Monday, August 23, 2010

The best intentions... (一番いい意図は。。。)

...oft come to naught.

Or is it that they pave the line to hell?

Either way, I shouldn't put off my posts until the next day. Because this (aka me waking up late and then doing a number of things in the morning slightly more important than updating this little thought dump of mine) usually happens when I do.

Alas, we live and we learn.

So, quick update, because the longer I leave these things... the lazier I get, apparently.

1) Have my cell phone.


...albeit after another two or so hours sitting in the AU shop waiting for absolutely nothing as far as I can tell.

Oh, and there was a problem with my middle name on the registration, as my health insurance card only has the first letter written down in English (though, I must point out, the entire thing in katakana.) Ergo, I could not register my middle name in English or katakana, and only my initial and the Japanese pronunciation of it. Stupid, yes, but at that point I was ready to say "you can call me Bob if you want to, just give me the damn phone woman!"

Luckily the woman who actually gave me the phone and got it all set up was a a different lady, so I managed to keep my rage in check.

She also gave me a jar of... some sort of sauce as, I assume, a recompense for my trouble. Yea, I liked her much better.

And yes, I have decided on an email, after much internal debate and a bit of clicking through my iTunes playlist when my first choice turned out to be taken (go figure.)

...suffice it to say that my email is not even close to any of the ones I brainstormed on this blog. Such is life.

2) I have been a veritable social butterfly this weekend.

On Saturday night, I went to a party in Tsu with two of my co-workers, held in the foreign dorm at Mie university. All right, for a party, though I mostly just regretted the fact that I've been convinced to drink beer. The stuff leaves an awful taste in your mouth, and I still don't find it too appetizing going down.

Sort of a fun drive over and back, though; Route 23 is the hippest and happening...est street in all of Mie, it seems, and seeing everything along it sort of made me feel better about living out here in the boonies.

Namely, we saw two Kappa Sushi joints.

I'm so easily pleased.

Sunday night, we went to see the fireworks in Yokkaichi, which is even farther away than Tsu--thus we took the train. Well worth the trip, though, as the show lasted something like an hour and a half, with some pretty massively spectacular explosions. It was right over the bay, so we were pretty darn close, even though it took us forever to find seats.

Coming back was, as expected, a 満員電車 (manindensha, cram-packed like sardines train) situation, at least for the span of one station.

However, for once in my life, 満員 was probably the second best thing that happened to me that night. (The fireworks were pretty good, yo.)

My coworkers and I had been sort of giggling over two young men with bright blonde hair, squatting in front of us as we waited for the train. I commented on the squatting-bad-ass pose, and how I wanted to touch their ふわふわ (fuwafuwa, fluffy) hair. My housemate agreed.

Anyway, when we got on, I and the two young men had the same idea: as we were at the back of the train, we wanted to press our asses up against the wall so as to be less pressed against other people. A good strategy, for all you frequent train-riders out there, though sometimes absolutely impossible.

Anyway, I crammed into a corner, with the shorter (and cuter) of the two blondies beside me. Crunched up against, more like, but in that sort of situation, there's nothing you can do. (I did hear him remark to his friend once I was pressed against him, though at the time I was unsure whether or not he was remarking on his amazing luck or horribly misfortune. Now, however....) My housemate went to the other side of the train with her beau, so I just made sure to reach out and grab my other coworker (we'll call her Y to make things easier, shall we?) to pull her towards me and against the wall.

As it was hotter than hell outside, the train wasn't much of an improvement. Naturally, I squeezed my right hand up out of the crush (the one against blondie) to wave the cheap little fan that I had received at the fireworks, trying to keep myself and Y cool and to keep Y relatively free from the stench of the teenage boys that had crammed in behind her (yeurgh.) We giggled a little, and were generally merry yet not aggravating.

After a few seconds, blondie gingerly plucked the fan from my fingers and began to fan us himself.

This is where my inner thirteen-year-old girl began to squeal in rapturous delight.

The outer twenty-two-year-old wasn't too upset about it either.

I commented, of course, on how nice he was to fan us like that, which he of course denied (come on, this is Japan), and then it sprung into a conversation. Mostly between me and blondie--I kept making sure not to leave Y out, but she's not as confident with her Japanese, so she seemed happy to let me take over.

Beside, she didn't think he was cute, apparently.

We talked about where we were from, exchanged names (though nicknames on all our parts; I got his full first name out of him, but that's about as far as we got), where we lived (Matsusaka?! That's far!) and he pointed out on the map beside us where we would be going and where we would have to change trains. He, of course, lived in Yokkaichi; only one stop away.

I never thought I'd say it, but the good thing about the boonies? Stops are far apart. I probably got a good five minutes of chatting with blondie (ok, Kazu) about everything and nothing; that I'm an English teacher in Matsusaka, that he lives and works in Yokkaichi (at something that may be a bar, may be an izakaya, may be a host club) and that the fireworks were great. I sort of suggestively pulled out my phone at one point, but either he didn't get the hint or didn't care to take out chat beyond one stop on the Kintetsu--he gestured that his was stuck in his pocket and got off the train soon after, telling me to come and hang out in Yokkaichi sometime.

The last exchange was quite fun, especially if I heard it right... He handed back my fan very solemnly as we pulled up to his station, so I decided to play along.

うち: どうも。
金髪: いいえ。 (頭を下げる)
うち: なーにそれ?!ナンパされるみたい!
金髪: うん、ナンパしてるから。
 Or, for you English speakers:
Me: Thank you (overly formal.)
Blondie: But of course. (also overly formal, along with a bow of his head)
Me: What's that?! It's like you're hitting on me!
Blondie: Course, that's because I am.
Admittedly, I may have misheard his last line, but since I'm already on the ego high from a cute Japanese man striking up a conversation with me of his own volition, let me ride it out, will you? 

And of course, in all likelihood, I will never see this man again in my life (my meager internet stalking has so far revealed naught), but at the same time, it was all good fun. And hey, you never know.

Definitely a good end to the night, in any case.

3) Y and I pulled a gaijin smash on the way home.

Though we were dubious, we did indeed have to change trains, true to blondie's word. There was (luckily, we thought) a train sitting on the platform when we disembarked to change, whose next stop was Matsusaka. What luck! As it was just about to depart, we did not stop to think and simply ran to board.

After it pulled away from the station, we noticed how very nice it was on the inside.

And the fact that the seats were numbered.

Oops. We got on a super-express, expensive train.

This suspicion was confirmed when a guy came around to collect tickets. And thus, the gaijin smash. Pretend you don't speak a damn word of Japanese (helped by the fact that we were both wearing men's jinbei and looked like total morons) and look hopelessly lost, confused, and good-natured. It's disgusting how well it works, and we got to Matsusaka way faster than we should have. Without paying an extra dime.

I feel sort of bad about it, admittedly, but it's less our fault than you'd think. If people weren't so willing to believe that all whiteys are morons who only speak English and can't be helped.... well. (a) it would require an entire upset of the system, and (b) we wouldn't be able to gaijin smash anymore.

And we all know that will never happen, and thus we continue to smash our way through tricky situations, using racism and xenophobia to our advantage.

It's sort of noble, really, when you think about it.


4) I have no children's classes tomorrow.


I have the class from hell from last Wednesday again this week, though. Along with another just before who are in a similar age group.

Something tells me that my weakness with children is going to get beaten out of me with a stick.

Either that or I'm just going to learn to dread Wednesdays.

As I am the cynical type, you all know which one I'm expecting.

5) My posting today was partially delayed by my shopping trip. There's a mad cheap supermarket very close to my home which my housemate introduced me to last week, and I love it to pieces. Probably not good for me to have access to so much cheap food, but... hey.

No wonder I'm not losing any weight.

Had another egg-sausage-sandwich with a side of cucumber for lunch today since my bread was getting old, but I think I'll be ambitious and use that chicken I bought today to make some オムライス (omuraisu, omelet rice) tonight. I'll tell you how that goes.

Also bought myself some nice frozen salmon, so hopefully I can figure out how to make some 鮭塩焼き (shakeshioyaki, salmon grilled with salt) soon so as to better balance out my bento.

6) Found a Book-Off near the 23. Must visit, maybe tomorrow.

7) I killed a spider about the size of my hand on Sunday morning. Or was it Saturday night...? Either way, dude was huge and I smooshed him with a fly-swatter. I have never been more thankful for my lack of bug-fear, as that thing would have shaken many to their very cores.

Made a brown splat on the floor too, what a pain. There may be one on the ceiling as well, but as I can't see it, it's not a problem. housemate may disagree when she gets back from her beau's. Oh well.

Seven points is good enough for one post, don't you think?

This is Edo, signing off and still wishing she had her old phone back... and that Mixi was easier to stalk with.

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