There is nothing more self absorbed than a blog about blogging, but too bad, that is what I am about to do.
Last week, we celebrated our one year anniversary of living in Japan.
I volunteered during the day and Brant worked. In the afternoon, we played tennis and made bacon egg and cheese sandwiches went to see the Great Gatsby. Brant had no idea it was our anniversary. I was a great day.
And since I started this about a year ago, our fun day reminded me that I have neglected this tumblr. Elsewhere, I’m working on long pieces about Japan, but here where I thought it would be so fun to share quick funny stories about little adventures in Japan, or making big embarrassing mistakes (both happen frequently), I have a hard time finding the motivation for it. Part of that I think is how I keep learning new things all the time, so mistakes I made two weeks ago seem ridiculous, and at the same time little triumphs with the language or relationships with my neighbors seem trivial.
Today I learned dry cleaning words when I brought my kimono to the cleaners, I bought my first octopus, which I just chopped up, and it rained which is good for our little garden.
I wrote this for a creative class I’m currently taking. It’s not really about Japan. It’s not about Japan at all.
After my mom went through every detail she could give about the hurricane, or “superstorm” she said, “Oh yeah… and the hot tub floated away.”
When she said that they found two feet of mud in the garage and one foot of mud in the first floor of the house, and when she said there was three feet of sand in the drive way, and when she said it looked like the the water level had been four feet high outside the house, I was upset. But something about the image of water so strong that is uprooted a hot tub and floated it into a neighbor’s yard made me feel sick.
“What? The hot tub floated away?”
“It crashed into the back fence, and tried to get into the neighbor’s yard. We can’t find the motor anywhere.”
When she told me that they had been given six hours to inspect the house and get it ready for the approaching noreaster, and when she told me that the oven was full of water, and when she told me that trucks from the National Guard drove up and down the Boulevard watching for looters, I started to understand how bad the damage was. But I kept coming back to the hot tub.
“Was it upside down? Or right side up.”
“The hot tub.”
“Oh. Right side up. Can you imagine how strong the water was?”
When she told me that every trailer in an RV park at the south end of the island was pushed into big pile, and when she told me that the surf shop where I worked for eight summers was still boarded up, and when she told me that there was a part of the island that was too dangerous for anyone to drive onto yet, I started to cry. But then I remembered that hot tub.
“Tell me about the floating hot tub again.” I laughed.
“It’s not funny.” She laughed back at me.
There is something very special and also weirdly sneaky about Mount Fuji.
I can see it from our upstairs windows on clear days. Most days are not clear. So, when I first wake up in the morning and see it, now with snow on the top, sometimes I audibly gasp. Like it snuck up on me. A mountain. It does that at night too. Sometimes there is a fog blocking it all day long and then the sunset burns off the clouds and there is this dark silhouette of Fuji in front of a red and yellow sunset and I always notice is suddenly, like, when did you get here? Oh 10,000 years ago (according to Wikipedia), right.
There is an episode of 30 Rock where Liz Lemon and Buzz Aldrin yell at the moon together. He says something like, “I walked on your face!” Since we climbed Mount Fuji in September I like to yell at it and tell it I walked all over it. My husband has never laughed.
The sun is setting. I’m pretty sure yuyake is sunset in Japanese. A stranger just taught me that word.
A little while ago, I was watching the sunset, sitting on the beach. I had to sit way up on the cement part of our beach because the tide is so high all of the sand was wet. The sun was setting to my right, so I don’t know why, but I happened to look left and I saw a huge wave come over the top of our long cement fishing pier and smack into the one person standing on it. He immediatly packed up his gear and started to walk back to his mopd, which was parked near me.
If I had to guess, and I guess I do because I’m writing about him, he was in his 70s, and a few inches smaller than me. He wore high rubber boots, baggy black pants, and a long sleeve shirt. He walked purposefully to his bike, put on his Mork and Mindy style helmet, and then kept walking, around a curve in the beach.
Suddenly, I had a burst of inspiration for an article I’m working on. (My husband would say, “lightening has just struck my brain,” and then I would say, “that must have hurt.)” Anyway I didn’t have a pen and paper and I always forget great ideas so I recorded myself with my iphone. Which I have never done before. Becase I don’t want to look crazy in public.
The man came back and walked quickly over to me and sat down and started talking. I put the recorder down but I didn’t shut if off because at first I forgot, and then I didn’t want to be rude, and then I forgot again. We talked about the big wave that hit him, the little fish he caught today, the big fish he caught one day from right where I was sitting. When he rode off on his bike and I looked down I saw I had recorded an almost seven minute long conversation with an old Japanese fisherman.
People in our neighborhood often smile at us, and say a few words, but as soon as it becomes clear I don’t know a lot of Japanese, the conversations usually stop. Today I learned a bunch of new words, found out there would be high waves tomorrow because of a typhoon, and because my next door neighbor saw me during this conversation, possibly gained some street cred.