Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Random thoughts

How was your Valentine's Day? Mine sucked this year - not only because my love-life is non-existent, but also because my school told the female students not to bring chocolate and sweets to school this year, meaning I only got a few surreptitious homemade goodies and couldn't openly hand out any candy to the kids. :(

I realized the other day that I'm completely comfortable now with driving on the wrong side of the road - the left side. Driving on the left has become natural for me now and I don't have to concentrate on driving as much as when I first got here, which may not be a good thing. I still occasionally walk up to the wrong side of the car and attempt to get in on the passenger side, so I guess my years and years of driving in America haven't completely worn off yet, but I'm so used to driving on the left now that I'll have to re-adjust when I get back to America. It won't help that the only foreign country I'll probably visit this year will be to see my folks in England, where they also drive on the wrong side of the road. :P

Japan has won ZERO medals in the Winter Olympics so far - it's really sad to watch Japanese TV and see them get excited about 8th place or somesuch. All the big, touted Japanese athletes have been failing to even make the finals of some of the events - our snowboarders got zilch and our Speed Skaters also failed to medal.

Wasn't able to watch the America vs. Japan soccer friendly that took place in San Francisco last week, but according to the paper it was a pretty good game, mostly dominated by the American squad who emerged victorious with a 3-2 win. I'll root for Japan at the World Cup, but their chances of even making it out of the first round are slim as they have Brazil and Australia in their group. I'm hoping for good things from the American team.

I really miss non-smoking restaurants. Virtually every public building in California is non-smoking, so it has been a real adjustment for me to get used to people smoking around me, especially at work and at meals. My local McDonald's is split into a non-smoking and a smking section, but all that means is the tables on one side of the dining area are designated "non-smoking" and the other tables, located mere feet away and separated by a low wall/partition, are "Smoke 'em if ya got 'em" territory. And being a male under the age of 50 who doesn't smoke means I'm way outnumbered here - nationally more than half of Japanese men under 50 smoke regularly, but here in rural Shimane, it certainly seems the percentage is more like 70 or 80%.

I get my Entertainment Weekly magazines in drips and drabs and often 4 to 8 weeks after the issue came out in the US. I just read that actor Chris Penn, Sean's younger brother, died January 24th at the age of 40. He was great in two of my all-time favorite films - Reservoir Dogs & Footloose. And just today I read that author Peter Benchley died this week. Jaws is often at the top of my personal "Best Films" list, and I loved the book that Benchley wrote, giving life to the shark on the page in a very creative and vivid way. He even appears in the film for a few seconds as a TV reporter on the beach on the 4th of July.

My cousin from England, Yu-Lin, is visiting me starting on Friday. We're off to Hiroshima for the weekend, so I hope it doesn't rain all weekend. Pictures of our adventures and more updates next week.

Be good!


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