Saturday, February 26, 2011

Just another Saturday

It's Saturday just after noon, and I'm sitting here sipping a beer (Suntory The Premiun Malt's), snacking on moyashi (bean sprouts) and strawberries, and calling it a form of lunch while the pot of water boils on the stove for the laundry and I swish my straightened hair into and out of my face just for fun. Later I'll cook up some bacon for another snack/rest of lunch and hang the laundry outside to dry in the sunshine.

It's so warm that I've got the windows open and my hands aren't even bluing up.

At the store just now, I ran into one of my students who hardly recognized me. And don't get me wrong, I love my wavy hair.. I consider the color and consistency to kind of be part or representative of my personality; but I look older with it straightened (I just got it cut, so the guy just kind of does stuff to it), and tonight there is a sort of goth-Valentine party that I'm attending, so in those kind of situations I like to look a little like someone else.

The hairstylist did ask me again about doing a straight perm, and although I almost never consider changing my hair in such a way (color it, never, perm it, what for?), I had thought about his earlier question about it and to be honest, it might be fun to try. To me, I look like a stranger in straight hair, but I wonder what it would be like to get used to something like that..! And if I were ever in my life going to do it, June in Japan would be the time. That's the month where it rains every day, and no matter how I cut, dry, style, or attempt to tame this hair of mine, it refuses to do anything but explode upward in a frizzstorm of wild curling chaos. Oh but curls are so nice, you say, especially big loops like yours! Yeah, you haven't seen Japan in June. Neither mousse nor dryer has any say.

June was a rough month last year anyway, because every day rain means every day grey, and after a while, that crap wears you out.

Last February, if I recall correctly, was a little bit of a bear too. What's different this year?

Well for one thing, it's warmer now. And I'm not fool enough to think the cold is over, but I do believe the worst is over. I also believe that unlike last year, spring will come in March, not freaking May. Not that that makes a difference in either February. The other thing is Jermaine and how much better my life is without him. I mean, it's not something I think about every day, even, but when I do, I'm so glad to be going through a winter without that mess.

Jermaineless, I was able to go skiing last weekend with Adina. There's a snow park just about an hour up the road. Even then it had been warm for a couple of days, and by the afternoon, the snow was a bit slushy. It was only my second time skiing (and my ass has the bruise to prove it), but I really had a good time doing it. Back when we went to Takarazuka, we also stopped at the outlets for a total of like 45 minutes. I managed to find a good deal on some ski wear which I was buying both for ski trips and for Hokkaido. I got a pretty awesome teal jacket and some khaki-colored snow pants (which made me feel pretty invincible up in Hokkaido). The whole set had at some point been priced at around $600, but of course I would never have paid that much for these wonderful clothes, even if it is the brand that all the popular girls wear (Roxy). I just wanted ski clothes that would last me approximately forever.

While I was at the store, having accomplished the other goals I'd set for the morning (and all before noon! Hurrah!), I decided that I wanted a beer. The problem is that since Hokkaido, I've been more of a beer snob than before. We had some truly good brew up in Otaru that made me realize I'd been settling for the local nama all this time. So I bought two, with the intention of tasting them on a new quest to discover what beer that is widely available here I might like best.

The other news I have to report is, last night Rob came out to Shorinji class. It was excellent to be in a class for the first time with someone who speaks English, and also who is a black belt (and not just a shodan, either!). I was asked to do all my required test techniques on him, and learned a great deal from it. One thing that was totally different was.. Rob is tall. Every other person I have worked with has been approximately my own height (Japanese dudes) or way smaller (the kids). Fighting Rob was kinda scary (in that he's-not-actually-gonna-hurt-me kind of way.. you can always trust black belts' sense of control a lot better than any lower rank). Afterward, I asked him if he had any advice for me and he said "You really need to relax."

Excellent. Not "make sure you do this hand thing" or "kick harder," but "slow down." Which is of course, for me, perhaps the single hardest thing to do. Let go, stop freaking out, stop trying so damn hard. This is not a new suggestion to me, of course, but it is an important one. I try too hard sometimes. He said if I go to fast, even if I am doing something correctly, I might get marked down for it. Plus, doing a technique right will work even if it's done slowly. If you rush it, you can cheat it. Gaaah.

But it was a good class, and I feel like a good little karateka, or kempoka, or whatever I am. And you know what? Life is pretty good.

It's Saturday, bright and clear and warm, and as I pulled out of the parking lot, I sipped my strawberry milk. Yep, that's good.

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