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Chu-hai and Cherry Blossoms

April 11th, 2012 No comments

Togane Lake

A “hanami” is a cherry-blossom viewing festival, a very popular activity during the cherry-blossom season, which lasts for different durations in different parts of Japan but is usually about one month long. The cherries only started blossoming last week, but they were in full bloom by the time of the hanami on Sunday.

I never received my school schedule in the mail from Interac, so all I knew on Sunday was that I had to attend the school’s opening ceremony the next morning. I didn’t know if I’d then have to stay the rest of the day or even do any lessons, but I was pretty resolved not to drink. It wasn’t until text messages from other ALTs informed me to bring drinks that I realized this was going to be that kind of event, so I ended up bringing four tall cans of chu-hai (a sweet alcoholic fruit-flavored beverage which is less expensive and less fattening than beer, but often with a higher alcohol content).

Before leaving for Tokyo the day before, I rang the doorbell of the new Interac ALT for Togane, Kim, and asked her if she knew about the hanami and if she wanted to go. She said yes, so I rang her again on Sunday when I was ready to go. Kim is practically fresh-off-the-plane, having just come from the big Interac training session in Narita, and she’d invited another ALT from training who now lives in nearby Sanmu, so the three of us walked to Togane Lake together while I told them about the area, about teaching Japanese students, and about all the things they learned at training that aren’t exactly true. It felt very weird to suddenly be the experienced one. Up until now I’ve been the new guy in nearly every situation.

There were already a ton of people at Togane Lake when we arrived at 3:00. After taking my first pictures I immediately spotted some of my students and said hello, and felt some more apprehension about drinking at this event. I’ve never had to encounter students in that state before, and there were guaranteed to be many of them here.

Lake entrance.  Along the path.

Japanese loveliness.

We walked around to the back of the lake, taking in the gorgeous and quintessentially Japanese scenery, until we spotted the two giant tarps on the grass swarming with fellow gaijin. Ben was there and immediately gave us a warm greeting, launching straight into introductions with the two new ALTs I’d brought. There were a few other familiar faces, but a whole bunch of people I’d never met before. Pretty much all of them had some kind of alcoholic beverage in their hand, so I went ahead and opened one up myself. They didn’t seem to have any qualms about greeting their students with booze-in-hand when they walked by, so I figured I shouldn’t either.

The gaijin tarps.

I chatted with a few people I haven’t seen in awhile and met a few others. Atsushi, whom I’ve mentioned a couple of times before, was one of the few Japanese people there to mingle with us, but it was nice to have a few Japanese faces among us. Most of us were American, and most of the Americans were from Wisconsin, as apparently Wisconsin and Chiba are “sister-states” and there’s a special program for Wisconsinites to come here and teach English. Kim is Canadian, and as far as I know the only one among us.

One of the first people I ended up in a conversation with is Dan, from the infamous night of Ben’s Christmas Party when he took Diana from me without realizing I’d been interested in her. I naturally hated him at the time but he clearly felt bad about it and even apologized in a Facebook message after-the-fact. We didn’t bring her up at all, but by astounding coincidence she just happened to walk by us right when we were talking, chatting some other foreigner’s ear off. She didn’t seem to notice us and he didn’t notice her, so I didn’t say anything.

What we did talk about was the teachers our schools would be exchanging. His school was getting S-Sensei in exchange for K-sensei, whom Dan told me is a really great guy who loves to chat in English and is really easy to get along with. Apparently they’ve even hung out outside of work. But he also said, “With him you’ll hardly have to do any work,” which made me nervous because having a teacher who does everything himself and leaving nothing to me is exactly what I’ve been fearing most about the replacements. But if he’s as nice a guy as Dan says, I can probably just ask him point-blank to give me more lesson-planning responsibilities.

After a little while, Kim and I decided to take a walk around the rest of the lake and check out the rest of the festival. As we walked I kept passing groups of students and saying hello, eventually no longer even thinking about the chu-hai in my hand. A few of the students’ eyes widened when they saw me with Kim and they asked me if she was my girlfriend, but I laughed and told them in Japanese that she isn’t—she’s just a new ALT. Kim thought it was funny how in Japan, if a guy and a girl are walking alone together it must mean they’re in a relationship. But she was also very excited to see how enthusiastic some of the students can get when spotting their teacher. She’s obviously looking forward to it, and indeed it is one of the best things about this job.

In fact, it turned out to be one of the best things about the festival. Back at the gaijin tarps as I continued to drink and chat with other ALTs about everything from where we’ve lived to places we’ve traveled to our impressions of Japan and so on, students would constantly be walking by and they all smiled and said hello. That doesn’t even happen at school, where the presence of their English teacher is nothing unusual and therefore calls for no acknowledgment. But seeing me outside of the school environment, in my street-clothes, drinking chu-hai, was quite a novelty for them. Some groups would call me over and challenge me to remember their names, which was really difficult having not seen them for a few weeks but I turned out to be a pretty good guesser and they all got a kick out of watching me struggle.

Of course the best part was seeing some of the recently graduated third-graders again. It’s been weeks since they graduated and I got all sad and melancholy about the idea that I’d never see them again, but since then I’ve been seeing them everywhere. The Spring Concert, the farewell ceremony, out jogging or riding my bike, in the supermarket—they’re all over the place.

The one group of recent graduates who were the most amused to see me was the “bad kid” group, Japanese middle-school version of “hoodlums” I guess you could say. They weren’t really bad, just the kind who didn’t care about school and would frequently disrespect teachers (though never me). The fourth time I spotted that group, one of the boys came up and put a chu-hai in my hand. I didn’t understand what was happening at first but one of the other ALTs explained he was giving it to me. I don’t know how he got it, but I thanked him and took it. At that point I was on my third and pretty buzzed, so if there was anything unethical about that I wasn’t concerned. He’s not my student anymore anyway.

Jack's back! I also got to see Jack and Lily again. They’re now back from visiting Jack’s parents in Boston and Lily’s parents from France are now here visiting her. I walked around the festival with them once and got caught up. Jack actually has some sort of job with Interac now, not as a teacher but something else I’m not too clear on. He was actually at the Narita training session, so he’d already met Kim before I did.

As dusk was setting, everyone was told to leave the grassy area and move to one end of the lake from where we could view the fireworks. I spent so much time trying to get good fireworks pictures that I forgot to enjoy the fireworks. The pictures I’m posting here are just a few of the many dozens I took, a waste of camera memory space.

The crowd just starting to assemble. Boom.

Fizzle. Ooh! Aah!

During the fireworks I also somehow managed to finish the chu-hai my former students had given me, which pushed me past that fine line between buzzed and drunk. That made the next part a ridiculously bizarre experience, as with everyone all bunched together I was bumping into students left and right, and my super-enthusiastic hellos must have been highly amusing to all of them. I’m pretty sure a bunch of students had heard I was there and were deliberately coming up to say hello, perhaps just for the fun of seeing me drunk.

I probably shouldn’t have felt too apprehensive about that in the first place. It doesn’t seem to matter at all. All the other ALTs were drunk and greeting students too. I found out later that getting drunk is expected at a hanami, just like it is at an enkai. I’ve interacted with teachers while drunk, and now students as well. No harm, really. All I did was say hello and try to remember their names.

One of about 20 pictures I don't remember taking. Ben invited us all back to his place for an after-party, and at that point I was extremely merry and just wanted the fun to continue, so while I really should have just gone home, eaten something, and drank tons of water before going to bed at a decent hour, I went to Ben’s place, drank my last chu-hai, and got embarrassingly drunk to the point where it wasn’t until the following afternoon that I was able to remember some of the things I did. Thank god my students didn’t see me in that state. I’m embarrassed enough that other drunken ALTs saw me that way too, but after apologizing to Ben through Facebook the next day he assured me it was okay, everyone was pretty sloppy at that point and his memory is pretty hazy too, but that getting sloshed is perfectly appropriate for a hanami.

Eventually I did stumble home and go to sleep, though I have no idea when. All I know is that the sleep I got wasn’t nearly enough. The alcohol would not wear off completely until the following afternoon. And of course, the following morning just happened to be the first day of the school-year.

To be continued…

Japanese Family Music Festival

October 17th, 2011 No comments

Festival!

Even though it was organized by the same people, the festival I went to yesterday was worlds apart from the festival I went to last month. The main difference was that this was purely a Sunday afternoon/evening affair as opposed to an overnight camping weekend, but everything from the music to the type of location to the make-up of the crowd was different. Instead of reggae and psychedelic rock, the bands were much more traditional Japanese. It took place in a rather large park which was clearly a place where many people go every weekend no matter what’s going on there, complete with ponds, walking trails, and kids’ playgrounds. And Ben wasn’t kidding when he said it was more “kid-friendly”—while there had been a fair share of very little kids at the hippie-festival, this was almost exclusively a family affair with kids ranging all the way from 0 to maybe 12 or 13 all over the place. I felt out of place to begin with, and it turned out that neither Ben nor Fred ended up showing up so I felt substantially awkward the whole time, yet I still managed to have a relatively pleasant experience. It was certainly more enjoyable than my normal Sunday routine.

Before I get into the story of the day’s events, I have to make a rather large digression regarding the fact that on Sunday morning I discovered to my great bewilderment that I’d lost my I-phone. I’ve been known to misplace things from time to time, but the fact that my I-phone disappeared is by far the most perplexing lost-item situation I’ve ever experienced. I clearly remember having it on Saturday morning, and I only left my apartment twice that day—once for a fifteen-minute trip to the 7-11 during which I never took my phone out of my pocket, and once for my daily jog on which I never bring my cellphone and certainly didn’t bring it that time. I went back to the 7-11 on Sunday and asked them if they found it, but it was not in their Lost Items box or even in the back room. I checked every corner of my apartment several times over (including the pockets of all my pants and all of my back-pack compartments) but it was just nowhere to be found. It makes no sense whatsoever that it’s gone. Whenever I take it out of my pocket upon returning home, it always goes to the exact same spot next to the couch and there’s no reason to believe that’s not where I’d put it upon returning from the 7-11 on Saturday. Besides, if it hadn’t been in my pocket when I emptied them, I really think I would have noticed it missing then.

I’ve done so much figurative scratching my head over this that I’m practically removing my figurative scalp. But to add an ever more bizarre element to this little anecdote, this is just the latest in a long line of lost-item WTFs I’ve been having since I got to Japan. I never put them all together until the I-phone, just figuring I’m kind of an absent-minded person and every now and then I’m going to lose things, but I would bet all I own that I’ve lost more random things over my two months in Japan than I did throughout my entire three years in Germany. I lost my wireless mouse while relocating from the Narita Hotal to Togane, even though I’d practically torn the room apart looking for some papers I’d also lost (later recovered because I’d left them in one of the conference rooms so they don’t count) and it made no sense to me that I wouldn’t have noticed that I hadn’t packed my mouse during that frantic search. I lost my apartment key—we all know that story—and while I’d accepted that it must have fallen out of my pocket at some point while removing my wallet, I didn’t buy anything that night and only removed my wallet in places that were later searched thoroughly. Then there’s the USB-stick that was never anywhere but in my computer or the top compartment of my back-pack, the disappearance of which was extremely bizarre but which I didn’t think much about because I had another one. And then there’s a long list of papers and documents that I would have sworn were in my desk drawer at work but which I haven’t been able to find even after going through every sheet of paper in there one-by-one.

The I-phone is the most expensive loss and also the most bizarre, seeing as how I only took it to one place the whole day, I didn’t even ride my bike so it wouldn’t have slipped out of my pocket, and I never even removed it from my pocket because I didn’t get a call. Either it was stolen by some ninja-pick-pocket, or Japan is just full of mini-black-holes that are constantly opening up, sucking random electronics and sheets of paper into oblivion, then closing up again. It’s just absolutely mind-boggling.

In any case, I e-mailed McCall, the company that issued my phone, to let them know I lost the phone and they responded saying they’ll send me info on how to replace it “as soon as possible”. That was over 24 hours ago and so far nothing yet. Luckily I don’t really need a cellphone, but not having one raises all kind of minor difficulties such as not having an alarm to set before going to bed (luckily I wake up on my own before the alarm almost every day anyway).

It also made yesterday’s trip to the festival a bit more challenging than it would have otherwise been (It was a long digression, I know, but at least I brought it around). I was Facebook chatting with Fred in the morning to ask him how I could get there by bike, and he sent me a map and directions which were a lot more complicated than how it normally takes to get somewhere around here—normally it’s “take the 126 x blocks in y direction and you’re there”. But this “Sanbunomori Park” was nowhere near the 126, and it was about 13 km along a series of winding roads up in the hills on which my I-phone’s GPS-abilities would have really come in handy. Instead of just heading out and relying on the maps to guide me, I had to painstakingly write out directions and draw myself little maps of the intersections by hand, just like in the Dark Ages.


View Larger Map

Luckily, it wasn’t too complicated, and I ended up finding my way there without taking any wrong turns at all. It also happened to be an incredibly lovely day and an incredibly lovely bike-ride. I’d only been up in the hills for a very brief stretch of road on the day I did my “Lake Tour” last month, but the 12 km or so that I rode through on Sunday were absolutely gorgeous. I remember how when I first got to Togane I wrote that I would not use the word “beautiful” to describe this location, and while it’s undeniable that the main stretch of road here, the 126, is as ugly as it gets, there is apparently a crap-load of natural beauty to be found just a few hundred meters or so in every direction.

Of course, the downside was the fact that I was no longer in the flatlands of Togane, but riding on some particularly steep hills. There were a few long sustained uphill slopes that I just couldn’t get over without getting off the bike and pushing. To make matters worse, the temperature—which had dropped comfortably into the high teens and low twenties (Celsius of course) had picked back up yesterday along with the humidity. I was sweating bullets, but at least the downhill parts were completely exhilarating.

Sanbunomori Park Festival Grounds from the Overpass

After a little less than an hour I finally reached my destination. I wasn’t quite sure how to get into the park but I could hear the music and see the set-up below a tall overpass I rode over, so I knew I was in the right area. I eventually found the entrance, parked my bike, and worked my way down a winding wooden staircase where bunch of merchants were there selling goods and wine, and found myself confronted right off the bat with a familiar face. Kio is one of the guys who organized both festivals, apparently a friend to all the Togane ALTs as Ben had told me at the last one. He recognized me but didn’t remember my name. I told him and he asked me if Ben was here too, but I told him he wasn’t and he probably wouldn’t come for a few hours. Kio was busy so I couldn’t stay and chat, but it was at least nice to know that I sorta kinda knew someone there.

Awesome Kids' Toy Upper Part of the Park

I got down to the festival grounds and proceeded to spend the next hour or so wandering around and taking random snapshots. Of course I’d forgotten to charge my camera battery as it was somewhat of a last-minute realization that I should bring it—I haven’t used it in a few weeks—so I knew I had to take pictures and videos sparingly.

This guy was painting the whole time.

I wandered around back to the nice little pond under the overpass, then in the other direction up the hill to the playground, where I noticed to my relief they had a clock. No I-phone meant no time-keeping device for me, and the fact that I’d ridden there by bike through unlit streets with a bike with no headlight meant I had to be out of there at least an hour before sunset, meaning 4:30 at the absolute latest. (The headlight, by the way, was stolen—or at least I thought it was. Now I’m thinking it might have been one of those mini-black-holes.)

The most clearly apparent difference between this festival and the hippie festival (other than the preponderance of children) was that the crowd was much bigger. Apparently family festivals draw more of a crowd than hippie festivals. Too bad for Kio, at no one seemed to be charging an entrance fee for this one like they’d done at the other.

I was happy to spot the same Döner Kebab van that had been at the hippie-fest, though disappointed when I saw that it was once again a beef kebab and not a chicken one. Although I wasn’t too upset because the line was seldom less than twenty people long throughout the whole afternoon, and only one guy was in there serving the food so it was crawling along at a dismal pace.

After wandering around for awhile I took a seat on an empty bench at the back of the stage area, keeping my eyes open for Fred or Ben but of course neither of them came. I wanted to go up and start chatting with people but it was clear from the start that my Japanese skills are clearly not where they need to be to allow me that sort of confidence—at least not while sober. I knew I didn’t have a chance of having any kind of conversation with anyone who doesn’t speak English, and since most Japanese people don’t it would be a safe bet that no matter who I approached it would just be an awkward series of “Sorry, I don’t understand”s. That happens enough at work. I figured that I was the one who stood out so if anyone there could speak English and had any interest in talking to an English-speaker, it was up to them to come up to me. So I just tried to maintain a smile and look as approachable as possible.

The first act.

A couple times a father or mother with their kids would come and ask if they could sit on the other side of the bench and I gave them a friendly “douzo” then let them tend to their kids while trying to think of something to say, but they always left before I could think of something. I was spacing out big-time on my Japanese. There was even a moment where I just wanted to say hello to the little kid who kept looking at me but I couldn’t even remember the word for “hello”. Oh yeah, “konnichiwa”…duh. By then it was too late.

After the first band there was a brief interlude in which a group of little kids got up to sing a few Japanese kids’ songs, which may have been the single most adorable thing I’ve ever witnessed in my entire life. I risked the battery life of my camera to take a video, but I didn’t keep it going long enough to capture the best parts. At least I can give you a taste.

After that it was back to my bench again, but this time a guy came over to me deliberately, sat down, and asked me in English if I’d like a beer. I hadn’t been planning to drink anything but how could I refuse? Finally, this was what I’d been waiting for. He was there with his wife, an American woman named Kelly, and their daughter Noe. His name was Ise (something short for something else), and his wife had come to Japan to teach English fifteen years ago. He’d met her when he was bartending then. They both moved to America and lived in Chicago, then got married and came back when his wife got a job teaching at the nearby International University (I believe it’s called Josai). Their daughter looked to be about three or four years old and she was speaking both English and Japanese…lucky girl. Ise was a drummer who’s currently unemployed and playing the role of mother to Noe while Kelly brings home the bacon. Not the typical family-dynamic for Japan.

I gave Ise my story, exchanged a few words with his wife as well, and was glad to have finally met someone here so no matter what happened the day wouldn’t be a total bust. They left for shadier pastures after about a half-hour, but it had been nice sharing a drink with them.

The next performer was a solo singer with a voice not nearly as beautiful as her face singing Japanese songs while her boyfriend/husband accompanied on something like a guitar but not a guitar. It wasn’t all that exciting so I wandered around some more, still searching in vain for signs of the other ALTs. Man, having a cellphone would have really been handy, but what can you do? I found Kio again and asked him if he’d heard anything from Ben, and he gave Ben a call for me but got no answer.

Labyrinthine Stairs

While the next band was setting up I spotted a young girl who looked incredibly familiar but I wasn’t 100% sure she was one of the students at my Junior High School. She looked too young to be a Junior High student but that might have just been due to the lack of a uniform. I looked at her for any sign of recognition on her part, and while she held my gaze for a few solid seconds she gave me no indication that she knew who I was, so I didn’t say anything. After she and her friend or sister she was with had walked away, I became a lot more certain that she was one of my students, that she was a first-grader whom I hadn’t recognized right away because I’ve had far fewer lessons with the first-graders than with the other two grades. It got me a little miffed that she hadn’t said “hello” but I couldn’t be too angry because I hadn’t said “hello” either. At least I’m teaching first-grade this week and I’ll be able to ask her “wtf?” (though I probably won’t use that exact term :))

The sun had gone down behind the trees when the next band started, and while it was clearly the best music of the day so far the clock was reading just after 4:00 so I knew I had to leave soon. Before I did I noticed a Western guy—someone who’d been in the sound booth the whole day—pop out in front of the stage with a camera to take some photos of the event. I figured I might as well try to have one more sliver of social interaction before getting out of there so I went up to him and asked him where he was from. Apparently he was from Finland and went to the [Josai?] University, just like those other Westerners I’d spotted several weeks ago (and several times again since then). Despite being from Finland his English was great so I was able to chat with him for a few minutes, getting little more than the fact that his name was Ollie (or something like that), he was from Finland and studying at the university, plus his impressions of Japan so far. He’s been here for less time than I have—only one month—but somehow he’s already working the sound at Japanese festivals. I parted ways with him on friendly terms and we said we’d probably see each other around in Togane. Considering how much we stand out around here I’d say that’s rather likely.

Overpass from the Festival Grounds

On my way off the concert grounds I passed by Ise and his family, and he stood up to shake my hand and give me a warm goodbye as well. Really nice guy, that guy. He said he hoped we’d run into each other again and I sincerely agreed.

Finally, on my way up the stairs I found Kio one last time and told him to tell Ben I’m sorry I missed him, assuming he actually shows up (I found out today that he never even went). I hadn’t talked to Kio much but he still said it was nice to see me again and I told him the same.

As I was getting back on my bike, a Japanese woman came up to me and asked me in English if I was interested in hearing some flute music that would be starting in a few minutes in another area of the park. Now I start getting people coming up to me. I told her I had to go but thank you, then got on my bike and proceeded to take the long and winding road back home.

I’d left not a moment too soon too, because the twilight was in full force by the time I reached Togane and the safety of streets lined with streetlights.

So altogether it wasn’t a fantastic day, I didn’t get to hang out with the other ALTs again, but I did have a nice time, got to meet a few new people however briefly, and got to take in a bit more of the scenery surrounding Togane which made me feel even luckier than ever that I was placed here. I may be losing all kinds of random items, but I don’t think I’m in danger of losing that feeling any time soon.

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First Sight-Seeing in Hannover

August 30th, 2008 No comments

[Originally written in a private journal. Back-posted in 2011]

It’s the afternoon of the same day on which I wrote the last entry, and although I’m still “sick” I feel a lot better after giving myself a nice dose of Deustchlandsleben, which probably isn’t a real world even in German but “life in Germany” should translate to that. I was going to go to the Rathaus, but apparently “Rathaus” means something other than “City Hall” which is “Stadthalle”. So I used Google to find where the Stadthalle was, wrote out some directions and headed out.

As soon as I got to the city centre I realised things were a lot more festive than usual. That was to be expected for a Wochenende but I couldn’t remember there being this many extra Bier- and Wurst-stands last Saturday, and there certainly hadn’t been any stages set up for musicians. But I worked my way through the crowds until I was back on normal streets, now on the East Side of town, heading towards the Stadthalle. The East Side, I discovered, is extremely nice. Much much nicer than where I live. Lots of trees and fields and whatnot. I walked along the edge of the Eilenriede, the City Forest, on my way to the Stadthalle and resolved to check it out on my way back.

Without any incident at all I reached the Stadthalle (the walk took just under an hour) which was not as impressive as the “So Schön ist Hannover” book I had been perusing the other day made it sound. Just a really big dome on top of an otherwise normal-but-still-pretty-nice stone building. But around back was a really nice Stadtpark, with a lot of little trails and flower gardens. I sat on a bench opposite the Hall with a view of the two reflecting ponds surrounded by flowers laid out behind it. It was pretty nice. I just sat there and let myself appreciate all the nice places my life had taken me including this one, though the longing for death was still very strong.

Once I’d let that sink in enough, I headed back the way I came and as planned, entered the Eilenriede. This was really nice, probably the nicest place I’ve seen in Hannover so far. There were a lot more trails than I would have liked, but just being surrounded by big beautiful trees that have been undoubtedly been there for centuries was awesome. I came to a little pond and sat on a bench to watch the ducks, but these were the most boring ducks I’ve ever seen—just sitting there looking at the water and not moving at all. So I took a little bridge across the pond, where there was a bronze statue of a billy-goat at one end. Interesting, I thought. This must be the actual bridge where the billy-goats in the fairy tale outsmarted the troll. Before I wanted to I reached the other end, and was back on the street where I’d gone in.

So I walked all the way back to the city centre where the festivities were now really under way. Bands were playing, big-assed girls were shopping, Germans were drinking and eating bratwurst, almost everybody was smoking…a merry old time indeed. I’d had it in mind to try and stop at a Getränkemart (liquor store) on the way back home because I’d Googled it and found that there should be one on a street near where I live. I got to that street and walked up and down it but couldn’t find it. I did see a sign that said the name of the festival that was taking place today (don’t remember—some word I don’t know that starts with an ‘S’) so I confirmed that this was a festival and not just a normal Saturday in Hannover.

On my way back I found myself walking through the Flohmarkt, which does take place every Saturday outside a Schloß (palace) which is about a block from where I live. A whole bunch of Germans selling their junk at cheap prices. I bought myself a Weißbier glass for 1.50, thanking myself that I hadn’t bought the one I saw in Karstadt the other day for 9.50. Then I came back and saw that only 2 and a half hours had gone by since I left. It had felt like 7 hours. Maybe because it was about 4 or 5 times the typical time I’ve been spending outside of the apartment.

Anyway, I certainly enjoyed myself. The atmosphere out there was one of those distinctive “nowhere else but here” feelings, so I feel as though I’m at least getting some of my parents’ moneys’ worth out of this experience so far.

Oh, and I finally saw joggers! Two of them in the Eilenriede and one just jogging along the street near the Flohmarkt. So I guess it’s not against the law.

And out of the hundreds of girls I saw today, only about 5 or 6 were really hot. The hottest was walking along with her German father and Asian mother. She really got the best possible mix of genes out of that deal. Seriously. But other than that, nobody else really made me want to stab myself, which is good. I like living in a place where I’m not bombarded by unbelievably gorgeous and unavailable women every time I turn my head. The only really hot Germans I see on a regular basis are the ones on TV, and they’re all terrible actresses (you can tell even if you don’t speak the language) so you know there can’t be too many of them if the TV people have to settle for such untalented women in order to find those with looks that can draw an audience.

So now I’m really tired, but that won’t stop me from enjoying the rest of the day, feeling like I actually fucking did something finally, and drinking out of my new Weißbier glass tonight in spite of the mildly sick state I’m in. All I know is that going on long walks through the city is something I definitely plan on doing a lot more often.