Thursday, January 24, 2008

New Year Resolution

This year I resolve to update my blog with increasing regularity, hopefully to write something everyday. Oh sh*t, I guess that I already blew that one. I never have been one to make and meet my New Year Resolution. I almost did not even make one this year. And then around the second week of January I thought that it would be a good motivator for me if I resolved to write more. I was doing fairly well updating more often, because I was using my free periods to write and then bringing it home and posting it in the evening. Then came winter vacation. We had plenty of little of adventures that I hope to write up and add to the blog, but i will also try to keep people updated with our lives.

This week the weather has turned colder. I thought it was cold before, but it has become winter in the last couple of days. As I type there is snow falling outside for the second time this winter, and this time it is cold enough for the snow to stick to the ground. The worst part of the cold is the mornings. We wake up in the morning and the temperature hovers around forty-five degrees in our living space. It is even colder in the hallway where the bathroom is. We have taken to showering in the evening because there is no way we are going to bathe in the morning when the air is so cold we can see our breath. I guess that Japan is a nation of extremes. In the summer it was unbearably hot. Now we go to the store to escape the cold.

Monday I quickly got ready to go school. I had to because of the cold. I pulled on all fifty layers. Sixteen pairs of socks, long-johns, pants, five or six shirts, seventy-five sweaters, all in a vain attempt to stay warm on the ten minute bike ride to school. On my way to school I saw one of the students from my school in front of me. I sidled up to her and bumped the back of her bike with my front tire. She jumped about three feet in the air. Then she saw it was me and she started to laugh. Yelling at me the whole time, "Kebin yamete, Kevin stop." We rode together for a short way. Me all bundled up in my winter gear and her in a sweater and knee length skirt and over the calf socks.

I passed her after a block or so of riding together. It was as I was stopped at a traffic light that she joined me once again. I noticed that sitting in the helmet that was hanging from her handlebars was her cell phone. She was using her phone as an MP3 player. I pointed at it giving her my best school yard, "ooooohhhhh your going to get in trouble." She looked at me with pleading eyes and begged me not to turn her in. I told her that it would be our secret. It was then that she offered me the last thing I expected to seal our bargain. She held up the pinky of her right hand. She wanted to pinky swear with me to seal our secret. I did the only thing I could in the circumstance, I locked pinkies with her and pinky swore that I would never tell. It was not until later in the day that I realized how binding our contract was when all of her friends wanted to pinky swear with me too.

Tuesday brought an unexpected change of work duties for me. I was contacted about eleven in the morning and told to be at city hall at two-thirty to meet the mayor. And I would be helping to give him a tour of the city. Oh yeah sorry, this was not the mayor of Omihachiman who of course knows every inch of his town, but the esteemed mayor of Grand Rapids; Mr. George Heartwell and his beautiful wife. At first my going on the tour was canceled because I had a meeting with a teacher in the afternoon, but the investigation went higher up the totem pole and by the time the vice-principal was trying to find out about it, it became apparent that "it would be best if Kevin went on the tour." So it was time to go and change into my suit and go to meet the mayor. I was brought to the new hospital where we would be given a tour of the facility. I was very impressed with the new hospital and the Mayor. He was a very nice fella, down to earth and impressive at the same time. We toured the hospital, a crematorium, and a museum/art gallery. The hospital and even the funeral parlour made sense to me. Both were beautiful facilities that are recent additions to the city. The art museum however, I am at a loss to describe. It was like a special needs art facility. The best way to illustrate my point is by painting a picture of one of the areas. I will do my best to describe the area know as, "けんちゃんのファテジランド" or Ken-chan's Fantasy Land. An autistic man of about 18 years old has created an amusement park out of old milk cartons, curry boxes, paper and cardboard. It is very similar in every regard to the creations Logan's classmates make in kindergarten. (editorial comment: I don't say this to humiliate or degrade the art, because it really is quite impressive and cool. I describe it as such to provide the most accurate picture.) After the museum it was time to call it a day. I headed off home while Mr. Mayor and the first lady of Grand Rapids were driven off to their next appointment. A chance to meet the mayor of my home town was quite an honor.

I will do my best in the coming weeks to keep you better informed of our time here. I will continue to write about our adventures and describe the more mundane parts of our life in a fun and informative way.

(mata ashita ne)
see you tomorrow

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