Saturday, August 05, 2006

under a blood red sky

i've been waiting for a typhoon to hit all night. we were sent home from school early because of the incoming storm. the sky turned from gray to a disturbing yellow color and then an even more disturbing, heart-stopping red color. weird, man. but so far the storm is still waiting to strike. check out the regular view out my window and then the armageddon/typhoon red sky.
my last few days have been good and relaxed. for my first weekend in town, i was carted off ("invited") to a nearby town called owase to be dressed up in yukata (summer kimono) by a professional dresser and then view the fireworks. sounds good, right? ahHAHAHA. we were cinched up in yukata by chizuko and her mom--yanked and flattened in every conceivable way. then we headed off to see the hanabi. i didn't mind trotting around in geta (surprisingly comfortable wooden shoes) through the crowd, and finally we came to a rest at some chairs. time passed. fireworks, stifling heat, restrictive clothing, thousands of japanese faces, an unfamiliar town, darkness, noise, perfume, smoke, and fish smells--it started to cause me panic. i was seconds away from peeling myself desperately from the yukata and running down the street to find some light and air. my panic-o-meter has been especially sensitive lately. i wondered: would these people understand my fear? do i even know where it comes from? so i just prayed and prayed and thought of talking to my mom. i pulled out her card and read it again. i chatted with my fellow kumano JET with the sole aim of keeping the panic at bay. i remembered the fireworks i'd enjoyed in the past, i watched the lights reflecting on the water and scrabbled my toes in the dust. i feel after all this "surviving" i've been doing, i'll have a whole lot less fear of stuff like looking for a job. after all, this is scary shit. being in your own culture is easy. you know most of the rules.
but i've survived again.
in other news, i was treated to lunch by my unofficial babysitter--aka the teacher who drives me around and translates what everyone else says to me. she took me to the only western-style fast food place in town; mo's burger, which everyone pronounces moss baagaa. she was describing some of the menu choices and she struggled to pronounce one particularly difficult entry (sloppy joe) finally coming out with "floppy joe." i chuckled politely to myself. turnabout's fair play, though, right? she had a good ol' laugh at my expense (and i joined in) when i admitted i didn't know how to use a rice cooker. that's like saying you can't cook a hotdog.
i'm putting up a picture of my very large kitchen sink-type bathtub...just imagine what a big turkey i must look like sitting in there. there's also one of the canal i cross from school and then the path up to my house.

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