September 15, 2017
On my way out tonight I saw a dude throw up and fall on his face and then throw up on his entire body.
I walked up to Bar Trench in Ebisu but there were way too many cool looking people in there so I kept walking... pretending like I was never planning on going in there anyway... which I wasn't.
I walked over to Bar Triad and went inside. I had some good cocktails and talked to the bartenders for a while. しょうご (Sho•go) wrote my name in Kanji characters on a piece of cardboard.
"What does it mean?" I asked.
"Snake. Beauty. Anger."
"But you only just met me. How can you know?"
September 20, 2017
I was working at a coffee shop when two businessmen sat down next to me. One of the guys dropped his wallet on the floor as he sat down. I told him it fell and he thanked me.
When they got up to leave, the other guy left his briefcase on his chair. I told him about it and he thanked me.
I felt like a superhero. Though I really didn't do much... these guys just did everything wrong.
September 25, 2017
Today I played tennis with a guy that used to play tennis with a guy that used to play tennis with the Emperor of Japan.
October 9, 2017
I asked my friend today, "Is china from China? Like, is it though?"
October 19, 2017
Today in Japanese language class:
"I rode my train to class today."
"No, you rode the train to class today."
"No, I rode my train to class."
"Train. It's not your train."
"What? No, it is my train. I don't understand why I can't ride my train."
This is the precise moment when I learned the difference between train, "でんしゃ" (den•sha), and bicycle, "じてんしゃ" (ji•ten•sha).
November 2, 2017
Soon after arriving in Ibusuki, I made my way over to the Muranoyu Onsen. There was a wooden box on the porch of the house next to the onsen that read ¥300 (~$3). I dropped in a ¥500 coin and a man immediately ran out of the house and handed me ¥200. "This man has an excellent ear for metals" I thought to myself.
Inside the onsen were two soapy, elderly Japanese men. I looked around for the standard onsen shower area but couldn't find one. Shortly thereafter, I'm sitting naked on the tile floor next to the hot spring with the two men standing over me pointing at things and showing me how to wash myself.
November 3, 2017
Today I visited Saraku and got a "sand bath". After washing up in the onsen, I wrapped myself in a yukata and walked down to the beach. An employee showed me to a plot (a shallow, shoveled out ditch in the sand) and asked me to lay down. She grabbed a shovel and buried me in the hot sand up to my head. Immediately, I could feel my right arm burning much more than the rest of my body. I decided that this was probably normal and I just dealt with it. After 12 minutes, I wiggled my way out of the sand and returned the hot spring to shower off and relax. In the locker room, I noticed that my right arm was completely red, while the rest of my body was fine.
As I was pulling on my underwear, the man next to me leaned really close, reeaaallllly close, and whispered, "Where you from?" I finished pulling up my underwear and told him, "I'm from the USA". His face remained very close to mine as he said, "Oh very nice. I used to live in America."
November 3, 2017
Tonight I went to Nina and tried some Yakushima shōchū. The bartender asked what I wanted to eat and I said "おすすめ" (o•su•su•meh, "recommend").
"Do you like chicken cooked on a grill?"
On the first bite I found a very hard piece that felt like a raw vegetable inside of the chicken. I didn't want to offend the bartender so I chewed hard and ate it. There was a lot more of this in the dish so I finally held up a piece and said "何ですか?" (nan•de•su•ka, "what is it?").
"Soft chicken bone. You like it?"
"奇妙な感じ" (kim•yo•na•kan•ji, "weird feel") I said.
"In America you throw that out."
"Yeah... we do."
I ate as much as I could with a smile on my face. It wasn't that bad... it just... weird feel.
November 4, 2017
4:00 - Wake up
5:20 - Catch bus
6:30 - Start Jōmon Sugi hike
10:30 - Arrive at Jōmon Sugi
14:15 - Back at trailhead
Hike time: 7 hours 45 minutes
There was a light rain and heavy fog throughout the day. These conditions made for a perfect atmosphere through the winding paths of the dense forest.
I was wearing black pants, black boots, a black jacket zipped all the way up which covered the bottom half of my face, and had my hair tied back. For the return hike I still had a lot of energy so I did some trail running; leaping over rocks and across the wooden planks of the walkways. On three separate occasions, quickly passing hikers going the opposite direction, I heard exclamations of "Ninja! Ninja!"
November 4, 2017
Tonight there was some kind of festival in Yakushima. There were a lot of candle arrangements set up on a stretch of road by the water. Lots of families walking around, kids running up and down the street, a line of stalls selling yakitori, noodles, karaage, highballs, and shōchū.
A man, walking briskly in front of me, dropped something that looked and sounded like a knife. He bent down and picked it up and put it back in his jacket pocket. While doing so, he glanced back at me warily. I was convinced this man just dropped a large knife on the ground at an event with children all over the place.
A few minutes later, I saw a small girl drop what also seemed to be a knife. "Oh my god!" I thought, "this little girl has a knife!" When I got a closer look at what was in her hand I realized it was a long metal candle lighter. "Okay, this girl is not carrying a knife... but that man had a... ohhhhhhhhhhhh."
November 5, 2017
Today was a long day.
I went on a hike of Shiratani Unsuikyo.
On the morning bus I saw a lady rubbing lotion onto the backs of her hands using only the backs of her hands. It was so strange. I couldn't look away. She did this for an uncomfortable length of time. Maybe more than one full minute.
November 5, 2017
I'm eating raw chicken for the first time. It feels so wrong as I hold it up to my mouth; like the first time trying to take a breath underwater while scuba diving.
I stumbled out of the izakaya at 3am and chased a cat across the street. I turned around to see the guy that saw me out was still there.. watching me chase a cat.
November 6, 2017
I bought pants that were a little tight around the waist. "Oh well I'll just slim down a bit" I thought. Literally two minutes later I'm drinking a milkshake.
November 6, 2017
A girl just had her boyfriend translate that she liked my face.
November 7, 2017
There's weird shit going on in the moat around Hiroshima castle. I wanted to check it out for longer but there were too many bats flying around me and I had to leave.
November 8, 2017
After a day of hiking, I stopped at a hotel because their website said they had a public onsen. A very worried looking employee of the hotel ran over to me to ask what I needed.
"Is the hot spring open?"
"It is only for our guests."
"Oh... but the website said that it's public."
"The onsen is public for our guests."