Monday, November 24, 2003

Two days inside, in bed, picking the dead skin off my fingers, the remnants of my previous bout with the mystery rash, and sweating out some kind of new sickness while I stare at the big red smile of the portable heater. Body aches and a sharp cough. The cigarets stare at me longingly from across the room.

I managed to do a couple loads of laundry and mostly clean my room, but anything else was simply too exhausting. Even reading was a chore or it just served to put me back to sleep. Thankfully, Angela came over and made me a pot of soup, brought me some kiwis and mandarin oranges.

I'm hoping to return to work tomorrow. It's a kind of financial castration to take a sick day at this job, whoring English to Japanese people. It's really a sales job, which I thought I would never do, but there you have it. It's not the first time I did something I said I would never do, so I guess I'm used to it. The only problem is that I'm not a salesman by any stretch, which makes me the kind of employee that's good enough to keep his job, but not good enough to go beyond that. This company probably rivals McDonald's for turnover, but then McDonald's isn't exactly unsuccessful.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Looking forward to my weekend tomorrow. A normal two-day weekend. I think I'm going to visit a mountain near Osaka. It's the season for viewing fall colors, which means Japanese people visit parks and such and look at leaves. A poetic activity that rivals only blossom-viewing in the Spring. It seems to rain every other day, so I'm hoping for a lucky rain-free day.

Now? Smoking, writing and doing internet stuff until I have to get ready for work, which is fast approaching, so I'm trying to bang this out before I jump in the shower. Waiting for my roommate to finish.

Killed two small cockroaches last night. I thought they would go away when it got colder, but I guess they're just not as big.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

I always dream about my job. Most would probably consider that a dreadful nightmare, but I can't help it. I don't think it's due to serious stress from the work, teaching conversational English. Talking to Japanese people who are learning English can be somewhat repetitive, but it's certainly not stressful.

I also talk in my sleep, which can be a nice combination, if you have a chance to observe it. When I first moved to Osaka, I think I woke-up every night for two weeks introducing myself. When I realized what I was doing, I would lie down slowly and finish my introduction, not quite sure if I was really in my bed or just sleeping through a lesson.

Today was unusually memorable. Initially, the sound of my roommate scuffling to the refrigerator roused me from my slumber. After that, I think I woke-up every half-hour or so, staring through the wreckage of a messy bedroom to navigate the time at each interval, exhausted from some brief dream I had just lived through, teeth clenched. I grind my teeth when I sleep. I had no idea what I dreamt about, but I would quickly fade back into my arm, drooling on my pillow, ready to begin another voyage.

Finally, the alarm sounded, signifying the official end of another night of fighting. Between the half-sleep after chucking off the alarm clock and actually getting out of bed, I started a number of short dreams, only the last of which I could remember. I was staring into the muzzle of a revolver, and I could see the silver tip of the bullet, which jarred me loose and got me out of bed. What did that mean? I never stopped to think about it. Needless to say, I didn't really need coffee this morning.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Staring at the smeared insignia of the stain of the cockroach on the textured wall near the ceiling, my cigaret tilts in its tray and draws my attention. This day, like so many other days, looking toward the screen, between glances, tracking the stain, lighting another smoke, scratching myself, returning to the semblance of layers of paper on a desk. Wading through it. An electrical current supports my intrusions into this wave as it washes over me.

Returning to relative health as the effects of the preceding evening's alcohol leaves me. Engulfing glasses of water from the tap now a new fire approaches. Waterproof.

Back at the stain, still in the same place, back to the windows. Proofing pages and documents in disorderly ordinal ordinary dormancy. Tackling an interior arrangement of errors. My good deed for today that nobody else notices. Making something out of nothing and returning to nothing. Linear illusions. Always going back over it.

Back to the sink for water and a reprieve from the uniformity of text and table. A new perspective. The dirty washcloth and a pile of days-old dishes. The dim kitchen light strikes me as being insufficient. I drink again the clear liquid.

I take up my cigaret, a kind of smoking pen swirling a fading script on the clouded air of this tiny apartment, control it. I write my name on the cloud and the tip glows brighter, ashes fall to the floor and appear on my clothing, glance at the clock on the wall. The wave of descending hours falls on me and I realize my moments are dwindling, the last few sparks before returning to the working world that churns sustenance.

Monday, November 03, 2003

The urge was striking me yesterday. Two or three times, actually. I sat down to scratch somthing out and ended up erasing everything. My boring post-halloween, hangover recollections.

Now, I'm back at it, but I'm determined to excrete something substantial, although it may not be engrossing.

Anyway, after a long day at work, scratching myself incessantly during my lessons because I was breaking-out with some strange rash, I'm impelled to document the illness. Whether it was the Black Currant Conserve I have been eating on my toast recently or the Rice Vinegar or the new laundry detergent or bed-bugs in my futon, I don't know why my body is reacting this way. If it doesn't improve by tomorrow, I'm going to the doctor.

I have little bumps on the sides of all of my fingers. There's one particularly scratchy area on my right leg. The back of my neck itches (which makes wearing a tie hell) as does the back of my head. There are large red streaks where I was scratching the backs of my hands and both of my arms, particularly around my shoulders.

And this is just the most recent ailment among a string of odd bodily conditions I've experienced while living in Japan. For instance, I've never had so many warts on my feet and other extremities. At the moment, I'm wart-free, but they seem to crop up at random.

When I first arrived here, I contracted Colitis. I don't know what it is, but food and water shoot straight through you. Aside from that, you're not hungry, which was good considering how quickly things made it from one end of the body to the other, except for the fact that you might die if you didn't eat or drink anything for a week.

The doctor asked me how I got sick and I told him I ate some strange sushi, but he said I wouldn't have the condition from eating bad raw fish. Anyhow, he gave me some pills, some powder and some pain-killers, which seemed to clear-up the problem.

A few months later, in the heart of winter, I had a throat infection. The throat-specialist took a picture of my throat, which showed a nice white patch on one side of my throat. He gave me two kinds of pills, which seemed to do the trick, except the condition reappeared a week later on the other side of my throat.

Additionally, I've had three colds, which makes it sound like I've been perpetually sick since I've been here, but it hasn't been so bad. I'm sure Tokyo is more polluted than Osaka.