Sunday, January 7, 2007

Samui Desu Ne?

That means, "It's cold, isn't it?" or "Cold, huh?" Or, even more roughly, "Cold enough for ya?" And the answer is, "Yes it is."

We were supposed to have ice and snow last night, but instead we had clouds and stars on and off. But the prediction about winds was accurate- 50 mph gusts rattling my windows all night and making me glad I was warm and toasty inside on my futon with the tv going.

Today it rained in the morning, but those same strong winds blew the clouds to China or Guam or somewhere by the early afternoon, so instead we had a cold, sunny day here in Hamamatsu. I went out around 4pm and ate an early dinner at Ohgiya, the usual: yakitori, chicken skin, french fries and grilled squid. Plus two Cokes.

The hostess there is very cute. She has an adorably elfin face and when she smiles, her eyes become two thin dark lines like a cartoon character's eyes, or slivers of dark construction paper. I'm curious about her age, though. She's one of those people who could be anywhere from 20 to 40, and will remain unaged for years and years; like myself, for example. My guess is she's in her mid-20s.

I remember one incident late last year where I bicycled by Ohgiya one day after work, just as night was coming on and the lights and lanterns along the street as well and I saw her and this guy who I assume was her boyfriend, both standing on the corner. She was in her work clothes: burgundy Ohgiya t-shirt and a matching band tied in a bow in her hair, jeans.

And this guy was quietly reading her the riot act. I'm not sure what it as all about, but she wouldn't meet his gaze, kept looking down at his chest and nodding her head as he laid into her. He never raised his voice enough for me to hear its tone, but the sad look on her face spoke eloquently.

Everytime I see her now I think about that incident. But with me, she always smiles and nods.

After dinner, I tried to catch the #9 bus back to Sanarudai, and that proved to be a difficult task indeed. Funneled by the downtown buildings, the wind was ripping through everyone's clothes at the bus stop. The #9 light was on, but it's also the light for the #9-22, which goes to places far from where I needed to be. And the bus it was signaling was that very #9-22, so I went to Yamaha Music to price guitars, despite having no plan to buy one anytime in either the near or distant future.

And then I missed the #9. I checked the schedule, went to the new bookstore in the Zaza City basement, missed the #9 bus again. But this time it wasn't my fault- it came at some odd time that bore no relationship to any of the listings. I went to Toys-R-Us to kill the 20 minutes until the next bus and maybe see this girl working there who I'm mildly crushing on... and missed yet another #9 bus.

I looked at the schedule and from what I saw, it'd come 6 minutes early. Bizarre. That's one thing about Japan- time tables are usually accurate to within a minute or so, even more accurate if we're talking the JR trains, which leave promptly on schedule or you get a note of apology.

Angry with myself, freezing my ass off, I hiked to the bus roundabout at the station and spent the next 20 minutes watching Japanese tv weather reports for the rest of the world until the #9 bus showed up at the correct time. 20 minutes after that, I was home warming myself with my electric heater.

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