This is Life

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Big Trouble in Little Tokyo

It has been so long since my last update that I actually had to go and read it so I could remember where I was. WOW that was a long time ago – 4 months, in fact! Anyway, a LOT has happened since then so guess I should catch you up.

After recovering from the devastation resulting from a nearly 7.0 earthquake in my town, I decided I needed a change. With that, I embarked on a journey, with nothing but my cargo pants (complete with those zippers near the knee that lets you remove the bottom, thereby converting pants into shorts – brilliant!), my England soccer jersey, and a backpack (ok, so there was some stuff in the backpack too).

My first stop took me to the far north of Japan. It was stunning and one of the true frontiers of this remarkably naturally beautiful country. When I got there, I found that I could actually see the Sakhalin islands, which are themselves just a stone’s throw from Russia. So, what did I do? I did what any noble sojourner would do – stowed away in the cargo hold of a Russian crabbing ship for 3 days. Luckily, we arrived back on Russian soil and I set out on the second leg of my adventure (truth is, they found me, but the only thing I could thing of saying in Russian was, “Excuse me, could you tell me where Red Square is?” so instead I just kept saying “I love Tretiak. I love Tretiak.” They thought I was crazy so they let me go).

Next, I caught a ride on the Trans-Siberian railway and was excited by my 8-day journey to Moscow. My excitement soon faded as we were ambushed by some Mongolian raiders. They took me prisoner, but I don`t know what for. Thankfully, I speak perfect Mongolian and they treated me as one of their own. The best part was they were not only nomadic herders, but also explorers. In fact, they had an expedition to the North Pole planned for the next Tuesday and invited me along. Keeping in mind that my ultimate goal was to return to Calgary for my scheduled knee surgery on August 21, I thought I could kill two birds with one stone by going over the top. Boy, was I right! So, long story short, I arrived back in Calgary and with one or two stories to boot.
the above may or may not be completely fictional

So, yeah, I did end up back in Calgary and had surgery to reconstruct my ACL and remove half of the cartilage in my knee. Both had been torn up pretty badly when I was planning in the quarterfinals of the Bayern Eunuchs triumphant march to Calgary Christian Soccer League glory in 2004. The surgery was mostly a success, but I am a little confused what is considered a success and what isn’t. It still hurts. Um, it also got infected 3 days after surgery and I have never been in more pain (see: agony) in my life, despite the fact I was using some extremely strong drugs. Because of the infection, I was also on IV antibiotics for 12 days, which required me to get some 30-40 needles (maybe up to 100) in that time. I hate needles. Anyway, currently I am rehabbing and should be ready to resume my meteoric rise to the top of the sumo world by March of 2008.

Seriously though, being at home was nice. My little brother got engaged. I got fat. What more could you ask for? I also realized that my dad would have made a terrific nurse. He really took care of me well and I am just glad I could bath myself because that would have been weird … going without a bath for 6 weeks, that is.

You might have guessed by now that I am not at home anymore. Nooope, I am now in Tokyo. For one reason or another, the Good Lord decided he was going to provide a real job for me in Tokyo. I am now working for Japan’s largest public relations firm and am one of only three foreigners out of 230+ employees, and of those three foreigners, I am the only one who hasn’t lived here at least 18 years. Needless to say, my Japanese is not quite up to snuff. Anyway, it’s a good job with a good company and I have a great boss (an Aussie) who for some strange reason sees “something” in me. I still haven’t decided if this is where I want to be and I gotta tell you, right now, the idea of living among lush, green mountains and having an easy (see: extremely easy) job as an assistant language teacher in the Japanese public education system is pretty appealing. Working until 8 or 9 or later is getting to me a bit. But hey, who knows what will happen. Great experience, in any case.

As for my living situation, well, the way I look at it I am still living 300 kilometers away in Niigata City, with my girlfriend’s family. Sure, I sleep and eat in Tokyo during the weekdays, but don’t do much else. Almost every Friday night it is off to Niigata by bullet train and back on Sunday night. It’s nice to relax, but at $200 per round trip it is adding up. Oh well, worth it if you ask me.

Now, here is where I get to lay some numbers out for you. My new digs are a 10 square meter room in a guesthouse. I share the second floor with 6 other people. The shower, toilet, and kitchen are communal. This costs me $800 a month. Last year, I had a house with no rent, no one to share it with, and it was probably 15-20 times larger than my room now. Guess the good thing about sharing is that it is a great opportunity to meet other people. Currently, my roommates include 2 Italians, a Swiss, a Korean, and Irish, and a Taiwanese. It seems like the language of choice is Italian so I pretend I can speak it by using lots of hand gestures and facial expressions. They seem to understand.

One of the perks about this new job is that I have virtually no holidays. Wait, that is not a perk - that sucks. This is the best time to be in Japan, when the country is on fire with autumn colors. It’s absolutely breathtaking. Hopefully I will get a chance to take some pictures on the weekend so I can have something to post on FLICKR or Facebook. Send me a message if you are up for it.


At 3:54 AM, Blogger Jae'than said...

dean sir,

you are missed
great post.
i must have missed the
pimsleur Mongolian.

At 5:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My mom actually gave me a scrub down a day or two after my ACL surgery, I was brushing my teeth in the bathroom in shorts when she started to scrub my back, arms and armpits with a washcloth...I couldn't run away.

On another note, maybe the "something" your Aussie boss sees is this...Perhaps Dean in Aussie actually means Elvis, and perhaps Kirkness in Aussie actually means Stojko and he's a big figure skating fan.

June Duk

At 2:51 PM, Blogger Dean said...

Keep trying, Yanger. Incidentally, my hair is going for the curly chemical bath tomorrow

At 2:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hello, i emailed you but got an error. anyway here's the reg cleaner i uses, this shit is good, don't stay without protection!


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