Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

Happy New Year.

I am celebrating in Laos.

I may or may not dance to an Outkast song tonight.

If I don't it probably will not really feel like New Years Eve.

From American house parties to Houyxai, a town with one road, enjoy ringing in 2008!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


You think you have everything and then you find a pair of blinged out ballerina earrings.
Now I really might have it all.

It is funny hanging out with my sister and some of her NGO friends.
Last night at Christmas dinner people were talking about helping. What their job is and how they help people.

In Japan, I am not normally surrounded by enough people who speak English well enough to get into detailed, global, political, disscussions of helping.

And the English speaking people I do hang out with are all English teachers. And we all sort of sit around and bitch about our jobs or talk about the hilarious things that some kid did.

So as everyone talked about helping on global levels I sat their saying- la, la, la (or as japanese people do - ja, ja, ja) in my head. And I just felt pleased to live in a country where they have got their act together.

The weather in Thailand is beautiful, the food is the best (I just miss chop sticks), I love being paid in yen, and Japanese peope might be the nicest people in the world.

Ja, ja, ja.

Find me a better feeling than being on vacation ... I dare you.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Oh that internet fix.

Me. Bangkok. Now.

I just want to say that if my mother were Asia my sister would have come out Thailand I would have come out Japan.


I am really clean and stylish.

My sister is messy and super fun.

Things that are not cool:
I already lost of my favorite earings.
I sat next to this really tall German guy on the plane that spent, I would say, a total of 3.5 hours with his finger up his nose.

Things that are cool:
I am in Thailand. It is crrrrrrazy!
And warm and all the uniforms are so colorful!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Heartwarming Holiday Stuff

2007 ... 2007 ...

I spent half of 2007 with a job I hated. Having late nights on Guilford Ave. and late afternoons at Ihop.
It was a lot like that Lilly Allen song, "Alfie."

So I will leave 2007 at that.
And ring in 2008 in Laos (that is the plan at least).

I am off to meet my sister in Chiang Mai on the 24th. And meet Brad on the 26th.
We will go to Laos on the 30th.
Hang out in some tree houses from the 1-3rd.
Then head to Luang Prabang.
To then fly to Bangkok and back to Kansai, arriving on the 7th.
Where I will meet Cara and Rory.

I am currently staring at a pile of clothes and my backpack, pretty sure I am packing appropriate stuff.
But when it is cold and rainy outside it is hard to understand that where I am going it will be warm enough to go swimming and wear miniskirts.

This packing happened after I pulled myself out of my warm bed after about 14 hours in it, enjoying some sleep, reading, and Annie Hall.

Last night at my end of the year enkai (work drinking party), I told 3 of the male staff members that I love hot sake and American girls are very strong at drinking. Both of these statements are true, but only should be mentioned when you can spend the following 14 hours in bed.

So today I have been transitioning (very slowly) into my holiday vacation.

Neutral Milk Hotel sums up what I will miss and gain as I embark upon a holiday with only Ann, singing, "Your mom would stick a fork right into Daddies shoulder. And Dad would throw the Garbage all across the floor."
"But then they buried her alive, one day in 1945, with just her sister by her side."

Maybe that is a stretch, but I have been listening to a lot of NPR suggesting that people go home in January or February when everyone is less stressed out.
I am thinking I will return for my next visit when it is warm enough to walk down American suburban sidewalks with bare feet.

I am feeling rightfully BLESSED this time of year as I have an adventure with my sister and a new friend.
As I still love, love, love those old friends.

In case my holiday cheer is not giving you that warm fuzzy feeling, this surely will. If that does does not make you feel like cookies and pine needles you have a cold heart.

Please enjoy your Christmas and New Years.
Give a fuck-ya to freedom.

And SEE YOU!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sports that do not make me cry.

The last time I played volleyball I was in 10th grade gym class. It was a semester that I had to take gym instead of dance and all my friends signed up for coed gym, so I did the same (which was a mistake).

The class was post lunch, so it was rare that I would actually return to school, after indulging in subway sandwiches and everyones favorite herb.

But I chose to attend gym that day we played volleyball. I remember being yelled at, by my peers, as I gracefully escaped the route of any volleyball.

My 6th grade gym teacher also yelled at me for being bad at sports. She called me a frou- frou and said I was only bad at sports to look cute for the boys. I cried. Lots.

Yesterday at my Jr. High we had a sort of end of the term sports day. I spent about 2 hours standing in the gym as some of my favorite students played volleyball and I pulled my scarf tighter around my neck, watching my breath escape from my mouth.

When the official game ended I jumped in with some of the volleyball ladies, told them I was really bad but could not think of a better way to keep from freezing to death.

As I hit the ball in opposite directions or missed it completely on serves they all would scream ''Almost Caity!’’ Even though it was nowhere near almost.

We took a hiatus from volleyball to cheer for basketball. When the girls started to play again they insisted that I join them. When I crossed my fingers as a ‘no’ gesture they came over, physically insisting.

I continued to be a horrible volleyball player. They continued to enjoy my presence on the team.

When it was all over they said, '’Please. Play. Volleyball. Again!’’
I said, '’OK!’’

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Can I return this?

I have really been giving, sharing, and caring this holiday season.
On Friday, the west-side Tokushima JETs went Christmas Caroling to the various Jr. High Schools we work at.
A few of us climbed into a car Thursday night, drove through the rain, up the mountains. After we got lost, we made it to Iya Valley where another JET lives.
We gathered under the Kotatsue and practiced our carols. We woke-up the next morning to put on our Christmas gear and make it down the mountain, stopping at schools along the way.

It gets dorkier ...

And as the day progressed we got genkier. During Frosty the Snowman one lines features something about Frosty encountering a traffic cop who for some reason yelled "Stop!"

After our impromptu "Stop" became a choreographed highlight we decided to add a "hammer-time" and then dance around for about 35 seconds, to then return back to Frosty.

This move began at the Miyoshi special needs school, lets just say it was a hit and we decided to continue this move for the rest of the afternoon.

Our overall performance was a success. My Jr. High cheered for an encore. We gave them the first verse in Jingle Bells.

We even spotted some snow on our way down the mountain.

This Sunday I visited an orphanage in Tokushima city with other JETs. We played some games, I brought materials for some simple crafts for the kids to do, and then they all got gifts.

We passed out the gifts beginning with the youngest kids. They waited patiently to open their respective gifts. When we told them they could open them, they took their time. Even the 3-year olds.

One of the youngest girls to get a gift from Santa waddled back to her seat and sat their beaming, staring at this wrapped present that was about the same size as her. This was only moments after she had a little melt down when of the JETs tried to pick her up.

She slowly opened her gift and proceeded to walk around the room, proudly showing everyone what she got.

Some of the kids opened their gifts, looked at their gifts pleasingly, to then re- wrap them and walk around with all pieces of the gifts they had been given.

To state the obvious, I was feeling tremendously guilty about my typical Christmas attitude.
My adult sister and I often tear through the wrapping paper, give my mother a shrug, and ask if she still has the receipt because -I already have like three black sweaters and I really was hoping for a teal green one to match my new skirt.

This year my sister and I will not be throwing out wrapping paper at Inglewood Drive, watching the high channels, eating when we are not really hungry. And I am ready to board that plane for a Christmas in Thailand.

Last night, I drove to the train station of a nearby city with Brad to pick-up his brother, who had been doing business in China.

It got me really excited to see my sister, to see anybody I knew from my American life.
When we returned to Naruto Brad and his brother gathered around the computer to skype their parents. Though I am a big fan of Mrs. Direnzi and her hip eye glasses, I had to crawl under the blankets and countdown the days till I get to talk about a shared "Mom" with one of my siblings.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Pals Dot Com

My Birthday is actually in November.
I did pull a little bit of a Sam Quinn, as I thought, "don't tell a soul it is my Birthday" this year.
I kept it low- key here in J-town.

But Cara, Molly, and Emily remembered my special day all the way from North Carolina ...only a little late.

I want to give Cara and Molly a big kiss:
My car and I are both looking super fly.
My car supporting WQFS everyday.
And me thinking about Ed McKay's in my night dreams.

And my dear heady friend Emily Mayer really showing off some friendship dedication as she included some things she picked out for me at a yard sale THIS SUMMER:

yea! She got super creative with this one.

Everyone deserves these kind of packages on their birthday.

As that Caitlin/Molly birthday time concludes the Christmas/ winter vacation time rapidly approaches.
People all the way in Japan are programmed to NEED a break from work and life this time of year.

This week, I was about to drop my M&M's at any moment. Like Freshman year at Guilford when we decided that we were all 7 years old, walking around with a handful of M&M's and the second we stumbled and they all fell out of our hands, we were going to lose it.

Currently referred to as "one-year weeks." In other words, I would only want to stay in this country for one year.

Dragging loads of Christmas gear to elementary schools. And listening to Winter Wonderland over and over at the Jr. High.
I feel exhausted.

I cannot say I am a teacher deep down but Japanese elementary kids do the same thing for me that dogs do for people with social anxiety.

These are some of the 6th grade ladies I teach on Tuesday afternoons.
After class they like to walk up to the desk, where I have all my things spread out. They pick up and touch everything and ask me where I live and what my apartment is like.

The four boys in the class could care less, they head out the balcony connected to their classroom immediately after I thank them for the class.

Again, everything coming back to all things Kawaii.

I am counting down the days till I get to drive out of Ikeda to return again with Cara and Rory accompanying me in my car.

And I daydream about free refills on coffee as this cold weather makes me perpetually sleepy.

Until then, "I hope all my friends are together getting wasted and are staying glued together." -The National Boxer

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Call me Tania

Since arriving in Japan I have developed Stockholm syndrome.
Japan kidnapped me and I have begun to grow loyal to Japan, despite its strange ways and customs.
Like an abducted Patty Hearst, I was initially frightened yet intrigued by my kidnappers. But, after four months, I am beginning to understand why Japan acts the way it does. And this lifestyle might even occasionally suit me.

Like why Japanese girls stand pigeon toed.

When I first arrived I wondered if this pigeon toed problem had something to do with the lack of calcium in the Japanese diet and maybe this somehow affected how young women stand.
When inquiring on this feminine stance I learned that Japanese girls do this to look cute.

Four months later, I think it is cute. When I am feeling real Japanese I stand like this.

And the peace sign.

I got sick of people throwing the peace sign and talking about peace about 5 minutes after I got off the plane. Back in August I was saying, "F*ck peace signs and peace."

It did not take too long for me to get over this. Next thing I knew I was throwing double peace signs all over the place.

Also, extreme politeness.


About four months ago, when waiting in a line I would take really long, deep sighs. And I would wish I was in a country where people could understand me when I mumbled, "Jesus, how hard is it to work at a Lawsons? How goddamn long can it take you to ring a person up."

Now, I fear returning to the States because I know the first time a person gives me attitude I am going to burst into tears. I will tell them I am sorry and I do not understand why they felt the need to raise their voice to me. Then I will bow as I wipe the tears and snot from my face.

Then there is how much Japanese people love uniforms.

I have never enjoyed taking advice on what to put on in the morning. I thought Japanese youth were completely crazy when they showed up to school, for a Saturday festival, all in uniform.
I smiled at the girls who had small studs in their ears, hidden behind their hair. I wanted to hand out dark purple nail polish and teach the joy of rebellion through fashion.

But this last weekend, I met a Naruto Jr. High School girl in her Saturday attire, complete with a nose ring, short shorts, knee high boots, and a cigarette.
I did not know what to think. If I had a small child with me I certainly would have covered the babies eyes.
I commented on the length of the girl's eyelashes, walked away and spent the next twenty minutes shaking my head in disbelief.

I could go on, but I will leave my list there as I gradually denounce the name Caitlin -as it comes out as a stuttered 'Cait o ren' with a Japanese accent- and I will tell you that I am adopting the name 'Caity.'
Perhaps in the same vein as a young woman who once stood in a bank lobby, clutching a machine gun and yelling, "I'm Tania."

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Let's Get Cozy

Kotatsu is the best thing that has ever happened to cold weather.

My hair is damp from grease and I probably smell like a boy who had two different bands on Myspace in 2005 because I have not showered all weekend since my hot water is not working. Despite all this, I am happy to be buried underneath my Japanese heating system.

I am a firm believer that the United States is the greatest super power but they have not figured out the brilliance of a kotatsu.

Sitting on top of one blanket, to stretch your legs out under a heated table and then drape another blanket around your lap is a delightful way to waste cold, rainy days.

I remember a conversation I once had with Jake Kalos. We were naming our top three favorite things in the world.

My original list:
1. literature
2. film
3. red wine

Jake made some revisions to my list, allowing for accuracy.

1. blankets
2. other warm and soft things
3. red wine

I am brainstorming a mindless craft I can pick-up this winter that can be done while my feet warm. I always thought knitting was overrated. I might return to that no fail water coloring hobby.

In case you are thinking that Japan cannot be completely cozy in the winter due to the absence of Christianity, which one would think would lead to an absence of Christmas, furthermore an absence of Christmas decorations.
You are wrong.
Japan is all too familiar with Christmas songs, Christmas trees, and stockings.

A student in my Adult Conversation class invited me to her house to "look at her Christmas decorations."
I would probably feel kind of sorry for someone in the states that took such pride in decorating their home for a holiday that has gained popularity due to the American need to constantly consume.
But, when I know that I will not be home to see my parents tree and I have the ability to admit that the American tradition of consumerism will always make me happy ... I felt real cozy taking pictures in front of her decorations.

After the photos were snapped we got under her kotatsau to drink tea and eat sweets.
We decided that my next visit should take place in the evening, when we will drink lots of beer, then I will sleep in her guest room because Japanese people are real into NEVER driving drunk (still cannot totally wrap my brain around that one).

Bar G is another cozy place in Ikeda.
While most places in Japan have no heat Bar G pumps up the heat! They can probably afford to do so because they charge roughly $10 for a drink.
But the drinks are so fancy and delicious.

Ashley and I like to go there and pretend we are really fancy, sip our expensive drinks and repeat, "oishii desu" to the all-star bartender that is there every night.

Bar G is my Japanese College Hill, except that when I pay my $30 tab I am only slightly buzzed as opposed to being completely inebriated and only realizing I managed to spend $30 at the bar when I find my debit card receipt in the bottom of my bag, covered in loose tobacco.

I have not completely given in to hibernating in Ikeda. In the early afternoon when the sun is out a vibrant fall still exists in every corner.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Haikus about it.

Pittsburgh represent
in Kyoto this weekend.
Started with coffee.

Looking oh, so fly
take the train to Osaka.
Danced until sunrise.

Temple was super
special. Found meaning to life
under red leafed tree.

Julia and Brad
suggest we all share the juice.
Then we put on scarves.

Sushi, sashimi,
mashed potatoes revive us.
The rap stars head home.

We find Tina's shoes.
Wake up to enjoy one more
coffee. Hugging bye.

Bus ride back down south.
Brad tells me I smell real bad.
I think I might barf.

Kyoto was the
dream fantasy trip for all
three. Lets never leave.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

How much gin did Dad put in the Fish House Punch?

Of course, I educated Japanese elementary school kids about Thanksgiving.

The combination of holidays and arts and crafts is the most beautiful thing in teaching English as a Second Language.

But, I am feeling a little bummed that I will not be in Pittsburgh this long weekend. For some reason, I have this urge to be at the Saloon this Wednesday night, avoiding eye contact from some high school friends and desperately trying to make eye contact with others.

Even though I never really have fun at bars in Mt. Lebanon. I always just end up looking around the room and realizing I am wearing more clothing than about five girls combined. And I am the only one drinking whiskey and ginger ale while everyone else drinks Red Bull and vodka or Coors Light.

And last year Tim Jones was there.


So I will not feel that bad about things.

The last time I was abroad on T-day I was in Prague. And my academic adviser made a wonderful thanksgiving dinner.

Obviously, there was LOTS of red wine. No matter what happened in Prague there was always red wine.

Then I was drunk, and full of turkey and stuffing even though I was thousands of miles from North America.

Have fun this Thanksgiving as you question how much gin my dad really put in that fish house punch.

Monday, November 19, 2007

No Shame

I have no shame in admitting that this was the best part of my day and it will probably end up being the best part of my week:

important section reads: "My favorite teacher is Ms. Caity. She is very cute."

important section reads: "I like talking with Ms. Caity. She is very pretty."

If 14 year old Japanese girls do not think I am kawaii, I am not sure what else there is.

Also, these Japanese Jellyfish are super.

And my new Jellyfish bag glows in the dark:

But it is too cold for swimming now.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Dear God,

Can I please make arrangements to come back as a Japanese high school boy in my next life?

I will wear lots of peace signs and hot pink.
I will shave my eyebrows.
I will have dramatic hair styles.
And I will touch other boys in ways that are not encouraged in America.


Thursday, November 15, 2007


I could not let this one pass me up:

Set the scene ...

It is Saturday night. I am hanging with Brad Pittsburgh in Naruto. He just made some heady, bomb tasting, healthy, vegetarian, maybe organic, maybe vegan, or raw, all that bullshit, dinner. We are talking about food and how what you eat affects how you feel.
I am thinking, `wow, maybe he has a point.` I believe that the exact words to come out of my mouth are, `maybe I will fast and then only eat raw, organic foods, for the rest of my life.`

Then the door bell rings.

We are about two beers deep and the JET program brainwashes its participants into thinking it is perfectly okay to invite EVERY Japanese person into your home who shows the slightest interest in your culture. So, Brad`s health store friend and the two creepy people that are lingering behind her are invited into his home.

It is awkward, obviously.

After I complement the health food store girl`s, super bling, Dolce and Gabbana belt she claps her hands and says, `lets try!!!!`
`Um, try what?`
Then they start talking about Johrei and how it will help you rid the chemicals and maybe bad spirits in your body and some weird bullshit.
All I can think is, `Oh my god. I am being accosted by a cult and Brad is in on it. I thought I knew this person.`

And I was about to give up biscuitville. What would I have eaten at Smith Street Diner, the $9 fruit plate, hell no!

I prep to give Brad the most freaked out look, in hopes he is indeed not in on this Johrei. He returns the look (thank god). But, he agrees to do the Johrei.

We are sitting on one side of the room, Johrei people sit on the other side and stick out their hands. We sit in silence for ten minutes.

When it is over they start asking us if we feel any different.

`Nope, no different, just kinda bored.`

The super weird man is trying real hard to suck Brad into this cult.

I am fidgeting in awkwardness. Dolce and Gabbana asks if I want a massage. I think they are thrown-off by my presence and wanted to distract me while they brain wash Brad. I turn around and get my back rubbed while the weird man tries to get Brad to quite JET and join Johrei.

As things are winding down I ask they guy, `is this ... like ... your job?` Then they take off. My back feels good and Brad is not brainwashed.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Things Just Got Really Japanese

And things also got really good.

My mother often reminds me of a time we were walking around a department store when I was about 7. We passed a glamorous pink dress and I asked if I could try it on. She agreed, but reminded me that we were not going to buy it.
I walked out of the dressing room and I was the most stunning 7 year old to ever stand in front of that Kaufmann's mirror.
She looked at the price tag again and suggested it was time to say goodbye to the dress. Naturally, I was devastated and cried for the hours that followed.

Now that I am almost 24 I kind of understand that I cannot have all the dresses I want. This does not mean I want those dresses any less.

Last month, I went to my first Japanese tea ceremony. I stared enviously at all those women scurrying across the tatami in their kimonos.
I tried to spark a, seemingly casual, kimono conversation, "So, Kocho-Sensei, do you have a kimono? Do most Japanese women have a kimono? Why are you not wearing your kimono tonight?"

"Hai, hai. Maybe sometime you can try kimono, Caity Sensei."
"Oh ... whatever...."
At that moment I decided that all I wanted out of Japan was a kimono. So long as I fly out of this country with a kimono in my bag.

This month, I walk into the community center and I am chased behind a curtain to put on a kimono for the ceremony.

If I had known I was going to have a kimono to wear I would have washed my hair, put on some lip gloss, and brought my camera (there is obviously the camera phone option, which I used in this case).

But, I still felt like the most stunning white girl to glide across that tatmai.

Japanese tea ceremony is a dance. Every movement is choreographed. And while watching others dance you must wait, in pain, sitting seiza (on ones knees with a straight back). As the layers to kimonos consist of hard blocks secured tightly with ribbons and rope, forcing one to inhale dramatically when being tied in, there is no room to slouch.

The tea ceremony ended. Kocho-Sensei took me downstairs to show off the white girl dressed up in a kimono to a bunch of drunk Japanese men; which was, of course, both awkward and hilarious.

I knew I would have to take off the kimono and return it, as I did the pink, department store, dress.

As I was being undressed by old Japanese women they said, "gift to you."
"No, no, I cannot."
"Yes, she has many kimono."
"No, too expensive, I cannot."
"Yes, please, gift."

This woman simply gave me one of her many kimono's.

I put my nose to the floor as I bowed in thanks.

What the hell do I give to someone who has given me a kimono ... a car?
Too bad I did not know about this gesture of kindness this previous weekend.
I would have bought her a huge piece of pottery from Naruto's Sunday afternoon pottery festival.

The next month of my life will consist of a search for a piece of ceramic art that can be used during a tea ceremony.

Meanwhile, I will be sleeping with and touching my kimono.

"This dance is difficult, this dance is hard, it makes me want to spin around in my yard." -Mirah.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Please Teach Me Many English

I stopped at a Lawsons, at 7am this morning, to get a can of hot coffee and a juice before I flew down the Tokushima expressway. I listened to a podcast of Wait, Wait, Don`t Tell Me and laughed out loud (all the way from Japan) at the discussion of Giuliani`s obession with the digits 9,1, and 1.

When I pulled into my Monday morning elementary school there were no cars in the parking lot. I walked up to the locked door and turned right back around, happy to have one less lesson to plan this week.

Gillian Welch kept me company as I planned a Jr. High lesson while sitting in my car in the empty lot.

When I arrived at the Jr. High School I found a typed letter on my desk:

Thank you for using our shop for the other day.

We feel sorry not to explain to you well.
We explain the exchange of fasteners to you again.

We will exchange fasteners of your clothes.
It is because the fastener is completely broken.
Exchange fasteners must be relieved with a fastener that looks a like.

It takes about one week (or 10 days) to do it.
The charge of the exchange is about 1800 yen.
Please you must pay when the clearing work is completed.
Please come for the receipt when it does for one week.

I`m always working in the city office.
In the city office, the visitor who sometimes speaks English is seen. However, I run away, and leave it to the person who can speak English.
And, I only use poor English when traveling abroad...
I felt the importance of the study of English, because I renewed.

Please teach happiness that speaks in English to the junior high school students.

We will wait for the next use.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Jesus is Magic

Holy shit. I am so excited I cannot even contain myself to wait for a moment when I have more time so that I can post a proper blog (including illustrations) on this subject matter.
So Japanese people do not know about Hanukkah. They know all about Christmas. They even exchange Christmas gifts.

Today in my adult language class some people started asking me about Christmas. Then I started talking about Hanukkah. They had never heard of it.
I drew a picture of a menorah and the star of David on the board. We talked about Adrien Brody in the Pianist. I explained the reason behind having two pieces of hair, hanging from the hat, to frame ones face. I had them all say the word "Torah."

Guess what Ikedacho, this ALT is not going to do Christmas. Christmas is old news. It is all about Hanukkah this December.

Please send me any Hanukkah paraphernalia you might be able to spare. I will probably have an "incident" involving children's books on Hanukkah, within the week.

The best part of the class was when the old guy Sho (who has amazing English) asked me, "Isn't Jewish and Christian ancestry very similar?"
And I replied, "Yes, yes it is. But the difference is ... well ... Christian people think that like ... Jesus ... um ... they think that JESUS IS MAGIC."
It just came out of my mouth, like Sarah Silverman snagged my soul and helped me through that speechless moment.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

I will be really tired on Jan. 14th

On Dec. 23rd I will fly from Osaka to Bangkok. Then I will travel to Chiang Mai and meet up with the sustah. (But not Zack. Do not let the photo confuse you).

Then this guy that I met at the Tiki Lounge, in the South Side of Pittsburgh, will meet up with us in Chiang Mai. So that will be cool.

Then When I get off the plane from Bangkok to Osaka, on Jan. 7th, Cara and Rory will meet me in Osaka.
(But Kiel will not be there and there will not be hot dogs or blunts. Do not let that photo confuse you).

I will just dance my way through Southeast Asia, have Cara and Rory help me tear up Japan. (Without Hillary and her miniskirt. Just keeping you from confusion). And then I will be poor and tired when I give some more goodbye hugs on Jan 13th. But, I will have lots of pictures and souvenirs.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Today was a Good Day. Ice Cube. Remix

This morning I woke up remembering my dream that was in Japanese. I did not understand anything that was being said in my dream, but my dream state told me that it was Japanese and it was an unmistakable sound. Only makes since that I would have such dreams; I listen to the noise that is Japanese all day. The Japanese that was being spoken made sense to the other Japanese people in my dream ... it is a start.

And today I had on a new pair of wool socks and a new turtleneck that matched. I kept pulling my turtleneck up around my little cold nose.
And my shirt smelled good like new, department store bought, cotton.

Monday, November 5, 2007


This Monday morning was much more daijobu than the last two Mondays. For starters, I did not wake up with a vomit/ I partied too hard taste in my mouth.
I actually woke up feelin' kinda genki.

This weekend I packed up that trustworthy Toyota.

And drove an hour straight up a life or death situation- Japanese mountain highway- to the Iya Valley.

Lonely Planet refers to the Iya Valley as the "Tibet of Japan." I think that it is stupid to compare a beautifully hidden mountain side town (that is being rapidly discovered) in Japan to some other place in the world due to some vague similarities. Iya Valley is just Iya Valley ... a breath taking gorge with vine bridges to walk across, fish heads to eat, onsens to lay in, and and leaves that turn orange and yellow before they die and fall off trees. But, I do not know shit about Tibet. All I know is that I did just rent that movie and I did hang out with Brad Pitt(sburgh) during my stay in the Iya Valley (ha ha).

We camped and literally ran into a Fall festival the following morning. Obviously, there was a festival blocking the road back to Ikeda. There is always a festival in Japan.

After much soba, udon, and coffee we headed back down the mountain to a JET sponsored reality that is only now starting to feel real.

ps- tonight I made dinner that was not very good so I threw it out and ate a piece of cake, drank wine, and smoked cigarettes instead ... I pay bills therefore I do what I want.