A Fair Day, Nothing Great
Today, like the past few days, has been pretty boring. There isn't a ton to do in my town and I don't have the most money in the world to spend on train fare to leave it, so I sit around in my apartment and stare at the computer screen most of the time.
Yesterday, I noticed a sign that stating that a fair was being held this weekend so I decided to check it out today. After riding around town for an hour trying to figure out where the dang thing was I figured out it was in the one place I didn't look and that there was a shuttle going there every half an hour. Since I had been riding my bike for a while and the shuttle was free, I jumped on and was wheeled off to the fair.
This fair was like one of those Fall home expo things and so it wasn't horribly interesting. I did get to look inside a 2008 Nissan Skyline 370GT and that was nice, it was the equivalent of $40k USD but it was nice. There was also a flea market thingy and I looked around it too.
At this point I should mention that I was the only white guy there. I am used to that by now but what drives me up a wall is that being white makes me a target for every ambitious sales person and marketing rep trying to hawk whatever it is that people sell at these things.
I had a couple of guys try to speak kind of sort of English to me and try to convince me I needed some obscure British pop band's vinyl records. They also tried to sell me a sweatshirt and pair of jeans and when I told them that both clothing items were a little small for me, their girlfriends laughed at them. After a few more seconds of playing around with them I broke free to see what else was around.
I found the food court and there wasn't anything special there that I wanted. No Baby Castellas. After the food court I went into the expo building and was again the target of every booth in the venue. I was forced to play darts against some school kid. People attempted to usher me into their little booths to hear some sales pitch. Craft makers wanted me to buy one of their little wooden sculptures. The Sharp sales reps wanted me to buy an LCD screen. The phone people wanted me to buy a phone. And as I thought I was home free and basically running for the exit, a guy stopped me and wanted me to fill out a survey as to how the expo was.
As soon as I was out the door, I headed for the shuttle to get away from there as fast as possible.
A couple of days ago, my doorbell rang and the guy for Japanese Public Television was standing there. These guys annoy the daylights out of me. Basically, Japanese Public Television or NHK as it is called here is the same crap that American Public Television has on it, just in a language that I only understand half of the time. The difference is how the companies get their funding. In the US, they get a small government stipend and a bunch of private donations to keep them running and churning out shows like Bob Ross and Sesame St. In Japan, they send guys door to door who's sole job is to try to guilt you and strong arm you into paying them for watching their programming.
Last year, the guy came to my door and tried to get into my apartment. Seeing that I make a better wall than a window, he was unsuccessful but continued to ask me if I watched television and all while trying to peer around me to see in my apartment to see if he could spot a TV somewhere. I do have a TV, it is in my closet. I have never turned it on. Last year's guy wouldn't take "No" for an answer though and asked if I had a computer and if it had a TV card in it. He was smart but since he couldn't see any cable wires, he had to take my word for it when I told him no yet again.
This year's guy wasn't as determined and my Japanese was better so it was pretty quick. He asked if I watched TV and I straight up told him no and then went on to say that I didn't even own one. That was that. The funny part is this year, I do have a TV and it is a TV card inside my computer. But, he didn't ask about that this time so I didn't offer it up.
I guess if you say, yes, they get all cooky and try to force money out of you and put you on a payment plan to fund their "free" service. They also come during a time when it is most likely to be just women and kids home, thus giving them easier prey to fed off of. Can you imagine PBS trying to send out henchmen to collect from Americans? Can you imagine some of the conversations they would have? It wouldn't happen and I am sure not going to let them try it on me here either.
Anywho, not much else has gone on. I taught my last week in one of my classes before the new guy takes it over. I haven't met him yet but for now, I have named him, Adventure Monkey. If I end up liking him, I may actually call him by his name but until then, he is Adventure Monkey. I meet him tomorrow so it should be interesting. At least now, I will have someone else in this town to speak English to...as long as I like him and he doesn't drive me crazy like most other white people do here. We shall see I guess.