Sunday, February 19, 2006

The Big Flush

It's been a while since my last post and I can't think of a good enough excuse for not writing. Maybe you haven't even noticed and, in that case, I'm safe. I HAVE been writing alot in my journal which is a lot easier for me than typing and uploading pictures but I guess that doesn't help any of you who might be interested in how I'm doing. Well, I'm doing just fine. The weather can't decide if it's spring yet or winter. Everytime I experience a beautiful sunny springy day, I try to put my winter coat away and end up freezing my buns off later in the day. I've said it before and I'll say it again, thank god for heated toilet seats. Speaking of toilets...I just found out about the big flush. "The big flush?" you say... well I'd been having difficulty figuring out the toilet in my apartment. For some reason, it just wouldn't flush completely no matter how long I held the handle down or jiggled it. Atleast it's a western style toilet. I don't think I could handle having to squat precariously while making sure my feet are well out of firing range. Japanese toilets are basically just a hole in the ground that you can flush..I really don't think they were made with women in mind. Anyway, David solved the mystery of the big flush for me. There are 2 for wee wee and one for poo poo... now I know that the little flush doesn't do shit! hahah..god I'm hilarious. Well mom, you said you wanted me to write about something other than drinking! You'd think that all I did here was drink and poop..well, you're wrong! That's just what I feel like talking about.

So, what have I been up to lately? I've been working the usual random hours. Sometimes I don't have class until 3pm and other times I'm working at 9am and finishing at 9pm. It's the one thing I haven't been able to get used to here. Luckily, I love my students. The little ones amaze me with their spirit and laughter and the older ones teach me about Japanese culture and life in Japan. Even when I gripe all the way to the train station about having to drag my butt out of bed and go to work, I end up feeling happy I came to class. I wish there was something I could do about the 6 day work week but I'm resigned to the fact it isn't going to change. It sure makes travelling hard to do. I hope to go to Osaka during Golden Week (a brief vacation we get in May) and I might even be able to squeeze in a snowboarding trip before the winter is officially over. I've also been asked to play an outdoor festival in June called "Concert on the Rock." It sounds amazing! It's in Fukuoka which is really far from where I live so I'll have to fly there. I might have to con my way out of working on Saturday as well.

I'm trying to save money which I'm finding very difficult. There is a serious lack of things to do where I live and an abundance of stores and restaurants. Sometimes I'll have a long break of 2 hours in between classes and I end up buying a hat I don't need or salivating over some shoes I know won't fit into my bag when I return home this summer. Also, I've been going to shows lately. Shows put a big dent in the wallet. Entrance is usually about 2,000yen ($20) or more (including a drink ticket) even for unknown bands. My friend Matt's band, Jisatsu.... (it's a really really long name which essentially translates to mean "I'd commit suicide but I have work in the morning" or something like that), played last weekend. They were great and the other two bands, The Warm, and SF were awesome too. Many friends came out to see the show and we all went to uchiage afterward. Uchiage is the afterparty held after a live event. It usually takes place at an Izakaiya, a restaurant that accomodates large groups and has deals like all you can drink and eat for 2,ooo yen (for a few hours). I wasn't really into the drinking (see MOM!) that night but I thoroughly enjoyed the company. It was a nice mix of Japanese and gaijin 20 somethings. By the end of the night, it felt like we were all speaking the same language. Matt and his roommate put us up at their apartment. Unlike the Izakaiya, the apartment isn't meant for large groups but we made it work. Not everyone slept over. We played music into the wee hours of the morning and, before we knew it, it was 6am! The next day was mind numbingly cold and I spent it stumbling around Tokyo with my friend Tsuji, trying to find a warm place to sit down and not spend money. Eventually we gave up and went home.

This weekend I kept it mellow. Tsuji taught me how to make Kim-chi nabe (I'm sure I'm misspelling it) and we had a Nabe party. Kim chi is a Korean soup. It's made with cabbage, spices, tofu, pork, seafood, onions...whatever you want to throw in the pot. It was great! I hope I can find the ingredients when I'm back in the states so I can impress everyone with how worldy I am (haw haw). Today I thought I'd walk around Chiba City in the hopes to find some cool places to go nearby. My quest wasn't too successful. Apparently the only thing people like to do in Chiba is eat and shop. So here I am, parked in front of the always.. missing everyone and finishing off the last of the nabe. I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Gizmo and Lisa

Tony and Yasuko (the Bad Spellers)



me and Tsuji (he always makes that face)

found this sign in Sengenjaiya

Matt "Rockstar" Guay

I love this couple (Tony and Yasuko)

Jonathan, Doug, and the lovely Yukiko

Lindsay Leuders captivate Jonathan (and us all)

Shibuya (Hachiko gate)