Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The large print giveth and the small print taketh away

Book V – November
Sunday, November 7, 2004
945 am
ICA seminar

So I just taught English to a group of young execs in training. I had one hour. I talked about prepositions. I had them describe photographs. The photographs were from Last Samurai. Much fun was had. I thought it went rather well. Afterwards my boss was like “It’s okay, you’ll do better next time.” But screw that, it was cool.

I went to an onsen last night, which is a hot spring/public bath. Sat around in luxurious puddles with a bunch of naked men. This was after drinking heavily, it was very relaxing.

By the way I’m about 4 hours away from Niihama in a mountain lodge for this seminar for young execs. The atmosphere is pretty relaxed for me – I get to chum around with these guys, they were all kissing up to me last night in order to ensure that I wouldn’t call on them during my lesson this morning. Hahaha, suckers.

日本語で話したい。剣道の栄花さん(えいがさん)についてのビデオを見ている。もう見たが、今回もっとわかるのでうれしい。でも本当に、ほとんどわからない。さびしい。

On Monday I have the day off, as does Ayako. We are going to go to Matsuyama, the “Big City” in Ehime prefecture. I do not know what we will do there. But it will be fun. I rather like Ayako, and suspect we may be dating – despite certain other factors at play, Mr. Jones, which can be disregarded.

Ah, in the video we are now watching for this seminar, Eiga-san just won the world kendo championship (2003) with a suki to the throat of his Korean opponent, after 12 minutes of absolutely nothing. It was glorious. I would like to win with a sudden suki, whatever I may be doing. A suki is a fast, straight, dangerous stab to the throat – it completely disregards the enemy’s defenses, which are designed to ward off chops and slashes, but it leaves you reeeeally overextended so it’s very hard to do. The target is tiny and the consequences for missing are deadly. To do it in a world-championship match is great. To win with it is almost as glorious as to lose with it.

So I have noticed that I am writing much less than once upon a time. I guess that means I’m me again, now that the novelty of “starting over” has more or less faded.

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That's as much as I got written down at the seminar. It is now a few days later. Just as I got to that point in my writing, they called on me for my reaction to the film and I was like "Uhhhh, I'm a moron and lazy to boot." Except in Japanese with kendo references.

So my mom tells me that my parents found this blog. That was quicker than I expected, my dad must be googling our last name more often than normal. Just for the record, though, upon reflection I've decided I'm not going to censor this or anything. If my parents are interested in reading my thoughts and opinions, I suppose they're welcome to. They're just as welcome not to, though. So if my language is too fucking coarse, maybe they'll stay away. Hi mom. :-)

So naturally, the most natural segue in the world is from talking one's parents to talking about one's love interest. Ended up not going to Matsuyama with Ayako yesterday; rather, we sort of bummed around Niihama, it was rather boring. Her friends keep nagging me to know if we're a "couple" or not, and as I am a bit curious myself I just asked her her thoughts on the matter. She more or less changed the subject, then we rented Kate and Leopold and watched at my place from opposite ends of my futon as she sat on the edge of her seat, anxious to see if Meg Ryan would able to beat the odds and end up with Hugh Grant.

We are not impressed. We are thinking Japanese girls play just as many stupid games as American girls and are tired of stupid games, so we'll see, I think I'm - err, I mean, we think we are on the market again (we mean). Once we slip into the royal we, we prefer to run with it for a bit.

But yeah, that was a rather dismal end to a great weekend. Which is how it all must go, I suppose.

What else. The local CD-rental place has like 5 tom waits cd's that I don't have, so I'm rather happy and surprised about that. No Nick Cave, though. Someone send me The Boatman's Call, that's a great album from the reviews and the few songs I've heard. I hear tell it's sad. :-D

Work has gotten a lot better. I am in the chemical block this time around - I rather like it there, my desk is between two pretty young girls who always giggle and give me candy, and across from me is a guy who seems pretty cool. They cornered me in the coffee room today and told me I didn't have to be formal with them like I am with everyone else, as apparently they are also lowest of the low, so I finally have some friends in the company. That's a relief, as if you're informal it's much easier because it doesn't matter if you fuck up. (Hi mom!) So when I'm there, on the fifth floor, it's really relaxing and I'm productive. I am translating the company website there, so I can work at my own pace, nobody hanging over my shoulder (it's a job that'll take at least a few months, so nobody expects me to finish while I'm here. But maybe I can get all the translating done all the way through once, right, and then I'll just opt to work in Nissen Chemical with my pretty girls and my website until August. Nifty.). In the afternoons, Fukushima-san takes me to various other chemical block companies around Niihama, where I do all sorts of stuff. The other day I made some of those things that are like stuff floating in plastic...you know what I mean? Like paperweights and decorations and stuff. I made a stamp with my initials, with a cool plant inside. Today I did work in a factory, just working a pressing machine that put serial numbers into plastic sheets. This is kind of ideal for me, as I am rather nomadic by nature - I don't like to stick to anything in particular. So mornings with pretty girls and a different job every afternoon is pretty great, and back by 5 to go home.

Except that my obligations from last month aren't quite done yet, right, cuz I still haven't finished the october newsletter that they want me to write. That's a bitchload of work! And I was DONE and they told me to do it over cuz it wasn't what they wanted and then I FINISHED and then my boss proofread it and it was DONE and she asked her boss to read it too and he's a fucking Bush-supporter and knows my leanings and that's why he made SO many corrections that it'll take me another week to do it. On friday, when she gave it to him to look at (at about 5:15) I was like okay, I'm gone, I have to be somewhere at 530. And he was like, but this...oh, well, I'll just leave it on your desk for you next week? (meaning, don't you dare leave) and I was like yeah that's great, seeya. So this is my punishment. Bastards. So I stay til 6 frequently just writing meaningless shit in Japanese. I can't imagine anyone is interested in my juvenile expressions of impressions of the local coffee shop, or typhoons.

Have I mentioned yet that nobody signs their name here? They all use stamps, everyone walks around with a little ink thing and a name stamp, and that's how they certify official documents. Seems to defeat the purpose, as the stamps aren't custom made or anything, you just go to the store to find one with your name. That's why I made a stamp with my initials earlier, it's not just random. I have one that says MIKO-RA in katakana, but now I have one that says MJB in english. And then the lady from that factory dropped off two more that she made for me. So I have three MJB stamps. I'd give them away as souveniers if I could - any of my friends MJB? I don't think so...Pateras, what's your middle name? I could file part of the B off to make it a P if your middle name is Joaquin or something.

It's so silly that I smoke these days. I still don't smoke much, but I smoke a hell of a lot more than I ever did. I do like a pack a week now...so maybe 15 on the weekend and 5 throughout the week. It's such a silly thing to do and I'm sure I could quit now with no qualms. But I think I'm secretly holding out for a girl that'll make me quit. I don't think I could ever tolerate anyone that would tolerate me smoking, so it's a good litmus test, right?

So I have been asked to give a speech this weekend to a group of people who are interested in America. I guess they do this every month, and try to get a different gaijin every time, so it's nothing too special. But only a few of my friends here have done it, and they've been here for years. So I think I must have impressed a few of the right people when I did that proofreading hellwork. I get 5000 yen for it, and they want me to talk about American politics. I laugh.

Music - I am going to take the next three months to explore The Stoned Roses, Bjork and Oasis. These are the songs that the people whose musical taste are as sharp as their wit sing at Karaoke, and I am always very impressed that these guys all slipped through the cracks for me.

I'm almost done with Circe in Ulysses, I have flown through the past 150 pages. It's really fantastic, even if I only have a vague sense of what's going on. It's very pre-wake. Joyce actually had to rewrite the whole thing, because the first time he wrote it his typist's husband through it in the fire as obscenity. Why can't people get it? Just burn what you don't understand. Sigh.

If you want some interesting reading, go to wikipedia (thanks for that Dan, I'd forgotten it existed) and search for Memes.

What else what else. My music finished. I think I'm going to go home now, it's almost 9. Going on bed time. Peace out, ya'll, as they say.

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