Japanese bugs are weird! I can't tell you how many times I go to my bike in the morning, and there is some green and purple thing with florescent wings and 15 legs crawling on it. Weird!
Kayo and I spent a weekend at a hot spring in Yumura recently. The service at the Japanese inn (ryokan) was awesome. The decor was so Japanese that I was prepared for a decadent ninja battle at all times. Kayo and I took a walk around the small town wearing yukatas and wooden sandals. Then we relaxed at the free public foot spa. We had dinner served in our room, then later that night we took baths. I like hot springs, but I don't like old Japanese men staring at my peas and carrot, so I covertly went to the bath late at night. Lucky for naked me, I had the whole place to myself. The next morning we had breakfast served in our room. Our room attendant Kayo (same name) was a very sweet older woman, but I think she had a bus to catch back to Osaka that morning cuz she busted into our room at like 7:30 am and started serving breakfast. She kept asking us when we were leaving and looking at the wall clock. She even started cleaning the room while we were still in it.
I F**ked Up the Drink Machine
Kayo and I often go to karaoke, and this one place we love has free self-serve refills on drinks. I tried to use this one machine, but none of the buttons worked. So naturally I did what any rational person would do and pressed every button about 500 times before finally giving up and trying another machine. I went back soon after for another refill and saw towels everywhere around that "broken" machine. Shop staff were even mopping the floor. Whooops! I think I did that. It reminded me of the time way back at Embassy Suites when Sarah and I went to the elevator, and I tried to spin back kick the elevator button. I accidentally clipped an ash tray stand and smashed the crap out of it, spilling black sand everywhere. The crash was deafening. When a security guy came because of the loud crash, I just said, "I'm sorry. I...ah...I...um...tripped over it."
Cardamon Curry Restaurant
Kayo and I tried a new curry restaurant in Tottori. It has 10 different levels of spiciness, so without hesitation I ordered 10 (the spiciest). The guy asked, "Are you sure? We really don't recommend 10 especially if it's your first time here." Having come to know that Japan doesn't understand the definition of the word "spicy," I was like, "Whatever, dude! Gimme 10, boy!!" Kayo wanted to keep up so she also ordered 10.
It was the spiciest thing I had ever eaten--like I was eating a plate of pepper spray that people use for self-defense. We tried in vain to mitigate the pepper spray taste with rice. We were both sweating, and I started seeing ghosts and spirits floating in the air. I entered an altered state of consciousness as my soul literally started leaving my smoldering body. The staff constantly brought us water pitchers and tissues, and even the kitchen chef peeked his head out to see the rare attraction. We drank about 9 gallons of water each and blanketed the table with our snot-soaked tissues. We hobbled out of there humbled by the experience. Who would've guessed that Tottori, Japan would provide me with the spiciest meal of my life? Later we both felt terribly sick and were forced to cancel our evening outing with friends. Big surprise, eh?
I did a show in Osaka recently, but this time I had a full band. Some people I had met at previous shows really wanted to play together with me, so we made it happen. They live in Osaka, so they practiced on their own with my CD. Then the day of the show, we had about 1 hour of practice together. I was nervous about this factor; however, they all turned out to be extremely professional musicians (most working as studio players), so my fears were unfounded. The show went pretty well, and you can see some of the videos on my website.
Kayo and I went to Okinawa--a first for both of us. We stayed one night on the main island, then went to this tiny island called Kumejima for 3 nights. There isn't much on Kumejima except for sugarcane fields and empty white sand beaches, and this is the primary reason I chose it (my Japan tour book's recommendation). It was as relaxing as I had hoped--like a mind & body retreat. We didn't do much of anything besides relax, and that was the whole point. I went cycling around the island one day and visited a sanshin shop. The sanshin is a traditional stringed Okinawan musical instrument much like a Japanese shamisen. I was tempted to buy one, but feared its inevitable fate as a dust collector. I did buy an Okinawan liquor called habushu. It's made by putting a snake in to add flavor. Many bottles actually contain the dead snake; however, I opted for the smaller, cheaper bottle without the snake carcass. The flavor is difficult to describe. Very...ahhh...interesting. They say the snake makes you strong, so you might notice that I'm all buff the next time you see me.
Dave From Kansas
My coworker Rebecca returned to England, so the new teacher Dave came. He's from Kansas and seems like a nice guy, but his name bothers me. I live way out in countryside Japan, and my new coworker shares my name. Damn. Why so many Daves in this world?
Anyways, we had a big farewell/welcome party for the 2 of them. That's about all I have to say about that as I've gotten quite used to coworkers coming and going. It makes me realize that I've been here far longer than the average AEON teacher.
I'm leaving AEON and Tottori soon, and some things I will miss while others I won't. This should make for a good summary of the countryside Japan English conve...
Dance Club I finally went clubbing in Tottori a few times. The club had a small, community-like feeling to it, so I kinda felt like I was at the local hoe-down...