Monday, September 05, 2005

Superfluous Levels of Indulgence

I am now officially 25 years old.

A weekend of near superfluous indulgence took place. Bar the brief accident last night it was a very enjoyable birthday weekend.

Friday dawned, as it often does on Friday’s. This particular Friday being no exception, even though it was the momentous 25th anniversary of the day of my birth. I arose, ate a sufficient breakfast of pineapple, yoghurt and muesli, then cleaned myself and reported in to school.

School on a Friday is as we have established, Seibu. Seibu is now organizing for their sports day this weekend. Groan. It’s too damn hot to have to spend all day on Sunday outdoors in the baking sun. Speaking of which, I might go and put my face in to watch the lads practice their stance training. Make it look like I care or something, be a teacher bit, you know?

So, Friday droned on as the sports day, Then in the afternoon I attended the official ceremony to receive my permission to teach for the next year at the Board of Education. Following the brief ceremony my supervisor gave me the afternoon off. Beer was duly drunk and then Jayne came and collected me.

Afterwards we made our way through to Ureshino. There we joined Kamil, Aine, Yuko, Yoko, and some other guests for my birthday dinner at the Okinawan Izakaya. Okinawan food is pretty greasy. The master gave Kamil a new keep bottle of shochu free of charge to celebrate my birthday, which we drank.

Karaoke at Jesus was next, followed by more extended drinking at Chi Ro Ri, where I was compelled into drinking a birthday shot of spirituous, the poisonous Polish Liquor that they import into Japan that is 96% alcohol. I imbibed my cleaning fluid without too many negative side effects, bar a very red face and a confused look. I am a bit blurry about conversational details for the rest of the evening, however, The next day I was reminded that the topics I was discussing had been covered the previous evening at least two times already. We purchased the services of a Daiko (think that’s the word) company to end the night off. They are the Japanese version of Dial a Driver.

Crashed as soon as my head hit the mattress, which I dragged into the lounge as it was closer to the air conditioning. There was corn.

Saturday was spent fucking around.

In the evening I went out to Takeo to participate in Chris Gibson’s birthday celebrations, which involved, funnily enough, Karaoke. Had my first turn in a batting cage as well. For 200 yen you get twenty pitches. You put on a helmet, pick up the baseball bat and stand in front of a large series of video screens which display life size clips of famous Japanese baseball pitchers. The video is perfectly in sink with the pitching machine, the ball exit is mapped to the video and the ball leaves exactly where the pitchers hand would be. So you really can work out your timing nicely by watching the video pitcher. It took me twenty shots to even work the timing out. The next twenty were a bit better, and by my last twenty I had some kind of a rhythm down and made a good few connections. Baseball, tricky.

Karaoke was fun, I’ve written about so much karaoke it makes me feel queasy to contemplate writing about any more. You know what happens.




Costco…..mmmmm…Costco. Rumi led me and Jayne in one car and a group of six hit the Costco wholesale barn in Fukuoka after driving via Karatsu. Saw some amazingly beautiful parts of Saga to the North. Really nice rolling valleys filled with lush rice fields. Very very green and also exceptionally clean and tidy compared with southern Saga. Picked up Tan, a new guy from L.A. and got given a tour of a really nice new Japanese house. Drove through the main metro area of Fukuoka for the first time. The Fukuoka dome looking ominously like the images of the New Orleans superdome. Just an update, Super Typhoon Nabi is drawing closer to Kashima as we speak. We are expecting to have all public offices closed tomorrow. No School! Yay!

After Costco we moved to Tosu for a soccer game, Sagan Tosu versus Fukuoka. Tosu Stadium is a mid sized stadium, but is very new and also has lots of places you can buy beer. We found some seat right behind the home team’s goal box. Maybe 20 metres away from the box itself. Front row. Nice.

You’d think.

Me and Angus were talking about how you would have to keep your eye on the game to avoid getting hit in the head by any stray goal shots. While we were doing this the Sagan strikers were warming up, by taking goal shots. Rumi and her sister were down the very front, dribbling over Japanese soccer players and taking photo’s.

I saw the whole thing almost in slow motion. A striker took a practice goal shot. The ball arced out and just missed the top of the goal post. It curved around, I said something eloquent like,

“Bugger here it comes”.

At this moment Rumi decided to look down at the screen of her camera. The ball connected with her camera and face at full speed. As hard and fast as a professional soccer player can kick a ball. The poor girl. The awful smashing and crunching sound was pretty brutal. She spun around and the look on her face…..the look on her face as she fell down.

I jumped down to where she fell, there was blood pooling all over the ground already and running down her arms. Tan asked if she was okay,

Me, again, very eloquent,

“Nah she’s fucked aye. Give us a hand.”

The ball connected mostly with the camera, the camera connected with her lips, smashing them into her teeth, and her nose, possibly breaking it. The rest of the ball hit her left eye, which immediately swelled up all red. Medical staff were called and we all hovered around while they assessed her, calmed her down and got her ready to move. I snatched the blood stained camera up off the floor before it got even more trampled. The lens had been knocked ajar and wouldn’t slide back in. Angus wrapped it in a shirt for later. Eventually they moved Rumi into a medical room to treat her properly. Her sister went along and we four sat, kind of shell shocked, and watched the first twenty minutes of the game, now kind of impossible to get into for me. We were contacted and we went to meet Rumi, who was being taken to her car, where team management were going to drive her to Saga Idai, the hospital I lived in a few months ago. She apologized for what had happened in a style uniquely Japanese. We limped home coming up with ideas to do something nice for her as her birthday is this weekend.

September babies, we’re great.

So yeah, Rumi will be okay I hope. I expect they will have kept her in hospital over night for observation, in case she develops concussion, not necessarily from the ball, but she also fell down pretty hard. I can’t remember if her head hit the ground or not.

One wonders if nets should be employed at the stadium and how often things like this happen.

Will post with details of her condition when I find them out today.

Aside from that freak accident the weekend was lovely.

Birthday Haul:

New Red Tie

Carnegie book

Two wooden, black foam padded practice Katana

A New Pillow

A free dinner and drinking evening

100 dollars worth of luxury groceries.

Some really great photo’s

Lots of kisses*

*The term ‘kisses’ may or may not included activities not deemed suitable or appropriate for full public disclosure at this or any later date.


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