Three Moments and a Dream

I saw two first years walking up the stairs so I said “hello” and “see you.”  Little Koudai replied, “See you, baby,”  then turned to his friend and said, “Hellooo, bay-bay.”  Cute.

The first years were introduced to ginger Kevin the basketball player in the textbook last month.  The second we turned the page:

“Wow, Kevin’s cool!”
“It’s likely that Becky likes Ichiro, but Ichiro likes Sakura.  But then Sakura likes Kevin.”
“Wrong. Sakura and Ichiro are dating, but Kevin ….”

Of course, all this was in Japanese and coming from boys.

I’d been having trouble with a handful of my 3rd year boys. One in particular, N., told me to go to hell every time I saw him without fail. And without fail, I threatened to tell the principal that he was being very rude. I recently snapped and finally told my vice principal what was going on. N. was brought into the staff room and he denied everything. But of course, all his classmates ‘fessed up and told the truth.

He had to bow and apologize to everyone for wasting their time and to me for his actions.

A few nights after that, I met my drunk VP and disciplinary teacher (S-sensei) on the way home from Tsutaya. They told me they were sorry about what happened and as I biked away, S-sensei shouted, “N. GOES TO HELL.” And the two laughed as they drunkenly stumbled away.

And just some BG info; I have a dream log that I record substantial-enough dreams in. It’s usually written very hastily right after waking up so my entries tend to be all over the place. I’m surprised that the spelling is as good as it is. But okay:

Lucid-ish dream. In an underground expressway train thing with dad and someone and I realize that this is a dream when we get off and start fighting like Brad Pitt and some lady goons. Go back home and prepare a battle plan to go out and fight again. It’s some wedding and “brother” recognizes some hag in black and is convinced tonight is the night. We aren’t prepapered (well only I am) so we go inside to pack our bags. “Little sister” puts like three ET dolls in the bag and I chuck two out. Look at other “sister’s” clothes choices and edit (let her borrow my black one with gold polka dots on the skirt). Looked for swiss army knife. Grandma hollers for us to eat before we leave and suddenly there are fireworks outside. And the baked potatoes that are burning hot float towards the door and there’s the hag lady there too. I grabbed them and crushed them by the hands bc I knew it was a dream. Then I turned on the lady and started choking her but it turned out she was a dummy. I twisted and crushed her and then showed her to the group. It’s time to leave. I had some designer Tommy Hilfiger dress for no reason.


Nasu’s So Naisu

C, S, and I headed down to Shirakawa and onwards to Nasu on Sunday. And it was lovely. So lovely. If only Koriyama wasn’t such an ‘I’m not a village, not yet a city’ kind of place. It’s just in the middle of the urban heirarchy and I’m pretty sure it’ll look exactly the same 20 years from now.

Nanko Lake was covered in water lilies. And scum. But I was still nice to look at.

The Nanko Shrine suffered a bit of damage from the quake. A stone torii [traditional gate typically at the entrance of Shinto shrines] fell and was relocated to a grass plot towards the back.

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What To Do and NOT Do In Hokkaido

My friend E. and I went to Hokkaido for Golden Week. We took the ferry from Sendai to Tomakomai, and let me tell you, it was horrible. The very limited buffet cost 2 sen ($25+) and the futons were half a person wide and one and a half people long. I was unwillingly touching my neighbors all night. The air smelt of stale cigarettes and everyone and their 3-month-old stared at E. for being noticeably foreign. I’m talking triple-takes and no-so-discreet picture taking. And the water was so rough on the way back that everyone was falling all over themselves, which was admittedly hilarious. But then I had to get sick, which was not so hilarious.

Next time–if there even is a next time–I’m going to use alternative modes of transportation. Unless I’m desperate to save money again. Which I probably will be.

The view from the window. Nothing but sea.

And here begins the list of … :insert drumroll: … (also, please announce this in a cheesy Mr. Movie Trailer Voice)

What to Do and NOT Do in Hokkaido

#1. DO NOT walk from the ferry port to Tomakomai Station. It takes ages and there’s nothing along the way but garbage and sad-looking buildings.

#2. Visit the Jingu Shrine and cross your fingers for some food stalls.

Maybe you’ll even see a wedding

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How to Cook A Husband: The Aunt Stella’s Bag Tells All

I have recently become unhealthily obsessed with Aunt Stella’s cookies. I mean, a different bunch of flavors every time I go??

I. Am. There.

But anyway, the Aunt Stella’s paper bags have fake articles printed on them with titles like “A Recipe to Live By” and “Household Remedies of 1909,” which is chock full of words like burdock root and horehound wild cherry bark. But the best article by far sits right between “The Sky Tells Them Much” (on seafarers and weather prediction) and “The Clouds” (about, well, clouds). And here it is:

How to Cook A Husband

A good many husbands are utterly spoiled by mismanagement. Some women keep them constantly in hot water; others let them freeze by their carelessness and in-difference. Some keep them in a stew by irritating ways and words. Others roast them; some keep them in a pickle all their lives. It cannot be supposed that any husband will be tender and good managed in this way, but they are really delicious when properly treated.

In selecting your husband you should not be guided by the silvery appearance, as in buying mackerel, nor by the golden tint, as if you wanted salmon. Be sure and select him yourself, as tastes differ. Don’t go to the market for him, as the best are always brought to your door. It is far better to have none unless you know how to cook him.

A preserving kettle of the finest porcelain is best, but if you have nothing but an earthenware pipkin, it will do, with care. See that the linen in which you wrap him is nicely washed and mended, with the required number of buttons and strings nicely sewed on. Tie him in the kettle by a strong silk cord called comfort, as the one called duty is apt to be weak and they are apt to fly out of the kettle and be burned and crusty on the edges, since like crabs and lobsters, you have to cook them alive.

Make a clear, steady fire out of love, neatness, and cheerfulness. Set him as near this as seems to agree with him. If he sputters and fizzles, do not be anxious; some husbands do this till they are quite done. Add a little sugar in the form of what confectioners call kisses, but no vinegar or pepper on any account; a little spice improves them, but it must be used with judgment. Do not stick any sharp instruments into him to see if he is becoming tender. Stir him gently; watch the while, lest he lie flat and too close to the kettle, and so become useless. You cannot fail to know when he is done. If thus treated you will find him very digestible, agreeing nicely with you and the children, and he will keep as long as you want, unless you become careless and se him in too cold a place.

This was published in 1910 by the Home Mission Society of the Moravian Church.

Bon appétit!

Abe Ten-ei

One of the stops E. and I took during our Golden Week holiday was the Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art.

There was a special exhibit of the very varied works of one Abe Ten-ei, the most adorably handsome old man in all of Japan.

We were taking pictures of really frustratingly shiny copper bottles and suddenly I hear, “どこの出身 [Where are you from]?” and “芸術家です [I am the artist].”


I haven’t been able to find anything on him in English, so I’ll type up the good bits of his introduction at the museum.

Born in Sapporro in 1939, Ten-ei Abe devoted himself to studying art on his own during his high school years. At the age of 21 and 22, he entered abstract paintings in a national level painting contest and received awards. After that, he made the transition from paintings to reliefs and then to three-dimensional works, including objects, sculptures, and installations. His travels on the road of creation, which span more than half a century, are heavily infused in the avant-garde spirit, interweaving with the most advanced innovations of the times. But the wellspring of his approach to art actually dates back to his childhood years … [when he was] immersed in the hard work that [his] household needed to survive. It was there that the severe conditions of nature revealed their bountiful pleasures in ways he would never forget. The creatures of the sea that were constant companions in those days were to become one of Abe’s richest wellsprings of imagery, continuing to inspire him even now.

He kind of kept an eye out for us and tried to explain everything we were standing near since there wasn’t much English signage. What a sweet man. And he even let people take pictures of his work so bravo.

I cannot do these things justice. They were hyper-polished globs of molten metal.

Love his signature.

A wall of lovely brides, off to their wedding ceremony.

My favorite little bride.

He made a cute zodiac series for some children’s book. Look at those tiny glasses.

Just as we were leaving, we saw Mr. Abe again and I asked him why he used so many different media instead of focusing on one. He replied something along the lines of, “A painter uses colors like yellow and green on his easel. Well, silver and wood and clay are my colors.”

List #3

I have a baby name spreadsheet.  I started it almost a decade ago when I was bored and haven’t looked at it in ageessss.  And I have no idea what whimsical, pretentious, self-hating phase I was going through, but I am in tears over how horrible some of these names are.

A Day at the Zoo

I spent my last day in Tokyo at the Ueno Zoo.

Some of the sakura trees in the park were in bloom. There were a few random groups having hanami parties on blue tarp and virtually every other person was huddled under the blossoms with their cameras/phones/camcorders out.

The main attraction at the zoo atm are two pandas on loan from China. Did you know that most countries have to pay China $1 million a year for their pandas?

In any case, the line was MASSIVE, so naturally I just snuck to the back and zoomed in on Ri Ri (or was it Shin Shin?) with my camera. I mean, sure they’re cute, but panda, please, I am not going to wait 30+ minutes to look at them up close.

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