the following is a long thought, and informational, but still parenthetical...
[since yesterday was a regular day, i'll write about something i've been meaning to mention for quite a while: the ubiquitous mobile phone. in japan it's called a keitai, literally "portable." in the Land of the Small (the toothbrush i just bought is so tiny, i need to lash two together just to have enough surface area with which to scrub my apparently massive molars), i was surprised to discover that japanese cell phones are not exactly the sleek, credit-card sized paragons of efficiency i was expecting.
Exhibit A: The Girl's Keitai (it's boxy, but it's good)
what they lack in slimness, they make up for in complexity. i actually had to read the manual to figure out how to make a simple call...not that i EVER use it for that purpose. 50 bucks will get you a whole 30 minutes of talk time per month. WHAT?! you heard me. the 600 or 1000 minutes you get in the states is unimaginable generosity in japan. granted, you aren't charged minutes when someone calls you, but if all your friends also have keitai, ya ain't gonna be talking much. the affordable option is text-messaging, which is the route everyone takes. yes, your thumb gets tired, and yes you cry a few bitter tears when you accidentally erase a labored-over message that must then be retyped. i don't mind too much, though; i never was a big fan of talking on the phone anyway. consequently, only once since i arrived three months ago have i been subjected to an obnoxiously loud cell phone call. actually, i think that was the only cell phone call i've been subjected to, period.
when my phone does ring, it scares the living daylights out of me because it rings, lights up, and vibrates all at once. without fail, i fumble at it with shaking hands, nearly hanging up on the person as i search for the correct button to push.
setting aside the expense of actually talking on the phone, it's a pretty hip contraption. it has two cameras/video cameras, one that points at me, and one that points at others. it has kanji-recognition cabability, which i can then cross-reference in the japanese/english dictionary. of course you can connect to the internet, type in english, furigana, or kanji, set three separate alarm clocks (which will still go off reliably, even if you power down your phone), use the calculator, and video-conference. naturally.]
now to the subject topic:
i'm perfecting my ability to pair clashing patterns and colors in a way that's still attractive, at least to me.
Exhibit B: (how can you not be happy when you're wearing socks like these?)
my socks are no small amusement to my students, expecially the ones rocko sent me that depict a bear with underwear on his head.
my interesting fashion sense has caught the attention of a rowdy group of girls in my second-year class. though they're loud and talk incessantly during lessons, i've still developed an affection for them. here's two of the pack. misa is on the right; i sense a vulnerable sweetness below her brash façade.