Sunday, May 20, 2007


Yesterday, I took Eiko-san to Misawa Eki (station) to catch a train back to Odate, where she lives. She had to be at her shop today to dress a bridal party. (It took a few tries to figure that out).

I understand a lot more Japanese than I let on, and can follow along pretty well in basic, nonurgent situations, if the person goes at a pace used to address brain-damaged dogs. However, I don't have the grammar infrastructure nor the vocabulary to flesh out my communications. Combine my already rotten Japanese with my American accent AND the Aomori accent that tinges it a further color of incomprehensible AND add one slightly hard-of-hearing Japanese oldster and you get conversations like this: (transcribed from the mangled Japanese)

Eiko-san: I need to go to the train station (talking to her son), so I am leaving.
Bakagaijiin: Please wait (grabs stuff and begins walking). We can go!

Luckily Eiko gets the hint!

ES: Really? We can go in your car? I'm sorry for being a bother.
BG: It's nothing. Really.
ES: Where is your car?
BG: Over there. (points)

I go around and open the door for her. I realize I forgot to take my library books back to the library. There's a two-foot stack of them on the passenger seat.

BG: Shit. Oh! Sorry! (flings books into back seat)
ES: That's alright. She throws her purse and tote onto the seat and hauls herself up in to my truck and then proceeds to sit on her bags.
BG: Oh, um... (grabs bags out from under ES's butt)

In the car, driving:

BG: It's raining. I don't like rain. (I can talk about the weather- it's nice or I don't like it, simple)
ES: We're going to the station, right?
BG: Yes, Misawa station

We drive for a bit.

ES: We're going to the station, right? Isn't it that way?
BG: Yes, we're going to the station. (here I attempt to ask where her TRAIN is going)
ES: Huh?
BG: Where are you going? Are you going to Odate?
ES: The train station. EKI. MISAWA EKI
BG: (in English) I know that! (in busted Japanese) You're going to Odate, right?
ES: No, I'm going to the station. GO LEFT HERE! (I go a different way than she is used to and it is making her nervous)
BG: (in a sudden flash of brilliance) Aha! is the TRAIN going to Odate?
BG: Are you going to Odate today?
ES: No, I'm going to MISAWA EKI!
BG: Yes, yes. Fine. You're going to Misawa Station.

sudden shift in conversations, because now we're both annoyed about MISAWA EKI

ES: You [and Chris] have two cars?
BG: Yes.
ES: (I think she asks how old my truck is, not sure)
BG: Not new (because I can't drive, talk, and figure out Japanese numbers without killing both of us, she gets a two-word answer, which she understands is not meant to be rude, thank god).
ES: Oh, I see. It is used (the phrase is actually 'middle old'). It's a good car.
BG: I like it. It is cute.
ES: I don't have any English. I'm sorry. Where are we? Where is the station?
BG: The station is straight ahead. My house is over there (asoko "over there, a bit away).
ES: Really? Oh, look! There's the station (I'm sure she thinks this is a fucking miracle). That was much faster than I thought!
BG: The time is good? (implying we have enough time for her to catch her train)
ES: Yes, it is good. Thank you very much for taking me to MISAWA Eki.

(I hung around to see her off, because that is good Japanese manners, you just don't drop off and dash, plus I like spending time with her, even if it is at MISAWA EKI.)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Last night, my 'net xtion croaked. Hard. Nothing would bring it back. Frustrated, I shut everything down and went to bed.

This morning, I restarted everything, performed a few tweaks and was good to go.

So this afternoon, at work, I "casually" mentioned "You know I had a problem with my connectivity last night...did anyone else?"

And everyone else in the office was like "ME! TOO!" The subtext being that we were all relieved that it wasn't just us individually having issues and that no one would come and revoke our Nerd licenses for losing connectivity.

Lee thought it was his router. I thought my slowly dying machine had finally shuffled off the Tesla Coil, Kotlarsic thought it was just his shitty, half-assed connection, and Kelly, well, bless Kelly, his first thought was he forgot to pay his bill and they shut him down. K's second thought was he paid his bill and they shut him down anyway (his ISP has made a hobby of randomly disabling his service).

Turns out there was a pretty major outage affecting all the ISP's. It had nothing to do with us.

Hee hee hee. Nerds.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Not Very Pheasant

We have this Japanese Green Pheasant living in the patch of woods behind our house. Wiki's not kidding about it living near human communities--this pheasant is in my backyard. This pheasant makes a noise like someone is trying to rape an innertube with a rusty bike horn while simultaneously raking their nails down a chalkboard. At 2 am. This noise wakes me up. Did I mention at 2 am? I am going to go kill that phucking pheasant. The one we had last year got eaten by something in early April, so I didn't have this problem. This year's model managed to survive. But not for long.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Cherimoya Et Cetera

I had a cherimoya as part of my lunch today. It was really good! Also, the cherry blossoms are waaaaaaay blooming but it is raining out, so no hanami (flower viewing) for me today. Maybe this weekend the weather will be nice again (ha ha ha) and I will pack a little picnic and go sit in Misawa Chuo Koen (Middle Park) under the Cherry Trees.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Mutsu Bay

This past Saturday, Chris and I went over to Mutsu Bay to have a look around. I got to see a giant wind farm, a nuclear plant, battleships, and dead starfish. Then we came home and had ice cream cones! All in all, a very good day. I'll have the pictures up on flickr in a bit.