Sunday, August 8, 1999: The Call

I got a call early in the morning from Hiroko, a friend living in Kyoto. She wanted to get together sometime this coming week, but now she has to go to visit her family in Kyushu on Monday or Tuesday. Soooo, she wanted to come over to Wakayama today. AHH! I mean my place is clean and everything, but I had a lot of things to do today... those are easily shifted, though. "Don't do today what you can put off until tomorrow" as the wise ones say. So I cleaned up a bit today, went and got some food, and waited for her call... wasn't sure what time she'd call because she wasn't sure about the train times. She was just going to go to the train station and get the next train. She called up about seven, then we came back and dumped her stuff at my place then went for a walk. She said Wakayama reminded her of her hometown of Kagoshima. We went and got some dessert and talked for a long time. She had just broken up with her fiancée and was still sorting through some stuff about that (a different friend than the one I talked about last week). Then we went back to my apartment and watched a few episodes of Simpsons.

Monday, August 9, 1999

Woke up early (relatively) and made some scrumptious French toast. Ahhh, French toast. The best of breakfasts. Unfortunately, this time something went awry and it made us both sick to our stomachs! AAHHH!! Last time I cook breakfast for someone! Bad omen. After that we hung around, then when it got cooler, we went to the castle and I showed her around for a while, but we were too late to get into the keep, not that it's all that exciting in there, but she really enjoyed the grounds. It was getting dark really fast, though, when we got there and we got bitten up by mosquitoes!! The mosquitoes in Japan are ruthless!! We went to this great Italian restaurant under the city station.

Tuesday, August 10, 1999

Hiroko left today at about two. She saw a bit of Wakayama, it's not that happening... most of what she saw was walking around the city and in the castle. There are a few temples, but they're probably not all that exciting for her so we forewent those. She goes to Kagoshima then returns to Kyoto next week. Then, the next week she's off for Egypt. Yes, that's right, Egypt. I seem to gravitate towards the people who love Egypt. I don't know how it happens. She even learned Arabic. Sigh. I really envy her. I'd like to go with her, but there's three reasons I don't: a) she's staying for 20 days and if I stayed with her the whole time I'd never make it back for school in time, b) to buy a plane ticket anywhere at this time on such short notice would cost me an arm and a leg, c) I promised myself that I'd learn more Japanese (and Egyptian before I finally made the trip) this summer. Oh, and it just so happens that it gets up to 120 F in parts of Egypt this time of year. YOWZA!! That's pretty dang hot, don't you think? And I wanted to go to Hokkaido for the last part of August and now is the best time of year to go (the weather is actually bearable there). I really have to study more, though.

Later some of the ALTs and I went out for dinner at a Japanese restaurant inside Burakuri-cho. I think it's becoming our stomping grounds! Talked about Japan, food, and the pursuit of a stress-free existence.

After I got home I pondered my existence here for a while and then worked on an article for the WIN newsletter (an English newsletter for the English-speaking community of Wakayama).

Wednesday, August 11, 1999

I fixed my CD Rom drive today. I thought the thing was toast, but I remembered what me and my brothers and sisters used to do when the Nintendo wasn't loading the cartridges right. I just opened it up and blew into it really hard! After that it worked like a charm!! I couldn't believe it! Of course, that was after I had bought the CD Rom lens cleaner for 13 bucks. That expensive yet worthless bit of plastic didn't work and blowing inside it did. The wonders of technology. There's so much dust here. Glen says it's because all our floors are hardwood or tatami mat. No carpets. Dust won't really stick to these kinds of floors the way it does to carpets. So whenever there's a little breeze all the dust goes back up into the air and onto objects. And into them for that matter, I suppose.

Glen came over later and we discussed ways of amassing the greatest wealth as possible in ten years.

Thursday, August 12, 1999: The Open Sea

A huge reminder of home shook me out of bed early this morning. At five am. Quite literally. A jolt of an earthquake nearly tossed me out of bed and I stumbled towards the doorway before I even knew what I was doing. It was a doozy! I think it was around a 4.8. These concrete buildings, though... I am more than skeptical about. I think they'd fold up faster than a house of cards in any serious earthquake. The thought occurred to me of jumping out the window if it got really bad... I'd have a better chance of survival, I think! Haha! But seriously, why is it that all the earthquakes have to happen at night or EARLY in the morning? Huh? Why is that? The Earth is a cruel, cruel thing.

I milled around quite a bit today. I also tried to work on that late article for the WIN newsletter. Ended up working on my web page, but not adding any real content like I SHOULD have done, but I added a "Jukebox" which will play music in a separate window while the surfer is surfing. I actually stole the code from someone else, but their coding didn't work. I rewrote it slightly and cleaned it up, now it works great. A nifty little addition, I think. Not too hard though.

A Japanese friend came over and we went to dinner at an Italian place, then for desert at Baskin Robbins. Ohhhhhhhhh, do you know HOW LONG it has been since I've had mint'n chip ice cream?? Ahhhhhhh...... heavenly. Found out she got back together with her fiancée (the guy who was going to those naughty-boy clubs). Ohmygosh. I can't believe it. Sigh. Love is a strange thing, though. And I should have expected that. Afterward, we went to try and catch the fireworks at Marina city, but we were either too late or they didn't have them that evening. We ended up sitting on a bridge near the port (with a great view) for a couple of hours and talking. I get too philosophical near large bodies of water and since Japanese people aren't that reflective in the first place, at the end of the evening she thought I should abandon teaching English and become a poet. Who knows? I've got a long life yet (I hope). Maybe I'll tack that onto my list of careers I will have before I kick the bucket.

Friday, August 13, 1999

Dreams, dreams, dreams. This time, I dreamt that a bunch of old buddies from elementary school and I broke into a gated community to rob an ancient temple which happened to be at the center of the gated community loaded with gold and other treasures. Good ol' Ralph popped up in that dream. Haven't even thought of that guy in years.

I went by Justin's office (he's the new CIR here) to ask about some festivals that are coming up this weekend. I've got this old calendar, but I don't know if the dates have changed or if those festivals are in the same places they've been in or what. We talked for a while about stocks and baseball (he couldn't believe that I didn't follow it, "Are you really an American??" hehehe) and other stuff. Got the word on a few festivals but I have to look up where these cities/towns are. God knows how I'm going to get to them.

CD rom drive really acting up... won't even play music cds I put in. I think I'll try cleaning it out tomorrow. Not looking forward to that. I saw my old roommate Luke take his computer apart... scared me silly. So many little parts, so many little things that can go wrong that I have no idea about. If it's under the cover of a chassis, well, it's voodoo, Jack, and that's the end of it.

Went over to Numata Mansion, hung out for a while, and watched LA Confidential (I highly recommend it by the way if you're one of the few people left who hasn't seen it).

I've been thinking a lot about my ambitions today, and I think it's time for a mini-adventure. One of these days (sometime very soon, I feel), I'm going to take off and not know where I'm going or when I'll be back (though I gotta be back for school, I know). I was planning on going to Hokkaido in a week and a half, but I might forego that, or add on this adventure to that, I've not decided.

The only thing I know is that I smell change in the air. And adventure. You know that smell. Ahhhhh... nothing like it in the world. It's like you walk outside your door and you smell that air and you know that that is a day that anything can happen. You feel like you've been lifted up off your toes by the wispy air-currents bobbing along the streets.

Saturday, August 14, 1999

Figured out where the festivals were. Two are way out in the sticks. They'd take about four hours to get to! Not sure of the time, so maybe I'll go to the lantern burning festival tomorrow in Yura. South of Kainan. The train doesn't stop at Yura, it stops at Kii-Yura and I don't know how far or how long it would take me to get to actual Yura. The two festivals today would take me four hours+ to get to and since I don't know the times they're on, it would really suck to spend forever on the train/bus and then get there to find out that it was over. There's plenty of festivals coming up anyway. Want to get some more pictures of festivals up on my webpage and send some footage to my folks back home. And I like the festivals. It's something which Japan actually has left from the old days... something that hasn't been swept away in Japan's attempt to modernize and Westernize itself.

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