Thursday, August 28, 2008

In Japan, nature is beautiful everywhere you find it.

About a ten minute walk from Chu's house, there is a sweet, little sanctuary that makes you forget that you are in one of the largest metropolis' in the world.
Senzoku Ike is a little park with a pond that provides the home to ducks, turtles, koifish, rowboats, and park-people.

For less than 5 hyaku yennies, you can row around the lake for an hour, and enjoy the lovely scenery of the park.

This bird held my attention for about ten minutes.

Chubabe is sleeping off her ice-cream hangover, while I row and hassle my new friend, the bird.

The koi loved the olive oil and parmesean flavored crackers I brought for our park picnic.

Beautiful places can be found all over Japan. If you drive up the Oigawa for thirty minutes, you can find this paradise. Surrounded by mountains of various green hues, the river's color becomes a light blue-green from the reflection of the sky, forest and white rocks which scatter along the vast riverbed expanse.

Alone from the rest of the world, you can do anything here. We, had a BBQ and swam.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

True Dat, bitches (An ode to hopelessness)

I was born two legs. With ability, I stood.
Practice, soon, they became hungry chopsticks.
You might catch me before the bullet hits the air,
I believe in pessimism.

Should you wait, sound meets the ear
yet again, hopeless.
There are many beliefs,
also, romance.

Lines are full, so unbelievably full.

Walking from a vendy at night, thinking of you.....

So goes the rice,
in their neatly drawn rows,
tucked soft away in their gently tanned clothes
charmed by the dance of a windy night blows
just as the writer of these faulty words knows
that the beaming just above the crook of your nose
holds the same facination, as knowing love goes
when she knows,
she knows!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Just another reason why I miss him

Yesterday I almost started crying in the teachers' bathroom of the high school where I work. I would never tell anybody else this story if I could talk to him as freely as I did when he lived in the same country as I. However, now my morning is his night and regardless of such minor problems, it's just not the same.

Actually, he would hate this story, just as I am sure that you will. He would just repeat words he's told me hundreds of times before. Toby, there are some things that you need to learn to keep to yourself.

That is your warning to stop reading. If we were to talk tonight the way we did before he left, he would have saved you. I don't really want to share this with my family, friends, and any other random stranger who happens to blogger search "best friend".


I was kneeling over the toilet. Seconds before, as I was about to flush and as my eyes glanced over the poo I made, I could had sworn that I saw a white worm slither and disappear into my poo. I gasped. I began to panic. Thoughts began to push and shove their way around the crowded, frenzied train station that is my brain. How could this happen? Is that my punishment for eating those undercooked octopus balls at the firework festival last weekend? Or maybe it was the microwaved chicken on a stick that I could have sworn was pre-cooked? Why oh why aren't I a vegetarian? This would never happen to a vegetarian. No, no, no, this would never happen to a VEGAN. And what the hell am I supposed to do now? I don't recall "tapeworm" being in the medical word section of the little JET memo book we received. How am I going to explain this to a doctor? Why, oh, why, oh, why did I eat that goddamn takoyaki?

I was so disgusted, feeling scared, helpless and tears were just about to arrive on the next approaching train...but then there was an announcement over the loud speaker. Luckily, they were all words I know, so I was able to understand.

No need to worry, silly girl. Don't you remember? Chu made us spaghetti last night for dinner. It's just an undigested spaghetti.

Of course, worrywort that I am, I couldn't just take the announcer's word for it, which was why I was kneeling down beside the toilet. I stared for several minutes, making sure I didn't see any other spaghettis move anywhere. Finally, my mind became at ease, and all the station attendents waved away the last train of the night. They could finally finish up their day.

A Lover's Secret

As we were watching a movie I chose at the video store, she turned to me and proclaimed that she gives me full permission to write whatever I'd like about her, about us, about anything. The movie was somewhat of a romantic comedy, my secret obsession. Though I choose only to discuss prevalent movies, indie flicks, award winners, widely acclaimed and acknowledged films, I can't deny my love for cheesey, girly, romantic comedies. I love Sandra Bullock films, "Fried Green Tomatoes" "Beaches" "Terms of Endearment" "Pretty Woman" and any other Julia Roberts/ Richard Gere flicks that stir up the cheese, not to mention that I prefer seeing Jack Black playing a romantic lead than a comedic sidekick....
Yeah, i'm that kind of girl. Actually.

So as we watched "Margot at the Wedding", a flick about bickering sisters who share a love-hate relationship with everyone around them, driving them all bananas, there was a scene where Nicole Kidman, a writer, is accused of exposing all of the families' secrets in one of her novels.

It was then that she so innocently turned to me and reliquished to me complete permission to write anything I want about her, or us, or anything. I couldn't help but smile at the fact that she sees me as a writer. However, further than that, I also thought about how I would never want to share my people; failures and much less triumphs, love affairs, secret anecdotes and intimate details of any of my sincerest relationships between my kindred with anyone else.

What kind of writer could I possibly be while holding onto those kinds of ideals?

However, should I ever give up those beliefs, I would have nothing less than a phenomenal story about a wonderfully beautiful woman who has opened up my world to a myriad of recounted experiences that I'd never have been able to dream. Her life, and my life without her, would be a novel never written....because some things are too privileged to share, despite all permission given.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Real World

It seemed as if someone just slapped down a mangled moral, a last-minute life lesson, a gambatte goodbye without any of the gambarimasu groundwork. Circumstantially, I thought it was fine. The action, the events keep your attention, and this novel would certainly pass an entrance exam for a plausible finishing college. However, it was the closing statement, the final judgment that just didn't fit. It just didn't belong.

The release of this book couldn't come at a more appropriate time. As Japan's youth slowly slips down the superficial, consumer-driven rabbit-hole, out from the hole jumps a book attempting to explain and expose the misanthropic mindset of a misunderstood generation.

Every character who recounts their motive for becoming involved in a murder is under the legal drinking age. Each of the characters struggle with an intrinsic mistrust of the adult world, in which they feel more fear toward than a teenaged murderer.

This book criticiizes all the needless pressures that Japanese society places on young adults; cram schools, university exams, advertising, commercialism, unrealistic expectations of success, et cetera. Of course, this book mirrors a horrendously realistic vision of young sociopaths. Usually, that word, sociopath, evokes fear, thought of as only describing murders, criminals. However, the term includes a much broader spectrum of those who behave in an antisocial manner that lacks tender feelings for others, that lacks remorse or warmth. This book accurately reflects the multiple levels of sociopathic behavior of seemingly normal people.

By depicting a true to life crime that has been occurring more and more often in Japan, Real World unfortunately does reflect the real world. Merely months ago, surely after this novel had been finished by the author, a man from my prefecture went on a stabbing spree in the busy area of Akihabara, a famous tourist site called "electric town". After they apprehended the killer, and investigated deeper into his personal life, they found that he was tormented by his ideas of personal failure which are believed to have come about by once being a high achiever in high school. Like the Akihabara stabber, the characters in Real World have much self-directed anger for failing to live up to the high test scores of their past that had once promised them success.

This book is an amazingly swift read, for the mere fact that it's difficult to break away from. These kids in the story, the same age and situation as the kids I teach everyday, kept me involved with every turning page. Worried for their state of mind, concerned for their mental health, I can't help but wonder if this world view is indeed inside any of my students' real world. It is hard to imagine it to be true considering the childlike innocence and kawaii-obsession that sprawls across their desks during our once-every-two-week English lessons. I don't spend enough time with them to know otherwise, nor do I speak their language well enough to detect anything other than the image they portray as their school persona. The Japanese are masters at making personas.

Besides my interest in understanding the high-school aged psyche, I also couldn't resist the fact that my friend, Dave, who recommended me this read mentioned the existence of Homodachi. Considering the overall tone of the book, I suppose I couldn't expect that even the queer reflections of Japanese society wouldn't expose the underbelly of the Nichome scene. Having spent much time in that district, in those bars, I can't say that I've ever witnessed any hints of what I read in this book. I have never encountered any trannies on their aggression-filled offnight. I couldn't even imagine it, as they've always only shown me their demure, Diva-esque class. However, much like how I can't claim to understand the kids I teach, I also cannot claim to understand the strangers I meet in bars. Really, all this book has shown me is there might be a world that could be real....only perhaps I'm too foreign to recognize it.