Tag Archives: karaoke

Now they grow up sharing McDonald’s and Disneyland

I’ve taken to wearing a beard and mustache, which I prefer to spell moustache, for no explicit reason. Having never actually witnessed what happens when I do not shave my face, I decided to give it the old college try for the first time last November, a month that some people have taken to dubbing “movember,” perhaps because mustache starts with an m and they want a sanctioned excuse to not shave and look like filthy mountain men. It was a short-lived experiment, I didn’t like the way it felt. When I left for Thailand at the end of December I decided not to bring my electric razor cause it was bulky. I haven’t shaved anything off since then except for a little trimming. So here I am, kinda mustachey, kinda beardy. It took a while before people at my schools started remarking on it, but things are in full swing now. It came to my attention the other day, via one of my good co-workers, that “many” of the students have been asking “why” I am now wearing hair on my face. I told him, as I struggled to come up with an answer, that I was basically doing it to see what it would be like. They thought it was hilarious, a reaction I often encounter when I say something that is not funny at all.

I told them that Jessy liked it, that it was just kind of interesting to see, personally, how it would come in, if my mustache and beard would ever connect (they won’t, it seems), what I would look like. I asked them if they had ever grown a mustache or beard and they said no. One of them is probably sixty, the other is two weeks younger than me. I considered asking why they had never tried it, just to put them in my shoes. I did not ask them. In a way this minor act of growing hair on my face almost makes me feel more foreign, since nobody at the school has a mustache or beard–I feel like I’m slowly re-Americanizing myself in preparation for the move back home.

Speakin’ of America I accidentally got into a conversation about old times today and found some pictures that I had of my room when I lived in Pittsburgh, and it sorta depressed me because I looked at them and the first thing I felt was man, I miss living in that place. Like you always think about a time when you are most happy or something, and I really felt “I was more happy then than I am now” and it was kind of a sad thought. I want to be happy! I wonder what it is I need to change or do. Maybe it is just the impermanence of living here that is driving me crazy, not that anywhere else I’ve ever lived has been any more permanent. It kind of seems like the times I get the most depressed are when I’m sitting here at night school doing jack shit except thinking about things that I used to do, which is probably confirmation of my brand new and groundbreaking theory that idle hands lead to minds that wish their hands weren’t idle but don’t have the ambition to make them move. Yes that’s it

CURIOUS JAPANESE THINGS OF THE NOM
– Today’s gummy snack from the FamilyMart, featuring three different flavors of gummies: melon soda, cola, and lemon sour, and named “Cola up! &Friends”
– My distinctly non-romantic idea that because tomorrow is Valentine’s Day me and Jessy should go on a date “to the curry restaurant in the basement in Sannomiya that we both really like” but hey she was like OH MY GOD YEAH and I was like take that, someone
– The loudspeaker van that I walked past on the way to school that was yelling in the top of its lungs about Japan needs to REVIVAL!!!!! but he sounded so angry about it
– Ate McDonald’s MEGA MUFFIN the other day for breakfast, it was pretty mega if i am to be perfectly honest with you. It is part of their annual “Big America” series of strangely-themed “American” sandwiches like Texas Burger and Idaho Burger that are both nothing like anything available in America and at the same time a good reflection of what a global burger company comes up with when they want to portray “America” to the average Japanese person
mcdsTHE END OF FOOD IN JAPAN

I went to karaoke last weekend again with some pals, a kind of renaissance of karaoke after having not really gone in over a year or so. Evidently, somewhere along the line, the Big Echo place replaced all their ancient fuckin’ TVs and the horrible stock videos that play behind the lyrics with brand new widescreen TVs and newly-shot HD videos. It’s kind of a bizarre change, updating the old fashions for the new. The old videos were really amazing in a way, most of them obviously shot at-or-around the turn of the century, full-frame, people in ridiculous clothes and dated storefronts, hilarious foreign actors recruited by Japanese companies to shoot these things. These new ones are sort of a strange anachronism, brand-new high-definition video matched up to goofy lyrics for Take Me Home Country Roads like some teenagers hangin’ out in an apartment eating pizza or whatever. I feel like there’s a short story in there somewhere, that whole scene must just be the weirdest goddamned thing.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Drive a striped tomato

Back during summer I went to some kid’s house, well it was actually his mom’s house, and I work with the mom, but she wanted me to go to her house during a summer day off and we would have a grand old time, and I could speak to the kid in English, and his name is Shuhei, and that is what I did. They fed me this massive, unfinishable lunch as a way to say thank you, I said thank you for the lunch and then I internally exploded, half my body make-up is sushi rice now, I’m kinda like an onigiri but in reverse. They gave me like 20 packs of soumen noodles as a gift cause I mentioned I liked them, all of this is not important. In the car on the way back to school I showed the kid my 3DS and he lost his fuckin’ mind, and that was the last I heard of all that. Then last week his mom came up to me and tried to put words together to represent the abstract concepts of a 3DS data exchange (called “a StreetPass” in the localized English), and explained she Wanted To Do A StreetPass, cause Shuhei got a 3DS from Santa Claus, holy shit. We made a StreetPass date, I felt like I was cheating on Jessica with a young boy via an Older Woman and we were gonna do filthy green-light district unprotected data transfer. Is the build up for this gonna be worth the payoff? Last week I brought my 3DS, after agonizing over how to set up my Mii, knowing that he would be received by an eight-year-old kid. I tried to figure out what hat I was gonna wear and what I was gonna set my message to and what game I’d play before so that I’d control WHAT HE WOULD GET. But then I totally fuckin forgot and I accidentally left the womanly beehive wig on lookin so beautiful, and my StreetPass message, though I thankfully recently changed it from “Rectal impact,” was “I’m not negi,” an inside joke that is only inside to Jessy and I, and only funny to one of us, and that one of us is me. So this kid probably got the StreetPass when his mom brought his 3DS home, after bringing it specifically to tag me, and then he got to be all like “Brandon is wearing a girly beehive wig and looks like a hostess, what does I’m not negi mean, oh, oh god oh, what” So that was pretty cool. I have like 776 StreetPass tags, which is like 600 more than he does, amateur, get your shit together eight-year-old I am crushing you, jeez. His most recently played title was Nintendo Video.

Speaking of “Rectal impact” I have made it a goal lately to come up with the most depraved online mottos that I possibly can. A semi-chronological list follows, based only on memory, for posterity:

– Corpulent grogan
– Faetus impact
– Hefty rectal egg

Today I thought it was time for a change, so I first wanted to put it as “Magical fuckjuice” but the filter would not allow fuckjuice, and then I thought the word “soiree” sounded pretty funny so I tried changing it to “Violation soiree” but the filter wouldn’t allow that either!!! It also would not allow “Violator soiree” but humorously enough allowed “Rapelay soiree,” which even has cadence. I encourage all of you with Nintendo 3DS systems to get in on the action with a nice phrase like “Quivering donk” as long as it is sixteen characters or less.

MAGICAL FUCKWASTE OF JAPAN LATELY
– My students are doing their final presentations, they are hilarious
– My brain is a goddamned sieve lately, I cannot remember even a thing, holy shit
– Uh
UH

The most pressing issue on my mind when it comes to work lately is I wonder which of my co-workers the Hyogo aliens are going to suck away and send to other schools this April, and I find myself moving through the mental checklists as though I am personally selecting them for what accounts to a kind of “my circle” murder, as I’ll likely never see or correspond with any of the people that are spirited away for fresh blood. Which ones are expendable? I’ve come to the conclusion that mostly whatever happens is okay with me as long as I get a young, cool, attractive replacement just barely fluent enough in English to still make cute mistakes that are funny to me and also who likes hanging out so I am not the only person under sixty when the English staffs goes out to get shit drunk and yell anime songs at karaoke. It would also be nice if they are good at the Internet, then they can Google my name, find this blog somehow, and then see that I, in this post, expressly wished for their arrival, and also realize that I am a sociopath who has no idea what feelings are so maybe we can get along if they are down with a guy like me.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Various premium

Today’s the neon Times Square to the every-day corner bar: with about four times the screen real estate I am finding myself left feeling a little naked. Today instead of my diminutive Eee PC I’ve got my main laptop, the big ol’ Studio 15, with me here at night school, and it’s almost a little shocking to be typing a Nomaday on a full-sized keyboard instead of that cramped little wonder. The screen on this one is so vibrant and bright in this new setting that I actually had to dim it a bit to feel more comfortable.

I didn’t just lug this thing all the way out here for kicks though. Spurned on by an only semi-planned viewing last evening of A Charlie Brown Christmas, I took it upon myself to acquire said Motion-Picture in the highest of defs, and plan on showing it to my kids tonight as our final lesson until January 12th. All I want is what I have coming to me! All I want is my fair share! (This movie, upon further review, probably had more of a hand than I had consciously realized in shaping my own linguistic tendencies at a tender age.) Though the ending happens to be a little heavy-handedly Christian in its message, at least the damned thing deals with a Christian holiday. Christmas may very well be about Christ! I’m just not seeing it. Truly of all the Charlie Browns in the world, I’m the Charlie Browniest.

That said, I cannot imagine that my kids will be shocked, offended, put upon, or even aware of any sort of message that exists in the film which happens to be conveyed by dialogue, well-meaning but only-kinda-knowledgeable high schoolers that they are. This one will need to survive on charisma (and Snoopy) alone. The show is 25 minutes and my classes tonight are a shortened 35, so I’ll only need to blow a few intro and extro minutes with a bit of simple exposition (Charles Schulz invented these characters, they play this on TV every winter, it is 45 years old, yes Vince Guaraldi is the Man). Then we’ll be all set.

As luck would have it, it hasn’t been just any ordinary day that I chose to heft this weighty machine around. No, instead of going straight to work at the prescribed time, today I accomplished some most famous errands: the contest prize that I promised a lucky N-Sider reader has been verily, and tardily, sent off, with a few little toys and treats included as a bold repentance for my sins. In addition, after a somewhat linguistically baffling trip to the immigration office, I am now the proud bearer of a Japanese multiple re-entry permit, which allows me to enter (and re-enter) the country as many times as I do so wish until the day my visa bites the three-year big one. Of course to enter the country I must first leave the country, which I will most certainly be doing approximately a week from now. Hopefully in the future I’ll leave it again for at least India and Thailand, the only two places nearby that I really give enough of a shit to want to pay to visit. And at about sixty bucks for this permit I had better get my money’s worth! A final task this morning was to pay some slightly overdue bills, which I did at FamilyMart while buying a Monster Hunter Portable 3 branded bottle of soda and a piece of spicy breaded chicken in a paper envelope. (I chose the FamilyMart over Lawson specifically because I prefer FamilyMart’s spicy breaded.)

Kobe south of the station is decked out like a carnival and lit-up like Gary Busey thanks to the annual arrival of Luminarie, a massive exhibition/celebration in remembrance of the Great Hanshin Earthquake fifteen years ago. This thing consists of a variety of enormous white arches totally covered in thousands and thousands of little twinkly lights, set up over a street and ending in the community park. This has resulted in absolute throngs of people swarming the area for about a week now. I strolled through during the day today for not the first time, which provides an eerie duality: totally vacant but for the tarps of the street vendor’s tents. I haven’t been to see it at night this year, but if it’s anything like last year, and of course it is, the other side of the coin is feeling like a crayon in one of those 64-packs of Crayolas, and you’re in a case with other 64-packs, and the case is on a pallet with other cases, and the pallet is on a boat with a fucking million people slamming into you and stopping to take goddamned pictures all the time. If you are wondering, obviously I will go see it again this year, because I hate myself and I routinely do dumb crap.

Now ended, like many other things this time of year, is my Japanese class, which has shockingly improved my abilities to comprehend what others are saying while not entirely improving my ability to speak at anywhere near something approaching a conversational level above that of a broom talking to a wall. The only solution of course is to Speak More with People, but it’s hard to consciously take the mental hit and reduce yourself to broom level. As a compensation I have begun and will continue to study kanji and vocabulary, easily my weakest points. If I can read it and understand it I can interpret it and “translate” it, which is essentially endgame when it comes to my ultimate desires regarding the Japanese language. Now that I’ve turned in my acceptance form for a third year on my contract, I’m guaranteed to at least have some more chances to utterly embarrass myself in this foreign land that happens to be my home. I will never criticize anyone who is trying to learn a language again (as long as they are trying). Unless that language is Klingon.

CURIOUS THINGS
– Mitsuya Cider “THE PREMIUM,” which apparently cost me about forty yen more than a standard Mitsuya Cider, and which comes in a glass bottle with a metal lid and gold label, and which bears a label proclaiming its 99.9% naturalness percentage, and which says in cursive script White crystal sugar is used for various premium sweets, which is a phrase that not only tells me nothing but instills in me little to no confidence that white crystal sugar is actually used in this drink because they are too busy using it in various premium sweets
– Modern complex board games, namely one Arkham Horror, to which I was semi-introduced by a friend, being yet another potential hobby that promises to be expensive, time-consuming, space-consuming, and virtually impossible to seriously engage in so long as I live on this island four thousand miles from America
– Last weekend’s Chinese course meal and all-you-can-drink birthday party, which absolutely loaded me with draft beer, eggdrop soup, spicy rice noodles, chicken salad with peanut sauce, deep-fried orange chicken, Mabodoufu, hot Chinese wine, and Krispy Kreme donuts for dessert
– The ensuing karaoke fiesta, which started with six and ended up with nearly twelve people in a room the size of a hotel bathroom with a TV at the front, two microphones, two tambourines, unlimited whisky highballs, and the theme song to Married with Children
– This bitchin’ beef stew that I made last night with huge chunks of carrots and potatoes and beef and which I instinctively prepared a huge pot of rice for while thinking that “you can’t have stew without rice” and which I ate with rice anyway and which was bitchin’ like I said
– My cat, who while I slept last night, came to rest on my pillow, wrapped himself around my head, and meticulously groomed with his tongue the entirety of my visible hair, which is after my recent cut now short enough that it felt like my head was being brushed with a dish sponge, and who I tried to stop once but lacked the persistence to follow through with, and who I eventually just let go because fuck it it’s your mouth, cat (I will not be returning the favor)
CURIOUS THINGS

I’ve taken again, as I often do in cycles, to playing some games on my PSP lately instead of reading or listening to music during my commute and down time. The most recent one is a game called Half-Minute Hero, which initially consists of an RPG where you have to save the world from the Dark Lord. The trick is that as soon as the game starts he casts a spell which will end the entire world in thirty seconds, so you need to level up, buy equipment, and get to the castle and kill him before thirty seconds are up. More games should be like this, because my attention span is pretty bad alrea

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

There are no karaoke dreamers

In Sannomiya’s Super Jankara karaoke box 332 no one can hear you scream, a literal truth, making it all the more appealing. Right thumb all painful from tapping on a tambourine, I eat a convenience store sandwich in about thirteen seconds, drink a glass of Coke spiked with snaked-in Suntory whisky, and assist as the four of us deliver the psalms: Sunday Monday Happy Days, Tuesday Wednesday Happy Days, Thursday Friday Happy Days, the weekend comes, my cycle hums, ready to race to you.

This is not the first time this has happened.

Hours ago I was witnessing the annual Kobe Shootin’-Fireworks-For-Who-Knows-Why fireworks festival over the Kobe harbor, which is to say I watched fireworks from behind a tree while surrounded by women in casual summer kimonos and men who put far less apparent effort into their appearances but still nearly universally carried purses. My purse contained five cans of beer.

Now, in Super Jankara karaoke box 332, it contains just one, which I forget even exists until I get home, following a four-a.m. conversation in completely repugnant Japanese with a female taxi driver who did not see the fireworks, and I said we saw them, a little bit, and the fare is very affordable, and she calls us handsome. The next day for me gets started at about seven-p.m., the first time of day I find myself capable of eating food.

Though the recurring theme trends toward fermented malt beverages in my mind, I gingerly note that while affected by The Vapours I have far fewer qualms about embarrassing myself completely in a foreign language. Even though my command of Japanese resembles that of a growth-impaired turnip I resort to it earlier in the week while having a look around Osaka with Brenden, and most specifically I use it to try to divine the location of a big bright busy section of town called Dotonbori, which as it turns out is totally not anywhere near where I stumble into a Lawson and say “I’m embarrassed but where is Dotonbori I don’t know.”

Thirty-seven years later we find it and are plunged mouths-first into adventure with the assistance of a guy who looks like one of my first-year baseball kids after getting married and divorced and then falling asleep in a tanning bed for ten years. He says as we are walking by “HEY WHAT’S UP!!” and I, conditioned to respond in kind to the streetwise pavement slang of my generation, issue a “what’s up” back. The response I get is one virtually the same in English and Japanese, and sounds like the word beer, and so we go for one, and it is beery.

In the bar I resort to my conversational fallbacks in much the same way that celebrities being paraded around from talk show to talk show on the promo junket retell the same stories on Conan and Kimmle, only none of the things I have to say are interesting or intentionally funny and are instead just the only things I know how to say. With command of no more than three verbs I spin a compelling tale of international intrigue: I came from America, and now, I am a teacher at a high school. My friend, he came from Canada. We like to drink beer. Today, the weather is hot. No, not here in the bar, but there, there out there it is hot. In here, don’t worry. Is that woman there your lover? No? Well, we are going.

In the NHL ’96 video game for Super Nintendo, Brenden and I are currently in command of a heavily modified Detroit Red Wings team, a team which neither of us particularly endorse or support in reality but which has the highest base statistics in this game. To start the season, we immediately create two players named after ourselves using a cheat code to turn us into 100-point dynamic gods, then release the shitty players we are replacing into free agency. Our goalies, we decide, are no good, so we create two goalies of the worst possible skill named Derp Herp and Pee Man, sign them to the Blackhawks, release Ed Belfour into free agency, and sign him. Much to our chagrin, Derp Herp is now the 33rd ranked save percentage goalie in the league, while Ed languishes near the bottom.

We are frequently terrorized by a man named Joe Sacco, who in 1995 played for the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, unremarkably, and who scores on us with seven seconds to go in regulation to snatch our wins away. Sometimes, the organ plays the same song eight times in a row. After a few cold Sapporo Mystery Kanji and Hops beers, we discuss the underlying elegance of the gameplay mechanics and physics in NHL ’96 for the Super Nintendo, and ruminate on how we might reiterate this game for today’s people exactly like us. Then we eat banana cake pudding, Kobe’s delicious specialty.

EXCITING JAPANESE IS THING AND FOR TO THE
– New, limited-edition Cup Noodle, which brings back my favorite flavor Chili Tomato in three varieties: regular, with cheese, and five-spice, and adds miniature plastic Gundam models snapped onto the top of the cup, raising the price to 498 yen and being unavailable without the Gundam, as is my Chili Tomato curse
– New Spicy Grilled Chicken Cup Noodle, which does not have any Gundam livery, and which is available for the actually reasonable price of 138 yen
– The Osaka aquarium, which we went to, and where I saw really weird glowy jellyfishes that looked exactly like the Metroids in the tubes from Super Metroid and I think I know where they got That Idea
– Our trip to the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Noodle Museum, where we got to decorate and formulate our own Cup Noodle flavor (I chose standard broth with pork cubes, asparagus, cheese, and potatoes), and which may or may not be the third item on this list that involves Cup Noodle
– The arcade next to Ikuta shrine, which I basically totally forgot slash didn’t realize was even there, where we played co-op Espgaluda II and where I was completely housed by some Japanese guy at an arcade fighting game called Melty Blood, the duration of which involved me trying to kill him with two young girls dressed up like Little Red Riding Hood who fight with a mop and a frying pan
– The new Kirin commercial, which depicts baseball hero Ichiro taking a big slag of beer and then looking at the can with a facial expression of delight and/or shock so devastating that it looks like his throat is being ripped out of his ass
THAT’S ENDING

Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like to live in Japan during the “Happy Days” of the 1950s like in the TV show, and to imagine it what I do is I take Happy Days, replace all the cast with Japanese youngsters, and then instead of Pat Morita I basically imagine Sylvester Stallone.

その上に座ってPotsie!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Dizzy in the noodle

For a particular sect of the English teachers living in this country, there is apparently nothing more exhilarating than boisterously, obviously, and intentionally elevating oneself outside of society and into its expected role of the Strange and Curious Foreigners. This attitude is rendered into physical crystalline form thanks to the annual Kobe Scavenger Hunt (“cutely” referred to colloquially by those fresh from college as Scunt, a portmanteau of scavenger and hunt, chosen almost assuredly because of its sonic resemblance to a certain slang term for a part of the female anatomy that rhymes with “cunt.” AHAHAHAH ahem). Last Saturday night I tried to see what it would be like to be one of them.

Willful and enthusiastic participation in the Hunt involves for three hours assuming the role of misfit entertainer, to reluctantly become what you always hated about the most popular, well-loved, and douchiest people you have ever known, all in the name of a possible good time. You and your up to seven teammates must decide upon and acquire/construct a series of coordinating costumes, the first step that will set you apart from the private sector. You will give yourselves a team name, and then, as a horde, all teams will descend upon the meeting ground for youth downtown and proceed to most righteously mill about, shouting loudly if already drunk, before receiving their scavenger hunt lists: a series of objects, phrases, places, and ideas that must be located or represented physically, and then photographed. (To ensure maximum potential gaijin smashing, all team members must be included in the photos).

From here you will effectively perform the Internet message board equivalent of trolling, but in real life, by preying as a group on the good nature of mainly embarrassed but occasionally entertained Japanese citizens and workers for the sake of your team’s success. Things you will do:

– Attempt to get a photo of you flirting with an old man (but don’t worry, they will come to you)
– Fit your entire team onto the parked bike of someone who has left it there who you do not know
– Accost a group of five or more high-schoolers to cram into a purikura (print club) photo booth with you
– Perform such poses as the human pyramid
– Ask a karaoke promoter to remove his bright orange jacket so you can photograph yourself wearing it
– Barge into the person-wide aisles of Don Quixote to pull things from the shelves and put them back in places they do not belong
– Swarm a popular movie theater lobby on the top floor of a popular building with nearly every other team simultaneously and proceed to attempt crossing off the “take a photograph of all your teammates jumping in the air together” item at the same time as forty other people while bystanders just try to buy movie tickets

Over the course of the event I try to determine why this all makes me feel bizarre. Would I have the same problems with it in the United States? Is it because I know five other groups of people will be re-performing the same actions in close chronological proximity to me? Would it be different if I wasn’t wearing a costume, or just more embarrassing? Conversely, are we wearing costumes to allow us the extravagances of violating societal norms? Does that make it okay? Do these sorts of events ever occur entirely attended and run by the locals? Do the citizens who are amused more than make up for those who are annoyed? Are those who are annoyed really just embodiments of the fearful, critical mindset that we perceive as endemic to Japan? Are they annoyed because of my behavior, or because my behavior is occuring as part of a group of dozens of outsiders? Do I care that I can’t blend in? Would I feel as special if I really did? Do I actually care what this society thinks of me or foreigners or anyone’s behavior in general? Don’t I?

On occasions when I find myself separated from my group for some reason (waiting outside a convenience store, working on winning a crane game prize) I feel even more isolated in my plastic hat and sequined bow-tie. Without the others looking equally ridiculous around me I am broadcasting my foreignness, quite at odds with how I normally try to fit into daily life as well as I can in ways obviously excluding physical looks (and the occasional language hurdle). I try removing my costume but feel only more isolated from my friends, though tenuously part of society. I think of the uniforms that most workers or students wear here. Am I really only capable of feeling comfortable when I am behaving like I have seen others behave?

I don’t come up with any concrete answers to my questions as we parade around snapping pictures, but for one reason or another never find myself capable of making the full jump into carefree this-town-is-my-playground abandon, a peril of an overactive mind in the realm of the fully real and non-virtual.

As we stride through the train station on our way across town, our fake-mustached top-hat wearing female Japanese team member elucidates her embarrassment to me, and I concur. She says, to lightly paraphrase because I cannot remember the precise phrasing, “no, it’s different for me, I don’t want [other Japanese people] to recognize me because then they’ll think you [foreigners] have brainwashed me.” This, my friends, is cultural exchange at work! As a curious cap to the night we end up almost en masse at a popular “foreigner bar,” rendering my views even more obscured. Wouldn’t it be in the spirit of the night to at least loudly plop down somewhere where we would be less welcome? But perhaps I am too cynical. When I wasn’t actively intruding on others I kind of enjoyed myself! Is it even possible for me not to be an intrusion? A strange and self-defeating question.

At one point in the evening I am briefly consumed with something that feels like anger at every person I see, convinced that they are mentally being critical of me even right now, this very moment, not because I look like a fucking goon, but just because I am of a different race than they are. It feels like preemptive, anticipatory racism, me hating them because of who they are before they can hate me for the same reason. I catch myself and feel dirty and remorseful, and confused, and I wonder for a second if it isn’t just intentionally boosted-up self-confidence or if my name has been changed overnight to Spike Lee.

BUT SERIOUSLY IT’S TIME FOR SOME LIGHTER STUFF OKAY
– On Sunday morning, two men from the TV company honored their no-cost appointment to come to our house at 10 a.m. and change the cable jacks in our wall. While they were doing this, one fellow set up my all-Japanese language television for me to receive the free digital HD broadcasts that I couldn’t figure out how to get, and then commented that my new Family Computer sitting next to the Wii made him feel nostalgic
– I never once imagined it would be a good idea to even try it, but for the last couple of days Jessy and I have eaten seasonally-popular cooked cold soumen noodles with cold dashi broth on them as accompaniments to our evening meals, and they are goddamned delicious
– The other day I started playing a hardcore-styled dungeon-crawling RPG on the DS called Etrian Odyssey, and in it you have to make your own maps with the touch screen, and I get brutally killed all the time cause it is ridiculously difficult, but for some reason I am hooked on it and am spending all my train time playing it
– Next week is the last week of classes for me to teach at work and it’s also the last week of the Japanese language class that I attend, and neither will start back up again until the end of August, which is just great
– Watching strange Japanese variety shows has never been so strange as it is in HD
OKAY THEN

For as many times as I have heard that “Japan has four seasons,” in my mind there are only two: the times of year when one is compelled to use their air conditioner, and the times of year when one is not. Maybe you can relate, cause now it’s the first one.

I hate summer everywhere in the world that I have been, and Japan is certainly no exception. People often say this, as though it isn’t totally obvious, but it is “not so much the heat that is horrible, it’s the humidity”. Walking around now, in the heat, here in the dead of “rainy” season, is similar to how I imagine it must be like to be combing the edges of the tropical forests in Avatar hunting for neon hyena rats or whatever the fuck they did in that movie.

Being here in the night school office where they have the key to the air conditioner locked up like the nuclear fucking football and only the chief and the principal know the access codes does not make for happy Brandons (the other workers don’t seem overjoyed either). It’s actually cooler outside right now, which shatters my theories about decent weather and the office (the windows are supposed to be closed when it’s nice out and open when it’s freezing). For the last hour I have periodically been taking little strolls over to the sink because there is a window over there, but I am running out of parts of my body to wash and I think it is becoming clear to the workers nearby that I do not actually have anything in the refrigerator that I need to open it up so often to look for. Perhaps if I were dressed like some sort of demon or garish spectacle they would let me get away with it.

Tagged , , , ,