Friday, December 22, 2006

Holiday Update !

This holiday season marks my 3rd holiday blogged, and my 6th consecutive Christmas spent outside of the Continental US. What progress. Here's a history:

2001 -- Hawaii (where I was stationed)

Some friends of the family came out so I hung with them, and I don't even remember New Years. Typical go-out-and-get-housed bullshit I guess.

2002 -- Hawaii

This was between my Okinawa deployments, and I had about a month to sit around in Hawaii and do nothing. People who just got off deployment or were about to go didn't have to do anything, so I was dual-cool in that respect, showing up to work, if at all, around 10am. The same family friends came out, the difference being that this time I got shitfaced in Waikiki and thought it would be a good idea to sleep in their hotel room (at 4am), so I woke em up and barged in.

2003 -- Tokyo, Japan

I had to come back to Japan for 4 days to get all my stuff. I scored a work visa but got a wicked offer to train folks as a contractor at Ft Belvoir, so I decided to try my luck in the beltway area. This ended up bad, as the guy who hired me in Japan told me he was going to sue me for breach of contract with his "Tokyo Lawyers", and the job out east fell through.

2004 -- Kabul, Afghanistan

A result of me using up all my unemployment benefits and not having any money. On New Years Eve we shanghai'd one of the company vehicles and went "over the wire" to an ex-pat bar in Kabul and got in a lot of trouble the next day. I remember thinking it was really weird 'cuz everyone was talking about how mad the upper management was at me, but they never said anything to me about it. My direct manager was saying stuff like, "You're gonna have a lot of explaining to do, so-and-so is livid!!" but nothing ever came of it. This happened about 3 times.

2005 -- Tokyo, Japan

Last Christmas was spent getting into a huge fight with a bunch of drunken thugged out Nepalese factory workers, resulting in me issuing a manslap and a follow-up tussle. I was pretty sure I was going to get shit-stomped on the way back to the station, so I took an alternate route and have been started to lay low a bit whenever I went to Shibuya. The Nepalese are some of the kindest people you'll ever meet, but don't let anyone tell you differently -- they can't hold their booze. New years last year was a good time though (read: boozefest)

2006 -- Here and there, Japan

I'll be hanging out around here this weekend with Shoh'ty, and next weekend I'll cruise down to her hometown in Mie Prefecture. That's right next to Osaka, and the people there are super nice. We're gonna hit up Ise Jingu and possibly Osaka to see a college friend of mine. The last time I was in Mie was for a job interview in October 2003, where I got humiliated and reduced to a quivering mass by a group of 8 Japanese kids during a "practical application" interview to see if I had what it takes to teach kids English. Apparently I didn't. I'm sure this trip to Mie will be a lot better, assuming I don't do or say anything stupid, or crash into something with a vehicle.

It's no secret that I'm not a huge fan of the holidays, except for the whole not-having-to-go-to-work thing. The only value of a New Years Resolution is "comedic", as the Earth making a lap around the sun isn't going to magically make someone change their slovenly ways or kick their addiction to nicotine. Still, while Japan is peopled by a barbaric, unchristian group of heathens, corporations and the service industry were keen to pick up on the whole Christmas thing for obvious reasons. You all think Christmas is corporatized in the States?? Hell, no one here is even Christian and they celebrate it! Japan is so corporatized, a company invented a holiday called "White Day", the Sadie Hawkins of Valentines Day. Kinda reminds me of the time a guy in my neighborhood had a "Half Birthday", when he turned 10 and a half, and his parents invited us all to come over and give him gifts. That seemed really weird even as an 11 year old. But I digress -- supply and demand rules apply, and this is a culture that loooooooves giving gifts.

So yeah. I hope everyone has a good time this Christmas weekend, doing whatever it is you do to either celebrate it or boycott it. I will be cooking dinner (read: tacos, stir fry, or frozen pizza) and maybe cracking a bottle of wine. I'm looking forward to next week because the Japanese staff gets like two weeks off for the holidays (New Years is a big deal in Japan ) so I'll be able to chill a little bit, catch up what I need to catch up on, and not field ridiculous questions like:

I have to fill out this application, what should I put for my eye color? I'm Japanese and have black eyes, but if I put "black," I'm afraid they will think I was punched in the face and suffering from a black eye. But as a Japanese person, I think my eyes are darker than brown (they say their eyes are "black"), and I wouldn't want to lie on an official application. What should I do?

No joke. Mind you, my job has nothing to do with administration, and this person has been working here since I was 3 years old. Probably not the first application ever filled out, but whatever. I'm going to enjoy my time off from work and my time off from the insanity that always ensues here in Adventurepan.

Have fun!


Blogger brando said...

What did Paul have to say about the millennium?

Quote from Paul:

"2000 is an arbitrary number invented by us."

In Japan there is a holiday called "White Day"? Um. I bet that wouldn't catch on in the states.

"Hear Ye, Hear Yeee! Today will henceforth be known as White Power Day."

3:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I asked a similar question once. I asked why we have a black history month, but nothing for the other races. Isn't a favoring of that nature inherantly rascist? My sociology prof responded with this:
"Give or take a decade, hispanics and latinos will become the majority in the US during this century, and fair-skinned races have been running the planet for the last 3000 years. So, I think you can spare 30 days out of your year to tip your hat to African-American culture."

that worked for me.

By the way Paul, you didn't happen to get any photos of your fight did you?

3:42 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

naw, the mat i was fighting on was pretty far from where the sidelines were, so there werent any good pictures taken. all too far away and nothing particularly good. :(

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Uncle Mike said...

good stuff, love to read about your adventures Paul......

1:52 PM  

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