Friday, January 05, 2007

Happy New Year! I want a smoke!

Jerry: crackups?!?!
what the fuck are you doing, white boy?
me: now for something different
hwmahehahahahahaha!
(Big exhale)
sorry bout that, fighting some deamons right about now
Jerry: whats up, amigo?
me: well nothing buch
much
just bored you see
time on my hands as it were
slept late than napped
watched all the movies in the house, same for the borrowed ones
finished my last book I havent read 50000000 times
so I'm bored
wasn't so bad really, till I became bored
have you figured it out yet?
early days yet
not over the hump
found some, threw them away, but I saved one.
just one
looking at it now
it's poision, stale, old, prolly rip my throat out, which is why I'm fighting it
Preciousssssssssss......
Jerry: DONT DO IT!
dude
WRITE ON YOUR FUCKING BLOG!


Ok, I will.
Well, we didn't have the begining of that conversation, we lost it, but such is life.
Hello.
It's been a while hasn't it?
Hmm, well I have the internet in my house again, I'm on vacation, and I'm trying to quit smoking. The above is an excerpt from a conversation I had with J when I was going through the worst part. I don't really know why I'm writing now, except I cant sleep and it's keeping me from smoking. I still have one... So smooth, white, tasty... but no. To be honest, I'm rambling because I have no idea of where to start. I see my last entry was sometime in August. I have new roommates. One is very young, but cool, and english. The other is a little older, canadian of vietnamese extraction. He can cook. My love life is still almost non-existant, but curiously enough, I have tons of ladies I'm talking to. Most of them I'm not so interested in though, and as much as I would like to get crazy with them, the older I get the more true the statement "you cant un-*%$@ someone becomes. My favorite is still a virtual unknown, a girl I see almost everyday, but cant really talk with because of the language barrier. Ah well. For new years I partied in a shibuya love hotel's orgy room. Now, it's not as good as those four words make it sound. It was cool, but there was no orgy, and it was mainly a gaijin party. Still, cool. Before I left the party I was posessed by some strange deamon to finish a bottle of gin by chugging it. "Who says I act my age?" I then went outside, walked about 500 feet, threw up, rousted a homeless/drunk person (Not sure which) stole their corner and WENT TO SLEEP. Now, I don't remember the person. But I left the party with a friend who had to go back to pick something up, and she said that there was a person there when she left. Unfortunatly she was gone for an hour, so the law of the jungle asserted itself. No worries, my friends came along an hour later, found me and escorted me to the station. Still, it was memorable. Mabye not as memorable as the two N. English lads walking around the party wearing nought but black socks on their cocks, but still memorable. (Why must N. English males always remove their clothes when drunk? I don't know. I havn't figured it out.) The rest of the break was uneventful. Except Yuka day. As you mabye don't know, Yukas cause me no end of trouble. It is admittidly one of my favorite names, but I've had trouble with at least THREE Yukas, two of them in rapid succesion. Never dated one, something or someone always got in the way, but for a while I couldn't meet anything BUT Yukas.
Excerpt from "Daimushi, the play"
Scene: At a bar
Placement: Our hero lounges against the bar, idly watching the crowd, smoke curling up from his umpteenth cig of the night. A girl approaches.
Girl: Hi!
D: hey yourself!
Girl: my name is-
(D interupts)
D: wait wait, don't tell me... (Places hand to head) Yuka?
Girl: That's amazing! How did you know?
D: My luck....

It was really like that. But the Yuka storm died down. The other day though, in Tokyo, on a TRAIN (If you only knew how improbable this was) I ran into one of the Yukas. It was great to see her, gonna get coffee soon, kept rolling. Later that night though, out of the frickin blue, after about a year, ANOTHER Yuka called me! What is this? Why in pairs? Is this like some Jedi stuff, "There are always two..." Weird. Anyway, not much else is going on at the moment. I still study japanese, but not very well, by hair is a little longer. Wondering to myself how long I'm gonna stay here, because while I don't want to live here forever, I can't imagine leaving. Well, I'm gonna try to go to sleep now, I'll try to make a better post next time, with not so much time in between them. Tonite was more a rample to keep me from smoking. I'll see if I can figure out the camera machine as well, but because my camera broke, I don't have so many new photos. Peace!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Problems

Ok, this is an open letter to all my friends. I'm about to be a bit hard to reach. Dan is returning to america thursday, which means my house phone and internet are about to be discontinued. It will take about a month to get them reestablished in my house. (Of course, I may switch apartments to live with one of my co-workers) Now, here's where it gets tricky. Last night I went to Tokyo with josh. Many funny stories, I'll write them in the next post. The problem is, when I was drunk and semi-comatose in Roppongi station, my cell phone fell out of my pocket. That's right, my keitai is gone, and I'm waiting a few days to get a new one in case someone turns my phone in. SO, what that means is that the communication, which I have admittidly done badly on, us about to be even more impaired. SORRY!

Love you all,

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Debates

I've been revewing my blog, and I realize it's crap. No wonder it's not visited (along with the fact that I never post) When I do though, it's drivel. Just one alchohol fueled story after another, endless two dimensional snapshots. I mean really. Because I'm a private person (at least when I transmit to the void) I never put anything of substance in my blog. None of my thought processes, none of my emotions, none of my worries and none of my debates. When combined with the fact that I havnen't done a good job of writing or remaining in contact with my close friends, it becomes downright terrible, I mean, for many who occasionaly drop in, this is the only medium to see what's going on in my life. Sometimes I remain quiet though, because I don't feel I do enough. I drink too much and then spend my day off around the house, rereading websites I've seen a hundred times. Embarassing. Anyway, I'm sorry. I'll try to do better. Right now my big debate is coming home for a visit. You see, I'm often a selfish person. About two months ago, my mother's boyfriend died, leaving her alone and depressed. I stayed away. I worried that my presence would strengthen her desire to have me home, and I wasn't ready to come home. I mean, I miss St.Louis, (I like it more than when I was there) I miss my family, I miss my friends, all of that, but I still feel that there's more to do here. My mom has not gotten better, in many ways she has started to downslide, and that's a scary thing to hear over the phone. At the time though, I didn't come home. I had decided to remain in Japan for the summer, because it's my favorite time. The most is happening, it's the best time to do things, and there's a festival every weekend. I hadn't lasted through the winter to come home when it was getting good. Then my mother's boyfriend died, and things started to slide. I still didn't put in for a vacation though, because stuff was going on, and because I was scared. Scared because I don't know how easy it will be to return to Japan once I return home. I mean, I cam in the sprit of adventure, and that got me through the seperation and adjustment period, but what to you do when the adventure is gone? Also, as dearly as I love my family, when I talk to them, sometimes I get that angry, frustrated feeling that I used to get, the one when the meds weren't working, and something was gonna get smashed. I don't like that feeling, I didn't like it then, and I like it less after a years absence. Anyway, the whole trip home keeps getting postponed, and now every conversation with my family involves suggestions about when I could come home SOON. Now, I was thinking to come home in late september. I didn't think I could make it earlier, because right now the firm is strapped for teachers, and I didn't have my request in in advance. That kind of puts August out of the running, even though my dad suggested it. Then, it was suggested that I come home for labor day. It's a great thought, I'd would be really fun. The only problem is, my roommates. They're leaving, and that's another little bit of stress. I mean, two of my closest friends leaving, (Dan mid-aug, Josh early-sep) opening up my apartment to whatever crazed person my company sends. Not only that, but the phone and internet are in dan's name, and in Japan, they cant be canceled. It also takes like a month to get them up and running, so in mid august, I'll be offline alot more. (barring net cafe's) Dan is leaving when Josh and I are here, but josh is leaving right around labour day. Now, that sucks. Can you imagine, you have this crazy time, do all these things, see all these sights, and when you leave it's to an empty apartment? Just turn off the lights, stand in the hall, say bye to the air and walk to the station alone? Not to mention me leaving a house with friends and returning to Japan and an empty house? Not pretty. Now, there is nothing to say that I couldn't come home late september. Nothing except the fact that Perfect Tommy is leaving Japan, and he's doing it by way of Thailand and India. Now, I can't do India, but he wants me to do Thailand with him and his girl, 9 days. Tommy is an amazing organizer, and he's been there before. If Igo with him, I will see more than I will on my own. Just the highlights are Bangkok, side trip to Cambodia for Ankor Wat, then up to Chaing Mai, the cultural capitol of Thailand. Tempting, Very very tempting. But It's a hard sell to your moms when she's been begging you to come home, you've told her you can't get off, then all of a sudden you get off for Thailand. Also, seeing as they've been begging me to come home for two months or so, putting it off another three is a little cold... Sigh. So I'm trying to decide what to do. None of the times are good, and frankly I'm worried about coming home. Worried about fights, worried about people clamoring for amounts of time or help I cant give, worried about returning to Japan afterwards, to a place where most of my forigen friends have already left.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Ishikawa

Wow. Cause damn Patrick... Mabye you should be here, I'm wondering if you would have a better idea of what to do here. Yes, Ishikawa is the home of the ninja temple (ninja-dera), and yes I did see it. But I didn't know about it before I went, and we only went because it was raining the whole time and we had to find something else to do. I'll start at the begining though. We met in the parking lot of sizeria and headed out. It was nice in the hara, but Shinji and Junko were worried because the weather reports predicted rain. Heavy heavy rain. True enough, about an hour into the trip, the rain started and rarely let up. It was still beautiful country to drive through though. I love the Japanese Alps, as you drive along, they tower above you, and the mist pours down through the valleys and ridges, making the mountains look like a sleeping dragon wreathed in steam. In some parts the mountains and the sea are so close, if you look to the left you see mountains, while to the right you see ocean. Anyway, we got to Junko's parents house after dark, and headed out to get alchohol and grocceries. Sukiaki and fresh crab! Delicious. My Japanese is still terrible, so I made friends with the family the same way I always do: by being twice as quick to smile or laugh, twice as quick to respond to a toast, willing to try anything put before me, and show my appreciation my eating twice as much of it. At dinner it was me, Tom, Terry, Shinji and Junko, Junko's brother, wife and twin boys, and Junko's parents. Basicly, we all got really blasted off beer and shochu, ate a sick amount of food and laid around chatting and watching Japanese game shows. The next days weather was really nasty, so we couldn't go to the beach, and most of the gardens were out. We went to Kanazawa and wandered around this part of town which was all in the old Edo style archetecture, and stopped in a little shop for tea. While there we tried to decide what to do, and it was there that the Ninja-Dera came up. So we went. Actually, it's name is Myoryuji Temple, and it has nothing to do with ninjas, but it's still sick cool. To understand it though, you need a quick history lesson. For those of you that know, be patient.
Now. The Edo period was a little dangerous for Daimyos, all manners of rules were created to keep them unable to scheme or fight back against the Tokugawa shogunate. Many time's they were demoted or killed, and because there were limits as to how many troops they could have or the size of castles they could build, many time's they couldn't fight back.
Ok, now this is history of the temple. A lord of the Kaga clan (Toshitsune) was understandably worried about his families security, so in order to make himself secure, he married a Tokugawa and sent his mother to Edo as a hostage. (Sweet!)Because fortresses were a no-no, he turned "religious" and surrounded his castle with temples. (As it happens, temples filled with soldiers) The central temple was Myoryuji, which was built as the center of the scheme, and a lookout tower. Because it was a lookout tower, and the center of Toshitsune's defence, Myoryuji was built with all manners of tricks, traps and archetectural sneakyness. (Hence the name Ninja-Dera "Ninja Temple". The name wasn't given till the modren period, because the whole thing was a well kept secret for hundreds of years) For example, in the Edo period, Shogunate law prohibited constructing buildings with more than three stories. From the outside, Myoryuji looks like a two story temple, but it is actually a four story building with a seven layer internal structure. (The top is a lookout) Offertory boxes several meters deep (pittrap!) Hidden staircases that double as pitfalls, which lead to the guardroom. Numerous escape passages to the outside, accessible only from the inside. Many of the walls are solid shoji from the main rooms, but see through from the other side. Now, there's alot, but I'll give you my four favorites.
1. Guardroom - one of the starcases to the guardroom is actually hidden. Remove the boards at the bottom of one staircase and Boom! You're falling down a spiral staircase into the guard room. Also, the guardroom is underneath one of the main staircases, a staircase that has its non foot sections covered in shoji, and is always backlit. Therefore, you step on the stairs and you are nicely sillouhetted for the waiting guardsmen and their swords. (My feet!)
2. The double door - looks like one door, actually two. Picture this. You're being chased through the winding temple. You dash up the stairs, open a door and close it behind you. Your persuer follows you through the seemingly open door outside, which then closes behind him, locking him out. Get it? The door on the left leads outside, the one on the right upstairs. Opening the door to the left grants you access up the stairs, but if you close it in a hurry it hooks the left door, opening it to the outside. It looks like you escaped, so they persue you outside, only to have you shut it behind them from the right hand passage. Then you're off up the stairs to go cause more mayhem. Soooo slick.
3 Seppuku Room - This is a little hidden room made with 4 tatami mats. This is rare, because 4 means death, so rooms almost never have only 4 mats. It's a room for Seppuku; no handle on the inside, and if I remember correctly, can be barred. If the temple was ever overrun, the commander could retreat there and complete his preperations to kill himself privatly and without distraction.
4 - Room of the waiting Bushi - Nice little centraly located room near the formal recieving chamber where the samurai would hang out. It's just an antechamber. But wait! It has four hidden exits leading to different parts of the temple. From that room, waiting samurai can get to almost part of the temple with minimal delay. Come up behind invaders, rush to contested areas, the possibilities are endless.
So, those are my four picks. Remember though, the temple is not a ninja temple. In the words of the pamphlet "Although this temple has many tricks in it, as indicated by the name ninja-dera, it was not constructed for ninja. The many tricks and traps were devised to fox shogunate spies and enemies and to allow sudden escapes." Cool.
After the temple, we headed back to the house. It was still raining, and we were trying to decide on wether or not we would go to an onsen or watch fireworks. (Because of the rain, there was a large possibility that they would be canceled) We went back to the house, had a drink, and the rain miraculously cleared. FIREWORKS! We went to the festival, but the fireworks didn't last long, so we went back to the house to eat more delicious food and drink more shochu. The next day we came back. So. It was a great vacation. I cut my smoking down by a considerable amount, ate a disturbing amount of food, (My stomach is getting big again) got really drunk, and havn't worn proper shoes since saturday night! (It's wendsday) I really needed a couple of days like that...

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Trip!

Im going to Ishikawa! Today! With Junko and Shinji, to stay in Junko's parents home! AWESOME! Stories to follow when I return...

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

This week in Japan

Well, this is the news for this week. On Monday, I went along with the sole other fencer in the firm, a gentleman I mentioned months ago. True sporting man, by which I mean he likes it electric, and favors the eepe because "foil was too confusing". Interesting, veery interesting. I may have creeped people out by coming in, squatting down in an animal like posture and licking my lips whilst studying and evaluating their style. Very nice of many of them to kick their front foot foward before lungeing, letting the other person know they're coming. Lots and lots of bent arm advances, leading to a lot of infighting and poking. (Apparently a while back this guy started doing this thing, by the description it was the mythical "point in line". According to the story, it caused no end of troubles for the other fencers faced with this heritical maddness, resulting in a reign of tyranny for months untill someone found word in a text of some sort of... binding action...) Amusing. After that I went out and got roaring drunk. In the morning, began coughing blood, so I think that my enjoyable time with smokes may soon have to come to an end. That's just scary to see. I haven't quit, but I've really cut down, and I'm edging on quitting. Everytime I talk to my roommate though, I have a copulsion to smoke a pack and drink 5 pints... Went to Karaoke the other night and charmed the snot out of this one teacher from another branch. Cute, very cute, but I don't really wanna date in house, I'd prefer a Japanese girl. Now, If I can just get the one I'm talking to to begin using intonation rather than a scary monotone, I'll be in business. Ha! Today I went to Jimbocho, a part of tokyo I've been meaning to go to for a long time. It is my friend, the promised land, and I think I shall be returning. First, it is a part of the big tokizzle surrounded by prestigious universities. Now, being filled with college students, there are also many many coffee shops to kill an afternoon in. Here's the great part though. Jimbocho is known as "the neighborhood of the used book sellers"... YES. Want complete texts in the original german? Ok. Want old comic books, 1st editions of old science fiction books, movie posters in Japanese? No prob. I rocked some 2nd edition James Bond, a 1st ed Michael Moorcock and a little present for Justin all for under $30. MMMMMM. College girls who like books, coffee shops, cheap used books! I'm so there...

Thursday, June 22, 2006

You Thought I Was Kidding?

In my last post, I mentioned in passing how stuff has a way of happening over here. Specificly, I mentioned dancing with grandmas and drunken swordfights, but I'm not sure if you thought I was exaggerating. Over here, I don't have to. Ok. Bet your life on soccer was on a monday night. Tuesday night as I was writing the last post, I got really hungry and decided to stroll down to Shinji's and get a salad, mabye a drink. I walked in to see my boy Shacho (Company President) who I haven't seen in a long ass time. Now, a little background. Shacho is really a Korean, not Japanese, but he LOVES Okinawan style music, culture, etc. I think he mabye grew up there. (As an addendum, my Japanese teacher told me that Okinawans are always getting drunk off their super strong shochu (Aomori) and then breaking out in dances, kind of like a pacific rim west side story) Anyway, we sit down to chew the fat, (he was there to watch the Togo Vs. Korea game) and in walks this tiny old Okinawan lady, who he introduces as his Obasan. (grandmother, but sometimes said as a show of affection) This lady was cool as hell. Drank shochu, smoked, laughed loud and clear, had a wicked gleam in her eye. Still pretty too, I'd lay money that in her day she was a killer in the game. We got to talking, she was telling me how she loved to dance, telling me with pride how she used to be a lead dancer in festivals back home. Anyway, stuff was fun so I stayed to watch the first half. Halftime hits, obasan perks up and commands Shinji to put on some Okinawan music. She leans down the bar "Adam! Dancing ok?" Why not. Music started, Shacho jumped up on the tatami and began dancing, all while giving out that chant I mentioned months before. Obasan comes down the line, trying to get everyone in our party to dance, slappin people who won't, and then got to me. So we danced. Back and forth across the bar, pausing occasionaly to sip another drink. THe whole place got into it, everyone up and dancing, even Shinji and Junko. She loved my dancing, but paused midway to yell at Shinji for being a bad dancer. Perhaps the cutest part was after we finished dancing. She came up and gave me a big hug and a kiss on the cheek, kind of like a grandma. Then, she started to feel bad. It was a little out of character for an old Japanese lady, and I guess she thought she offended me. She started apologizing to me over and over. I told her not to worry, I was having a great time, but she didn't understand. Nobody was helping by translating, they just all stood there and watched. I tried explaining again, but she just went quiet and stared up at me, this forlorn expression on her face. She had told me she spoke english 30 years before, but looking at her I realized that time, age and shochu had robbed her of the ability to understand what I was saying in english. She looked like she was gonna cry. What else could I do? I leaned in, gave her a big hug and kissed her on the cheek like I used to kiss my grandma. She beamed. Started talking to Junko, told her I was a very nice man. Anyway, Korea went on to win. That was tuesday. Wensday I went out to lunch with this girl, but later on I was feeling a little depressed. Lonely, frustrated and irratated because I couldn't figure out what I wanted to do. Went down to Shinji's to kill some time untill my roomates got home, fell to talking with my boy Nozomi, a real cool cat who lived in N.Y. for about 7 or 8 years. He's a teacher and an artist. Drinking shochu, we fell to talking about art, and I asked him about his work. He was like "well, why don't you come back to the crib and check it out?" We went back to his place, started drinking aomori (soo dangerous) and talking about art. Moved on to culture and art and reflections of culture, killed the aomori and switched to wine. Started talking about some of the classic fencing prints, and how they reflected on the prevalent artwork of the time. Nozomi was like "That's right! You're a fencer. I used to do Kendo... (3rd degree black) We started talking techneque, then started doing slow demonstrations in the kitchen then... (all the fencers know where this is going) He was like, let's go, lets move it up a notch. He grabbed a bokken, and I got this thin piece of bamboo perfect for disengages. East Vs. West, we went to town, back and forth in the kitchen for about an hour and a half. Awwww yeah. Actually it was just a friendly fight, I'm out of practice, and really, if he was using cuts he would have killed me. It was still fun though, and we were both learning a lot. Both got fucked up too, my hand felt like busted chrismas tree orrnaments, and he had a massive welt on his neck from where he dashed into an extended line. I saw a bit of his chest too, and it was covered with livid circles from where I hit him with the end of the bamboo. (Addendum, it took two days for my hand to feel right, and when I saw him 4 days later he showed me his chest. NASTY, HUGE RED welt near the solar plexus from getting jacked in the chest) Long story short, I woke up the next morning with a murderous hangover, a busted hand and an offer to have a learning exchange, basic fencing for basic kendo. I'm not really qualified, but just for the learning, I may well have to send for my blades soon. But think about it. These last two blogs all took place in the space of three nights and two days. Weirdness like that is why I sometimes love Japan...