Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Space Marine Day

A lot of things have been left unsaid about Japan. In my rush to try and force out three weeks of posts, I skipped over the every day – those things that seamlessly blend in with expectations that they fail to be noticed.

When I first arrived in Japan, I was shocked with the numbers of corner stores there were. Japan seems to take this to the fullest point, every corner should have at least one store. And then there are all number of them in between, as well.

The most visible brand Lawson's. Apparently they're from the states. At some point I knew far more about Lawson's than I ever wanted to. My buddies became a wee bit too interested in the brand and read the wiki. Suffice to say, Lawson's made an impact. And there's not just one variety of Lawson's – oh no. There is the Lawson's 100, 100yen shop. There's Lawson's, Lawson's Station, and Lawson's Organic. There could be more, some I didn't take in, or some I just never encountered – but the rule of this Lawson extends far and wide in this fair country.

There's also your Family Mart, your am+pm, and your – what is it? Sun Kist? Something like that.

And the shrines. There's always another shrine. About as many of them as there are corner stores. Rather than spread near the stations, these are hidden away at corners in the more residential areas. Do I know what they're for, or why they're there? No I do not. But there they are.

And McDonald's – McPorks, and Shaka Shaka Lemon. I don't know what to say about these tasty treats other than if you're in the country and have a hundred yen kicking around, you really should go out and pick one up.

Certainly there are more things I'm forgetting, and I'll try to put them in as they come to me, but for now, we move on.

So, what did I do today? Not all that much. And that was what I wanted. I wanted to do nothing, and enjoy that nothing. There was a projector hooked up to a PS3 on which I downloaded terrible amounts of demos, while watching the Halo: Legends anime. It's a strange mix, but I do so love my space marines, and I do so love the Haloverse, so that was time well spent.

Plus I got to sit in the magic chair – the peak evolution of all chairs. It bends and contours to your head, back, and knees. It's wonderful, and it's meant for sitting on the floor. This Japanese floor sitting? Wave of the future – lets all join in, and perhaps then the chairs will be available on Amazon.com not just Amazon.jp

For what it's worth, I did manage to get a lot of the emails I'd been meaning to send out. It's not the easiest thing, keeping in contact with people back home. Though I sent off a number, and replied to all those in my gmail “starred” folder (starring only works if you mean to go back to it, by the by) I could still think of a few people I wanted to send additional messages to. The only thing that makes this even slightly possible to upkeep is that, back home, their lives are as involved and time consuming as mine. More often than not I shoot out replies faster.

I'm normally pretty good at the email game. It just hasn't been the most down-time-filled month.

So, Halo: Legends, check. eMails, check. Time to get those demos going. Of them all, the one that stands out the most in my mind? Afro Samurai. If a game can pull me in with its art style, keep me interested with its game play, and then get me laughing through its dialog? Well then that is the game for it. It's the first demo that has made me think, you know what? I need more of this. I do think I might look into it when the world back home hearkens to me.

And you know what? I'm feeling that world hearken all the time these days. I really do feel this trip coming to an end, and I'm not sure how I feel about it. There are times when I'm so ready to go back, and try to find my place in the world, and there are other times when I want to try and make this my place in the world.

I do miss the community of friends back where I'm from, and I miss the familiar, and I miss the Combo C. But then, I like that I can do what I want out here, am answerable to no one, and don't have to think any more than “what do I want?” Sure, it's selfish but that doesn't make it any less ideal.

I flip back and forth between the two thoughts. If I could transplant a few people out here to travel in a group, well then that would be the real ideal, wouldn't it? I don't want to go back, but then this last month has been a far cry from travel in the past. Perhaps the next couple of months will find me in situations like in BA, or even Thailand. That was travel, sure – but of the type where seeing it end might not have been the worst thing. Japan, though? Well this has just been fantastic. And people. There have always been people. No nights up alone listening to podcasts, wondering if I should have done more with my day. No going out just to do enough things to write about. No, these days have been organic, and taken care of themselves.

Well – there's still China, Singapore, New Zealand, and Australia left. And there's America. But I almost feel as my trip will end when I leave Australia. Then it will become something different. A joint road trip, and still travel – but even that it's in America for that long. It will just be – something different.

When my buddy got back from work, we went out for food. Okanomiyaki. I have no idea how to spell it, but the more I think of it, the more I want it. And there are so many styles – Tokyo, Osaka, and Hiroshima from what I know. I prefer the Hiroshima style, and I think that this could do real well in North America. But the more I think, the more I realize I don't think I know any Japanese restaurants back home. Surely they exist, but...

Basically you make a base of liquid flour, water, broth, and let that slightly pancake. Then you take your noodles, toss them on the griddle too, on top of the base. Then you put on a mountain of sprouts which get smaller and smaller. Then – and here's where the America crowd starts to love it – you layer it with bacon. Once the bacon is on, you slather it with sauce, which we could call BBQ sauce. I don't know what it is – it's brown? And then you make another base, flip the whole thing over onto it, let it finish cooking, and put it on a plate, cut into four slices, and serve.

Once served, and it's on your plate, you slather it with mayonnaise. Once more, bless the Japanese and their mayo loving hearts.

Honestly – tell me American's wouldn't go nuts for that. Only you'd have to call it something less ethnic, like... Spaghetti pie. And instead of the mysterious brown sauce, which undoubtedly has a Japanese name, you'd need to rename that Freedom Sauce.

Who wouldn't want a slice of Spaghetti pie, covered in bacon, mayo, and freedom sauce?

I'm telling you – this is a workable image.

On the way home from food, I popped into a video store to pick up Avatar (just released on this April 23rd) on BluRay as a way of saying thanks. Not that it equates, but hey – it's something.

Once back at the house, we proceeded to stay up watching it. Sure it wasn't in 3D like it was in Bangkok, but it was still solid. I still do like this movie. I mean, come on, space marines. That, and watching it up a giant projected HD screen really works to recreate the theatre environment. I'm so smitten with this set up, and the chairs. Such wonderful, wonderful chairs.

Three times I've watched the film – still, I have no idea what the aliens are saying to each other. The first two times? Their voice was subtitled in Thai. Now, Japanese. One day I'll figure it out. One day.

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