When the Tohoku earthquake happened, I was sitting at my tiny Japanese desk, in the middle of a giant Japanese office, in the middle of Tokyo, just hating life. I was working elbow to elbow with about a hundred people, facing a row of unsmiling coworkers across from me, crouched in front of my pc, without speaking from morning until night. The most exciting part of the day was lunchtime, when we’d all take out our bento boxes and eat lunch together without talking. I couldn’t imagine it could get any worse. Continue reading “The Great Tohoku Earthquake”
Thanks to the Swine Flu, I now own a bicycle. If that Pig Influenza hadn’t sidelined me in bed for a week, I would have surely blown another paycheck on yet one more all-you-can-drink karaoke session. But as it happened, once my fever broke, my wallet contained a spare hundred bucks worth of yen, so off I went to the bike store. I bought the largest bike I could find. It was still tiny, like riding a midget, but also just as fun.
It’s been a cold winter, but spring is coming. I haven’t yet burned my apartment building to the ground. I cherish the simple things in life.
I recently bought a space heater to help save some yen on my electric bill. Before moving to Japan, I somehow pictured living in a high-rise apartment with a panoramic city view. Champagne and sushi, that kind of thing. The dream did not include sitting on the floor of a dark, four-story building, staring at the factory across the street while wearing a beanie and drinking cans of Chu-Hi in front of a tiny heater. Reality can be so cruel.
Thus far, I’ve succeeded in taking out two of my four types of garbage. Trash is so fascinating to the Japanese that they’ve seen fit to divide it into four types and given each its own special day of the week for pick-up. There’s Plastic Bottle Day, Can Day, Unburnable Trash Day, and Burnable Trash Day. They even have signs printed in English explaining the concepts. And the first time I read the sign, I was like, “burnable?” Man, I’ve been camping and I know that given a big enough bonfire pretty much anything’s burnable. Trust me, I teach English in your country and I know what “burnable” means. Now quit screwing around and let me take out my trash.