I have officially been in Kameoka for a week and a day. Officially. I'm pretty sure that someone is keeping track of it. Here's just an average mountain. Whatever. The BOE, where my main desk is, looms out of sight to my left. SoftBank, who will not let me have a cell phone, also skulks in the western shadows, but on the far side or the street. My apartment is not in sight.
I experienced my first earthquake yesterday morning. I was sleeping soundly when my heart jumped in my chest. I woke up to give my innards the chance to calm down and realized, Hey, the floor is moving under me and the doors are rattling. As I understand it, the side-to-side motion meant that what I and the rest of the city felt was an aftershock, not the earthquake itself. I lay there, feeling the earth rock, and thought, If this weren't completely scary, it would be kind of fun.
I hear that Paris Hilton is finally running for president. It's about time, I say.
For those of you who received an email regarding O-skidimarink, the actual title of the event is Obon. Just wanted to clear that up. There was about an hour of fireworks, during which we all oohed and ahhed from our seat on a blanket in a parking lot. No Stars and Stripes Forever, which definitely was a little rain on the proverbial parade, but I can't remember having ever seen fireworks in the shapes of kanji and children's cartoon characters. I had shaved ice (like a snow cone, but the ice absorbs more of the syrup) and the kid serving it repeated everything we said. "One melon! Two melon! Okay! Alright! Sweet!" I wanted to pinch his cheeks. I also did not win at Bingo, which the crowd played once the fireworks were over. There was a tie for the first prize, a Wii, and the two players had to rock-paper-scissors for it. Not kidding. It's an art form here.
Tomorrow I'll meet the rest of the principals and staff of the schools I'll visit, four in all, after I get tongue-tied and awkward in front of Mr. Mayor. It'll kind of be like meeting the school staff today—I'll bow a lot, smile, apologize every time I hear the word "Nihongo" (Japanese), and tell everyone it's nice to meet them. The mayor will get a present from me, but apparently there are not one, but two vice-mayors, both of whom will get nothing because I was only prepared for one.
Today I was warned about the Japanese centipede, the mukade. These nasty buggers can get to eight inches long, can rear up like cobras, and will actually attack humans. That's right, attack. They are aggressive suckers and quick. A bite will result in painful swelling and needs medical attention. They like to sleep under futons. In my mind, they're a little like the Shrieking Eels, and I am one freaked out Princess Buttercup, which is why I'm still awake at 12 a.m. The mukade are so much worse than the Bogeyman.
Moments in Engrish:
The only really good one from tonight was a shirt that looked like this:
You figure out the inflection on that one.
I'm tired, and am going to sleep even if I do wake up with a giant demon bug under my pillow. Laurel out.