Such Kind People

Monday, December 4, 2006

Let's see, first: the weather

It's finally gotten cold here. Tosayamada isn't so bad but when I go up to Odochi I'm just baffled at how much colder it is. It doesn't feel like it's that high up in the mountains but it's apparently high enough to make a big difference. It's already started snowing on one of the taller mountains in the area.

At the same time, I'm kind of enjoying this weather at least while the sun is up. (I'll be eating my words again sometime soon, but as I said before, they're tasty so that's ok ;)) It's nice to feel the crisp air and a chilly face while my body is completely warm and wrapped under a couple of layers of clothing. But...that only goes so far...

Anyway, as I was going home with Kae last night, she told me that she had a surprise for me. Instead of taking the normal route up the mountain, she took a side road so that we ended up at the bottom of the mountain looking up at the house. Normally, you can't distinguish the house from the rest of the neighborhood unless your looking really hard and since it's was after 5:30, it was already pretty dark so it would have been hard to see.

But Kae's house was the first one I saw because it was completely illuminated with Christmas lights. It's was breathtaking. There was a giant green Christmas tree made out of lights, blue icicles and other such flashy things. It was so amazing to see!

She told me that her family does it every year. They're usually the only ones that do it too. However, when we got up to the house, I looked out over the mountain, looking down into the valley, across the lake and up the next mountain and saw a tiny but similar house. It too was illuminated by a Christmas tree and flashing lights. However, it not only was the only house on that mountain to be lit up, it was also the only house on the mountain. It was completely surrounded by forest. It looked so awesome but I'm sorry to say that I forgot my camera. I'll bring it next week, promise ;)

Later that night as we were finishing dinner, Wakako turned on the TV to a local channel. It started out with a boy band singing some famous song and I just couldn't help myself. I totally burst into hysterical laughter. They're cliche and cheesy dance moves were just too much. Everyone of course asked what was so funny and I told them that in America, those boys would be called gay and they would in fact have to be gay to be caught dead doing that sort of thing. Dad immediately piped in and said "It's true! They are gay!" Of course he was joking but later on as the program continued, dad again said (only this time in Japanese) "I don't want to watch this anymore. Turn off this gay show. I don't want to watch this gay show". I just about died laughing!

Ok, maybe you had to be there.

So, remember how I just wrote about my plans for this winter break. Well, not 24 hours later they've already changed. Instead of going to visit Dave in Ibaraki, I'm cutting my trip short and returning to Kochi. The reason for this is simply that Kae asked me to.

Well, that and she gave me a very kind and hard to argue with guilt trip.

January 8th is the second Monday in January which marks the Saikin Shiki, aka Coming of Age Day. Anyone who turns twenty during this year (2006) will celebrate it as a national holiday. Everyone is gathering at the local university to have a ceremony and begin an all day drinking fest that will last into the wee hours of the night. Mostly because the drinking age is 20 and even though most of the kids have already been 20 for some time now, this is the official time when they can really start to party hearty.

Kae made a few very strong points to get me to join in on the celebration.

1. All of her family will be there. Her son Sou will come down from Ehime so he can participate in the celebration (his birthday is sometime this month) and her oldest son will be coming down from Osaka as well. Since everyone will be there, it just wouldn't be right to have me left out. I'm a big part of this family now.
2. This only happens once. It won't happen again for Sou or Yuumi (Remember I talked about this in the last post)
3. Aozora will be doing this next year so I'll probably be up in Tohoku for that next year as well!

So in the end, I won't be rockin out to the Tokyo beat just yet. It'll have to wait. Hopefully until it starts to warm up!

Finally, a note about racism. I don't think this is the first time that I've ever been discriminated against for being a gaijin, but it's the first solid one that I can put my finger on.

Shinji(Japanese dad)'s brother/brother in law/uncle/cousin, I don't remember! He's some relation along the way. Anyway, he cuts hair and Wakako recently got her hair cut quite short. I didn't really like it but they told me that the guy was really good at what he does so I figured, why not. I asked them if they could set me up an appointment with him since my hair has been getting ridiculously long. They told me yesterday that it just couldn't happen. The guy said no. He won't cut a gaijin's hair.

I'm sure it's not because I have cooties or anything. It's probably just because my hair is so scary looking! But honestly, it's actually easier to cut than straight hair! If you make a mistake, no one will ever know! Unless, of course, it's something glaring like shaving half my head.

0 shared their love:

Spreading Nina Love All Over the World - by Templates para novo blogger