My German host sister from high school proposed a cool idea about a month ago.
Below is my contribution to our D.I.Y. Christmas gift exchange.
It's a little monster brah roasting a marshmallow over a campfire.
...My first attempt failed miserably because I accidentally tried to bake modeling clay. Narf!
I just about need to scoop my brains back into my skull. Everything everyone is doing is bothersome.
Why are you swaggering to the sink like a tough guy? I've seen you looking at me and I don't care. You act too tough and I think it's more weird than attractive. I'm from Detroit, so if you keep puffing out your chest I might just have to bust a spitball in yo ass on my way to the tea machine. Bi-otch. And Jesus, why is that guy always grunting to himself? Oh come on, now! You're going to stand there and shake your hands all over my workspace like a wet dog? I hate sitting by the sink and I hate working with everyone.
Granted... my attitude isn't the best today. What can I say, though? I'm a victim of circumstance. I haven't stopped working in weeks. I had to drive 3 hours to a 5 hour meeting on Saturday. Been taking work home just about every day. Last night I didn't fall to sleep for hours. I was thinking too hard about going home, seeing my family. It's been the light at the end of the dark tunnel for so long now. But as I get closer, I'm starting to see that the light is actually coming from a collapsing star and I've already been beamed into it's obliterating suck. Goddammit, my family has tricked me again. They've used my homesickness as a guise to lure me back to hell. Can't wait to be corrected on my values and belittled for how many times I use the word 'like' in a sentence. I fucking know it makes me sounds like an idiot, but why don't you try and see how easy it is to correct your own vernacular? For starters, how about you stop saying 'dawwg gawwnit' forever? Victim of circumstance. Get over it.
I know this blog is mostly me talking to myself, but for anyone curious as to why I haven't posted in a while, it's because I've been caught up in planning my Christmas genocide.
My teachers asked the American lady to teach the third graders a story from the book about Hiroshima. Thanks guys. There's no way this could be awkward for me. Here's a list of new vocab from the text;
"Alright, minnasan (everyone), please listen and repeat."
I could make a pretty silly greeting card using all those new words.
Ok, a quick once through this story.
Close your textbooks.
For the next 40 odd minutes, I decided to derail from the story and have a discussion about war. I told them about the events that had lead up to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings from a Japanese perspective and from an American perspective. I opened up about the feelings exchanged between my grandfather and I, and how difficult it is for adults to reopen their hearts. We listened to a John Lennon and a Buffalo Springfield song about war. A few of them started crying. During the last 10 minutes, I asked them to write down their feelings in English. They could talk about reactions to the class, thoughts about war, destruction, Hiroshima, anything, really. Below are a few that I thought were worth sharing.
“People have anger but I think that people must coorporate.”
“I think... We mustn't war again. This time was very important for me. Don't worry. We like American people.”
“Big bomb is body injured”
→ (I think he's in special ed. He's seems to have a lot of trouble speaking and sweats when I talk to him. I was really proud that he was able to express himself in English.)
“I think war is very bad. Because it crash many people's lives. I want to peace is No. 1!!”
“I think bomb is scary. War ≠ ☮, too.”
→ (I told the class that people have different opinions on when war should be used. I told them that in my opinion, it may be necessary sometimes, but people should remember that hate usually begets hate even if it solves immediate obstacles... 'War ≠ ☮' was a little picture I drew on the chalkboard).
I am amazed that I did not murder a student and smear the blood down the hallway walls today. I should have. I was groped, the students mocked gay people at lunch, didn't try worth a damn and more than one said, 'I don't understand English! Yada yo!'
No, YOU'RE yada, you muck boat of turd gravy. English doesn't just osmose into your brain. If you don't put down that pile of plastic shit you're fiddling with and listen for 2(+) seconds, you probably won't understand. Furthermore, I've no qualms about knocking your tiny head off of your tiny shoulders and wearing your face as a mask. Questions? No? Excellent.
And my elementary classes (which I had to run to down the street to in heels, thanks to the bizarre requirement of business attire) weren't much better. During a 6th grade lesson I played a familiar game that the kids ordinarily respond to really well. I checked my meticulous lesson notes to make sure that I hadn't done it recently, and figured I was in the clear. Nope. They bitched and moaned about not doing a new game even though they ended up having fun. You're impudence is insufferable, children! My remedial class was actually quite good, but tiring. The fourth class out of five in a row. Unfortunately, I started off a little sour since I'd just come off the lesson that my teacher talked over me the ENTIRE time. Really lady? You feel compelled to paraphrase what I'm saying... while I'm saying it? Give me a shovel, so I can hit myself with it.
We're a flying car generation with Coca-cola dreams.
Our parents called themselves middle class, so we do too.
They were promised the world with a little hard work and a little decency.
We were promised the world with little hard work and little decency.
We never toiled as hard they did, sure.
But we feel entitled because we jumped across the same bars.
We were promised the world
and now we can't have it.
Sorry, Charlie, S.O.L.
Figure out what to do with yourself.
Sacrifice your integrity for something that you're told will amount to a hill of beans but you know won't. Send that stack out. Pump it full of fancy words. Pump yourself up like a body-builder at a steroid buffet while you question why companies request your utmost disingenuousness. Then probably get let down and repeat the process until you go nutzy kookoo.
..........Education! More of it.
Get over-educated and under-employed just like everyone else. At least it'll pass the time and be interesting.
..........Suck it up!
Accept any job you can get your dirty little paws on and hold onto it like a fat kid with a twinkie. Eventually there won't be any jobs and you ought to be grateful for your gleaming little turd nugget.
These are our options.
Technological revolution. ← (you are here!)
Yep, here we are. Revolution time. We can feel the wind shifting and most of us are finding ourselves swept up as collateral.
Society has never suited us, but at least there were illusions of structure before.
Everyone's paralyzed and we've all got bedbugs.
The future doesn't feel futuristic.
It kinda feels like unemployment and depression.
Humanity is on the brink of something maybe great, but for now we're just disenfranchised.
Since I was a kid I've ridden my bike to the Midland art fair almost every summer with my family. Usually my dad will have checked out all the stalls in less than 5 minutes, followed by my brother (under 20), followed by me (maybe an hour), followed by my mom (a full Jovian revolution of the sun). There's something about middle-aged women and art fairs. Anyway I hit one up about a month ago in Komagane City.
“Oh, that's nice.” Putter putter.
“Oh, look at that.” Putter putter.
“I'll bet you could put a lot of things into a jar like that.” Putter, putter...
“Daaaaaaaamn, bitch!” (directed at a girl in a stroller) “Did you see this shit?!”
The booth belonged to Kouya Takahashi, although I didn't ask his name at the time. I did, however, buy a small metal figurine with a lightbulb head as a present. It was about all I could afford among the more extravagant pieces which moved and lit up and rattled. His wife handed me a flyer as per request with my purchase. I made up my mind that I would eventually visit his gallery when I had the time.
On Monday, opportunity struck. I had the day off and submitted to the three hour pilgrimage to Gunma Prefecture. Thankfully, Gunma is one of the more serene landscapes one might be prompted to, in my opinion. The unbroken rain enhanced the drive's mysterious ambiance through thick green mountains. Idris tagged along and we almost made it through the first two Harry Potters on my laptop. Our map was worthless, but we stumbled across the place, somehow. It looked like a shop on Diagon Alley.
As we walked around his cramped space, “Ko” started up gadgets powered by air compressors, flicked on the lights to shoe houses and gave a hanging fish skeleton a few taps to get it going. We were surrounded by the creaking of mechanized driftwood, metal and glass. Hulking shadow pieces cast profiles against the walls. Every item looked like it had been worked by a crazed magician. He told me the inspiration behind most of his creations came from dreams. He probably meant acid. I told him I've been having a lot of vivid dreams myself and offered my sketchbook of current project ideas. He flipped through it and his wife brought out some coffees.
Ko went on to talk about subjects that he seemed to be drawing out of a hat, in no particular order. He expounded upon his various uses for junk, including an old whale bone that he carved out of the beast himself. He told us about how he and his wife were married in an Australian desert, about motorcycle races along the Gold Coast, and subsequent publications of the photos he'd taken. I'm not sure of the publisher, but he hauled out a box full of magazines that he claimed were the destination to both his snapshots and, incidentally, his articles.
During our visit I was struck by something. Mr. Takahashi didn't come off as arrogant, although he readily accepted compliments. He understood that what I had to say about his work was not meant to be taken as flattery, but as truths void of sentiment. The appreciation of others seemed secondary to his own self-appraisal. His sincere integrity was refreshing. Also, a thought occurred to me that at some point, Ko must have chosen not to chose. He didn't finally 'decide what he was going to do with his life'. He's just done everything he's felt compelled to.
I can say that I have been so inspired very few times before.
If the copious amount of yakiniku I guzzled down last night didn't cure the blues, today's juju forecast seems to be far more optimistic. Some of my elementary boys were passing by as I was getting out of my car this morning. They gave me a much more energetic “Hello, Miss Sarah!!!” than I was prepared to respond to and then babbled something in Portuguese. I assume it was a question, to which I answered, “yes”. That must have been the best thing I could've said because they walked away laughing.
Anyway I met some other cheerful students along with one of the loveliest teachers that I work with as I was putting my shoes on. I thanked her for the Japanese pears she gave me last week, and left the bit out about absent-mindedly abandoning them in a friend's refrigerator. During first period I showed her my sketches for the dress I started making last weekend and we chatted about how it will be made. She gasped a few times and said, “very gooood!”, clearly uninformed of my actual skill level.
So now I'm just waiting for my fourth period class, which I already have planned. My mind is free to wander about its cerebral landscapes to the rhythm of my co-worker's nervously tapping foot. Thinking about my sewing venture is making me re-evaluate my creative capacity. Rather, the fervor behind it has. For a while now, I've been dabbling around in silly little projects that never seem to go anywhere. I worry that if there is any artistic fire left in me, certainly it was a chilly little thing. Striving without passion makes you feel like a real fraud. Like you're on a coattail ride of archaic dreams, secretly lusting for something to hold significance. People need to have 'favorites' and 'interests' because otherwise they cannot identify themselves with strict tangibles. Being creatures quick to deny the existence of our metaphysical selves, we might as well not exist at all without favorites, interests and hobbies. Things you can update on your facebook. Coming back to this old familiar love with renewed fervor has sparked some kind of cosmic orgasm that is completing the circuit between my tangible and my metaphysical charges.
Despite having thusly second-guessed every aspect of my innovation from seedling to sprout, I am forcing myself to push through the motions. I must refrain from the sabotage of self-doubt because as I track my progress, it is beginning to seem that we can only marvel at our own greatness in retrospect.
Alright, time to go make some copies. I hope the ink isn't out again because I don't know how to fix those blasted machines. Well, any machine, really.
Usually the rain relaxes me, and I appreciate the drear that comes with it. But today it has felt like I've had a small leak somewhere that I can't find to patch up. Something is making me feel something.
Is it the weather? Am I homesick? Boredom?
…have I been too leveled lately and nature is setting me back askew?
The unbearable lightness of being.
... I should read that.
Anyway I hate trying to figure it out because it only makes me overanalyze every little pebble in my shoe, just so that I can attribute my feelings to something. Nothing's wrong, I guess, this just happens. Sometimes life can bore the piss out of you. Well fine, dammit, but maybe I wish the easiest fix wasn't some petty form of the meditation. A spliff, wine, porn, whatever. Any one will do, yet all truthfully bore me in my hour of need.
September is almost over and it seems summer is just starting to blur it's sweltering death vision upon the earth. Not to say that I had a bad summer, actually, it was great. It's just that there seems to come a sense of nostalgia with the fall, unlike with the summer. And to my surprise, I am embracing those feelings.
By all right, this should be a time that I generally choose to bitterly reject. It was the favorite season of my star-crossed ex; one whom I shared a birthday with, first kiss, blah blah blah. And so the happy story went for five years. What a doozy. Anyway, he loved autumn which probably explains why he chose to get married this month. I'm not sure if the wedding is coming or going, and I don't really have a vexed interest because for the first time in some time, I can truthfully say that I don't give a fuck.
Somehow, before I left for this place, we were able to patch a few threads of friendship that were free of ulterior motives. We had crossed through “maybe someday” land into “not gonna happen” county all the way to “not never gonna damn'n hell'n happen, 'n stay offa my property” holler. And that's where we stayed for a while, trial and erroring painfully between friendship and relationship. Until I got out the sawed off, and blew his stupid face off. hahaha Jk. But truthfully, everything must reach equilibrium at some point, and we did. He isn't gone from my mind, but has flickered away into a murky glow of the past and I am happy for his and for my peace.
That feeling arrived about 25 months after the expected delivery date. But in this sublime season of wilt and rot, my sincere happiness is the proof that I've been waiting for; I am free from the cycle of my destructive subconscious.
On a walk to the supermarket this week, I told my boyfriend about fall in Michigan - picking apples, drinking cider, carving pumpkins. All that happy horse shit. He's from Jamaica, so his understanding of changing seasons may be slightly retarded, but he offered a courteous smile while I jabbered on about jumping into gianormous leaf piles.
Fall here doesn't mean all the same things that are wallpapered to my memory. Once I tried to carve a Jack-o-lantern from a kabochya (Japanese pumpkin...they're green and very tough), and almost broke my kitchen knife. It looked like shit, but I displayed it proudly on my apartment step until it's face caved in and was covered in fruit flies. It's been refreshing to experience this time from a new perspective and look upon my past with a simplified nostalgia. It's good to be taking the first steps into fall even though it's been waiting on me for a while now.
I just finished teaching my only class today, which leaves me with a remaining 5 hours to sit at my desk drinking instant coffee. I am underwhelmed. I would liken this particular brew to a chalky runoff with savory undertones of mulch.
So here at my desk, I have the pleasure of sitting across from... let's call her Blinky Mumbleton. Those are two things this woman appears to be good at. I don't know what she teaches, but I assume it has something to do with her early life in a petri dish. Right now she is squeaking her shoes on the metal bar of her desk. This wouldn't be so bad if she didn't do it nonstop, every day. For a period of time I was convinced that her tendencies were symptoms of autism or turrets. Sometimes I will look up and she will be oddly gazing at nothing rolling the tips of her fingers like she's plotting. Probably about how to make puppies into a coat. I dunno.
I sense the fact that she has nothing to do is a mutual understanding between Blinky and I. So it's weird that the facade carries on when we are the only two left in the room. Seriously, lady, I am over here reading a novel, shaking out dandruff onto my desk and doodling on tiny bits of paper. Does it really look like I am about to judge you for your lack of unwavering diligence? Your uncomfortableness with yourself is making me uncomfortable.
To be fair, it's been my experience that at work especially, Japanese people are generally nervous. Nobody wants to fart on the communal pudding. So instead they walk around with their tails between their legs and constantly apologize, often times for nothing. They stay at work until all hours of the night, simply because the others do. They act busy when they aren't.
But I digress. The truth is, there are many people in this room that I could rant for days about. The guy who smells like a wet pack of smokes, Man-Bear-Pig, Thick Neck, the list goes on. Despite their idiosyncrasies, though, some of the people I work with are fairly decent. One of my favorite teachers reminds me of a caterpillar. He wears these coke bottle glasses that amplify his google eyes telescopically. One day he collapsed at school and an ambulance came to pick him up. I worried a little because he's a sweet guy. Since the new school term started in April, we've had about 8 new teachers at the JHS. One of them is another old fella who works with the special education classes. He and the caterpillar are always laughing and talking together. Cute cute cute.