July 31, 2007

done and dusted

surprise surprise - i am back. lying in bed, cooled by the air-con, cicadas drowning out the usual din of traffic outside our little space. first day of a long holiday.

as a vague connection to my last post, lots has happened, though not much time has passed and i continue the surprises....

my last day at work has come and gone - along with a fairly enjoyable leaving do and a little too much beer. more good pressies and requests to keep in touch. ready to move on now (right now!)

sunday saw shako "fishing". this involved wading through the mud of a large river-bed at low tide to a spot on the waters edge to meet the "master" - a weathered beaten Kurashiki local and an expert on these ugly little crustaceans.

we proceeded to tempt the poor little things from their cozy holes with traditional Japanese calligraphy brushes attached to sticks. grabbing the two front pincers when they appeared at the entrance and gently pulling them out and into a waiting basket.

our fun was interrupted by the mother of all rain storms and after hiding under the inadequate shelter of a road bridge we called it a day and headed back to the master's house for a BBQ. after a trip with the red-light-running host for the day, we were glad to get settled round a bubbling pot of oil for shako-tenpura and the warmth of a mini-bonfire.
this was followed by a snack/chat/firework session with some locals, cute kids and friends. a thoroughly enjoyable day that surprised us all.

monday saw a "family musical" reproduction of Les Miserables. it was our first trip into the main Okayama Symphony Hall - filled mostly with little girls, their handbags and mothers.
we lasted until the interval - what appeared to be Fantine frantically masturbating under the bedsheets in what should have been her death scene was the "climax" for us....
in a sage reviewers words "it wasn't bad. it just..... wasn't good."

having done a little search on the webbage i now realise that this performance was far more commercially driven than we first thought.
the event was sponsored by a supermarket and a home store.
the edited story comes from an anime series that has been running for some time and no doubt has many a product tie-in. oh, the wonderful artistic world of japan.

still, we got our tickets for free.

July 25, 2007

faster than the speed of cheese

12 little days left after today. and only 3 of those days are at work!! zipping by it is.

feeling a touch sad - i'm a seasoned "goodbye" sayer having done it on numerous occasion during my time here. but hearing about my little students getting home and crying because they won't see me again makes me feel a little funny. still - a quick letter to said student with my address enclosed should do the trick.

however, i'm also well aware that give it 3 or 4 weeks and it will be "greg who??"

have been getting some goodbye pressies too - only had two days of my last week and have already got two t-shirts (one i won't be wearing/one i might) and a jimbe:

something i would never really buy myself but am very happy to have as a gift/souvenir. mine is a little brighter with a less than tasteful design but nevermind....

hair is all chopped off - done by an expert hand at "Rough" hair salon.
money is transferred.
boxes are sent.
bags are in the process of being packed.

not sure i'll have much more to blog about before i leave but with a free week to do as i please, maybe the urge will take me again....

otherwise it'll be stateside bloggage!

July 18, 2007

ooh err!

Even after three years here in Japan it is still a country that continues to confound and surprise me. A plethora of odd stories in the news, from grisly murders to blatant political corruption via a few crazy new technologies always keeps me reading avidly.

However, on a more personal note, this weekend we discovered what appeared to be a shop with a large selection of full-on Gay Manga Porn!!

Now, for a - dare i say it - extremely homophobic country, this came as somewhat of a surprise.... we flicked through quite a few of the books and although mostly text, there were certainly a fair few drawings of the man-on-man variety. The fully illustrated ones were wrapped up tight in cellophane but from what we saw the standard Japanese pixellation of the naughty bits still applies here.

Here are a few examples of the front covers:

Down boy!