Monday, February 27, 2006

The weekend of weekends

Well, not really. Actually, it's one of my more miserable ones. This stupid sinus infection is 3 weeks old, and it's driving me nuts. It's gotten to where I can't sleep properly at night, sniffling and coughing periodically. I broke down today and went to a doctor. She said I had a sinus infection (duh!), and gave me some medicine. I was excited about it until I looked at the pill I thought was the antibiotics, and it said allergy on it, plus some kanji I can't decipher. Hopefully one of them means 'antibiotic.'

Also during this exciting weekend of mine, I'd taken two of my last paid holidays for the year so I could visit Nikko. Some of my friends headed to Korea, but I decided to save some cash and travel closer to home. Well, good thing I did, in my condition. Saturday I went to Nikko planning on a 2- or 3-day trip. I was miserable the whole way there, and having a 30 minute train delay didn't help. I got to Nikko at 3:30pm, all the temples and shrines closed at 4, and there is absolutely nothing else to do during the winter season in that town. It was good weather, sunny albeit a bit chilly, so I wandered around a bit. Sunday, it rained. A lot. At least it wasn't a complete downpour. But it was wet. I had a very tiny umbrella and saw what temples I could stomach, before limping back to the station to thaw out and catch a train back home. In Hiratsuka, it was raining too. That meant me just going home and staying in front of the computer, under the kotatsu, the whole evening. And I'm still here. Tomorrow is supposed to be nice too, I think, so I'll do some cleaning, but beyond that, I'm just hoping to get better. I hate being sick.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Haru Ichiban on Valentine's Day

Well, the runny nose I had seized up and gave me a nice little sinus infection. So I spent most of last week bemoaning my existence and blowing my nose at poor little kids.

By Friday I was a bit more perked up and went to the gym for some step classes. God, how weird is that. No leotards, yet. There are a few people there who preen in front of the mirrors, checking themselves out. Talk about self-absorbed. The weekend didn't involve much beyond an unexpected binge session with Tracey and Miwa, who crapped out right when we got to the nightclub. She was off around 11:30 to bed. Tracey and I got bored at the salsa club. We ran into Bob, Damien's old roommate. He was standing outside the club with a couple of my old workmates and another guy, a Scotsman who I thought was just visiting. The guy turned out to live in Chigasaki, the next town over, and is a real dick. Everything was prefaced with, "Well, I've lived here for 9 years, so..." You think after 9 years he'd learn to not be such a prick, and that speaking English to a bouncer who can only speak Japanese and Spanish (us being at a Peruvian salsa club) isn't gonna work. He got on my and everyone else's nerves, so we split to a hip-hop bar. Tracey was determined to find me a girl, and evidently a hiphop club is the best place to go. Needless to say, that didn't work out so well. The only girl besides Tracey was the DJ's girlfriend. All I ended up with was the awful stench of smoke ingrained into my clothes.

My sinuses have settled into a stalemate with the infection. It's just gonna stay there until spring, and I'll end up with a headache the whole time. I've fought off worse. At least I'm not delirious and fevered like last year. But I'm starting to wonder if I haven't taken on too much work with my evening classes. Today was Valentine's Day. I didn't get to enjoy it as I didn't sleep well the night before. My computer decided to crap out Monday afternoon and something major happened (maybe a trojan or virus, not sure), but I got it sorted for the most part, except I did something that pretty much removed my HDD with all my music, TV shows, movies, etc.

So today was Haru Ichiban, or the first day of spring. That's what they call the first day that is warm and springlike, I guess. My student informed me of this tonight, so I thought I'd make use of it. It was a balmy 17C today, I didn't even need my ski jacket in the afternoon. Today was also Valentine's Day. It's a bit different than in the US. Basically, girls have to give guys (any guys, not just boyfriends) chocolate, cookies, etc. I got a few gifts from my students. At least I'm popular among the 15 yr-olds. Yay. The chocolates were nice, although I feel bad because I won't be around on White Day (March 14th), when the guys are supposed to return the favor (though most don't). Better that I won't be here then, because with so many faces to remember, I couldn't pick them out of a lineup.

Today was grueling, 6 lessons during the day, which meant I only got about 30 minutes free for lunch. At least I got out at 3:30, so I could grab some more food before I had 2 evening lessons. Lots of work. I hate it now, but I'll be happy when I see that paycheck.

In other news, I'm getting ready for Aaron & Molly to visit. I made reservations for a 3-day trip to Kyoto. I only have to find a place to stay in Tokyo for a few nights, and we're set. I can't wait. I don't get to spend much time around Tokyo, so I've got a lot of things I'd like to do.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Let's get physical!

Last time I posted, I said it was a nice, sunny day and I went for a walk. Boy, that's sure changed. Friday night the temperature plummeted. Usually it's rather mild here, though even 7 or 8 degrees above freezing isn't so pleasant when you're cycling and walking everywhere. It dropped down to just above freezing, and then Saturday it decided to snow. It didn't stick, which was the problem. It melted on the still-warm pavement and then froze that night. So everyone had problems walking/cycling around. A couple people I know had wrecks, and I actually peeled out trying to start on my bike. It's tough, especially after a couple drinks in town.

Sunday was sunnier during the day, but in the shadows the ice still stuck around. Last week I joined the gym that my roommate Tracey goes to. Saturday evening I went for my orientation. The guy there was nice enough, and tried his best to speak English, though I understood him better in Japanese. He showed me how to use the weight machines, which I'll probably never use, then showed me the super-high-tech (c'mon, it's Japan!) treadmills, complete with personal TVs and all sorts of cool functions. Then he had me take off my shoes and socks and stand on these two metal plates in the shape of footprints. I picked up two handles with metal contacts and he pushed a button. After putting in my height, this computer weighed me and told me my body mass index, my percentage body fat, my water content, what parts of my body needed work (my torso and legs are ok, but I have no upper body strength), and finally it told me that my left side and right side are both equal. In other words, both of my arms are in the same physical condition. I always thought I favored my right arm.

So that was pretty cool. But I can't just wander in any old time and work out. The gym, just like all of Japan, is obsessed with shoes. You cannot wear shoes into the changing room. You walk into the lobby in street shoes. You go to the changing room and remove your shoes, putting them in a shoe locker. Go change and come back, putting on the gym shoes you've been carrying around with you. These shoes can be used only in the gym. Do NOT wear them outside. If so, you will contaminate everything. I repeat, do not wear your shoes outside. You can wear them across the lobby, where everyone walks in their street shoes anyways, then up the stairs and you're at the machine room and studio.

I had my first workout class Sunday afternoon. Tracey convinced me to go to these three 30-minute body combat classes. There's a lot of punching and kicking at air to a house beat, but it was fun and a good workout. My roommate was able to go because she just switched her days off to Sunday & Monday, so we went together. Before that, she started cleaning the apartment, which guilted me into doing the same. I cleaned & vacuumed my room, which must've kicked up some dust because Monday I had terrible allergies.

Today (Monday) I'm lucky I'm just evaluating student speeches at work, because my nose must've thought it was in a marathon. I finally got some medicine after work that stopped it running, but it's still hard to breathe. Add on top of that that a private lesson I was supposed to demo for didn't show up, no phone call, no nothing. 35 minutes of standing at the train station in the cold, feeling miserable, didn't help me. But going home and a nice, hot bath did. I'm so relaxed, I'm off to bed now.