I live in Tokyo now but most of my friends and family do not. The main idea here is that I can tell these people about interesting things that happen and are seen.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Whose Job Is It To Write This Stuff?

I don't normally bother to record these things, but I just got my coat back from the drycleaners in a big old plastic bag. It was a bag suitable to contain a large coat.

On the bag is printed the following:


I wrote my first letter to you, and since that time one happy year has elapsed. When I first picked up my pen to write to you, we were total strangers. But now, we are even closer than friend, bound together by the strongest chains of good confidence. As long as we live, this memorable day will be marked on my calendar in brightest red. "Enjoy your Life" to both of us on this our every-day.

Incidentally, one of Futawamukodai's many scary, interferring old ladies gave me a telling-off for taking too long to pick up my coat (!) - "But I was working!" I protested. This was, of course, a total lie - and the lie did not impress, or was perhaps a non-sequitur in this context. I am developing a habit of lying and asking unnecessary questions purely to practice my Japanese, which remains very patchy and generally woeful. I am like a three-year old that for some reason knows the word for "business trip".

Friday, November 24, 2006

Evidence of Activity

Yeah so, I've been pretty quiet I suppose.

You see, someone released a computer game where you can be a Middle Ages Dude and use Strategy. You can even play as the Byzantine Empire... but of course, you gotta unlock them first. I feel ambivalent about having my each and every obsessive foible tapped and ruthlessly exploited by a computer game that is basically a big spreadsheet - I wonder if a fish ever feels flattered: "You put a worm on that nice shiny hook, just for me???"

Nevertheless some scrap of duty towards my friends - both real and imaginary - remains. Here's a sample frame from the next A-S-K update:

(If you're wondering why Keith looks different, this particular comic is set in 1996. It's called "CIBBILIZATIONS TWOS" and was conceived out of my reflections upon my hopeless addiction to games in which you get to be a Dude who Uses Strategy).

Apart from various wastes of time, I have been hunkering down and weathering the inevitable period of disillusionment and vague homesickness that Science tells us is worst around that 3-4 month mark. It ain't nothing to be concerned about, mostly I have just been feeling annoyed about crowded trains and that sort of thing. I must confess that, at times in my private thoughts, I have referred to the Japanese language as "jabbering" - as in the sentence: "WILL YOU NOT CEASE THAT INFERNAL JABBERING, WILL YOU NOT EVER"... anyway I believe I am through the "Grumpy Pants" phase now and I'm feeling pretty decent.

The weather has turned and it is basically like an Auckland midwinter here already. Christmas decorations are everywhere (despite the fact that it is not celebrated outside of department stores here) - in fact a house in my neighbourhood is fair festooned with lights - some incongruously shaped into the silhouette of flamingos - flashbacks to TOKYO BAY SPARKLING NIGHT. The look is completed by a Nativity of sorts in the yard: a glowing Doraemon straddles tinsel-clad Thomas the Tank Engine, as Santa Snoopy looks on with sage approval.

Hmmm. The preceding sentence, though barely intelligible, is a concise and accurate description of the scene. I should get a photo, really.

(Note that this particular house retains its overadorned, schizophrenic tone throughout the year. It is well stocked with ceramic labradors and other such cringeworthy oddments, even in more profane seasons)