Sunday, July 25, 1999

Today was a day of waking up late, messing around, playing computer games, and generally wasting time. Ahhhhhhh it was so great! When I logged onto my computer, though, found out that I was outbid on both comic books and egyptian papyrus, dammit! Argghhhhhh. I'll get 'em next time for sure! But seriously, what the heck am I gonna do with that stuff here? Why are we humans so darn materialistic?

Tuesday, July 27, 1999: What the Future Holds

Lately I've been stressing about what the new ALTs will be like. I mean, they'll be here for a whole year (at least) and I was close to their predecessors. I guess they don't have to be my best friends, but It'd make life a whole lot easier if they aren't complete psychos.

Cleaned my place, again, and did some major laundry. Also went down to the popsicle place and got some mean ice cream sandwiches and other goodies.

Wednesday, July 28, 1999

Glen came over and we called the new ALTs. They must be so overwhelmed right now. I remember all I could do when I first got here was hole up and wait for the storm of confusion to pass. I really had no idea what was going on when I got here. Not that I'm all that wiser now, mind you, but at least I'm not afraid to go to the grocery store by myself like I was those first couple days!

The plan is to meet up with them tomorrow. That'll give them some time to recuperate and assess damage control; though I'm pretty sure that their apartments are in good order.

Thursday, July 29, 1999: Lost in Wakayama

Finally met the new ALTs today! They're surprisingly cool! Both are 23 (I think) friendly and non-wench like. We went up to their place this evening, but they were heading out to go see another ALT. We all headed over there together not knowing where we were going at all, which is not at all a good thing where many of the streets have no name, but we did it all the same. We stopped for directions at Lawsons and stopped a few people along the way. Thing is, as soon as you stop someone for assistance, that person is "involved" and they can't shirk out of their duty to help you before they go mad or die! I thought this young couple we stopped for directions would "help" us all night long, that's how long it lasted! They didn't even know where we were going, but they tried to help us find some semi-intelligent help at the police station. Turns out that we were looking in the completely wrong area after we got ahold of another ALT who knew that particular area well (he lived there). Still don't know the backwater places in this city. Well, it wasn't really remote, just in a hardcore residential area.

So anyway, we finally got to the place and spent the rest of the night chattering away about life, Japan, and the pursuit of happiness while on the JET programme. It was really good. After that we walked them back to their apartment and now, Glen and I just got back to our apartments, it's 4 am!

Friday, July 30, 1999: All the World's A Stage

Man, I had a whacked out dream last night that Glen, Lesa, and the two new ALTs were all REALLY small and they were tying me down to my bed with strands of twine like in Gulliver's Travels! Weird stuff. My dreams have been way too realistic-seeming lately, what's up with that?

Had a meeting with Tsuyama today. We were late, but it wasn't exactly our fault. He said that the new ALTs were going to meet the mayor and that we could come a little later so we wouldn't have to wait, but they didn't meet the mayor and he was waiting for us for about a half hour. Meeting wasn't all that wonderful, but we did find out that we'll be participating in a festival next week, dancing and all!! It's strange, Japanese people have a way of asking you for a favor that makes it more compulsory than favors I've been asked for by even my closest friends. Maybe it's that weird, subtle subtextual way of talking they seem so proud of. Hmmm. At any rate, we'll get coats, shorts, and belts next week. The coats are called "Happy Coats". I've seen them before at other festivals. They're bright blue and good lookin, but the shorts are wayyyy too small. But at least we get to keep the coats! That's cool. From the way he's talking it sounds like the festival won't last that long, but they'll probably have 5 opening ceremonies and start two hours later. We're supposed to meet everyone at city hall before for some grub and to hang out with some of the other participants while they get themselves drunk.

I've seen festivals like this, but I've never been in one! And as much as I curse the thing, I'm glad I'm gonna be in it. It'll be cool! At least I won't be alone. Just hope I don't see too many slack-jawed gawkers staring at the foreigners trying to dance and making a mockery of their most sacred traditions! Haha! Well, the others seem to like the fact that we're going to be in it.

A friend of mine from Kyoto called me up on the phone and asked me to go to go to China with her next month. Gee. I've wanted to go there for a while, and I almost went there during spring, but she's only going for four days. I don't think I'll go. Hmm. Decisions, decisions.

Hey, guess what!? Only a couple more days before we find out if Nostradamus' prediction about "the great king of terror" is false! Personally, I think it's a load, but people over here in Japan take that stuff really seriously. I got a letter from a student of mine this week which said, "We are going to go to Okinawa in February, 2001 on school trip if the prophecy did not come true, and we can stay alive." Haha! She's so cute! So many of my kids believe in that kind of prophecy. If I did, I think I'd be going mad. I don't know how they can stand it.

Saturday, July 31, 1999: Gut Instincts

Today was one whopper of a day. Sometimes, I really can't believe how dumb I am or what I am thinking at any point in the space-time continuum. Sometimes I guess I think that my way of thinking (even when the adrenaline is rushing) is so obviously better than any other viewpoint. Sigh.

OK, so here's the beef.

Me, Glen, and Lesa were supposed to meet up with Ondria and Kristy (the new ALTs) for dessert. Glen and Lesa were running late and they wanted me to get the new ALTs and meet up at Royal Host. OK. So far so good. But on the way over to meet them I saw the following scene at a street corner:

A couple was at an intersection arguing. The woman had a baby in her arms. As I got closer I saw the man slapping the woman in the face, then he grabbed her long hair and tried to drag her across the intersection. Now, what would you all have done? Well, if I was thinking, I'd have just let them sort it out by themselves. If the woman is willing to endure this abuse, then let them have their domestic squabble. But it progressed and got a bit worse and... maybe it was because she had the baby in her arms... and my brain must have been on "Standby" at the time because I rode my bike up nearby and shouted for him to stop (all the Japanese I know had just flown right outside my head). I remembered the words for "you can't" and "No!", but everything else was washed away. He was very angry and asked if I understood Japanese and I said I understood some and he told me repeatedly to get out of there that it was none of my business. I stayed and argued. Eventually he got really angry and frustrated, but instead of coming at me then, he stormed off across the street. I asked the woman if she was ok and through her tears she answered that she was and she apologized about a hundred times (for bothering me with the incident, yeah, as if that's her fault!). After making sure that she and her baby were really OK, I rode off. I hadn't gotten far (only about one block) and was stopped at the next light when I saw the guy crossing the intersection towards mine. Of course, I was looking for him, and when I saw him and we made eye contact he crossed out of the crosswalk and started jogging in exactly my direction! Well, forget that, man! I just turned and rode outta there! He couldn't follow me forever. Burakuri Cho wasn't that far, and Ondria showed up after a while. I wonder if she noticed me looking over my shoulder every five seconds! She was still having dinner with some other JETs and we'd have to meet up later. Meanwhile, Glen and Lesa are waiting at Royal Host and there's this freak of a wife-beater who's still lookin to pound me into the pavement. Sigh. I say I should have stayed out of it because he'll probably be even harsher on his wife when he sees her at home, but I just couldn't think right at the time.

But I didn't see him again after that time, thank God. I wonder if he'll hold a grudge. I keep thinking that I'll be out there some random day and he'll just come after me. I'm not too sure if I could take him down by myself, that dude was pretty damn big.

After that, the evening was pretty sedate, comparatively. We did meet up with Ondria and Kristy at Royal Host along with some other ALTs, and we talked for a long time. We were so loud in the restaurant!! I guess they're used to it, though. Everyone here says that foreigners are really loud. It's true, too! Got back home pretty late.

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