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2005-06-23 10:51 a.m.

back to the future

I woke up at 6:30 am this morning. Though I did go to bed relatively early last night, I can only attribute that to residual jet lag. It was nice to be able to take my time and laze around getting ready to go to school.

No classes today. Most of the kids are off at some track and field tournament.

The pool at the elementary school is open now. I should go. Lately I’ve been feeling an urge to get back into more serious physical activity.

So, last Sunday I left San Jose at 12:30 pm, and eleven hours later it was 3:30pm the next day and I was in Tokyo. I flew through customs like diarrhea. Finding the domestic check-in counter and terminal in Narita Airport was like trying to find marbles in a garbage can, and the waiting area basically consisted of… carpet. I didn’t get into Fukuoka until around 10 pm, where I calculated that in order to make it to work on time the next day I’d have to take a 26 dollar train ride to town A (while listening to Sea Change), a 40 dollar cab ride to town B, sleep five hours (after having been awake for twenty-four) in a 60 dollar hotel room, then take another train to town C where I could take the ferry to the Rock. That wasn’t exactly fun. Usually it costs me about twenty bucks to get home from Fukuoka.

I’m going to Fukuoka again this weekend for kabuki.

By the time I made it to the preschool I was feeling a little down, even a little unwanted. But the kids gave me a great welcome. They’re always ecstatic to see me. They’re so cool.

They’ve got new little uniforms that are kind of interesting. All they’d need is their first name embroidered near the right shoulder and they’d look like a pack of miniature auto mechanics.

One of the little ones peed on me that day, while she was sitting on my lap. That wasn’t so nice.

I feel myself on the brink of being depressed. I’ve been feeling this way since I left for the U.S. I’m starting to feel that disconnect again, like I’m incapable of having meaningful relationships with the rest of humanity.

And upon returning to the Rock, I fell right into a rut with my teaching. It’s gotten to be the same old, same old. The kids are bored with it and so am I. Over summer break I’ll have to come up with some ideas to shake things up a little bit.

It seems I’ve started to dread my “adult” conversation class, as well. With both adults AND children there, I have to sacrifice the quality of both in order to do them at the same time. And the mothers have decided they want to sit in and stare at me while I teach their kids, getting annoyed if I try to get them to speak English, constantly translating for their kids (instead of letting them learn to understand English), and falsely correcting their kids’ English pronunciation.

Teaching pronunciation is such a huge pain sometimes, because so many of them just don’t care. They don’t care if they say things like “I eat lice for breakfast every day” or “What did you think of Bush’s big erection?”

I don’t think I’d want to spend my whole life doing this. It’s fun, but I don’t find it fulfilling, exactly.

The last time I had a physical, the nurse informed that I wouldn’t have to pay for the piss test by saying, “Oh- the urine? It’s on me.”

Oh, let’s see. On the plane I watched two films.

Million Dollar Baby As advertised, it was really, really good. Not the kind of film I’d watch over and over though, so 3 stars

Hitch I thought it was really sweet, and I thought it presented a more realistic vision of male attitudes towards romance than you typically get from the media. (Whatever that is. I guess technically “media” is a plural word, the plural of medium, so perhaps I should say “whatever those are.”) Though it had a boring misunderstanding-based conflict and a textbook ending, complete with wildly romantic gesture and maudlin monologue. Boo! 2 stars

Hitch actually got me thinking about my own philosophy of romantic pursuit, and how it’s similar to and different from the “professional” style presented in the film. He says, “no guile, no game, no girl.” I don’t quite agree with that, but I guess it depends on the kind of girl you’re after. I’m much better on the long term scale than the short term. I seem to make a misleading first impression, and I’m either unwilling or unable to artificially kickstart infatuation. My classic method is to slowly and delicately spin a web of small, unnoticeable connections until suddenly one day she realizes she’s mine. This method typically requires the target to stay put for a long period, though, and I’ve had some good ones slip away before the trap was ready to spring.

Perhaps the best compliment I ever received was from the girlfriend of one of my freshman roommates, who we were all a little bit in love with. She said, "I didn't see it at first, but I think that greyarea could probably have any girl he wanted." Wow.

I read Dean Paschal’s book. I really liked it, and many of the stories are exactly the kind of thing I’d like to write myself. “Genesis,” “Sautéing the Platygast,” “Moriya” (the story that inspired me to buy the book), and “By the Light of the Jukebox” were probably my favorites. Here are some of the blurbs from the back of the book, which I heartily agree with, and which are exactly what I’d hope people might say about the things I’ve written and want to write: “alternately tender and demonic, heartrending and chilling,” “it is not reality that he paints but the hallucination that reality provokes,” and “the horror of these stories would be almost unbearable, I think, were the prose not so luminous.” So… Good job, Dean. And if you’re really as obscure as I think you are, what does that say for my prospects as a writer?

I haven’t heard anything from WTF since getting back to Japan, though I messaged her a couple of times from Tokyo. I wonder what that means?

This has gone far enough.

kicking an empty can across an empty floor,