August 4, 2000

7:20 pm

Right now I'm feeling: frustrated as hell

Right now I'm listening to: My new obsession, Lara Fabian

Lara Fabian : Ici

Nichizengu Shrine

Went to Nichizengu with Allen and his visiting sister the other day and snapped these pics!

The front tori gate of the temple

Washing of the hands
before entering the shrine

Difficult to see, but behind this gate and inside that small house rests a god

The sake casks

Today's obsession is:
Lara Fabian! She is a fantastic singer no doubt about it. I hate comparing people (singers, actors, etc.) to others in the business, but she does sound a bit like Celine Dion. Her English album is great, but I prefer her French songs. She sings in four different languages, brilliant, beautiful...

Happy Coats

I'm not feeling too happy today, but I have to dust off my "Happy Coat" and don it once more to appease my boss, Mr. T. Last year the city ALTs and I marched in Shiro Matsuri, but this summer it's only the guys, as both the female city ALTs have fled Japan to get a dose of their home countries before returning for another year. I wish I could say why I dread tomorrow. It's not like someone will shove a TV camera in my face like they did last year, but... I don't know. Once is enough, you know what I mean?

Shiro Matsuri is held by along a main street inbetween city hall and the castle grounds. Literally translated "shiro matsuri" means "castle festival", but it's more like a parade. There are a few stalls that sell some Japanese goodies (like shaved ice and those dough-balls that I love) and have a few carnival-type games going on, but mainly it's just the parade. Hundreds and hundreds of people get dressed up, mostly in happy coats, though some in yukata or other dress, and at the appointed time, make a long procession along the street to a very rythmic and slow song. All the people in the procession try to keep their bodies in synch to a dance everyone's supposed to be doing even though half of the participants are wasted.

Three hours before the festival the employees of city hall, myself and the other city ALTs included, are to gather at city hall for two hours of downing sake and beer and eating all sorts of small Japanese snacks and dishes. This year will be really interesting, though, because the three ALTs who will be participating (Glen, Allen, and I) in the festival don't drink at all. Now, finding three JETs who don't drink a drop of alcohol is like finding three Japanese people living in the same building who don't like rice (nearly every JETs drink, and quite a few are borderline alcoholics). Wait until Mr. T's co-workers get a load of us!! Ha! They'll be so confused. Kind of feel sorry for them, in a way, that they get 'stuck' with us... we're probably not as much fun as the JETs who like to get wasted with their Japanese colleagues. But that's life, eh?

I'll try to be sociable and be a good ALT and practice some Japanese and try and pry some English out of them and compliment them on their pronouciation of "herro!", but really I'm not feeling up to it. In fact, I haven't felt up for much lately. Tonight, Allen (guy living upstairs, new ALT) went out with a bunch of other ALTs, which sounded fun and I kind of wanted to go out, but all I want to do right now is bitch about women, and Japanese women in particular.


After my second "Where are you??? Did you get home safely?? I'm worried about you!!!" email, Aya responded with a short blurb email that she's back and has just been too busy to email or call or visit or write or anything. Oh, yes, indeed. She's helping her mother out with the cleaning an awful lot, these days, and, oh yes, her brother has her cell phone, didn't I know? And oh, also her computer has been broken so she can't email, and she's got to work so she'll be busy for a while. Oh, yes... I see. Of course.

Wait a second here....

Yes, that's right, folks. I've been fed a load of horse-shit. That's what she said in her email. It was short because she was typing it into her cell phone after her brother got back from juku (cram school) with it, and she didn't say when she'd be able to get together. She's been back from a trip through Australia for almost a week and she didn't get in touch with me.

This woman pisses me off.

I've been wracking my brain trying to think of the right way to end things softly. Letting down someone gently is one of the hardest things to do. I had a short chat with a friend in the US today and she asked me a very simple question... she asked me when was the last time I actually talked to Aya, as in verbal communication. I had to respond that it had been 34 days since I last spoke to her. 34 days. Over one month. One month is 1/12th of a year!!! Motherfucker!! Goddam!! What in the hell am I thinking??? I haven't spoken to this girl in over a month, she doesn't call, write, or whatever, she's jerkin me around like a dog on a leash, and here I am worried about her feelings in breaking up with her??? I mean, for all I know this is the way she is trying to break up with me!!

After Alexandra (friend in the US mentioned above) asked me that question and I got to thinking.. and I figured out that I am wasting my life. I mean, shit, man... Say I live 100 years.. that means that I have about 1200 months of life. And that means that I've wasted exactly .0833% of my life waiting around for this chick to call me, when she may already be with another guy (I wouldn't know, cause I can't even get the damn woman to pick up the phone to give me a call!). I've called her a number of times, but I can't get through to her phone (if her brother does indeed have her phone, he must have it turned off most of the time). Apparently, she does get her email messages that are sent to her cell phone (I guess her brother must give her them when he gets back from juku).

Japanese women are the most confusing, confused, wacked-out people in the entire world. Of that, there can be no doubt. I have spent a great deal of time observing the Japanese women in their native habitat (as you can well imagine) and have come to this shocking conlcusion. Actually, my friend John and I came to this conclusion four years ago based only on our experiences with the Japanese foreign exchange students we knew. I now have verified that conclusion.

Everyone praises the Japanese non-verbal communication. It's so efficient. Keeps everyone polite, as they don't have to come out and directly confront someone with criticism or resentment. It fosters the harmony which Japanese culture and custom have thrived on for a thousand years. Well, folks, that's a load of crap. At least, it is when it comes down to relationships. They have no idea how to handle, foster, create, or maintain relationships. During the courting process, Japanese couples have no idea how they feel about one another. All that non-verbal communication fails miserably and they have no vehicle to express their real emotions. No way to tell the other person that they care. Maybe that's why distances between couples is so accepted. The date is a very ambiguous concept. Drives Japanese men crazy. There is no set idea of what a date is here... two people can go out for months and yet the woman can think that they're just going out for fun... not a date in the traditional sense. The thing is, is that I had all of this stuff nailed with Aya. We had laid the groundwork and had come to an understanding... or so I thought.

Sigh... I'm just really frustrated right now. Aya would say that I'm not trying hard enough to understand the Japanese way of life, or Japanese people. Well, why the hell should I? She's not trying to understand what relationships are like for Westerners! I'm the one making most of the compromises here, and why the hell is that? Right now, I don't know. She's told me before that Japanese couples don't spend nearly as much time together or keep such close contact as Western couples do, and she used that as justification for her distance from me. But my good neighbor, Lesa, (I'm asking advice from lots of people, can you tell?) reminde me that that's all hooey because if she really wanted to see me, if she enjoyed my company, if she really liked me, she'd want to spend time with me, regardless of wether or not she's "Japanese". I can make the time for her, she can make some time for me. Right?

Meanwhile, .0833% of my life
has just gone down the crapper.

So tell me folks, what should I do?? I'm half tempted just to send a short email to Aya's cell phone telling her that it's over. If she can't make any time for me, then what the hell am I waiting for, you know what I mean? Or do I have to do this face-to-face?? (I could be waiting a long time for that...) I need CLOSURE, people!! And some good advice! So what would you do if you were me? Let your voice be heard!!

The Aya Dilemma
How should I break up
with my girlfriend?

Send her a two line
"Sayonara!" email.
Wait for her to call
and tell her you
need to talk to her.
Keep calling her house,
harassing her family
until she calls you back.

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