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|Thursday, December 11th, 2003|
Devastated by betrayal after betrayal, I've also found a lot of golden, virtuous people this week. Its one of those- "people really are good" moments.
I have a festering love for The RocketStar and I hope it will be off the ground soon.
|Sunday, November 9th, 2003|
I was really feeling the music around 4am. The jams were eight years old, and had not been heard since except by this employee of the gas station/Buddy's restaraunt. I asked her to please turn it up- I'd been infused w/ glee- perhaps it came from all the reststop food, or perhaps from the sense that I'd just dodged a bullet. I was dancing, eating my microwaved pizza rolls (a whole box) from a paper Coca-cola cup. I'd also consumed donuts, coffee and Mt. Dew. My six friends, all stranded w/ me inside the neon island, were a little more run down after our many hours of dancing in Ann Arbor. They had reddness in their eyes when they looked up from their pillows of folded arms. My friends are pretty entertaining and being stranded w/ them isn't really like being stranded at all- I refused to leave early with Chet, the tow-truck guy, because driving around w/ disgruntled insomniacs isn't fun unless they're your friends.
The deer that we collided w/ earlier had smashed my windshield and devestated my front end, leaving chucks of fur under the wipers and pieces of flesh caught on the edges of my crumpled hood. There was even a deer tooth embeded above my crushed headlight. Naoko and Merideth had to run down the frigid highway (16 F) in bare feet because they'd been napping during impact. They didn't have time to put on their shoes after Simon yelled "get away from the car"; we'd seen some flames casting light from under the car onto the road. Simon later went back for the girls' shoes.
I still had some enthusiasm for the night by the time Lauren and Rosie came to our rescue. It was a fast, comfortable hour drive home from there.
My worst injury of the night had been suffered, hours earlier, while doing the worm in a crowded Blind Pig.
Also, Erin, "the internet girl", wins something for dealing so well on her first night out with us- even amongst all the drama and turmoil.
|Tuesday, October 28th, 2003|
|Looking into the Sun
I've been able to focus fiercely on my t.v. viewing and video game skills recently in a pure, precise way I've never been able to before. Always these hobbies have been heavily polluted with a sense of self destruction or procrastination. The fact that we're developing my dream project (slowly/surely) on the side of these past times allows me to disregard any feelings of wastefulness while I spend stacked hours of bliss improving my strategy at WarCraft III or in the clutches of "I love the 80s" and "The Restaurant". Still in the midst of all this euphoric passiveness I've mustered the energy:
to sit beside rail thin guys with cave man hair who are wearing only underoos and a leash held by their stripper girlfriends who have muscular arthritis and suffer pain when touched (though you'd never guess by watching her),
to ride in vans through autumn colored country sides where shattered barns sprout grey vines through their gapping holes the way hair grows from old man ears,
to accompany Bay to metal garage shows where everyone wears prosthetic injuries and where the band requires a scolding from my friend for their nazi leanings,
to make two trips to the ER (once for persistant vomiting and once for stepping on a nail) where I had to endure the pratteling of angry young men with wired shut jaws,
to drink chocolate martinis with Naoko and friends and then dance unenthusiastically in the cages of Tradewinds
It is a wonderful life when I have only to worry about telepathic monkeys and whether the Pixies reunion will suck.
|Thursday, October 9th, 2003|
|Coffee begins where Tanning ends
how a coffee shop looks after tearing the tanning salon aspects out and before you put in the coffee machine
The front room, floor mostly sanded, walls mostly primed.
From the very back: pool tables and video games and movies go in tomorrow
From this side of the room you can see into our basement a bit: fight club
One of the three bathrooms- we'll probably take out the moped.
My friends who live above the coffee shop w/ me
|Thursday, October 2nd, 2003|
|A Tattle tale (or day 3 of 8 in Ms. Rybarzicks class)
Talking to a class of 3rd graders is to talk through a sticky web of interfearance where all of your words and wisdom are caught up on the barbs of incessant tattling. The kids never do anything particuarly bad, but they constantly tell on each other as if they'd just witnessed the crime of the century. And this is how they find meaning, by maintaining law and justice in the presence of a substitute teacher, who is essentially, a symbol opposing all thing normal and regular within their day.
Even Faisal, who does not speak a word of english, and clearly should have more support in the classroom has learned to communicate the tattle by pointing urgently towards the offending student and then towards the crime- whether it be a broken pencil or a line drawn on his paper.
However, to say "no tatteling" is to introduce an entirely new and more powerful pandemonium into the room, wherein their daily system is not simply set askew, but wholly inverted. To say "no tattling" is to say "no thinking thoughts" or "no breathing". It makes them immediately question the limits of their new lawless universe, thus forcing me to exchange my previous edict with something more complicated, something which punishes both the tattler and the tattled upon(the latter more severely). This is a gordian knot in child logic; they now see a way to get an accused peer in twice as much trouble, which makes them tremble with joy, but it is essentially a paradox since they can't possibly condemn themselves in the proccess. Therefor, they become frustrated quite nearly to tears and ultimately we must go back to where we began, to a simpler kind of chaos.
|Saturday, September 27th, 2003|
|Support your ceiling Mr. Pisces
Overnight my home acquired cable, a computer, my old cat, and some internet. I've never had a computer in my home since I've been on Livejournal. Expect frequent and facinating updates.
The coffee shop has long way to go; we had an inspector in tonight (not thee actual inspector, but a friend of Dan's from out of town). He said our floor would be easy to support and fix up but that we'll have to put in some more supports for our ceiling.
If I read a somewhat accurate horoscope a month ago, it would have said something like:
You will take on a new and consuming project this month. New employment opportunities will spring up. Some close friends will move away to places like bolivia and boston but you'll probably make a few new friends, who invariably won't quite measure up. You'll continue to wade through your complex of growing old in a transient, college town; but eventually you'll wade out of the complex towards exceptance. Keep looking for peers closer to your age to bring you peace of mind. You'll have some nice meetings w/ family. In one instance a family member will put great effort into trying to lick you. In another instance a family member will buy you a Japanese dinner and peach martini. Romance will be all around you but you'll only make a few clumsy passes at it. You will find great fame on the hip-hop circuit.
|Wednesday, September 17th, 2003|
|The first day
Last night-knocked down walls, pulled up carpet, pulled nails out of things, listened to hip-hop and ate pizza. There was lots of debate/discussion about which beams were actually holding up our building and about what to do with our floor. Just as the conflict was coming to its pinnacle we discovered ureka- there is a 1930s hardwood floor beneath the linolium and plywood..
--- ___ ----
Last Saturday-went to the greatest dance event of my life at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor.
|Thursday, September 11th, 2003|
|Monday, September 8th, 2003|
The deadline looms: in three days I will talk to the city's council of elders and based on my presentation they will decide the fate or our coffee shop- that is whether or not we will have one. Some local celebrities say that there's no way we'll get the parking variance which would allow us to open; others say of course we'll get it. I refuse to do anything but twiddle my thumbs anxiously until the decision is found out.
Here's me on a boat.
And Friendster is sweeping the nation.
|Sunday, August 10th, 2003|
|And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
This month I've woken up on the couches of Kalamazoo, Detroit and Chicago; I've woken up on the ground, next to a stranger in the deep woods of Canada; I've woken up in Japanese country sides, in Tokyo, on bullet trains and international planes.
______ ______ __________ __ _____ ____________
Q: Is it possible to successfully date a person whom you feel to be significantly more attractive than yourself? Don't such relationships lend themselves to unyeilding paranoia which is incapable of being shared w/ anyone (least of which the attractive partner)? When we say that Mr. and Ms. X "look like" a good couple, aren't we saying that they seem relatively equal on the hot or not scale? If I'm dating Ms. Supermodel can't I safely assume that Mr. Everyman is questioning her judgement and will make some attempt to offer her an upgrade? Or am I projecting secret thoughts that only I've had?
__________ _ _ ________ __ ____________ _ _______________ _______________ _ ____ _____
This month I came dangerously close to a wild moose, won $400 (canadian), emailed Jen, was in a wedding, met the new wives and children of kalamazoo.
|Sunday, July 27th, 2003|
|love and wilderness
Last week I swam in my parent's pool with my old highschool friends but now I'm going to deep deep Canada for a week to think about buissness and love but I'll probably have a lot of time left over to ponder other things. If all goes as planned I'll be living above my new coffee shop by the end of the month.
My cousins wedding was a smashing success; the Mariachi band was fantastic. I was proud of my younger cousin (a one-time thug) for his perfect best man toast. I hope to stay close to Ryan when he moves to Chicago. Everyone in Jackson drinks way too much. I hung out at the reception as long as I could and then I found myself taking of to k-zoo in my tux to find people who understand me better.
The Reverend at my cousin's wedding was talking about the vow "I will love you..". This new wedding vow asks couples to promise to love each other in the future and what is striking about this is that it implies complete control over the emotion rather than perceiveing love as some force that we fall in and out of. I can sense a great degree of will when, for instance, we are fighting with our partner and want to stop loving them; the wedding vow commits you to "choose" to keep loving them, to put some effort into it anyway. I tend to think we have less control in the other direction; that is, to stop loving someone when it is time.
Though I have no idea what love is.Miguel
suggests that it's simply a contractual agreement not so different than a buissiness contract. That doesn't seem to factor in the deeper levels of psychology to any degree, the stuff that's going on that we aren't really privy to.
|Wednesday, July 9th, 2003|
|...just like everybody else does
My going away party was on Friday; it was a twenty-some person event split between Simon and I's single room apartments. We all sat on the floor, as is custom around here, and shared crazy food (kareoke goes w/out saying). It is, of course, a bit sad saying farewell to everyone for the last time; those stories we tell each other about seeing each other again are pretty transparent.
It seems like I just had my going away party in Kalamazoo; if I just keep going away I can forever host parties in my honor.
I've been given lots of goodbye dinners this week and I've collected about two-dozen childrens' drawings of myself.
Creepiest goodbye sentiment: Shun is my 5 year old autistic prodigy student. Shun's mother suggested over dinner that if her husband, who is much older than her, should die that we should get married. Shun's grandmother heartily agreed.
Also, several adult female students have asked during class if they could stay with me when they come to America. I of course say yes, because its the polite answer, but I'm not sure how the conotations translate to Japanese.
|Wednesday, July 2nd, 2003|
|Everything is catching yes everything is catching on fire
In Osaka- the other side of Japan from the one I know- I found I'd just missed my bus home, I had no phone numbers of my friends in the area and, by some dark Japanese magic, my bank account and my wallet were empty. Also I was supposed to be at work in a few hours but I could only laugh; the weekend had been so complete in its blissfullness that this wild inconvience was just another brush stroke adding more color to my get away.
Kansai is wholesome; people seem to know what they want there; they are settled and content the way people are in small towns, only Kansai is made up of two huge cities.
In Tokyo everyone feels a little more frazeled and pushed to their limits; they're all looking for something and often times its illegal or insane (that said, Tokyo is perhaps the most interesting city in the world [for a westener]).
Don and Susan, my host family in Kansai, were natural samples of the Kansai nature; kind, thoughtfull, ambitious etc. They talked to each other the way more fragile couples engaged in weekly therapy might- only their relationship is solid and seemless, stretching deep into the past and the future. "Is that ok?" was the most frequently heard question between them.
We drank blueberry wine on top of Kobe tower while overlooking the immense floor of city lights far below us; lights which grew out of the harbor and dissapeared into the mountains many miles away. After the tower we watched Mike and Dorothy, some foreign street performers throw fire at each other. There was something uncomfortable beneath their performance smiles- I kept suspecting Mike might snap and say/do something gruesome to his sidekick. As it was he used subtle snideness instead.
My first night there, the three of us ate delicious corn and tuna pizza (from Dominoes)on the floor of Don and Susan's apartment while dividing our attention between impassioned conversation, the internet (hallarious clips of those old GI Joe "knowing is half the battle" segments, re-editited in a Space Ghost kinda way), and perhaps the most charming cat I've ever known. This cat was obsessed with office supplies and it rejected other toys in favor of receipts. We suspect she was an IRS agent of some sort before being Tortoise the cat; she brought us receipts all night and when we tossed them away she would bring them back and demand them to be filed.
Day two was red and gold China town, the endless hall (over seven blocks) of bizarre shops, and the cheapest, most enjoyable round of kareoke I've experienced. Its not every day I get to reinvent Prodigie's "Firestarter" into a childrens lounge tune. Don showed me how to slow down the songs which makes for much more interesting renditions. Susan performed the Pixie's "Digging for Fire", which after knowing her only a couple days, I felt accurately summed up the activies of her life. If you think of the word "radiant" while drawing a picture of a girl, you'll invariably come up w/ something that looks like Susan.
The weekend started with the baking of a Mocha Pudding cake along side the seven cutest girls in Japan. Don is a cook looking to open a restraunt in Japan; he gives English cooking lessons in exchange for Japanese lessons. He proved his kitchen skills again the next morning when he whipped up curried vegtables w/ a cucumber, garlic yogurt sauce (served with nan [sorta like pita]).
Then there was my sleepy solo flight on a 300mph flying train.
|Monday, June 23rd, 2003|
|But I'm a little glowing friend But really I'm not actually your friends But I am
Some sort of heaviness I'd been wearing around melted off while I was comparing animal sounds with Kashimi. We were at the firefly festival in Tatsuno and the trail which wove along the side of the mountain was so dark that I was employing some sixth sense to find my way. We sat on a bench where I disovered that Japanese pigs say "berr berr," cows say "mo, mo" and I cannot begin to recreate what the chickens say. There were hundreds of fireflies, above us and below us. Its was a little like being in space while on LSD, all the green stars blinked on and off while zipping from one side of the universe to the other. Meanwhile Kashimi continued her delightful performance of the animal kingdom while I laughed so hard I had to stomp my feet.
At the actual festival part of the Firefly festival a child dropped his live eel on the ground and it slitherd around the merry makers, making them spill their beer.
The new Australian trainy is more similar to me than the rest of the staff; its too bad that the school is collapsing around us. As I show Simon his way around the job I feel like I'm convincing someone to join a doomsday cult; everyone knows that there is only the illusion of school now. John is quitting before I am and they're not bothering to replace him, which means a much heavier work load for the remaining three. I've caught Yoshizawa-san, more than once, staring fixedly a the space a few inches in front of him; if I looked closer I might find him shaking his head.
But in trying to find ways to ammuse my autistic five year old student, I've discovered a new passion for balloon art.
|Sunday, June 1st, 2003|
|Spider (get rid of)
Another blissfully simple (i.e. lazy) weekend of being nocturnal, eating breakfast food for all three meals, reading short stories and watching movies. I'm finally taking in the Godfather trilogy (can't really be considered a citizen of the US otherwise) and I rather enjoy it all but so much is in Italian which means (since I can't read Japanese) that I'm not getting the whole picture.
[Does anyone out there have any Dave Bell contact info? I'd like to surprise him with a phone call or something.]
To get into my apartment I have to go around to the back of the building and pass through a psuedo-tunnel with the wall on one side and the support beams on the other. Its a spider's paradise. Lately every availble space, and then the spaces in between those spaces has become coverd by web. When I open my door I'll notice one terrible, giant spider running around near my head, then I notice that all of his movements are shaking the collective web and causing the nearest spiders to run around- and so on. I shouldn't look but when I do I can count dozens and dozens of the vile creatures hanging around outside my door and I'm terrified that one of these days I will walk through the trip wire of the web that will bring the whole mess crashing down on me. Thus I've decided that I will from now on crawl over my front balcony and enter through the sliding glass door of my apartment rather than walk around.
This month begins Japan's rainy season, during which it will purportedly rain everyday. So far, so true.
I've just discovered the world of Livejournal communities and now I'm absorbed with talking about lucid_dreaming
Tomorrow I go to Nagoya for another run and another feast so I'll have more stories after.
I've been able to start watching season 2 of the Shield with the discs that Simon made for me. You can read some thoughts on the first half of the season ( hereCollapse )
|Tuesday, May 20th, 2003|
|Gaze not into the Abyss, for the Abyss gazes also into you (and it has pretty blue eyes)
Three of us sat in the gothic kingom called the Christon Cafe. For Japanese, Christianity is synomynous with gothic culture- it's all about drinking blood, self-flagellation, and thorny crowns. I felt a little guitly for Jake, my American visitor. He'd mentioned that his mother was "thee most Christian woman" I'd ever meet. And while Jake previously stated that his Christian upbringing had pushed him away from religion he was still close to his mother and I could practically hear her admonishments roaring through his head. We went through a few plates of tiny food in fancy sauces. The vaulted ceilings, stained glass windows and demonic statues all made for a spooky physical appearance but Japan has a habit falling short of completing the full effect. In this case it was the music which stood in the way; it was generally American adult-contemporary- but was frequently interupted by a Happy Birthday song which seemed to be imported directly from Chucky Cheese.
After the restraunt we'd gone to two clubs; big clubs- the like of which I haven't been to in years. The first seemed almost collegiate; there were lots of goofy gaijin and the music was poppy and irritating. The second was deeply disturbing in an almost psychic sense. We should have questioned going in when they searched us for weapons at the door. Such things are not done in Japan. Inside was three packed floors of nihilistic gangster youth. There's a disturbing look that's popular among the bad kids- deep orange tans, lightened hair (poofy mullets for men) and sometimes colored contacts. It gives off the impression that you're standing beside a good luck troll, which is not so disconcerting if its a singular occurance but when you're surrounded by legions of them- all sweating and seizuring to painfully loud pulsing music- its like hell. They were mostly yakuza and we were the only two foreigners there. It was quite evident that we were not appreciated. This was insider Japan. Shortly after arriving I was weaving through the tan masses trying to find the person who'd I'd come with. I'd once seen a video of a long hair hippy guy at a Sex Pistols show and the way the crowd pummeled him until he could give no resistance. I thought about that image while I tried to avoid stepping on any toes.
Sunday morning in the Shibuya district of Tokyo is where sleepy, drunken zombies wander and fall down. Young people slept beside the homeless in stairwells and on sidewalks; all of their evening wear turned from hip to gaudy as the sun came up. One man curled up next to a busy street, hands between his knees, he had no pillow but he looked peacefull enough.
Out of every strip club and brothel poured more smirking, dark-suited gangsters sometimes pissing shamelessly where ever they liked. Two teenagers tried to revive another girl on the sidewalk. Pools of brown or yellow textured vomit marked each street and long tailed rats could be seen sniffing about the mess for something edible. Multiple cats sprang from ally-ways to chase the rats into narrower allys only inches wide. Worst of all were the ravens: beneath the milky blue 5 a.m. sky the gigantic birds just kept coming and coming in massive swarms. They pulled apart every availible garbage bag with their huge beaks- all the while squaking to each other some greater plan. When people passed by the birds only stared them down. While I passed within a foot of one, the bird actually flexed threateningly towards me, the same way a young thug might, purely for the satisfaction of watching me flinch.
In the end, my feet were so sore and swollen from standing and walking for six hours that I could barely rise to send Jake off on his return to the states. As he left I waved from the stairs of Shibuya station; I was somehow corrupted by the evening but I hoped that he would get away free and clean.
|Wednesday, May 14th, 2003|
|Tokyo Calling Pt. II
So the second leg of Jake and I's tokyo tour begins this weekend- Saturday and Sunday. What do you say?
|Monday, May 12th, 2003|
|The Secret Messages of Tokyo
We'd wandered through the future in sleepy, silent wonder all day- encountering the occasional transcendent oddity which stood out from the rest of the odd environment. A random parade crossed our path in Ahibaraki, there were samurais and giant wooden babies.
An old man with bare calloused feet talked to us about baseball, respect, and how I was the guy who could turn things around for the country. He suggested though that I always say "arigoto gozimas" rather than "arigoto;" and each time he said "arigoto gozimas" he whispered it into my ear and covered his mouth so that Jake and the others could not see the magic word.
I drank a tasty kiwi smoothy from a subway vendor deep below the city but later made up for the pseudo healthy moment by indulging in, what would be called in America, something like "The Heart Stopper." It was a burger with bacon, mayo, cheese and an egg patty. It was delicious- I'd wanted two but the line was too long. As I ate with my grimy tokyo hands Jake surfed the web from his laptop and we watched the nightlife of Roppongi pass by.
Just before escaping to our sleep capsules at 2am we crossed a pop-punk band playing on the street; they were one part Rancid, one part Prince and the Revolution.
Then a woman stopped me with the word "message." I was sure she had something important to tell me from some secret contact on the inside. Instead I found she'd said "ma-sah-ji?"- as in do I want to pay for a massage (i.e.sex). I waved my hand at her disgruntledly which jake found ammusing.
The next day I ordered crab pasta and received pasta with a whole crab on top- only seperated into parts so as to resemble a smashed and broken toy.
At the Tokyo National Museum I found a delicately carved statue of Shiva; in each of her many many thin wooden arms she held a different symbol. It was her gaudy way of suggesting that all paths lead There.
|Thursday, May 8th, 2003|
|Leave it to a Monkey Boy to Throw Wrenches
Yesterday Jake came to my class and we told my students how great WIDR was (for some reason) they looked at us like we were trying to lure them into an obscure cult. Then around 3am we walked around my rainy town looking for a wireless signal for Jake's laptop- I was carrying the umbrella, Jake was carrying the open laptop watching the indicator light. I warned him to watch the ditch at about the same time that he plunged in noisily. He managed to toss the computer up to me before going into the swampy stream but his digi cam has not behaved since.
So part two of our midnight adventure was held at a laundromat; we watched Jake's shoe flop around in the drier while listening to The Postal Service on his computer.
Then today I mentioned to my bosses that Jake would be willing to work here maybe. They put their heads together and came up with an interesting black mail scheme which goes something like this: If I agree to stay for at least several more months then they will hire Jake as a 5th teacher at our school; their logic being that I will want to stay if I have a friend living in town. Yoshi will even use his yakuza connections to get around Jake's work permit problem. We are going to sit down with the bosses tomorrow. Its quite flattering that they will hire extra staff just to keep me around. It just may work.
|Tuesday, May 6th, 2003|
I have a visitor in from Michigan and we're headed to Tokyo this weekend to meet one or two Japanese friends-- so if you're availible to play on saturday or sunday let me know. I'll probably contact everyone indvidually too. Ok. Bye