Thursday, March 27, 2008

spring fever

i found out this morning that springplum has linked to my blog, for which i am always thankful, and i believe it's the first time from a perfect stranger: thank you! now i feel the need to write something new in case someone new actually *gasp* reads this.

day 5 of spring break. i have 7 more hours to sit at school getting numb-butt, and then it's weekend again, YAY! last weekend i took a much-needed trip to the big city. irish sam, as he's called in these parts, had, over deafening bar noise, told me about an edvard munch show in kobe, and we decided to go. since i divorced my paints about two years ago, i haven't spent much time looking at art, and i sorely needed it.
i travelled to kobe alone. i guess i'm growing! six months ago i wouldn't have dreamed of travelling in japan alone. i adore riding trains in japan, but i detest lugging overnight bags around. how is it that no one else ever has luggage on the subway!? ok, it's not true, but somehow they make it look a lot more graceful, like they've packed their satchels with balloons. baggage makes my already persistent feeling of being in the way even more vivid, so when we passed osaka castle park, alight with spring sun--perfect weather to spread out under a tree and read for a bit--i didn't dash for the door but thought too hard about it and then the opportunity was past. i could have gone back, sure, but i also wanted to GET RID of my bags, so i went onward. i guess my spontaneity is a little rusty.
the suited young man sitting next to me smelled like mangoes and medical supplies.

i checked into my favorite hotel chain, the toyoko inn.

i opted against the advertised massage, as i had no desire to have my legs crushed by a giant fist.

i browsed two versions of a brochure: one for men who obviously love blue, and one for women who surely love pink,

i looked out the window,

and then i headed out unfettered to explore kobe and find dinner. having no clue where to go and feeling tired and perfectly happy with a cheap dinner and some hours to myself, i did a tour of family marts (there were four within sight!) for dinner, and then settled into a starbucks. starbucks and i have a turbulent past. for one, i wore the green apron myself, and though i loved the people i worked with, i despised the corporate coffee atmosphere (and product) so i avoid them with a vengeance in the states. however, for all my fellow coffee snobs, i have had some of the most divine foam in all my life from starbucks in japan. they can make a good cappuccino, which is all i ask.
i wandered the streets for a while, feeling more or less perfectly safe. that is, until a foreign guy i had passed on the street followed me to a dark stairwell and chose there to ask me if i knew where to find an internet cafe. i said sorry, no, and kept walking. "oh, so you're not from around here either?" "uh, no." "well, do you have some time to hang out then?" "no." he obviously picked up on my blaring get away from me body language, because his next comment was, "don't be scared!" and then he told me his name was james. well, sorry james, don't stop me in a dark stairwell and i might be more willing to chat. is it betrayal to feel much more suspicious of foreign guys than the general popluation of japanese guys?

the next morning sam and (a different) james found me, and we went to see munch. turns out i don' much care for munch. if only it had been schiele or even klimt...ah well. the most exciting part of the museum for me was the stairs.

james left us in osaka, and sam and i chattered like children about macs and music. it's been a long time since someone has comandeered my ears and shared music with me that i actually liked. we wandered the streets of silent neon and loud crowds with his ipod giving shape to my steps. but i was getting tired; we had several hours to waste before meeting jamie for dinner, and how on earth were we going to find someplace to sit down and have a drink when it was too early for the bars? the answer is always karaoke! it was exactly what i needed: a drink, a padded booth, and a microphone. we sang our guts out for two hours and then filled them with mexican food.


  1. i read. way to karaoke and cappuccino. i hear and feel your distraughtness about sbux. hey it pays our bills and tim does a great job for them! he's making them a better company i think. anyway it snowed here today, weird weird. go kobe!

  2. Well, I guess this is as good a time as any to delurk.
    Hi, I read too even though am a stranger. I really enjoy your writing, and I hope that's ok! I mean, I guess it is since you have a blog which is all on-the-internet and everything. I lived in Kobe for a while, and on ravelry I am tiltapurl.


  3. abby...there's no doubt in my mind that tim's making sbux better! and i'm so glad you do read, thank you! sorry i never gave you my two cents about boston...what did you decide?

    sarah...i'm SO glad you like my writing! that means a lot. ultimately that's what i want--for my writing to appeal to people i don't know too. what did you do in kobe? thanks!

  4. I lived in Kobe in 2003-2004 and worked for (uh) Nova... Kobe is great. I probably went to that Starbucks (or one of the many in Kobe).
    I think about going back to Japan all the time, so your blog is fuel for the fire. I have a lot of nostalgia for my time there that haven't quite figured out.

  5. sarah...i understand why you'd have that nostalgia. i definitely relate to that, which is why i keep putting off coming back...i know it'll never be a situation i can quite recapture just the way it is now, and i'm not anxious to leave it behind. not yet.

  6. I read your journal, too... I'm a friend of meredith's. I just like your writing, and learning vicariously of life in Japan.

  7. hi tessa! i've definitely heard meredith mention you. thanks!