Alright, I finally made it away from Tsuruta-machi for a weekend. I got in touch with another Oregonian, who works for an eikaiwa school in Aomori City (about 300,000 people), and I took the train on Saturday night. I went to a cool little izakaya called Matchan, and then barhopped all night. The next day we went to eat at an italian restaurant with decent pizza! After that I came back home, and got caught up in my new favorite PS2 game, God Hand. Its a beat-em-up with a difficulty level I describe as Contra meets Demon's Souls. It's also got a great soundtrack and sense of humor in the plotline and dialogue, reminds me of Cowboy Bebop or Samurai Champloo.
I finished three novels in the past few weeks; Natsume Soseki's Botchan was pretty good, it's about a college graduate who has no jobs available in Tokyo, takes a position as a math teacher in a remote area of Japan, and has all sorts of troubles trying to fit in. The kids tease him horribly, some teachers ostracize him. I feel a little like Botchan at times, but I am definitely sure I do better at my job than he. I also read Yasunari Kawabata's short novel "Snow Country", about a Tokyo businessman and his relationship with a geisha in a remote ski/onsen resort town. I thought the plot was OK but the characters annoying, but Kawabata's prose is amazing. I finished up with an oregon classic, One Flew Over the Cuckoo`s Nest, which reminded me of all the crazy people walking the streets of Eugene. I've seen the movie but this was my first time reading the book. The Chief's memories of the Columbia River before the dam made me sad that I was born too late to see Celilo Falls.