Thursday, February 28, 2008

Too Perfect

The Japanese love of baseball is almost as famous as their love of strict gender roles, which is why, when my girlfriend asked me what a good movie to watch with her night class would be, I immediately thought of A League of Their Own. Watched in any country it's an enjoyable movie full of important lessons including the essential, "there's no crying in baseball!," but it seems especially poignant in a country like Japan where they are, in many ways, behind when it comes to gender equality. This makes the Japanese version's title of, "Pretty League," telling AND hilarious.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Behind a Window

The sun, bright outside
I watch the seconds fall and
rise, aged, from my desk

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Activities not on Rick Steve's list of things to do while in Perugia...

This is a bizarre story about a murder in Italy involving a young girl from Seattle and other folks from various parts of the world, maybe. I read about it a while back but had forgotten how strange it was until I stumbled across this feature in The Stranger.


I want to mention something that has been throwing my subconscious off for as long as I've been in Japan but which I have just brought to my conscious mind today: after lunch tooth-brushing. I'm not sure whether all Japanese do this or just teachers, but everday after lunch brushes emerge from hello-kitty cases and I become ever so slightly perturbed. Today, like I said, I realized this and have deduced the reason why. Brushing one's teeth in another's presence, to me, seems an intimate act; something done with family, girlfriends, and friends whom accompany you on poorly funded vacations. Watching my co-workers brush their teeth is just a few steps below brushing the sleep from their eyes. We're not that close. Plus, if this is general practice in Japan we have to conclude that it is largely ineffective.

Did I neglect to mention...

that one of the top candy bar makers in Japan goes by the utterly great name of Crunky? I would not be surprised to learn that one of Lil Jon's dreams was crushed when they got that copyright.

Monday, February 04, 2008

The Coolest Kid in School

Often, the "coolest" kids in junior high school are not those who are the most academically inclined. This temporary reverse meritocracy occurs in Japan as well. The girls whose affections are most sought after are those who hike their skirts the highest, enduring relentless and ineffective reprimands. These girls almost seem to compete to see who can say "I just don't seem to understand English" in the most cutesy Japanese possible. The boys are no different. This said, it should be unessesary to relate that Yusuke, whose status as ichiban kakoi (coolest) is apparent in his every action, whether it be meandering out of class in the midst of a lesson, fighting, or sagging his uniform like it was 1998 is no scholar of English. Thus, I found it endlessly amusing and endearing when while reading the students winter diaries (most of which were cookie cuttered right out of the book) I came across Yusuke's of which the entirety celebrates his girlfriend Mao.

I love Mao.
I enjoyed playing with Mao
Our anniversary is 2nd.
She is most important for me.
I had a good time with Mao.

Not only was Yusuke's the most creative; it was also the most honest. I also liked the hearts he illustrated it with.