The third-years have graduated, classes are out, the weather’s getting nice, we have tons of movies to watch and games to play at home, and all this comfort is resulting in very uneventful but persistently enjoyable relaxed existence. Sometimes I ache for adventures, for excitement, for something new, and then I open a C.C. Lemon, pick up a Wii controller, and throw banana peels at turtles in go-karts. Sometimes I feel like making an ass of myself and I often do this as a community activity (where other people, aching for adventure, come to my house and drink in a totally adventurous way, then throw banana peels at turtles in go-karts). Last week I went to an enkai with my co-workers, drank lots of hot sake, ate a plate of raw fish, ate a cooked fish in a white goop, ate some white goop made of pureed fish, ate a baked fish with its head still on, and ate some more raw fish (this time on rice). Afterwards I stumbled into an arcade with some weird name (COO? GOO? I forget) and beat on a drumming game for an hour. This may seem adventuresome, but has shockingly become relatively normal to me.
In fact, it’s been such an uneventful week that the most immediate highlight of note is that today I took four hulking baggies of change into Sannomiya and deposited them at the ATM, repeatedly meeting the maximum of 100 coins per transaction. I’ve been meaning to get around to it for some time, but have never had the ambition for it since the bags were fucking heavy. Excitingly, change is simply more valuable here than in the states. The largest coin we have back there is a quarter, and the smallest bill they have here is basically ten dollars. So, although Weighty Indeed, the bags were dense with rich value. When the dust had settled I was 44,589 yen richer (at current exchange rates, a little over five hundred bucks). Surely the largest cold hard coin exchange I’ve ever taken part in, and a little bit of a rush, too: I felt kind of like some sort of felon hanging around the same ATM for a half an hour, continuously pulling sacks of coins out of my bag. I caught a reflection of the security guard in the shiny metal of the machine and wondered what he could peg me for. “Depositing too many coins” or “banking with us” didn’t seem like they would be good enough reasons for him to confront the weird foreigner though.
As I pumped fistful after fistful of money into the damned machine, it occured to me that there was probably a “normal human” way to deposit 1900 coins into your bank account, like taking them to the bank. But at the bank I can’t talk to anyone very well, and I wouldn’t have gotten to listen to the cool machine count all my money. In the future… I might investigate the normal human way.
So what do I do with 44,589 now-useful yen? I could buy every toy from a wall of gashapon machines and pelt small children and yipping dogs with them on my way to work, attempt to clear out all the prizes from a UFO machine at Namco Land, purchase a second Playstation 3 and another DS just for fun, go eat Kobe beef for supper every night this week, fill my entire bathroom with cans of beer (seriously considering it), take up smoking at a pack a day for the next five months, download every NES game on Wii’s Virtual Console, or actually do something useful like pay off my old credit card. (not stupid enough to do this)
RETURN OF CURIOUS JAPANESE SHIT OF THE WEEK
– McDonald’s new “Big Hawaiian” burger contains no pineapple, and is not that big
– Kosoku-Nagata station’s Mister Donut has been closed for remodelling for two weeks, but in the ten seconds a day I walk past it there is always some person looking confusedly at the “closed for remodelling” sign
– Last night saw a variety show with a lady dressed up like corn, staring silentlyinto the camera for nearly ten seconds
– At the game store, violent “Z” rated games placed on top shelf up high out of reach of little kids, borderline porn game deluxe box sets and booby manga covered with scantily-glad secretary babes conveniently located at three-to-thirteen eye level just a hop skip and jump away (I investigated for the safety of the children)
– Now that the Olympics are over, news and variety shows are back to talking about Toyota, women in snowy onsens, deadly 50 centimeter tsunamis, a house fire, Domo-kun, and trivia shows
– High school graduation, the most boring formal ceremony I’ve yet witnessed, followed by each class performing a bizarre impromptu pop-song sing-along and presentation of huge stuffed animals and cake to homeroom teachers
– My first Mos Rice Burger, a burger made from ground pork, topped with onions and surrounded with packed lightly toasted rice patties instead of a bun (also totally awesome Japanese shit of the week)
– Short mop-top child dashes in front of Jessy and I on our way home from the grocery store, turns to face us, says “blablabbalbalbla,” runs away, then runs back in front of us and asks in English “do you speak English,” to which Jessy responds in Japanese “yes, I speak English, do you?” and receives no answer
END OF RETURN OF CURIOUS JAPANESE SHIT OF THE WEEK
The other day I was running a little late and I saw this mother and the little girl I always walk by on the way to school. I usually cross them up in the residence area just before the big stairs up to my school, walking side by side. After Christmas vacation the little girl even said good morning to me cause I see them so often and it had been so long. I still cross them most days, always about the same spot. I figure I take the same train every day, they leave the house at the same time every day, it makes sense. I see all the same routines: the shaggy haired guy in the suit usually in front of the cake shop, the two old men on the bridge drinking their coffee and chatting, the same lady walking her dog, 8:31, 8:35, 8:39. This time since I was about four minutes behind I saw the mother and the girl a little before usual, further from the school and closer to what I now know is their intended goal, the little girl meeting up with another girl in front of Nagata shrine, presumably to go off to school on their own. I felt like some sort of weird spectator, but so interested: here’s a story I’ve seen the same part of for months, and now there’s a little bit more, if only so small, because I was four minutes behind. Another week, another day in the life.