Saturday, November 22, 2008

"I promise to feel the news at you."

Is sickness going around in your area the way it is here? A good third of the students and staff are wearing masks, and the rest have them tucked into their pockets and desks. These are not to prevent oneself from getting sick, like in egocentric America, no, in selfless Japan it is to prevent other's from catching one's illness. I actually love that idea, and though I really don't want to get sick I would be rather interested to don a mask in the interest of the cultural experience. If the headache I had yesterday and the odd sensation in my throat right now is any indication, I may get the opportunity.

Though with the help of medicine straight from the States, I think my ear infection has cleared up (cross your fingers!) These two odd bumps a little ways behind my ears - and no, I'm not talking about the ones always there that are part of my head - have faded away. Thank goodness, because I kept prodding at them with fascinated masochism.

Here's an interesting article about one of Japan's prettier fashion trends. It's been about 18 years since my own princess phase, but I wouldn't mind being that cute again if I had the money to waste, time to kill, and willpower to put any effort into my appearance. Wait, who am I kidding, I didn't have a princess phase - I had a castle phase. I didn't give a fig about the dresses, I just wanted turrets. And still do - I'll bike through the neighborhoods sometimes and get achey inside because I just want to live inside those low stone walls and scalloped roofs.

In a followup to the so-so workers article, a page from the referenced manga about the ambitionless salaryman, which is based on its author's life. Includes the heartbreaking quote, "We systems engineers often say to each other that even people held in slavery can go home and have dinner with their families," he said. "We cannot." Both articles seem pessimistic to me, even though it would seem like the young people are attaining equilibrium. But they can't actually have a family because that would require working more hours to support them. And I can't help but feel that if you're going to be mediocre at work you're going to be the same everywhere. My faults at work - complacency and egocentricity - are the same in my interactions with people. Dating takes as much effort than any job, and has only slightly more rewards. And then there are the people who enjoy their jobs, and what else do they need?

Between the election and the snide comments about so-called "American Jokes" I've been hungry lately for good old political humor of the kind that got me through college. So I've been marathoning The Colbert Report, which brought me back to this classic moment in television.

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