Monday, June 26, 2006


Though the weather has been gray and overcast since getting here, today was the first day when rain really poured. I'm not a big rain fan, but somehow rain seems to be the only appropriate thing for this season. "Plum rain" as the literal translation for 梅雨/the rainy season would be has been missed, and I enjoyed every bit of it today.

I only lament that most of the アジサイ(紫陽花)have already bloomed. I've wanted to catch the last glimpse of these beautiful blue-purple, lavender-pink, or pure white flowers before they are all gone. Summer will enter its full swing in just a week or two. I can't wait for all the festivals to come.

I went back to the old company that I interned at, a market research company that used to based near Shibuya but just recently relocated to this place just 15 mins away from my apartment. It was good to see 元田さん and a few other part-time workers from years before. Also glad to see the nicely designed new office space with big, open windows separating the telephone interview room and the regular office desks. I only wish I could walk in and still see the same group of interns there ... 桑さん、カナちゃん、木内君,ノブ、暁 ... A certain memories can never be repeated.

元田さんはもう結婚している。カナちゃんと桑もまだ付き合っている。Many things have changed, yet many things have remained the same. It's always good to see continuity amongst changes that spin you head too hard.

暁はすごく中国語の勉強に熱中しているそうだね。暁 is this friend who's amazing at language acquisition. He's never been to any English-speak countries yet speaks English better than 99% of foreign English speakers that I know. Now he's on to his own Chinese-learning project, and I have to give him the most credit for getting the Chinese accents almost all correct as a foreigner. As for me ... いつ本当に日本語を母国語のように話せるだろうね ...

I spent a few hours in the library not studying but embarking on this overwhelming project of sorting through past email correspondence and reorganizing my mail boxes. What a daunting job that I'd never imagined before. My "sent" mailbox went from 2300+ messages to 1400+ messages after 2 hours, but now I have no idea if I should even continue on with this monumental job. The blessing is that going through all these sent messages, I got to relive college senior year plus 2 years in China. Human memory could never be flawless. I thought I top most people in terms of remembering the most memorable events, places, and people ... I apparently thought too highly of myself.

A certain friends have stayed; a lot have, in the meanwhile, departed. I appreciate those who have remained the same and faithful to our friendship. Anything that stands against the test of time eventually should be the most treasured.

I'm starting to read 谷崎淳一郎's <痴人の愛>. I love it. It's a much easier read than 太宰治. I haven't come to any concrete conclusion on this thought, but somehow I've been given this impression that a lot of Japanese novelists like to write in a first-person tone, namely the「僕」tone. Murakami Haruki has earned his fame for that, and both <痴人の愛> and <人間失格> are the same in this regard. There's something extremely appealing with writing in the first-person perspective, something so internally indulgent yet allowing for the reader to go in deeper and dig in further - only that I need to remind myself not to fall into the writer's trap of setting up everything to make myself believe that "he" has truly done so ...

The first week in Japan has flown by. Everyday there are new things observed or encountered that trigger much thought and new inspirations. I almost laughed my head off today when I walked into one of the franchised coffee shops. A sign that welcomed me at the entrance reads - "non-smoking seats near the entry; smoking seats in the far-end corner." Hello!?! What difference does it make when the coffee shop is half of a normal classroom size and one still tries to abide to the non-smoking rule? As if the smoke doesn't travel?

I have no intention of degrading the Japanese effort to start creating more of a non-smoking environment. I think it's great. It's just that it still amazes me how smoking is considered such a socially acceptable behavior.

Having said that - I love the absence of drinking age here. Otherwise, I wouldn't be on my fourth sawaa right now while writing this blog.

梅ちゃん at 11:05:00 PM



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