Sunday, August 06, 2006

disses & praises

[i wrote this yesterday but forgot to post it.]

cicadas are buzzing outside the window, sun is beating down, i'm sweating to oldies (insomniac housemate was just now deliriously humming 'in a gadda da vida' (sp?)), and the female population of tokyo continues to pronate clickity-clack in their kitten heels and cargo capris.

i think it looks funny when women do the bent-knee, delicate stomp because they don't know how to walk naturally in high heels. but, they probably think it looks funny when i'm sweating through my thin t-shirt and skirt as if i'm trapped in a business suit.

on the slow train from the airport, two teenage girls sitting across from me started to furtively talk about me (my big-ass cargo bag? the big-ass bags under my eyes?), and when i ignored them by opening my new yorker they started putting words into my mouth – like if i yawned they would say, 'oh, i'm so tired, maybe i should just fall asleep on the train!!!' and collapse in giggles, perhaps hoping my head would flop over. being travel-weary, i entertained mean thoughts about getting up to calmly spit on their shoes or flicking their foreheads with my middle finger as i got off the train. alas, i did nothing but change trains, lugging all those big-ass bags.

had to spend the night in a hotel because i got in so late, a single on the 22nd floor with a superb view of shinjuku station and all the railroad tracks snaking through below, the lights of skyscrapers forming a twinkling panorama. to offset my guilt at spending so much cash on a non-budget hotel room, i got a cheapie bowl of convenience-store instant ramen and a cold can of asahi for dinner. it was perfect.

now i'm at the cozy house where i've spent the last three summers, and again i've lucked out with friendly housemates. one of them is a french girl who was living upstairs last year, and we had dinner together last night at her favorite kaiten-zushi (one of those conveyor-belt sushi shops), where they remembered her and treated her with two of her favorites – sabi-nuki (sans wasabi) – just as we sat down. and of course i love this neighborhood – it's sort of on the fringe of central-central tokyo but is one of the more quiet, old-fashioned little 'towns' in the city. winding cobblestone backalleys, mom-and-pop shops among the 7-11s and mcdonald'ses, shops selling kimono and geta.

last night a bunch of the guys here went out partying, playing quarters in the kitchen beforehand and kindly (and noisily) repeating their invitation for me to join them. i declined, hoping to stay awake till 11pm before passing out, and had another excellent night's sleep. this morning i got up at 7 and found my spanish neighbor at the kitchen table. he'd straggled in at 6:30 but couldn't fall asleep, so we chatted as i boiled some eggs and poured iced coffee. he couldn't believe i was 33 and actually thought i was lying in order to make him feel better about his advanced age (of 25). he said, 'what, do you live in the fridge or something? you look like you're 22! let me see your passport.'

teenagers, i spit on your shoes. twentysomethings, talk to me.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


had i known that, i'da stepped into a walk-in reefer thirty years ago for the duration...

i'm thinking it is more likely the restorative qualities of asahi and ramen after long flights...

you take care out there, young lady...

3:22 AM  

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