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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Hotel California

Proof that Japan has become to feel like home to me can be found in the way I went about my day.

It's Monday, December 9, 1991 here in Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken, Japan. Today feels like a day of awakening for me. 

I feel like I am home because I am not in Canada, and have accepted my place as a gaijin (foreigner) here in Japan. I feel like a complete foreigner... but only Japan has the balls to accept me as one.

Despite being on my own - IE, no girlfriend, or secret girlfriend (she seems to have taken a sabbatical from me - despite us having so much in common sexually... or at least liking each other a helluva lot), or any other prospects on the horizon - I had a good weekend.

I do have a damn fine headache from a lack of sleep, however. I have no idea why I am not sleeping, but I am sure that despite being a rock and pretending all is well, I know that I am pretending. I want what I want, and I know what I want. This time, anyways. I'm just unsure how to get what I want. Sounds confusing, I know. Trying having that mantra rip through your head constantly.

After a hellish 15-minute bike ride through the cold and breezy sleeping rice fields to Ohtawara Junior High School (the largest of the seven schools I teach at), I have two classes in the morning. Fortunately, they are shorter than usual, and school is actually over at 1:30PM.

I then walked over to the post office next door to the school and found out you can't mail booze back to Toronto - sorry, John! Who knew? Apparently everyone but John and myself.

I then go shopping over to Iseya for a new toilet seat cover (by the way... my toilet seat was heated!), and then over to Books Time to rent more videos. I think I have watched well over 100 movies from that place in the past 16 months. Sad, but true.

I am really tired but I still manage to watch a great horror movie: Chinese Ghost Story, as well as a few episodes of Miami Vice sent from back home. I love that TV show... I guess I'm nostalgic for the good old days of something I was never a part of... the drug wars in Florida.

At the night school I teach at, I ask my hair dresser Nakamura Munaio (surname first) to take care of my apartment for me when I head out to Singapore on December 22 with James Dalton, from Stoney Creek, Ontario who has a fantastic sense of humor. I think we amuse each other to all ends of the spectrum.

There's no night school class next week as I'm supposed to take part in some JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme seminar in nearby Gunma-ken (Gunma Prefecture). Just stab me with your steely knife now!

I say my farewells to my adult night class, wishing them all a happy new year, as I won't see them until after that - and they all look kind of sad.

I don't feel to bad about not being here at New Year's, as I did spend it here last year (with Matthew) - unlike most JETs who jet off from Japan to all parts not Japan the first chance they get. In the 16 months, this is my second trip outside of Japan's boundaries - after a stellar journey to Thailand where I played the excited meat in a Thai sandwich. Yes... the poor little Toronto boy who was 26 years old and still a virgin because no one in his damn country thought he was handsome enough, went to Thailand and was picked up by two women  - at different times, and who when each found out that he was 'dating' both, decided a threesome was in order.

Whatever. I don't expect anything to happen in Singapore, except for some fun adventures. 

Back home, I do a little ikebana (Japanese flower arranging). I do actually spend some time making it just so, but I have no idea for whom I am doing it for, except myself. Mmmm, there's a sweet smell of some sort of flower rising up through the air.

Today I received letters from back home - from Doug McIntosh, my mentor who drove me in a cab once when I worked for the Toronto Star newspaper 17 months earlier; from John Hobel, a buddy from my journalism class at Humber College; and Mrs. Kirkland, the sweet old woman (since deceased) whose lawn I used to mow every week and driveway I would shovel of snow. 

I chat with Amanda Goodsell for about an hour - all about life, the universe and everything while I eat my popcorn alone in my house.

Alone with my friends, none of whom are here with me in my Hotel Ohtawara. I can check out anytime I like... but I'm sure I will never leave completely.

Somewhere being a gaijin,
Andrew Joseph
Just for Mike, here's The Eagles sing my blog title for me:

1 comment:

  1. I think this was the year I first went back to the USA - my first trip outta Nippon after arriving in late July, 1990. Too bad books time didn't have a frequent video renter program! ...or did they? Memory is fuzzy there. Try to win a trip to Japan - would be fun to go back there with you for a week or two and travel around the Kanto area again - bikes, Poppo-Douri, onsen, sushi and of course, visit whatever is now where Matsuri and 4C were!

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