Tuesday, December 30, 2003

New Year's Eve in America with Angela. My last post of fading 2003. I haven't been as prolific, as attentive to the ever ready blog, in recent weeks as I've been traipsing all over Northern California enjoying a holiday vacation with family and friends, but I'll be back to it with renewed interest in another week when I get my usual life back. The blog will go on! The vacation has been a timely respite from my usual Japanese regimen, which seems an old memory. I can't imagine what I do in that country.

I don't know what we're going to do tonight. Not exactly, anyway. I know we're driving into San Francisco and that we'll eat somewhere. Right now, I'm drinking holiday blend coffee and tinkering with this computer while Angela gets in a few more winks. I was supposed to wake-up an hour ago to spit out this final addition (edition?) of the year, but couldn't resist sleeping for another hour. I can't be in a rush to do very much while I'm on vacation.

In past years, this has generally not been a day to write home about, but this year seems more promising. I have to find some entertaining activity for both me and Angela. Whatever happens, I don't think we'll complain very much.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Japanese people are shy. If you ask them to describe their personality, they tell you they're shy. Men or women. I believe them. In nearly a year and a half, I've only had a handful of broken conversations with Japanese people. I've befriended a couple people but, for whatever reasons, can't seem to develop a strong relationship with them. They are too busy. They work too much. They don't invite me to do things with them. Maybe they just don't like me, which is highly probably knowing myself as well as I do.

When I'm riding my bicycle around town, there's only one thing coursing through my mind. Ludacris singing: "Move bitch, get out the way." It has become my bicycle mantra.

And there are no sidewalk laws regarding bicycles here. Bicycles rule the avenues or the sidewalks or wherever they happen to roll. Japanese people are like deer in headlights when they see you pedaling down the sidewalk at break-neck speed. In a city with over 8 million people, Japanese people walk around like no one else exists. Perhaps it's just the treatment for foreigners, or perhaps just rude foreigners like myself. They want me to teach them English.

And I don't know if there's another country on the planet that is so obsessed with learning English. A country full of people who won't talk to foreigners because they're too shy, but if you ask them why they study English, they tell you they want to speak to foreigners. That or they want to watch movies without subtitles. Hell, I can't even understand some American movies.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Tom left a few days ago. We had a great time together, and he had a list of women to check-in with while he was here, but I don't think he came away with what he wanted, although he may have gotten more than he bargained for hanging out with me. It's kind of hard to get what you want if you only have a week to work it, though.

It got Winter cold this week all of a sudden. That seems to be the way it happens in Japan. All of a sudden it's the next season. We'd been enjoying an extended fall with relatively mild weather, but now I can't ride my bicycle without wearing gloves.

And it rained today. It hasn't rained too much lately, which is nice, because it usually seems to rain here a helluvalot. It's not so bad to work when it rains, though; you can't do much anyways if it's an off day.

Five more days until I can get on a plane and get out of here for a few weeks. Vacation doesn't come fast enough when you have a plane ticket in your pocket.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Tom arrived last Wednesday and we've been drinking and carousing too much for the few days that he's been here. We were supposed to go to Kyoto yesterday, but after waking at 3PM, we didn't really have the time to do anything which involved serious travel. Instead, we just walked around Umeda and looked at architecture and ate a nice bowl of ramen.

We took a night off from misadventure, last night, and we're going to Kyoto today. What about work? I'm, uh, sick. *coughs*

Tonight, we're going to a club. Dancing. Tom wants to meet some Japanese women. I'll simply be acting as a chaperone. Angela has to work in the morning, otherwise, she would be my date. I'm on my own tonight.

Fortunately, I have a day off tomorrow, so we're going all night. Not something I do that much anymore, but it's easy to lose track of time in this country and party until dawn, especially when you're inside a blackened club, numbed senseless by the strobes and pulsations and bass of the disco.

See you on the dancefloor.

Monday, December 01, 2003

It's seems amazing that another week has gone by again. What have I done during this last week that disappeared from my life? It's hard to capture it beyond saying that I worked, and I worked one extra day last week, which means I had one less day off. You lose track of time when you have to work too much. It's not good.

The days pass especially quickly during the holiday season.

And, yeah, I still have to prepare for the holidays. I haven't even begun to deal with my Christmas gifts. The holidays this year include a trip back to America to visit the family. I missed our annual shindig last year, the first one of my 33-year existence, so I'm looking forward to it. Three weeks of holiday fun encompassing Christmas and New Year's.

There's been quite a few changes in the family, too. I'm bringing my girlfriend, Angela, which will be the first time I brought a significant other to the sacred family Christmas affair; my sister had another baby, Wyatt, congratulations, Ang!; my brother's wife is pregnant; my parents bought a new car; my uncle Tom died, R. I. P.

How do you deal with these changes when you live 5000 miles away from the people you love? I don't know. I'm still working on it. Needless to say, I'm happy to be going to the old folks' home this year, closing another chapter on another year in our lives, celebrating with the people that care the most about me. I hope your holidays are as happy as I think mine will be. Overly sentimentally yours...