Learning to be Stupid

Friday, August 11, 2006

Sorry about the funny posts. I’ve been having a serious problem with the internet. Once I get it at home, everything will be much smoother. I haven’t been answering many people’s emails because I’ve been running around and I don’t really have a chance to sit and think of a response. Sorry!

Already I can tell that my English is deteriorating a little bit. For now, I speak in Japanglish which is neither Japanese nor English. I’m surprised at how much I know and understand. I think that it makes things run much more smoothly. On the other hand, I still can’t read for crap and that makes things difficult.

I can usually understand simple conversations that I hear around me like “Are you going to Kochi?” “Do you sell water here?” “Wow, that girl is pretty” (they’re talking about me)

I can hear people talking about me. It’s funny, but mostly people just stare politely. They’ll be looking right at me and when I turn to look at them, they turn away. I almost don’t want to look at anyone because I’m afraid that I’ll make them nervous!

Last night on the train ride home from Kochi city, it was about 9:30pm and this guy sitting right across from me actually whipped out his phone and started taking pictures of me. I’m sure he thought he was being discreet but….no.

How do you react to that?! Do you turn to the person talking about you and tell them that you can understand them? No. Do you smile at the guy and pose for his picture? Maybe, if I weren’t so tired. He’d be really embarrassed though. Haha

So anyway, I got out last night with Fukui Sensei (one of the English teachers) and saw the Yosakoi festival. It is held every year in August and lasts from Thursday…or Wednesday, until Sunday. It’s a celebration of life and it’s relatively young, only 50 years old. People break up into teams ranging from 50 to 150 people of all different ages and they dance. When I say dance, I mean DANCE and all day for the entire festival. There are over a hundred different teams. They close off two major roads in Kochi city and people from all over Kochi (think of it like people from all over the state) come to dance. Each team follows a big truck that they have decorated and it plays really loud music that they dance to as they walk down the street. It’s very organized. Each team has unique costumes and they all dance to about three different songs over and over and over again all day from 2 in the afternoon until 10pm.

I want to do it next year, it looked like so much fun! The only thing that would stop me is the heat. I watched everyone dancing at night, so the sun wasn’t even out and I saw people dripping sweat on the floor right in front of me. Their outfits were soaking wet and they would almost leave puddles where ever they walked (danced). They all looked like they were having so much fun though.

So, I have no internet and no cell phone. This is kind of a pain in the ass because there are some people that I want to meet up with but am completely unable to. Even if I can get a hold of them via internet while I’m at work, I can just see it taking a bad turn.

So where would you like to meet?

Oh, that place down my street that sells yakiniku.

Which street?

You know…that one by the other street.

Gotcha. You see, no streets in Japan have names. I thought that maybe some really important streets had names…but I was wrong. Trying to get directions is ridiculous. I have a single map from the internet (in Japanese) so that anywhere I go, I have to count the streets that I cross so I know where to turn. Soon I’ll learn land marks but for now, this is ridiculous!

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