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Today In CA
Over 828 Served
I've compiled the last few weeks into one handy page so that way everyone will read them. They should be different pages in the archive, but for now you should deal. Stuff I've done in the last two days, be sick...drink...I bought a sweater. It's pretty lo-fi right now, gomen-ne.
Hisashi-buri. Sorry I haven't updated in a while, I've been both busy and sick. Before I get into the fun stuff, I'd like to point out that now all the galleries have handy date stamps so you know how recently they've been updated. Also, I fixed a couple of typos, not that you even care. Why don't you call, I get worried about you. And those friends you've been hanging around with, I don't think they're right for you.
I know this sounds silly, but today Brian and I went all the way back to Shin-Matsudo (where we used to live, about an hour North-East of Sangenjaya) just to eat at the Skylark Gusto. If you haven't read the 8/1-8/5 issue of this website, Gusto is the "Campus Cafe" or "Coco's" of Tokyo for me. They have free refills.
Anyway, went back because we couldn't find a single restaurant comparable in both the price/food ratio and atmosphere. Not that Gusto has particularly good food or an especially nice atmosphere. The restaurant is analogous to having an abusive boyfriend, sure it sucks, but you get used to it, and then you start to need it.
While riding the Chiyoda Line there a whole flood of pent up memories came over me, so I'd like to share with you some of the many things I entirely forgot to include in previous passages. A glossary, if you will, of the many things thought up by us, the bored gai-jin, during the hour and a half trip to school.
Chiyoda: Ghetto, budget, janky. Derived from the name of the first train (green) we had to take to get to school. The Chiyoda, unlike other lines, still relies on cardboard maps to tell you what direction you are going. At first glance the Chiyoda drivers appear to be hired on the basis of their blood/alcohol level. Usage: "Dude, I can't believe Gusto only has ONE hamburger, what is this, the Chiyoda line?"
Otemachi: Bitch Slap. This comes from the name of one of the stops on the Chiyoda. One fateful day we realized that the characters for "Otemachi" mean big-hand-town. Since the word for "town" and the word for "waiting" are homonyms, our understanding of the “Otemachi” became "waiting for the big hand", you know, like in the Foo Fighters "Everlong" video. I'd also like to mention that although we have heretofore been unable to explain this to a real Japanese person, it seems as though the drivers of the Chiyoda line innately understand because they tend to hit an extra large bump on the way into Otemachi. Usage: "Brian, your Otemachi, why don't you go drive your school bus." It should be noted that Otemachi is a stative in that one is Otemachi, one does not Otemachi another. This is because the person who is "Otemachi" is actually still waiting for the big hand.
School Bus Driver: Brian. Derived from his self-proclaimed tendency to "take people to skool". My answer: "Only retards ride the bus".
Honda-san: Brian. Derived from his tendency to look like the most average of average Japanese man.
Kasumi-ga-sucky, Kasumi-ga-sexy: The Kasumi-ga-seki stop on the Chiyoda line. You ride the train long enough and you start making up your own names for stations. Sucky because it’s nearly a mile walk when transferring from Chiyoda to the Maronouchi at Kasumi-ga-sucky, sexy because we lived in an all-boys dorm and needed to vent somehow.
Kokkai-gijido-mae: a part of the male anatomy. The station says the name a couple of times when you first get there and it makes this little beat, "Kok-kai-gijido-mae, kok-kai-gijido-mae" and then Brian says something about "hitting" me with his school bus. Usage: "Brian, suck my Kokkai-gijido-mae."
Morinaga: a dirty old Japanese man in a cheesy suit. It is required that he has both black and grey hair and funny smells are "bonus" points. Derived from the name of a famous confections manufacturer in Japan. One day we spent nearly two hours in the candy section of a supermarket when we stumbled across a candybar with the name "morinaga". It was just sort of what came to mind when we heard the name. For a while we had the "Who's Morinaga?" game on the train. There's also an evolution, Mori>Morinaga>Moritake, where Moritake has a stronger smell and fiercer eyebrows. Usage: "that guy's hella Morinaga”. Alt. “So I was in this room with all these Morinagas".
An epic day for meeting random people, will I ever see them again?
While looking for Citibank in Shibuya, I came across this immense bookstore named "Book 1st". Hazarding a look inside, I found myself in the books-translated-from Japanese-into-English section when a person who appeared to be Japanese began leafing through the Japanese->English books to the right of me. Since I wasn't sure which Haruki Murakami book I wanted and she appeared to know something about Japanese literature, I asked her for a recommendation, sparking a half hour conversation about music and literature. We get along quite well. We’re at the point where we go back to our respective homes, we're saying goodbye and, mind you I didn't bring it up, she's says that she can't ever meet up again (as in, I cannot give you my phone number). I think this means she was dating someone, which is fine, I'm not whining about that. But it just goes to further prove the point that I can't meet anyone more than one time. I mean, this guy in my house is seeing a woman he met on the plane over here, and of the 40 or so Japanese people I've met in the last 10 days, I can't ever see any of them ever again. WTF.
I'm on the way home and I stop by Heaven's Door to see if anyone interesting is playing, and end up talking with this group of guys outside who are so impressed with my fledgling Japanese that they want to be friends. They make me promise to come to the concert that night despite the fact that it's some wanky grunge rock stuff. They were all in bands. I went and we ended up going drinking afterwards and exchanged numbers, but will they call me like I asked them to?
Brian, this friend of his named Yukari, and I all went to Ikebukuro to see this movie called "Omyoji". I think that, had I rented this movie I would have liked it as the poorly made comedy that it is. However, I spent $15 dollars seeing it in the theater even though it was just an awful, so-bad-it's-funny movie about a rather historically inaccurate Japanese exorcist. Think "effects worse than Blade". It was "Chiyoda": don't see it.
Met some cool Korean girls while waiting for Brian's luggage to show up at his dorm. Then we went out to eat and I went home to "meditate like a Buddhist."
Took the day off and just read, man it's nice to read something in English. The book is Haruki Murakami's "Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World". I recommend it, if for no other reason than that the ending surprised me.
10/7 (Or how I never thought I would be listening to "California Uber-alles" in the middle of Japan)
Woke up with barely enough time to get ready and have breakfast. After Tomoko and Akiko went home, Brian and I went out for breakfast. Then I left for Beat Pops. When I got to the meeting and it turned out that the club was designed, as far as I can tell, with the purpose of forming punk cover bands and playing concerts for the other members of the club. I think I may have been enlisted in a Rancid cover band.
Upon walking into the meeting room I was greeted by several Japanese guys who all asked why I had decided to join Beat Pops and then handed me a large beer. In light of the previous night I did not feel like drinking, but held the beer to be social.
A couple of the bands were decent imitations of American rock bands; perhaps the best being a group of guys doing Stray Cats covers. The most-entertaining-band-if-your-a-Gai-jin-from-California award has to go to the Dead Kennedys cover band, cleverly named "The Dead Ladins". There were many strange looks directed at me when I started laughing uncontrollably at the beginning of "California Uber-alles".
After a few really awful bands (the worst being either a band where the lead singer dressed up like Brian Setzer and yelled a lot or the Sex Pistols cover band who's guitarist couldn't tune his guitar and then pulled down his pants) I decided to take June up on her offer to go to dinner with her JET friends before the went back up to Moouishi or Moisha or wherever she's from. They were conveniently in Yokohama (only a few stops away) so we all had Chinese food. I have a picture, look!
Wackiness, pure wackiness today.
The plan: Brian, his Japanese tutor from the US, her friend, and another friend of Brian's from his dorm were going to come over and we were all going to go to Heaven's Door to see whoever was playing. The End.
And to be correct, the original plan before deciding on Heaven’s Door was for everyone to come over to this party ay my house that night. However, the party was looking mighty lame (including live DJ’s spinning Pearl Jam) so we decided it would be more fun to go to a music club.
These were to be ill-fated plans. After class ended at 4:20 I called my friend June from the US who is doing the JET (English teacher) Program in Japan right now and happened to be in Tokyo for the weekend. Here is a picture for reference (look at my shirt, how cool is that?). We decided to meet up in Shibuya and kick it for a while before I met Brian et al at 6:00.
While waiting for my four minute ride home so that I can get ready to meet everyone at 6:00 I get a call from Brian: he's going to be a half hour late, but his tutor and her friend are still showing up at the station near my house at 6:00. I have to meet them despite the fact that we don't know what each other look like. Luckily, I was dressed conspicuously.
At 6:45 Brian and his friend showed up. Since we were all hungry, we went looking for restaurants to eat at before the show. After wandering my neighborhood for a half an hour we ended up asking the dorm manager where a good place for curry was, and he directed us to this magnificent, terribly far away restaurant.
After we had finished eating, it had, through inexplicable means, become 10:00. Stopping by the club, we discovered that the show would be over in 20 minutes, despite which they would not give us a discount. We were about to call it quits when we spied a Karaoke parlor across the street, and thus decided to go Karaoke and drink. Man did we Karaoke. In fact, Brian's tutor's friend, after learning that I had a small Judy and Mary fetish, made me take another stab at a another (different) one of their songs.
When it got to be around 11:30 when we realized that
Brian's tutor (Tomoko) and her friend (Akiko) had missed the last train
back home (Brian's dorm friend was still okay, so she went back home).
While everyone else was singing Karaoke I stole back to the apartment
to ask the manager if Brian and the two girls could stay over. He was
at first against it because I hadn't given him prior warning (which I
felt bad about), but using my powers of persuasion I convinced him to
let them stay. So we Karaoke'd till around 1:00, went home and talked
about music until 2:00. See, wackiness.
All works this site copyright D. Szkoropad, 2001-2003 unless stated otherwise. This means don't steal it or I'll tell your mother on you. Domo-kun copyright NHK.
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