Saturday, May 31, 2008

Semi-accosted and Yes, We Have No Butter

My town is chock full of crazy people. I learned quickly that the loonies come in all flavors and they're nothing if not unpredictable. There are the friendly ones, the angry ones, the should-be-snug-in-a-straight-jacket ones. Regulars include my Ultraman guy, the outdoor pooping woman, and a new guy I've yet to meet who insists god is showing him visions and provides him with the power to heal his English students' feet (the last one introduced to me by my good friend C.--we compare freaks). Now, I'm not complaining. Living in such an environment certainly makes walking the dog an unpredictable adventure.

So, the other day at the train station I'm standing on the platform listening to some NPR news story on my ipod and waiting for the train. When suddenly I notice all the people lined up around me begin move away at a quick clip. Uh-oh. I also see they're all looking in my direction. Hmmm.

I switch off the show and turn to look over my shoulder. And sure enough there he is, an old man, two teeth in his head, frighteningly dirty, and talking excitedly at me. Wonderful.

Now I've learned some of the rules for dealing with the whackos in my town:

1. Don't make eye contact.

2. Don't let them know you speak Japanese.

3. Don't make any sudden moves but back slowly away.

4. When in a pinch point behind said nutcase and shout, "Look a baby fox!" Then run like the wind.

But this time I noticed right away that this guy wasn't drunk. That's always a positive sign. And he was laughing, not so much at me (I could be mistaken) but just a generally happy fellow. Jabber, jabber, jabber, guffaw, guffaw, jabber, jabber, jabber. Despite his greasy hair, bandaged fingers (all of them!), and black-ish grin, none of my red flags went up. I decided to listen to what he was trying to say. Not quite Japanese...

Something like this: "Jabber, jabber, jabber, ha ha ho, POLITICS! Jabber, jabber, jabber, ho ho ho! NEIL ARMSTRONG! Ha ha ho!"
As clear as day. Neil Armstrong.
I couldn't help by laugh which made my new friend even more jolly. He slapped his knee and howled. He continued his rant. After a bit, he walked off, circled around and came back behind me to preach his funny tale of politics, Neil Armstrong and this time Winston Churchill was mentioned. The train came and he scampered off down the platform. I found a seat and turned my news back on when about ten minutes later I heard a gasp and commotion and saw that my buddy was on the train walking up and down the cars continuing his little tirade. This time though he left me entirely alone (feigning sleep is an artform in Japan) but really gave it to a couple of housewives playing Tetris on their cell phones.

All in all one of the most docile crazy-person encounters I've ever had. Oh and speaking of crazy people, I'm re-reading some of Gogol's short stories and loving them. I never realized how funny he was.

In final news, for weeks, no, months now there has been no butter in Japan. Absolutely none.

First, no frogs. Then no butter.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Mariah C. Chucks a Ball

I have no interest in this really. But my son thinks it is hilarious.

Ms. Carey is in Japan.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Dog and Bear. Bear and Dog. And Frogs.

So much to say. Ran into another nutcase on the train.

I have been taking care of dozens of frogs. They made their homes in the holes in my rail road ties. I go out occasionally and feed them the aphids I've plucked from my rose bushes with chopsticks. But they are gone, mysteriously disappeared and I'm worried.

Many other such trivialities to write about but no time.

I just finished Duma Key by Stephen King. Yesterday I took this picture:

Isn't it creepy the way the stuffed animal is like leaning up against the he's standing there! Like he's posing! (maybe there's a reason the dog is always trying to shred this guy?) This may just be remnant heebie jeebies of the King book. Or not?