Monday, January 24, 2005

Death March, Maji De

In an effort to train myself for a possible Mt. Fuji climb this summer (and an almost certain 10-mile hike across central Tokyo during cherry blossom season...more on that later), I have resolved to start walking more. And my medical checkup the other day, which revealed that I have "pre-hypertension," has pretty much made the decision official: Jesse go walkies. So today I took my first baby step and walked home from Shibuya Station after work. As the map shows, I got lost soon after leaving Shibuya Station, but regained my bearings upon nearing Sangenjaya Station and Kannanadori. I have no idea how far I walked, but after two hours of wandering around in my work shoes my feet are killing me.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Talk Is Cheap, Continued

The math thing didn't work, so she redirected the discussion to evolution, where she posed the ponderable, "Why is it that only humans are blessed with superior minds, with the ability to plan and speculate?" (She must have practiced that question quite a bit, judging by the sudden jump in language level.)

I just realized the irony of the term "free talk" (which is when a high-level student elects to practice conversation in a lesson without the use of a textbook). Free talks, as well as any other talks that might happen in a lesson, are not free at all. In fact, they're pretty damn expensive.

Talk Is Cheap, Except When It's Free

I have one student who is a Jehova's Witness and routinely requests that I evaluate her pronunciation as she reads one of her pamphlets aloud in English. Your guess as to why she would need that skill is as good as mine, but the request always reveals itself as a ploy to turn her theological crosshairs on me with questions like "So, how do you feel about the passage I just read?"

But her conversation level isn't high enough to process the English of my responses (for example, my belief that the universe as we know it is in the midst of just one pulse of a rhythm that repeats eternally, re-exploding and re-collapsing forever on infinite levels). So today I considered using the universal language of mathematics to convey my thesis.

Saturday, January 15, 2005


After my Saturday work shift I often end up looking for dinner in Shimokitazawa. Today Girlfriend and I opted for Chinese food at Oh-Sho (not quite so eccentric as American Chinese food, but localized for Japan all the same). Pictured here, Girlfriend with a bowl of chanpon so big I cannot see past it.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Things to Do Before Work #3

Then I read something for a little while. Hey kids, put down those Yu-Gi-Oh cards and read something! Your parents will be relieved that you're no longer doing +3 damage and reflecting water attacks, or whatever it is you do.

Pending the availability of a book, I may also work on my music, some artwork, this weblog, my deep understanding of Transformers, my collection of Max Headroom memorabilia purchased on eBay and ongoing message board arguments over which is better: 2D fighting or 3D fighting. By the way, 2D is better and I don't really have any Max Headroom stuff so please stop asking.

Things to Do Before Work #2

Video games: The silent killer in your home. Be sure to take at least one 60-second break for every ten uninterrupted hours of Katamari Damashii. Failure to do so can result in vertigo, epilepsy, paralysis, tuberculosis, idiopathic anaphylaxis and Tourette Syndrome. In this case, I was lucky and ended up only with the last three.

Things to Do Before Work #1

My weekday morning regimen of time-wasting is crucial to my spiritual well-being. With that in mind, one of the first things I do every day is play 20 to 30 minutes of video games, which helps me relax while simultaneously preparing me for the "ARIENAI AKUSHION BATORU!!!" that is everyday life in Japan. See how relaxed/prepared I am.