Tag: Life

I’d rather be in Tokyo, I’d rather listen to Thin Lizzy-oh

tl;dr I’m in Tokyo. This blog is ten years old.


So for those of you who keep up with me on another social media outlet (or any other medium, really, like IRL), you might know that I’m in Tokyo (!) for the summer.

I’m working as a UX designer, and so far my experience has been good, if not a little routine:

6AM: Wake up at this hour, every day without fail, FOR NO REASON AT ALL other than the fact that my body clock is a bitch???
6AM-9:30AM: Make a futile attempt to go back to sleep. Suck it up.
10AM-7PM: Work.
7PM-9PM: Grab dinner with my limited Japanese skills. This is usually ramen or soba or some other noodly variant.
9PM-11PM: Watch a World Cup game. (Interchangeable/negotiable, depending on the match)
11PM-12AM: Get ready for bed, but debate internally if I should watch the next World Cup game
12AM-2AM (?): Decide screw it, I’m watching the match! Sometimes I can stay awake through the first half. Sometimes.

That said, it’s not my first rodeo when it comes to Japan, though it’s my first time being here for more than 2 weeks. Hell, the last time I was living abroad for more than a few months was back in 2008, when I studied in Beijing during the summer. Fun fact: this blog started because I needed a way to update my friends on my whereabouts with LiveJournal being banned in China. It feels weird coming full-circle a decade later, but here we go.

Anyway, I’ve been here for ten days. I don’t think I’m quite settled yet, though the amount of times I have eaten an egg salad sandwich from my neighborhood Lawson or run to the 7-11 in search for a workable ATM show otherwise. I haven’t even used my camera yet. But that’s ok — I’ve got a good amount of time to explore this city and country (I’m lookin’ at you, Hokkaido and Okinawa).

Let me tell you, being in a country whose national team just landed a hard-fought win in the World Cup is An Experience. I remember going to a block party in Vila Madalena the night Brazil defeated Chile in the knockout stages of the 2014 World Cup, and to this day, that memory wins all the awards for the biggest moshpit ever. Anyway, Japan had just scored an upset defeat over Colombia, and — well. Pandemonium descended upon Tokyo. I just so happened to be coming back from a watch party in Shibuya, which may or may not be THE BUSIEST INTERSECTION. Just imagine the amount of crowds in Times Square but with a fraction of the space. This photo was taken right before I decided I actually valued my phone and quickly stowed it away before a throng of drunk and (rightfully so!) excited fans could knock it out of my cold, dead hands.

Here’s a live recording. Turn those speakers up for full effect.

Udon noodles with grated yam at Kokuwagata. Despite (or even because of???) the slimy texture, I am ridiculously endeared to grated yam. The name is a pretty poor descriptor of what it actually looks and feels like (who knew that yams, when grated, would turn mucuslike?!), but this was delicious.

Speaking of yams, the KitKat Chocolatery sells purple yam KitKats, and yes, they are as delicious as they are purple.

This is Yodobashi, also known as the world’s largest electronics store. I poked my head in here last Sunday because I needed to replace my broken Fitbit strap, but alas, the world’s largest electronics store didn’t have my size.

getting into the weeds #latergram

A post shared by cindy! 🙋🏻‍♀️ (@cindypepper) on


A post shared by cindy! 🙋🏻‍♀️ (@cindypepper) on

On Friday, I went to the Gorillaz concert, where they premiered their new album, the Now Now. Also, I’m really impressed by how punctual the concerts are. Case in point: The show was done at 9PM. 9PM! Even after the encore! A concert schedule that actually agrees with my old-lady sleeping habits is downright revolutionary.


POUND THE ALARM, is this a real life update?

So, hi. It’s me.

If I haven’t seen you in the past two months (which is highly likely, given how ridiculously hermitic I’ve become), do I have an update for you.

A month ago, I left my first “real-world” job at Google, one I’d had for the past 5+ years, to go back to school. (Yes, it’s the same job I’ve had since I announced, way-back-when in July 2011, that I’d be moving cross-country from New York to San Francisco. Boy, has time flown by!)

Which is to say: I’m pleased as punch to announce that I’ll be attending the design program at STANFORD (!!!!!), where I’ll be for the next two years!

Am I excited?

The short answer: Hell yeah!

The longer answer: Hell yeah! But of course, it’s bittersweet to leave behind the first job and neighborhood and life that I’ve had since leaving college. I technically won’t be moving too far, but after a decade of living in a city, moving to the suburbs of Palo Alto will be an adjustment. There will, in fact, be a lot of adjustments, from not relying on free food at Google to dorm life to having things called classes. How do you all-nighter again?

So, here’s the gameplan. Anybody who’s known me in some capacity of familiarity knows that I travel — well, a lot, so it should come as zero surprise to y’all that I’m going nomadic and spending the months between now and Stanford.

May – June: I’m driving cross-country, with a primary goal of visiting all the states I’ve never been to (Idaho! The Dakotas! All of Middle America! Vermont!). If you’ve recommendations for Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Vermont, I’d be happy to hear them! I’m also making my rounds through the Midwest, the East Coast, and bits of Canada. Bonus points if any of your recs involve using a National Parks Pass:

As of now, my roadtrip has taken a turn for the south (literally speaking, thank god), and I’m currently in Little Rock, ready to begin the Southern leg of my trip (Arkansas – Mississippi – Alabama – Georgia), just after finishing up the Mountain timezone and Great Plains legs. So if any of those number markers look familiar, send your recs my way!

Late June: New York!

July: I’m then off to South Africa, with stops in Victoria Falls and Seychelles. I’ll be hitting up Cape Town and Joburg, where I’ll be for roughly two weeks, before I head to Morocco for ten days.

August: It’s back to New York for about a week, and then it’s Brazil, where I’m finally finally going to Rio, among other places. But mostly Rio, because how the hell have I been to Brazil twice and still not managed to have set foot in Rio?

September: WHAT’S GOOD, Western Europe! My endgame is to hit up the first weekend of Oktoberfest, which is my last weekend before I need to move back to California. As for everything else in between, welllll. I’ve got London on the list, but this is the one that’s most flexible, aka HI I DIDN’T BUY MY PLANE TICKETS HAHAHA.

And then it’s school time.

So. I’m committed to updating this more regularly, especially since New and Exciting™ Things are happening in my life that are worth documenting. For a more real-time update experience, I’m on Instagram as (surprise, surprise) cindypepper. For everything else, there’s MasterC—

Wait, wrong commercial.

Stay crazy, 2013.


I just realized that I haven’t blogged at all in 2013, and I can only attribute this failure to a variety of different reasons below:
A. I suck
B. I suck
C. I suck
D. All of the above

And it’s a shame that my suckitude exists, because 2013 was a hell of a good year. Far be it for me to attach hyperbolic meaning to things like these, but as the end of a year approaches, I get into a hyper-reflective mood where I think about all the awesome (see: husky sledding), new (see: dyeing my hair pink), crazy (see: jumping off the world’s biggest swing) things I’ve done in the past 50-some weeks, as well as the lowlights. 2012 felt ridiculously stagnant, and by the end of it, I was getting several months’ worth of cabin fever — which helps explain why I went nuts in 2013. Maybe decades from now, I’ll still look back on this and think, holy hell how did all of this happen in one year, but trying to encapsulate all of this in a nutshell only begins to scratch the surface. I’ll give it a shot though, and make an attempt to give you Cindy’s 2013, the Abridged/Instagrammed Version™, aka what I’ve been up to this past year:

I kicked off the year with a week in the world’s classiest place: New Orleans.

Shortly after, I got accepted to volunteer at Obama’s inauguration, which led to a birthday trip spent in New York and DC.

In February, I went to Japan (Tokyo, Nagano, and Kyoto), and got to see the places that I had only read about in my Japanese Civ textbooks.

In March, I joined Elena for a quick weekend in Montreal, where I stuffed my face stupid with bagels and poutine.

The following April was spent in California — but considering the fact that I participated in Holi, spent the weekend in Santa Cruz, and made a crazy mad dash towards Half Moon Bay, I ain’t complaining.

The latter part of May was spent traipsing around Norway, Sweden, and Denmark — a trip that Melinda and I had bought tickets for 9 months ago — with four of my friends.

In June, I spent a superfun weekend in Austin (TEXAS, y’all — and the place where I almost ended up working!) with a few friends who had been prepping me for Texas months in advance.

I also happened to meet Neil Gaiman and visit San Diego for both the 4th of July and my cousin’s wedding.

Then in August, my family and I went to Hawaii, where I joined them for a few days in Kauai and learned that I don’t suck as much at surfing as I had previously believed.

In September, several of my friends from NY moved out to SF, joining me on the West Coast, and then I switched apartments.

I also found out that month that I got approved for a last-minute business trip to India, which meant that I found myself flying on what remains the longest flight of my life (17 hours!).

Hyderabad was lots of crazy fun, and I figured if I was in the vicinity, I’d visit Bhutan, a country that had long been on my travel bucket list. And visit Bhutan I did.

I barely spent the month of October at home, given that I had just gotten back from India/Bhutan and I had a high school friend’s wedding in Nashville to attend. A total far cry from my previous trip, but with so much good food, who was I to complain.

The day after Halloween festivities at Google (props if you can recognize my costume!), I was on a plane to Dublin, where I’d spend four weeks for a work ambassadorship.

Ireland was super, but there was no way I was going to bypass the ease of travelling within Europe, so I ended up in Munich for a weekend where I checked off another bucket list item: seeing Bayern Munich (my favorite football team and also the main determinant of my blood pressure levels) live.

After my ambassadorship was Thanksgiving week, so I used the holidays to go to Finland and Iceland, thus putting the rest of my Scandinavian adventures from May at full circle.

And finally, to round out the entire damn year, I went to New Zealand with my family on a trip that we had delayed for a few years, and goddamn I love this country. Instagram filters do a piss-poor job at capturing the awesomeness of the NZ landscape, but unfortunately, these photos are all I have as this trip is still in progress. 🙂

The point is, despite the fact that I have a chronic habit of falling by the wayside when it comes to blogging otherwise known as Cannotus b. arsedus, I plan on blogging more, especially in this coming year. I even have a queue of over 30 blog drafts at the ready, waiting for me to post! I’ll ramble on about the new places I’ve been (India! Bhutan! Ireland! All of Scandinavia! New Zealand!), the places revisited (Japan, Austin, DC, Canada, Nashville), and everything that happened in between. And I’m sure 2014 will be hustling along as I’ll tell you guys everything, and if it even holds a candle to the ridiculousness that was 2013, then let’s just say I’ll be blogging for a long, long time. Bring it, 2014.