16 July 2007

Caught up

I've let myself get caught up in the "Nova culture". The constant herding of teachers in and out of the building sleeping, eating, and working. Most choose the easy way out with alcohol and karaoke to escape their self-imprisonment. I choose to get lost. After many nights of stepping over drunken bodies and watching the local salary men puking their brains out during my 3am strolls, my conclusion was to not end up that way. It's difficult because alcohol is everywhere you go; on the train; in the park; at the beach; on the corner in a vending machine...I'm not saying I've have avoided it altogether because someone once said "(you) can't trust a man who doesn't drink". So to keep a social life I indulge. Everytime I have been to Karaoke, alcohol is involved (understandably, right?).

However, recently and interesting situation arose where the shared spirits created the right atmosphere for new relationships to form. So what have I been up to these past few weeks? I have been travelling around getting lost and meeting up with friends from back home who are here.

So last night, I was coming back from Suma beach after a day hanging out with Sarah and friends. I didn't have enough money to make it all the way back to the main station so I just bought a ticket to Ashiya, somewhere halfway, thinking I could go to an ATM and get some cash. ATMs have hours here in Japan (they close on Sundays at about 10pm...). I had never been to Ashiya and I knew nothing about. I knew no one there. I talked to some friends on my phone asking for suggestions because the last train stopped at 12:30am, it was about 11:30pm. After many txts and quick calls...the best idea was to jump the gates to the train...not my style but I gotta do what I gotta do. As i was discussing details on the phone I saw two foreigners. Elated I said "hello!" and told them my sorrowful story. Ed (another Englishman) and Oscar (a Colombian masseur) offered a few coins but still not enough. They were on their way to meet up with another friend, Brian. So I tagged along hoping to get a few more coins to get on the train and head home. We met Brian and his friend "Lisa" at the Familymart. They were all very friendly and offered drinks and fraternity. They all had similar stories to tell and some other more interesting stories, Brian in particular.

Brian pretty much gave me his life story, I half a pint of whiskey with coke and a couple glasses of sake does that. He came to Japan and became a street performer, juggling and such. Then moved on to working on films as a producer and researcher and just a ton of other randoms jobs. Interestingly he is from Indiana but he hasn't lived in the US for over 14 or so years. So I gave he a quick run down of what I remember the Mid-west being like when I left. Meanwhile, Oscar and Ed got into a discussion about Yukio Mishima. I had no idea who he was and neither did "Lisa"( who is Japanese) and neither did Brian. These conversation lasted through the walk from the train station to Brian and Ed's home...

The neighborhood's we walked through were amazing. HUGE houses up in the hills. It something you have to experience. I took a picture but it doesn't encompass the feeling of being there.

(this website being slow and I can't upload pics right now)

Their house was spectacular. Turns out they were renting it from a guy who used to be a president at Panasonic. The house is supposedly for his son but his son lives in the US.

Needless to say my escape from Osaka and "Nova" syndrome worked. The clouds cleared and I could see what was really here not what people surmised based on experiences from the small microcosm of Osaka. Conclusion: I need to move before I turn into umeboshi.

Capricious evenings lend to surprising outcomes. -Me

Hatred for Umeda

Short story...
I bought a bike. Tried to ride it home from a bit far away. Got lost in Umeda because it's a maze designed to keep you lost in the commerce. Left the bike behind at a train station so I could get to work on time. Came back the next day...and POOF! No more bike...Umeda I despise you.

Despite my feelings for you Umeda, I will be back on Tuesday. "Know thine Enemy" or so the saying goes. I will conquer the labyrinth of multi-story walk ways and subterranean shops.