(Though really it’s more like the cicada days of summer now. They are super loud in the parks.)
Three months in Japan and Fukuoka came and went without me actually noticing. And if not for my three month mark in the office being a national holiday (heh) and having meetings this week and next to set about making me a permanent employee, I wouldn’t even have noticed. That’s how at home and comfortable I am here: I only note the passage of time in that things I am looking forward to are approaching….
Last weekend was a three day weekend, which went too quickly. Saturday morning was waiting for Sagawa to deliver my Granrodeo x Rolling Stones collaboration t-shirt, then to 7-11 to pay for a game pre-order, and then it was off to Animate to get a better look at the new, improved store, and to pre-order a blu-ray. Had lunch out at a nice little place in the basement of Solaria Plaza, stopped by Beard Papa – a habit I need to break – and then bummed around for the rest of the day.
Sunday dawned hot and humid. Well, every day is hot and humid now, but it’s like someone flipped a switch a week or so ago that ended rainy season. So it’s consistently around 32 or 33 and high humidity. And no rain. None. Imagine 97% humidity and no rain. It’s as unpleasant as you might think. It’s definitely two shower weather. At least. And I’ve been joking that I’ve found the secret to Asian (non-)aging: if your face is perpetually covered in a light sheen of sweat, it has no opportunity to dry out and wrinkle. Now if I could just make that sheen look dewy fresh and not like I’m about to keel over from heat stroke and I’m set… The weather has certainly not made me want to get up and walk before work. I look forward to fall.
I decided to brave it outside anyhow, since I needed to find the local cardboard recycling bin and I wanted to explore Nishi Park. I found the bin, full, and in the process discovered a 5-story pagoda hiding behind some buildings. Headed back to the park and explored for a while – found two of the three shrines and a gorgeous grape arbor that will be nice for picnics when it’s cooler. Nishi Kouen is much hillier than Ohori Kouen, and gives you glimpses of the ocean just a short distance away. There’s also two clearly marked spots for fall leaf and cherry blossom viewing, to be investigated later. Lasted only an hour or so and then stopped by the grocery store and the coffee shop (for an iced matcha latte that didn’t even make it back to the apartment) and zoned out in the A/C. I’m trying to use it sparingly, but it’s simply too humid to open the sliding glass doors and hope for a cool breeze. Already seen a hike in the most recent electric bill, but I’ll just suck it up for July and August.
Monday … same weather, and like an idiot, I was back out in it. This time to explore a little further afield – a completely different subway line, even! – for the Hakozaki shrine. Nice shrine and worth a visit, but I should’ve held off a week, as there’s a matsuri there this Saturday. Ah well. After, headed back to Tenjin and decided to hide out in a karaoke place for the afternoon and use their A/C. Which was sort of a clever plan, if only I hadn’t found the on button for the A/C literally as I was packing up to leave. Still, it was an entertaining way to spend two hours. And I can say that Red Bull and cassis (ordered by accident) is a good drink – but the former is as evil as I assumed it would be, as I couldn’t sleep that night. I butchered many a fine song before devoting the last 45 minutes to shredding Granrodeo songs. Heh. There is a certain glee to be had at singing particular lines aloud … and I’ll never be able to sing them in front of co-workers without dying of embarrassment (or having to feign ignorance of their meaning), and I miss singing in the car.
Mostly quiet week after that. Getting some more ducks in a row for the China trip. Have everything I need for the visa, except stopping by the bank to get a ridiculous amount of cash (about $150) to pay for it. Work will reimburse me, but that price tells me I will not be visiting China for pleasure. I will instead set my sights on Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore or the Philippines, all of which will let me in for free for up to 90 days. May plan a trip with Singaporean friends around one of the Lantis Festivals next year, if the lineup and timing are good.
Wednesday I was surprised before work by a package from Manila, containing a water color painting and an adorable plush cow (both Granrodeo-related), from my friend Carli, and super sweet letters from her and another friend Jecka. It was a wonderful way to start the day, and made me smile throughout.
Last night, explored the Mandarake used goods store with the other American woman in the office. It’s huge, and brightly lit – and air conditioned. So I’ll be back to look at their CD and Blu-ray selection later. And perhaps their fine selection of Godzilla figures. Ended up going out for Indian food after, and had the largest, tastiest piece of butter naan I’ve ever had (the garlic chicken tikka was good too). Tonight is waiting for the post office to redeliver my birthday present and opening it over Skype with the parents.
Will be spending tomorrow morning helping move and set up computers in the office. Renovation is happening on each floor across three weeks. After next week, I move to the 4thfloor, which I’m not looking forward to. Getting to the 3rd is tiring enough…. After that, not sure. Maybe lunch and more karaoke in Tenjin after picking up a CD at Animate. Probably need to spend some time signing up for cable TV since my trial runs out tonight. Discovered really quickly that I at least need the music and anime channels, if nothing else. (though catching some NCIS at lunch was nice today). Sunday revolves around getting my tickets for the MUCC x Granrodeo show, which I can have printed out starting at 2 PM. Here’s hoping the Family Mart nearby is empty at that time.
July pics can be found here.