Thursday, September 23, 2004

Middle-of-the-week National Holidays are rather a treat.

I'm going to adopt various british speech patterns by the time I return. It's not intentional, it's just inevitable given the company I'm keeping. Nobody here gets drunk, for example, they get pissed.

Anyway, here's what happens when there's a break in the middle of the week.

2130, Thursday Sept 23

Today was the second national holiday of the week (but I think the last for like a month) so no work. Translation, last night was fun. Was wondering what to do with myself, then Jackie emailed and said people are going to Pat’s, so went to Pat’s, where it was myself Jackie and Pat for a few hours. We drank, ate coconut wafers, and smoked, whilst watching music videos on the net.

Now, these people haven’t seen/don’t know anything about current US pop culture, new music etc, cuz Niihama is a bit isolated and there’s no real radio stations and like 3 tv stations and anyway media input is severely restricted, especially if you speak no Japanese. So they wanted me to catch them up to date. Me, catching people up to date on US pop culture. So that was weird, but I showed ‘em the latest cool music videos and latest cool songs, and that was fun. Seems like at least Pat and Jackie have pretty diverse musical tastes, which is good, hopefully I’ll broaden mine a bit over here. But the Black Eyed Peas made quite an impression, it seems. They’ve been all over the place in the states lately, so it’s weird to meet a country where they’re still more or less unheard of.

About 3 hours later, other people came over, and it was just kind of noisy for a while. I was all the way on one end of the room and most of the people were on the other and by that point I was in a bit of a slump so I just sort of sat there kinda playing with the music for 2 hours.

Finally, around 4, everyone started leaving, but myself and Jackie stuck around and the three of us just stayed up a few more hours. I really enjoy getting to know people – novelty wears off fast, I suppose, but it’s always great to first speak to someone. Those are the 12 hour conversations where you convey and receive entire identities converted into words and facial expressions. As my circle has been more or less static since I started college, it’s a welcome experience. I think I’m going to really like at least Pat and Jackie. I’m gonna do anything I can to help Pat create his radio station here.

But yeah, drinking and smoking and listening to music and talking to interesting people all night, that’s kind of cool. Although let me tell you, I think I’ve had more cigarettes since coming to Japan than I did before coming. Everyone freakin’ smokes. It’s downright creepy, but someone is always offering you a smoke and it’s like, why not.

So I think I was in bed around 7 or 730ish on my day off, got up at 4 and went to Kendo, which was a bit less awkward this time as I was there early. I just jumped right in and practiced with the children, which is still somewhat weird. For the first hour it was all group stuff, but then they separated into people who have armor and people who don’t, who stopped and went home. I stuck around, and she just told me to practice my head hit. So I started doing that and half an hour later she told me to stop. That fucking hurt! But she came over now and again and made adjustments to my technique so I think I probably improved a good bit from that. But yeah, just moving back and for across the hall hitting the air for half an hour, I dug it, but I’m gonna have some really excited blisters. And it wasn’t just me, there was also this little girl, couldn’t have been older than like 8. She just didn’t slow down and didn’t get tired, so I just kept pace with her. These people are crazy.

On Sunday, apparently, there is a massive kendo tournament in Matsuyama, about an hour west of hear. People like the Miyazaki brothers and Eiga are going to be COMPETING – so I’m gonna do everything in my power to get out there. I’ll be sure to send pictures to the kendo club.

Tomorrow my bosses are gonna take me out to “Chuuyo”, the central part of Ehime state. I’m in “Touyo”, the eastern part, and there’s also a “Nanyo”, the southern part. Not sure exactly what we’re gonna be doing, but it’s a bit of travel, so that’s cool. Nanyo is next week sometime.

Also, I finally got some blank CD’s, so the music I can play in my stereo has expanded exponentially. I’m excited. Soon I’ll have a playstation 2, as well, so this place is becoming more and more like home. It’s cool to live by myself, cuz I can always have some sort of background music going on. Hell, I can even dance naked to it if I want to, cuz hey, nobody else lives here.

In fact, I think I’ll go do that. Adios!

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