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”
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.
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”