Update: it was indeed animals that wrecked our trash bags. My landlord was saying that he cleaned up the mess, not that he wrecked the bags while cleaning. It was certainly awkward to have to go pay my rent after having my BOE boss call my landlord to straighten this out, but at least it totally is straightened out. Some omiyage’s probably in order.
I shouldn’t stay up late because I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in several days. This was a good weekend–therapeutic in many ways. And, as usual, a list of bullets of what we did…
- Wednesday: went to Okayama and met Louise, returned to Ikeda, ate La Tavola for dinner, and returned to my place and cleaned up the trash from my doorstep, and went to rent a couple of movies (In Her Shoes, which we ended up not getting to watch and watched my copy of Amélie instead, and Big Fish)
- Thursday: talked to my landlord, which sparked the Uncomfortable Weekend Caused By A Huge Linguistic Misunderstanding; on a much nicer note, though, we also discovered a temple really close by, up a nearby mountain! Rengenji, I believe it’s called: not one of the Shikoku 88, but one of an alternate set of 88 temples scattered around Shikoku
- Friday: went to Takamatsu, where we drank mildly dissatisfying Starbucks, wandered around the incredible Ritsurin Koen, ate McDonald’s, bought a bunch of bagels, and sat by the sea during dusk and had a long heart-to-heart before heading back to Ikeda
- Saturday: went to Tokushima, ate burritos and chatted with Dave and his new employee-in-training, hiked Bizan (we took the path behind the temple next to the Awa Odori Kaikan–it ended up being the shortest, as well as one of the 3 most difficult), went to Uniqlo, did purikura (Louise’s first time–she enjoyed it) and played the taiko game to most of the classical “pieces” it had, had Indian food for dinner and Tully’s ice cream for dessert, and caught the last express out west, instead of making a night of it
- Sunday: it rained, so our walking plans (to check out this footbridge that crosses the Yoshinogawa (River) and to check out a moderate-sized temple right behind one of my elementary schools) were canceled; we pulled out my violin and messed around with some music, and in the afternoon we went to Sunrise and bought bento boxes for lunch at Daily Mart and did more purikura and played the taiko game on the top floor arcade and were mobbed by high school kids (and had our photos taken with several), came back and watched Bend It Like Beckham, and sang 1 1/2 hours of karaoke at Chantez, ending with, of course, “Georgia On My Mind”
- Monday: put Louise on her train to Okayama, jump-starting her long trip back to Kooriyama/Inawashiro, and started my week
Actually, that about covers it. We did a lot of walking and a lot of hanging out–I do feel bad that we didn’t get to do everything she wanted to do (visiting temples 1 and 88 of the Shikoku 88; it turns out that they’re pretty far apart, though, so even if we’d tried, since I don’t have a car it would’ve been tough…also, eating kaitenzushi, seeing bunraku, and more), but we’re both grateful for the chance to hang out. We may run into each other just a couple of weeks before she returns to the US–I got a k-mail from Alexa asking me about hiking Fuji-san this summer, which we’d agreed to do on July 23-24, while we were on the plane(s) from Atlanta to Tokyo together. However, my nenkyuu is drained–I only have 4 hours left until the end of July, but there’s a long weekend in July that I suggested we utilize, and it turns out Louise and her friend Rachel, who’s coming and staying with her during the last couple of weeks to help her wrap up and leave, are planning to hike Fuji-san that same weekend. I guess we’ll see.
I also experienced my first earthquake Monday–a fairly small one just before 1 PM (well, technically, Georgia actually had one or two earthquakes in the last 5 years, but I slept through it/them)…originally I thought it was a 1-pointer from what my teachers were saying, until I remembered (thanks, Ethan) that you can only feel a magnitude 3 earthquake and up–the teachers also mentioned the number 4, so maybe it was a 4-pointer. It lasted all of 5 seconds, and it was essentially a sharper version of the rumbling/vibration you feel when a big truck goes by the building you’re in. It was really surreal, though, and I was a little unsettled for the rest of the afternoon. Most of you know what a big geology nerd I am–this was my first actual brush with geology at work, though. Now that the initial strangeness has worn off, I intend to have many more; I’ve heard all these stories about how geologically incredible Kyushu is, particularly the surprisingly active Aso-san, and Chalice, who’d lived in Kagoshima before coming here, was telling me about how Sakurajima would spew ash occasionally and the sky had taken on a permanent tinge from the ash. I don’t think I could be in a better country for this sort of stuff–I just have to overcome my initial fear of actually confronting such powerful forces that I’ve admired from afar for so many years.
And there’s probably more I could say, but it’s way too late as it is. Good night!