Tuesday, June 17, 2014

40 Days of Summer (in Japan) - Part Nijuu

I had a tempua set lunch today. I find I like lotus root when it's fried, but not when it's in soup done in Chinese-style. The noodles were very firm and chewy. I dumped in what I thought was wasabi into the dipping sauce before finding out it was chopped ginger. Ah well. 'Twas a good meal.

So... many... plates...

Today in class I learned about the Korean massacre in the wake of the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake. I was really surprised to learn about this; I have never heard about this before. It might not seem as terrible as the genocide that was to come in only two short decades on the other side of the world, but it is really unnerving to see so much murder follow so quickly after a terrible disaster and loss of life. I don't know why I was so affected by the discovery of this knowledge; it's a well-known fact that people, traumatized by life-changing destruction, tend to find people to blame it on. But still, it's just horrifying.

Jun has gotten very attached to me recently, ever since he found out my iPhone had games in them. He came up to my room today and asked me to watch him play his game, which looks like a Pokemon-esque monster-collecting game. He sits in my lap and doesn't budge, muttering to himself in Japanese, and pointing out things and trying to explain them to me. It'd all be quite cute if his butt bone wasn't grinding into my thigh.

"Go left! Go left! Now, throw the Pokeball and jump onto that turtle!"

Tonight at dinner I also learned that my host mom, Yuka-san, once worked for the marketing department at Sony Music, and has worked with and met Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, Billy Joel, and Steven Tyler from Aerosmith. I mean, daaaaayum. That was a while ago, though, but in her time she was travelling to London, New York, Paris... She says Mariah Carey was hell to work with; she's had dinner with Jennifer Lopez and says she's really nice, not a diva at all when she's offstage; she's done an interview with Billy Joel; and she was Steven Tyler's personal translator, and even went shopping with him in Harajuku. That is so damn cool. I've never even met a celebrity in my life (well, except everyday when I look in the mirror), and it's so wonderful to discover that a working mom in a suburban home has worked with big name music stars. It's incredible.

I also spent a lot of time tonight watching a Japanese comedy sketch show. I'm not sure what the name of the show is, but it starred Shimura Ken, who looked uncannily familiar for a long time before I realised he looked a lot like Ronnie Corbet from The Two Ronnies. Humour doesn't translate well, but there was good fun to be had from the slapstick routines. His costuming is really good, and his voice manipulation was pretty good as well; he was acting as an absent-minded old lady and his voice was quavering throughout. Very brilliant character-sticking there.

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