Haircuts, parties, and cop checkpoints

Still sick, but getting better.

There’s something going around–I haven’t come down with something that’s stuck with me for nearly a week in a very long time. A lot of ALTs have been sick lately and my JTE had similar symptoms last week. I’m over the hump, though, and I’ll be going in to work tomorrow.

Yesterday I picked Julie up and we drove into the city, each with our own set of errands to run and each with appointments at Mod’s Hair, the (ridiculously overpriced) hair salon with English-speaking employees. I accidentally told them to cut my hair too short–it’s now the same length it was when I chopped it off last year, with the bottom layers touching my shoulders, but I never like how it looks when it’s this short. Oh well, at least it’ll grow, and the next time I get my hair cut will be back in the US, when I can explain exactly what I want in English and have the people completely understand me–and only charge me $13, as opposed to ¥5000. Ridiculous.

After running some other errands (including buying what seem to be completely vegetarian cans of Thai red and yellow curry paste from the Sogo basement–SCORE!), I headed to Root Down for Chris and Akiyo’s post-wedding party. It was a good crowd and good company, and a sentimental and nice affair on the whole. Akiyo was saying they’re leaving next April to return to Oregon, which I already knew, but they may then move back to Japan a few years after that, and maybe go back and forth. The wedding was a multicultural one, with Chris wearing traditional Japanese garb and Akiyo wearing a white gown. I’m glad I could be there to celebrate it with them, and I really hope their life together will be a happy one.

Afterwards, I picked Julie up and (after some mishaps involving trying to get on the river road that Genna had shown me how to take last week, except I took a wrong turn and ended up angling southwest and intersected route 192 instead) headed west and picked up Brian and Sally and went up to the Mino bungalows, where Ashley and Kiet were throwing a birthday party for themselves. (Kiet’s 25 today and Ashley’s 23. Happy birthday, guys!) They’d been at it for a couple of hours already by the time we got there. It ended up being a lot of fun, a good mix of ALTs and Japanese friends. I finally had to leave after 1 AM because I was still feeling ill and sleepy, so I took Brian and Julie home, and Sally stayed behind and caught a ride with Chalice.

After dropping off Brian, I got pulled over and had to take my first-ever breathalyzer test.

This is the two-week period where Japanese cops are out in full force to enforce traffic. It’s ironic–they spend 2 hours cracking down on people speeding and whatnot, and then do almost nothing for the rest of the year. There was a checkpoint just a bit west of Brian’s house on route 12, where they were conducting breathalyzer tests on everyone passing by. At first I thought they’d pulled me over because I was speeding–I was going about 10km over the speed limit–but then they said something about how they were conducting checks for the purpose of driving safety. (Did I mention that the allowed BAC on Japanese roads is 0.00? You aren’t allowed to have anything at all to drink.)

Today I slept in and met up with Ashley for a lunch of donburi and went grocery shopping, and have pretty much been lying low. I’m still tired from whatever this is that’s been plaguing me, and it’s also hot out. It’s definitely time to swap out my winter and summer clothes…which also means that it’ll soon be time to start shipping my winter clothes back to Atlanta. We’ve come full-circle, and winter’s become spring, which is already edging on summer. The time’s almost here, but I foresee many more good times like this, spent in the company of good people.

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