Monday, 8 June 2009

Genghis Kong vs. Rikkyo University

The more astute among you may have noticed that haven't blogged for a while. I would cite the usual excuses, but I think we can probably skip that part and move on, okay?

It is June already - a fact which has taken me very much by surprise. I think by the time June has come around no one can pretend it's late Spring any more; it is most emphatically Summer now. In England, of course, Summer and June are synonymous with sunshine, barbecues, afternoons in beer gardens, bumblebees in the garden and all such idyllic scenes of British summer. Not so in Tokyo, I'm afraid, where Summer is a by-word for sweltering heat and humidity and June signals not the start of the barbecue season, but of the rainy season.

No, Summer is not Tokyo's finest season. The weather in Spring was extremely fine, but it's more-or-less downhill from here until September now. Nothing but rain, steam and heatstroke to look forward too for the next 8 weeks.

That's right, in only 8 weeks (actually, slightly less than 8 weeks) I shall be returned to England and celebrating a Birthday in the garden/park/pub/gutter (probably in that order). It seems extraordinarily soon now, although I must admit my feelings about that are mixed. I shan't deny that I am extremely keen to get home - I miss my family, my friends, my home and just being with my own people. My own sarcastic, cynical, bitter, alcohol-dependent countrymen with whom I have so much in common.

But despite my desire to be back on Her Majesty's soil, I can't help but feel that I have not yet achieved all that I set to in Japan. Indeed, I have achieved virtually nothing that I set out to, and i can't shake the feeling that my return home to England will be tinged with regret at having (as I see it) wasted a year of my life, not to mention a great opportunity to improve myself (and, of course, my Japanese). I don't quite know where it all went awry... When I first got to Japan I spent a lot of time with Japanese people - you may remember the IFL from earlier blog posts - but rapidly came to the conclusion that I didn't like them, so I basically stopped socialising with any Japanese people. Now, I'm not saying that I don't like any Japanese people, just that I don't much like the IFLs and I failed to find any better Japanese with which to replace them.

And so I came to socialise almost exclusively with Americans, which really does defeat the purpose of spending a year in Japan.

I went to Yokohama National University last weekend to drink with my mate James, and there I got a glimpse of what could have been. My university, Rikkyo, is an elite Tokyo private university with a very small student body. It owns an elementary school, a middle school and a high school which feed directly into it, and creates a student populace of incredibly sheltered, unworldly, small-minded, posh, rich Tokyoites with whom I can't find any common ground. They have such a sheltered, simplistic view of the world that conversing with them is really more akin to talking to children than university students, and in general I just find them infantile, shallow and uninteresting. Clearly, there are a few who are aberrations in this society of wide-eyed but tiny-minded children, and as far as possible I try to hang out with them, but overall my attempts to socialise with Rikkyo students have been largely unsuccessful.

Yokohama National University, by contrast, is a large state-funded university - neither elite nor Tokyo-based - and as far as I can tell is populated by a throng of rowdy drunkards, musicians, dance crews, bums and (presumably) a few serious students. In short, roughly what a student body ought to be. I can't help but feel that had I gone to Yoko Uni instead, I might have made more of myself this year. But there's nothing to be done about it now, and no sense in regretting a decision which was almost entirely out of my control. Besides, if I had gone to Yokohama I know for ceratin that I would have had no money and would have been living in the grottiest dormitories imaginable.

This is a picture of Yokohama University. Those signs say 'Tequila'. I think these men were associated with the Rock Music Society or something, and that's why they were selling me tequila. Or something. Either way, they were selling tequila with no shirts on.

You see what I mean? This university is clearly made for me! Alcohol and shirtless men? It's perfect!

Aside from my trip to Yokohama, my life has taken on a fairly mundane rhythm. It involves mostly going to school, going to the gym and going to karaoke. And eating. That's pretty much it. However, I have replaced variety of activities in my life with sheer quantity of the only four things I do. Except school - I still just do the bare minimum of school. But I go to the gym 2-3 hours a day, 6 days a week, I go to karaoke 2-3 times a week, for 5-7 hours at a time, and I aim to eat between 5 and 7 meals a day. By the time I get back to England I am going to be weirdly muscular and incredibly good at singing karaoke. I'm a little bit concerned about my rapid musculation - I find the idea of me being all ripped and muscley and what-not to be really quite disturbing. Check out my muscular back:

Sorry about the weird angle - taking a photo of your own back is rather tricky.

But anyway, if I keep working out at this rate for the next 2 months, there's a definite risk that I'll be getting rather buff by the time I come home. I don't think I'm mentally prepared for that.

Here's a picture of my 2 most stalwart karaoke companions. We've got some seriously deep three-part harmonies going on. You've never heard Kiss From a Rose or Can You Feel the Love Tonight sound so good.

Ummm... No homo, okay?

And here's a photo of my balls in a dude's face. Again, no homo.

And essentially that is what I've been doing recently.

Hope you all are well.
Write soon,

Genghis Kong xx.


Jethro said...

Dude, you're going to the gym LOADS, getting all ripped and you're putting balls in the faces of other men....
How can you claim no homo?

greg said...

you got a sexy back