We are having the first earthquake of the new year at this very moment. Yes, my dear readers, I am typing while something just fell on the floor in my kitchen. Will check on that later. I have become so numb to earthquakes now. I feel Californian, or well in this case, Japanesey (terrible Utada Hikaru song reference). Oh there now, everything is fine again. Just type through the shaking and it will go away.
I have a day off today. I slept in until 10 a.m. I am not sure what I'm going to do with myself all day, but I will figure something out.
This weekend I am going to try to convince Tadashi to see Daremo Shiranai with me (Nobody Knows). It's still playing at a theater in Shibuya. It just opened in NYC too, I hear. The little boy in the movie won best actor at Cannes this year. The story sounds incredible. I watched two different previews online and got all teary both times. It's based on a true story of a woman who abandoned her four children in an apartment in Tokyo. They continued to take care of themselves on their own for six months before anyone realized they were without parents.
I watch these trailers and tear up, because I just see my kids at the junior high and elementary schools when I watch it. I have become a Japanese sort of teacher after all, and feel responsible for the kids now, as if they were my own. This is my Japan depicted very naturalistically. There is even a wonderful scene with the kids playing Janken (Paper, scissors, rock) on a stairwell. In Japan, Janken happens all day, everywhere. I see it at least twenty times a day. The kids use it to settle disputes, settle who gets the extra milk cartons at lunch, who takes the lunch trays up to the cart, who raised their hand first to answer a question during a game. I've seen adults use it too. It's cute and sweet and so much better than seeing kids (not to mention adults) whining and crying over who gets what or who goes first, etc. The losers never get upset after they janken. They stick to the honor of having done the deciding game and lost fair and squarely.
There is a chant they say as they Janken. Saisho guu, Janken pon! (First is stone, now Janken!) If you have the same symbol (paper, scissors or stone) then you keep going, and the chant changes to "Aiko deshou! Aiko deshou!" (one more time! one more time!) until there is a winner.
Anyway, when I saw the abandoned children in the movie trailer janken-ing, I almost began to weep my little heart out. Why would I go see a movie that is so obviously sad, some may ask? Because I think we avoid certain emotions in our lives too much. I think healthy doses of sadness are good for us. I think it's good to stay connected to the world, which is not always happy, and to try to pretend it is nothing but happy would be to live in denial of what is real.
So go forth and watch something sad!