March 29, 2000
Right now I'm feeling: bummed (The market's going to hell today)
Right now I'm listening to: My 'Disney Songlist' of MP3s on RealJukebox


Quote of the Day:
"Love not what you are but
only what you may become."
-- Cervantes
The Fly

I hate shaving. People say that I'm lucky because my facial hair grows faster than most others. They think that my body senselessly wasting valuable proteins and energy somehow makes me more masculine. But to be frank, it's a pain in the ass. Usually I have to shave every day. I use an electric, which is good and fast, but doesn't give the smooth, baby-butt, close shave that I can get from a razor, but then I'm usually running so late in the morning I nick myself two or three times in the rush to get out the door then I get to school and my kids ask me why I have toilet paper all over my face. Can't win.
Vacations are the time to let loose and just let it all grow out, not that I actually like how it feels, mind you. Actually I hate it. It's all itchy and scratchy and I spend much of my time scrubbing my whiskers with my fingernails. But it's a symbol of vacations and free time so I like it. (Yes, I know. I have a contradicting personality. Deal with it)
Today I was invited to a friend's house to have lunch with her and her family so I shaved to avoid showing up looking like I slept on the streets.
OK, and now a word of advice for those males coming to Japan, in Japan, or whatever. If a woman invites you over to her house to "have lunch/dinner with her family", what that really means is that she's inviting you over to eat with her while her mother and grandmother serve you tray upon tray of food, usually either very expensive or difficult to prepare. Both times this has happened to me it's been exactly the same. It was good, though. Pasta, salads, four different kinds of sushi, and several other things I could not identify. Then came the crab. Oh, no. Not just the legs, the whole shebang. It was my first time eating crab and I was doing pretty good, I thought. Though the whole ripping the legs off of the body was a bit unerving. Ahh, finished. "No, we're not finished," Seiko said. She calmly reached over and popped open the head like she was twisting the top off of a jar of spaghetti sauce. She plunged her little spoon-deal thingee into the thick, slimy, black brain-stuff and popped it into her mouth. Ugh. I felt like I was in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom". I drew the line there. I couldn't even bring myself to taste it so I can't tell you guys what it tasted like. Sorry!

So we hung out for a couple hours and I was looking for a good opportunity to excuse myself (things to do, places to go, people to see, you know how it is). She took some of the trays back to the kitchen (of course, she wouldn't let me help her) and was coming back with drinks. She came back into the room and I was faced with the greatest dilemma a human being can ever have: do I, or do I not, tell her that her fly is unzipped? Perhaps the most frustrating or embarrasing moment in the life of a human being is when they realize that they have been walking around, doing their daily routine, with their fly undone. And perhaps as awkward for those unfortunates who witness this poor soul so oblivious to their own misfortune. I know, I've been on both sides of the looking glass. I hate it when someone doesn't tell me that there is a piece of lint on my clothing, something in my hair, on the edge of my nostril, or my fly is undone (this last one has only happened once that I am aware of, thank the Lord). But no one ever tells the other person. I mean, they could simply bring it to the victim of circumstance's attention and then make a joke about how often it had happened to them, make the person feel at ease. So now, faced with this circumstance and knowing what I would want to be done if I were in her shoes, what did I do?
You guessed it. I ignored it and tried to pretend everything ws normal. It wasn't easy. We were both sitting on sofas across from eachother and her jeans were rather tight. But being that she was Japanese, the shame of me pointing it out would probably have driven her to commit seppku (ritual suicide) or something like that. So after about three minutes, she was lucky enough to notice, excused herself rather quickly and reentered about two minutes later only a tad red-faced.

In other news, I got an email from an ALT in Fukuoka who says that he's got the exact same problem at one of his schools as I did with the whole burakumin situation. I didn't reveal many details here, but he did and he's got the exact same problem! I couldn't believe it. I wonder if it's as widespread as I'm thinking it is.

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