Deep sleep, elaborate dreams, mystic visions of superpowers and fantasy worlds… oh how nice it is. It tells me that my kitty let me sleep for a span longer than 3 hours this time and if for nothing else, I know I don’t have a sleeping disorder. Chris (my buddy back home) once told me I woke up suddenly, looked confused, then said “man I can’t tell if I’m sleeping or playing video games” before quickly falling back asleep (he was playing Doom 3; spooky having this real-life zombie nearby).
But as all good things seem to end before their time, the buzzer went off and it was time to roll out of bed into that cold room. I quickly looked out the window (as may be habit for some people) and freeze; pun intended. The world is once again covered in white and relentlessly being bombarded with large soft while projectiles slowly descending to the ground. Well that was a bummer on the day, the only thing that perked me up was the possibility it might be a “snow day” and I would get to stay home :) (Pictured: Students braving the cold with their bare legs)
Alas no, off to work I went today; braving the weather. It looks beautiful, sure, more beautiful than any snowfall I’ve seen back home. I made sure to take pictures as just yesterday there were scarce hints that it had even been cold lately, save for that path of ice by my front door because it’s mostly in the shade and I can’t be bothered to clean it away; heck the floor mats for my car are still on the ground where they were last July. haha I’m sounding like trailer trash now :)
Anyways in part of my Japanese studying I learnt the kanji for “south” used to mean “the warm side of the house” and after learning that I realized most houses and large windows on every building here faces south. I can only assume because it will help a bit with keeping warm in the winter, as the sun will always be in the southern side of the sky. I also discovered a vent on my kitchen door that was open all winter (it’s not windy here so it’s hard to tell when there is no draft; also who puts a slide vent on a door?!?)
So yes, the business-as-usual after graduation continues still. I went in to work Tuesday fully expecting nothing to do, only to find out I had a class 1st period and I was late :S It was ok in the end, we just played the card game 99 and again some students loved it so much they want to turn it into a club activity (something they do for hours everyday; after school and on weekends like their sports). Then later in the day a teacher came in wondering why I didn’t visit him like I always do when there is an upcoming class then told me I had 2 classes in a row right away. Well lightning doesn’t strike twice so I knew something was up; eventually I found out there was a new schedule for me out that everyone had but me :)
Wednesday I was back at Yayoi and saw my new 3rd year OC (oral communication) for the first time; and I even made a syllabus for them! It was fun, 16 girls and 1 boy in this class and they all had to prepare questions for me. They ranged from “what are differences between Canada and Japan” to “do you have a girlfriend?” The rest of the day I spent in intensive Japanese study; I blasted through half a month-long book/course that day then promptly got a nasty headache.
After school Neal and I usually meet up for burgers and beer; as is something I pushed on him to start a “tradition” not unlike my wing nights back home; it’s very therapeutic. Anyways Neal was busy with “last class” parties and I found out about a new sushi train place so I wanted to give it a go. On the way I bumped into some of my new 3rd years and they walked with me. We had a good, light conversation and they were ecstatic to be able to talk with a foreigner, AND mostly in English; I can tell they will try hard in class this year, they kept saying how much fun they were having speaking to me. (Pictured, the train I took to work this morning)
So anyways, they ask, again, if I have a girlfriend then go on to ask with whom I was going to the restaurant with (this question took a couple minutes for them to figure out how to ask). I said I was going alone and after they punched a word into their cell phone/portable translator they told me I was lonely. Shucks kids, you don’t have to play captain obvious here :P I saved face again by saying how Neal was busy… and that I have a cute kitty at home. But ya, eating alone in public is something I always found difficult, prying on my insecurities! The sushi was really tasty though :)
Thursday and Friday passed without many things to write home about, although half the day Friday I ran errands like groceries and laundry instead of sitting at my desk; lamenting how I should be studying but just not wanting to. Ever since my Korea trips I keep an eye out for that Kimchi. It’s so tasty, and a much better alternative than chocolate bars that I’m used to reaching for when I need a quick snack; on that note I found these amazing Oreo chocolate bars here.
Friday night Jake and I ventured south to Ina to hang out with Patricia and her friend at a Jazz bar. The place had a lot of atmosphere, with posters on the walls, a toilet that was a 3-meter hole into the sewer, and a pair of pants plasticized into a lamp near the entrance. There wasn’t much for food, not much for seating past 10 people (yet they have live shows) and not much for drinks for under 600 yen ($6). “Yasui ne!” (cheap eh?) The bartender reassures us. We chuckle nervously… nah he was cool but we only had one drink.
Saturday a local friend was having a concert at Gram House (maybe the only club remotely close to me, still over ½ hour away) and invited us out; it was live reggae and I’m always down with something new. We were treated to a surprise visit from Ben, a prefectural advisor of ours that lives maybe 80-100 km away from us. He shared with us the tale of how he made it down to us in less that 3 hours without using the expensive freeway, we were shocked at his speed and resourcefulness. Reggae is a weird music to me… I have trouble dancing to such a slow tempo. It has lots of character though so that’s cool, I wonder if it’s meant for a lounge though; or maybe I should just stick to my raves and glow sticks.
I have written about Gram House before, (‘only’ 12 bands, etc) and it is a pretty small place. When our group of 8 foreigners showed up we doubled the population in the place (including the DJs and bartenders). We showed up fashionably late too but later on more people came out. We were shocked again as we chatted with a few of the only girls there and found out they were over 30 and married; It’s shocking because they look like they are still in high school. Anyways later in the night they had “Milky Way” come out to the stage and dance. I am not a mean person but I could help but laugh out loud at whatever it was that happened on that stage and I wasn’t alone with the people around me as they felt the same way. It’s hard to describe a cougar dancing half ballet, half like a stripper to reggae music. She wasn’t up there too long and our friend came out and started singing. I think it was good but I’m not a good person to ask as I barely understand Japanese and I barely understand Reggae. We didn’t stay too late, as everyone wanted to get up early to snowboard the next day. On the way out we saw Milky Way sitting in the backroom slouched with her head down... you know the look. I couldn't help but feel bad for the laughing earlier; I wonder if she will re-evaluate her career choices now. (Pictured: Milky Way)
And so ya, as everyone went snowboarding, again, I bet you can guess how the rest of my weekend went (I stayed home; a JET recently compressed some vertebrae on the hills). I discovered cow-tongue onigiri (rice rolls) at the convenience store that night and one of the highlights of Sunday was discovering I bought extras; it was a nice treat as it’s really tasty. I feel apologetic for my lack of exciting stories lately but I’m in a weird position of it being cold out, I have a big trip coming up (when my mom visits), practically nothing going on at school, and the attitude I had to adapt of “study now, party later”. How about some nothing/random stories?
Story 1: We have this newsletter we hand out with different stories in it, my Korean experience losing my skin made the cut. Anyways there was this story from a JET who had to get major surgery from a bike accident in Japan. Apparently she fell and broke her face or something, needing 3 major bones to be re-attached and plated in on her skull. It sounded like there was a bit of a wait for the surgery, of which they gave her no painkillers (they being the hospital/doctors/nurses) and she was never asked how the pain was, she repeated that a couple times. When she begged and pleaded enough, they finally went over to the lock-and-key box to get out some painkillers. It was Ibuprofen, and they didn’t give her much (it is illegal here), even after the surgery when she woke up screaming (apparently common for those waking up after being knocked out).
She begged and pleaded again and after a long time they finally gave her some morphine. She got 1 mg over the course of 8 hours, and the doctor said it was the first time in his 12 years of working he needed to give out a painkiller that strong; remember this doctor just finished screwing plates into this girl’s face. Later on in the story apparently she got an infection from the surgery and instead of getting antibiotics to fight it, they wanted to reverse the surgery or something really crazy… long story short she went back to America (at the request and pleading of her doctor parents) and things are peachy now. She made several references to how Japan is the country of “ganbaru” (try hard). (Pictured: Jake the super villain)
Story 2: My kitty Otaku is big enough now to jump up on counters and knock stuff around; this week alone she broke 4 of my cups but I came close to breaking them too as the overhanging thing above my sink isn’t very intuitive. I’ve been teaching her tricks still like “come here (snap my fingers)”, “shut up (spritz with water)” and “don’t bite (stop playing with her)”. She is still super cute and she finally stopped puking around the house… or at least she is on a couple day streak. She jumps up from her litter box (a booster) to get on the counters and has knocked the whole thing over twice now; not too much fun to clean.
But those are the worst/more interesting stories about her as I don’t know how much you want to hear how she’ll wait for me around corners and pounce me as I walk by, how she will hop on my lap and take a nap or how she snuggles in with me at night to go to sleep. Before I go to bed each night I usually sit in front of my kerosene heater for a bit, warming up for my cold bed and we take turns pouncing and stalking each other on the soft sheets. She gets excited easy and is lots of fun; she is very curious and almost acts like a dog sometimes with all the sniffing everything and waiting-for-me-to-come-home that she does.
Story 3: Because my mom is coming I’ve been trying to get a hold of her to confirm plans. Skype is a great program for calling home, a 45-minute call costing $1. It’s just that the times are so messed up. I stay up way later than I should so that when I call I don’t wake up my sister Melissa but my mom isn’t home from work yet. Then when I wake up in the morning I call first thing and she left FOR work already. On the plus side I talked with Melissa for a while. She misses her “I love you so much hunny bunny” man or something and then got all googly eyed (I could tell, even over the phone). She wasn’t speaking too clearly because I woke her up anyways and I wasn’t listening too clearly as I was so tired from staying up so late. I called my dad a couple times and he was still sleeping too. When I post this blog this Monday night for me, you will be able to read it first thing that same Monday morning.
Well that's enough of that for now. Pictures from February are posted on my photobucket now for those interested. I have a feeling next post will have more content... I'll probably get drunk 3-? times; lots of going away parties.
"Whatever you fear has no power; it is your fear that has the power" -Oprah Winfrey