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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Neck Deep (In Everything You Can Imagine)

Hello there. It's been a while since I've last posted and though there's not been much for me to here in the town, there's still lots of things for me to talk about. I spend a lot of my time at Keiko-san's shop across the street. Over there I converse with her for a a few hours and I've recently taken to translating a book that I bought at a store called Tsutaya. Right now I'm sitting by myself in our house, while Mitsuko is out. She was invited another Enkai (drinking party) to celebrate (perhaps?) the end of the Kofu Junior High sports festival and apparently discuss work related things, which is why I was not invited this time around. I think I'm getting way ahead of myself right now though. I'll try to back up and explain things in more detail.

Let's see. . .

I believe it was the day after I last posted that Keiko invited us to go for a walk around Kofu to see a few sights. This town, though small, is actually a bit famous for it's water that comes from Mt. Daisen. It's sold in the malls, grocery, and department stores. If you read the back of the label carefully the name of our town is there on the bottle. How about that? Back to Mt. Daisen, apparently there's a hiking trail that one can take and sounds like something that I want to try later on when it's not so hot, because even though it's gone down tremendously since I first arrived, it's very much still hot and humid. On the walk Keiko told us a story about the castle up in the foothills of the mountain. As it turns out, the castle has since been renovated and therefore not the way it used to be. I'd like to go check that out in any case. The story she told us involved the Obon Festival, which is a time that maybe ever so slightly resembles something like our Halloween, but is far more close to something like a Dia De Los Muertos, honoring spirits and ancestors. It felt somewhat surreal as we walked through the increasingly natural landscape while she recited the story of the local lord who was killed and subsequently visited his townspeople who admired him so. The experience seemed more in line with what one might experience in a movie, it was a simple but moving experience, that left me filled with a certain sense of warmth at learning a piece of folklore.

Mitsuko would later have a busy week as her ALT life was pretty much solidified by this point. As I mentioned earlier, to help pass the time I visit with Keiko-san nearly every day. We often discuss food amongst the many things we talked about. Mitsuko never really learned to cook and as such, Keiko-san would help make her dinner before I showed up. Since I have a little bit more experience in that area I usually prepare dinners for her. Keiko-san asks me about the kinds of food we like, which are many for me, and we plan out a dinner accordingly. A few times in the last week, she's come over to our house, which is a whole 40 feet maybe less from her shop's front door, in order to help prepare a dinner. Killing two birds with one stone, we make enough dinner for both houses, ours and hers.

One of the days in which Mitsuko was working and I was spending time chatting with Keiko-san, she asked if I wanted to accompany Jiro-san to Yonago, the much bigger town (the city) next to ours. Not having much else to do, I agreed and thought perhaps I could pick up a thing or two, maybe a gift for Mitsuko or other things. They had heard that I liked records in one of our previous chats, and we found a record store in the Yonago area. While he was going to run some errands, I was to get dropped off at the record store and browse for a bit then he'd come back and get me, but we arrived too early. It didn't open until 11am and it was about 9:45 for us. So I ran a few errands with him, and eventually stopped at a CD/DVD/Book/Video Game store called Tsutaya. He went off to do a few more things and I shopped for a while in that store. I didn't want to spend too much unnecessary money, but I did find something I could pass up, two novels. There was a fantastic video game back in 2001 and later republished in 2011 called "Ico". I could waste a lot of time talking about how much I like it and why I recommend it, but just do yourself a favor and look it up here on Wikipedia if you're even slightly interested. There was a novelized form of the storm in two volumes, and it cost about 10 dollars for the both of them. I couldn't pass it up. These are the books that I'm currently translating right now with Keiko-san. It's going very slow because it's written in very flowery figurative language with lots of uncommon words, but I figure it'll help me out to get reading books rather than manga so that's the plan in that respect.

More cooking, more cleaning, I've become the housewife while Mitsuko goes out and works all day long. I understand more and more how this program can break relationships between people, it's quite taxing and strenuous on both parties it seems. I feel particularly bummed out most of the time that she gets to go out and do something while I sit around and entertain myself or quite literally (and more accurately) do nothing with my time.

Today was another example of that. The Jr. High School had a sports festival starting at about 9am this morning. Mitsuko had to work, and by work I mean film the whole thing via a tripod and a couple of hours and just standing there. I wasn't invited of course, but neither was I uninvited. Lots of families come to see the kids performing their various events, races, relays, human pyramid-making, and intermittent dances. I didn't get much chance to talk with her, and neither did I eat anything for most of the day. She disappeared during lunch time because she had go to inside and eat with everyone else. I sat outside by the track for about an hour until the activities started up again. After the whole event was over I tried to help out with the cleaning, but it wasn't all that much. I walked home and left Mitsuko there because she didn't know what else she had to do, or when exactly she would be able to go home. Later that night there was another enkai, which she had to attend. I was definitely uninvited to this one, and that's a sort of thing that gets under my skin a bit. I totally get it, let's get that out of the way. I'm not a teacher, and I don't work in this town. But it seems as though everyone equally wants me to be around, and not at the same time. I haven't necessarily been able to make sense of it, but as I said earlier. When there's nothing for me to do all day, nor can I talk with Mitsuko, and neither can I attend things with her, there comes a point in which I start to question the reasons why I'm here at all.

But to end on a more positive note, it seems that one of the teachers wants me to come in with Mitsuko on the 15-17th and help out with the students' English essays. Maybe, just maybe, it'll be exactly the right chance to prove that I am actually worth my salt. I also finally met Kageyama-sensei. The one who had to check to make sure I was normal. It seemed to go well but there's no way to be sure of what he was thinking. Perhaps later he'll let Mitsuko know that I can finally go to the Kindergarten and various schools to help out. Then, and only then, will all this madness start to add up to something.

There's always Keiko-san and Jiro-san though. I love them to death. I'd stay here just for them.


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