Thursday, December 31, 2009

i really think so: airing my clean laundry

happy new year! check it out: it's 1:01 pm on 01/01/10. it feels so...binary.

when i was a senior in high school, my AP english teacher brought his guitar to class one day and did an unexpected rendition of that Vapors song "Turning Japanese" for us. i had never heard it before, and i think most of us believed he had written it himself. ordinarily a slow-speaking, deliberate man (imagine a non-evil, rounder-featured version of alan rickman's severus snape), he put a lot of energy into his performance, leaving us overly-conscious highschoolers feeling a bit awkward. i mean, what was it supposed to mean? years later i realized he was only covering a song that had been out since 1980.
though i later discovered some less-than-savory things about this man (look at me being mature...i decided not to air them publicly), he was a creative and intelligent educator. i was in the theater troupe at my school, and during performances, we could always hear him laughing from the audience at the highbrow jokes no one else caught. anyway, this is all by way of introduction to this morning's pretty much couldn't have been more japanese; homemade miso soup, rice with pickled plums, genmaicha (toasted rice tea), and black beans with a chestnut. delicious!

snow has been falling steadily since yesterday. i met a friend in nagoya before it began...i hit the town in ruby red...

...and when i returned, i had to unbury my bicycle at the station. brrr!

back at home i faced the dilemma of a japanese winter: trying to get laundry dry...when it's freezing.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

date 2: the sequel

hey everyone. thanks for pestering (er, asking) me to write; it's nice to know people want to hear what happens. *grin* time flies like crazy math, doesn't it? a few days after our date, shin said he had a friend who was jealous we had gone out, and did i have a girlfriend who might be interested in having a drink with us? i liked the idea because i could get a friend's perspective on shin and... we would be far less likely to get abducted. hey, bonus.
fern agreed to come with me, mainly out of curiosity, i think. were they trying to get girlfriends before the romance-heavy Christmas Eve? did they just like the idea of foreign women? i still don't know. when the night rolled around, we agreed to meet in the main train station, and i spotted fern first. i didn't know what shin's friend looked like or what direction they'd be coming from, so the two of us stood restlessly among the coming and going like big, foreign targets. at last they showed up, and we made quick introductions and headed off for some food.
shin's friend, youichi, made a valiant effort at conversation, but the bottom line was he seemed nervous (and unused to talking in english), and the rest of us weren't. he made a lot of old man jokes and we had the Interviewing a Foreigner 101 conversation. i don't really mind those, but that was one of the reasons i liked shin in the first place, we could skip to things that are actually interesting. the friend was also interested in western bands from way before our time, so he seemed older than his age. poor guy. i wasn't having a bad time, not really. it just lacked those things i would hope for in a date: excitement, connection, um, fun.
naturally karaoke was suggested, and fern and i shrugged "why not?" i wanted to check out one of the fancy places near my house, so we headed that direction in the back of youichi's car. i stood in awe inside the karaoke palace. so unlike the dark, lumpy-seated places of the countryside, there was a huge reception area, nice wallpaper, and chandeliers. the sound was GREAT too; i've never sounded better. that's not saying much; i don't exactly have the voice of an angel, but i can sing on key when the planets align correctly.
surprisingly, i wasn't really that nervous, and we all had some good songs to sing. shin and i did a duet of the song he had asked me to interpret during our first meeting. fern told me later he said "it has special meaning to us." excuse me? is that the sound of someone getting sentimental about something that i'm not? it doesn't seem possible.
shin's on the right. his friend doesn't normally look so much like a zombie.

karaoke was by far the best part of the night, truly fun. it was over a bit too quickly, but we had to get fern to the train station. i headed home content, but i felt like perhaps i could see the problem with the idea of dating shin: there doesn't seem to be enough conviction, fire, passion, intensity, gravity (whatever you want to call it) in him, and that is definitely something i need in order to be attracted to someone. i don't need a tough guy, but i do need strength. it could be hiding, true, but i suspect we are passionate about very different things, and that would also be pointless.
for days i didn't hear from shin, and i figured he also felt the lack of something and was dropping the ball. i couldn't get up the motivation to care, but then he picked that ball back up and started throwing it again. so i'm hearing from him again every day, but we have no plans to hang out. i'm not opposed to being his gal pal, but that's about it.