Thursday, December 14, 2006

Two Weeks in One Entry

I've decided that since I missed updating the blog last weekend that I might as well inform you of the happenings to date in Don's Japanese Life. I do apologize for the lateness of these entries but you will understand why once you read the final word in the final sentence in the final paragraph. I also vow to continue to keep this thing up-to-date from now on. That promise will probably bend and, once in a while, break on ocassion but I will do better than the last two weeks, that's for damn sure.

What I Should Have Wrote Last Week:

"3 Months Down, 9 To Go!"

It is the anniversary of my Canadian departure and what better way to celebrate three months in Japan than a house party?! Oh, this house party was not planned based on my anniversary; to be quite honest I have no idea why this house party was planned in the first place...December 5th is not anything special...Guy Fawkes Day is already a month forgotten...nothing memorable...oh well, like the great philosopher/partyer says: "There are no bad reasons for a gathering of thine friends and well-wishers, only good ones!" Cheers to that, I say! So Andrew invited as many people over as he could: Yimin, the fellow Canadian in the group, his girlfriend Souri, Dawn the Yank, Brian from work, Emma and Alex who you will remember from my first all-nighter in Japan, a cool student from his branch, Danny the new roomie, Jeff the new roommate of Brian, Aid a fellow Brit and friend of Andrew, Alex and Emma, Sophie and Sam a couple of crazy Brits who are friends with all the other Brits. 13 people in total crammed into a house barely big enough for three! Luckily, Andrew converted his room into a relaxation area so more people could morph into multiple rooms.

The night progressed quite well with many alcohol runs made, Andrew's room was eventually converted into a rave club where the majority of the partygoers cut a little ru...tatami mat, wine was spilled all over our dingy carpet giving it the appearance of a former Soviet leader's forehead, an episode of Heroes was watched and then thoroughly talked about, many people caught the first train in the morning and many more used the restroom to expunge their bodies of alcohol. I dare you to try and figure out which ones I took part in. The answers may surprise you. 5 AM rolls around and I finally go to bed.

Wednesday - Uh oh. The tingles of pain in the throat, a sudden urge to shove Kleenex up my nose, aching muscles, sore lungs, a massive headache all showing up RIGHT BEFORE entering the theatre to watch Casino Royale! Oh man, what a time to be hit with a cold! Let me bring you up to speed: after a morning/afternoon of relaxing and cleaning the house, washing glasses and laughing at the antics/photos from last night the Brew Crew from the previous night (minus Yimin who was more under the weather than expected. Happy Birthday buddy!) decided to meet up in Sakuragicho and watch Casino Royale. I was all for it for many reasons: new movie, Cold Stone ice cream, a hang-over free morning, more TV and pancakes. Heck, I was all for it. But just as we were filing into the theatre the symptoms hit me and I start to feel worse than that time I raced Jessica's friend Eugenia to the bottom of a bottle of tequila after Thanksgiving. After the movie, which was really good, people started talking about going for a pint. Though I really wasn't opposed to the idea I knew my body was telling me "Not again, damnit!" So Danny and I grabbed the subway and headed home. I eased my aching, sick, disgusting body into bed and collapsed into a coma.

Thursday - Oh my dear Lord! Kill me now! It seems that drinking and staying up all night really downgrades your immune system to a level that mirrors a chain-link fence between the border of Mexico and the United States. And let me tell you those germs were running across the border like they were being chased by federalies armed with hand cannons and pinatas! I am a ragged bandito and will spend this day in bed, in my room, in front of my computer watching movies and, essentially, in dire straits. Easy enough summary, I think!

The Weekend of the 13th-14th

Wednesday - Talk about your lazy days! After a week of harsh illness and struggling to breath Monday brought with it the Day To End All Days! Monday held a new toy for my Nintendo DS that allows me to play video games without buying them, the An Evening With Kevin Smith 2: Evening Harder DVD in which I am visible in the audience throughout the entirity of Disc 1 (Disc 2 was filmed in London so that would've been a feat and a half!), a solid work day, nice weather and the promise of an enjoyable weekend. Wednesday rolled around and, lo and behold, I had a glorious day doing almost nothing at all. Andrew and I fiddled with our new gadgets and relaxed the majority of the day away. I watched a bunch of good movies, did a quick grocery shop, and then watched a few more. I also planned for Hakone, a trip that has been long anticipated but never achieved. So that's drift right to that, shall we!

Thursday - Woke up at 7 to get a start on the day. Hakone is well over an hour north of Yokohama so I needed to start off early to truly enjoy the breadth of today's trip. After an hour on the train I did not realize I had another quick train ride and a half-hour long bus ride to get to the heart of Hakone: Lake Ashi and Moto-Hakone. It was worth all the effort (and ridiculous costs to get there! Good Grief, the majority of my money was all travel costs!) Lake Ashi is one of the most beautiful lakes I've ever seen, the surrounding area is nothing but hills riddled with lush trees in full autumn colour scheme, the Hakone temple and water Torii Gate is amazing, and it was nice to see an even closer view of Mt. Fuji, even though cloud cover caused the peak to be shrouded from my vision. No matter. The trip was amazing and the pictures are well worth a gander.

The highlight of the trip was the shopping. A true beauty to behold is Hakone wood. The way the trees grow in this area give them this unique colour that makes the woodworking a lucrative business! I must've browsed a dozen shops that sold nothing but amazing wood creations all handmade locally. I bought myself a new phone charm that is this simple wooden square that is so intricatly designed that it just makes me relaxed whenever I look at it. The highlight was the box though. The Mystery Box, as they are advertised, are hand-crafted boxes of an amazing design, but the true appeal comes in the opening of the box. My box requires no less than 7 individual moves to open the lid. There was one for $315 that had 72 moves! You can imagine the goods that must be held in that box! Due to the costs, I could only buy myself one but you can always place an order with me for my future trip in the Spring. There are 7, 12 and 24 movement boxes. Shipping and Handling not included!

I ate in this little ramen restaurant and made a complete mess. Ramen and chopsticks do not mix! After that, I wandered the trails and streets until I realized that it was time to go. I needed to get back in time to catch the roommate so that I could attend this piano concert he was going to. So I trekked all the way back on bus, train and longer train just in time for my cell phone bettery to run out and not being able to get the directions to the concert. Shite. Oh well, I needed to head back home anyways to write this and crash. Something about that fresh mountain air that just makes me tired!

Well, I hope you enjoyed this installment. Check out the picture site for visions of Hakone and the feeling of longing and envy you will eventually become enraged with. I will talk to you all later.

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