Hello. Sorry, it has been an unusually long time since my last post. Allow me to explain. I got sick. But I wanted to go to work. So I got sicker. But I still went to work. So it turned into bronchitis. So I went to the doctor and called in sick. But one of the medicines that the doctor gave me resulted in severe headaches. So I couldn't sleep. And I still thought I was going to be OK if I just rested, so I didn't ask anybody to take care of me. Soon I ran low on food, and rather than eating lots of food, I ate enough to not be hungry.
So basically, last Saturday morning, I was in so much pain that I had to go to the emergency room, where they put me on an IV, changed my medication and gave me a chest X-ray. I swore to myself that I wouldn't be hospitalized on account of neglecting my body's needs again. But there I was again, in the emergency room. This time in Japan. I guess I'm still not as good at taking care of myself as I should be. Man I'm stupid. So, long, lonely and depressing story short, I was really sick for 2 and a half weeks, missed 4 days of work, and spent essentially 10 days strait in my room alone.
This post does end happily. By the end of it I start having adventures again. But first there are several rants that I have to go on. First, Japanese doctors fail to impress me. I told the first guy that I had a lot of allergies to medicines, and he didn't even bother to look up if the medicine he was prescribing me had anything in common to what I was allergic to. And the nurse in the ER was not a nice lady. Just because I don't have a fever doesn't mean I'm not in agony. Second rant. Boy am I stupid. Even when all my fellow teachers, and boss told me to chill out, I still went to work. Trenton, I know you just want to do your best all of the time, but if you are coughing up green liquid you need to chill out.
And being alone for that long made me miss my cat. I really miss that cat. How did I fall so hard for that cat!? And why can't it be a girl, rather than a cat. Why do I so rarely develop this kind of attachment for women. Why can't I seem to move on? I think I might call sometime this week to see how she is doing. The cat, that is.
This blog entry is beginning to get really personal, so what do you say we move on to what happened this weekend.
Firstly, after living off the money from selling my car for three months, I finally got paid!!! So, that meant it was time to go out and go shopping for the things that I would have gotten before if only I had had the money to buy them. Important things, like winter coats, rice cookers, soap, underwear and, my biggest purchase. A kotatsu.
A kotatsu, by the way is a table with a heater on the underside. You also put a quilt on the table so that the warm air stays under the table and keeps your legs warm. It is very popular in central Japan. In fact, when I told people I didn't have one, they were shocked. "No wonder you got sick," was a regular remark. Of course, there is no way I could fit a kotatsu on my bike. Luckily, my friend and co-worker Aimi was willing to drive me to the store and help me pick out and set up my new kotatsu. Here is Aimi with the underside of the kotatsu.
Well, I got home and was beginning to enjoy my kotatsu and plan my first kotatsu party, when I heard English outside my window. I opened the window, peaked out, and was immediately invited to go to the new shopping mall in Takasaki with Kate (my aussie neighbor) and her friend Eri. Still racked with cabin fever from those 10 days in my room, I was in the car in 20 seconds. The new shopping mall is called Aeon. It has been praised by many people I have talked to for it's modern feel.
I was very pleased that there was a Mochi ice cream place inside. I need to gain back at least 10 pounds before winter or I am going to freeze.
By the way, a "modern" Japanese shopping mall would be considered a regular suburban shopping mall in the United States. It was just like a U.S. mall in every way. Even the shop names were almost all in English.
Here are Kate and Eri at Starbucks. Yes, Starbucks. First time I've been to Starbucks in a while. Shibukawa is not a Starbucks town.
Here are some good-looking girls playing fantastic classical music.
And a silly, but strangely fitting, clothing name for a clothing store.
Me, keeping myself busy as my companions shop in the blindingly cute store.
What is a Franch roll?
Well, the mall was fun. I bought several books, including "The Little Prince" in Japanese, which I am now trying to read (unsuccessfully).
The next day, I slept in. Got up late, and was going to walk to the Tsutaya were I left my bike the previous day, when I noticed there seemed to be a party just down the street. My curiosity got the better of me. As I approached, a man saw me and was very insistent that I come in. He ushered me in, sat me down and gave me presents and food. It was then that I discovered what it was. I had wandered into the neighborhood community center, and it was senior citizen's club performance day. There were actually only two clubs that were performing: the electric goto club...
and the traditional dance club, which this woman was the teacher of.
Now, saying that there were two clubs might be a little misleading. While there were 2 clubs, both clubs contained the same 10 women. How was it? Educational. The electric goto was not my favorite sound, I have to say. And there was something perplexing about the dancing. There was no smiling. Now, I thought at first maybe the women dancing were just grumpy, but then there were several women who were trying their best to suppress a smile. It makes sense actually. I think in Japan, on some level, smiling is not considered attractive. During practice for sports day too, I witnessed teachers telling students that having a strait, disciplined face was more attractive than a smile. Of course, I have seen many other instances where smiles are considered attractive. Anyway, I don't find not smiling attractive, so it stands to reason that I was not a huge fan of the performances I saw, though it was a good experience.
So, once again, sorry for the long wait for this post. I'll try my best not to let it happen again. My task right now is getting back all the momentum in life that I lost while I was sick. Luckily I already have the next two weekends planned. Stay tuned, the next two weekends look to be awesome.