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.


At 7:55 p.m. PST, Blogger Tom said...

It is one thing to sweat like unto the manner of a banshee. I mean, banshees, they do everything in the extreme.

Yet to sweat in the manner of a banshee which is in heat...

Dude, I must say that I miss ya. It's going to be cahrazy when you're back.


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