May 28, 2000
I'm feeling: All right
Right now I'm listening
to: Random J-Pop stuff; here's one of 'em...
Yuko Arai : Don't
of the Day:
"Make a true estimate of your own ability,
then raise it 10 per cent."
-- Norman Vincent Peale
hot in the exciting, sweating-bodies, erotic, passion-filled
nights like in the movies or the journals of more exciting
personas (c'mon! You guys know me by now!). Literally,
I mean. Hot. As in temperature. It's getting hot these days.
Muggy. I've even used my air conditioner at night (though,
still haven't put away my kerosene heater, I'll do that
as soon as I clean up this sty and find some actual space
in my closet to store it). With the onset of June comes
humidity and rain. Something I am definitely not looking
forward to (you try riding a bicycle to work in the rain!).
a few days ago I mentioned how
I was going to try the Tylenol PM for the first time. And
let me tell you, that stuff works like a goddam charm! I
couldn't believe it. When I wake up I don't have any trouble
getting out of bed. It was weird. Usually, I'm really groggy
in the morning. Takes me like a half hour to get my ass
out of bed and into the shower. And I usually have some
sense of the dreams or nightmares I had and how often I
woke up during the night, but when I've waken up these past
few days... well, my mind was... blank. I don't think I
woke up at all during the night, or had any dreams. Which
is fantastic. The only real side effect I've noticed is
an increased tendancy for my extremites to fall asleep quicker
if I'm seated on tatami or in an uncomfortable position.
first day I did feel a little stiff, a little tired during
the day, but that's probably because I didn't get enough
sleep the night before anyway.
feel a little strange about this. I am extremely paranoid
about dependencies of any kind. I don't like the idea that
I have to take something just to get a decent
night's rest... I should be able to do that by myself. But
I guess I'm not. OK, I'll admit this temporary failure of
mine. This stuff won't solve my problem (if I have one),
but it'll provide some temporary relief.
I went with Aya to her university's bi-annual festival in
Osaka. Wieners on sticks, takoyaki (bits of octopus in dough),
garage-sale clothes, and live music. Everything the body
needs. Her university campus is really big, I was surprised
considering what a premium land is here. It was pretty cool.
I got to meet her best friend, eat some Japanese fast food,
listen to the Japanese college students try to make rock
and roll, and had a heated argument with Aya about applied
yeah. There was that one little snag.
was a pretty good day until that train ride back. I can't
even remember exactly what we were talking about, but she
said something like she had to do something (consistently,
as in personality-wise), and I said that she didn't really
have to do it if she didn't want to, and she replied that
she did and I asked why and she said, "Because I'm
ARE NOW ENTERING AN "I'M RIGHT AND THEY'RE WRONG"
PROCEED WITH EXTREME CAUTION
swear, if I hear this one more time as a response to an
honest question I'm gonna frickin strangle that person.
The most angering thing about the Japanese is their acceptance
of personality characteristics based on cultural precepts.
It drives me into a fury.
tried to explain to her that she doesn't have to do anything
she doesn't want to and that she was trying to shift the
responsibility for her actions onto peer pressure and how
ridiculous it was to think that peer pressure limits her
free will, and she said that I didn't really undertand her,
her people, or anything about Japan. I tried to explain
that we all have choices, and she said that Americans
have choices because of their culture, but she must do things
and act a certain way because she must, and I told
her that the fact that she can observe this indicates that
she can choose otherwise, she didn't agree and was on the
point of tears, which is when I let the argument slide.
whole argument took only 10 minutes or so, but seemed like
it lasted the entire train ride back (about one hour). Probably
because neither one of us had anything to say to eachother
after the argument. I didn't want her to break out in tears
in front of everyone on the train (that would be unmanageably
shameful for her). It was like talking to a brick wall.
My arguments were impervious, of course (hey, five years
of philosophy have got to be worth something, right?)
That shit pisses me off.
I've got to open her eyes to see the blinding light from
the lamp of pure reason.
I finally decided on a digital camera. It was a tough one.
Do I go with the Sony S30 with the USB interface and flip-LCD
display or the Fuji 1700Z, which is half the size, but weak
on flash? I opted to go with the Sony... the camera I buy
has got to have a good flash. Unfortunately,
of the four major electronic stores in town, only one of
them carries that model and they're out of stock.
wanted to know how long it'd take to restock the camera.
I asked one of the sales clerks in the store this and I
think she told me that they wouldn't be getting any more
at all. I asked her to speak slowly, because my Japanese
is not that great, but she repeated herself at the same
speed and didn't give me a date, time or day of the week.
It sounded like a runaround answer. Y'know that feeling
you get when you're sure that the employee you're
speaking to has no idea what he/she is talking about even
though you yourself have no knowledge about the item in
question? I got that feeling today talking to her. I hate
that. I asked her if they could special order one, but she
said it would be "very difficult" which, in Japanese,
means "No frickin way".
about 93% of the employees in retail stores in Japan are
absolutely worthless. You can walk into a store and be greeted
enthusiastically with a smile and a bow, but ask them a
specific question and they look like they'd been dropped
off by the bus at the wrong stop. They know absolutely nothing.
Sure, this is true about certain stores just about anywhere,
but I have found it to be more prevalent, by far, here on
this little island. Walk into just about any store and there's
4X the number of employees as actual customers. There's
an employee to hold the door open for you, one whose job
it is to bow as you come in, one to push the button for
the elevator, one to stand behind the information desk (who,
of course, knows nothing), one to carry your selection to
the counter, one to ring your purchase up, and one to bag
it up for you. Ah, yes. The efficiency of the Japanese employment
ethos. Do nothing, but do it splendidly. That's harsh, but
... hey. It's true, you know? At least they're polite...
most of the time. (Though, if you're in the store around
closing time, you'd better get your ass out of there quick
or they'll probably throw you out. I've been in a few places
around closing time and they're pretty... direct at that
I left and came back four hours later, hoping that a shift
change would move her out and move in an employee of the
non-worthless variety, which it did. The new salesman was
very helpful and told me that if they special ordered it,
it should be there in about two weeks. Ok, cool. I've waited
this long for a digital camera, two more weeks won't kill
Let me just make this clear right now... I'm not a pervert.
I'm not like every Japanese man here... after some little
schoolgirl in a rolled up skirt/baggy socked uniform. I
like my women older, educated, intelligent, and with some
said, I just found out today from Aya and her friend, that
Mai Kuraki (I loaded two of her hit singles, Love,
Day After Tomorrow and Stay by
My Side, with journal entries) is in junior high school.
DAMN!! Who would've thought??? I thought she was like twenty
something! It's totally impossible to tell the age of any
Japanese woman.. or girl for that matter. We were talking
about pop stars, I happened to mention that I thought Mai
Kuraki was hot and they
turned a serious eye on me...
So, Jeff.. do you like many little Japanese girls at your
Huh? What the hell are you talking about?
No, it's ok. I understand... many men do.
speaking of J-Pop, I think I'll probably add selected songs
from my journal into the Jukebox when I move my site to
a new server. Which I'll do as soon as I get the domain
name I've been waiting for. Should be within a month. Stay