Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Been busy the past few days or so. Went to Tokyo for my friend Kevin's birthday. It was about a forty minute train ride there. Not too bad, really, and the train system seems really easy to use, though once you're in Tokyo it's a bit disorienting. I've been in a lot of bigger cities now, in the states that is, and none of them are like Tokyo, which is super clean (in my opinion) and nothing but lights lights lights, and strangely dressed young hipsters and sharply cut black suited businessmen, and buildings with buildings inside them, it seems.

We went to see the car of the future, and to Najmatown, which is an amusement park located in a sixty floor shopping center called Sunshine City. I didn't realize how much this culture folds in on itself. Origami makes total sense to me now, because it seems everything in Japan, especially in Tokyo, is folded and folded and folded again, until something beautiful and strange is made of it. Namjatown is literally an amusement park that winds and twists through various corridors made up to look like an ancient version of Japanese streets with food vendors and little shopping stores and rides, like another version of Disneyland, only lots of cute Hello Kitty type characters instead. My friend Beth took pictures, so maybe she will post them to her website soon, and when and if she does, I'll link to them. The highlight of Namjatown was going into the scariest haunted house I've been in ever. It was the creepiest, because you are given an spider with a woman's face to hold, and it shines a light out of her carapace for you to see through the halls of the haunted house. You have to sit the spiderwoman on certain lanterns to light them up for clues too, and look for certain hiragana characters that you have to remember for when you exit, because they add up to a secret word that will save the life of a cat you are trying to save who is being held captive by a demon in the pits of hell. Seriously, you hear the cat crying throughout the haunted house, and more than once I was literally jumping backwards from surprise scary stuff that happened. One unscary and possibly shocking but hilarious sight was being midway through the haunted house and being shown a video of the cat being roasted on a spit in hell, yowling, and the demon laughing. The Japanese are so wacky.

Did you know at gas stations here, after you have filled up your tank, the fuel tank allows you to play a slot machine type game, and if you win, you get free fuel. Everywhere you look here, there are games built into everything. My cell phone has a Winnie the Pooh game on it, which is slightly annoying. And also all the cell phones here have cameras built into them as a common feature. And the weirdest thing of all is that the cell phones have the capability to send an infrared light back and forth to each other to transfer data from cell to cell. So when my friend Kevin had a phone number I wanted, he pointed his phone at mine, pressed the correct buttons to select the number and turn on the infrared, and beamed that person's phone number to me, just like that. Crazy crazy stuff.

Tomorrow I start school. A bit nervous, but I figure it'll all be cool after I figure out what exactly the teachers there want out of me. I have a better idea of what's expected from me at the elementary schools on Thursdays. The junior high where I teach the other four days seems still pretty vague.


Blogger Jeremy said...

That haunted house sounds like the coolest amusement park ride ever.

Seen any really strange vending machines yet?

2:18 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Enquiring minds want to know: did you save the cat?

4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Everyone,

Just wanted to let you know Chris called us on Monday evening (Tuesday morning)in Japan. He is doing well. He is a bit nervous as his first teaching day at the junior high was today(Wednesday), then Thursday he will teach at the elementary. He told us he can't sleep in very late in Japan as the sun is up very brightly by 5 a.m. His dad couldn't believe that Chris would arise early as in the USA he was a bit nocturnal and never awoke very early. He said he was just on Japanese time all these years. He misses all of his friends but has been quite busy readying himself for teaching. I see he hasn't posted yet today so he must be busy or practicing his Japanese every chance he gets. Oh yes after Chris called we had to put Hobbsie in prison as he was caught in the act of stealing a bun once more. Must be he knew Chris was on the phone. Just the sound of his voice puts Hobbsie in that darning state once more.Take care, Chris's mom

9:10 PM  
Blogger Christopher Barzak said...

Hey, sorry, I'll post later tonight, I think. Classes went well. The elementary school was amazingly fun. Just finished up there and have to run back to the junior high now. So tired. Kids are great but so energetic they suck the life right out of you.

1:58 AM  

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