風になりたい! Kaze ni naritai! 

A look at life in Japan through big, round, gaijin eyes. Relfections on life in Japan, America, from the faceless streets of Tokyo. Let's blogging!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Karate Kancho Assasins

Over the weekend I was 空手合宿 (karate camp) in Ito city in Izu. I was the leader for my room, which I shared with 5 elementary school kids.

The only thing worse than a pack of normal elementary school kids when it comes to the sanctity of one's um... bum, is a pack of karate trained elementary school kids. Fortunately when it comes to avoiding the kancho, I am like Neo at the end of The Matrix. (Like the first one, when the series was good.) I don't even have to fight anymore because I am that good. For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, never mind. [But never ever teach English in Japan if you think it's weird that nothing makes Japanese kids happier than trying to ram their fingers up an unsuspecting person's rectum.]

Speaking of the perversions of Japanese society, I accidently showed the kids that ranking show where there where they ranked (amongst other perfectly ok things like video games! So it's not my fault!) the top 10 very-very-very-not-appropriate-for-elementary-school-kids idol photo-collections of the month (why can you get to be a bathing suit model at 13?...). So when 20 years from now one of these kids ends up in jail because of his schoolgirl in bikini fetish, I guess you can lay that one on me. My bad.

The situation was grim, but I'd like to think the experience and maturity I gained in my time as a teacher allowed me to actually make it educational:

4th grader commenting on the particular assets of one of the more mature idols: "すげぇぇぇ!Sexy dynomite!"
Me, distractedly correcting his English: "No...those are sexy dyno-miteS"

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A Viable Theory

Yesterday, my visiting friend Sarah asked in complete earnestness whether or not they reduce the amount of oxygen in Japanese trains. "You sit down and suddenly you're yawning. I slept for 12 hours the other night, was completely wide-awake when I boarded the train, and yet was knodding off within minutes of sitting down.... Could it be some sort of societal control?"
Piped in my other friend Jay, "I can never sleep in cars, trains, or buses, and here I'm out like a light. They've gotta be doing something."
Well, if there was some sort of way that they made people on the trains more docile (and yes, if I can sit I usually crash shortly after), that could explain how so many people put up with the ridiculously long commute two and fromw work (where an hour is considered quick, and 2 hours reasonable). But I think if there is some sort of chemical agent being piped in through the vents on the trains, it has some curious properties, only one of them having to do with putting you to sleep. For instance, for some reason nobody ever sleeps through their stop over here. People can be literally snoring blissfully away, yet suddenly open their eyes the moment their station is announced. It seems different from the way you might hear the name being announced and react if you had dozed off ligthly. To tell the truth it's uncanny. I have had this experience myself many times. It's like there is some sort announcement at each station on an ultrasonic frequency that beams into microscopic receivers implanted directly into the hypothalamus of all people in Japan. I figure I got mine when they said they were taking my picture for my alien registration card...there was actually some sort of Matrix-esque implantation going on, followed by some tampering with my memory. Or maybe they screwed up and I wasn't supposed to get the device, which also gives the abilities to properly hold chopsticks and remember kanji.

What was I talking about?
I think they might be pumping something into this office that's making me sleepy. Oh... Kacho is sending me a transmission on the private bandwidth to go back to work on the often ludicrous-seeming psychological experiment that is the JET Program... which I would do if it weren't time to go home.

Friday, August 19, 2005

My New View of Fujisan

My New View of Fujisan
Originally uploaded by bonitsky.
Seeing Fuji from far away is like seeing an old friend from whom you've grown apart. Very nostalgic.

Dissolving Stuff

I think if Bush could dissolve the House of Representatives and call for national elections if they didn't approve of one of his policies, it would solve a lot of things in America. Like politicians who campaign all the time when they should be working. I hate that.

That reminds me, today we set a new record for quotes from the Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy tossed around in a single afternoon. Good times.

Maybe I'll get internet at my place at the beginning of next week, and I can actually start putting up real posts again.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Another Big Quake

A big quake rocked Miyagi prefecture in Northern Japan today. It also had my office building shaking in it's boots. Or on it's foundations. Or whatever. For over a minute. This was the second big quake I've felt since I've moved to Tokyo, the other being on the day I moved here, right after I had finished unloading my luggage.
Earthquakes in Japan are really scary. Growing up on the east coast in the states, I didn't really really have any frame of reference for them until I came to Japan. In the absence of volcanic activity at Mt. Fuji, Yamanashi was a pretty stable place to be as well (relatively).
If there was a major quake in the Tokyo Bay area, disaster assessment studies project that the quake and resulting fires could cause over 10,000 deaths and many more thousnads of injuries. Many people would be left homeless or without jobs, and the economic impact would be staggering, in the billions or trillions of dollars. It would not be a pretty sight.
But I'm living here anyway. Just gotta join the rest of Tokyo's residents in keeping my fingers crossed that these quakes never do more to this city than make a few buildings sway.

Monday, August 15, 2005

My First Overtime

Yeah. First hour of overtime. Here's to many more to come. Woo-hoo! And payday is tomorrow! And... I'm totally ready to go home.
Anyway, quote of the day:
Tsukato-senpai (in Japanese): "Strip! Strip! Strip!"
My friend Jay, visiting from the states: "What's hey saying?"
Me:"He wants you to see you take off your clothes."
Jay: "Dude, what the hell?"
Me:[To senpai] "He won't do it."
Senpai: "What!? It's not like that!"

Quote of yesterday:"[ツ] It looks like a smiley face!"- Jay and Sarah

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Quote of the day:

"Every day in this country I see at least one girl who is so hot I want to punch myself in the face." - my buddy Noah, last night over Indian food

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Anti-Russia Day

So after opponents the Upper House rejected his plan to privatize the postal system, Koizumi dissolved the lower house of the Japanese Diet yesterday and political hell has broken loose. It's cool because I happen to work across the street, 19 floors over all the turmoil. (In fact, I'm typing from my desk at work, which I'm not sure is a good idea... but I'm still waiting to be properly hiki-tsugied into all my duties here at CLAIR.)
Certainly the political fallout will be big, and the manifold ramifications of what will happen after the 9/11 election are impossible to predict right now. What I do know is that it's cool to look out the window and see the flag/banner bearing ultra-conservative vans pull up to Koizumi's doorstep with their loudspeakers and bullhorns blaring, only to get stopped by hordes of cops. In America of course, this sort of thing would be a big deal, but here it's all hushed up by the media, I think. Maybe. Check Pat's blog over there on the sidebar wherever for the real scoop.
Besides, there's an important reason why I'm risking getting fired by posting away here without knowing the internet usage policy: today is anti-Russia day! At least according to the same vans, bearing big banners that said 反ロシアデー. Apparently the Japanese extreme conservatives are still hella pissed off that Mother Russia is claiming a few islands off the northeast coast of Hokkaido. Down with the reds! (I'm too lazy to post a link today--go google it.) What a nice coincidence that Koizumi did something grossly unpopular with the right-wing whackos on a day that they were planning to protest anyway! Good timing!
The kicker is that the supposedly conservative crazy van people were actually too lazy on their banners to use proper Japanese! If you're going to be ridiculously backwards and reactionary, at least write the words "Anti Russia Day" in cool kanji, like 反露西亜日, instead of with lamo-half ass katakana. Besides, last I checked, the Japanese word for day was not デー(de-). Pathetic!

(Oh, and as you can see, this job seems pretty sweet.)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

"Greetings From Takanawa"

Is what I would say if I was at my place right now in Tokyo. But instead I'm in Nishikatsura visiting with Pete and the rest of the crew. I've been staying at Grandma's while I still have a few more days of work here. I start at CLAIR on Friday.

Internet access is still a little sporadic for me at the moment, so bear with me as I make my transition to my new life in the BIG CITY. I promise some updates once I get broadband installed. Thanks to Shirakabe-senpai, the move was not problem, and I now officially abode in the heart of Tokyo, a 15 minute walk away from Tokyo Tower, 20 minutes from Roppongi Hills, and a mere 13 minutes away from the Outback Steakhouse in the Shinagawa Prince Hotel. My new apartment looks great, and is really clean. Seriously. (Juri helped me buy a vaccuum cleaner as a moving in present.) I can't see Fuji-san every day, and the lack of green and mountains is already getting to me (even though I've been spending half my time in Yamanashi), but on the other hand I can walk to a station where I can take the Shinkansen. Pretty unbelievable.

Ok, well it's time to get off Pete's computer and go get dinner. Peace.