You know, the problem with these three-day weekends is that by the time they’re over and I have a day to get back in the swing of things, it’s already halfway through the week. So here it is Wednesday and I’m only now starting Freeway to update the site. Good lord.

I don’t want anyone to think I’m bitching though. Heavens no. Kumamoto was as great as always and just reinforced my conviction that it is Japan’s answer to Portland. Both relatively small cities, extremely livable with happening art scenes and innovative yet aesthetically pleasing public venues.

Easily the best part of the trip was visiting my old university, Kumamoto Gakuen Daigaku. This was where I had my first taste of Japan. To employ an overused cliché (actually, I suppose all clichés are overused, which is why they’re chichés, huh?), it was like stepping back in time. Nothing had changed a bit. The campus looked the same, the buildings were the same inside and out, even the library smelled the same.

It was about lunchtime when we were there so we stopped in the cafeteria and I had my all time favorite, still on the menu to my delight, minchi-katsu curry. I bought the meal ticket from the vending machine, slapped it down on the tile which had the dish I wanted written on it (I had forgotten about this. Ahhh, the memories) and was chowing down before I knew it. And what do you know, it tasted exactly the same!

It was starting to depresses me that I’m getting old enough to get nostalgic about my good ol’ college years, but then I realized that this was only like 5 years ago and I was just being an idiot. I mean, TV series run longer than that. It would be like watching Spock trying to reunify the Romulans and Vulcans while reminiscing about ‘way back’ in the fist season when everybody was telling Wesley to shut up. “Ahh the good ol’ days.” Good thing I snapped out of it, I was on the verge of having a Hallmark moment and that just will not do, thank you very much.

 Recently Heard in Fukuma

“Why hasn’t anyone borrowed my copy of Total Recall yet?”
-Scott

Finally I leave you with this bit of….. something, just because I need to tell someone about this, and well, since you’re here…

So this week in the 3rd year classes, we’re reading a passage from the textbook. I hear you wondering what a Japanese English text is like and what that passage might be about. Rather than summarize, I’ll just directly reproduce, without even the slightest inkling of permission from the publisher, said passage here. Keep in mind that this Little Bit of Happy appears in a Jr. High School English text:

A Mother’s Lullaby

A big, old tree stands by a road near the city of Hiroshima. Through the years, it has seen many things.
One summer night the tree heard a lullaby. A mother was singing to her little girl under the tree. They looked happy, and the song sounded sweet. But the tree remembered something sad.
“Yes, it was about sixty years ago. I heard a lullaby that night, too.”
On the morning of that day, a big bomb fell on the city of Hiroshima. Many people lost their lives, and many others were injured. they had burns all over their bodies. I was very sad when I saw those people.
It was a very hot day. Some of the people fell down near me. I said to them, “Come and rest in my shade. You’ll be all right soon.”
Night came. Some people were already dead. I heard a weak voice. It was a lullaby. A young girl was singing to a little boy.
“Mommy! Mommy!” the boy cried.
“Don’t cry,” the girl said. “Mommy is here.” Then she began to sing again.
She was very weak, but she tried to be a mother to the poor little boy. She held him in her arms like a real mother.
“Mommy,” the boy was still crying.
“Be a good boy,” said the girl. “You’ll be all right.” She held the boy more tightly and began to sing again.
After a while the boy stopped crying and quietly died. But the little mother did not stop singing. It was a sad lullaby. The girl’s voice became weaker and weaker.
Morning came and the sun rose, but the girl never moved again.

Hooray for English. I’m off to lie down on some train tracks now. 🙁

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