Monday, October 24, 2005

This blog defunct EDIT

All information here is relevant now only as a historical curiosity. Please see my further adventures at Feeling is First. ::Note: this link was broken. It now points to the right site.::


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Homepage Facelifts and My Last Week

Hey yo. So it is now wednesday of what is really my last week at work. Next week, I am technically working but will spend monday tues and wednesday cleaning my apartment (Read sleeping late and playing video games,then scrambling on wednesday).

I still havent finished my annual report nor my august version of News I, the newsletter I have to write. Curse you charley for your innovation! If you read this drop me a comment now and again! and seem to have both spit out brand new designs yesterday. A List Apart is perhaps the more important of the two, but the facebook change looks a lot slicker and more professional - did you know they are funded by the CIA? Did I post about that? I think it's funny.

So this week I am teaching my boss HTML. All his bosses keep coming up and telling me he is too dumb and won't understand but he's got the basic idea down within 2days and we are going to start work on the nissen page whenever he finishes faffing and comes over here to work on it.

Last night dropped Alex's car off for him in Mino. about 90 mins away driving,took the midnight train home. The midnight train stopped in the Mishima station and then didnt start again. They kept asking us to wait a bit longer and finally like an hour and a half goes by and they come down the aisle and ask me and jackie to take a cab, which they paid for. Apparently the train broke. Result is, it's 230 and we're in a taxi about an hour from home and I ask him could e please drive us to jackies apartment instead of to the station, cuz it:s not much farther and the other guy in the ab has to go to Saijo so its kinda on the way. He put up such a fight, he wanted to leave us in front of a deserted train station at 3am, and us falling over exhausted. The station is about a 30 min walk from jackie's so that would have just been v irritating. I was like "Are you serious? There are no other cabs here, it's 3am dude, just take us to where we have to go I will pay you the extra 300 yen of fare." and he was like "I am supposed to take you to Niihama station, I have no soul, oooooooooooo....." and so I punched him in the face and he finally drove us to jackie's, wisecracking the whole time about how far it was. The other guy in the car was pissed. Bad manners? Maybe. But no choice, jackie lives 3 blocks north of the street he had to take to Saijo, I can't believe he had issues with that request. Whatever.

So now I am tired and my stomach hurts and my eyes hurt. Do I whine too much? I think so. AT least I got most of my shopping done. I just gotta get stuff for family now. Blah. Work. More later, presumably.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Big Picture: Corante > The Loom >

The Big Picture: Corante > The Loom >

Friday, August 19, 2005

dodgeit - free. receive-only. email. no set up. rss.

dodgeit - free. receive-only. email. no set up. rss.

way cool

Todd's Take on Japan: u t o d d p i a: Japan

u t o d d p i a: Japan

Todd was asked the barrage of socio-political questions that everyone living in Japan gets asked every now and again, and has compiled and answered them succinctly and honestly. A great read for some basic information on Japanese culture in the here and now.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Blog Update

Zach is in town. Met him in Osaka on friday. Spent friday night wandering, went to Nara on Saturday. Nara is amazing. There are hundreds of small deer that are completely unafraid of people, if slightly annoyed by gawking tourists rubbing them. If they smell food on you they will run up and chew through your pockets to get it.

In Nara is Todaiji. This means East Big Temple. I dunno about east but it is big. Photos as soon as I steal them from zachary. It is either the largest or the oldest wooden structure on earth, I forget which but could believe either. Just a massive wooden temple the size of the IX-center in cleveland (okay thats an exageration but youknowhatImean). Inside is a big buddha.

When I say big buddha, I mean that one petal of the lotus flower he is sitting on is 5 times my size. This is one big-ass buddha, sittin there lookin' all peaceful like. Next to him are other statues, not as impressive as they are only 3-5 times Zach's height. Some of these things were fierce - samurai warriors, or ghosts, or something, but these statues were ready to kick some ass. Again, photos as they come. If you go to Japan, go to Nara. Karen, sorry we didn't go there. :-D

Then back to Osaka for more wandering and a night ferry home to Niihama. Spent the first half of monday sleeping and the second half showing zach what there is to be seen across this town. That includes both temples and a few shrines. Stopped at hardware store to buy the stuff I needed to wire Jackie's phone line. Guess I managed to learn a thing or two from my dad afterall. Took zach back to jackie's, joshka and david came down and we had a great big dinner that I cooked (ok, zach peeled the shrimp) and some wine and watched Lost in Translation. I loved that movie before but like it so much more now. The only scene I don't like is that failed attempt at comedy where the absurd hooker comes to his room. But maybe it really is like that? I dunno, whatever. The film is great. It really captures the I-am-a-foreigner-in-japan experience, as well as the more elusive two-foreigners-interacting-in-japan experience very well.

The next day was mountain climbing. Jackie was somehow misinformed as to the affair and thought we were going swimming (that was perhaps due to vague instructions on my part?) so was a little confused in her bathing suit and flipflops when I explained it would be about a 2-hour hike to the top. She and Trisha hung back and walked in the river whilst zach and I tore up the big ass mountain and were rewarded with an amazing view. I had been up there before, but it was completely cloudy and I couldn't see anything. This time, I could see Niihama far off into the distance, fading into the sea. I got Z to take a photo of me looking off the cliff onto the city for my farewell shot in my final report. Again, will post shortly.

Today, zach explores niihama while I work. It is report writing day and my boss is looking over everything I have written. Lots of red ink. A combination of "tell your honest feelings about this year" and "egad you can't say that!" ensue. She knows I have been frustrated here, probably she reads my blog (hey there boss), so she is surprised to learn that I plan to do JET after this. She tells me most of the jets she knows are kind of sad and aimless, spending their best years doing work that isn't really anything but a delay of real life. I tell her it's good money and a chance to travel and she tells me that if I can't find meaning in life at home then I am not going to find it by leading an upscale lifestyle in Japan. I cannot help but agree. Her concern for my future is half touching and half sad, because I know she has her own regrets about her youth. At any rate I appreciate the empathy, being a whiney oaf and all.

Am finally starting to get the twinges of "...and then?" that I always knew would accompany my encroachment into The Future. Graduation in less than a year, and then? I guess grad school in english, but does that even interest me? I guess it does. Web design? Interesting for now. Meditation in a zen monastary? Ha, why not.

How are some people just interested in living life and others not? How do some people pick things and stick with them for 80 years, while some of us can't make karate practice twice in a month? Whatsit in me that makes me so damn unsatisfied and unsatisfiable?

Life is a mystery to me, but I am not altogether interested in solving it. Does that make me a bad person, fundamentally? Just the ultimate end of my fatal laziness, perhaps? Odd. Such emptiness. But they say that finding emptiness is difficult - perhaps I have an advantage?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Blog, blog, blog your life, dull though it may beee...

verily verily verily verily I say unto thee...

I am not so sure where that is coming from.

Last night was my goodbye party from Nissen, it was a lot of fun. It wasn't just me, one of the managers got a promotion and is going to another office far away, and one of the women is getting married and quitting, and there are two new guys. So the five of us were the guests of honor and sat with the president of the company during dinner. Nice big dinner course, lots of booze, etc. Very tasty, a lot of people came to talk to me and ask me about my life and plans and etc.

We also each had to get up and say something in front of everyone. When it was my turn I gave a perfunctory thank you speech, it was all very laid back and casual atmosphere. Then everyone started asking m questions, wouldnt let me sit down. Best experiences, favorite things I did, etc.

Then the president's hand came up and he asks "How many girlfriends did you have in Japan?" to which I replied "Too many" and moved to sit but one of the other managers asked me "What are the main differences between japanese girls and american girls?" and I was like "uhhh" and then my main boss raised his hand and I was all relieved and he was like "Yes, we all want to know, please tell us."

At which point I said, "Sumimasen, nihongo ga wakarimasen." which means "Sorry, I dont understand japanese" and bowed and had a seat. It was fun.

After the dinner, one of the managers I didn't know too well kindly invited me out for drinks with some of the other guys and we had a good time. Some things about japan I will miss greatly.

Alison left wednesday morning. I am going to build her a website. At some point. For her art. At her goodbye party on tuesday night I accidentally used the old kendo shove on her and threw her across the parking lot. Then I accidentally hit jackie in the head twice with joshka's monk walking stick/sword. Hermmm...mayhaps I shouldn't be telling that story too loud.

TONIGHT, it being Thursday the 11th of August, I am going to hop (that means board) the ferry to Osaka with Jackie and we shall embark upon a quest to the great city. We arrive friday morning and spend the day doing whatever it is poor people do in Osaka. Then we go meet zach at the airport and take him out for a feast. Then the three of us find a love hotel (don't ye be gettin any ideas!) and spend the night in Osaka, then Saturday we catch a train to Nara.

Nara was the first permanent capital of Japan, before it moved to Kyoto and now Tokyo. At Nara, one can see Todaiji, which might just be the biggest and I am pretty sure is the oldest wooden structure in the world. Massive massive massive temple, the photos I have seen make it look like the sand crawler from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. There are also herds of wild deer there that chase after people. Sounds like a blast, ne?

So then in Nara we meet with Tricia and sleep in another love hotel (look, they're cheap, ok?) and then Sunday jackie returns to Osaka to catch a bus to Niihama. Zach and I, on the other hand, will buy a super train ticket in Nara and ride to Tokushima, which is on Shikoku. There we shall spend two days participating in a drunken dance festival. Everyone at work urges me to attend, they say if I dont go to the tokushima dance festival then the year is wasted. So that should be fun. I guess the whole they dance they sing "Fools are dancing and fools are watching. Both are fools, so why not dance?" It's a fair point.

So then monday or tuesday we catch a train from Tokushima to Niihama. The train system in Shikoku is kinda dismal, so itll take us a few hours to wind around from Tokushima to Niihama. By a few hours I mean a long, long time. Like 8 hours. But it's cool cuz we can sight-see and such.

So then zach and I will have a grand old time and then he will leave for Tokyo. By bicycle. Good luck with that, chief.

Anyway, that's a wrap. Stay tuned for next time on...

My Blog.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Swimming in the Pacific

...or, How to Jump Waves Whilst Antagonizing Surfers

So Jackie and I were sitting around watching lousy movies saturday morning and we had a conversation along the lines of:

M: I'm tired.
J: Me too.
M: Let's take Alex's car, hop the expressway down to Kochi, eat someplace really expensive, spend the night down there, catch the morning shopping market, then head west on Route 56 until we hit an appropriately attractive strip of beach, where we can stop to play in the water, then drive for hours and hours around the western side of Shikoku before finally stopping in Ozu to buy some crappy snacks and then catch the expressway home?
J: Yeah ok.

So we did.

It was pretty cool, there was a food/bar/thing called Jungri-La in Kochi where I drank imported european beer and ate some sort of shrimp-and-alligator stir fry. Then we went to an Italian restaurant and had pasta and pizza and a bunch of wine. Then we found a hotel and I crashed and was asleep relatively early though my parents called (ever notice people only ever call you right after you have fallen asleep?) and told me they were going to give me some money for the purposes of me having money as I wrap up my japanese adventure. Cool. Thanks parents, I shall use it wisely (and cut back on imported beer and alligator meat (Can you just see this image of me as some sort of crazed dilletante (did I spell that right?) eating alligator meat and expensive beer on a whimsical trip to the coast? That's so 1870's British Aristocratic Youngest Son)). Then I went back to sleep, cuz that's the best course of action in a strange city with limited time on your hands.

So next day, we went to market and it sucked so we stopped at dollar store and i bought some camo boxers because I had neglected to pack a swimsuit and my extra underwear was wet from me wading at the shitty beach fully dressed. Then we left Kochi and drove until we found a great little beach, I changed into my extra shorts and my running shorts that I had brought for the ocassion and went for a swim. The water was gorgeous blue, the waves were a few feet over my head and the temperature was perfect. Great time, great introduction to the pacific.

Then we drove and drove and drove and drove, with periodic stops at Conbini's for bathroom use and food.

We were going to go see Alison in Matsuyama but I was just too tired. So we didn't.

Then we watched Finding Neverland which was I guess okay but a little too warm-hearted for my cold-hearted sensibilities.

Look for Jackie's video blog to emerge some time in the near future. She just got a computer and is actually computer-savvy for someone of her generation. (snicker). She will likely get internet soon enough and plans to create a blog where she can post little 60-second film clips from her cell phone. We took a bunch on our trip. Could be interesting and funny. Might be shit. Will keep you posted, I suppose!

I guess that's all for now.

Oh, and I have a new plan. I would like to be a JET in Okinawa.

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