(warning: particularly old content) I don't ask for it to make sense
Tearing up in line at the JR station, not a good way to start the day. I knew I shouldn't have let myself think about Jim and the cats so much last night.
I know I'm alone in this, but for some reason I frigging love candy corn. And I love Jim for having sent me some. I debated taking it to work today, but I figured it probably wouldn't suit the Japanese palate. I'll foist some off on Jason and crew over the weekend, but mostly I'll slowly snack on it myself. Mmmmmm... candy corn.
Jason and crew? Indeed. Jason, Lennard (Jason's fellow intern at Yokohama Rubber), and their friends Tatsuya and Ayako are invading for the weekend from Tokyo for the weekend. Originally Mark was going to be the fourth member of the party, but he's bailing on us to visit his girlfriend, so Lennard rounds out the complement instead. It's kind of weird to have four people, three who I've never met, staying at my dorm for the weekend, but hey, what the hell. The Masudas certainly don't mind; the Japanese people living in the dorm seem to have some sort of issue with asking if their friends can use the guest rooms, but if people aren't using them, the Masudas aren't making even the slight amount they charge off of them. Therefore, the American has no shame about filling them up. Although I probably couldn't get away with getting Andrew in the next time he misses his train, unfortunately. They'd probably get pissy if I tried to do it without a bit of warning, money or not.
A thought I never wrote down this morning: follow this logic, if you will. When I'm really depressed, I like to listen to ridiculously happy music (what prompted the thought was The New Radicals this morning on the train). This is because I can listen to it, know that I am not happy like the music, and get all martyr on myself. There is in fact a class of upbeat music that makes me more depressed than the saddest song you've ever heard. Which makes perfect sense.
What have I said about watching romantic movies? As ridiculous as it is watching Richard Gere falling in love with Winona Ryder (at least they've made several references explicitly to how much older he is than her), romanticism is as romanticism does, and what romanticism does is make Jen cry. Throwing sad death into the mix really doesn't help. My only defense is that I didn't intentionally rent it or anything; I merely didn't change the channel for the last two hours. Enemy at the Gates is on a different channel, but I've seen it before. Jude Law and my favorite sex scene in recent movies, perhaps, but not compelling enough when I've yet got a rental to finish up before Sunday. Or perhaps not, now that I think about it. I don't need to be asleep at any particular time tonight, as long as I'm up by 9 tomorrow. Hrm. We could go for movie night tonight. Really... what else do I have to do?
Bizarre sort of bliss, eating grapes, reading the Newsweek my mom sent me, and occasionally paying attention to a movie in the background. Moments like this are the only things that are worthwhile about living by myself; considering that I can very nearly accomplish them when I have a roommate, with all the benefits of having someone else around, I really just don't think I'm meant for doing it. I'll be so glad when Brandon's back from India in March.
Wow. A car commercial just appeared that spoofed Rose of Versailles, and not only did I immediately recognize that that's what it was doing, I thought the joke was funny (RoV was a 1970s anime that I'm a guilty fan of in a mocking way). Times like this are when Moritou-san would renew his insistence that I'm secretly a Japanese guy dressed up in an American girl suit. Complete with zipping motions.
I've never, never been the sort of person who would just be sitting there and suddenly burst into tears. When I cried, I always had a damn internally consistent (not necessarily damn good) reason for doing so... until the last year or so. What the hell? Did hormones just suddenly spring into existence, as if turning 23 split open Zeus' forehead?
Oh, hush your whining, Jen. You lie up your ass.
Doh. For waking up on time, turning off one's alarm at 5 am is not helpful.
The only thing I like better than walking down the street here listening to obnoxious rock really loudly is walking down the street here listening to uptempo Arabic language pop. Perhaps it's because while rock has penetrated Japan to a decent extent, I can be relatively confident that I am likely the only person within a substantial radius listening to Khaled.
It's funny how when you know someone's voice really well, you can even pick out their cough from a crowd of people behind you. I guess it IS a sound generated by the same set of machinery as their voice, but I don't usually think of a cough as being identifiable.
Out of all the things I expected to find on TV tonight, a Sonics game was DEFINITELY not one of them. People here play basketball pick-up style all over the place, but I didn't think there was wide enough interest in the sport to broadcast NBA games (although I am watching one of the weird satellite-style channels, which might explain it). I'm a complete sucker for watching Seattle sporting events on TV here... as unlikely as it is that one of my friends would be at a game (except Zach at a Mariners game), I always scan the crowd for familiar faces anyway.
Dad's Fedex finally arrived tonight, so I'm all voted up and just waiting to see if it's okay that my absentee ballot be postmarked from here or if I need to arrange to express it back for my parents to drop in the mail there. But more importantly, Mama stuffed some magazines in, so I've got a Newsweek and a People to rot my brain over a Sonics game on in the background; I could almost, ALMOST pretend I was on the couch in Jim's apartment with Ian watching the game, Jim programming in his room, and Laura rattling something in the kitchen, flipping the pages of a random magazine and trying to tempt one of the cats up into my lap.
Sigh. I miss the cats so much.
When one is having a dreadfully homesick week, stupid People magazine probably doesn't do one much actual good... but it helps in the short term, if you ask me. I passed a lovely hour slowly flippping through it, and I can't think of any better way that I could have spent that hour.
I liked a review of John Mayer in Salon yesterday - sometimes you just feel like vanilla.
When there's nothing else on TV, I guess random tennis anime will do (Tennis no Oojisama? That might have been the name). I'm NEVER home at 7:15 on a Wednesday night; I don't know what to do with myself.
Although perhaps it's not a function of what time I came home, considering that I haven't (ooh, Naruto is on next, I've heard good things about it and now I get to sample it in the wild, hehe) had any motivation to do anything all day. I finished planning out the final batch of tests that I'm going to run on this set of samples, and picked out my dataset for one variable, but that really only took me a total of an hour or so. I was in various meetings for three hours, so four hours of my day are accounted for. Except that I work an eight hour day. I spent a lot of it emailing people... but even more of it simply staring at the cubicle half-wall beyond my monitor. Whatever my game is, I was ever so not on it today.
I was finally feeling like getting some work done around 5:30, though, and had just settled into my groove when Narahara-san peeked over my previously stared at wall and asked if I wanted a ride home. The man who never leaves work before 9 pm was asking me if I wanted a ride home at 5 fucking 45. I really wanted to say "Who are you and what did you do with Narahara-san," but I figured I couldn't get it out quickly enough to be funny, so I simply stuffed my things into my bag and nodded. Jen of the hour-long-commute does not turn down rides. We had a good chat for the first time in a while, but I found out that both he and Shudou-san will be gone from the end of next week until the beginning of December. My friends are all gone in staggered shifts these days... Although Nishihara-san's coming back in a week or two, which'll be nice.
I tried to work my courage up today to actually write the objective statement I need to get forced out if hope to apply for an MS internship. I HAVE to at least try for the goddamned thing, whether I get it or not... but every time I try to start, I get what I can only guess is a panic attack? I don't know how else to describe it. Maybe I should try to put what happens after I send my application off into the ether out of my mind; maybe that'd help. Certainly trying to think too hard about what job I'm going to have immediately when I get back wasn't helping, I know that.
Crazy. Snotty 英会話 dude isn't wearing a hat today but the color he's dyed his hair this week interacts strangely with the bluescreen. His hair has a faint, but quite noticable, purple tinge around every visible edge. Too bad that I channel flipped here at 11:05... I'd have taped him tonight if I wasn't halfway through his program already.
I've been getting in bed extra early the last few days, in an effort to combat whatever weird funk it is that crept over me last week and the week before. Despite completely spacing out all day, I think I felt more awake than I have been... but of course, I'm not actually getting to sleep earlier. Heh. I simply hope that by lying down a few hours before I fall asleep, I can get my body to edge into relaxation mode better. Some people would tell you that I'm going about it all wrong; apparently it's been shown that if you habituate yourself to being awake on your bed, you have a harder time falling asleep. Well... if someone had told me that before I was, oh, six, when I started reading in bed for several hours before sleeping, or even before I was in middle school and would spread my homework out over my bed because my desk was full of other stuff, it might have been worthwhile, but as is I think I'm already fucked.
I used to wait until my parents had gone upstairs after tucking me in, and sneak the light back on to read for another hour or two after bedtime. I got away with this for a long time (who knows how long it actually was, kids have screwy time senses), albeit with a few stumbles here and there. Like the time that I was reading on my stomach in my bed, and a spider emerged from underneath my pillow, ran across my hand and my page, and disappeared down towards the floor. I freaked out, screaming (hush, I was arachnophobic... still sort of am), had the presence of mind to toss my book in the corner and turn off my light, and bolted upstairs to my mommy (I was seven or eight, give me a break!), but then of course I had to actually come up with an explanation for how I'd been frightened by the spider, given that by all rights I should have been asleep at least a half hour before. Whoops. I think I said that it'd run over my face and woken me up? She bought it, so far as I could remember.
They finally wised up perhaps six months after the spider event (they might have known for a while, but they didn't act on it). But did they talk to me about it? No. There I was one night - I had waited in bed for my father's footsteps on the staircase to recede, counted to 500 slowly after that, and then gone across my room to turn on my light as usual. And as soon as the lights turned on, my dad flipped the circuit breaker to my room. Bastard. I was a kid and dumb, so the first night I thought it was simply the world's most inconvenient blackout. The second night, I was distinctly miffed with the parental units. I had some nasty nasty thoughts towards my dad the third night as I laid unmoving in my bed, knowing he was just waiting for my light to flip on. In retrospect, at least, I can take a little pleasure out of hoping he sat on those hard, uncomfortable stairs for a long long time before realizing that I'd "learned my lesson." Of course, the lesson only cowed me for about a week, until I smuggled a flashlight in and used that for the next few years.
My parents love to tell this story to people, about how Dad and the fusebox one-upped their sneaky little book-loving girl. Except they always stop at the circuit breaker part, because their sneaky little book-loving girl was even sneakier with her flashlight. I finally told my mom about the flashlight last year (I don't remember why the whole thing came up, but I figured 23 was a decent age to come clean about it). I think she was kind of mad at me for spoiling her story, heh.
One of my quests in life is to find other people who think that Shania Twain's Any Man of Mine is one of the most hilarious songs ever made.
There are two classes of people who walk through the cavernous tunnel that is the Hankyuu station south exit every morning: those that stride down the center in a hurry and uncaring of the world, and those that slink down the side using the wall to protect them from the dawning day. Guess which group I fall into.
Hear fucking hear.
(SCREECH OF INCREDULITY) What! The! FUCK!!! Google's goddamned CACHING is blocked by the web filter at work?!? If that isn't goddamned RIDICULOUS, I don't know what is.
Bah humbug some more. I totally forgot about the whole Daylight Savings Time gig, being here in Japan. For those of you who aren't aware, DST is not observed worldwide (and Google just taught me that Japan is the only "major industrialized country" that doesn't observe it). My previously cherished 4:10 pm Japan time, when my scripts finished churning through log froth and would entertain me for a few minutes seeing what Google searches popped through today, has now become 5:10 pm Japan time. When you're LIVING DST, it's not that bad, because everything around you changes. It's all wacky to suddenly, four months in, have to relearn the time difference to home.
A typically weird Brian comment in an email this morning gave me something to daydream about on the way home; I can't think of anything else I particularly want to talk about tonight despite being somewhat in a writing mind, so random daydream it is.
I still don't have a clue why he asked me if I was free this afternoon; my best guess was that perhaps it was because he wanted email company over working, which may have originally been, who knows. He didn't respond back after the morning, and so I resigned it to that category in my mind that is reserved solely for my friends' indecipherable random moments. But on my commute, bored and staring out the windows of my trains, I let my storytelling imagination roam. My mind is often devoted to exploring elaborate what-if scenarios of life, and mystery snippets such as Brian's question provide the perfect starting point. I stirred in what I know of him (admittedly largely four years out of date, but that's unimportant for daydreaming purposes) to amuse myself for nearly 45 minutes.
Fact: Brian has been known to indulge in random acts of surprise in the past. Starting assumptions: he has some reason to want to see me, and money to blow on the 新幹線 (for extra spice, a couple branches had him specifically remembering how much I loved it when he'd surprise me by driving up unannounced from Longview to visit me oh those many years ago). And in imagination land, he'd read all this closely enough to pick up where I live, or where I work, or whatever (which really, now that I stop to think about it, wouldn't be that difficult, particularly if someone spoke and read Japanese).
No, I didn't look for him on the way home or anything, heh. I don't often actually want my daydreams to come out of that space between my ears. I like them where I can nicely manage them, tweak them, and turn them off when I get home.
I'm managing to snag an episode of London Hearts on tape tonight, and it's been a perfect 12 minutes so far. Not to mention that most of my depressive thoughts about my Japanese today have been alleviated by understanding every single thing that's been said or tossed on the screen. Out of all the TV that I've randomly taped in the last month or two, this bit is the one I think I'll DEFINITELY have people watch when I get home. I rather have a mind to get people together for a party or somesuch, and just put random Japanese TV on in the background; the cruel humor of London Hearts can top off the night.
Are they not familiar with Fox, the network of chaotic evil?
(wiping eyes) I just about died.
(indignant look) They removed my crosswalk music in Umeda and replaced it with obnoxious chirping! Not that the music wasn't obnoxious, but at least it was funny. I could cross the street every morning and evening, and mock the Japanese in my mind for having a silly tune to accompany people through over half of the crosswalks in town (the music is intact up at the crosswalk I don't use by Toyonaka station, and probably elsewhere... it's just missing from the crosswalk where I pass every day).
Jon commented today on how groups like Morning Musume are heavily marketed on TV shows that air at 9, 10, 11 pm... midnight, past midnight. I stared at him in disbelief. "Of course!" I replied, "That's when their target audience is watching!" He laughed and agreed with me; perhaps he'd thought it was an insight that only he'd had, heh. But anyone who tries to claim that the primary market for the bands full of 14 year-olds bouncing around in hot pants and short skirts is ACTUALLY the teen market is sadly deluded. I'm sure it's a convenient and appreciated effect that preteens and teens adore them, but if their handlers are designing them for 13 year-old girls, I'll eat my (admittedly nonexistent) hat.
OMG! Good GOD! Shingo's team lost! For I swear the first time since I got here, so we're talking for the first time in four goddamn months!
The singing pirate in purple for Gatsby is quite possibly the most attractive man in Japanese commercials these days. It's pretty sad when you say that about a singing pirate in purple.
(rubbing eyes) I'm exhausted. How the hell my body has the nerve to have been so tired today after all the sleep I got this weekend, I have no idea. Sure, I shortchanged it a bit last night *coughunderfourhourscough*, but still. I've just felt tired, cranky, and generally out of sorts all day... mostly like I want to go home to a real bed. No more of this futon shit for me; next time I come back to Japan, we're talking real bed, all the goddamn way.
I seem to become, inevitably in all boy-acquaintances lives, the Mistress of Advice, usually relationship-oriented (though not always). I wonder if it's because I can provide the perspective of a boy with tits? Who knows. Heh. Jeff sent me a link today to tshirthell, which sells a t-shirt with <tits> </tits> printed in the appropriate locations. I'm EXTREMELY tempted to own it, but I don't think I could wear it with a straight face (I should get it just for the laugh's sake). I can think of a couple people at work (at home) who'd think it was pretty damn funny, though.
I just had a lovely daydream, involving quiet evenings at home with Brandon, cooking parties with Ryan, videogames with Jeff, TV with Seth, and pasta over Law & Order with Kate. No, I'm not homesick at all this week... not me.
I appear to have once again completely misjudged my body's ability to go into a coma. When I laid down on my bed to read The Stranger last night around 11 pm, I didn't think I'd fall asleep, for one thing (I'd only gotten up 5 hours before!); for another, when I woke up around 7:30 am, I thought that was it, I was getting up. But no, I "closed my eyes for just another minute" and woke up just past noon. I've spent 18 of the past 24 hours asleep, and that sleeping binge having started before the last 24 hours did, I've spent 23 hours asleep in the last two days! Fuck me.
I'm no huge Marlins fan... But.. SUCK IT, YANKEES! (do a little dance) I missed the game (sleeping, hah), but just watching Beckett's face in a couple of the highlights the Japanese satellite channel showed now was nearly as satisfying.
For some reason, today I'm really in the mood to go home. Weekends just rather suck here.
I don't think I've talked at all about Operation Avoid Mehder. In terms of the why, well there's some people that give you the creeps immediately, some people who take a while to give you the creeps, and some people who give you the creeps a bit from the beginning but you overlook it for a while. Mehder falls into this last category. Part of it is that I became convinced that his house is one of the ones that can see in my window when it's open (the window's made out of bubbled glass, so when it's closed it's not an issue), which, combined with some other things, was the final straw. I haven't seen him since the week that my dad visited, and I aim to keep it that way; I've been taking the 6:53 or 6:59 local trains intead of the 6:56 express that he's on, for example, and timing my walks to the station to miss him. At least I've had enough practice at dealing with the results of my superpowers to tweak my life appropriately when necessary.
I wonder why I'm resistant to going to a Starbucks or SBC downtown to relax. It'd save me the 420 ¥ in bus fare that it takes me to get up to Senri-Chuo and back. Perhaps I feel that in rushrush Umeda, they'd mind it more if a person just camped out at a table for a few hours? It helps that the main seating area up at Senri-Chuo is above street level and above where the clerks are - it aids in the rare (in Japan) sense that people aren't paying a great amount of attention to you.
Incidentally, it really amused me in Kyoto on Friday to find two Tullys in the space of perhaps five blocks.
My favorite source of Engrish t-shirts failed me not today, netting me Patrick's おみやげ (not as Engrish-fied as others, but I liked it for him anyway) and a gem for myself. Plus I discovered that if you buy two at once, the price is 2500 ¥ for the pair despite individual shirts being priced around the 1900 ¥ to 2900 ¥ mark. I've got my eye on one for Greg in there, if they've got the right size stocked next time. That shop is going to get positively suspicious of me.
A good question posed to me this aftenoon: don't I feel as if I'm losing a part of my life, being here? I suppose I am losing a life that could have been, but on the other hand I'm simply living my life that is. There's parts of life I want or wanted nothing more than to cling to, but perhaps losing my grip on them can remind me to press my boundaries without the fetters of My Life holding me back.
Watching the rerun of the game today, I've decided Beckett is just absolutely my hero. I'm not usually a fan of pitchers, and as I mentioned earlier, I'm no Marlins fan... but thank god for that kid. Not to mention that he's pretty damn cute. Hehe.
Good LORD, what possessed me to rent a Hugh Grant movie? I have a hard enough time taking the embarrassment when I've got someone else to laugh about it with. I nearly pulled a Kevin, but covering my eyes can't help with the dialogue. But I'll admit it, I liked About A Boy. Ignoring the horribly embarrassing bits and the shits (in my opinion) cinematography, it WAS quite wittily written.
I rented a few more movies tonight, seeing as my laundry won't be done until near 1 am anyway. And I have to say, Shaolin Soccer is even more ridiculous, just in the first 15 minutes, than I had ever suspected it might be. Not to mention that it's certainly odd to be watching a Chinese movie with Japanese subtitles.
Andrew got his revenge for last weekend yesterday. I went up to Kyoto after work for dinner, and we totally lost track of time while talking over drinks afterwards. Both of us had sworn that it couldn't be any later than 11 or so when I suddenly asked what time it was... and it was past midnight. Of course, my last train home would have been around 11:30 pm, sigh. This presented something of a problem, as we didn't know a place to go dancing all night in Kyoto (he was sick, anyway), finding a hotel for me to sleep in seemed incredibly obnoxious, and Andrew's crazy next-door neighbors would have thrown a fit if we'd tried to sneak me into his dorm and been caught.
So we ended up doing to his office at Bukkyou Daigaku and entertaining ourselves with the Internet and listening to music until the trains started running in the morning so that I could get home. It really was a silly situation, but it was fun to hang out and talk and be my weird self in a way that Andrew seems to get and Jon doesn't. I can make programming and other geek jokes with him, which totally made my night (and really, I think I've never met someone before, besides perhaps Ty, who I could have an interesting discussion with about writing scripts to tokenize and index foreign language text).
Of course, the downside was that I didn't get back to the dorm and to sleep until around 7:30 am, sigh. I set my alarm for 2, and then kept on setting it for an hour later (rolling eyes). I'm turning into my brother, getting out of bed at 5 pm. Or me at age 17, I suppose. I did quite a bit of that during the summer before I started college.
Work yesterday was just work; having settled down into being able to get stuff done, it's not nearly so on my mind. I did prove myself a terrible person by totally jacking another group's おみやげ (omiyage: souvenir) chocolate that they left undefended in the kitchen. It had been in there nearly a week without any being taken! How dare they mistreat perfectly good chocolate that way!
For the first time since I got here, I've found some anime on TV (that I haven't seen before) that I feel like watching, holy shit. The stuff that's usually on when I get home at night isn't my style, other than Detective Conan. But I've never turned on the TV at 6 pm on a Saturday before, I suppose... Full Metal Alchemist actually entertained me for the full 30 minutes it was on, and the fact that they advertised for Guu in the middle of it is a high recommendation for it. But GOOD LORD, they also just advertised a weekend cosplay event with a girl dressed up as Sailor Moon (shudder). NOT NEEDED, thank you very much.
Off to the store in search of Doritos... nachos for dinner tonight, it is.
The weirdness of using crazy Japanese cheese combined with sharp cheddar for nachos, I found tonight, is mitigated quite easily by the addition of sliced jalepenos. Sliced jalepenos make everything all better. Salsa doesn't hurt, either.
It's a shame to read in The Stranger about how crappy Bookfest was this year. I went last year, for the purpose of getting Alton Brown to sign the cookbook Brandon gifted me with for my birthday, I'll admit, but it was still well worth my afternoon. Although at the moment I find myself depressed, remembering a grey rainy day and an excuse by Jim to not come along even though Ian was a volunteer. Sigh.
Wow. At one particularly incoherent point this morning, I had myself totally convinced that I'd have more time this morning if I slept longer. Talk about waking up at the wrong fucking part of the sleep cycle.
Comments on tonight's game at Koshien, spread out over the course of nearly two hours: Ooooooh. Poor Andoh. You gotta feel like shit as a pitcher when you walk in the tying run during the Japan Series. He's gonna get it later. Damnit, when I don't have any free tapes is when the ginormous American flags get pulled out for Arias's RBI... It does give me a nationalistic evil grin that he was the one to tie us back after Andoh's pile of shit set of innings (of course, I have to give Kanemoto, my favorite player, props for snagging a walk and then stealing second to set it up). (giggling) Third base just gave Yano (catcher, my second favorite player) the devil sign in appreciation for a just-barely-there out at the plate. I don't think I've seen someone do that (other than foreigners while out dancing) in the four months since I got here. WOOOOOO!!!! And my Kanemoto hits the 10th inning homerun to win the game! That's my boy (do a little dance). Bogus, TODAY, when I don't have a free tape, as I mentioned is the day that they show everyone singing at Koshien for a while after the game's up. I almost fancy I can them all up here in Toyonaka.
I discovered a script-crashing Excel feature *coughbugcough* today. Did YOU know that if the bounding box of a cell comment, in editing mode, is lined up pixel-for-pixel against the far right edge of the sheet (the right-hand edge of column IV), Excel will refuse to let you shrink the width of any column? I bet you didn't. It took me TWO FUCKING HOURS to figure out what was causing the problem, although if I'd remembered that I had a comment in a cell to the right of all my column inserts, it might not have taken so long (I couldn't for the life of me figure out what "object" the error message was telling me was getting crowded off the screen). I only figured it out after I'd systematically dismantled every piece of the damn spreadsheet, starting with things that I thought might be causing bugs (my crazy array formulas, custom functions being called from conditional formatting rules) and ending when I'd cleared everything including bolded goddamn gridlines... only then, in that vast white error-producing space, did I notice the little red tabs of my comments. "No fucking way," I thought, but a little experimenting confirmed it. It has nothing to do with where the comment is DISPLAYED, of course, but with where the stretching handles are placed in editing mode. They really should have it coded so that the location of the editing bounding box shifts properly to the left when the spreadsheet's right edge pulls in on it... but nooooooooo. And the error message that pops up crashes a script that's trying to shrink columns. Two goddamn hours wasted fixing that today! ARRRRGGGHHHHH! I did get some great results in the morning, and mostly finished processing them this afternoon before and after the programming break and subsequent "feature" hassle, at least. There. I haven't ranted about my work for a few days at least.
The dreadful tiredness continued today; I was quite tempted to take a nap during lunch. Jon complained about fatigue all this week as well... maybe there's some whitey-affecting bug in the air. Of couse, a lot of it is probably me just wanting the weekend to come faster than it possibly can, and getting crankily affected by the slowness.
I'm about to say it... get ready for it...
I had something profound and/or interesting to say earlier, but I've forgotten it.
And so I think I'll work on letters to people instead (sticking out tongue).
I got home yesterday night after going out for dinner with Parita, Jon, and Iwahara-san, and just went straight to bed. A combination of being tired and being sorry for myself, I think. Hah.
(scrubbing face) I just managed to fall asleep for the last hour watching the baseball game (at least I woke up when we won and the crowd exploded)... if Alias weren't on in about five minutes, I'd just go back to sleep for the nght. Why the HELL am I so tired this week? Blah.
The last six minutes straight have been commercials (and the same ones over again, too), interspersed with 5-second long blips of the people at Koshien Stadium cheering. I can't help but suspect that someone hit the wrong button in the studio.
Last night I went out for dinner with Parita, Iwahara-san, and Jon, and was horrified to find out that Iwahara-san, too, is going to be leaving for BFE when Jon does next month. I was mostly complacent about losing my friend when I thought I'd still have my eye candy, but this is going too far! Grumble. At least he agreed to come out with us if we're able to get together before they go... I don't know yet exactly when they're taking off, but hopefully it'll be after the next good weekend for clubbing (translation: not this weekend or next). Am I speaking in bullet points tonight or what? I must be tired.
I couldn't tell at all last night if Jon was flirting with me or if we've just managed to get to that nice stage where we can mock each other to our hearts content for the fun of it. We had to apologize to the other two on occasion for our kitty-corner-across-the-table absorbed-ness. I'm quite pleased, either way, really. It might have taken four months of work, but having even just one friend that I can keep that groove up with is completely worth it.
This pair of jeans has proved, like most, to be no match for the mighty frictional power of my thighs. Sigh. That''s one thing that skinny-stick girls don't have to bother about, I bet - their jeans wearing out first right below the crotch inseam. I can't remember the last pair of jeans that I wore out that DIDN'T have to be put aside due to a hole in a place with less propriety than I would like; why can't they just go in the knees, like normal people's? In related news, I just indulged in the most sinful bit of eating I think I've done since I got here. Feeling munchy, I opened up my fridge to find nothing that could be eaten on its own, save the sharp cheddar I bought a week or so ago. Finally opening it up, I'd had one bite when the idea struck me to (help me lord) eat it with that weird Japanese sour cream cream cheese concoction. The blended taste was right about what you'd expect in a milder cheddar... I made sure to put THAT away as soon as the first pieces I'd broken off were gone (eep).
One of the fish dishes we had last night called to be dipped into lemon juice with salt - the ratio of salt:lemon I came up with in my saucer tasted like nothing so much as Jim's hollandaise sauce minus the butter, as weird as it sounds. I couldn't decide whether to sigh in delight or cry. Hah.
Random memory in the bath... Being a child and being absolutely convinced that if I spit on my fingers and they didn't fizz, they were clean. As if I had hydrogen peroxide glands in my mouth or something.
Do a little dance! AvantGo is back in operation! (shimmy) I loves me my Salon, I do, I really do. It's flipping out a bit, still, but something > nothing.
Aw, how sweet. Parita told me over lunch that she couldn't see guys not trying to hit on me if they talked to me for more than five minutes. Not that it's really anything different than what Katie-Kate would say, but I suppose I'd rather gotten it in my head again that she was unique in her female support. I'm really not that caring if Parita means it or not; I'm still just rather reveling in the fact of the surface action. Although I do wonder how many nice girls I'll have to meet before I stop distrusting them on sight.
Having just celebrated my four-month anniversary a few days ago, today marks the exact two-month mark for the countdown to going home. Time's been passing faster and faster for me... I rather wonder how it feels back in Seattle.
"Lylics" and "lylical assistance," the two definitive Engrish blunders sighted for the day. It's a common enough error in written Japanese, given that there's no L in the language, and so they're never quite sure when they're supposed to be writing down an R or an L. They never make it spoken, though. Glare.
「でも。。。ジェンも可愛いから！」 ("Demo... Jen mo kawaii kara!": but... you're cute too, so...!) protested Kojio-san fervently on the way to work this morning, in response to a sighing wish that I was the すごい美人 (sugoi bijin: incredibly gorgeous girl) that Parita is. Ah, appreciated, but too little too late, from a married man, heh. One, incidentally, who has so far as I know no children and therefore is not a member of the shotgun wedding crowd. I mostly joke, worry not, but it IS rather unfair if you ask me. There's some days I'd really not mind being a five-foot-tall, slim Thai girl of Chinese ancestry.
I'm getting quite annoyed with restaurants around here not being open when I want to eat there, although Hari, which is open nearly all day, likely doesn't mind that I end up shunted in their direction so often. Heh. The Japanese hostess there has been working up her nerve to speak to me in English for a month or two now; today she wanted to know where I was from. She guessed Australia! Oh, would the crazy Australian from the bar on Saturday be displeased, hehe. Anyway, I'm starting to think that the 焼き鳥 place and Baba Reeba close up shop when they hear I'm getting off the train - it's just too suspicious. Really, though, not being open for dinner by 6:30 is annoying for someone trying to eat in time to start watching TV at 7:30 (they might open at 7, who knows... I should take a slightly later train and give up Detective Conan next week and see).
Jon didn't come to work today (snicker).
The most horrifcally ugly American woman I've seen since I left home is on TV right now, with her horrifically ugly son. Japanese people can be ugly, and quite often are, don't get me wrong, but there's something about an extremely overweight and unattractive white-trash army wife that's just particularly icky (shudder).
Hrm. I'm not quite sure how I feel about last night. Actually, I should take that statement back and rephrase it, considering that last night was just fine; it's the part early this morning that's a little off.
Andrew and I met up around 7 and proceeded to have a quite lovely time over dinner and several drinks. But I accidentally made him miss his last train home, and despite my cajoling and joking about it, I really did feel bad; I don't particularly like making people do things they don't feel like doing (which is an entirely different thing from convincing someone to do something that they DO want to do but have decided they can't or shouldn't), but I had my heart set on going clubbing and so he was going with me at that point.
We met up with Jon^2 (from here on out, Jon's friend will be referred to as "Tall Jon" - the man's at least 6'5 and perhaps more like 6'7) and Markus in Shinsaibashi, where I went to work on some dancing and serious drinking. Things were fun at the first place, but at the second, well, I really rather wish that I'd left with Andrew when he took off around four. Hindsight is 20/20 and all that... I thought out about it at the time, but I was still in a dancing mood at that point. Right about the time he went home, you see, was when the other three decided to stop fucking around and get seriously on the pull (for Japanese women, natch). I was rather surprised that Tall Jon was the first one to disappear, really, but then, he had been after that girl pretty much the whole night... Markus, I'm sure, was simply waiting until he didn't feel like dancing anymore, but he was gone by 5:30 am at the latest and then there were two. Not that I'd been sticking like glue to them or anything, but I had been using them all shamelessly to hide with when I pulled the weirdos out of the woodwork (as we all know that I am prone to do). Not wanting to crimp Jon's chances, I danced with him a bit more but didn't track him when he went off the floor for a bit; my last glimpse of him was him in thick with a girl on the side for several minutes, and then he was gone. I stayed another twenty minutes or so before I hied myself off... I briefly thought about giving him a call to see if he was still around the club and I just hadn't seen him on the way out, but on further thought figured that if he wasn't still in there, he really REALLY wouldn't appreciate my calling him at that point, heh. Not like I needed him to get home or anything.
It really is depressing to one to be so very very obviously not the girl that people want to dance with unless there's no chance of them finding a Japanese girl (save the aforementioned weirdos). I danced with several girls, usually to distract them so that Jon could have some time with their cuter friends, hah, but that's really no substitute at all. There was Shuudei (I think that was his name, but it was hard to hear), I suppose, who I danced with for the last while that I was there... But he'd probably have gone for any other foreigner woman over me if there had been other ones open, I think. I 95% intentionally gave him the wrong phone number when I left; I think in some ways it was really just out of spite for the whole night.
I performed matchmaker services for no less than three men (Tommy and Michael from the US, not at the same time, and some boy from Brazil whose name I never caught), getting them going with whatever girl I was dancing with. In some ways I was happy to do it (particularly for poor Tommy, who I think was excruciatingly shy... I'm not even certain how he worked up the nerve to ask me if I could give him a hand), but in some other ways it really just contributed to the general funk.
Tall Jon hit the nail right on the head when he said at one point that he felt sorry for me, being entirely the wrong sex to enjoy Japan. Jon was very sweet at one point, claiming (jokingly, I think, but I couldn't quite tell) that he was trying like hell to find a guy for me, but I told him to just give it up. The foreign guys there had one thing on their mind, that being not white girls, and I could count the attractive Japanese men in there on one hand (at LEAST Shuudei was one of them - consolation prize). That will certainly be one of the nicest things about coming home. Not that I'm greatly in demand at home or anything, but at least I won't be automatically disqualified from things because of my skin color and weighing more than 90 pounds anymore.
But I feel the need to point out the good things, after complaining for so long. All the time spent dancing with Andrew, the radiant smile on Tommy's face when I left him with Haruka and she didn't follow me, Jon deigning to dance with me on occasion, getting picked up and twirled around the air in an excess of affection by Markus, and not having blisters when I got home. I'll take those and be glad that I have them over nothing.
I mean really, if you can't beat 'em, you might as well join 'em.
The sleepiness hit back around 2:30 (I got home a bit after 7, and woke up mostly wide awake a bit before noon), so I just had a nice 3-hour nap. Well, nice in the way that it was a nap, but we'll see how I feel about it if I can't get to sleep tonight...
I never got around to making nachos this weekend like I originally planned, but I just tried the sour cream that I bought, a different brand than before. It's still not quite right, much closer to cream cheese than sour cream, but it's a bit better than the other. WHERE does that Mexican place in Shinsaibashi get theirs? Andrew and I went to another Mexican restaurant I'd noticed in Umeda, which was not nearly so good as the other. I think a lot of my opinion on that comes from the fact that they were using real sour cream. Mmmm... Jen is thinking of Rositas.
Dinner was no Rositas, but certainly serviceable; made even tastier by getting invited into the kitchen to have some honeydew that the Masuda's son-in-law's father grew. A few minutes spent in idle baseball chatter with the son-in-law (we're getting our butts kicked so far in the Japan series as a whole and tonight's game in particular, sigh) + free fruit = perfectly content Jen.
I'm off to try to find a movie to lull me to sleep tonight....
Man, the Tigers TOTALLY have a better fight song than Daieh (Fukuoka, Kyuushu). I'd be embarrassed if I had to sing that piece of crap. Well, not like the Hanshin song is all that much better in the embarrassment department, but a little counts for a lot sometimes.
How LAME. My DVD player will play MP3 CDs just fine, but you can't do random mode with data CDs (you can with DVDs, CDs, and VCDs, apparently, wtf). I like all the songs on my mix CDs, but I don't really like listening to them all in alphabetical order.
On the agenda for today... I think I'll go up to the Senri Chuo mall and read Count of Monte Cristo at Starbucks (by the way, I found out yesterday that it's not just spoiled Seattlites that complain about the lack of coffeeshops to hang out in here... Jon also thinks there's a distinct lack of laidback hangouts in Japan). Andrew's popping down from Kyoto around 6 for dinner and some conversation, and I'm hoping to go out clubbing with Jon^2 tonight (and Markus?). Here's for my day going the way I want it to.
A pleasant two hours spent reading and nursing a chai could have been improved only if I'd managed to snag a seat by the windows and be allowed to have the fall sunshine cascade across my shoulders as I sat. To be left blessedly alone for the price of a drink in a soothingly lit, comfortable space with expansive windows and music playing is a pleasure that a girl from Seattle takes for granted that she can enjoy without resorting to upscale bars.. until she comes to Japan. I just wish that I could find a nice independent coffeeshop or cafe to patronize; Starbucks (and all of its clones in Japan) doesn't need my business. Perhaps I betray my upbringing too much to say that I simply can't believe there aren't any to be found. In a perverse way, the drive to find the place I'm looking for makes me want to stay in Japan until I find it.
Oh, damn you Ondine, for coming on so perfectly during a bus ride home on a beautiful golden afternoon. At least Andrew's coming in just a few hours... perhaps we can get nicely miserable together. Time to wander down to Umeda sans most belongings... TIME TO CHECK THE EMAIL!
I'm ridiculously sleepy for only having had three beers over at least as many hours. Unfortunately, I'm back home around 12:30; Jon's friend Jon (you know, it's bad enough when there's multiple Jens, we really don't need multiple Jons) has a cold, and we couldn't convince him to stay out all night despite it. We're going to try again tomorrow (crossing fingers). Ai-chan was not along, but I learned that they're still together on some sort of basis (on only three beers, there was no way I was going to ask). Also that I have no hopes sans tartan skirts and hooker boots. Hah. And which (there are several) men in our group are only married because their girlfriend got pregnant, and which of those despise their wives. AND that Nishihara-san is reportedly regarded as a god among the men who share his locker room, hehe. All together, an educational evening, and I rather wish I'd have more chances to hang out with Jon^2 more often. Crossing my fingers for tomorrow, and for being able to look the pair up in a couple years.
But with that single paragraph and this corollary, I'm going to aim to get a good night's sleep for the first time since last Sunday night. In hopefulness for tomorrow (laughing). I'll take dinner and a couple beers out with a pair of guys over coming home by myself directly after work on a Friday night... But I'll take several more drinks and clubbing with a pair of guys over that.
Why on EARTH would someone use this search term?
dude "like a starbucks" and i think that's great
And how random that a Thoughts page would be the fourth link down when you google for it.
Happy anniversary to being in Japan for four months. I've dated people for less time!
I'm actually watching Swordfish tonight, because I got into bed with the TV on the other night and realized within a minute that I was going to fall asleep anyway. The opening monologue is making my eyes hurt. But then Hugh Jackman comes on screen and the blearing was worthwhile. I should remember tomorrow to ask John if HE'S an acceptable actor to moon over. He's got body hair; that should count for something. Because let me tell you, I think I have never watched a hacking scene this simultaneously sexy and hilarious, without breaking the mood of either emotion. There's really not much more that a geek girl who loves to laugh could possibly ask for. But see, movies like this... This is why I need to date the geeks. Or at least someone who can appreciate the totally awesome geekier movies in life.
As a perpetual complainer about blue screens, I feel the need to give some mad props for the blue screening on the bus scene not giving me the slightest blip on the radar. See? I don't always have bad things to say. But to complain a little... okay, the opening dialogue needed TO GO. I overlooked the technobabble and silly computer visualizations, but I couldn't overlook that monologue o' crap.
Not much to say at work other than that it was work, and that I'm happy that I've finally figured out the method to the madness of running a shitload of models, extracting the data I need to analyze them all within random samples and between related models, and using that to plan out the design my next batch of models. Only took four months of learning background material, learning new software, learning a programming language, programming some tools to help out, and spending a SHITLOAD of time running things from beginning to end. Well, it would have taken about two months, maximum two and a half, to get to this point if I'd had the proper direction about where I should be going and whether I was getting there in any sort of acceptable manner. Not to mention if I'd felt that it mattered at all to get it done quickly.
I decided to watch the director's commentary version, and all the horrible crap I had to listen to was well worth it for the bit where he said that his tech consultant KNEW that the geeks were going to want to lynch him for allowing the 3D visualization of the worm... but that he told the poor guy it was spiffy visualizations or getting fired. We always wonder what the hell crack the tech consultants on these movies are smoking ("Let's hire my cousin as the tech guy! He... uh... has a computer! I think he uses it sometimes."); it's nice to have it confirmed that sometimes they're just overruled by the masses. Also nice to know that my absolute favorite scene in the movie (mentioned earlier) was totally ad-libbed between Hugh Jackman and the tech consultant in an hour and a half. That right there cements the affection.
Incidentally, I'm finding that somehow watching the commentary versions is helping to fill the void in being able to watch movies with friends. I can't talk to a commentary track, of course, but at least it's some interaction and talking about the movie that I can laugh at or think about or get indignant over. I'm not THAT good at amusing myself.
Why do I always feel compelled to present lists in threes? I often write two options and it just doesn't feel right until I come up with a third.
The number one question gossiped about today with Parita: Who will be along tomorrow night? I'll find out soon enough, I guess... I just realized it's past midnight, which means beddy bye for Jen.
Other things settled in my mind this morning... Damnit, when I get home, I'm getting that cartilage piercing I've been wanting for years.
And oh yes, there's a few pictures, but nothin' special.
I intended to be home by 9 or 9:30, eat dinner, and watch Alias tonight. That would have required me paying more attention to the time at work than I was, however. I was actually WORKING all afternoon and evening (gasp... well, I would have been working this morning, too, if I hadn't been banging my head against a programming problem that I finally decided to temporarily comment out of existence) until around 7, and would have been fine if I hadn't bullshitted with Jon for 45 minutes about four dimensional space (I'll get to that later) and jobs (that a bit as well). And then decided to write a bit more on my letter to Jeff. And then noticed it was 8:30 and the next train wasn't until 8:50, sigh. I got home in time to start a tape before I bolted down to feed my starving body, so I'll watch it once it's over in 30 min, but it's not quite the same.
This incidentally put me all wacky again in terms of running. I was originally going to head out after Alias, but watching it trumps running because I am lazy and now by the time I'm done watching it, it'll be nearly midnight. I may be going into work late tomorrow so I can stop by the bank (FRICKITYFRICK ATMs that aren't open 24 hours and I hate using the ones in convenience stores), but I kind of draw the line at running after midnight. I wouldn't be back until near one, and as safe as my neighborhood is, my comfort level seems to say no jogging past the pumpkin hour. Kind of silly, seeing as after midnight isn't that different than after 11, when I often go, but who am I to argue with myself?
In related news, I'm almost done with the last batch of ice cream that Masuda-san gave me a while back. It's hopeless to try to not eat it if it's THERE CONSTANTLY CALLING TO ME FROM THE FREEZER, so I'm just hoping that I can finish it up and that she'll not think of giving me immense amounts of Haagen Dazs now that it's colder outside.
Lez see, things I was going to mention from above... Ah, four-dimensional space. I'm reading a collection of essays published in 1910 whose aim was to explain the concept of the fourth dimension to the layperson (aptly titled "The Fourth Dimension Simply Explained, a collection of essays," if you're curious). As to why I'm reading this, well, it's one of the many e-books I have on Sayuri, and my news blackout is still on because AvantGo is still down (incidentally, I'm starting to think that it's all a ploy on their part to get non-paying users to subscribe. Their statement that "some users may be experiencing problems," emphasis mine, makes me suspicious. Which some might that be?). There's some interesting stuff in the essays, despite (because of?) several assumptions and claims that have been disproved in the last century. I was particularly amused by the repeated entreaties to the reader to imagine looking at a two-dimensional being's world and removing some 2D object from Mr. 2D's 2D safe (read: what we visualize as, say, a square drawn on a piece of paper) through our access to the z-axis (i.e., erasing the pencil marks representing his 2D money). Mr. 2D would open his safe one day and be totally puzzled as to how his object had been removed, given that the boundaries of his safe, so far as he could perceive them, remained entirely undisturbed. Apparently respectable people back in the day argued, that by analogy, a 4D being could reach into a locked safe of ours and extract the contents without in anyway disturbing the 3D surface encasing them, and that access to the fourth dimension explained magic and other such phenomena (not that I totally discount the possibility, but it happens to be one of those things that is currently unprovable either way, so I choose to ignore it). The essay I was reading on the train home brought up the idea of time as the fourth dimension, which I seem to remember hearing more recently (I'm not a crazy mathematician, hate to break it to you; I never learned about higher order spaces except through Star Trek technobabble) so I guess it's the theory that survived? Anyway, I had a good time all afternoon attempting to conceptualize tessaracts while my models trained, and seeing if I could explain some of it to Jon. Also fascinating was the chance mention in one of the essays of Peaucellier's device for drawing a line that is mathmatically provable to be straight. We all just take it for granted that the straight line produced by using a straightedge is straight enough, but apparently that wasn't good enough for the crazy mathematicians. So I also spent a little time online reading about Peaucellier... I feel all educated today.
AAAAAUUUUUGGGGGGHHHH! When I tape stuff, apparently it only records the Japanese language track, even if the English track is the one primarily selected. How obnoxious. It's not like I can't understand, but it makes it that much harder, and... damnit... I like Noah-Wyle-wannabee's voice. Although they did find the PERFECT voice actor for Marshall.
Hiring... So I found out from Jon that when my application was sent to Sumitomo, my "why I want to work here" paragraphs for EVERY PLACE I APPLIED TO were also attached. On JETRO's form that I filled out, it specifically stated that the information would be trimmed and only sent to the company it specifically pertained to. How embarrassing, to have every company be shown what you said to other companies to try to get them to accept you. Particularly when you're a jack of all trades applying to five wildly different companies! Jon said that no one else at work read the other blurbs because it would have taken time to read the English... I'm just lucky that he didn't think I was lying off my ass and tell them not to hire me. He was only teasing me about it today, saying it sounded pretty funny to him but that knowing me now he understands... but I'm still feeling all extra embarrassed about it. Not to mention a bit violated, considering that I'd been specificaly told that the information wouldn't be spread to all the companies. Grumble.
In my head ALL FUCKING DAY... "Thank you for a funky time/call me up/anytime you wanna grind" Ah, thank you Prince. Darling Nicky, the song that cemented my love for that oft-ridiculed artist. But does it have to be stuck in my head all day?!?
(disgusted look) Mood swings. Have you nearly skipping on the way to your first train, and nearly crying as you get off your last.
I spoke just a bit with Jon today about finally coming down firmly on the side of applying to JET next year. He thinks I should just go for a real job, to which I counterargue that I'm not looking for a permanent position in this assbananas country. Yet? But we rapidly wandered into a discussion of why I'd been wavering on the whole thing the last couple years: not wanting to be separated from Jim for that long. He said, and quite rightly I think, that planning your life around where someone else is located is not the way to go, especially if doing so keeps you from an experience of a lifetime. And as he hinted and I pondered, if I was secure in my relationship with Jim, why was I worrying over a little time apart? Oh hush, you, you and especially you. I know, I know.
He also had a different suggestion for what to do in my dead six months... To apply at one of the commercial 英会話 schools to start in January and go through the end of the Japanese school year (end of April? Ish), which would leave me only two months of dead space, two months that I could spend bumming off my parents or somesuch. I'm not sure how well that'd work out, but it's definitely something to consider. JET pays your airfare on the way out for its job, so I'd just have to wrangle the in-out over those few months. Very very tempting. I'll see what Raye says about the slight possibility of getting a TJ internship instead, though. That'd definitely be the thing to do, resume-wise.
I refrained from asking him anything more about his weekend than how it went. He made a strange downward pointing motion and muttered something I couldn't catch, and I didn't want to press... later on, he complained about his weekend's "stuff," complete with crossed arms and a cross between a glare and a embarrassed "I don't want to talk about it" look, so I just joked a bit and moved the conversation elsewhere. I did note, however, that The Girlfriend's name today was not Ai-chan... but simply Ai. Poor Ai-chan... but as I've said before, it's Jon that's my friend and therefore him I'm championing in the whole thing (I would be even if he weren't such a cutie, shut up). In purely selfish news, he asked (not while drunk this time, and vaguely in a manner such that I think he forgot he had already asked when he was) if I wanted to go out with him and his Brit JET friend on Friday after work, which makes the Jen happy. And considering that we had Monday off and I just finished Tuesday, Friday's only three days away!
Man, if it's not one thing in this series it's another. I wonder what the total is for batters being hit through all six games so far? All I ask is that the Red Sox kick the shit out of the Yankees. That's all I ask. Ah, thank you.
It started raining on my way home and hasn't let up, and I still haven't gotten running pants, so although I went out yesterday I think I shall 円料 (enryou: refrain) tonight. Swordfish and asleep by 12:30, that's the plan.
Best laid plans, as the alarm intended to wake me up around 8:30 was turned off at some point and I finally wandered myself awake, after a set of intense dreams, around noon. Sigh.
Jesus, I thought it was some sort of rule that pitchers didn't bat. What does Beckett think, that he's some sort of superman? Stupid mood swings. I've been nearly crying at freaking baseball games for the last three days.
And with the completion of Yello's Zebra album, the four-month-long experiment in listening to every one of my albums has come to a close. I'm listening at the moment to a CD I made of several stand-up comedy routines, and I have a CD of 80s songs that was the prototype for one of Mom's presents... but after that, it's to my two mix mp3 CDs of random music, 6 CDs of my mp3 directories, and renting CDs if I want any other music. But really, if you think about it, the music that's on those two mp3 CDs should keep me amused for at least a month, meaning I shouldn't even need to dip into the full directories until the very last. Heh.
Oh god, I think I've not been so embarrassed in years. I went downtown to try to find a Mexican restaurant that I've heard about and after I failed (I forgot how the obnoxiously twisted streets down there can defeat people who don't know exactly where they're going) I decided I'd just snag some food back in Toyonaka. The tasty yakitori place was closed, as it seems to be every time that I attempt to eat there, so I opted for the place downstairs for some yakisoba and a beer. Everything fine so far. And then I go to pay, open up my wallet, and realize that I have no cash. They were cool about waiting for me to run to the bank, and if I hadn't been so discombobulated by the whole thing I might have realized I had enough coins in my pocket to pay the bill, but it was still EMBARRASSING. On the plus side, I had quite tasty yakisoba and a beer instead of the nasty fish in mushroom sauce offering at the dorm tonight. I tell myself it's worth it.
Sigh, the drama that replaced Boku Dake no Madonna's spot between Hey! Hey! Hey! and Smap Smap is so far not in the slightest offering me a cute male lead character. I give it another three minutes before I get very annoyed.
Despite having originally woken up around 10 and having read for an hour, I fell back asleep and didn't pull myself out of bed until nearly 2 in the afternoon. What a lump.
Last night was a perfect bit of laidback fun. I got up to Kyoto around 6:15, and met up with Andrew. We managed to find a decent Indian restaurant, and when the English pub that we were originally intending to go to was closed off for a private party until 10 pm, we whiled away two hours pleasantly chatting over cocktails in a bar across the street. Switched to the pub for Guiness to finish up, and all in all I was quite pleased. I haven't had a good hangout with someone, well, probably since I got here? It seems like spending time with people here always involves a party, or shopping, or sightseeing... the only other day I remember being similiar lately is the afternoon I spent with Andrew bullshitting over soccer when he and Mike visited. It's one of the things that most makes me miss having Brandon around; I could always just stick my head into his room and entice him out to watch TV for a bit, or stand around in the kitchen while he made his dinner and just chat.
I've decided that tomorrow will be my day of work in terms of cleaning and the programming I wanted to get done; today, I'm going to investigate Coffee & Sand, go down to check my email, and generally laze about. Hooray for three day weekends and Sunday feeling like Saturday!
I had a very nice lunch at Coffee & Sand, chatting with the two proprietresses. My ピザ風 (piza-fu: pizza-style) sandwich and iced coffee were delicious, but what really made my afternoon were the following two items:
(A) They use the COOLEST device to make coffee EVER; I HAVE to look up Kona Coffee Syphons online and see if I can get one. It's slightly redesigned chem labware: a round-bottomed flask on a stand over a burner is filled with water, and a flat-bottom filter funnel containing the coffee grounds is settled over it with a good seal. A bit after boiling starts, the pressure difference causes the water to shoot up into the funnel, and the time it takes for the pressure difference to subside is right about the time you want the coffee to steep (do you use that word for coffee?). The coffee filters back down into the flask, leaving the grounds up into the funnel. I WANT one.
(B) Just as I was finishing up my sandwich and hard-boiled egg (which, by the way, was quite tasty with some salt and Tabasco sauce), the cook randomly deposited, I swear to fucking god, a churro on my plate. I was like, WHERE THE HELL DID THAT COME FROM? I'd seen her making it, but it hadn't really hit me what it was until she gave it to me (I didn't ask for it; I have no idea if it came with the lunch set I ordered or she just felt like making it, heh). And OMG it was tasty. I was so surprised it didn't occur to ask her what she thought it was. Has she been to Mexico? I've certainly never seen churros or anything even vaguely similar in Japan before. Not even at Mexican restaurants I've been to! And Jen was happy.
However, it was yet another shop that did not in the slightest meet my requirements for a chill hangout, seeing as the only seats are at the counter and if you're in there, the propietresses talk to you constantly (it wasn't just me, the two Japanese that came in later recieved the same treatment). I only know off the top of my head where one other cafe is in the neighborhood (the remaining possible suspects are just as likely bars) and I'm 0 for 2. Sigh. The Starbucks up at the Senri-chou mall is seeming better and better, not to mention that it's right next to a Mr. D's...
Imagine my surprise in Umeda today as an elderly Japanese man tottered by me wearing a new Huskies cap. I mean really, where DID that come from?
Oh lordy jesus christ it's hot today. It's two weeks into October at 7:30 at night and it's over 80 degrees out? Wtf. I was sweating like a pig all the way home, laden down as I was with the results of a whim to go foreign food shopping before leaving Umeda. Now, whenever I go to one of the foreign food shops, I invariably come home with some OS cranberry juice, which is heavy enough, but did I stop there? No. Heh. And now I wish people to cry as they see how much money I spent:
200g (medium bag) plain Doritos : 359 ¥
1L (medium bottle) Ocean Spray cranberry juice : 430 ¥
275g (normal bottle) Old El Paso salsa : 620 ¥
227g (normal bottle) jalepenos : 360 ¥
normal bag of Ricola cough drops : 200 ¥
100g (small block) British brand red cheddar cheese : 483 ¥
90mL (tiny cup) Japanese brand sour cream : 200 ¥
284g (small bottle) French brand raspberry jam : 490 ¥
Total for 8 items plus tax : 3,299 ¥, or almost exactly 30$.
I'd kill for a Safeway.
Tasty curry for dinner tonight, although I couldn't resist enhancing it with the tomato and shaved red onion from my salad. I just hope no one has noticed my tendency to do that... they already think I'm weird enough. And (happy dance) best thing about being in Japan is that the season for jacket oranges starts early here. Tasty tasty satsumas... mmmmmmm!
What the FUCK was going on at Fenway Park today?!? A near freaking riot on the goddamn field? Shee-it. If Rodriguez (the batter) had actually been hit, that would have been one thing, but all that high-almost-inside did was surprise him... rushing towards the mound, bat in hand, that was just uncalled for.
I'm no big Red Sox fan, but if the Yankees make it past them in this series, I'm just going to cry.
Hehe, Masuda-san just brought me a little coffee and cream pudding from one of the boutique sweet stores in Umeda. When I asked her why, she said, as she skipped backwards along the hall, 「ジェンちゃんは甘い物好きだもん！」 ("Jen-chan ha amai mono suki da mon!": loosely: because you like sweet things, duh). Which I really can't argue with.
Not really related to anything, but I was thinking about it the other day: You know you've been in Japan too long when you're walking to work at 6:45 am, see a nicely dressed woman get two beers out of a vending machine and start drinking one right there, and you aren't in the least bit shocked. And when you see a normal-looking man in a suit carrying an open beer can at the station later on, your only surprise comes from the fact that he's the only one you've seen that morning.
Heh. Nice announcer work:
Announcer 1: "Why NOT have a 3-2 count in the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs?"
Announcer 2: "In a one-run ballgame."
Announcer 1: "In a one-run ballgame."
Damn you Yankees, damn you. Go for the eyes, Boo! Go for the eyes!
But The Mummy is on and I only missed the first 20 minutes, so EVERYTHING is ALL GOOD.
Hey Beeeennnnnnnyyy! Looks like you're on the wrong side of the RIIIIIIIIVVVVEERRRR!
Oh, and I didn't mention where I'm planning on asking to be placed when I apply to JET... Let's just say that Erin and Kuni can count me as part of Team Kansai. If everything goes according to plan, I'll be rattling around Kobe starting summer 2005.
I'm relatively sure that if you spent the time to calculate the amount of time I spend speaking in a day, you'd find that there's a direct inverse relationship to how much I write here. I've only verbalized a total of perhaps 12 sentences today... and look what's happened here.
Boys Don't Cry is the sort of movie I just want to stop watching in the middle.
It's 9:26 am in Seattle and I'm here crying myself to sleep. You'd think I'd be used to the idea after four months, but no. John, where are those magic powers of ours when we most need them?
I cut myself shaving this morning for the first time since I was 17.
While shaving, however, I decided my future, complete with contingency plans. You see, I'm going to be done with all the requirements for my degree after fall quarter next year. This is EXTREMELY inconvenient, because I need to figure out something to do not only next summer, but also what the hell to do in trying to enter the job market mid-year.
Item number the first: next summer. I'm going to try like hell to get an internship at MS. Ideally, I'll miraculously manage to get one at a Japanese office, but that's highly unlikely. I'm going to apply as normal for a PM internship, but ask Diane (the UW recruiter) to keep an eye out for a random one as a linguistic engineer or tech writer.
I don't remember when I'll find out if I've gotten an MS internship, but if I don't and there's still time, I'll try for a summer one in Japan through the TJ program. Failing both of those, I'll work at the U and enjoy my last summer of being a non-real person.
Item number the second: next year. I'm going to apply to JET. I've wavered about this for years now, and my friends may be laughing incredulously, saying "you MUST be kidding. You want to spend another year or more in Japan?!?" But damnit, I complain a lot, but if I were at home I'd just be complaining about different things... I really do love it here and I don't say that nearly enough. I've worried sometimes that I won't be able to get the MS position I eventually want if I take a year or so off to teach English or work as a government language coordinator, but well, fuck it. The chance to live abroad for a year is something that I refuse to pass up.
You apply to JET in December, but you start in late summer the following year, assuming you get the position (if I don't, then I'll either try for a really long internship through TJ... the case where I can't do THAT is the single one I haven't considered to completion; I'll figure it out later). So I've decided to try to delay my graduation from after fall quarter to after spring quarter. I'm not entirely certain this will work; it depends on Raye, the TJ program coordinator, and Tom Williams, the TC graduate advisor. If it doesn't, I'll bum off my parents for six or seven months, as distasteful as the idea sounds, or perhaps investigate one of the non-summer internships through TJ.
Assuming that staying in school for an extra six months passes muster with the Powers That Be, I'm not going to go for the additional Master's I was thinking about, but I am going to try to do as many of the following as possible: join a TC research group, take the modern Japanese literature (not translated) sequence in the Asian L&L department, take all the TC graduate classes I wanted to take but wasn't going to have time to do, take some more courses in the linguistics department, offer my services to Kato-sensei as a grader to try to lend a hand to the department, and develop my mad web skillz working with Craig. I won't be able to do all of them (and even if I could somehow manage to make all of them work, I wouldn't have enough hours in the day), but I can give it my best shot.
But would someone please explain to me why I feel so calm for having developed a plan, but like crying when I lay it all down in writing? Scratch that, I know EXACTLY why. God, I'd do anything to have Jim here. Or a hug from his mother, or a joke with his dad, or a taunt from Uncle George, or a chat with Aunt Joy.
Sigh. Right now I'm looking at having to take a taxi from Juso home (or walk). DAMN that drunk Japanese man who dogged Andrew and me from the bar, and damn me and Andrew for not wanting to be rude and walk faster than him! I missed the last express by less than two minutes. Okay, perhaps I shouldn't have cut things so close as to have that single express between me and missing the last train to Toyonaka, but I was enjoying savoring my Guinness, damnit. Although looking at the schedules I have for Juso, apparently the last train inbound on this line hits at 12:26, while the last train outbound on the Takarazuka line (the one Toyonaka is on) is at 12:26, meaning that I'm either misreading the skeds or have misjudged the time the local takes between downtown Kyoto and Juso (sadly, it's likely the former). Ah well. I have the money to get myself home by taxi if need be, so no real harm done. And at least I was able to secure a seat on the Kawaramachi-Juso local, so I won't have to stand up for the next hour and 15 minutes.
Sweet, I didn't misread the schedule. And now I know the latest I can stay in Kyoto without resorting to taxis on this end.
Huh. I have NO idea what I meant by that last sentence last night. And I DEFINITELY have no idea how I managed to spell surreptitious correctly in my condition.
Man, I went out again tonight, but the atmosphere was entirely different. The black cloud of Yoshiyuki hung over us all, and Parita and I were the only people under about 35 along. I adore Narahara-san and Tera-chan of course, and Shudou-san and Shiojiri-san were along, but I don't flirt with them all that much in the first place, and with Yoshiyuki along, no one dared to... well... really have fun. I did steal away to the good table (by total accident, one table ended up being me, Yoshiyuki, Parita, and Shiojiri-san... which honestly wouldn't have been that bad if Yoshiyuki weren't there) for the last 20 minutes or so, but I was extremely relieved when we all headed home. Bleah.
(sighing) Oh, those few minutes where Moritou-san stole my hand last night were nice. I haven't gotten any physical affection since I left Seattle save the weekend when Dad was here, and that hardly counts. Parita told me she couldn't BELIEVE I didn't have a Japanese boyfriend here after watching me interacting with everyone. Hah. Sigh. Of course, this is the same girl who swears up and down that she didn't think I was drunk last night, which means either I'm a much sneakier drunk than I thought or she's really not the person to be listening to about anything involving observing peoples's behavior.
Super short but I'm feeling cranky and out of sorts and just want to go to bed, given that Jon is either at work or with Ai-chan (quite possibly breaking up with her at this moment, which is rather strange to think about... I should check on him on Tuesday) and Markus is in Tokyo. The Wipeout soundtrack on my trip to WP and back satisfied my dancing craving some, but just as with physical affection and fatherly physical affection, dance-walking alone in the street is simply no substitute for clubbing.
Why must all my best days be drinking days?
Any day is good when the last several minutes involve surreptitious hand holding, etc., with married Japanese men. Mostly kidding, although I do adore dear Moritou-san... and thus I am at home alone, having greatly enjoyed the precious few flirting moments I've observed in the past few months. カンパイ！ to alcohol, and its tendency, no matter the person, to loosen them up some. As if I needed more conscience.
(giggling) Nice. games.slashdot.org is filtered, but none of the rest. It's wonderful how intelligent the technology is that they're using. Keeping me from all of the bad stuff, they are.
Blarg, I haven't forgotten Sayuri's power cable at work in over a month. Guess I'm not working on Jeff's letter tonight; using the keyboard on an Axim saps the battery power something nasty. It's probably for the best, considering I spent an hour at Mr. D's finishing up Dracula and so I'm not getting around to eating dinner (AND DAMNIT, WATCHING MY BLOODY MOVIE) until after 9 pm. And having turned on the TV to a Florida 9 - Chicago 8 11th inning, I won't be starting that movie for a bit yet...
I spent the morning at the CoP reading Dracula and taking data at 4 minute intervals, which believe me, is the best thing ever. There's reasons that I don't envision staying a scientist. And while I worked on that, I suddenly remembered a bug in my data importing script, that I'd been meaning to fix for a week or two, that would prevent me from bringing in the data I collected this morning. Sigh. So all afternoon was spent fighting to make THAT go away. During the process of which I learned that if you try to use a custom function that takes in a range inside a conditional formatting rule, inserting columns anywhere in the sheet causes the range to reset to a randomass endpoint. Hooray for Excel bugs.
I've been chewing over the idea of going on the trip next weekend with some people from my dorm. I think I'm going to go down and make an excuse to not go, because I'd MUCH rather have the weekend open to go out with Markus and hopefully Jon. I plotted out the weekends I have left to see how many times I can take advantage of friends who actually like going clubbing; Jon will be gone for two or three of the ten, Markus is gone this one, and I'm hoping to go visit people in Tokyo for one. If Jason and Mark come down here for a weekend, I have no idea if they'd want to go out (Jason might), but for safety's sake I rule out one for them. Which leaves me a possible four or five... three or four if I go out of town next weekend. I intend to make that number as big as possible.
Whew. That was relatively painless. Although Masuda-san did all nosily ask me why I was backing out (Japanese people aren't supposed to ask things like that! My teachers told me so!) and I couldn't well say that it was so that I could maybe go clubbing. So I lied. Heh. I have a friend coming into town next week, really. One that's staying with Hayato down in Sakai-shi so they won't stay here. Heh?
Oh good lord, California went and elected Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor. Sigh. I guess all we can do is hope. Damn AvantGo being broken this week and the filter at work! I would have known quite a bit earlier if I wasn't in this stupid news blackout (I forgot to lynx cnn.com today), but no, I had to wait for the Japanese TV news to hear the horror.
From Hell is doomed. Changing the channel towards the DVD input, I come across the first few minutes of Alias. Ah well, I don't have any dire need to go to bed by midnight tonight. Can't... resist... cute Noah-Wyle-style CIA agent and cute scruffy newspaper friend...
Jesus. There was another earthquake up on Hokkaido tonight. I'm TOTALLY missing out on all the geologic fun.
I spoke too soon. We got a little rumble here in Osaka perhaps an hour later. If it was an aftershock of the first one, that was a crazy long distance aftershock.
You know, knowing me, I should have done this long ago. But I hereby declare Johnny Depp as my single favorite young actor to watch on screen. I am no great judge of acting, certainly, he's crazy as fuck, I think, and I have no idea what he's like as a person, but there's just something about the way that he entrances me on screen that I haven't really felt since I was a child watching Harrison Ford. And that's really all I ask.
I would have made my money, if someone had bet; sure enough, /. and Ars aren't blocked. I really do wonder how much English
language stuff they blocked, actually. Not that Slashdot would normally make it onto some commercially available block list like my
company bought, but still.
Parita told me on the way home today that she couldn't believe it when Hayato said that I didn't talk to people in class. Gab gab gab, that's me... as long as I either feel secure that I won't get rejected by someone (the fear that kept me from warming up to a lot of people in TJ for a while), or feel secure that they can't get away from me (like Parita... HAHAHAHAHAHA). She said she couldn't imagine me not having an story or opinion to relate on any given topic, quickly backpedling with a "interesting, of course!" Heh. Here's to me not coming off as too crazy, but damnit, I just don't have that many people to talk to here.
Jon gave me a map for me and Andrew to find his favorite English pub in Kyoto this weekend, which is sweet. But no tips on the Indian food yet (he's been busy), and although I'd love for him to come along, he probably won't be able to (he worked all weekend this week, so Ai-chan is probably agitating for some time this coming one). I can't think of anything I'd rather do right now than go have a curry and a few pints of beer. Mmm. Looking forward to spending time with Andrew this weekend at the aforementioned activity, and just to having a three day weekend in general. I'm spoiled, being in Japan for the latter half of the year. There's been and will be at least one three-day-weekend every month (with one exception), and sometimes two, which is totally the way to go. Less work is good here.
I stayed until 7 pm tonight, although the last 30 minutes was spent aiding Parita with some kanji readings. I'm back to the drawing board, having started working on predicting three new variables... and the software takes a damn long time to crunch through test models with 32 inputs. Heh. Ah well, I'll look all productive for the next week, siitting at the CoP, while secretly reading Bram Stoker's Dracula and other books on Sayuri. Three cheers for e-books!
I had a horrible monthly meeting today, as I didn't really have anything to show off. It didn't occur to me to bring in the end results I came up with for flowability, and really all I could say is that I'd been programming for most of the last two and a half weeks. I should have at least done some screen caps of the data importing scripts in action (sigh). So I just kind of talked for a while, extremely embarrassed the whole time. Blah. Speaking of the Crazy Script, it now handles pretty much any error I can think of to throw at it. I won't work on it any more at work, I think, but maybe I'll sign Kasumi out over the next two weekends and finish tuning it, and translate the dialogs. I was reminded at the meeting that I'm going to have to write up a report of what I've done over the last month I'm here, which terrifies the shit out of me. What the hell am I supposed to say? I HATE writing stuff blind.
Dinner tonight included a creamy carrot soup, which had me missing Mama intensely. Carrot soup says my parents' dining room in fall, talking easily with Mom about music... I should finally learn how to make it. It really can't be that hard.
God, I can't wait to be able to cook when I go home. I just hadn't noticed how fond I've gotten of cooking in the last couple years until I CAN'T do it. Oh, I dunno, if I asked Masuda-san I quite likely could use the crazy kitchen downstairs, but it's not quite the same as puttering around in your own space. And things are bad when I'm missing my wretched apartment kitchen.
Jon is spending the night at work tonight, in a duty that I don't think I've written about yet. Every night, someone from our group sleeps at work, getting up a few times in the night to prowl around our areas. Why the fuck they make normal employees do this in addition to the security guards, I cannot fathom... It's probably part of the ongoing conspiracy to beat down everyone's will. I'm missing out on that experience, awww (they only make permanent employees do it, and only after they've worked over a year). The most amusing part is that they pass this little pyramid-shaped block among their desks to mark who the sucker is for that night, and I can't figure out for the life of me if there's any rhyme or reason to it beyond, as I said, marking the sucker. The schedule is clearly written up on the group bulletin board, so it's not like they need additional indication. I should take a picture of the sucker marker this week... If Jon's around in the morning (he might try to get tomorrow off), maybe I'll see if I can convince him to let me snap a picture of him with it, heh. I doubt it.
But okay, it's 10:30 and I want to finally watch From Hell. But noooooo!!! There's a Discovery-channel level English-language program on the Queen of Sheba. Can't... resist... Discovery channel programs on Egypt...
Stay up or not... Ah well, movie's not due back until Friday and I don't have anything to do tomorrow night. Count of Monte Cristo in bed it is.
Grumble. After I was so good yesterday, speaking maybe only three times, babying my throat, it's annoying to wake up today and actually have it HURT for the first time since the cold started. I guess all the coughing has finally gotten to it. Blah.
PISS. The new webpage filter appears to be interfering with AvantGo, all right. CRAP. But somehow disaster averted? ow if only I could get Journal Bar to work... sigh. But to lighten my day, someone found my page over the weekend with the google query "I got a 440 on the verbal section of the gre is that good?" Because the internet understands when you talk to it like that.
Hrm. So AvantGo claims that it's getting data... but then Sayuri claims it hasn't. How odd.
After a long time of fucking around at work today, the pictures from Himeji-jo are up and named. Just scroll to the Himeji section for some ass shots. And then there's this weirdly serious one where none of us knew when Parita was going to actually take the picture...
I continue to be foolish in eating at the dorm on Mondays. I'm not just idly complaining; there's a rotation that they loosely follow, and I finally figured it out a few weeks ago. And Monday is the day they go 特に和風 (toku ni wa-fuu especially Japanese-style) on my ass. I'm a big fan of what the Japanese have done with food they've borrowed from other cuisines and modified (ramen, gyoza, yakiniku, curry, and those are just the first ones that fly to my head), but JAPANESE Japanese food tends to be icky depressingly often. I usually finish only half my food on these days... I hereby swear that I will pay attention to the menus from now on and DEFINITELY eat out any day that's marked for 塩焼き (shioyaki: salt roasted) fish. I'm only just beginning to be down with the fish thing, and being presented with a whole one encrusted in salt is something I just don't feel up to despite multiple chances to practice.
We're still in the middle of that stupid calm between decent TV seasons here. Several dramas start this week, but Hey! Hey! Hey! and Smap Smap still aren't back to normal. There's a Detective Conan special on, at least, but I'd still rather have my shows with the boys and the singing and the dancing, as Brandon K. put it. I'm kind of tempted to go out to Mr. D's and read some Japanese, and after rewriting this sentence three times in different directions, I think I actually will go do exactly that. I came into the Detective Conan thing over half an hour late, so I'm not feeling especially attached to it.
My nostrils flared appreciatively as I crossed Hell Intersection tonight; for just a moment I would have sworn that someone was cooking with cilantro nearby. But then the smell faded, and I decided regretfully that I must have been mistaken.
(laughing) One of the categories of sites forbidden by the new web filter at work is "job hunting." I totally understand why, but it does make me laugh. I learned partway through the day that AvantGo is having system-wide issues, so I'm hoping that it will actually resume working, but I despair for Journal Bar... The firewall has been flipping it out for weeks, and l think the web filter was its death toll. Quite possibly no new weather for me until I return home. Yay. Hehe, another category is titled "abnormal," as distinct from "adult," "lifestyle," and "illegal" sites. Tomorrow morning I'm going to test the filter bit more (not in those categories, mind you). There's apparently a master list of forbidden sites somewhere... I'm curious to see if Slashot or Ars is on it (I REALLY REALLY doubt it, but it'd be interesting if they were). This list is still cracking me up: under "Religious sites," they say "sites elated to Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Shinto, and other traditional religions" are forbidden. Cults are out in another category, but what about the ranges in between? Perhaps everything that's not one of their "traditional 5" is a "cult?" Maybe I'll amuse myself my last week of work by seeing how much I can trip the filter.
I woke up crying this morning and I don't remember what I was dreaming. Waking hasn't seemed to help whatever it was very much, either.
I got home last night and was so tired that I just crawled into bed and fell asleep without writing anything, so I suppose I shall do it now. But I think that after that I will go out, taking The Count of Monte Cristo, and head up to Senri Chou to the Starbucks there. I feel a strong need today to have a taste of home, and while a chai at Starbucks is no mint mocha somewhere on the Ave, the chance to read for a while in a proper coffeeshop should make me fel better.
I met up with Parita and Andrew in Juuso yesterday a little bit before 11, Hayato at the Shinkaichi transfer around 11:20, and we got into Himeji just a bit after noon. I spent most of the day talking in hoarse whispers, which alternately really amused me and really frustrated me. Damnit, I just remembered that I forgot to give Hayato the tape I recorded for him last week. Anyway, after lunch, we headed over towards the castle.
The streets were dead silent and nearly empty, which was really freaking me out, until I started hearing some drumming from up ahead. Straining my eyes, I couldn't believe that I was seeing what I was... far up at the end of the street, there were several portable shrines and hundreds of people milling around the beginnings of a parade. I was thrilled; I hadn't had a chance all summer to watch a crazy Japanese parade, complete with asses and shouting and everything, and I'd assumed that the season was over for it. Heh. I snapped a lot of pictures to make up for the fact that I hadn't had a camera during the いか祭り (ika matsuri: squid festival) parade in Hakodate two years ago.
The procession was slowly making its way up towards the castle grounds, which made it a bitch to push through everyone, but I, at least, didn't mind in the slightest. There were bright banners waving against a sunny blue sky spotted with clouds, drumming and shouting and laughing, the smell of street food in the air, and I wouldn't have had it any other way. A big fair was set up on the field in front of the castle, but we didn't linger (I would have if I were by myself, but ah well) and headed up towards the castle itself. Admission was free for the day, a nice bonus of accidentally coming on a festival day, and we spent a nice few hours exploring around inside (you can get inside the defensive wall and wander for quite a ways, and the entire central keep is open to walk through, all six floors). Himeji-jo was reconstructed perhaps 70 years ago, but they chose to do it with original materials instead of concrete as with most of the castles around Japan, so at least it has a more authentic feel inside even though it's a reconstruction. As Andrew pointed out, it really is odd how the Japanese have no compunction about totally remaking things and proclaiming that they're the original. It seems that elsewhere we'd go to more effort to refurbish rather than rebuild. Outside, the gardens were in a nasty state of untendedness, but the castle itself is gorgeous (even though half of it was grey and dirty because the latest cleaning effort isn't complete). Andrew and I took a great many pictures of roofs, heh. That, and the bizarre decorative(?) holes spaced along many of the outer walls, repeating triangles, rectangles, and circles.
I have no idea if Parita had a good time or not; she said she did later, but her face is rather hard to read sometimes and I don't know if she was just saying it to be polite about me inviting her along. But I enjoyed it, so there. It's so nice to actually be able to go sightseeing this time around in Japan.
We headed towards home earlier than I would have if I were alone, but Andrew was to meet a friend in Juuso around 5, so that was that. I decided I'd go along with him that night; his friend, a Tibetan student at Bukkyou Daigaku whose name I've forgotten, had been teaching Tibetan to a Japanese girl and she was going to be singing Tibetan songs at a bar/cafe that night. The three of us had an image of what it was that we were going to, an image that started crumbling when we got off at the station in the middle of NOWHERE, and finally broke down when we arrived at a weird little artsy cafe and were handed drink tickets to get about an ounce of beer. Sigh. It turned out to be a much more simultaneously formal and hippie affair than we'd been expecting, and a much more boring one (Andrew's friend apologized to us afterwards, heh). Although the part where the two girls imitated cicadas for over two minutes was pretty damn (unintentionally) funny. Andrew and I were totally losing it, giggling in the back while the fifteen Japanese people around us tried to ignore the weird gaijin. I finally had to clap one hand over my mouth and use the other to pinch my nose shut to keep the noise in. We couldn't help it; the girls had started out sounding like they were trying to tune against each other, and I couldn't tell until they finished what the hell they'd been doing other than being extensively weird. I'm sure we were thought very rude... but it WAS funny.
Even though I'd had dinner with Andrew and friend in Juuso when we met, when I rolled back into Toyonaka around 10:30, I was starving. So I had a second dinner at my local Indian place, sigh. It was tasty, but probably not the most healthy of ideas.
Unrelated to yesterday, I've finally picked the grocery store that I want to use primarily. The underground Daishou just has more stuff than the other places around, even if I'll still have to go to another place to get milk that's below 3.7% (for reference, that's just SLIGHTLY less than whole milk). Daishou had nonfat, 3.7%, 3.8%, and whole milk, but nothing in the range in between. Why the fuck it is so hard to find 2ish% in Osaka escapes me, considering it wasn't hard at all in Hakodate. Maybe because there's more dairies up there? Who knows.
Home from shopping, two shirts for Jeff and Seth in hand. I am well pleased; even if they don't end up fitting, they can snip out certain parts and frame them, heh. I passed a quiet hour and a half reading and writing postcards in Starbucks, and do feel the better for it... I think it was the coffee smell in the air.
Hehe, I just watched a commercial for a little Sony bipedal robot (I don't think they were selling it, just using it as a promotional tool) that featured it walking an Aibo. How cute is that?
As I predicted to Jon yesterday, my voice is entirely gone today. I can't manage more than a whisper. Whoops. I guess I won't be doing the majority of the talking.
I repeat... "Well, FUCK!!!"
I just found out that Nishihara-san is leaving on Monday and won't be back until some unspecified time in November. At least I'm not losing both my boys at the same time, but STILL.
I meant to come home, eat dinner, take a shower and a bath, and watch From Hell while drinking tea. But then I got home and was reminded I hadn't paid my rent this month yet (oops), so I bolted out to the ATM and did some shopping. When I came back and came down for dinner, there was no one, but within a few minutes, Kubota-san and two other guys whose name I don't know were down there and in a talking mood. Even though my voice is shot to SHIT today (I worry that it'll be totally gone tomorrow), there was no WAY I was turning down people being in the mood to be friendly. So now my voice is even better than it was before. Really. When I finally made it back up to my room, the tea part of my plan made it through the works, but I turned on the TV to watch my movie and found the first few minutes of The Beach on, which I've never seen. Best laid plans.
My cold progressed as you'd expect over the last few days, given that I've been talking nonstop for Parita and to her. My poor poor vocal cords. Stefan said, after he came down to dinner tonight, that my voice sounded "very special," his bizarre term for anything that other people would term "weird." But he IS German.
I finally got around to passing Yoshiyuki a mostly comprehensive (heh, I love saying things like that... along with using "literally" to mean "really" - eat me, usage classes) treatment of what's up with the modeling I was doing all last month. And look! He didn't care! Who would have thunk it. Oh yes, there's meaning in my life.
Let us all roll our eyes and sigh in unison.
The bummed-ness from yesterday continued today as I found out that Nishihara-san is leaving this Sunday on an extended business trip and won't be back until sometime in November. I shouldn't say that I found out today - he'd told me when we went out for Mexican food a few weeks ago, but I had totally forgotten. So here I was, having worked up the nerve to ask him if he was busy next week, planning on seeing if he wanted to go for some yakiniku, only to be disappointed far beyond dinner plans. Sigh. He suggested I see if Iwahara-san is busy, but I'm not friends with Iwahara-san in a way that I feel comfortable doing that... maybe I'll see if Jon wants to come along and then HE can invite Iwahara-san, heh. I was slightly placated by Nishihara-san's woeful comment that he wished he'd be around so that he could go out with a pair of beautiful girls like Parita and me, but it really doesn't make up for him being gone for a month in any fashion.
Tangent time... The big thought of the day has been being jealous of Parita. Specifically, jealous of me with Parita, but it extends beyond that. She's got both me and Jon going out of our ways to get her involved with things (I didn't mention that the reason I'd had some alcohol last night was because the three of us went out), she's got Ookubo-san watching out for her every move, she's got people at her dorm that are in our group planning a night out next week... I know that a lot of it is because she doesn't speak Japanese and I do, so people are taking care of her more than they felt they needed to with me, but it's still depressing. And incidentally, I had a thought on the way home. I'm always making apologies for the people here, saying "oh, I should be more outgoing and start talking to people," right? But WHAT THE FUCK. Confronted with Pari-chan, my first instict is to reach out to her as much as possible. And I'd be the same way if she spoke perfect Japanese, because I realized, dealing with her, that I consider it a basic duty of mine, as "the one that lives here" to be friendly and welcoming towards "the one that just moved here." I think a lot of my anger is arising out of the assumption that EVERYONE should feel that way. Regardless of whether "the one that just moved here" can speak Japanese, or looks Japanese, or any other stupid reason that the Japanese use to rationalize their behaviors. Bah humbug.
Huh. I just saw the televised version of the "Are you a good smoker?" poster that I took a picture of a few weeks ago, and it IS in fact a public-service style thing encouraging people to not smoke in the middle of a crowd but rather find a place out of the way where they won't bother people and can appropriately dispose of the butts. Well. Good for them.
In deference to my cold and having to get up around 8:30 tomorrow, I'm going to bed. At 1:10 am. Sigh.
Well, now I'm right royally depressed. I found out tonight that Jon is leaving at the beginning of December and will be gone for a month and a half helping to supervise a new plant of ours that's just opening up somewhere far enough away that it's a flight to get there rather than a train ride (THAT was a long sentence). He'd mentioned before that he wasn't able to go home for Christmas this year, but hadn't mentioned why to me until now; I'd just assumed it was some sort of bureaucratic thing having to do with his vacation time or something.
He was properly contrite and disappointed when I burst out with a loud "Well, FUCK!!!" and reminded him that I was leaving on Dec 20th, but that's really no substitute. I feel rather as if I'm going to cry (although I think I can probably attribute at least some of the emotion to the alcohol in my system). I can be friends with Parita, don't get me wrong, I can be friends with Markus, don't get me wrong... but it's just not the same. Being friends with Jon has been a light in my life that I sorely needed, and had no idea that I couldn't depend on to continue being there.
And for the first time I find myself wishing, really wishing, that I was staying longer.
Normally I'm not one for ice cream sandwiches, but the Haagen Dazs strawberry one between oatmeal cookies that I just sampled out of the birthday present Masuda-san made to me was pretty damn tasty. I've probably eaten more Haagen Dazs products in the last three months than I have in the last three years. Actually, I take that back. Remove the "probably" and adjust "the last thre years" to "my entire life." No wonder I'm miraculously keeping my weight steady in this country of emaciation.
Pari-chan's first day went well, I suppose. I got to do a lot of running around on her behalf and translating, which was somewhat gratifying. Although the one that made me happiest was Tera-chan's rush request at 5:25 that I translate the safety guideline cheat sheet so that he can give it to her tomorrow morning. It's nice to feel useful and needed for the first time in a long while at work. Particularly by Tera-chan, bwahahaha!!
And the definitive funny moment of the day also came via him, when people were introducing themselves to Parita at our morning team meeting. Shudo-san was the first to go, and set the tone by saying "My name is Shudo. Nice to meet you" in English. Two people down the room, Tera-chan stands up, and grins at me, pushing his glasses up. "AI DONTO SUPIIKU INGURISHU. NO," he declared, and immediately rattled into 僕の名前は。。。 ("boku no namae ha...": my name is...) in Japanese as we all burst out laughing helplessly. I nearly choked. He really doesn't, no more than a phrase or two, and he's kind of panicking about having Pari-chan around. Shiojiri-san will be helping him out for the lab orientation tomorrow, at least.
I feel all big-sisterly protective towards the poor girl. She kept up a good face in public, but the first question she asked me when I took her downstairs to show her around was "how long did it take you to learn Japanese?" with a slightly wild look in her eye. She later told me that she'd not thought it would be nearly this difficult to live in Japan without speaking the language... some idealistic thing about how the Japanese people living in Thailand didn't seem to have any problems, so why should she, here? Poor, poor girl. At least she LOOKS fucking Japanese. To say that I have some resentment against her for that, and the fact that she's petite and dark haired, which definitely wouldn't have anything to do with conversations with several male friends lately... Blarg.
Not related to Parita in the slightest, but I just watched the first episode of Alias I've ever seen (neatly, it was the first episode), and I think I'll watch for it to be on again. A reasonably entertaining show, and sans commercials on Japanese satellite. I'll take it for now.
In other translation news, I am in possession of a piece of gossip so hot that it's burning a hole in my pocket, but that I can't tell anyone at work about. However, given that the chances of someone at work finding this site, this page, and this particular entry are basically nil (Jon, if I ever in the future give you my email address and you somehow suss things out from there, well, I trust YOUR discretion even though mine is obviously nonexistent), and that I lack the most incriminating details, I hereby blab it to the world. Yoshiyuki pulled me aside today to ask for my help in a "non-work related thing," "very serious." So it turns out that my boss, paragon of scientific integrity, submitted a paper (about something) along with four other authors to a peer-reviewed journal (about something) several years ago only to have it rejected (this part of the story, by now, caused me NO SURPRISE). He kept the paper around, and four years later, resubmitted it to the same journal after stripping out the two alphabetically first authors' names out. He's sneaky? That time, it got accepted (different reviewers, and the name swap apparently helped mask that it was a duplicate submission). Fast forward three years, and one of the two summarily deleted authors happened to pick up a back issue of that journal and SURPRISE SURPRISE, there's the paper that they sweated over research for, mysteriously minus their name and one other. The scientific shit hit the fan. So what does this have to do with translation? The journal is published in English, and to avoid legal trouble, Yoshiyuki agreed to submit an official apology and errata item in English, and he felt that it was so important that it be right that he didn't trust his own skills. Eat some goddamn humble pie and like it.
My throat is still killing me, and I'm crouched over my squeeze bottle of honey, cooing "my ppprrrrecioussssss." Metaphorically.
In other news, Jon told me today, as he raced off to the post office to mail her a make-up present, that he thinks he and Ai-chan are on the path to breaking up (I've known they were fighting a lot for the last month, at least... that's part of why I was surpised to see them show up on Saturday, and unsurprised to hear from Ai-chan that they'd been fighting all day). If we weren't going out to dinner with Parita tomorrow I'd steal him aside to a bar and pick his brain about the whole thing, but for now I sufficed with placing a big girl stamp of approval on his gift. Both for the item itself (an MD recorded with all the songs that the bar they used to haunt in Kyoto would play), and the idea itself. And here I thought that boys didn't do things like that anymore. Selective memory, shut up.