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2005-09-05 4:02 p.m.

watashi, suki na hito ga dekimashita

New Orleans. Wow. Apocalyptic. I’ve never been there, but I’ve been fascinated with the city since childhood (blame Anne Rice). I strongly considered applying to Tulane for college. It’s heartbreaking. (And I can’t help but think that opening fire on ambulances, rescue helicopters, and repair crews is perhaps not the best way to get help.)

This wasn’t unexpected, though. They’ve known for a long time that this scenario was not a question of “if” but “when.” I remember last year, working as a sub in Vegas, one day I subbed a science class. We watched a video on tornadoes and hurricanes, and at the end they talked about New Orleans and how it’s totally screwed if it ever gets hit by a hurricane. (High school can actually be informative, if you're paying attention.) Here’s a very good article from 2001 on the topic. It’s time for society to learn that what’s good for the environment is also good for our bottom line. Saving wetlands, such as those that used to be found in Louisiana and would have lessened or stopped the flooding had they still been around, is not something that would be nice to do if only it were convenient. It is imperative. Here’s another (shorter) article on the complete failure of disaster response in this instance, despite supposedly thorough preparation. “No one cares about disasters until they happen.” Ain’t it the truth. Hopefully Katrina will serve as a wake-up call.

In related news, it’s looking like we’ll be getting a typhoon here tomorrow.

In still other news, I’d like to give a shout-out to Turkey, who will throw your ass in the clink if you dispute the official story. At least we can be glad the Bushies aren’t that bad. Unless you’re an Iraqi.

It’s starting to look like I’ll be joining a band soon. It won’t be a serious thing, just one of those “let’s get together and jam” setups. I’ll be on guitar, the office dude at the high school will play bass, and the grocer will be on drums. The grocer likes jazz, and the office dude likes funk. Me? I’m probably most comfortable with the blues, especially on an electric guitar with a lot of distortion. So, I’d tend to want to turn us into a White Stripes cover band (with a bass line, I guess). Office Dude (I guess that’s his name now) mentioned wanting to do some Cream, which is also right up my musical alley (though that stuff’s a bit more technically demanding than the White Stripes). I suppose if we actually end up doing it, we’ll need a name. I’m thinking… Creation Two. (Especially if we end up doing Sunshine Of Your Love. Damn shame that no one will be amused by the name but me. (If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, it’s a reference to Freaks and Geeks, one of the best shows ever, which you should watch.))

(This just in. It looks like I may be joining yet ANOTHER casual band, though this would be a temporary thing and in this one I'd be playing bass, which I have pretty close to zero experience with but have always wanted to try.)

I went to a dinner/drinking party with the high school teachers last Friday night. It was fun, I guess. We went to the seafood place. The longer I live here, the more I’m convinced that if you drag something up out of the ocean, the Japanese will eat it. When I mention this hypothesis to actual Japanese people, they generally agree. They eat fish (though its more often raw than not (amusingly, they tend to turn up their nose at raw vegetables) and if they do cook it they probably cook and eat the whole thing), numerous varieties of seaweed (ranging in flavor from “pretty good, actually” to “this sure tastes a lot like vomit”), all kinds of crustaceans (they eat the shells of shrimp, too, though they don’t eat the skins of grapes), mollusks… They eat squid and octopus. They eat whatever the hell it is that lives inside conch shells (the Japanese word is sazae). They eat eels, sea turtles, jellyfish, poison blow fish, and sea cucumbers. They eat whale, too. (“But,” you say, “Whales are intelligent and friendly!” “Yeah, intelligent and friendly on rye bread with some mayonnaise! Or even raw with soy sauce and ginger,” the Japanese respond. (South Park reference!)) In fact, I myself have eaten all of those things, except sea cucumber. I'm sure there's plenty of other weird things they eat that I just haven't encountered yet (or just didn't recognize at the time). It’s come to seem normal to me. Though every once in a while they can still bring out something that makes my stomach whimper like a shaved kitten.

That night Office Dude started trying to get me to put the moves on good ol’ Sophie. I tried to tell him that it has been determined to the satisfaction of both parties that she is not at all interested in me, but he insisted that she was lonely and that I should “attack.” The more smashed he got, the more insistent he became. Figures that such a little devil would appear over my shoulder just as things with WTF are coming together. Why would he cheer me on so energetically unless he had reason to believe I would be successful? Why should I expend all this energy on a girl who lives in Kyoto when there’s a stunningly attractive woman right there on the other side of two inches of plaster?

(No, I did not attack.)

As for WTF, I did indeed see her again in Fukuoka this weekend, and things went very well. For perhaps the first time, there was no awkwardness, no doubt about what the other person might be thinking and feeling, and no aggravation. It was wonderful. (We went to the Hard Rock Cafe again. I ordered the cajun chicken sandwich, for New Orleans.)

For all her hesitation, much of which is due, understandably, to her cancerous ex, whenever I hold her to me and kiss her long and deeply, afterwards she just looks so… happy.

She said that she had only planned to live in Kyoto for two years, and it has been two years. Her original plan was to then live in Okayama, I think, for two years before going to spend two years in Fukuoka (and then two years in Kagoshima, I guess), but I’m thinking I can get her to skip Okayama and come straight to Fukuoka.

Maybe it’s just the euphoria of new love, but I’m really happy with this. I feel really good about this relationship, and about her. I feel great.

I asked her if she had told her family about me, though, and she said she hadn't. I asked her if they would have a problem with the fact that I'm not Japanese. She said she didn't know. Not exactly reassuring. But whatever.

in deep smit,