Cat-Sitting in Asagaya

This post is brought to you from Asagaya, where I’m cat-sitting for a friend who went to the University of Washington with me. He and his family are traveling for the week, and they needed someone to watch their adorable kitty, who is hilariously named Charles Bronson (“CB,” for short).

Asagaya is a cute neighborhood west of Shinjuku on the Chuo line. It’s much trendier than where I live in Chiba. Case in point: on Sunday, there was a jazz festival taking place just down the street from my friend’s house:


Anyway, it’s a fairly quiet existence. My friend and his wife have a cute little two-story house. It’s very vertical, like most Japanese homes—shelves up to the ceiling, kitchen nooks and crannies arranged in various space-creating ways, a staircase that continually makes me fear for my life. But very cute. I’m particularly enjoying the fact that they have an HD projector and a projection screen hooked up in the room where I’m sleeping—along with a couple of seasons of The Simpsons!

Anyway, things are definitely starting to get busier on the work front. I am slowly but surely getting closer to finishing the intro and conclusion of a forthcoming edited volume, and I stumbled upon a potentially great new data source for a different co-authored side project. I’ve also been working on getting my Japanese up to research level and starting to sort out my interview protocols. I’ve also been spending time at my office at the university where I’m affiliated. Anyway, I’m shooting to be mostly done with these other things by the end of the month, so that I can focus full-time on my dissertation research. *fingers crossed*

My stay in Asagaya has also randomly alerted me to the fact that they have Burger King in Japan. They totally didn’t have Burger King here when I was on JET in 2005-2006. Hilariously, a number of fellow JETs had unconnected stories about joyfully rushing to the Burger King in the Incheon Airport in South Korea while on side trips from Japan. A little research on the subject reveals that Burger King was active in Japan from 1982 but all stores were closed in 2001. BK just reentered the Japanese market in 2007. Interestingly, Wendy’s also had trouble in Japan—it closed all of its stores at the end of 2009. But now it’s thinking about reentering the Japanese market with locations co-branded as Wendy’s/Arby’s and offering dishes from both brands. I find that a little weird—although I personally have a soft spot for Arby’s, I have a hard time seeing it do really well here. But we’ll see. McDonald’s has a pretty dominant presence here—and then there are Japanese chains like Mos Burger that are very popular. It seems to be a pretty difficult market to succeed in.

Anyway, time for more work and Simpsons! ;)