Monthly Archives: March 2011

Your newest acquisition

INSTRUCTION MANUAL

Welcome to Nom a Day®, and thank you for choosing this Inter Net to provide you with thousands of words. I here at Nom a Day have confidence that this Nom has been manufactured to the highest specifications and with the highest quality materials. It is guaranteed to provide you minutes of “entertainment.”

CAUTION

DO NOT STORE IN EXTREME TEMPERATURES.
DO NOT IMMERSE IN WATER.
DO NOT CLEAN WITH BENZENE, THINNER, ALCOHOL, OR OTHER SUCH SOLVENTS.

Nom a Day®

WARMUP, AND PERSONAL ANECDOTE

By virtue of it being totally filled up with a bunch of crap, my workspace at night school today is a small corner of the desk approximately 18 inches by 12 inches, meaning my decision to bring the netbook today instead of the laptop was a prophetic one. Really all this does is clarify my job duties at night school, and the relative perception of the staff regarding what I do: “just put all those crates full of shit on Brandon’s desk, he’s only here one day a week and we have positively no idea what he’s saying.” This is fine, however, because I have a miniature keyboard and a blank screen, and far less has gotten me through far more.

It’s fully spring, I’m prepared to say, and today I have Dressed Myself in a fetching baby blue v-neck sweater over a “waishaatsu,” which is how the Japanese people say “white, collared button-up shirt.” My belt matches my shoes, pants, and socks, I am drinking a hot mug of masala chai, I have string cheese in my desk and maguro sushi in the fridge, and there are seven hours to go. I wonder if I could write a Nom for seven hours straight? Dear lord I hope not.

TRAVELOGUE

We went to Costco last night, which is suicide on the weekend and just a mere annoyance any other time. Getting there and getting back takes much longer than actually shopping for stuff, which is usually accomplished by us telling each other there are only a couple of things that we want, then going up and down every aisle and throwing tons of shit into the cart and not leaving without spending less than two-hundred bucks on enormous jars of pickles and other such sundries. It’s usually a surprise three or four days later when our purchases arrive at our apartment, carefully shipped for a mere five bucks a box, COD–in addition to a ten pound sack of onions I know I am expecting an enormous bag of gummy bears and some Dr. Pepper, but I can remember little else about what I actually purchased. I may have purchased a slab of apple smoked bacon, and perhaps some dried cherries? It is possible these are only the wishes of a lucid, waking dream.

Dining at Costco always presents a unique conundrum as opposed to eating at most Japanese restaurants I frequent. In most cases I am able to easily eliminate 80% of the menu for being pickled, runny, or genitalia, but at Costco the few options are all what we fighting game players would refer to as “god tier.” Do I choose the pizza? It’s big American pizza! A massive Korean bulgogi bread roll with cheese and sauce and beef? The soda is 80 yen and refillable–it is like the deranged wish of a Japanese man, for an hour. Am I living in America? It is no wonder we are uniformly enormous–we do not know how good we have it, because we know nothing else. Know this! The next time you idly roll your loading cart through Sam’s Club and figure the $299 LCD televisions are too expensive, you are actually experiencing the result of American persistence. For the efforts of your forefathers you can purchase the most affordable consumer electronics and foodstuffs in the world, and complain about their prices.

Anyway, I got the combo pizza, and it was just like getting pizza at any Costco in the states, which says more about it than I could. They have literally boxed up America and sent it over on a massive boat, dozens of pallets wide and tall. The beer still costs fifty bucks a case though and there is no Macaroni and Cheese or ranch dressing packets in sight not that you’d be able to find sour cream to mix it with anyway.

CURRENT CULTURAL NOTE

My coworkers are over there laughing so hard they are literally crying, there is water coming out, because of some Internet soundboard that has something to do with this cultural phenomenon AC commercial. For the uninitiated, following the big earthquake and tsunami on the 11th every television channel in Japan went pretty much to a nonstop news format for about a week solid. During this time, despite the fact that almost every set in Japan was probably turned on and had eyes glued to it, companies were (understandably) reluctant to run advertising for their products, 30-second monuments to absurdity packed full of giggly dipshits who continue on in their pre-recorded worlds totally unaware of the huge disaster up north, chomping on seasoned rice and doing stupid dances and taking chugs of beer with a “kyaaaa!”.

The companies’ pulling of most of their advertising left gaps in the TV schedules for commercial breaks with which there was now no material to fill them, and these channels need breaks some time! Enter AC, the advertising committee of Japan, and their public service announcements. For a week solid, virtually the only ads you could see on TV were PSAs from AC, running the gamut from breast cancer prevention to properly using your greetings and everything in between. (Think “this is your brain, this is your brain on drugs.”)

AC announcements are instantly recognizable by citizens of Japan because of the distinctive jingle that follows them: on a white screen with the blue letters AC, the sing-songy voice of a woman warbling “AY SHEEEEEE” rings out. Since these PSAs are usually fifteen seconds long, in an average commercial break an unsuspecting TV-viewer could hear “AY SHEEEEE” six, seven, eight times in succession–often following repeats of the exact same “check your boobs, ladies” announcements back to back to back. This became a sort of cultural lynchpin in an era where less and less people all watch the same television programs like they did in the 90s–everyone’s stuck to the TV for the news, and everyone sees the same stuff. Though perhaps not commanding the most refined senses of humor, the Japanese people have a delightful, almost sublime grasp of the absurd, and so like a bad manzai comedy catchphrase, “AY SHEEEEEE” became a rally cry. Some people eventually got so annoyed with it that AC removed the tune from the end of all their PSAs; it has yet to return.

The real sticking point here was a commercial about using greetings, with little animated cutesy characters spouting common daily phrases like “konnichiwa” and “arigatou” with singalong subtitles at the bottom. Everyone in the damned country knows the words to this fucking thing now and it has gotten out of control. I’ll just embed it here so you can see it!

It’s so out of control, in fact, that people are making bizarre edit versions of them and posting them on YouTube. My favorite is this one, where the little pink thing morphs into a giant robot ala Gunbuster and powers up with a little AC emblem in the middle of her helmet that, upon appearing, sings the “AY SHEEEEEE” song. Hell why not just embed that one too for kicks.

Moreno than the high school baseball games, Monster Hunter or Arashi or Asahi Super Dry, this commercial is what Japanese people are all culturally tuned into, and it would not surprise me in the fucking least if these goofy bastards found themselves turned into marketing mascots with corresponding plush toy lines. To me, it’s as much a symbol of the quake as anything else. It still feels weird to see an AC commercial without the jingle at the end, and I imagine the day it returns will be a triumphant one.

To finish up the thread from before, this soundboard my coworkers found lets you play the various phrases from the commercial. (I actually found it on the net, you can play with it by clicking the word DOOP after this sentence. DOOP They seem to find it pretty funny. When the head teacher came back they all slinked back to their desks snickering like high schoolers, and I sipped my drink.

A GEEKY ASIDE DEALING WITH THE NINTENDO 3DS

Because the people of this country had not gotten enough portable gaming already, Nintendo put out a new handheld system last month that displays images in THREE DIMENSIONS, by using a special screen that sends a slightly different picture to each eye, fooling you into parting with 250 dollars of your money. I have placed an order for the North American, English version of this system, mostly because I am an idiot but also for the privilege of playing a re-release of the second version of the fourth game in a series of fighting games I have purchased handfuls of times already. The game is the almost absurdly named Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition and with it I will pierce the heavens using only these mighty thumbs and a wireless Internet connection.

One of the neat things about this system is that when you are carrying it around, it can wirelessly detect if other people are carrying one around too, and then it swaps data between you without you even knowing until you check it later. This means little caricatures of people can show up in your system and you can use them to battle monsters and crap, and also you can virtually fight each others’ collectible figures, and all kinds of other junk. This, by extension, means that it is good to be carrying your 3DS when you are surrounded by a group of people, because more swapped data means MORE FUN!!!!!!

I would like to believe that I have not actually seen any Japanese person carrying around a 3DS in a month because they are all squirreled away secret in their bags trying to detect other systems, but the fact of the matter is that I just don’t know if that is the case or not. Once I get mine (maybe another week or two?) I’m going to go Osaka on a weekend and cruise through Yodobashi and maybe park my ass in Doutonbori and see how many I get. This is what I have paid money for–virtual, real-world wireless fishing for humans (it also includes a fishing game).

Another neat thing about it is that you can play games that have to do with the camera. There is one game called “Face Raiders” where you take a picture of something’s face, then it maps it onto the enemies in the game and you have to spin around and shoot them out of the air. Naturally I plan on photographing my cat, so that every time he rips up my tatami mats I can turn on the 3DS and rip up his face with phasers.

REGARDING YESTERDAY’S LUNCH

When I first started working here, I noticed a strange man coming in each day around the same time, then leaving, then coming back with a metal lunchbox full of various foods for people. As I later learned, he is a food delivery guy for a local restaurant who services a variety of local workplaces in the neighborhood. I have ordered from him on a variety of occasions: average oyakodon (chicken and egg on rice), sub-par tannindon (beef and egg on rice), the saltiest curry I have ever tasted, and other things. Yesterday I wrote on the paper that I wanted the makizushi roll, except he never came to get the paper, and so he never brought the food! Apparently since lots of teachers are gone taking spring vacations right now he didn’t feel a need to come up. So me and another teacher just went to the restaurant instead.

He had told me I could see a Traditional Japanese restaurant, and it was kind of the equivalent of a really old small-town American diner, with some twists–in the glass case there were no pastries, but instead deep-fried fish pieces and strange pickled salads, and the room offset from the dining area was a tatami room with a television playing baseball. I got my sushi roll, which was a salad roll with egg and crab stick and some other weird things in it, and was eight massive pieces for about three bucks. As I ordered it a taxi driver said to me in Japanese “whoa, Japanese food is no problem for you?!” and I had to say of course not, and he asked where I was from and I told him America, and he said whoa, I thought all Americans ate was steak! and I said that would be nice but no, and he said and beer! and I said well that would be nice too but I don’t see any beer here, and I saw a twinkle of rebelliousness in my coworker’s eye but nothing happened.

The microwave in this joint was from like 1975, it made a sound like Mr. Rogers’ trolley when it finished warming up some dude’s fish.

ABOUT MY CAT

Due to a widespread sentiment that our delightful Kiki was getting “too fat,” despite most people having no idea how fat too fat is for a cat, I have instituted a diet for out cat, which works kind of like this:

1. In the morning, feed the cat half a can of food
2. At night, feed him the other half

It’s working out pretty well I guess, not that I can really tell how fat the cat is since he is entirely black and usually not standing upright. The downside is that he wakes me up at 5:30 every morning by first sinking his claws into the covers and trying to pull them off of me with absolutely no effect, then secondly by climbing up on my head and licking my hair till I wake up. He has also officially taken the title of “most able to relax” from any other previous cat I have ever had. Just last night I held him like a shovel with his head as the spade, one arm under him for support, and he was totally cool with it. Sometimes when I am playing games at the table or sitting upright, I will plop him down on my lap like a human baby, and he will just sit there, feet sticking out, front paws hanging there, being all like “sup.” What a lazy cat this cat is.

20 CLEVER WAYS TO NOT DO WORK AT WORK, EVEN THOUGH YOU STAY WAY AFTER THE TIME YOU ARE ALLOWED TO LEAVE, BUT YOU DON’T LEAVE BECAUSE YOU WANT TO APPEAR LIKE YOU ARE BUSY WITH WORK, EVEN THOUGH THERE IS NO WORK AND YOU OBVIOUSLY ARE NOT WORKING, BROUGHT TO YOU BY MY COWORKERS

1. Reload the Yahoo! main page repeatedly, perhaps to see what the new banner advertisement is this time
2. Look at clothes shopping websites, then minimize them and get out your wallet and dig for a credit card
3. Print some documents you do not need printed, then crinkle them up
4. Read a book
5. Put a book on the desk in front of you, then lean over it so it looks like you’re reading with your arms crossed, then go to sleep
6. Repeatedly drink coffee and fill the hot water heater back up with water
7. Go to Yahoo Auctions to search for the clothes you almost just bought with your credit card but didn’t actually buy
8. Discuss the same local cafe for almost fifteen minutes, going back and forth while you each say exactly the same things as the other person
9. Instead of using whiteout on one of the hundred identical misprinted forms and making new copies of it, use whiteout on all one hundred identical misprinted forms
10. Have another person read numbers to you off student tests while you type them in, instead of reading and typing at the same time (bonus points, this occupies two people)
11. Stand up, examine the schedules and information on the white board, sit down, look at some other people, stand up, walk around the room, then look at the information on the white board again
12. Visually confirm that the plastic recycling bin is indeed full, and discuss it with your coworkers, then don’t do anything
13. Ask if it is hot in here, open every window, declare it is cold, close all the windows, then open just one window
14. Leave the room and walk down the hallway, then walk back to the room
15. Find something to put in the paper shredder
16. Type loudly on your keyboard, even though your screen is off
17. Write a grocery list with devoted intensity
18. Look over at a group of people having a conversation, acting interested
19. Wikipedia (personal favorite)
20. Go to the sink, take a couple clean dishes from the drying rack, and wash them again

RANDOM OBSERVATION

One of the books that has been left here on my desk (cover price 1600 yen) says in katakana “Chorus Laboratory Party,” but the way the katakana is rendered, when you say it out loud it kinda sounds like “Call Us Lavatory Party” which is maybe something a fledgling band would say.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

As April arrives again and the sakura consider blossoming, it again is time for teachers to transfer away to other schools. Though I haven’t had even close to the same severity of rank decimation around me as I did last year, when I lost all my principals and all but two of my co-teachers across three schools, I am sad to admit that my exceedingly cool co-worker who lived in Leeds, joined this school last year, and has the habit of inserting gratuitous curse words into everything today quits this school for a supreme adventure!

Despite the insistence of his superiors, he has defied the traditionally Japanese idea of working the same job for ever and ever and decided to relinquish his public teaching certificate and volunteer for the Peace Corps, already accepted to ship out in September and live in Fiji until 2012. We always spoke very casual English together over vending machine coffees, and he always made a genuine effort to speak to me and make me feel welcome. He’s only about six years older than me and I felt something of a kindred soul in him and his ideals and approach to life. He said that a man should be global, and asked for my support over Skype, before saying that leaving this country for volunteer work in another country would be his “last great adventure.” But when I consider the courage it takes to do something different in a work culture where consistency is king, I think it might just be his first one.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Down to the ground

My March 11th began somewhat unceremoniously a couple weeks ago at school with the Janitor, who I often hear snoring and making other kinds of bizarre guttural noises in the row behind me, dropping a massive box of toilet paper from a height of two feet onto the floor next to me. My neighbor teacher, who I often teach with, proceeded to shout OH IT WAS SURPRISING!!! but using Japanese where it sounds even weirder. He tells me, I thought it was an earthquake, and we laugh like little chums, ahahah, and I knock the Slinky Junior on my desk over and go BKSHHH and he grabs the arms of his chair and starts wiggling around going “guruguruguruguru” and oh it’s a big old laugh!

Then later in that day there was that whole real earthquake, which I felt ever so slightly here in Kobe, and which I turned around in my row to confirm actually existed and wasn’t just me “feelin’ weird” and there was one dude who was like “yep” and which killed like what 25,000 people which was pretty terrible.

Then until now for the last two weeks I was totally occupied with other stuff so I didn’t write in here! I’ve been working on a fan translation/localization of an old Game Boy game with some other dudes on the Internet and that’s taken a lot of time, like a big big lot, like dozens of hours. And also I left night school a couple hours early last week, and so I couldn’t write this then either! I apologize profusely, from the bottom of the geographically lowest point of my anatomy.

It’s not even worth me writing about that big earthquake really because I am sure you have read and seen more than enough, except I should say that I and everyone I know are fine, all you could see on TV for a week was news and the first show back was some bizarre variety show, everything that most media outlets have reported is really horrible, I am not glowing in the dark, there is no significant radiation, lots of people have donated lots of stuff, and everything in Kobe is fine except you can’t really find batteries anywhere and there was a toilet paper shortage because apparently distant earthquakes make hoarders poop a lot. But the other people who were really messed up by it all, I feel for ’em! That is why I donated two dollars on my Playstation to the relief cause LOL! Also bunches and bunches of clothes and other goods, which were gathered from our apartment, the MAIN COLLECTION POINT for our little charity drive, in three truckloads. My father, not to be outdone, is working with his company and some others to donate over ten thousand pounds of egg to Japan, which I anticipate is many orders of magnitude more egg than I have consumed or will ever consume in my entire life.

SHIT OF THE DOOP
– I’ve been writing for five hours today and kinda don’t feel like writing this but I know I had better or it’ll just get easier not to do it next week
– I ate two pieces of string cheese today
– The weather sure is nice out there!
NERP

Spring break cruises ever onward, and I can tell it’s spring break because I actually have time for hobbies once more. Jessy and I are even watching anime again, and I’ve been flirting with the idea of completing the plastic Evangelion model I started building almost a goddamned year ago. Do you know what time of year it was a year ago, when I started building a plastic Evangelion model? I will give you one guess it was spring break. I can also tell it’s spring because the weather is getting warmer, though every time I say that it is, it becomes freezing the next day so maybe not. Our cat, who recently celebrated his six-month anniversary of beginning the total destruction of the tatami mats on which we sleep, is also enjoying his carefree life, and has been partying by lying around all over the place on everything and being so lazy.

I figure I have about three more weeks before I am fully back into the swing of teaching classes every single day, and that is goddamned fine with me. I think there is a closing ceremony here at night school tonight, though I have never attended one for this school before and neither am wearing nor possess a suit in this building. It has been suggested to me that I am most certainly “free,” meaning I can either go to the ceremony downstairs or stay in this room. I would much rather stay in this room, though they are closing the blinds and I feel like I might end up going. I do not know if they mean that they would rather I do or do not go, and I have no idea what my role or position would be. The perilous choices of an outsider.

Some guy around here has breath that smells worse than my cat’s, and you had better believe that is saying something. I theorize that his teeth, which he has presumably not brushed since the Showa era, are beginning to be frustrated with all the cigarette smoke, coffee, and raw dog kidneys he is ingesting right before bed, and have decided to secede from the union if you knowahmsahn. I am not far behind them, but have three hours to go before I can get the fuck out of here.

Tagged

Something in my cup

I know only that I want to buy what is left of a chicken after you take all the good stuff out–its husk, that weeping shell of a bird, made forcefully to part with sections of itself it once enjoyed so much. I Want The Carcass, though such a word makes me think only of the dried-up creatures of a desert, left to get tough and crispy under the sun, passed up by even the most starving carrion-lovers. In Japanese this construct, this thing, is called “gara,” or “kara,” depending on if you find it referred to in one alphabet or the other. I want the tori‘s gara, the tori no gara. The bird’s rent hull, beat.

I want to make chicken noodle soup for my useless, damaged woman, who is sick more often than Garbage Pail Kids and who is currently a heap of sputum wadded up on our couch, soiled with the stank crud of expired tissues and yet-virile germs. But I do not want to half-mast this shit, no. This is no time for mourning but rejoicing! I am interested not in thine bouillon, thine consomme, thine stocks and bonds, thine broths and willy waters. I am to do it up, pound the collagens and fats and marrows of the world into delicious submission, bent to my every whim–I am Man! all sternum and stockpot, boiling from within. Essentially, I want to bubble this dead bird’s old frozen skeleton in a pot of water with some vegetables until it leaves delicious liquid for me, which I will turn into soup. It is a process older than recorded history, to be replicated in my tiny kitchen.

In the grocery store, the name of which transliterates, despite their most earnest English-focused intentions, to what an average American would pronounce “Gooroomay Shitty,” I wander around what is ostensibly considered the meat counter before accosting a man unloading some fish. He ushers me to the area where, for two-and-a-half bucks, I can take home the last remaining vestige of a life.

I will not explain the process of soup-making–the arcane chants required have no place in this text. What resulted after about five hours of incantations, however, was revelatory. Rendered into being from only the mysterious processes of cell growth and the gnashing of teeth, the magmatic stew shook the foundations of taste itself, delivering unto us most divine providence. Also I made some fucking noodles from some flour and eggs word son.

CURIOUS JAPANESE THINGS OF THE WEEK
– 9% Chu-hi, a flavored, lemon-lime soda which happens to contain twice the amount of alcohol as exists in my blood stream
– Rock band “Galileo Galilei,” which has nothing to do with the dead guy of the same name, and other Japanese bands with totally normal band names: RADWIMPS, Mr. Children, HALFBY, Pia-no-jaC, Bump of Chicken, FUNKY MONKEY BABYS, and Flumpool
– Today’s sushi roll, which was the size of any normal sushi roll you’d get in the states, only I got it at a convenience store for a buck twenty five, and it was filled with mayonnaise and teriyaki chicken
– The year-long Japanese language class I’ve been taking, which is over now, and which has left me with the knowledge to probably pass the lowest-level Japanese Language Proficiency Test (N5), even though I still sound like a mentally stunted piece of corn when attempting to engage in conversation
– The Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo’s newest handheld video game system, which has sold something like a million systems in its first week, and which you can still not actually find to buy anywhere, and which I still have not seen anyone using in the wild, and which I am just trusting actually exists despite the lack of visual evidence
– The bizarre subgenre of television programming that seems almost solely devoted to young, mostly attractive women stepping into various onsens in Japan and then shouting in ecstasy KIMOCHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII
END OF CURIOUS JAPANESE THINGS OF THE WEEK

Dear Nomaday reader,

If you routinely find yourself hard up for the garbage these fingers churn out, this week could likely be one most satisfying. Not only is this very Nom hittin’ the tubes, but N-Sider plays host to a multitude of new articles I’ve written. Of course, I am only capable of tricking myself into continuing to write by deluding myself into believing that angry reflections at a week in Japan are considered actual writing, and also that spewing forth pointless humor about video games targeted at a niche audience and understood by only a fraction of that audience is worthwhile. How is your family? That is nice.

The downside of writing things that I enjoy writing is that The Novel, which has barely changed in years, continues to languish un-worked-on. The very real possibility that I will never be depressed enough again to work on it is harrowing, and so I have devised a series of actions to be carried out in an attempt to depress me. In order of execution: insult all of my co-workers, verbally renounce the acknowledgment of any number of gods, beat Jessy to within an inch of her life, use my cat as a punching bag (and later, a pipe cleaner), and perhaps grind the bones of everyone I have ever loved into a fine paste which I will use as sandwich spread.

But instead of getting started on that list I am writing in a virtual journal read only by a mysterious, unknown constituent, and eating string cheese, both of which make me about as happy as I can get without purchasing rare, semi-pornographic merchandise. Worthy trade-off? I guess. For Now

Tagged , , , ,

Sensible workplace procedures

On my desk there has been placed an attendance sheet on which I need to put a stamp indicating my “okayness” with the fact that I took a sick day at the beginning of last month, as though I somehow had no choice whether or not to be sick and as though I actually have some choice about whether or not to stamp it. This is essentially the punch clock if you will, that I stamp every week when I come to work at my night school. I am to use my personal inkan to put the little kanji for my name right there.
But I am not paying attention enough, and I stamp it in the wrong box. I am in Japan, so I already know that by putting it in the wrong box I have ruined the entire form, which has already arcanely needed and received stamps from people situated all over the goddamned building. So in an effort to please the secretary, to make her comfortable, to say “no look, I just made a mistake, it’s no big deal, you absolutely don’t need to throw away the entire sheet” I put a little whiteout over the place where I wasn’t supposed to have stamped. Naturally, it is the first thing she notices when she comes back to get the sheet, which I expected. “This is no good, she says,” and I tell her “I made a mistake, right there,” and she says “is that so,” and I say “yep that’s so,” and with a sigh she says “well maybe we’ll just have to do this whole sheet over one more time” and as she walks away I say “is that so” and she says “yep that’s so,” and then she leaves.

When she brings the new sheet back, the act of stamping which is obviously too complex for my foreign brain, despite the fact that I have carried out this exact process with no problems the last eighteen months I’ve done it and was able to communicate with her in her native language, she circles the squares I need to stamp with enormous, exaggerated pencil marks, and tells me kindly to stamp in the circles. The sad reality of the situation is that because of the vagaries of the Japanese language, even when I proceed to tell her “I understand (what to do)” she can interpret it merely as “I understand (your directions)” and so my being talked down to is without possible retort. My stamps are of course the first things that are to be put on the paper–even before the simple numerical date at the top–and surely this way if I just screw it up again well then at least she hasn’t bothered everyone else first.

This is one example of the nonsensical bureaucratic bullshit and of course, in my case, passive-aggressive belittlement that brings many types of formal business to a screeching halt in Japan and drives people so fucking insane that they leap from buildings a thousand a day. Sometimes it makes me wonder how they could have ever been allowed to be creative enough to invent gyoza, video games, ramen, animation, and comic books. Oh wait they didn’t invent any of that stuff.

What could possibly be the reason that instead of just saying “oh there was a mistake no big deal” they must re-fill the entire form? Are there trust issues with the higher-ups, and their higher-ups, and theirs? This is, after all, the country that has hired and pays a man to stand in front of my train station escalator which is being repaired and will be walled off for a month. His job is just to stand there, every morning, making it insultingly clear that yes, if the barriers didn’t tip you off, the escalator is closed. A scenario echoes through my head about what life must be like in buildings unlike mine, those technologically advanced enough to include hot water at the bathroom sink: a small speaker system echoes, forever, “remember, hot water is hot, and is not cold water, honorable person who is using the hot water, and remember to scrub your hands please.”

Are they afraid I somehow grossly, sloppily applied whiteout to the sheet and that by doing so I may have somehow scribbled in some sort of inaccurate information, despite there obviously being none? (The field I “corrected” was a field that I could in no way alter to my benefit.) Are they afraid that by whiting out my mistake I have somehow HIDDEN THE TRUTH and ruined the accuracy of the sheet, which contains no time verifications, dates, or other sorts of markings, and instead of my signature bears merely an ink image from a wooden stamp any fucker can buy at the dollar store?

The real forgery is about to come, as she wastes ten minutes preparing a replacement sheet that will be a beautiful lie and look identical to the first one, except the number 7 will be written on plain paper instead of on top of white out. Why even issue white out pens? Sometimes I really just don’t know about this place. But then I have a delicious plate of tempura and beat my Japanese wife for not cutting my sausages into the shape of an octopus for my lunch box and all is well again. No but really I like living here

SOME NON-CYNICAL STUFF THAT WAS GOOD ABOUT JAPAN THIS WEEK THAT I COULD NOT HAVE POSSIBLY EXPERIENCED ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD
– Bought a CD
– Got a couple books in the mail
– Left work two hours early yesterday
UH

I’ve been playing a game on my PSP called Xenogears and in like four days I have managed to put about three hours on it. Back in the day I was so fanatic about games I’d have put three hours on it before I even opened the package. Do you know what this means? Me either but it cannot be good.

Classes are over for the semester which means I’ve got about six weeks to regain my workplace sanity and buck up for the new class of incomers in mid-April. A year-end party with my co-workers on the eleventh might be a good start, because there will be lots to drink. Yet, try as I might, I am beginning to feel more and more like I cannot fill my happiness-holes with nostalgic Japanese toys and games and will instead need to look into myself for the seeds of mental comfort ooh look it is a Final Fantasy VIII sticker book.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,