Monday, October 24, 2005

That man of great emotion

Friday night I indulged in one of my favorite pastimes….playing BF2 online. Again. However, there was a difference.

Normally I play on Asian servers to get better connections speeds. This is especially true in Japan, but on the whole the games voice over IP system is very rarely used on these servers. Or if it ever is, it’s only being used by guys sitting next to each other in an internet café, and they are speaking in a foreign language.

On Friday I played on an Australian server where exactly the opposite was true. I joined up to a squad in game and was immediately welcomed by the other squad members….so I ran and got my mic (which I bought especially for this game), plugged it in and spent the next five hours drinking beers, chatting, and causing havoc with a group of aussie guys, and one kiwi, who were all drinking late into the night as well. In fact the guy in New Zealand mentioned that the sun was coming up as he was going to bed. The game runs so much more efficiently when you are just able to press a button and tell someone what is going on rather than having to type something out.

We indulged regularly in the time honored tradition of base raping. Base raping involves sneaking across the other side of the map, camping (or waiting) for your opponents to spawn (re enter the game after having been killed previously, or starting another life) and then killing them as soon as they do. Base raping is very fun. As long as its not happening to you. However, the map we were playing on (Wake Island 2007 for those in the know) presents the unique challenge of this enemy base being located on an aircraft carrier.

I often found myself flying through clouds of missiles in a big helicopter and landing in the sea docking bay underneath the carrier, to the screams and howls of laughter coming from my team mates as it was obvious the enemy side was getting more and more frustrated. Good night in.

Saturday was a nocturnal journey into Fukuoka. Karaoke was sung, clubs were visited, money was spent and fun was had. Yesterday I journeyed around the city during the day. Found a very large shrine in the middle of the city. Surrounded on all sides by trees, this long sprawling shrines boasted flocks of exceedingly tame pigeons. Bought a bag of pigeon food and tipped some out onto my hand. No sooner had I done this than two big pigeons flew onto my hand and fought, the winner remained on my hand while it ate all the seed. I stood in the sun and fed pigeons on my hand while musing about viral genetic recombination and how awfully glad I was that Japan (apparently, they might keep things hush hush and they would be really good at it too perhaps) has had no outbreak of bird flu. Lying in the sun I watch as a brand new Mercedes saloon, shiny from the showroom floor, is driven up to the foot of the main building. The owners exit and a priest comes over and opens the bonnet, the doors and the trunk and gives the new car a blessing for good luck. He moves to every opening, in his hand he holds a two foot long pole covered with maybe a thousand long strips of paper attached to the end. He shakes the stick two or three times over the engine, in each door and then the boot. He closes each surface as he goes about and waves the stick slowly back and forth. The car blessed for luck and safety on the roads, the couple drive off, glimmering, into the setting sun.

A father plays with his young child. He drops seed in a big circle around his two year old son. The boy is immediately encircled by hungry pigeons. The child is confused, the father roars with laughter.

The previous night at a hamburger restaurant, maybe at three in the morning, we all noticed a man sitting alone in the corner who we thought at the time was having an animated conversation with somebody else via a hands free mobile extension. On my return to the restaurant the next day, he is still there, having obviously been home as his clothes have changed. He sits in the same spot as before, smoking cigarettes, and is still having the conversation. It is obvious however that he is talking to no one.

His face is intense, one moment he looks as though he is keenly interested in what he is hearing from the other person in this imaginary conversation, a second later his expression will change to one of extreme worry or care, sometimes displaying anger. Other times he will have a look of profound happiness and pride, as if viewing his child’s accomplishment. He pays no attention to anyone else in the restaurant, however, this morning I am seated directly in his field of view. I wouldn’t say I am sitting where he can see me, for his eyes, when they happen to move towards my direction, look straight through me, focused on whatever ethereal subject his conversation revolves around. The man himself is in his forties. He is well dressed, clean shaven and for all other externalities in a manner of good appearance, which makes his behavior all the more intriguing, for if he had the look of an outpatient or a recluse then his behavior, if not somehow sad would seem more readily explainable. I don’t want to say that I saw a man whose sense of mental attachment to social norms is detached due to a debilitating mental condition, for perhaps he is a master theatre practitioner, learning his lines, or perhaps doing a character study. Maybe he sits and acts out scenes, watching the reactions of other patrons to his abnormal behavior. Maybe I myself, not wanting to ever arrive at the state where I am talking to myself in an obvious way in public and thus not wishing the fate on someone else, am merely projecting some kind of alternate reality on him. Maybe he is just crazy. Maybe he does just go home and get changed, supported by rich relatives, into smart clothes everyday, and sits contently in a burger restaurant chatting contentedly to no one at all. He certainly causes no harm or distractions to others. Whatever the reality of the situation it is fascinating to watch the evidently epic drama that is unfolding on some plain of the imagination in this man of great emotion.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Why can't dutch people sing the blues?

So most of this weeks writing efforts have been going into the draft of a story I dreamed up the other night. You know when you have a really vivid dream and wake up and write it all down on paper in the middle of the night? It involves absolutely none of the following:
Monsters
Spaceships
Foreign Planets or
Armies
In that respect it is entirely different to last nights dream, also very vivid, however this dream involved one of the four riders of the apocalypse running me over with his horse, a horse and rider so vividly real I could smell the shit on the shoe of the horse as it stood on my face.

So yes, I woke up early again this morning to.

It’s in an infant stage right now, but the idea keeps working around in my mind and I’m able to do a little bit more work on it each day. Currently working on setting speech patterns that communicate personality aspects of the different characters.

Once again I received faxes full of useless lesson plans from the local elementary schools. One school wants me to play paper, scissors, rock for a full 45 minutes.
Fuck off, what a waste of time.

Also have to start planning out my presentation for the mid year seminar. Not in the right frame of mind at the moment to design a seminar with the theme of effective team teaching while I am putting my head around a new story and the various different Ideas I have about what I want to do next year when my contract expires. What I really need is a good night out in Fukuoka.

Then the glory of the weekend will fade again into the gloom of Monday morning working in an environment where most of the kids can’t even bring themselves to say ‘good morning’ or ‘hello’ in English.

Long term job morale not high this morning.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Hara

Arrived at school this afternoon to the news that Hara sensei’s young daughter died yesterday. The school is pretty quiet today. It just doesn’t seem fair when you hear about that kind of thing. I’ve been told it was sudden, however he organized six months of leave recently, to the extent that a replacement teacher was bought in to cover his classes, so I expect it was not as suddenly as I was led to believe. It’s a shame, he had photo’s of her all over his desk. She was a very sweet girl.

In other news, it was cold this morning when I got out of bed. Blissfully cold. The mercury is right back up around where it normally is today, but the nights are cold again well and truly now. Summer is finished, autumn has finally begun in full swing.

I was in class today, revising new vocab with the students. There was a gap of silence while myself and the teacher discussed Meg Ryan. Meg is a character in the text books the students use and her name was included in the vocab list. This gave rise to the subject of Meg Ryan, and approval or disapproval of her ability as an actress. In this moment of perfect silence, a student at the front of the class piped up with,

“Mr Adam, do you eat Meg Ryan?”

Myself and the other teacher collapsed laughing, as did the student, who I believe was kind of relieved his off color English joke had worked.

I declined to answer.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Re-fueller

At drinks last night I met Lisa's boyfriend. He is Japanese and is in the Japanese self defense forces air wing.

He refuells f-15e and f-18 jet fighters.

Cool.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Sweet Doom

I read the news too much some mornings. However, all current unfolding events taken into consideration my position is looking rather well placed for my age at this current juncture point in world history.

On one hand I am about as far away from the beginnings of world war three that are condensing in the Persian Gulf as you’d want to be. While Iraq spins towards civil war (a situation I predicted, like many other people, about six months before they began the greatest strategic disaster in United States history….so called that one, stick with the kid baby, Mentoc: Mind Taker!) and the U.S. looks to apparently expand its operations into Iran and Syria I sit out here on the edge of Japan in one of the last places trouble would come calling. Even if North Korea got antsy and started some trouble, I live in Kashima. Ha! There’s nothing here. Sweet.

Bird flu. Japan is probably the best part of Asia to be living in if / when a wee outbreak occurs. The organizational structure of Japan is such that in the event of a serious outbreak all sections of society would probably carry out whatever means are necessary to stem the consequences and carry them out dutifully and conscientiously. I don’t live in a densely populated polluted city. True it is a rural area, but poultry farms where I am are non-existent. Its all rice and potatoes and tea out here. Sweet. I know that’s a bit optimistic but lets not get all down on the situation.

Coming U.S. financial crash. I’m going to sure up some of my paper money by converting it into gold stock. Sweet.

I am very fit and healthy. Sweet.

I have a steady paying job with benefits and health plans. Sweet.

If things get really hairy I have that most valuable of travel documents (as sought after by bastard mossad agents) the New Zealand passport. This allows me entry into one of the more isolated countries in the south seas that should, hopefully, in the event of total global break down, seal itself off and become completely self sufficient. Sweet.

The majority of things considered…..Sweet.

Good to live in interesting times though. Sweet sweet doom mongering

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Tum te tum...saga is slow

Weather drags on at a still ungodly hot level during the day, but has relented during the evening allowing some sleep without the aid of an air-conditioner. Sleep however was troubled. That feeling of waking every hour or so and then drifting back to sleep, only to wake again in another hour. I had problems sleeping this time last year too.

The weekend involved the watching of several movies, some occasional food and the odd round of BF2. BF2 1.3 patch has been released which is nice because now I am able to gain points for eliminating enemy strategic objectives.

Looking at the option of doing some investment in futures trading with the gold market being incredibly bullish at the moment.

My hair is getting longer.

I was presented with a bag of shackled ring puzzles this morning and immediately managed to partially solve the first one by removing the steel ring from two conjoined horseshoe shaped loops.

Putting it back on required a lot more time and effort though.

What am I supposed to do with my adult class this evening? Maybe some film watching. A few rounds of guess what happens next maybe?

This will be interesting as the film they will be watching is Terry Gilliam’s Brazil.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Still nothing exciting

Thursday. A string orchestra builds up into a crescendo. A spotlight in the corner of my apartment slowly illuminates the ghost of Marvin Gaye, dressed in a blue ball gown and carrying a martini glass. The afterlife is apparently full of sick surprises for all. Marvin Gaye steps up to the microphone. He croons through the first verse and then reaches the height of the piece. The main lines of “Whats going on?” are just about to pass over his ethereal lips when he realizes, that, in this apartment, there is distinctly nothing what so ever going on at all. It is 6:46 am; a sleepy man has bashed the alarm clock into quiet meek subservience yet again. The freckled, nicely shaped arm flops onto the ground. Marvin Gaye checks his PDA, notices he has made a small mistake in his scheduled round of appearances and promptly disappears, leaving the room completely unchanged in any way shape of form.

A seriously non-eventful morning routine takes place in the proceeding hour and a half. It involves a staggered entrance to a bathroom, made after the ritual of turning the pc on has taken place. Some granola is placed in a bowl. An expensive, yet very efficient, new can opener whisks the top off a giant can of mandarins. The mandarins are arranged on top of the granola. Yogurt is poured, music is selected, news is read, email is checked and food is eaten. Washing and grooming occurs immediately after and following ten minutes of wandering around an apartment in circles gathering items that may or may not be useful during the day, a foreign man of average height and build walks out of his apartment and boards his bike, with an air of clockwork precision at around 8:04 am.

Routine. Repetition. The bywords of the average working week. This in particular is a very routine and repetitive working week. The classes are regular, the instructions for the elementary school lessons are back to the normal piss poor standard that 2 out of 3 schools continue to maintain. It has involved, this week, so much Swiss motion as to make the time literally fly. It is Thursday, yet is severely reminiscent of a Tuesday. Maybe something exciting will happen this weekend.

Monday, October 03, 2005

A very unexciting post

This is not a very exciting post and readers should be forewarned of its nearly pointless contents. It's not deisgned to enthrall with tales of Asian wonder or supernatural awe, nor is it supposed to be poignant and provoking of the thoughts in our little heady-weadies. It is merely a post to maintain habit and regularity and as such is short and provides very glib details of a mundane yet relaxing weekend's activities.

You have been warned

This weekend was of a remarkable contrast to those previous.

Saturday I cleaned, I cleaned like a man possessed by a cleaning devil of ancient days. I scrubbed and polished and cleaned and tidied and vacuumed and I did it from about 8am until 4 in the afternoon.

Sunday I relaxed in my nice clean house and won my first couple of games in BF2 acting as commander. Hooray for double points.

I also observed and handled an Ipod nano at the electronics store and yes they are very stupidly small. If they were waterproof I would get one to swim with.

Now it is so hot and humid I want to go and lie down for a sleep.

Which is what I believe I shall do now.