Wednesday, July 30, 2008

No internet for a little bit

Last night we went out on the town and painted it a lurid shade of scarlet. By that I mean that my prefecture went to a traditional Japanese restaurant to have traditional Japanese cuisine. Some of it was a bit odd, sure (why did I have two pieces of raw squid after deciding on the first bite that I wasn't crazy about it?), but overall it was delicious. I stuffed my little face until I could stuff no more, got made fun of for the Epi-pen incident (ask my dad. I told him the whole thing), and laughed and laughed with my Kyotan comrades. Jet lag made everything funny.

After we got back to the hotel I met up with a group of "JETs of African Descent," who invited me out. Last night in Tokyo, what the hey. I went. We ended up in the Roppongi district, the gaijin (foreigner) hub. We danced around and took tons pictures, though not with my camera. I don't need to document the hoedown. You've seen it before.

Next time I'm in Tokyo, I'm totally checking out Lusty Diner. I want to know what's on the inside, at least. I'll put it on my list of Things To Do In Japan:
  1. Climb Mt. Fuji
  2. See a snow monkey in Hokkaido
  3. Ride to the top of Tokyo Tower
  4. Go to the beach
  5. Find out what's so Lusty about Diner

As a final note, I'm going to Kyoto-fu today, so I probably won't have access to internet for a while. So, in the meantime, comment on my blog, write me an email, and raise a glass in my sweet, sweet memory. Kumpai!

Sayonara until later.
Laurel out.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Do I know what's going on?

I did this last night at about 10:00 Tokyo time. I don't feel much different this morning. I woke up at 1:00 in the morning (my body told me that it was 11:00 a.m.), took a Nyquil (self-medication!), went back to sleep, and woke up with the sun at 5:00 a.m. (3:00, says this body 'o mine). Right now in it's 5:50 in the morning. I envy my roomate, who can sleep through the night, and is still peacefully snoozing.

On the left is the view of Tokyo from the hotel window this morning. The Keio Plaza Hotel is located in the business district of Tokyo (Shinjuku), and is the swankiest place in which I've ever stayed. Lush towels, yukatas (summer kimonos, to be used as houserobes in this case), flat screen TV, a retro kind of bedstand/console that allows us to control all the room's functions from the bed, a toilet that makes a flushing noise as soon as you sit down (to help with stage fright, if you know what I mean) and is also supposed to function as a bidet, free toothbrushes and such…I could go on, but just take my word for it; it's a nice hotel.

I don't feel out of my element yet, but that's simply because my roomate can read a lot of the characters used (there are three different kinds, remember?). Thankfully "ramen" is a word they pulled from Chinese, so it's always written in a certain type of character. If I memorize it, I'll never go hungry. By the way, "gummy," as in gummy worm, is also written in the character set reserved for foreign words and emphasis, and it's just two characters. So until I get some more characters under my belt, I'll be eating ramen noodles and gummy things only.

Last note: Yesterday on the stupid plane I watched Once Upon A Time In The West, which I had rented from iTunes. Except for one John Wayne film and Oklahoma! it's the first western I've watched. So, I suppose it's the third western movie I've seen all the way through. I liked it. I'm not going to put it on my list of favorites, but I totally understand why it's considered a classic. And who can forget the two main melodies of the film? A sorrowful harmonica and a wordless soaring soprano, the two quintessential elements required for a good western soundtrack. I would know—I've seen three westerns.

Jetlag is the poops.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Neeeeeeeeew Record!

Two posts in one day! Huzzah!

I've eaten more jelly beans than I care to count, written thank-you notes, met some cool folk (and some weirdies), and have been told to pack my brain. I was also told what to pack in my brain, which reminds me…Hey, Mom, could you send me the sense of humor that I left in the second dresser drawer? I totally overlooked it when packing up the old brain box.

Tomorrow we set out pretty early (I have to be in the hotel lobby at the ungodly hour of 5:30 a.m.) Though the Deathly Hallows call to me, I anticipate passing out completely, and being mistaken for comatose by anyone in transit to Detroit. Why the heck do we need to be at the airport three hours ahead of schedule, and likely without breakfast? Anyone?

I've repacked a little, and I might actually not have a lady offer to walk be hind me in case I drop something. Success?

See ya'll in a week, or whenever I get the chance to use the internet.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Final Countdown/No Time!

This is my message from last night:

This is literally being published on my way out the door. The party was awesome, bye-bye everyone, and keep reading my blog!

Quick update: I'm in the Holiday Inn near the Bush airport in Houston. Free wifi is the best. Uneventful flight, hoping that the tax forms I just learned about go through, talking to a man who is telling me all the things I'm going to enjoy based on the Chinese. To his credit, his wife in Chinese and still lives in China, so he has some experience. Also, he keeps referring to me as African American. I haven't corrected him yet, because he's a stranger, but I think I'd almost prefer being asked what I am. NOT BLACK. Not any blacker than Barack Obama, at least. Zing! I can't check in for another 30 minutes, and I'm bored. The insurance salesman is upset about someone's doctor and prescriptions. Mayhap I will cradle him and sing him Kumbayah.

While in the airport a lady offered to carry my stuff for me, and when I declined her offer she walked behind me to make sure that nothing fell off. I'm pretty sure she thought I was much younger than my years.

For those of you with whom I shared my concerns about business attire: I was told twice that I look very professional. Success, green dress!

Happy Graduation, Barron Charles Patrick Ryan. You are now a responsible citizen.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Just Like Humans

I regretted the Ice Cream Sandwich post once my dear father decided it would be a good idea to show my aunt and uncle, while I was sitting there, cringing. My father regrets nothing. If you miss the Ode, or haven't seen it yet, email me. I'll send it to you as long as I don't have to be there when you watch it.

Happy Fourth, Interweb. My cousin and I talked through a patriotic concert, we swam, ate grilled burgers, watched fireworks on TV while the old folks snorted about money literally going up in smoke, and other such festivities. I showed Grandma the cool features on my laptop, like how it could take photos. No matter how many times I told her, she never looked at the lens, always at the the pictures. As I've said before, it's tempting to stare at one's good-looking mug when it's filling the screen.

Grandma, who will turn 98 in December and still gets around, wanted to see the pictures I had taken of Water Play days at work. At the bar in my aunt's house, with my parents and aunt and uncle milling in the background, I was showing her pictures of the children, telling her about each toddler's idiosyncrasies. "This child likes to yell my name until I pay attention, then will have nothing to say," and the like. Grandma was just tickled, commenting on how cute the kids all were. She'd ask leading questions, like, "Are they a-cryin when they get there in the morning?" or "Do they try to talk to you?" just to get me to imitate them (Grandma is a big fan of the impression). After going through the majority of the pictures, she made this gem of a comment:

"They're just like little humans, aren't they?"

I took a deep breath, ignored the uproarious laughter in the background (Grandma didn't pay attention to her offspring), and said, "Yes, Grandma. The kids are just like little humans." I did not laugh, just smiled extra hard.

After a moment I dared to turn around, and Dad said, "Now, I expect that to show up on your blog."

And there you have it.