August 25, 2005

Things to do when bored on a densha (Japanese train)

I have to sit for about an hour each way whenever I visit Saga city. And seeing as how my job and social life demand I commute periodically, I've been coming up with ways to pass the time.

1: Pretend that the train is a surfboard and stand in the space between the doors while riding the "wave." This is suprisingly fun. Even better if you can see out the front of the train.

2: Sit next to women. It makes them uncomfortable a little, but part of my job is to break down barriers, right? Besides, it's funny to watch them squirm. Or sometimes they will sleep and drool which also entertains me, which brings me to my next one...

3: Sleep. If you can manage it. My anxious nature prevents this, but none of the Japanese seem to get proper sleep and so they pass out on the train. Lucky...

4: Study Japanese. You're gonna need it anyways. I'm rather proud of the fact that I figured out how to ride trains to the destinations I want at the times I need, and my abiity to ask if I'm on the right train when all else fails. I'm even learning Kanji. Some stations have weird names, like Ryuuoo (竜+(king kanji);), which means dragon king. But I digress...

5: Wave back at the kids that are waving frantically at you from the next car. For ten minutes. Okay, it's not that exciting kids.

6: Listen to iPod. Sweet, sweet ipod. I've never had an infatuation with a mechanical device before the pod.
Huge digression: However, it cheats at solitaire. I swear. The pod's games are all evil. I need to download some more ebooks to the pod and read them. I was reading Hagakure's Way of the samurai a while ago, and I realized how strange it was that hundreds of years back, an old man wrote a treatise on Bushido, and in modern times some white kid was reading his words through a little box powered by electrons.
Then earlier this week I reflected upon how strange it must be that I was most likely the first person to listen to an ipod at these ancient mountain shrines, and certainly the first to listen to Fish Heads.</Digression>
no happy ending for you!
So I got my hair cut yesterday. I was done Japanese style, with the fuzzy, split ends. I was rather disappointed though; while I did get a vigorous shampooing, I didn't get the head massage that I had been told happens.

-->My ugly, out of focus mug with Kawaiifabulous haircut
Incidentally, I somehow became the owner of 18 volumes of a manga and a magnetic travelling go board. I guess my homework will be translating these puppies. Now if only I could find someone interested in traveling and playing go...
Did you know there is an entire channel dedicated to the games go and shogi (japanese chess)?