Monday, 6 October 2008

Genghis Kong vs. Studying

Hello fans!

Long time no speaky! How are you all doing?

Yes, it's been more than a week since last we spoke. I apologise. The fault is entirely my own. It's just that I've been rather busy, you see? Mostly with schoolwork, as it happens. Somebody told me that Japanese University is really easy, which it may turn out to be, but you have to do an awful lot of work - I have homework due in every single day of the week! Having said that, the homework is mostly pretty easy, but still, it means I have to spend a lot of time actually working and studying, which is a rather novel experience for me.

But apart from busy I've also been rather lazy, and rather short of exciting things to write about - in a remarkably short space of time living in Japan has become my everyday, run-of-the-mill routine, so it hardly seems worth writing about to me. There are, of course, still plenty of things which make me scratch my head in disbelief though.

For example: On Saturday evening I was walking through Ikebukuro station, quietly minding my own business, when a little Jap came running up to me from behind and, without offering any explanation, started humming a peculiar little tune at me, whilst waving some strange book in my face. I looked at him blankly (I was taken totally unprepared and didn't even have time to use a Gaijin Optic Blast), and, grinning, he simply continued to hum his little tune and point purposefully at the book he held. The look in his eyes told me he was expecting something - some kind of recognition or sign of understanding from me, but I was (understandably) baffled, and din't know what to say to him.

I told him I didn't understand, and I could see his spirits fall. He continued with his tune, but his face had taken on a timorous caste, his eyes pleading for me to validate this little performance, but I didn't know how. With a shrug of my shoulders, his hopes were crushed. His song trailed off and, lowering the book, he apologised, and scuttled away with a look of absolute mortification on his face. I was left bewildered, and felt more than a little sorry for the man, who clearly wanted to tell me something, but I had failed to understand him.

The book he was waving at me was written all in Japanese so I didn't really understand it, but it had a picture of King of the Hill on one page.

"I don't suppose," I asked one of my friends with whom I was walking, "that that tune he was humming was the King of the Hill theme tune, was it?"

"Yeah, actually I think it was..."

Then it dawned on me. This peculiar little man had been trying to tell me, through the medium of humming and pointing, that I look like Hank out of King of the Hill! What an absolute cunt! I mean, sure, I was wearing jeans, a white T-Shirt and glasses, but still - you don't go up to a complete stranger and tell him he looks like a fat, drunk, middle-aged, depressing, American cartoon propane salesman! What a complete and utter bastard!

I'm never going out wearing a plain white T-shirt again.

I think I might buy myself a T-Shirt with "Honey is the Intense Fanny" written on it instead. That'd be good, wouldn't it? Luckily, some clever Japanese clothing designer has already manufactured such a T-shirt! I kid you not - "Honey is the Intense Fanny". On a T-shirt.

Other than being harassed by unpleasant little yellow folk in underground stations, I have been settling in to the rather humdrum business of daily life - not that I'm saying that's a bad thing. We can all benefit from a bit of regularity in our lives (as well as in our digestion).

I have class first period every day, so I'm up at 7am every morning. I haven't quite worked out what people eat for breakfast in this country, and after several deeply disappointing experiments with Japanese bacon, I have more or less given up, so for breakfast I have a bowl of Miso soup and a glass of tomato juice. No, this is not a satisfying breakfast, but it's better than Japanese bacon, and I can't be bothered to start grilling fish at 7 o'clock in the morning. So, I spend my first lesson (which is always Japanese language) with crippling hunger pains, but it's okay because at 10.30 class finishes and I can go to the cafeteria for a very early lunch.

Cafeteria food is pretty tasty to be honest, but in a deeply unsubtle way. It features pretty prominently deep-fried things and curry sauce, which is always a winning combination.

3 days out of 5, first period is also my last class, leaving me with a LOT of spare time on my hands. So far I haven't really found a productive way to fill it although i do study a bit. Its also kind of hard to come up with fun things to do on your own in the middle of the day for free/cheap, but quite often I go and sit in a coffee shop and read a book, which is perfectly pleasant.

The rest of the day is usually frittered away watching TV, playing computer games, learning Kanji, studying, frittering, cooking, eating, chilling etc etc blah blah blah. Japanese TV, by the way, is rubbish. I swear there are no hyper-violent or ridiculous game shows, just strange people doing strange things I don't understand, or answering incredibly easy questions wrong on TV game shows (there was one game show where the contestants were invited to answer questions based on the year 3 curriculum. Some of them scored, like, 20% or less). But watching Sumo is pretty funny.

I saw a real live sumo wrestler the other day. He wobbled in all kinds of amusing ways. Lol.

I haven't really been taking that many pictures lately, I'm afraid. Wherever I go there seem to be at least 15 other people with cameras, so I sort of feel, why should I bother - the pictures are gonna be on Facebook soon anyway - but here's a nice one of me and a load of people sitting in a place.

Isn't that lovely? Yes it is.

I feel I'm rather running out of steam for this post - I'll get back t you when I think of some more interesting stuff to say. For now, I'm hungry, so I'm gonna go make some food.

Until next time, then,

Ooh, oooh I
Ooh, oooh I
Ooh, oooh I,
I just know that something good is gonna happen

Good tune, but nowhere near as good as the Kate Bush original.

Genghis xx


Rave said...

In that photo of the people on the steps, Hank from King of the HIll appears to have snuck in on the right, second row from the back....

call-me-queen said...

Surprisingly enough, theres not many people in the photo doing the victory sign - and in fact youre the only one smiling doing it...and upon closer inspection - you may be the only one really smiling! glad to see they haven't crushed you yet!
anyway - plan is next year to come out for another 3 months [will probably end up being about the same time again] then the year after that Junya has offered to get officially married on paper, then we can have the ceremony a year or two later - it will just be easier visa-wise.
PS: Have you not been using your Japanese in conversation?? Why didn't you ask the little jap what he meant? Then you could've said you're actually an English 21 year old who's studying Japanese! 日本人が差別本当に好きだよね
Gaijin Smash!!

Genghis Kong said...

I was far too confused to respond - i didn't work out what he meant until after he had scurried away looking really embarrassed.

Still, if I ever see him again, I'll be sure to talk to him.

hegforshort said...

Wow take your pick from the hotties in that photo! If your into that sort of thing.... japs that is. Anywho, enough of that. It seems much of a conincidence that just as Hank from king of the hill walks by, he has a book in order to point to, just at hand! Hmmm. Not missing too much here... just the good music. Been to any clubs there? Your blog is gaining readership by the day over here, keep it up. xxx

hegforshort said...
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Anonymous said...

Just thought I'd say how much I'm enjoying your blog, Woody! I am diligently following it, every post makes me giggle. Pick me up some Pocky and a copy of FRUiTS!