This will not be the first time in my life that I am separated from everyone I know–quite contrary! It is nearly an annual occurrence, and perhaps unchange would be more notable. To that end, for several of our closer friends, time in Japan is up at the end of July. I have consciously chosen not to fully analyze exactly how many Good Men And Women we’re losing to time’s weathering, but the count is at least everyone we usually hang out with, and at most all those plus fringe components of the various social circles. Mostly it’s people who have decided for one reason or another to leave the teaching program, some after a year, some because they’ve been here for a few already and have just had enough, some because they’ve been here a lot longer than that and it’s just time to go.
The upside, if there can possibly be one, is that we’re soon to be barraged by the new recruits, some of who may be cool people. The downside is that those new recruits are not yet our friends, and I really hate having to make friends! Another, smallish upside is that we are getting a bunch of everyone’s shit that they don’t want anymore (maybe a downside depending on exactly how much we take).
As a result of this madness I took it upon myself to financially bolster some pals of mine by buying their old breadmaker at a bargain rate. If I thought using the microwave in Japanese was a task, hoo baby. Actually, with only a little bit of guesswork we ended up pumping out a quite competent loaf the evening we got it, and Jessy took the experiment a little further the next day with a loaf a bit more dense. It’s really a pretty clever gadget! It even has what literally translates as “automatic yeast launch,” which drops your active dry yeast from a little blast pocket on an outer lid at the correct post-mixing time. There is also an auto-launch tray for raisins and nuts, which I have considered filling with cheese and herbs or pieces of frozen banana, just to see what happens. The only drawback of the breadmaker, which would have now already paid for itself if bread was twenty-five dollars a loaf, is its massive size. It’s too large to fit on the shelf where we keep our toaster oven and rice cooker, and so it has been relegated to pantry status, bottom shelf. It’s not that we don’t love you, breadmaker, it’s just that you are too big for Japan.
Curious Japanese derps of the week
– Being strangely intruded on by a slightly Asian-looking person handing out flyers on the bridge the other day switching to completely fluent English, cause she was an American from Seattle advertising their Christian gospel concert, which I absolutely did not attend even though I totally said I’d tell some people I know, which I didn’t
– New promotional video game tie-in beverage “Dragon Quest Syrupy Slime,” which I didn’t figure would actually be syrupy, but is
– A Foreign Buyer’s Club catalog given to me by a co-worker, from which I could order some of my favorite American foods: Kix cereal (one box, $11.00), Chef Boyardee Mini Ravioli (one can, $4.00), Velveeta Shells and Cheese (one box, $6.00), and Beef Noodle Hamburger Helper (one box, $6.50)
– My delicious two-person evening self-prepared meal of twenty-four crispy, hot gyoza with a couple bowls of cold dashi-accompanied soumen noodles, total cost less than a can of Chef Boyardee Mini Ravioli
– The rice ball that I bought for today, which I thought said mayonnaise and chicken, but actually seems to say mayonnaise and “shi-chikin,” which, now that I think about it, this being Japan, probably means “sea chicken,” which, now that I think about it, this being Japan, probably of course means it’s canned tuna in there
– It hasn’t stopped being rainy for like five fucking days and the only good thing you’d think is that hey at least it cools off the temperature outside since summer is so hot but no, all it does is make it more humid
That’s it for Curious Japanese derps of the week
I’m playing this video game lately called Dragon Quest IX and it’s all I can think about. I am sitting here at work twiddling my thumbs knowing that the game is right here on my Nintendo DS and I could be playing it if I didn’t happen to be working (irony: I am not working). It came out in Japan exactly a year ago and now that it is finally in English I feel both up to speed and out of touch with the game culture here. There is a mode in the game where if your system wirelessly sees anyone else who has set their Dragon Quest IX to be in “tag” mode you can get some treasure maps and stuff. But is there even anyone in Japan still playing a year later? I’m going to set off on an adventure to find out some time I think. Maybe trek over to Osaka and wander around large groups of the local youth. The benefit of me finding some people would be some virtual treasure maps and maybe an exciting N-Sider article. The drawback is that no matter what happens I am still a huge nerd.