I'd like to know, is why do I always get a cold when I have visitors? I caught up with the fabulous Christine and Aiden from Australia on Friday night. That morning, I woke up with a cold. Everyone was having a great time, martinis were flowing but I had to stick to mango juice and half-way through the night, I was ready to put on my pajamas and go to bed. It sucks!

I blame it partly on Wayne. I have my very own "Baikin Man" in my home. He almost never got sick back home in Australia, but is often catching colds here. Without fail, he gets one just before we have visitors arrive, then gives it to me in time for the day they arrive. Everytime! It has been suggested to me that it is me being stressed before visitors arrive that makes Wayne so stressed that he gets sick.... I think there could be some truth in that....

Last time my dad came to visit, he got a cold, passed it onto me and while I was trying to recover from it, he ended up in hospital with what the doctors were saying was "Menier's Disease". The doctors insisted that Wayne must have been incredibly stressed and wanted to know what he'd been doing the week before. Wayne told them that he'd been a little busy as my father had come to visit. The doctors sighed and said "well that makes sense, you were stressed because of your father-in-law's visit", gave him a knowing smile and then checked him into the hospital.

My parent's arrive for another visit this Wednesday.

I found this video, that shows how I feel at the moment....