Japanese Winter, Mighty Frosty

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.

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Growing Old in Japan

When I finally looked in the mirror after a month of eikaiwa teaching, my first thought was—who the hell’s that? My signature dark and flowing locks, which had once glowed with the radiance of a dozen hair-care products, had gone white almost overnight. While it’s true that I might have had one or two gray hairs before, my class load was clearly making me look like Keith Richards before my time. Continue reading “Growing Old in Japan”

The Dangers of Recycling

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.

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After the Last Train, it’s Ramen, Amen

So somehow it came to pass that I found myself in Ikebukuro at 3:30 a.m., drinking malt liquor, eating kimchee and a really fabulous grilled mackerel, helping this random izakaya owner translate his signs into English.  If you go into a bar there and see a “Customers must pay when they order” sign, then yeah, that was me.

Though I’m happy to finally be teaching in Japan, I’m certain that hummingbirds on crack lead more relaxing lives.  Continue reading “After the Last Train, it’s Ramen, Amen”