Tuesday, January 26, 2010

the writing-off has been unwritten

i'm sure you could tell i had kinda written off shin, right? after a lot more texts, he invited me to go out again. as i said before, i'm down with being his friend, so i said sure. i kinda wanted to give the guy a chance since i did have a good time the first time we went out. this time i didn't obsess about being kidnapped. that's progress! anyway, we met near my house, rode our bikes to a restaurant (high school chic), and then tried to assess the place. neither of us had ever been there, but i had chosen it because he said he wanted to go to an izakaya, and it was the only one i had seen nearby. the owner was coming out as we were locking up our bikes, and he was extremely warm and polite, so we decided to go in. the thing about japan is you never know what you're going to get based on the outside of a building. some apartment buildings look like post-apocalyptic jail bunkers and are gorgeous inside. some restaurants are like that too. the only thing you can see is a doorway with a noren hanging outside to show that it's open. so we walked in and this is what we got: a tiny, dirty, smoke-saturated room with a handful of characters already three sheets to the wind. one bear of a guy (about 50?) sleeping on the bar was wearing a furry hoodie with embroidered flowers, and another guy was sporting a fluffy gray mullet. the owner had cleared one of the only two tables for us, and everyone else was sitting around the bar. clearly they were regulars. only in japan can you walk into a situation like that and feel perfectly safe and welcome. we got some curious glances, but they weren't hostile. the owner went to great lengths to make us comfortable, turning the heater in our direction and apologizing profusely for keeping us waiting while he made our dinner...but...shin and i agreed we never wanted to go back. after that we rode our bikes to a much more sterile establishment: some plain, cozy dessert chain, and shared an ice cream waffle. wake up cinderella, it's already midnight! and i had such a good time! it wasn't awkward or boring even for a moment. we said goodnight quickly (it was frigid outside) and pedaled home.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

my dirt-eating minions

i have twelve followers guys, twelve! and four of them i don't even know! that's popularity. can you even handle all the exclamation points!? seriously though, thank you very much for reading!
it's a cold, clear day here and i'm feeling encouraged after yesterday's doctor visit. for about two months i've been having knee and hip pain on one side, but the knee x-ray showed no bone problems. at least that's something. i'm more than a little dubious about japanese health care and doctors, but sometimes you really do need to see someone. of the four or five doctor's visits i've made in japan, all to different individuals, i've never been asked 1. if i'm allergic to any medications (i am), 2. if i have any pre-existing conditions (i do), or 3. if i'm taking any medication (i am). it doesn't exactly inspire confidence. if you need a refresher, read about my first doctor visit in japan.
the best part, however, was the whole visit (including a giggle-inducing ride on the moving x-ray table...like a very tame amusement park ride) cost me $16. there are some things i'd like to get checked out while i'm paying prices like that, but with the horror stories i've heard about extremely painful tests with no anesthesia or gloves, misdiagnoses, and mixed up test results, it makes me wonder if i'd be better off without them.
however, i should definitely invest in some new running shoes. the ones i'm using, though they haven't had consistent use all the years i've had them, are now at least um eleven years old. how is that possible!? the past two years i've been using them a lot, so they must be spent. i'm kind of humiliated to admit how long i've had them. they still look pretty new, so i never thought about it.
i've gone running twice since i saw the doctor (and purchased a knee brace as he suggested), and things seem to be going well. i haven't had quite as much trouble with stairs, and my hip isn't feeling so strange. fingers crossed.
i'm coming up fast on my birthday, and each year around this time i choose a new theme to live by. my first year i was aiming for "different mistakes." last year it was "bold." part of quitting JET but attempting to stay in japan, move to a city, and find a cute apartment were fruits of the boldness campaign. now i've settled on this year's hue...with abandon! in other words, i want to live more and hold back less; i want to be all in. this will doubtless be a very good challenge for me, the controlling girl. it doesn't mean i want to make poor decisions, of course, but i would like to say yes a little more often and get better at trusting. i'd like to have the courage to speak more honestly about my feelings. once i was admonished by a guy who i was crazy about for not talking about my feelings enough. i mean huh!? the sensitive 90's guy (remember him? i think he became a metrosexual, don't you?) rears his well-groomed, good-smelling head.