Sunday, February 3, 2013

As if I could really forget for even FIVE SECONDS

Today I had one of those moments where in the middle of teaching a lesson it hit me:

When I leave here and go outside, I will be in JAPAN.

Well, duh, okay, I know even in the building, even at work, I'm still in Japan. But everyone speaks's the one place I can mayyyyybe forget for half a second.

It's been more than two months, and it still surprises me all the time that I actually live here. I really don't know how, because the reminders are RELENTLESS.

Here's a sampling from the last 24 hours for you:

A little Nuance Airy to start the day? 
Every morning, I visit my train mascot friend. He's ALWAYS happy to see me.
Today on my way to work, I decided to count the vending machines I pass on my 8 minute walk to the train station. You know, for kicks and giggles. Now mind you, half of my walk is through an entirely residential neighborhood. Guess how many. Just guess. Did you guess? You didn't guess. Whatever. I'll tell you:


That's right. Nineteen vending machines. They are EVERYWHERE. And that's despite the fact that I also pass THREE convenience stores, a major grocery store, two pharmacies, and a drinks and snacks kiosk. Oh and let's not leave out the three bakeries and two cafes. And the countless restaurants and noodle shops. If ever you are in Tokyo, rest assured: you will never be more than 50 feet from a beverage, or a snack, should you need one. How do they stay so skinny? NO CLUE. America couldn't handle it...buncha fatties.

Snack time! Puffed pea snacks!

I. Don't. Know.

Okay. Pumpkins are green. Accepted.

Meat candy. Check.

And the last store I pass before I walk up to work. Gets me every time.
What else? Ummm...right: so I have to wear a black suit to work with "minimal" jewelry because corporate culture is all conservative blah blah, but it's okay for my students to come in to lessons still drunk from the night before wearing crazy anime-style contact lenses, looooong fake eyelashes and a hoodie with ears and a tail attached like a little jungle cat? Really, I can ignore the cat thing (I really can)...but YOU ARE A HUMAN CARTOON!!! The anime contacts and the eyelashes KILL ME. Maybe even worse than the eyebrows. But I do LOVE how they take it in stride when their conservatively-dressed instructor explains how she dresses like Abe Lincoln and Lady Gaga in her spare time. And it's this nonplussed attitude that keeps me here, kids. Boom.

Then there was a minor earthquake last night, but since it was like the third one in three days, it didn't even rate grabbing my phone to check the seismological service website. How crazy is that?! But whatever...where I work, there are TSUNAMI PROCEDURES posted in the staff room. Normal junk, y'all.

And finally:

Last night when we got home, we found THIS on our front door:

In the past month, three of us have been stopped by Japanese men when walking home asking to be "friends." They are apparently mesmerized by our milky skin, round eyes, and movie star English. WHO WOULDN'T BE??? Seriously. No, seriously: we're lovely. But now they are stalking us. Creepers of the world, folks! Anyway, we've started a wall in our kitchen where we post their business cards. We figure that when one of them murders us all in our sleep, we've given the police a head start on suspects. Or so that we can laugh our heads off every time we're reminded. Either way, it's helpful.

My wrestler bear socks will keep me safe. The left one is Takahiro and the right one is Masahiro. Tag team champions. 

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