Bits & Pieces

Quote of the Day: “I was like ‘Oh my god! That woman’s walking a squirrel!'” – Katherine, on the fox or squirrel-like appearances of all the dogs in Japan

Relocation: I’m not sure if I’ve told you guys this, but I’ve relocated to the Middle East and live next to a mosque. Okay, so maybe not, but about once a week I can hear singing outside my window. It’s slow and melodic and the words are elongated to the point where it I’m not even sure what language it’s in. The only thing I can liken it to is an Islamic call to prayer. I look outside to figure out where the music is coming from and am always surprised when I don’t find a minaret.

Japanese Mentality: Tonight I had dinner with the grandparents and we were discussing Koda-san. Koda-san was taken prisoner in Iraq and was told to demand that the Japanese government remove their troops from Iraq. When Japan did not comply, the terrorists beheaded him and dumped his body. When we were chatting about it my grandma used a word that I didn’t know and when we looked it up in the dictionary, it’s meaning was basically “he deserved it.” The Japanese mentality about these sorts of things is fascinating to me. When those three Japanese people were taken hostage in Japan and then later brought home, their families apologized to the nation for creating worry and discord. And now, there is very little sympathy for Koda-san’s death. I agree that you’re playing with fire if you voluntarily venture into Iraq these days, but I would never say that someone deserved to die because of it. But on a slightly less sensitive note – I feel like Iraqi terrorists need to come up with some new and more terrible way to kill people. The beheading thing is getting old.

Parties: So, I just attempted to spell “parties” p-a-r-t-y-s. I’ve reached that point where I can’t speak any language at all. This one time Kaori said something to me in English and I asked her in Japanese to repeat it again more slowly. She gave me the strangest look, but did it anyway and I was like “Oh, you’re speaking in English…” But parties – let’s just say that by the time I come back I’ll be able to drink Justin or Burdett under the table (no, not really).

Japanese TV: In a word, Japanese drama sucks. I know you’re all thinking that most drama sucks, but believe me, Japanese drama sucks more. The acting is even more terrible and more over-done than in American dramas. This is probably why wo many people watch variety shows. In a word, Japanese variety shows are terrifying. Today I watched one in which there was a big board with numbers on it and people in velcro suits and gloves ran down a runway, jumped on a trampoline and then flung themselves at the wall to try and earn as many points as possible. Then they had to do a series of other challenges, the least strange of which was playing air hockey against a man in a fat suit and a man in a dog suit. I do have to admit though, “Who Wants To Be A Millionare?” yen-style is kind of growing on me. This is mostly because they ask questions like “Which of the following letters is not in the English spelling of ‘gojira’? A. g B. d C. z D. j” (for those of you who haven’t figure it out – “gojira” = “godzilla”).

Sadisim and Halloween: One of the funniest things in the entire world has got to be dressing up a Japanese girl as Minnie Mouse and making her ride the subway and walk around in public. Instead of sitting on the benches on the train, Kaori opted to hide in the section that connects two train cars. The whole time she kept insisting that she was an American and wouldn’t let me talk to her in Japanese. I, of course, became unusually fluent in Japanese and laughed about it the entire way. The phrase “Shame! Shame! If my co-workers see me, I will be so shameful” was repeated several times. However, the phrase “I am a lesbian mouse” was only said once.

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