Sunday, August 27, 2006

the Middle Ages...

I'm old. Ok not really, but yeah sort of. The last couple days have been sort of... well, tiring. Friday night was my official welcoming party. The people in my office took over this one Japanese style bar for a bit, which was cool. It was after a concert that was going on at the Kokusaimura (name of my office if you forgot - basically means International Village), but more on that later. So everyone except me had to work the next day, which meant most of the people weren't really down to stay out late... only two people stayed out after the main party - "Boss" and Hariu, who're both really cool. We went and did the obligatory karaoke run, which was weird because it wasn't the Japanese seperate room style but the big room for everyone with one screen style like you see in the States. I didn't mind, but I prefer the seperate rooms. One nice thing though was that you get a waitress to come and sit at the table and drink with you as she pours yours. After that we ate some ramen, then went back to karaoke... didn't get home til almost 5am. I felt bad for poor Hariu who had to work that morning.

So yeah, then I woke up at noon and rushed to get out to Sendai to meet people for this tour around town that was going on. I eventually ran into people by just walking around and got to see a little bit of what Sendai has to offer. It's the place to go for shopping if you want international stuff (or just a better selection), and of course is where a lot of people go to party. So later on there was a welcome party for all the JETs in the prefecture, which was at this nice Indian restaurant. It was obnoxiously loud - think 100 drunk foreigners and you're there. I, however, was enjoying my ice cold water as I had already had my fill of enebriation for the weekend... and I had to drive at the end of the night. I don't need alcohol to be loud and stupid though, so I fit right in. So what do you think we did after that? Everyone's favorite pasttime, karaoke! More craziness ensues, and eventually I catch the last train back home... which basically brings us to now, which is rather bleh.

You see, I'm smack dab in the middle of being a kid and being an adult. Part of me still wants to go out and be all wild and crazy, but then there's that part that knows I don't just bounce right back up anymore. I can't just eat whatever and not gain a pound anymore and am way out of shape (for me). On a more meaningful tone, on the one hand I enjoy it when I don't have any real responsibilities, and yet I can't really get around them as much anymore. I don't really have a problem with it and enjoy the independence it affords you, but it's definitely something that takes some adjustment to get used to. I'm not in school in more, I actually have a real job now, and I don't really have anyone I can lean on and hand stuff off to anymore if I'm just pooped. There's stuff that if I don't do just simply doesn't get done, so there's no real way around it.

So yeah, that's the middle ages, the so-called "tweenagers" or "twixters" - the bridge between childhood and adulthood. The 20's are like the new teens for my generation. Ever since I heard of that whole phenomenon I've been intrigued about the whole world trend towards just that. In Japan they use the term NEETs (Not currently engaged in Employment, Education, or Training) and there was an article in Time magazine entitled "Twixters" I remember reading about a year back. Good stuff. The more I think about it though, the more I think that I'll never really go up in many ways and find some way to juxtapose myself into an adult fascade. Do we really need to grow up? In some respects yes, but I feel that in certain aspects of life it's good if you can remember and cherish the energy of youth.


The wacky world that is the Kokusaimura


So yeah, the last couple weeks have been fun here - they have some pretty, umm, interesting events here. Yeah. I'm supposed to help out with ticket collection and seating and stuff like that, which is fun since I get to meet the town people and interact with them and stuff.

So last week's event was a hula concert. Oh yeah. Hawai'ian music and a bunch of Japanese girls, and guys, hula-ing it up. Yeah that's right, guys too. There was this one part where a gaggle of guys came out dressed like cowboys - flannel shirts, hats, boots, big buckles and all - doing the hula. Stupifyingly bizarre and highly entertaining. There were also these little girls that couldn't have been more than like 8 or 9 dancing that were really cute, but I mean come on, hula cowboys!!

Then this Friday before the insanity that was the welcome party there was another concert. This time it was a ukelele guy. It was this Japanese-descent Hawai'ian guy named Jake Shimabukuro that only spoke a few words of Japanese, which made for an interesting time. I guarantee that it was nothing like you'd think it was, but then again I doubt the words 'ukelele' and 'concert' together in the same sentence really evoke a very powerful image in most people's minds. I mean come on, who plays a ukelele, right? So he gets up there and introduces himself, then starts playing - just gently strumming at first, but he quickly delved into a rather wild and flailing hardcore full-on wailing section. If you've ever seen me dance, think of all the weird faces I make and then juxtapose that onto the body of Eddie Van Halen (with a ukelele!!) and you'll get the idea. I thought he was going to break the strings off of the poor little thing as hard as he was flogging it - he really got into it at times.

I'd say that it was a pleasant surprise and better than I ever could have imagined a ukelele concert being. I was impressed with the amount of power the guy could get out of the sound of such a delicate instrument when he wanted to. He went back and forth between extreme precision and placidity to... well, totally non-placid. It was very impressive to see though, if for nothing else than the fact that so few bands these day have someone who can really play a guitar or have solos and here's this guy having a 2-hour long solo, and actually deserving it. A refreshing eye-opener.

So yeah, good times. That's it for now.

1 comment:

Guchi said...

You're old, and I'm Methuselah :) It's a little early for the crisis isn't it? Just get yourself on an exercise regimen and stick with it. I guarantee that while you'll hurt a bit, especially at first, the reason why a lot of older people have so many physical problems is because they become sedentary, like it's improper to be engaged in physical activity after a certain age. The body is like a car, except that cars don't fall apart as quickly when you don't do anything with them.