Thursday, November 15, 2007

Cold nights

Not really too much to write about this evening. But, I have a couple of things to comment on.

Yesterday I presented a summary of my research to the grad seminar that I have been attending here in Japan at Kyoto University. The presentation went alright (thanks to gracious editing by my wife), questions, however, were another matter. I struggled my way through answers, but find it very frustrating to not be able to express myself. From experience with others speaking English as a foreign language, I know that it's hard to judge someone's ideas through the vocabulary of a pre-school student--so I'm annoyed at having to be the "little kid". Anyway, it's over now.

An interesting thing the other night. Two gentlemen came to my door, one was a neighbor and the other a construction company representative, to explain that they were going to be beginning a remodel on the house directly behind us. They passed me a schedule of the renovation that also explained potential disturbances. Along with this I received a small gift from each. Another of those glaring examples of differences between Japan and my country of birth (well, country of my upbringing). I would be hard pressed to find any American that would take the time to inform their neighbors of construction that was going to be taking place in their house. And if any neighbors complained about construction, I would expect the attitude to be something like, for lack of better phrasing, "fuck off". If it's on your property, hell with rest of them. I'm not saying that either of these approaches is better than the other--sometimes the Japanese way can be nice, but there are times when I wish I could just say "fuck off". Of course, in Japanese you would probably have to say something like, "please allow me to humbly say fuck off."

Let's see. . .well, bit of a disappointment. I had gotten my sister-in-law's wee scooter up and roaring again, and was all excited to wheel myself across town to the university, but realized there's no insurance on the thing. . .so my hopes were dashed. I'm just trying to live-out the fantasy I had when I was about 18 and wanted to buy a Lambretta (spelling is probably all wrong there) scooter, but mum wouldn't let me. Hmmmmm. . .another day perhaps.

Well, I suppose that's all for this dispatch from Japan. The leaves are beginning to change here in Kyoto--really the best season.

Cold nights.
Hot tea.
swirls of steam
testing the cool air,
then running away.

Kotatsu table,
a draped blanket
keeps warm of attached stove
wrapped around my legs.

Crawl into bed,
wife's feet slide over
plant themselves on my legs
send chills climbing up my spine.
I pull her close
and her breath warms my face.
"Give me kiss."

good night.

cold night.

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