I am eating a hamburger, a double hamburger to be precise, with cheese, and salsa, and it is so drippy and disgusting that it makes sense, just works like a hamburger should, it is like a chorus in harmony. Next to my plate is the coup de grace, a genuine root beer float, and when I ordered it the guy said Da-dzu oa Ei ando Daburu? And I chose the second one. It is revelation, epiphany! Ice cream and root beer. But then, there are cake sprinkles on top, and yep I guess I am still in Japan. With every delicious sip I get those little bits of plastic-flavored crap-wax, fucking up my drink, and it is just one of those things. I work up the energy to lose my mind, to abandon my tenuous deathgrip on reality, but can’t do it, can’t let it fly. This is my ambition, and the wax sprinkles sink it to the bottom, beneath the surface.
The diner rings “American” though really all you have to be to be American here is “vaguely western,” and the DVD selection, which I could decipher by way of the spine katakana, rings true, America’s Greatest Hits. If you ever wonder what Japan thinks of America, just watch these movies: Rain Man, Forrest Gump, Top Gun, E.T., Rocky, Transformers. I have chili-flavored hot sauce with my fries just to mix things up, and finish the rest of my burger with a fork. The meal costs me about fifteen bucks. I am certain I have gotten a good deal.
The summertime beats us now, as regular as television variety shows and Jehovah’s Witnesses. One day I forget to bring my Patented Japanese Sweat Hanky with me to school, and I find myself wondering how exactly to dab the wetness off my forehead, materially challenged as I am. I resort to fanning myself with a plastic fan, emblazoned with the image of a comic book boxer. I drink green tea by the liter. My cat, ever a moron, cries for me to let him escape from our air conditioned living space into the hallway, which I would rather rent out to men for use as a post-workout sauna.
In an attempt to illusorily deceive myself into believing I am a regularly happy and fulfilled person, I have undertaken and completed a variety of tasks in the last couple of months. The largest of which, a fan-translation and script edit of a 19-year-old video game, finished up yesterday. I also write a bunch of junk about video games for the video game website. I watched the first Dirty Harry movie while Jessy was gone the other day, and we also went through a few Tarantino movies for kicks.
Last Friday I went combing through an under-the-tracks area called Motoko Town, in Motomachi, where you may remember we bought our first ricecooker. This time I was looking for some old games on floppy disks, and I found a couple in a store packed more completely with junk than a Goodwill donation dumpster. For ten bucks the man let me take a couple, then snuck back out into the alley to meet me, secreting a bonus item into my hand. It was a copy of the Super Mario Bros. 2 strategy guide, published in 1986. Cover price 310 yen. I used it over the weekend in an effort to beat the evil game, and lost all my guys on world 7-4, just like a kid.
Jessy’s balcony garden has begun bearing fruit, tomatoes most specifically which are technically fruit but which I use like vegetables. I’ve taken once again to making my own spaghetti sauce while our pasta boils, and the fresh tomatoes add their own brand of flavor, on those rare occasions when I can get them into the pot before Jessy pops them from the vine into her mouth directly. I suppose it is only fair–she cares for them every day and all I do is fill her plastic bottles with water.
The stupid humidity has had the annoying effect of, as usual, causing our tension-rod clothes bar to slip and fall from our bedroom closet, meaning that all of my clothes now must rest haphazardly, still on hangers, in the closet itself. I have eyes on picking up some metal hanging rings to support the bar, but that will involve actually progressing from one place to another out-of-doors, an experience that is not in any sense of the word a pleasant one. Though it seems to be raining slightly today I cannot imagine the water to feel any more comfortable than being spat on by a professional wrestler. I will find out in about an hour, after I leave this desk, where I am not needed.
Exams and classes are finished; until mid-September I am dead weight. I can continue to be professionally foreign during this time, though I cannot really announce it to the youth. They will need to, with their sports and clubs, do with out me, and merely imagine the faces and personalities of foreigners as a way to amuse and distract them from their routines.
Jessy goes to China pretty soon, to do some mountain climbing or rock climbing or something somewhere. I don’t know much about it, but she bought a small one-person tent and set it up in the living room. After she’s done there she will go train the new teachers in Tokyo before returning home, about ten days after that. I expect that before too much longer she will be doing things outlandish enough that to merely mention them will be all I have left. “Oh, Jessy’s hunting toucans in Peru with the coffee guy from television.”
It’s been so long since I wrote in here, hasn’t it? I’m sorry. I blame the general lack of new developments, as well as my concerted efforts to focus my attention on less introspective pursuits. Two years is now officially the amount of time you can live somewhere before it’s boring, or at least it is for me. I search and search for something new, but all I find is truth, justice, and the Japanese Way: buy something, and once it stops making you happy, go ahead and buy something else. I’ve started putting my money in a bank account, and leaving myself, as it were, to my own devices.