Monday, January 30, 2006


So talk about having your hopes and dreams shot to pieces.
I found this little sweetheart going for just ¥480,000 on a yahoo auction. I was getting all these ideas of buying it and taking it home with me, driving around for a year or so, and then selling it for twice what I paid. And then it was brought to my attention that Canada doesn't allow the import of a car newer than 15 years old. [sigh]

But let me tell you, if I was planning to live in Japan for the rest of my life, I would be changing cars.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Not your standard JET car

Or perhaps it's really just a moneymaking scheme? Anyway, I have been looking into getting a new car. What if you found out that you could get one of your dream cars for only $5000? And then after driving it for a year, still probably sell it for double that? Yeah, so I'm looking at a Z3. The question of course is how much it would cost to insure for a month or so here, and then how much it would cost to ship to Canada. It's crazy, but it's worth the thinking about and looking into, isn't it?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

"For though it was day, to her surprise they all went back to bed."

Okay, so the Burns Supper, as you may recall from my post about it last year, is a Scottish event held in honour of their most famous poet, Robert Burns. The last three years our Tokushima celebration of the same has been held at the Highway Oasis in Miyoshi. The standard fare is first potluck, initiated by the reading of Burns' Address to a Haggis. Of course the resident Scots do their best to track down some real haggis to be had at the party. This year we have only one Scot, Ellie, and she did a wonderful job planning and organising the party this year. She managed to scare up some haggis from New Zealand, both a real one and a vegetarian imitation. While by Ellie's own admission haggis is not the easiest food to like, and she herself is not a fan, the haggis she got from NZ was delicious. Both the vegetarian and bona fide varieties were tasty.

Once people have engorged themselves enough to want little more than sitting around and relaxing, the poetry stage began. To quote Ellie's blog:

Highlights included Katie doing the opener to Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' with a torch under her chin, Joe in his Utilikilt doing some horribly verbose nonsense he found on the net (and hamming it up to perfection), Dan doing 'Yellow Submarine' in Spanish, Nate doing 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock' in it's entirety, Dave's funny, smarmy definitive limericks, and all the Miyoshi-gunners doing another round of '500 Miles' a la the Xmas Carol Tour. There wasn't much Burns going round (maybe another one or two after our Haggis effort), but that was ok, as Burns is pretty hard to understand, and hard to read as well.

I read four poems, only one of which I wrote myself. I'll tack them on at the end of this post for anyone who may find themselves interested.

During the course of the evening there is a toast to the lasses by one of the lads, and all the lads drink to it, and then there is a reply toast from one of the lasses, which all the lasses drink to. At the point where people are contented with the poetry and many are sleepy enough to go home or to bed in their cabin, or drunk enough to want to do something more rowdy, the poem reading time was drawn to a close, and people went and did whatever they wanted. Mattias, the German CIR in Naruto has kindly put up a bunch of his photos from the evening.

I hung out and chatted and played games until about two, and made my way to bed in my cabin. I was one of the first people up, waking at nine. But everyone else was soon to follow, as we had to vacate the premises by ten in the morning.
Right next to the cabins is one of my favorite onsens in Tokushima-ken. Most everyone headed there in short order. I've been trying to think of why I like 美濃田温泉 minoda onsen so much, and while it's true that it has great medicinal baths, both a steam sauna and regular sauna, as well as 露天風呂 outdoor baths and a wonderful view, these may not be the main reasons I like it so much. The Burns supper each of these last three years has been such a good time, and I have gone to the onsen all three years, that I cannot help but think that positive association makes me like it more. And my most memorable experience there was the morning before one performance of the musical two years ago when it had snowed heavily the night before. Standing there looking out over the Yoshino river surrounded in newly fallen snow and then sitting in the baths soaking away all stress and weariness was a defining moment of my first year. So yeah.

After that I had the pleasure of driving four gorgeous ladies the two hours back to Tokushima. There was bowling happening with church folk in the evening, so I had a couple of hours to kill in the city. Lunch was scored in the following manner:

"Is there a Mos Burger around here?"
"No, you have to go back to the 55 for that."
"Well. I don't suppose there is a Rotten Ronnie's around here?"
"Rotten Ronnie's?"
"You know, The Ol' Choke and Puke."
"Choke and Puke?"
"McDicks, Rotten Ronnie's, you know, McDonald's, Ronald McDonald?"
"Oh, um yeah there's a McDonald's around here."

We both speak English, but obviously we weren't speaking the same language. Now, I think that "The Ol' Choke and Puke" comes out of Morden or Winkler Manitoba, but aren't the rest rather well known? Anyways, after Choke&Puke food was aquisitioned, some of LOTR ROT SpEd was watched, but not quite half, so now I need to ask if I can borrow it to finish. Alas, it is not rentable here.

Bowling was fun. Despite my normal poorish score of 90 something, my mind was out of phase with the rest of the stuff around me, so I didn't really pay it any mind. In fact, I barely knew I was playing, having to be reminded almost every time that it was my turn. Blame it on the onsen: I had spent two hours there that morning rather than the usual one, so I must have been overly relaxed. Then we went for Italian, and as an added bonus, some of us were able to follow Italian with karaoke, which I love. Ron had a friend up from Oz, and wanted to take him out, Tomo will be leaving us really soon for school in Oz ( : _ ; ) so it was one of her last chances. Add Jenna and Tracey who are city JET (equivalent to karaoke fiends) and myself and we had enough to make for two lively fun hours of singing.

On monday my voice was rough, as was to be expected, but it was rough with more than just singing. On Tuesday the teachers were telling me again that I looked sallow, and that night I got proper sick. Proper sick is for me indicated well by my dreams. Clarity gets lost and they become a blur of the same thing over and over again, some visual representation of my illness. Elements of racing, crazy night travel on forest roads sided my wide wide rivers with massive metropolises on the opposite sides, and some crazy competition of hundreds or thousands of people all being narrowed down, and there were four different tactics (which all somehow reminded me of phlegm) that kept being reused and recycled through hundreds upon hundreds of matches. And I woke up several times to go to the can, which though only two rooms away would leave me shivering like jello in an earthquake by the time I got back to bed. So obviously I had some fever to go with my mountains of phlegm. Aren't you glad I just took the time to tell you all that?

Wednesday made for a perfectly miserable day at elementary, with me barely able to conduct classes, but somehow I made it through. I had already cancelled one day of elementary do to sickness this month, and I didn't feel as ill this time as on that occasion, so I couldn't justify calling in sick. I had to go into Komatsushima to return DVDs, and Hideki had invited me out for yakitori that night near there. Figuring that I probably wouldn't bring myself to preparing food in that state, I went. When I arrived, the others were all really surprised, saying the colour of my face was really bad. But after two hours of sitting in a really warm room and chowing down a lot of chicken, a good deal of salad, and some rice and other things, I was feeling a little better. At the end of the evening, they said my face looked a much healthier colour. That night, my fever broke and I woke up in what felt like a pool of sweat. Glad I had been wearing long sleeved and legged pajamas, I peeled them off and dried myself with a towel and crawled back into bed. On Thursday I was still sickish, but with just a head cold and none of the overall miserableness or dizziness. Today at least one teacher has asked me if I was on the road to recovery, with a funny pause in the middle as though she was going to ask if I was all better. (However, my voice is all low and Sylvester Stallone-y with phlegm.)

So on with the poetry!

By me, after my first bout with sickness this month:

so sick I was
and there in bed
I held my gut
and hung my head

this illness does
depression bring
along with more
unpleasant things

thankíng the Lord
for warméd seats
my mind reviewed
what did I eat

was it school lunch
or last night's enkai?
in future avoid
suspicious sazae

or perhaps those eggs
which did my fast break
are what now cause
my bowels to ache

the doctor says
food's not to blame
but the common cold
of Japanese fame

nausea, fever
the runs, pains, and chills
need more to feel better
than just a few pills

ten pocari sweats
and three days of sleep later
I'm ready to wrestle
a live alligator

and from this experience
what have I gained?
ten pounds and four ounces
and my shoulder is sprained

if ever a cold
in japan you should catch
look not for me
I'll be gone in a flash

A quote from The Marble Faun by Nathaniel Hawthorne,
which I made look like poetry so I could justify reading,
and which caused several of the hearers to release a surprisingly sorrowful short moan:

they resolved to go back
to their own land

because the years
after all
have a kind of emptiness
when we spend too many of them

on a foreign shore"

if we do return we find that
the native air
has lost its invigorating quality

and that
has shifted its reality
to the spot
where we have deemed ourselves

only temporary residents

between two countries
we have none at all"

by Emily Dickinson:

A death-blow is a life-blow to some
Who, till they died, did not alive become;
Who, had they lived, had died, but when
They died, vitality begun.

By JRR Tolkien, from The Fellowship of the Ring,
the song Frodo is singing when he betrays himself at Bree,
falling off of the table and the Ring falling onto his finger.
I have long wanted to be at an event where this was performed,
so I took that chance and read it myself.

There is an inn, a merry old inn
beneath an old grey hill,
And there they brew a beer so brown
That the Man in the Moon himself came down
one night to drink his fill.

The ostler has a tipsy cat
that plays a five-stringed fiddle;
And up and down he runs his bow,
Now squeaking high, now purring low,
now sawing in the middle.

The landlord keeps a little dog
that is mighty fond of jokes;
When there's good cheer among the guests,
He cocks an ear at all the jests
and laughs until he chokes.

They also keep a hornéd cow
as proud as any queen;
But music turns her head like ale,
And makes her wave her tufted tail
and dance upon the green.

And O! the rows of silver dishes
and the store of silver spoons!
For Sunday there's a special pair,
And these they polish up with care
on Saturday afternoons.

The Man in the Moon was drinking deep,
and the cat began to wail;
A dish and a spoon on the table danced,
The cow in the garden madly pranced,
and the little dog chased his tail.

The Man in the Moon took another mug,
and rolled beneath his chair;
And there he dozed and dreamed of ale,
Till in the sky the stars were pale,
and dawn was in the air.

Then the ostler said to his tipsy cat:
"The white horses of the Moon,
They neigh and champ their silver bits;
But their master's been and drowned his wits,
and the Sun'll be rising soon!"

So the cat on his fiddle played hey-diddle-diddle,
a jig that would wake the dead:
He squeaked and sawed and quickened the tune,
While the landlord shook the Man in the Moon:
"It's after three!" he said.

They rolled the Man slowly up the hill
and bundled him into the Moon,
While his horses galloped up in rear,
And the cow came capering like a deer,
and a dish ran up with the spoon.

Now quicker the fiddle went deedle-dum-diddle;
the dog began to roar,
The cow and the horses stood on their heads;
The guests all bounded from their beds
and danced upon the floor.

With a ping and a pang the fiddle-strings broke!
the cow jumped over the Moon,
And the little dog laughed to see such fun,
And the Saturday dish went off at a run
with the silver Sunday spoon.

The round Moon rolled behind the hill,
as the Sun raised up her head.
She hardly believed her fiery eyes;
For though it was day, to her suprise
they all went back to bed.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Where have I Been?

Has it seriously been nearly two weeks since I posted anything on here? Madness.
I did feel better on that Monday the sixteenth, but it wasn't until the Wednesday that my appetite was back to normal.
Then Thursday and Friday were the midyear seminar for ALTs, which as per normal fell on "Daikan" or Big Cold, the day that is often the coldest of the year. So naturally it snowed again, but not as much as it did as last year's seminar, nor as much as it did before Christmas.

The first day was rough, and I felt like I had been beaten up afterwards, killed from boredom and bad attitude.
But then I went out with a bunch of people afterwards for Italian food at this place that plays "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" every time anybody comes in the front door. Then back to Kamikatsu for my Eikaiwa class, which was nice and chill, and so I ended my day on a high.
The friday was better, I felt like I came away with some encouraging things and some stuff I can use both at Junior High and Elementary. I tried to get some people together to watch this movie Survive Style5+. but it didn't come together, so I joined the crew who were going to see Sayuri (aka Memoirs of a Geisha). At first I was kind of offended that all of the main roles were taken by Chinese girls, which was really strange. But then when my rage got to the point where I thought violently in my head, "What, were there no Japanese actresses who could have done the job?" I realised that probably the answer is no. Given that most of the movie was in English, and given how remarkably low the English fluency is here, at the very least, the pool of available Japanese actresses was probably really low. Add to that the fact that those Chinese actresses currently have a lot of celebrity in the West right now, you probably have your explanation. Watanabe Ken was in it as well, and though I have seen the occasional B movie on the shelves with his name and face, he was a practical unknown prior to The Last Samurai, as far as I can tell.

Saturday was change my tires and wipers and oil day, and watch Advent Children on one of the model in-car dvd+stereo systems at the place I had it done. Then was Burns night. More on that and Sunday later.
I was starting to feel sick then though, and now Wednesday I am feeling really under the weather again.

This short post is the most I could bring myself to do. I'll try to put up another tomorrow.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Maybe I'll feel better on Monday

Still feeling under the weather. Note to self: have more compassion for people who feel sick when at work. I guess I won't be going snowboarding tomorrow. Perhaps I would feel better if I stopped reading Emily Dickinson all morning...

The world gets warped when you are sick.
Because of course, how could your perception of it be affected
by something as minor as bodily chemistry?

This is why decisions are to be made
when the world is glowing and bright
rather than in the darkness of a sickly

Mind twisting with innards
thoughts churning and dissolving
there is naught left but introspection

Neither play nor solemnity seems the better
Unrestrained but under the weather
Vomit what there is to be had upon the page.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Good and the Ugly

This past weekend was pretty fun, being the first time I have gotten out of Tokushima in a few months. I went up to Osaka to hang out with my friend Derek on Sunday and Monday. I can't say that we did anything of real note, just walking around Shinsaibashi and Namba, dodging through bargain-hunting masses, and chowing down some proper mexican food (when was the last time you had a good enchillada?).

Monday was Coming of Age Day and my pretense for going to visit, and Derek's girlfriend Emi found a good place for us to check out all the commotion. Mostly it was the girls who dressed up nice in their kimono, and the guys were just in suits. I wasn't even inspired to take any photos because it was exactly like what you see on the internet when you look it up. Like this picture here. However, it is cool to be walking around town and in the midst of people dressed in greys browns and blacks to see that sudden burst of colour that is a girl in a kimono. I was hoping that because it was Osaka I might get to see some mohawk punks in the mix, but no dice. So then we just walked around some more, eventually going to Den-Den town, which none of us had been to before, not even Emi who's lived in Osaka her whole life.

I don't know if they are there all the time, or just because it was a day of massive crowds, but there were tables in several places with guys selling bootleg movies. Sayuri (Memoirs of a Geisha), Narnia, that Smith movie, etc and so forth. I kind of regret that I didn't get the Narnia movie after all, but what I did get were two Downtown 罰 batsu game DVDs. They had like 10 of them, all of which would normally run for ¥7000. And they are things that were all on TV at one point! Can you imagine paying $70 for a two hour tv special? I have, once. I could justify it for one, just to take it home and show everyone in Canada, but not for my own fun, no matter how many times I might watch it. So when I saw those for just ¥1000 I was all over them like wasps on spilled cola. I hope I can score more the next time I go to Osaka, whenever that is.

There was also a festival to the god Ebisu, who is a god of luck, and one of the gods on that treasure boat, and our road back from Den-Den-cho lead us through it.

Thousands upon thousands of people and street after street lined with food stalls of various kinds. Who wants to eat sazae on the roadside, let alone eat sazae at all?

But there were a few stalls selling that Turkish cuisine, doner kebap and after passing several I just couldn't help myself anymore and had to have one. They served it in a pita, and the shop sign said DONEL as one might expect here. A bit heavy on the thyme, but it was alright. For those who have no idea what I'm talking about:

So then the next day was the first day back at school, and everything was pretty normal. Opening ceremonies, awards (which would have been given out at the end of last term, except that we had no closing cermemonies do to having a snow day), and a cheesy fire safety video were done in the morning, staff meeting etc in the afternoon, and the staff party which was postponed from the last day of school last term due to said snow day. The meal was quite extravagent, but I was really tired that day. I was unable to eat it all, though it all was quite good. Ironically, that sazae shellfish pictured above was on the menu. That makes the second time i have eaten it. I pulled it out of its shell and was staring at it when the teacher beside me, Mr Murakami said *in japanese*, "You shouldn't stare at it." So I quickly gulped it down. I think the longer you look at it the more your nerve to eat it decreases. Any creature whose meat is green and black when boiled is a little disturbing to eat. The flavour is less offensive than liver, though the texture might be worse than that of liver. I doubt anyone would call it their favorite food, but you never know. There is, after all, a comedy animé character named Sazae-san who is named after the shellfish.

What happened on Wednesday I naturally want to blame on the sazae, but given that all the rest of the teachers were fine, is perhaps better blamed on some poorly fried eggs and a lack of good rest on Tuesday morning.

It started with a dream that my stomach was inflated to cartoon proportions, klaxons blaring and someone yelling, "If we don't do something quick, it's gonna blow!" I woke up in time and made it to the toilet before the runs had their way. That was six am. Thinking it might have just been due to overeating from the night before, I decided to take the next two hours to try to eat something, go to the washroom several more times, and have a shower to see if I felt better. It was elementary day, so I really need to be at my pinnacle of pep for classes. Two hours later I was still having stomach pains and felt like puking just enough for me to try taking the first part of the morning off. I was to call the elementary at 10 to tell them if I would come in after all or not. I was sure I'd feel better by noon. Come ten I was feeling possibly worse, with the stomach pains and runs and pukey feelings at their weakest only when I stayed totally still and sitting. Come noon, when I had tried to drink something and was feeling worse and worse, I decided to risk a trip to the town hospital/clinic. It's only 15 minutes away, but when you have the runs...

When I got there and told the reception lady the gist of why I was there, she made me take my temperature. It was 38.0˚C measured in an axillary position (under the arm), which she said was quite a fever. I was still wearing a sweater and my leather jacket and a toque at the time, so I'll bet it was a little exaggerated. Nonetheless, it was a fever, and it explained why my blankets had felt unusually cold and why I felt weaker against the cold than usual. The doctor wanted to put me on a drip intravenous to replenish what the runs had taken. Normally I would have been drinking soup and sports drinks up to that point, but yesterday I just hadn't felt up to leaving the house to get them, so I said yes. That was the first time I've ever had an IV. I fell asleep while it was doing its thing, and then upon returning home, I pretty much slept until seven in the morning, waking every three hours or so. At about 5 in the morning my dreams ceased to be the same repeated panicked dreams of searching for and fighting over treasure, and became more normal dreams of aliens, intergalactic politics, escape, friends, and all the totally weird random stuff that normally constitutes my dreams. I also woke up sweating like a banshee in heat, and I knew that my fever had broken. Since then I have felt better and better, with the runs seeming to have ended and the stomache pains also seemingly gone, leaving me with just some nausea and the feeling that I could pass out from time to time. So yeah.

In conclusion, fry your eggs well, especially when they are near the expiry date.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Gakkari Shta

Gakkari Shta, originally uploaded by irodoramatic burnorama.

It looks alright I guess. The title means disappointed. Back home going black is a little interesting. Here it's just me looking like everybody else; as exciting as colouring your hair "mousey brown."

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Lighter, but not light enough.

So it will change again later today.

My expression there looks to me like it belongs on a Japanese variety show.

And End to the Holiday Hiatus

Yes folks, we are back. Three weeks without a post but now I am back in the office and totally ready to post again. It's Friday, schools starts again on Tuesday. That's because Monday is Coming of Age Day, when all of the people who had their 20th birthdays since the beginning April of last year or before March of this year are recognised as adults in a big ceremony. Why April to March? Well for one thing it's the school year, and perhaps it's the fiscal year as well.

So just what have I been doing since the last time I posted here? I'm sure you are sweating in your socks with eagerness to hear. I'm wondering much the same. I do recall that we had special Christmas activities in English class on the 21st, and that school was cancelled on the 22nd due to a snowstorm. I remember that I went with Hideki and Sasakyon to Takamatsu to buy a snowboard and bindings on the emperor's birthday the following day. I remember that it rained on the 24th because that meant the slopes were all "sherbet" conditions and we couldn't go snowboarding after all. I remember that I borrowed Jonny Lawless's gamecube and played a lot of the Legend of Zelda.

And that's why I didn't wake up until like three in the afternoon on Christmas Day. Christmas dinner was at Colin and Jenny's place, had with Prenecia who lives in Komatsushima as well and with Ron Page whose wife was in Bangkok with the kids on their way back from Laos, and dinner was okonomiyaki. They have one of those tabletop okonomiyaki pans, so we sat around in the living room, four Ozzies and one Canuck. Dinner was followed by the Revenge of the Sith and Christmas pudding, which is like fruitcake pudding. There was also a rice pudding and custard. I got home at about 12:30 am, just enough time to tidy up a bit and set out my presents. The phone rang at about 1:00 and I was back in Canada for an hour or so, opening gifts and listening to my family open theirs from me. It sounds like this is not the norm for people here, but I can't imagine doing Christmas away from home any other way. After that I was too happy and alive to go to bed, so I watched The Ref, which I had gotten on DVD from my sister. And after that I just couldn't keep myself from playing more Zelda.

My initial plan was to get my body clock back in shape by not sleeping until the following evening, but I fell asleep at my kotatsu as the morning light was starting to come in through the windows. And then I woke up as the sun was setting. This time I was really going to do it, I was sure. But then I fell asleep while my windows were still dark in the morning and woke up after the sun had set. So i missed all the daylight on the 27th. Derek and his dad and brother were coming to visit on the 28th, and I was asked by Hideki to pick them up from the ferry at 11 am.

So trying to at least act like an adult I tried to go to bed early, like at sometime after midnight. But my brain was moving just way too fast, and though I lay there for a long long time, my body was convinced it was noon. Silly body clock. I don't know what was going on, but perhaps out of boredom, I began to think about ways I could kill myself without leaving the apartment. And I was shocked. As I flew out of bed I said something like "Holy crap! Something is definitely wrong with this picture!" So I did some rebuking of spirits in the name of Jesus. I'm not so blind as to miss a spiritual attack so blatant. The next natural thing to do was of course to talk to somebody. But who can I call at three in the morning? So I called Phil in Canada, for whom it was almost midday. After that I forget just what I did, but it was either watching DVDs (my brother had given me Batman Begins, sweeeet) or more zelda, or perhaps I read some Kamui-Den (this old comic I have gotten into lately). Or maybe i cleaned my apartment up a bit. Anyway, when it came time for me to leave I was good to go, and just a little bit tired.

They had way more luggage than I had expected, and it made for a tight squeeze. Not that I could have changed my car had I known beforehand. This was only their second day in Japan, and seeking a unique experience, we took them to okonomiyaki, where you make it on the table in front of you. I forget if I did that with my parents and sister or not when they were here. Perhaps I went with just my parents? I'm sure they ate it even if we didn't particularly go to a restaurant for it. Anyway, that was good. Thinking back to what I did with my parents, I suggested the Awa Odori Kaikan, which is like a museum for the Awa Odori dance (the summer festival is the third largest dance festival in the world, and until New Orleans gets back on its feet, perhaps the second after Carnivale), and you can normally see one of the troupes (called ren) of pro dancers perform. Sadly, when we got there we found out that it was the first day of the museum's new year holidays. Too bad. So instead we decided to go back to Kamikatsu and hit the onsen. That way they could see that not all of Japan is concrete. And get all relaxed after all that travel from the States and Osaka. Then it was off to Hideki's aunt's restaurant for nabé. It was Hideki's treat. Hideki had gone with Derek to Seattle the year before. Then Derek's "Mama-san," his former host mother picked them up in Anan to take them south to Yuki town, and I headed home and went to bed.

Just to make sure I set that body clock right, Hideki and I were going snowboarding in Ikawa town the next day bright and early, meeing at 6:30. When I woke up to the sound of the phone at 6:45 we changed the time to 8:00. Oops. It turned out to be just as well though, as we were able to buy day passes off of some people that were leaving already at 10:30 (the slope was packed) for like a third of the normal cost. It took a while for me to get my sense back as far as the board is concerned.
We hit an onsen on our way home, too, which was nice.

The next few days were all tv, movies, comics, and some video games. The 30th was my last chance to do any shopping for food or anything for the next few days, so I splurged and got myself some wine and cheese and olives and spaghetti and some real spaghetti sauce (all comparitively expensive here). Happy eating for Matthew.

New Year's Eve was spent watching NHK's 紅白合戦 (kohaku gassen)and The Empire Strikes Back. KôHaku Gassen is the CrimsonWhite Battle. NHK is Nippon Hoso Kyokai, or Japan Broadcasting Corportation. So in principle, it's the Japan version of the BBC, or perhaps of the CBC, or of Australia's ABC. Perhaps lower than the CBC in entertainment value, so way below BBC's reputation, at least. I would say NHK's rep is boring in a sometimes interesting or historic drama sort of way.

Anyway, the RedWhite Battle gets its colours from the flag, the national colours. The battle is between guys and girls, and is fought musically. If I'm not mistaken, it's two hundred people altogether, 100 guys vs 100 girls, and maybe 40 or 50 songs altogether? It runs from about seven thirty until about quarter to twelve. All the performers are the year's most popular, including everything from popstars to enka singers. Enka is mostly old people music, a style of easy listening that is painful for teenagers. Too much of it is also painful for me. So I found the lineup on the internet with my cellphone, and only watched the ones I wanted to see, watching starwars the rest of the time.

Most of the time Japanese TV leaves a lot to be desired. However, if there are three days of the year when there is something good on almost all day long, it's the first three days of the year. And only those three days. So New Year's Day was spent watching highly entertaining variety shows. The second was spent snowboarding in the evening. The third was spent watching more variety shows, and My Happy Mask Marriage, a reality TV show for people who want to get to know the other without having to show their face and get judged right away. For people into StrangeLove. It was as interesting as it was low budget, so VERY. I'll post my thoughts on Shibui later.

With all the interesting programming, I managed to throw my body clock off again, so yesterday was spent trying to recover it and reading a lot of Legend of Kamui comics. I'd watched all my movies and TV was largely boring again, you see.

Today is go to school and type a blog entry day. Then get lunch at the ikkyuchaya, and then get my hair dark again. While it has gotten much lighter, it's not light enough to not look green. They won't want me teaching like this. I already have my next colour at home, waiting to be put in. I'll keep you in suspense until Tuesday as to what it is. Will it look good? Hard to say. I like the green more as it has gotten lighter, it suits me more. Maybe I'll do it again in the fall or something. But for now we have to try something more normalish. How normal? Wait and see.

Tomorrow is another snowboarding day. Then it's go to Osaka day. Monday is people watching day and come back from Osaka day for me, but 成人の日 (seijin no hi) Coming of Age Day on the national scale. Tuesday is opening ceremonies and clean the school day, and staff party which was postponed from december 22nd day. For more offensive opinion on what day it is, this might be amusing.

So after all that rest time, you would think I would have to have come to a conclusion of some kind, something deep and profound, or some kind of revelation. And you would be right. What I have learned in the last few days is this:

Ayumi Hamasaki is a robot.