This week has held a few very opposite events. The good and the bad. Yin and Yang. And all that jazz.
So just to get it out of the way, I’ll start off with the bad. First, my denshi jisho (electronic Japanese-to-English dictionary), my best friend, my closest companion, my lifeline, has been destroyed. In an act of negligence I dropped the precious $200 piece of equipment off my desk and the screen cracked nearly to the point of uselessness. Even more tragic was the fact that that I had accumulated a word memo of over 300 “must-learn-over-summer-vacation” words, which seemed to be lost forever.
This simply would not do. So I sat down with a blank Microsoft Word document, and after a mere five hours of trying to decode the barely visible entries from the small left-hand corner of the screen which was still operating, I obtained every single word.
Bad thing number two: the weather sucks. Big time. Yes, changing seasons are nice, but I have to say that sweat, B.O., and sticky skin after being outside in the humidity for five minutes is not my cup of tea. My posters are all curling up, and my carpet is still wet from a small cup of water I spilled over a week ago. And the hot rain doesn’t help much either.
OK, that wasn’t too bad. Now let me continue on to that which kicks ass.
I live in Kyoto!
Oh, wait, you knew that already. OK, well let me limit my discussion to just this week then. First, Dean hired me to do another four days’ work on his geosurveying software, which could not have come at a better time from an income’s standpoint: now I can actually afford to replace my broken dictionary with a better model, one which will allow me to WRITE KANJI ON THE SCREEN. Oh man, I love new toys.
Here, you can see me celebrating.
So, after spending most of Thursday and Friday working on the software I headed out to Osaka on Saturday night for dinner and drinks. But after catching the last train to Kyoto, instead of riding my bike home as usual I immediately headed for the Kamogawa where I met up with the YHM crew at roughly 1:30am. After a brief riverside snooze, I was charged up and ready. We hopped back on our bikes and moments later were sitting in a theater watching a 3:00am special preview showing of STAR WARS EPISODE 3! (Yes, I realize that eeevvverrryyone else out there has seen it already, but in Japan it hasn’t come out yet. So it was awesome.) By the time we left the theater it was completely light out, and the only people in sight were over-nighters stumbling back from bars and love hotels. I made it to bed at about 6:30am.
Monday: PLANNING! Perhaps you will recall from a few posts ago that I had a couple of possible travel plans on the horizon. You may now remove the word “possible” from that sentence, and replace the word “couple” with the word “crapload.”
Here is a brief synopsis:
7/21: Classes at Ritsumeikan finish. Spend two weeks chilling out and studying in Kyoto with day trips to Amanohashidate (rated the 3rd most beautiful spot in Japan) and the like.
8/7: Pack everything I own into suitcases, stash them in a friend’s room, and head out armed with a backpacker’s backpack for Takayama, aka “the town that time forgot.” Spend 3 days camping out in parks and exploring small towns around the base of the Japanese Alps.
8/11: Train to Tokyo. Chill out there for a week taking day trips to Ofuna (the site of ancient hand-built buddhist labyrinths), the Izu Peninsula (where Anjin-san from James Clavell’s Shogun landed his ship hundreds of years ago) and O-shima (a tropical resort-like island off the cost of Tokyo).
8/19: NICK (one of my best friends from home, the dude who started my whole interest in Japan by bringing me here two years ago) comes to Tokyo! We check in to a hostel in Roppongi and prepare for a weekend of hardcore partying.
8/24: DAVID J (another one of my very close friends from UCSD) joins Nick and I for another weekend of debauchery.
8/29: Nick heads back to America, David and I take trains down to Kobe where we catch a two-day boat to Shanghai. That’s right, I’m goin’ to China! Explore Shanghai for a week.
9/8: Take an overnight train from Shanghai to Beijing where David and I split up, I meet up with Mike and Rosa, two more buddies from San Diego who have since relocated to China.
9/9: My dad flies to Beijing from America. Spend 3 days exploring the area together.
9/14: Take trains to the interior of China and begin a 3 day cruise down the Yangzi River.
9/18: Fly back to Kyoto, move into a new apartment (which hopefully I can secure before I leave), and spend a few days showing my dad around Kansai.
9/24: World Expo in Aichi
9/25: Dad goes home, class starts.
Yes, summer vacation seems to be shaping up quite nicely.
Aside from all of that, I’ve been SUPER busy lately with getting everything organized for this trip, from hotel reservations to Japanese re-entry permits to Chinese visas to boat reservations, etc, etc. And on top of that the semester is coming to a close, so I have final papers and presentations up the…
So my apologies in advance if my updates aren’t quite as frequent in the coming 3 weeks as you may have grown accustomed to. Rest assured I’ll continue to do my best. In the meantime, please entertain yourselves by viewing this webpage. I’m quite sure you will find it most amusing.
2,000 visitors this month! A new record!