A Travellerspoint blog

I been molested

20 °C

I feel so dirty. It has been almost a month now and I havent been able to bring myself to write about it.
It was 12am, a friday night. My flatmates were asleep, lost in shroud of the sandman. The streets were quiet, the pavements wet from the soft drizzle of rain. I wandered down to the Internet cafe and plugged myself into its Matrix. The hours disappeared and soon I felt the tug of slumber, my eyes heavy, my back growing more and more curved like a pen left in a hot car. I hit the elevator button and waited. I heard the approach of a drunken group behind me and felt a repeated tap on my shoulder.
"Herro ... Hel ... Hellooooo." I turned to find the swaying red face of a middle age businessman, his breath laced with beer and tabaco. His thinner friend giggled behind him like a school girl while their female companion looked on with slight bemusment.
"Hello," I said before I had realised. Had I just invited a conversation?
"Where from you?"
"Australia."
"Ahhhhh ..... *insert drunken japanese rambling* Austr...*hic*...Australua". A loud ding had summoned the elevator and we staggered in. It occured to me that I was trapped, tucked against the back wall. The descent was quick and painful. Silence floated above us like a dead goldfish. I could hear their brains ticking over, clawing through the haze for other english words. Perhaps their intoxication would help me escape alive.
The door opened and they stumbled forth. I let out a quiet sign and as I shuffled past, the leader suddenly spun on his heels, defing gravity as he rocked back and forth.
"My name Yuuta. Meet you nice," he said grinning and extending his hand. Reluctantly, I took it and gave it a firm shake. He pull me towards him, quickly pulling my fingers, each of them cracking on que. The lady shook her head in the background. "Dont worry. Me doctor," he said. My adrenline kicked in, did I sense danger, could I see what was coming next?
His friend stepped up next and extended his hand. I had to take it. I had no escape. As he shook it, he swing his other arm down and around, firmly grabbing my balls and lifting them. I stood silent. Frozen in time and space. I felt as though I had been turned into a naked white plaster statue and some bizarre floor show was about to follow.
"Dont worry, " I heard his words begin, "I am ..." but he seemed to get distant. Somewhere far off I heard laughing. My mouth had fallen open and I seemed to be stammering a syllable over and over and over. Wha ... wha ... what? ... As the shock disappeared and the fog lifted, I realised that the laughing had been my attackers. They were 1/2 down the street before I snapped back to reality. The light patter of rain formed puddles on my glasses as I wandered into the night, alone and confused.

Posted by ImpBob36 08:13 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Gomi Returns

How to fill an apartment for free

semi-overcast 19 °C

I heard the front door unlock around 3:00am. There was a small shuffle, a stumble and something rocked itself into a stationary position. I openned my door. My flatmate stood with a large grin on his face.
"We need the fridge space brother," he said

.....

My obsession had started a few years back, on my first trip to Japan. Every 2nd Tuesday of the month, my friends and myself would put on our blackest clothes and venture into the dark. By 1am, most of the windows lights were out and we thought it was somehow more respectful. During those darken hours, we would scourer through rubbish piles new and far for anything that looked useful, interesting or simply good bragging rights. I had dragged home a 1.5M glass top table, bar fridge, numerous gold plated decorations. News of glorious piles travelled fast between groups on those nights. "yeah, 3 blocks over, near the yellow car is great for plates and cutlery" and within 10 minutes we would be grinning at our new forks and knives. We aquired mattress for others, and even sent for reinforments for the 72inch TV, balancing it precariously on a bicycle seat with 4 of us trying to steer the 3km back to the apartment block. It would have gone down in the history as the best find of the year had it worked. Those were the days ...

....

I could see the glint of excitment in his eyes.

"I got a chair aswell, although we might need to cover it with something. The woods pretty rotten underneath. Word has it theres a Unicycle a few blocks over" What the hell do we need with a Unicycle? He open the fridge and produced 8 plates, 4 cups and a number of butter knives. The fridge was 3/4 the size of the one the 3 of us had used. It was a good find.
"How the hell did you get it home?" I asked. He turned and produced a small wooden square with castor wheels on its base. "Ahh, I understand"

We have been out 4 nights in a row now. More chairs, more plates. Our other flatmate must wonder where all the new kitchen utensils come from but she hasnt said anything. His balcony is quickly becoming a comfortable place to sit, with a new couch (complete with taped up backboard), white plastic hanging rods for a clothes line. Last night we carried 2 bricks to shuffle his aircon unit off the ground and back into the corner of the ledge. This gave us an extra foot of leg space.

Now if only we could find that Unicycle again ...

Posted by ImpBob36 11:06 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Night View

overcast 16 °C

9pm. Another cloudy night.

A cool breeze wisps my long hair across my face, tickling my nose and cheeks. Yoda river stretches before me from left to right. I can see it shimmering and rippling in the reflected streetlight glow. Car headlights dance up and down the numerous bridges; golden orbs towards me and strawberry red moving away. Giant silver snakes glidge across the waterway, their many windows look like large yellow scales down the side of their belly. Chachink-chachink Chachink-chachink. From here, I can almost make out the tired and weary businessmen only now beginning to head home.

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Blurry skyline ... what do you expect from a phone camera?

Umeda rises up from across the water. Large skyscapers freckled in yellow windows and flashing red spots. The smell of salt water catches on the breeze and brings with it a scent of fried chicken and seaweed. In the foreground a cat rummages through a pile of rubbish, cans, paper, plastic, looking for a discarded food or a small rodent to call a meal. It calls out in frustration before slinking past me and disappearing into the shadows. A low rumble above me and the clouds light up. An invisible plane glides somewhere beyond, its headlights like 2 large china plates marching across the sky. And then they are gone, disappearing behind the square apartment blocks behind me.

My flatmates are sick. Tonite I am alone by the river, burning smells and images in my head. My legs dangling over the concrete edge above the sand flats and riverbank before me.I want to remember it all. I want to be able to close my eyes and be back here; feel the wind again, smell the air, taste the breeze, hear the city breathe around me.

And as the wind picks up I paste the last of my memories into my mind, grab my bag and wander back through the streets to my room.

Posted by ImpBob36 19:46 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

The Devil ...

... and his many disguises

semi-overcast 12 °C

I wake up an hour before my alarm. Its 10am. I cant seem to fall back to sleep. My thoughts drift back to the night before, attempting to focus on the plotline and twists of of "24". Desperate for English TV, we had hired out season 2 and watched the first 4 hours, back to back. In a drowsy haze, I try to pull together its delicate web as I complete my morning rituals.

I am half way through frying up some Tofu and Soy Sauce when my flatmate wanders out. He cluches his stomache and grimaces from beneath his bedevilled hair. He doesnt need to speak. I understand the look of terror and his nervous smile. Today is the first day of the school year proper.

-----

Somewhere in Takatsuki City (Kansai area) is a Japanese lass excitedly blowing up balloons and tacking decorations around the foyer and rooms. She has already layed out the 8 name badges, each delicately handwritten; pink for girls, blue for boys. They lie silently in the center of the new cushions which are carefully arranged in a semi-circle. She wonders quietly to herself if the room needs more green or red to be balanced. Will blue create a friendly atmosphere, will pink soften it? What would a group of 6 year old prefer?

She again cleans the large windows which make up the internal walls, there can be no smudges or streaks. In a few hours, the room will be full of excited children run and screaming and having fun, their parents pressed against the glass. Some will hid conspiciously around the corner, out of their child's view but their every sigh and shuffle caught in a teachers peripherial vision. Others will simply look on and offer the occasional smile or wave of encouragement.

-----

"Oh god. I dont think I can eat this. Im gonna be sick!" cries my flatmate. Im 1/2 way through the tofu omelette I cooked and send him a shrug.
"Ive got a group of 4-6 year olds, 8x 6-9 years olds, and a adult group class! Not to mension the FTLs. Atleast you get to sing "Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" By the time you teach the vocab, thats bound to kill 10 minutes right there," I reply. He glances over at me and back at his toast.
"True say, " he smiles, "atleast its not as bad as your schedual." Damn, hes right.
We pour over the training material, desperate for some insight into classroom management, implementing rules, song lyrics, flash card usage, alphabet activities. After an hour, the words start swimming on the page. We drive ourselves crazy with worst case scenarios, then recount out own years of mischief from our pre-teen school days.
"Oh god. Its gonna be hell," we both chorus in unison.

-----

I arrive at the school an hour early. I need to prep my room, write my lesson plan on the whiteboard, lay the flashcards out, check the pens work, que the cassette tapes. I can hear a high pitch squeal from the foyer. I glance at the clock. 5 mintues to the hour, 5 minutes till the class. The sound of chatter gets louder and louder as the kids assemble outside. I try not too look. Finish your board work. Do I have all the colour cards. A cookie monster hand puppet lays limp at my feet.

I hear a noise and turn. Small faces with giant eyes peek around the corner. Now I feel sick. Turn back, turn back! Greet students, do the roll call, teach colours ... Black, pink, blue, green, red ... wheres red?!?

I can hear them creep closer. I turn and they run out, shrieking and laughing. With my back towards them they again creep closer. Turning, i hear them giggle and see only their little legs as they bolt outside. Again and again and again we play this game, each time they creep further and further in, testing my boundries, while I check my materials. I glance at the clock. Its time. I don the Cookie Monster hand puppet and take a deep breath. Wish me luck, I say to him as I approach the door and motion for them to line up.

And then I go blank ....

Posted by ImpBob36 10:43 Archived in Japan Comments (1)

Dinning Out

How to be aan Ubergeek

overcast 14 °C

You might think in Japan there is a language problem when ordering from Resturants. Considering they speak Japanese and I speak English you might even be willing to through some money down it.

The new foreigner usually go through several levels.
Denial - McDonalds and KFC are their main diets. So pleased with themselves that they can point to a picture of a Big Mac

Anger - McDonalds and KFC still dominate but they are angry that it doesnt taste like home. And WTF is an Ebisu-burger (prawn burger BTW)

Adventure - Stepping into the supermarket can be intimidation but every foriegner soon finds his way to the cup-o-noodles and spagettii.

Acceptance - If you aint gonna lean the language, take a wild stab at the menu. After all, it isnt all raw fish and seaweed right?

Ordering - Most places have a window which displays all the prices with a realistic plastic model right beside it. Sometimes you can order with basic words (Curry o-kudasai - please give me a curry). Alternatively, drag the poor confuesed lass outside and point at the desired item.

Ordering (with Ubergeek style) - Grab your cool funky mobile phone and take a picture of you food.

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Tonights food

Technology has never tasted soooo sweet

Posted by ImpBob36 03:19 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

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