June 27, 2005

"18 Years Old"

Let's start with this weekend's recap:

Friday night--started with a rather civil eating, drinking, and chatting outing with a friend at a newly revamped "Birdman" (Burakuri-cho's hip yaki-tori joint). Later in the night, a stop at "Bird" bar (Burakuri-cho seems to be keen on the avian theme), then drunken biking home. I stop in the Family Mart beneath my apartment, and before I can buy what I came to buy, I am off to go drinking with one of the staff members (now off duty, but because she can't get enough of the extremely air-conditioned, "three songs on repeat" atmosphere of FM, she has decided to "come play"--遊びに来る--at her workplace). Anyways, I find myself drinking at a very empty spot in the vacuous heart of Burakuri-cho, a place whose name I forget; for all I know it has no name, being the blackhole of Wakayama's central entertainment area. More things happen...do not remember the night's end distinctly, but somehow I woke up...

On Saturday I had a mammouth Uno tournament with Kazuto and Naoya--two brothers about 11 and 14 respectively. We were using comparatives and superlatives to review a lesson that we spent a couple weeks on earlier this year. It devolved into quite a verbal scuffle, "Naoya is the ugliest boy in Japan." "Kazuto is the smallest boy in Japan." etc. I had to put an end to their war of words so the new rule was that we could no longer compare the members of the group to anyone or anything. Then, after that lesson, I sat in a new bookstore for two hours reading the work of Shuntaro Tanikawa, who wrote an essay called スケベ or "Pervert" which was funny to read (i.e. skim). Among other poems I read were ones about his mother's death, about adolescence (from the formerly unpublished collection of early poems called "18 Years Old"--which the author wrote at that age), and about the universe. He covers a lot of ground with his poems, his life. Afterwards, I strolled over to Wakayama Castle to read in the park from the aforementioned Tanikawa book I had purchased, and to do some writing. Mosquitoes and dragonflies swarming in the steaming late-June air, a boy and his father practicing soccer on the center field, which was otherwise empty (two months ago there was barely anywhere to sit here during the peak of cherry-blossom season). At this time, I felt something big upwell from underneath me, from all around me, and I sat there reading, smoking, writing, sweating, being subsumed in something beyond me, before me, and in me.

Sunday was spent going to a cafe way up on a mountain in Nokami-cho, a mountainous town southeast of Wakayama. Here I had a spectacular view of the Kii Mountains, of the seacoast by Kainain, and of course, the distant smokestacks of Kainain/Shimotsu. I had a pretty interesting (there I go using an adjective that Japanese friends and students overly misuse) conversation with my friend Kyoko at the cafe atop the hills, then an even longer one with the lady who runs the bakery across the street from my lovely apartment building (she seems to be the first Japanese person that I have ever managed to have a really profound heart to heart talk with in Japanese). Finally, a crappy band practice and an decent night's sleep. Today, nobody at school, as the students have gone home. I studied Japanese this morning and graded a few late essays. Now reading more from the Tanikawa book and killing the time writing this. Oh, what a tediously concrete blog it has been! Trying desperately hard to weed away abstractions and typos, but most likely I have failed at eliminating either one or both.

The End Fin 終わり


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