27 November 2003

Citizen Kane

Another dreary day in the Land of the Rising Sun. Frankly, I don't think the sun ever rises here. It hangs just below the horizon or behind a bit of grey cloud, mocking, taunting me.

You should, if you haven't, see the American Experience documentary on Citizen Kane. It's the best thing I have seen on DVD since... well, the Big Lebowski, I guess. It's hilarious and DK and I keep quoting it to each other because parts of it are funnier than everything. "And you always suggest sodomy... that's important... very important..."

Other than that, I've decided to try my hand at growing a moustache. While now it is not the greatest thing you have ever seen, it may one day be. I don't yet have the Internet (see next paragraph), but when I do, I'll let you take a look. Clint Eastwood, eat your heart out.

Yeah, we totally don't have the Internet at the apartment house. The good news was that we can get Yahoo! BroadBand and we can get 2.5 cents long distance. Now, it's just a matter of them delivering the modem and us calling Yahoo! BB so they can set it up. You think this might take several days, but in Japan, this sort of simple task may take weeks. DK is patiently waiting at home for it. I got angry about it and said a sort-of bad word. Other than that, things couldn't be better.

There is no Thanksgiving in Japan so I ate some 100 yen noodles with a coffee mug full of coke. It wasn't great, although this Saturday we're supposed to have Thanksgiving with the missionaries. That could rule like nothing else.

21 November 2003

Japanese TV

DK's quote today: "You know what I saw yesterday? A shirt with a picture of an ape with the words 'A Urinating Ape.'"

Also, from today (concerning the Michael Jackson whatnot. Remember kids, innocent until proven guilty).

Me: Oh great, that sucks. Now all of his songs are going to have a creepy pederast undertone.

DK: Like they didn't already?

Oh man. Japanese television had a thirty minute program devoted to it. I counted the times they showed Michael Jackson walking from the car into the police station. 18, that's right, 18 times. It was the most entertaining thing on television. Although DK saw a show called "Check!" which involved a camera crew and a reporter checking what people had bought at the fish market. "Okay, that's great, next person."

I love this country.

20 November 2003


Well, well, well.

Sumo wrestling was better than everything. I don't think I can accurately describe how cool it is. You all think Sumo is just two fat, sweaty, naked men grabbing each other, right? Well, you're wrong, very, very wrong. I mean, that's part of it, but let me tell you, there is so, so much more. My boy Toki won so I was pretty happy. I stood up and yelled for him and I think it helped. The Grand champion (Asas-something or the other) also kicked the crap out of some guy making his tournament record 10-1. He's tied for first and I'm pretty happy about that. Toki is 7-4 I think. Anyway, we were pretty high up in the stands, but we could see okay and I yelled pretty loudly when I could read the name of the wrestler in Romanji. If you have any questions, I've learned a lot in the last couple of weeks. DK and I may be going down on Saturday to see if the Grand Champion is going to clean up again. It was really cool.

This is my boy, Toki, by the way. Note the sideburns that are bigger than Vermont and Kentucky stuck together.

Musashimaru was the number one wrestler who just retired on Sunday. He was in Fukuoka, but lost and retired before we went. He's Hawaiian and fatter than the fattest thing I have ever seen.

When I get the internet at the apartment, I'll post my own pictures.

Other than that, there's not that much to mention. I mean, can you beat sumo? You can't, honestly, you can't.

Today's meaningless Japanese-English phrase: Do you know to mean STAND?! (appearing on a sweatshirt)

17 November 2003

Weather changes

The rain has stopped. Today was cool, wind blowing through the night and making my pants, hanging over the balcony rail, dry. I ironed this afternoon for longer than I would have liked.

Nothing particularly stunning occurred this week. Yesterday, I stood on a Japanese mountain, the Pacific Ocean on three sides. It was pretty incredible, watching the waves come in and seeing the water stretch and stretch.

This Wednesday is Sumo wrestling. Oh, will it rule. I  will take a picture and one day, when I get the Internet in my apartment, I will post so many pictures. You will be amazed at the amount of pictures I will post.


Also, if you were at the Pedro the Lion show at Knox College, tell me how incredible it was. I was shopping downtown and generally in a bad mood because I was missing it.

Please note that I am watching The Good, the Bad, and Ugly, the greatest western ever. I even got to see it in English. Oh, did it rule. It made me want to be Clint Eastwood. Course, I spend most of my day leading seven year olds in the "Phonics March" so I may be lacking a little in the balls department. But I'm sure Clint Eastwood was really good with children.

Okay, that's enough for today.

10 November 2003

Address and others

Today it rained in Fukuoka. Not hard. Just steady. I watch Sumo wresting on TV, ate noodles and spent more time reading Isaiah. Later, in search of a fingernail clipper I walked west, towards the GooDay (the Japanese equivalent of Wal*mart and Home Depot having a child). I didn't find it, but listened to Death Cab for Cutie while I shopped. I found a clipper at the neighborhood grocery store. It was about $5.

Saturday I met a bunch of kids from the JET program teaching English over in Saga City. It was really cool to hang out with Americans. Neither I nor DK fell head over heels in love, but I really wanted to get phone numbers. I didn't. We ate Thanksgiving dinner together and that was really good.

DK and I wrote a puppet show for the service next Sunday. In my opinion, it is some of the best prose ever written.

For everyone who will send music:
Stephen Pihlaja
Grand Haim, 502
2-12-23 Susenji
Nishi-Ku, Fukuoka
Japan 819-0373
Call me at: 82-092-807-7356

If any of you would like something Japanese, I could help you out. There are a lot of those dumb trucker hats that were cool about 12 months ago.

I will miss Pedro the Lion show at Knox College this weekend and miss seeing Braille rock it with them. I will be there in spirit as I do my laundry on Saturday morning.

06 November 2003

"Let's eat satisfaction!"

It is a grey Thursday afternoon in Japan and still no internet service.

I rode my bike over from the apartment to the church and broke a sweat. Here, I ride my bike everywhere as things are pretty close together. We (me and DK) live about 2.5 km from the Church we're teaching at so it's always a bit of a hike to get over here. But it's nice to have some space. We're close to the train station too so we can get downtown pretty easily.

I can't find Pop tarts to save my life. I want a freaking pop tart. Today, I should be getting some popcorn from Costco so that will be good. I eat a lot of instant noodles. Let's Quiq! for 198 yen. It's the best, and in only five minutes!

Japanese English is great . It doesn't make any sense. "Let's eat satisfaction!" or on the flyer for the VBS DK and I are helping with: "Come play happily with Stephen san and Daniel san!" Also, the Japanese missed the whole mullet going out of style movement (basically, the '90's). They are now trying to catch up, but everyone still has a mullet. And the Carpenters are really big here. It's like one big elevator. But the showers... Oh the showers. You shower sitting on a small stool. It's the best thing ever. And you can see the ocean all the time. Japan's pretty cool, all in all.

The Japanese eat raw horse meat sometime, we learned. Sushi is pretty bad, I can't imagine raw horse meat being any better.

Okay, so changing the subject, I initially hated the new Sleeping at Last record. I thought it was ridiculously bad for the first two weeks I had it. Now, I can't get enough. I listen to it all the time, walking everywhere. It's got me in and frankly, I love Ryan O'Neil.

The women's world volleyball cup is in Japan this year (I'm sure it's what everyone is talking about in the states). DK and I been watching it a lot. Logan Tom. Wow. I love the US.

Okay, when I get internet at the house I promise pictures and more frequent entries. For now, this is all I got.