July 3, 2000
10:16 pm
Right now I'm feeling: Tired!

Right now I'm listening to: Kiroro

Kiroro: Kekkon Shiyou Ne


The small sleepy town has one of my schools, Takatsumi JHS. The school is surrounded by rice fields.

It's laundry day for just about the entire building! Can you guess which apartment is mine?

Here's one of the mesh bags everyone zips up their clothes in before they put them into the merciless Japanese washing machine
Kickass link of the day:
A JET's true-life story on RealAudio. Want a crash course on Japanese culture and being an ALT? Listen to this.  


Good News and Bad News

I only had two classes in the morning on Friday, so instead of waiting around for five hours until I was supposed to leave, I bailed. I was a little anxious about the results from the blood test last week.

I went into the doctor's office and he took me into his office right away. He started asking me questions about my health, did I have good digestion, how was my sleep the night before, and all the while... he's got that bloody chart in his hand with a blue slip of paper which I have come to recognize as a computer printout of bloodtest results.

Finally I asked him about it. He looked down at it and I asked, "Were the tests... normal?"

"Well.. almost normal. You see this.. is liver function. Normal. This.. kidney function. Normal. Triglyceride level. Normal. blah blah. Normal.."

Then I interrupted him. "OK. OK. What's not normal?"

"This." He pointed to a number which had a large dark asterisk next to it. It turns out that my white blood cell count has doubled for no apparent reason. A natural thought is that my body must be fighting off some kind of infection, but another factor in my blood (which, drat it all, I can't remember now, I knew I should have majored in biology), which would give indication of that, is normal. Also, the level at which my WBC count has gone over is past normal levels of fighting infection.. passing some kind of "limit". He said it wasn't very dangerous and that he wasn't concerned about it as much as my sleeplessness (he doesn't think the two are related), which has continued. Last night I forgot to take my sleeping pill... big mistake. I woke up with so much shock and adrenalin flowing it probably looked like I thought a bomb had gone off in my bedroom. It probably took me five minutes to get my hands to stop shaking. Goddam. I hate that shit. I swear, if I didn't know better I would think I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder! I mean, sometimes the way I wake up seems like I've been through a goddam war or something.

So he gave me a buttload of vitamins and more sleeping pills. Oh, joy. Just what I needed. I asked him if there was a vitamin deficiency in my blood, but he said there wasn't. Hmm...

The good news of the week is that an old college friend of mine is coming to sleepy ol' Wakayama to stay with me for a few days. She's on a Japanese tour, staying with friends in Tokyo and Kobe, as well. I'm so excited! This is the first time any of my old friends have come out this way. I was shocked when I requested a couple days off of school and was approved! My supervisor hardly ever gives days off. Hopefully, Sabina will be able to watch me teach a couple of classes. I'm not so sure about this because the teachers are really self-conscious and hate anybody peeking into their classes. Not even the principal can watch a class without permission (I swear this is true. The teachers' union has got POWER).

We're going to go to Koya-san and stay there for a day and a night, walk through the temples and cemetery and meditate zen-like with the monks there. Then we'll head over to Nara. She saw Kyoto the other day; she's probably not going to want to see another Japanese temple for the rest of her life!

It's been ages since I've seen her, but I talked with her the other night on the phone briefly and she's still the same fiesty, witty, flirtatious, brilliant gal who used to torment me in the college dorms. It's good to know that some things never change.

The Fourth

Last year I don't think I really celebrated the Fourth of July, but I have a guilty feeling like I should have. Mabye with Sabina here, we'll set off a few fireworks. It also feels strange that I feel like I should celebrate it here, of all places. Like I'm defacing a shrine or sacred balance or something like that. Maybe I shouldn't celebrate it at all... maybe if I thought the USA was so wonderful I wouldn't be here...
Pah! That's bullshit. It is wonderful. And, yes, I am a nationalistic bastard. And it feels goooood. :)

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