At this moment I am sitting at my brother’s (highly impressive) computer, in his (highly impressive) apartment, in his (highly adorable) small town. We arrived here today after three leisurely train rides, which included getting stared at, using my limited Japanese to apologize to people for bumping into them, and a Japanese businessman reading porn in the seat behind me.
I wonder what kind of search hits that will earn Saturday Jane.
And so, because so much of today was traveling, my focus has really been on the scenery of Japan. It is all very…compact. Not to say it is all industrial. It has dense cities, dense small towns, dense forests…even the open fields of rice paddies seem dense in their way. Everything is just so tightly organized that there isn’t the slightest room between them. Even the naturally growing trees seem to express this. Instead of growing out in the sort of green sprawl that the United States seems to be used to, the trees spray upwards, almost like a broad splash of foliage that widens at the top.
I tend to notice trees wherever I go. They are the most immediate tell that you are somewhere new. The trees here seem like overgrown shrubs and ferns, in a way. There are trees where the leaves are so tightly packed (again, with the dense) that you can’t see branches. And there are trees that grow high and thin with wisps of greenery that make them look like overgrown feathers. All of it is beautifully, blessedly green.
There is also an ocean here. I kind of forgot about that, until I looked up from battling my Shinx against a wild Bidoof and saw it. Surprise.
After arriving at my brother’s apartment, we spend the rest of the afternoon at the grocery store and eating dinner. The grocery store was another study in Not Being In The Way, which I am sadly failing at. Ben, being something of a small town celebrity, struck up conversations with a couple of people while we stood awkwardly and smiled in a way that said, “We have no idea what you’re saying, but we bear you no ill will and we’re sorry for knocking over that stand of jelled fish heads or whatever that was.”
Seriously, with the jell. Apparently it is all about the jelled foods here. Jell in bags, jell in bottles, jell in awkward thin plastic packaging. Clear jell, brown jell, yellow jell. Jell for every occasion and purpose, although honestly, they might be for the same purpose. I have no way of knowing.
After the store was a dinner of tacos. There is no Mexican food here. None. Nada. My brother has not had a taco in…two years, presumably. And he asked us to bring him tortillas and salsa, which we did. Tomorrow will be home made yakisoba chicken. Some time after that, my hope is for sushi.
Tomorrow I will go visit my brother’s school and speak to a number of Japanese students about being American. I plan to end every other sentence with ‘yee-haw’ and occasionally ask where I can find a spittoon, as I have no where to dispose of my chaw.
In preparation for this, I will now go to bed.