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Good news:  I changed my money finally!  Yay!  180 thousand yen richer, and I feel like a millionaire!

Bad news:  Several creepy old Japanese men stare at me creepily as I travel to and from school.

Good news: I’m getting a new camera tomorrow!  Some guy at school is selling one for 60 bucks!  And it’s a new one!

Bad news: My MP3 player has finally become too senile to play Jason Mraz.  I must take it behind the barn, methinks…

Good news:  No school thursday!  Yay founder’s day! (Who founded Japan, anyway???)

Bad news: I have begun to notice how many cute boys there are at KG.  Why is this bad, you ask?  Because I’m sure they think I’m some weird nerdy mouth-breather.  That, or they think I’m easy prey.  Plus, V-day is coming up(it’s HUGE in Japan), but aside from that one “incident” senior year I have been (sadly? thankfully?) valentine-free.

Okay- time to expand on this (forgive me for going boy-crazy for a while).  I have officially decided I dislike V-day.  Except for my dad, I rarely get anything no matter how many valentines I give out.  This tradition extends all the way back to 1st grade, when everybody made valentines mailboxes out of paper bags and I went through the most trouble to make mine attractive (I had a post-office/heart/house/Cuckoo clock theme, where you opened the door and a heart-shaped bird popped out at you) and made hand-made and individually glittered valentine hearts with special messages for each member of my class and even attached pieces of dove chocolate but at the end of the day my mailbox had barely anything in it and even the people who did put stuff in didn’t even bother to write my name on their store-bought card; or the other time freshman year when I decided “to heck with traditionalism” and bought myself a valentine’s carnation, but when I went to put it behind my ear I poked myself in the face with the stem and had a long scratch by my eye for the rest of the day–   whew!  That feels better.  I have issues…Aaaanyway…

good news:  The weather’s getting really nice now.  I even got to put my wool coat in my backpack and walk home in just a long -sleeved t-shirt!

Funny news: I got on the bus the other day only to discover it filled with grade-school kids (on a field-trip, I assume).  I stepped on and all of a sudden over 20 little faces stopped talking and turned towards me.  I shyly shuffled to the back of the bus and sat down, surprising two little girls right in front of me.

“It’s a foreigner,” they gasped in Japanese.

“Hello.” I said, also in Japanese.

And what could have been an incredibly annoying, embarrassing, and alienating experience actually turned out to be cute.

The girls were amazed at me, it seemed and couldn’t stop turning around to look at me.  Whenever they did that though, I would pull a face and wiggle my fingers at them, poking fun in my own little way.  Then they’d laugh and ask me another question like “where are you from? did you get here by plane? etc.”  I’d answer and they’d quickly turn around and relay this information to their other friends in front of them she’s from America.  She took a plane.  Kansai Gaidai, Kansai Gaidai. Once, a boy sitting next to them blurted out what I guess was the only english phrase he knew “I’m hungry,”  and I laughed as the word spread like wildfire throughout the bus.

Towards the end of the ride, I fished in my purse and pulled out two American stamps I’d left in my wallet.

“Here you go.  They’re from America,” I said.

The girls smiled broadly, thanked me, and scurried to put the stamps in a safe place.

“It was nice meeting you,” I said in english as I left my seat.

We kept waving goodbye at each other as the bus pulled away.

A good story, I think.  It warmed my heart through the rest of the day.

Wierd news:  I’ve seen two women with purple hair so far this week.  Normally, if one sees an old woman with a bad dye job her hair will be brown with a maroon or plum tinge, but no- these women had full-out purple hair!  I described it to Mariko earlier as “dusty grape,” a phrase I really like now.  I think I’ll reuse it someday…just not on my head.

Love,

Mieko

P.S. Otosan’s watching Enka again.  Man, he really loves this stuff!

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One response »

  1. What a great ambassador you are, dispelling the stereotypes! Keep forging ahead my dear niece. Again, I am proud of you.
    As for V-day, it is so commercial that I don’t like it either and I have a great hubby, as you already know. I think the one valentine that I remember that was just nice (before your Uncle Glenn came along) was from a male friend as a way to thank you for being a good friend. There was no romance attached to it at all and this was just fine! And this came in my late twenties.
    Weird hair? Girl, come back to Baltimore and I will show you various colors of hair.

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