Saturday, June 27, 2009

What Perfect Smells Like

Sweaty, drunk, summer nights.

Fresh flowers in my kitchen.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Nothing is on Time

When nothing is coming when it is supposed to, it is hard to keep track of all the things you could do while you are waiting.

For example, still waiting for my passport with a Russian Visa inside.

My rental car oil light was on this weekend. Instead of paying attention to that I drove it to the beach and back on a rainy Saturday. I played in the waves and sat on the sand till my lips turned blue because it is hard to stay warm in the rain on a cloudy beach.
Then my car broke down on the highway Monday morning. When I finally got to work I cried in the staffroom and a co-worker I have never really talked to offered me his onigiri. I refused it.

The distance between places that have become home and places I have never seen is growing shorter.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My life being reduced to pop-culture

Most mornings I wake up and put on colors that do not match because I cannot understand the concept of anything working in an uniform fashion. And somehow I have lived in JAPAN for almost two years.

In my sixth grade language arts classroom there was a sign that read something like "Never start a sentence with and, but, or because." I knew that was wrong. And I make it a point to always include one of those three words in the beginning of a sentence in something I write. I even ended up majoring in English in college; where those three words were encouraged (in the beginning of sentences) by brilliant professors of English. Though I know I have only begun my journey in mastering the English Language.

One of the few times I attended a full day of school my senior year of high school was Senior Skip Day. Just because I thought it was really dumb that everyone needed a scheduled day to play hooky to enjoy the sunshine.

I felt like the bumblebee girl in Blind Melon's No Rain video when I found Guilford Quaker College where boys demanded the right to wear skirts while they were giving campus tours.

After I graduated I spent a year working at an elementary school in North Carolina where I was the only 20- something neither married nor engaged.
That was hard.

Summer in Japan makes me feel crazy because everyone wears socks despite the warm weather. Even women in their twenties wear pantyhoes with their skirts at work.

I had to drive forty minutes out of town today because I needed a moment of anonymity. And when I got home I danced around my apartment because I am from America. Because America is a place where people eat outside, walk around barefoot, and dislike uniforms. But, I do love Japan. I love Japan because I have built relationships with second graders that have resulted in them sticking up for me when first graders question the presence of a foreigner on their playground. And I have gained the trust of co-teachers that call me to give me a lesson plan at 7:30 in the morning before they even call the school to say that they will not be in. And those two things are only the beginning in a list of reasons why this country will keep a piece of my heart.

Last year at this time I was going crazy and relating to a specific scene of the television show Weeds. This year I can taste freedom and I still relate to that same television series:

God only knows what I would have done had I not met people that refused to eat the weird meat at school lunch, mastered Japanese despite never having slept with a Japanese person, or been honest (in a mature fashion) about their sexual orientation while managing to be the town's favorite ALT.

And I will be able to tell everyone in this delicious and beautifully clean country that my only plan is to give up on making plans as I leave. And that certainly confuses and blows the minds of this organized culture.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A shortness in breath (and time).


A Final in Having Visitors

My parents have come and gone.
They arrived on a Thursday night from The States and left on a Tuesday afternoon for Thailand. I made reservations, I bought bus tickets and I led them through the doors of my life. Everyone got along and the only ailment was my mother's carsickness.
Everything went smoothly- god bless.
I met them at the airport and we took the train to Osaka. I could not figure out what train to transfer to and my father wanted to look at the directions. I figured it out and the following day my parents were at my mercy as I got us to Kyoto and Kiyomizudera temple.
In front of Kiyomizudera

Rainy Day

I made reservations at a fancy Japanese Ryokan. My parents found it to be the highlight of the trip. The room was beautiful and I understood what people in their sixties want to do when they have just traveled thousands of miles from home.
Our Room from the Garden

We were served dinner in our room and the multiple course meal was the most fabulous Japanese culinary experience.
Dinner Time

We went to the Kyoto botanical gardens. And, perhaps, most importantly, my parents really understood karaoke.
Mom and Flowers

Brad picks Songs

After a bus ride and car ride we arrived in Ikeda. We went up the mountains where my mom got car sick and my father looked genuinely pleased to be outside on the Iya Valley vine bridge.
Posing on Bridge

I took them to my favorite elementary school where the students and teachers showed my parents the same hospitality they have showed the other visitors in my life. Gifts were exchanged. My mother gave a book that her school had made. My parents were given fans.
A Gift from St. Pauls
Everyone got to the bus stop on time. And I took the last and deepest visitor breath.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I Would

I would move to the countryside and find a ballet school that puts on the ballet Sleeping Beauty in a junior high school gymnasium.

Last Sunday I wore a tutu, a lot of make-up, and a crown.

I took stage directions in Japanese at the dress rehearsal on Saturday night and Sunday morning. I did not understand any of them.
My costume had to be sewn up in the back when my Western Style curves busted through. This was after a woman pretended to squeeze my breast.

The costumes and make-up were more involved than anything I have ever been a part of before.

My ballet teacher was in the ballet and when she dances I am convinced she is one of the most beautiful women on earth.

And now I would be perfectly happy never hearing the music to Sleeping Beauty again.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Talking about her TV

Discussing the important things.

"You shouldn't let poets lie to you."

More Friday Nights

To keep calm and sane.

Dinner 1
Ashely pops the cork

And the company that binds the comfort.
Smoke Break