Tuesday, November 28, 2006

This Week's Faire

Well, whats gone on this week? Lets see.

One Sunday, one of my coworkers came over for dinner and we watched Battle Royale. She is kind of an anime and Japanese film buff so I told her she needed to watch and read Battle Royale. She liked the movie so the book is now staying at her house for a bit. If you do not know what Battle Royale is but are intrigued by a story of a class of students killing each other off on an island until only one is the survivor and can go home, Battle Royale is for you. I like Battle Royale.

On Monday, two things happened. I had my first honest to goodness Japanese lesson and I think that is going to help me a lot. I have been here long enough to get the basics of pretty much all aspects of the language but I want to learn more. I have been really getting into memorizing kanji and as it turns out, my memory seems to hold on to kanji very well. Today, I was on the train reading a sign for a restaurant and said to myself, "ahh, the kanji for bamboo," I have been having similar moments for the past week. When I am on the trains now, I am drilling myself with kanji flash cards. I like the memorization, it makes the time go by quickly, and I am learning. Oh yeah, the more kanji I know, the smoother my life goes.

Monday night Maya and I were supposed to go out for an actual date but she changed that to she and I going out for dinner with one of her friends tagging along. I like Maya and I like her friends but man, I like Maya a lot better when she doesn't bring a wingman along. I am beginning to wonder if there is a Japanese custom where women bring friends with them when they go out with a guy that they aren't technically dating. Its odd, then again, women here wear a ring on their ring finger if they have a serious boyfriend. Its not a promise ring, its like an "I've got a boyfriend" ring. For the longest time I just thought a lot of them were getting married really young but the other thing makes more sense now that I know thats what it is. Oh yeah, Maya is the one giving me my Japanese lessons too so I at least get her alone for those.

I went to Costco this last week and that was cool, I found out my membership still works so I think I am going back there this weekend to buy some shirts and whatnot. Its odd, that store makes me feel really at home. I am not sure whether its the fact that I worked there for so long or the fact that they sell a ton of American stuff but its relaxing to go there. Costco here is never very busy so its nice to walk through, its also much quieter at this Costco.

I am also looking for new books to read so if anyone has any suggestions, the suggestion box open. And Steph, I am seriously looking at our little friend.

Anywho, that is about it. I am jealous of all of you trapped in the snow, I am waiting for my rain to solidify. In the mean time, I stay indoors and look at fun new things I find on the internet. It turns out that a new Sims game is getting released in Japan on the Wii and as it looks now, it will not be released in the US. If you want to see what I am talking about and why I am now considering getting a Japanese Wii, go here. Just be warned, its in Japanese.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Thanksgiving Came And Went

In memory of the holiday on which I once I ate turkey, I had chicken penne pasta with alfredo sauce and asparagus. I miss turkey but that was about the best Italian food I have had since coming here. Why am I telling you this, I am not sure. But while you’re eating turkey and noodles, turkey sandwiches, turkey and stuffing, turkey and cheddar pasta, and anything else turkey related, think of me.

This week has passed rather uneventfully, though I did find out that American Thanksgiving Day is a federal holiday here as well, why, I am not sure of that either. If you don't even eat turkey on the one day a year you should eat turkey, why celebrate it at all? The other thing that gets me is that fact that had the pilgrims landed here instead of the Americas, they would have either been promptly decapitated or crucified depending on who was in charge at the time. Screw having a bountiful feast of corn, squash, and fowl, your blood and that of your loved ones would have been seeping on to the rocky beach as the tide carried your headless bodies out to the ocean. On that principle alone, Japan should not celebrate Thanksgiving.

On a lighter note, today was a pretty good day. My lessons went by quickly and without a hitch. Afterward, I dined on curry ramen and topped it off with mint chocolate chip waffle cone from Baskin Robbins, or as the locals call it, 31. Speaking of locals, the guy that lives below me is drunk...again...and shouting and falling all over his apartment as I type this. I have never typed about him so now I shall as it has become apparent to me that this post is pretty much pointless, I just felt like typing something. Anywho, the guy below me is your average Japanese business person. I think he goes to work either in Osaka or Kyoto every morning because he gets up around 4am and the train ride to either city is two hours so that puts him there around 7:30-ish; he doesn't get back home until nine or ten on most nights, though sometimes its closer to 1am. I do not think he is a horribly popular person at his job because if he was, he would be drinking with friends after work rather than coming home to imbibe alone most nights. It would help him if he didn't have the personality of a grouchy jagged rock but what do you do? I see him once or twice a week as we go in and out of the apartment and every time I see him I say hello. The most I have ever received back is a mean grunt. I think he secretly likes me but does not want to show me his softer, happier side for fear that I will think less of him. At least, that is what I tell myself to keep from crying myself to sleep every night.

Last week, I was just getting to sleep and it was about 3am. I was on the verge of going to happy sunshine dream land when I heard someone fall on the staircase. At first it could have been anyone, but then a split-second later I heard the bottle drop to the floor and I knew it was my friend from below. Sake and other fine Japanese liquors come in varying sizes of bottles. You can buy tiny single serving glasses of it, medium beer bottle sizes, or mammoth party bottles that you could use as a baseball bat later on if you wanted. He dropped the latter as he stumbled on the stairs. The smaller sizes make more of a glassy dinging sound, the bigger ones make a thudding noise and what I heard that night was definitely a thud. Anywho, I laid on my comfy futon, under my warm blanket, and for a few seconds started going back to sleep. Then a vision of him laying drunkenly in the stairwell, bleeding from a head wound while one of his legs dangled limply askew underneath his body crept into my mind. I have an overactive imagination. I got out of bed and got into my jersey shorts and hoody and went downstairs to make sure he wasn't sprawled there bleeding and fortunately, he wasn't.

Though, had he been, the heroic tale of me calling 119 and cradling him until the ambulance arrived would have most definitely made the local news and even possibly the national news. They could have made a mid-week TV movie out of it; the story of a cold drunk who never even showed a flash of humanity to this foreigner who lived above him. The foreigner, dialing 119 and in broken Japanese telling the operator where to send the medics and how it must have been a miracle because the address of the building they were in was the only actual address he knew how to say correctly in Japanese. The moments in between the call and the ambulance arrival in which the foreigner hid the massive sake bottle to try to give the wounded drunk a little bit of dignity before he was carted off to the hospital. The hospital visit that I would have made the following day. The tearful thanks and apology of the Japanese guy as he lays a huge man hug around the foreigner and tells him how sorry he is that he never once said hello to me and how great of a person I am for helping him when I had no good reason to. Me replying that he was a human being in need and that was reason enough. The weeks and months following where I become his sponsor for AA and he names his first child after me after he and his estranged ex reconcile and renew their wedding vows. This movie would rock in that Oprah Book Club, Hallmark Movie of the Week sort of way, which means that I would probably never watch it.

Moving on from that massive tangent and back into the real world, my drunken sub-apartment friend has one odd habit that both bothers me and makes me chuckle. Every night, he goes out onto his little patio and takes a leak off the ledge. Why he does this, I will probably never know. The part that gets me is that his apartment is probably identical to mine which means that at any given moment, that guy is less than six feet away from his actual bathroom. I can be a lazy SOB but this man makes me look like a go-getter, he should get a merit badge or something.

Well, that brings me to the end of this post. Having finished, this is like the blog version of a Seinfeld episode, a lot gets said but most of it has no point and there is no plot in which it revolves. I apologize.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Something

And that something may be Christmas. The holidays in Japan are very odd, I am finding. Aside from the whole no family or old friends to hang out with on Thanksgiving or Christmas, Japan goes about the holidays in a very strange fashion.

First, there is the Western association of Christmas with religion. For most Japanese, the only thing religion has to do with anything related to Christmas is the fact that Christ is in the word "Christmas". Aside from that, Christmas here is a totally secular holiday. The Japanese celebrate Christmas almost solely for the gift giving aspect of it, which they enjoy very much. One could say, this is probably how most Americans view Christmas now too but there is one thing that sets Japan apart.

In the United States, if you aren't celebrating Christmas for religious reasons, you are always reminded by the religious folk that Christmas is a Christian holiday. Especially in Boise, the Mormons cram it down your throat. Here, there is no talk or bickering about the religiousity of the Christmas holiday. Christmas is just a time to hang out with friends and family and give gifts, especially the giving gifts part. Its odd not to see the "He's the reason for the season," signs and bumperstickers. You never hear people complaining that Christmas is becoming too secular and you never hear news reports that church service attendance is falling for the Christmas masses or services. In Japan, none of that really exists for the majority of Japanese and they have never known it any other way. I know why I celebrate Christmas but its odd not to have the constant reminders flashed in front of me.

The icons of Christmas are different here too. There are Christmas lights but not many, at least not in my town. Though I did notice that my town has the main street all decked out in lights, that made me happy. In the States, you may see Mickey Mouse dressed in a Santa outfit, here, its Anpanman and Doremon that are in the Santa gear. Santa is also portrayed slightly different. One of my students drew a picture of Santa for me tonight that had Santa equipped with slanted, almond shaped eyes and a black Fu Manchu beard. I almost died. Santa-san is not the normal Norman Rockwell or German Santa that I am used to. It kind of messes with my mind.

On that note, the Japanese have a different Ronald McDonald than what Westerners are used to. Since the Japanese have a hard time pronouncing Ronald and the Mc part in front of Donald, the happy hamburger clown is simply known as, Donald here. He is also a Japanese person and despite the fact that I know who he is supposed to be, the Japanese Ronald comes off as looking vaguely like John Wayne Gacy minus a hundred or so pounds. He scares me.

One thing I am looking forward to is Santa sitting in a department store here, taking pictures with little kids. I want to see a real life Japanese Santa. I may even have to sit on his lap. Now speaking of a mental screw job, imagine being that poor Japanese Santa and sitting there helplessly as a lumbering white guy strides toward you, intent on placing his girth on your petite lap. I like role reversals.

Anywho, I am going to go eat dinner now and I will be sure to post any odd Yuletide happenings that occur between now and the big day. By the way, out of all the kids I asked tonight, all but one said they wanted either a Nintedo DS or Nintendo Wii for Christmas. I love this country.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The End of Lazy Weekend-Fest 2006

There are lazy weekends and then there are the kinds of weekends like I just had. The high point of activity for the weekend was getting up at 3pm (yes, I am horrible), getting my flat tire fixed in the rain, going to the grocery store, and coming home to drink half a bottle of wine. Not kidding, that was my most active until yesterday when I did laundry and cleaned.

In my defense, I had a four day weekend, it was heavily raining, and I didn't want to spend a ton of money. Therefore, I did basically nothing other than watch the Sopranos all weekend. Did I mention that I am in love with the Sopranos? Oh yeah, I also got paid for two of my four days off and I also made some cash on the third day as well. I have a hard life.

On to other news, you know how your parents always freaked out when you put metal stuff in the microwave on accident? At least my mom always did. What they were trying to protect you from was the sheer visual awesomeness that some things hide from you until they are exposed to microwave rays.

Anywho, go here to see what I am talking about. It is amazing what a bag of chips or matches do when put in a microwave. Enjoy.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

God Hates Trailer Parks and The Media Hates Americans

So I just finished looking at CNN.com and their big story is that a tornado ripped up a trailer park on the East Coast. That means two things: A)Its a slow news day. B)God Really Does Hate Trailer Parks. It really does seem that every tornado seems to hit a trailer park. Why? I wonder if its because there are a high frequency of them within the tornado belt and the odds are just better or what the deal is exactly? Its just odd.

As to the other part of my title to this post, I was watching one of the videos that my company puts out for us to play in class as a warm-up to the lesson and on most of the videos have a segment where the characters magically travel to the United States to see what life is like there. These segments make me cringe. In all of them, its like the guys making the video found the weirdest, ugliest people they could find and interviewed them and fed them canned lines for the interview. I smell conspiracy. What I think actually happened is my company had a secret meeting and decided it was best for Japanese kids not to want to travel to America so they used weirdos in the videos to scare them away from our portion of the North American continent. For example, in one segment they go to LA and interview public bus drivers in the city. Okay, we all know that most bus drivers tend to be on the peculiar side. Now factor in the LA part and you have some really creepy looking molester types speaking to Japanese children. Some of the guys didn't want to be interviewed and it kind of showed. Overall, in that segment, the guys came off as slightly creepy jerks. In the segment I watched today, somehow the camera crew winded up in the backyard of a family doing yard work. The father was "mowing the grass" with an old school motor-less push mower from the 50's and the yard was much too big for a push mower. Not to mention, very few push mowers are used anymore so what is the relevance in showing it to these kids? My only answer would be that the old fashioned mowers would be quieter and not drown out the dialogue as much, too bad the dialogue sucked.

The mom was down in the garden by the house planting flowers. This is not a bad thing and Americans do indeed plant flowers sometimes but this lady was scary looking. She was pretty large and it looked like she wanted to eat her daughter who was helping her out. Admittedly, Americans are getting to be on the pudgy side but man, they could have picked another person to play mom in this instance. She frightened me.

Americans in the news here seem to come off as very odd creatures. I think I know why and we, as Americans do it to ourselves. The media in American knows that the only thing that sells ads and attracts viewers is violence, death, and tragedy. Therefore, that is pretty much all you see in mainstream media. Fox News covers wars and CNN covers scandals and disasters. Local newspapers print what is fed to them by the AP and Reuters and then fill in the good space of the papers with local tragedies. Good things are relegated to smaller sections in out of the way places within the publication. In Japan, if there is something in America the Japanese feel like talking about, they usually rip the feed from CNN or Fox and dub over the English. This means that all the Japanese, and probably the rest of the world for that matter, hear about Americans is bad. That kind of makes me sad.

I know Americans are loud and obnoxious. I know that usually, we make very poor tourists. And I can't help but to be reminded everyday that our President is somewhat of a special needs child. But deep down, I know we're not all are monstrously fat, creepy, violence driven, molester types; I just wish the rest of the world saw that.

I may be a bigger guy but I am not huge, other than that, I do not think I am a typical American. I try to be very nice and outgoing and I try not to be super loud and obnoxious. The loud part is hard for me though, I have one of those voices that carries. I have had people tell me I am one of the nicest, more intelligent Americans they had ever me met and that makes me happy. I do try to set a good example and represent for my country. However, I refuse to tell people I am Canadian like some Americans I know here do. If people are going to give me crap for being American then screw them, I will let them see the aggressive side of American culture that they always hear about.

Anywho, just thought I would rant a bit. On another note, one of my kids threw the coolest tantrum I have ever witnessed a child throw. She is a three year old girl named, Honon and she is one of the cutest kids that I teach. She is adorable and has a very funny personality to match the size of her chipmunk cheeks. Now having said that, this kid has a temper and the weirdest things set her off. Yesterday, she was building a tower out of blocks with me. I can always make these really big towers by balancing the blocks and she loves to see how high I can make them. My all-time record for highest tower made from single one inch thick by several inches tall blocks stacked end to end is just over five feet, by the way. Anywho, she was getting frustrated that she could not make a tower as tall as the ones that I was building. She would put a block up and then another and it would tip over. With each tower, she grew more and more angry and I kept letting her build because I wanted to see what she was going to do. After a few towers, each time one fell she whimpered a little bit. Pretty soon, I had to sit her in my lap to calm her down. I was finding all of this entertaining, as were the rest of the students who are older than Honon. Finally, after a series of failed towers she let out a scream, stood up from my lap, picked up the basket of blocks, dumped all of them out on the floor, threw the plastic basket, and then seeing that the blocks were not scattered as far as she would have liked, kicked the pile of them to make sure that her trail of destruction spread far and wide. The coolest part of the fit was the look in her eyes. This was not an infantile spat in which she lost control of her temper, she had control and knew exactly what she was doing throughout each segment of her outburst. She was calculating all of it behind those squinty brown eyes of hers and you could just see that her mind was screaming, "Screw this, screw these damned blocks, and screw you all for laughing at me". To her dismay, I could not help but to laugh out loud at the mess she had created; it was just too funny. Little scenes like that make me never want kids, while at the same time making me wish I had a couple of my own.

Children are just odd and wondrous creatures.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Time In Overdrive

It really just hit me that Christmas is in a month and a half, that I have been in Japan for almost a year, that if I were celebrating Thanksgiving, it would be in a couple of weeks, and my brother turns 21 this weekend. Time is zooming by.

Not celebrating Thanksgiving makes Christmas seem really close. Usually, you have that buffer zone between Thanksgiving and Christmas to really soak up that holiday cheer and or homocidal thoughts as your stuck in a mall parking lot for two hours because 10,000 other people decided to go to the mall the same time as you and leave exactly when you wanted to as well. Wow, that was a good example of a run-on sentence kids. But its true, the holiday season has its own niche in time and not celebrating Thanksgiving messes up that space time continuum for me. I think I am going to decorate or do something holiday-ish on Thanksgiving just so it feels like I am starting the holiday season.

As for my brother turning 21, that seems odd too. On one hand, it doesn't seem like he's hung around for the past 21 years. On the other, he has his act together a lot more than I did when I was 21. My brother doesn't talk as much as me and that has always made him seem more mature in my eyes; or maybe its just that I talk all the time and when I can't talk to someone, I type on here. So basically, I never shut up. Maybe my brother and time are just normal and I am the one in overdrive. There might be something to that thought.

The fact that I turn 27 in a couple of months kind of freaks me out. I feel like I am workng against a clock and I feel that way with everything lately. I do things here and I think to myself that I will only have one more summer in Japan or one more year to visit Tokyo again. One year to go to Hiroshima, Nara, and climb Mt. Fuji. One more year until I have to make the decision as to whether or not I am coming back and if I am not staying here, where I am going to go. It doesn't seem like a lot of time and it seems like I have a lot to get done. I remember a time a few years ago (it doesn't seem that long ago) when it felt like I had all of the time in the world. Now it just seems like all I have is the rest of my life.

One of my goals for 2007 is going to be to learn how to make my mind relax. I am thinking all the time, even when I shouldn't be. I need to find the off switch for my brain, or at the very least, a slow down knob. When I sleep, I dream, and when I dream, I am working on something. I want those happy flying or falling dreams to come back or some really good nightmares that will entertain me while my body is recharging.

Anywho, I am going to either go read or practice my kanji flashcards now and then try to sleep. Any suggestions for relaxation that do not involve drugs, let me know.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Brave New World

Today, I will make a happy post!

If I were to sum up today in one word, it would be, whimsical. Today was just a fun day from beginning to end. Here is a recap.

I woke up at 9am and took a shower and got dressed. This is a good way to start the day and getting dressed is a handy thing to do if your going outside, which I was.

After going through the morning routine, I headed into the great outdoors and found it was raining. Hard. This was the down point in the day because by the time I got to the train station I was soaked to the bone and had to hang my jacket on the luggage rack on the train so it could dry a little. During the ride, I enjoyed a bottle of low-calorie latte drink and a tasty pair of pancake snacks with maple syrup and margarine in them. That was breakfast. After being on the train for a while, my co-worker and new daytrip buddy, Terri got on too. She would accompany me on my quest. I decided that she would need fuel for our adventure so I remembered to pick her up a pair of pancake snacks as well and she liked them. As our train moved further down the line and we happily talked and munched on pancake snacks until we hit Osaka. At Osaka/Umeda station we jumped on the first of a couple of subways to get to our destination. I am happy to note that we did not get lost like I was anticipating and found our way to our goal without getting sidetracked or led astray by me even once. This also made me happy.

We got off our train and made our way with the rest of the crowd to an exhibition center that was located on a little island just off the shore from Osaka. Finally, we got to a point where it was time to stand in line. The line was abuzz with energy and anticipation and a lot of people playing their Nintendo DS. This is what I saw:

Everyone in the line was happy and gleeful because they all knew what they were about to experience, everyone but this woman:

She also knew what was coming and had just realized that she had been duped by her boyfriend and he was not taking her shopping as promised, nor was he taking her to a nice place to eat or a movie, nor were they going to relax quietly in each other's arms at a nearby park. He was taking her on a romantic getaway to:

Thats right, Nintendo World 2006!! Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!! But I wasn't excited or anything.

Somewhere along the line of Nintendo doing a heavy marketing campaign in the United States, Nintendo realized it was shafting its Japanese customer base and decided it should also do something for them too. Thus, Nintendo World was born. Basically, Nintendo World is everything I wanted TGS to be but better because it was absolutely free. Today, I saw the Nintendo Wii in all of its glory and had I felt like waiting in line for hours, I could have played almost every game that will be available for the Wii's launch, including this one:

Yeah, thats the new Zelda game and had I felt like waiting for about an hour and a half just for it, I could have played it today. Sorry, I am not that big of a fanatic....and Terri was with me and I didn't want to keep her waiting. Having seen the game in action though, I have to say, IT LOOKS GREAT! Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and looked at ease with the control scheme so I am confident that Nintendo has probably hit on a stroke of genius with the Wiimote. I was also able to see Super Mario Galaxy and the new Warioware game. Both looked fantastic but I think I want Warioware more than Super Mario Galaxy. I took a look at the much touted Virtual Console and I think it may be one of the coolest aspects of the new system. The Weather Channel and the old school games are going to make the Virtual Console a hit, its hard to describe them without being able to show pics of it but I think its going to rock.

Of course, Wii Sports was being offered as well:

It was fun to see a dad and his son be able to stand next to each other and watch the dad go through the motions of pitching a ball and the son take a swing at the pitch with the Wiimote. People look goofy while playing with the Wii because some of them really get into the game. I also got to see couples play tennis with each other and cracked up when they assumed the tennis stance and and started swinging the Wiimote as if it were a racquet. A level of immersion is evident in gameplay that has never been present in another console. Its funny to think this was all started with a squarish joystick with one button and a clunky, brown console that has evolved into this:

Other things of note about Nintendo World 2006 was a full lineup of new DS games on display. Again, I didn't feel like waiting in line for them so all I can say is some of them looked really spiffy. Oh yeah, remember those pics of the people standing in line and playing their DSes? As it turns out, most of them were talking to each other on the DS's PictoChat program. I pulled out my DS after deciding that I would probably be lynched if I were to play my PSP and booted up the chat client to find about eight rooms going at once, each with a handful of people in them. I joined one with seven or eight people just to say hello and found people making goofy drawings for everyone to see and talking...in Japanese. After a couple of minutes of wirelessly conversing with my linemates, I was edging close to the entrance and decided to log out. It was just cool to be able to see that many people enjoying video games and their DS all at once. It felt like I was part of a community albeit, a nerdy one.

If anyone wants pics of anything else to do with the Wii, let me know and I will post them for you. I have pics of all of the accessories and all of the Nintendo launch titles and packaging. As for Nintendo World 2006, I will leave you all with this:

On to other things!

After Nintendo World, we headed back to Osaka Station and stopped at a bookstore that carries a lot of English stuff, stopping along the way to get a bag of Baby Castellas. Baby Castellas are usually only available during festivals and I guess Nintendo World qualified because I was able to buy the tasty, fluffy, waffly snacks outside the convention center from a vendor's stall. Terri picked up a fish-shaped pastry filled with sweet bean paste and she said that was good, though I have my doubts.

While at the bookstore, I finally decided to pick up a proper English to Japanese and Japanese to English dictionary. I also picked up two sets of Kanji flash cards to help me learn those faster. Kanji is what’s really keeping me from reading Japanese effectively and I am going to see how many of them I can learn in the next year. I think I have flash cards for the first 900 kanji that most Japanese people learn while in elementary school so soon, if I practice hard, I can be at a fifth or six grade reading level, YAY! If you ever want to embark on an exercise in humility, try being illiterate for a while.

On the way home, I practiced with the cards and was able to memorize a few more in the hour that I was looking at them. I think they are going to help me a lot because since most of them are the very basic kanji, I can see them everywhere and they will stick in my head faster. Flash cards are now my new train trip pastime and I think by learning them I will help myself out a lot and that makes me feel pretty good. That and there is no way better to impress other people than by knowing a ton of kanji. Kanji will get me chicks...okay...probably not but here's to hoping.

Lastly, on the way home from the train station, I saw this:

I had never really thought to put Christmas lights up on my apartment's patio but evidently someone thought it would be cool and they became the Japanese equivalent of Clark Griswald. Tis' almost the season and those lights coupled with that thought left me with a cheerfully illuminated way to end my day.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Back To Work

Well, after a week and a half of pretty lax living, classes started back up today. Tonight went pretty well, not a lot to report in that area; kids did Halloween stuff and watched in boredom. The Halloween curriculum is pretty cut and dry as far as whats expected of me and it gets very repetitive. All the repetition gives me time to think.

I'm not going to go into detail about everything thats on my mind because when I say it outloud to myself it sounds like I am all depressed and while that may be a little true, its not as bad as it would sound if I told you all. I guess the crux of all of my thoughts have been this: Why can some people live happily so easily and why can't I be one of those people? I think I invent problems for myself sometimes or I turn very small issues into bigger ones by over-thinking them. It seems like I am trying despite myself and my situation to be sad and I don't know why I do that. Maybe I am bored again. I also think I rely on other people to give me happiness too often, I would like to be happy because I make me happy and that doesn't happen as much as it should.

I was talking with a co-worker the other day about food. She said that she only ate because she had to or else she would die. I almost fell out of my seat. We talked about food for a bit and she thought it was funny that I see food the way I do. In short, I love food. Not just the eating of it but its preparation and how it makes other people happy. I like the social setting that food helps to induce, families and friends getting together to eat. I like the idea that you can take simple ingredients that when by themselves, do not taste very good, but when combined with something else, take on a whole new life. I like the fact that most food only tastes as good as the amount of effort that it took to make it. The bottom lines is that I like food and everything about it. I think I would be happier if I had the metabolism to match my love of food. I think its a pity when people refer to food as "sustenance" and feel sorry for them that no one has ever cooked good meal for them. I think I am in one of my moods where I would rather be a chef than almost anything. Cooking makes me feel so good and relaxed.

Speaking of which, I am hungry and could use a dose of relaxation. Time to make dinner.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Latest Goings On

First, I just have felt really unmotivated to post anything on here. Nothing really happened, I have just been lazy and not a ton of stuff has come up to write a whole post about. Its just kind of one of those down times and I am not going to force myself to write on here because I do not want to burn myself out and bore you with lame details of my life.

Though, the past few days have perked up a bit so now I will fill you in.

I had my Fall meetings and they went well. I had to give a presentation on the history of the Japanese school system and its current state and I think that went well. I still have a job so I must not have goofed too much up. After the first day of meetings, a bunch of us went to a darts bar and I think I have found my new favorite pastime. I love darts. My co-workers and I must have played four or five hours of darts and everyone had a lot of fun. Its a shame my area doesn't have a darts bar but now I have something to do when I go to Himeji.

Now that meetings are over, I have a five day weekend and today one of my new co-workers and I went into Osaka and I showed her around Den Den Town. While there, I bought the rest of the parts to finish the computer I am building. Now you might be saying, "Mogwai, why get a new computer?" Because, I got a really good deal on some pretty high quality parts and I am sick of this notebook not being able to play games really well or interact with my LCD correctly. Even after Christmas gift buying, I had the money to be able to do it and this machine was just too cute to pass up. I will have a new post soon showing off my new little demon. Oh yeah, I can also watch TV on it now too and hook up video game consoles to it, though I don't have any.

What else has been going on...hmm. I went on probably the nicest bike ride I have ever been on the other day. I think in total, it was probably about 24km and a bit of hill climbing. The kicker was I found yet another new place in Fukuchiyama and explored it. It is this really big industrial park outside of town that has a road that runs into a new subdivision with Western-style houses. I found one house that I loved, too bad I don't have near enough money to buy it. What made the trip fun was the scenery. It was very surreal; in one area I saw all of these huge factories and a block down was a park. This kept up for a while and it was as though they felt bad for building these industrial complexes and needed to compensate by developing all these little parks and playgrounds out in the middle of nowhere. Who is going to take their kid out of town and into an industrial area to play in a park when there are plenty that are much closer and in more logical locations? It was all very odd but I liked it. Fall is also setting into Fukuchiyama quite rapidly and the trees are changing and the sweet smelling of fallen leaves is filling the air. This makes me happy.

Halloween was pretty lame. No trick-or-treaters, no real pumpkins to carve, nobody in costume. This is probably the first Halloween in my life that has come and gone with very little fanfare. Oh well, maybe there will be more to do next year.

Anywho, thats pretty much the ballgame. Tomorrow, I will show off my new computer and you can all ohh and awe over its cuteness and size. You will see. :) Talk to you all later!