Sunday, 22 June 2008

PostHeaderIcon The discovery of the earthen vessel whose shape is a small brazier


Might as well get the unusual title out the way first. I was marking some eikaiwa papers and this one woman was writing about some artifact found near Osaka. It was decorated with deer and apparently they were/are symbolic of the rice growing seasons. Anyway, that was the title of her paper and every time she had to refer to it she wrote all of that out. For example: "The earthen vessel whose shape is a small brazier is the first of its kind to be found. The earthen vessel whose shape is a small brazier is thought to be hundreds of years. The earthen vessel whose..."

It's about half 8 on a Sunday evening and I'm sitting directly under my air conditioning trying to think of what to do. The humidity this week has been almost unbearable. I can't cope with it because I'm weak. I woke up on Wednesday night sweating and there was just no air to breathe. I had opened almost all of my windows to try and ventilate the place. I then stuck on my air conditioning for the first time in about 8 months and planked my sheets down on the floor under it. My place is so massive that the only way to get anything out of it is to be in line of its lovely drying air. It's a very depressing sight in all honestly. I've got a horrible neon light on, I'm sitting on the floor in the most uncomfortable situation and I've no idea what to do with myself.

Also, I've got a pretty bad hangover. The reason for this is that I went to another international music event in Kochi City last night. Not much to say about that really other than it was pretty good. There was a mixture of Bluegrass (weird seeing Japanese dudes playing it), Jazz and some Rock. The best band were a punk band full of Japanese dudes who looked like they were having fun. The singer did this great little dance/arm waving thing with a big grin on his face. There was the usual messing about for ages after it until some people decided a plan. I just decided to jump onto any group that was leaving. We ended up in Mos Burger which is a Japanese burger chain... surprise surprise. Above the counter is a poor arty type photograph and the quote Hamburger is my life.

The plan after that was to hit some karaoke and then possibly a club. I went and booked a hotel once I knew there was a plan. Every time I tell someone I've got a hotel room they look at me in an almost disgusted manner like I'm sort of demented fool. The truth is that I don't know anyone in the city well enough to ask in advance to crash at their place. So for the most of the night I don't know where I'm going to be sleeping and the festivities are usually over when the city folk decide. So now I just book my own place for £20 so I can relax, sleep in and have a shower. There... I felt I had to justify myself in some form after feeling like some sort of weirdo. It's not like I enjoy paying that just to have a half decent night for crying out loud. Although, I have always been pretty terrible at accepting generosity or trying to ask people for favours so that could have something to do with it to. I remember it took me a few weeks to finally accept a coffee at school as my first reaction is always "No no thank you, I'm ok." but then I immediately regret it.

When I went to karaoke I asked "Where are the foreigners?" and got the number off the guy at the desk. When I got there I realised I was kinda crashing in on a clique and my entrance was greeted with a little bit of "Oh.. it's Craig" I get on with everyone that was there but as a group I realised I had pretty much just barged in. They all knew their own karaoke etiquette and style if you know what I mean. I think I'm probably in my own clique with the guys out east as well. For instance, there was a bit of tension at the music thing over their band getting a spot on the lineup and then the tickets being sold out or what not. The thing is, I'm not in the band and I'd bought my ticket in advance yet people kept on talking to me about it. Then there is each conversation where people ask "Heh... where is blah blah?" before turning into a "Oh so you're Scottish? Say something... Scottish... what's a kilt? What's... Scotland again? Like Britain and that?" It turned out pretty good in the end especially as the numerous spirits I had consumed began to kick in. We went to a club after that but it was rubbish. In my mild culture-shock this morning I decided that most Japanese people are dull and don't know how to party. At clubs they stand about and at international music nights they just sit motionless and clap in annoying unison when "Now it's the time to clap" kicks in. Another wee nod of the hat to a different racist post there.

As I walked about in the humid city with a banging headache I decided to go straight home. However, I had missed the hourly train by exactly 30 seconds. I then had a moment of genius when I jumped into a taxi and told the guy to take me to the cinema. I had remembered that the new Indiana Jones film was released today so I got myself some popcorn for breakfast and parked my fine self down. I reckon it's been a good year and a half since I went to the cinema actually. I enjoyed the film despite it being full of obvious dodgy bits. I liked being the only one to laugh at certain points and found the subtitles (that I could read) pretty strange. There was one scene with a nuclear bomb going off. That was certainly a lovely touch... what with being the only whitey surrounded by Japanese people. All of whom had stared at the hairy, hungover foreigner as he walked in.

As I was feeling pretty rough today I wasn't really in the mood for the usual crap. When people asked me questions I just nodded rather than trying to pretend I understood what was going on. I noticed it more than usual today that I was constantly surrounded by people staring at me wherever I went. There was the odd instance where I blatantly stared back to try and let them know to stop it. For instance, I was in a shop looking through some stuff when this old guy just stood there looking at me. I can't really expand on it anymore... he was just waiting on his wife and passing the time by looking at me. That's pretty unusual but as I was leaving the shopping centre I was very aware of glances coming from everywhere. I'm not totally miserable of course. I'm actually very pleasant when people strike up conversation like this old woman who sat next to me on the train. She had herself a little packed lunch and an alcopop deal going on and we talked about the usual stuff. That was a nice few minutes to distract myself from my the usual hangover induced train ride of self-loathing and crippling doubts over what I'm doing in life. I've just about wasted enough time to go to bed now. Hurrah.

Other thoughts today:
Japanese 'bakeries' are appalling. Most of the stuff is lukewarm, sugary rolls filled with a hot dog covered in mayonnaise.
It cost me like £10 to get into the cinema. I didn't really think twice and don't care but it seems awfully expensive.
Out of all the Japanese stuff in a convenient store... a coke and a kit kat are the best.
Far too many Japanese men wear pointy, elf shoes. They'd get destroyed in Glasgow or... anywhere that isn't Japan.
The female fashion is pretty over the top too. They're continually tarted up like they're going out to a sleazy club on a Friday night. It never fails to amaze me when I pass Dunkin' Donuts and see gaggles of these skinny lassies stuffing about a dozen doughnuts in their face.
The new Coldplay album is actually really good. They've irritated me a bit for years but I really like it. They've not been cool to like for years but that's not how old Hanta rolls.

Terrible Euro 2008 commentary of the day:
"We're into the dying minutes now. I'm sure those Russian fans are checking their new Swiss watches!" (The competition is being held in Switzerland HAR HAR HAR)

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About Me

I am a 24 year old Scotsman currently teaching English to Japanese schoolchildren. I live in a small town on the east coast of Kochi prefecture.

Shashins