Weekend Abroad

October 20, 2009 at 1:53 am (Japan Journal, Poetry)

This starts in the wee hours in the neighboring city of Takamatsu, after a night of drinking, returns to Marugame, and then continues on into the next day in Kanonji — one weekend of craziness:

fucked up beyond repair,
not all repair —
just immediate repair:
last train over an hour
into the past, and first
train still 3 hours into
the future
kicked out of the station
by annoyed caretakers
dressed like officers, but
sent nowhere particular
except out —
out into the cold
a mean habit w/
history perhaps
found way to a
convenience store —
24 hours w/ hope of
a eating/sitting area
to take refuge in
until a way home is
provided
stared down by young
Japanese man in a
               sharp suit
as if the complexities
of him arriving here
drunk at 2am are
a pissing contest,
rivaling the complexities
of us arriving here
drunk at 2am
what a way to look
     to be
40 minutes from here
     by train
          sure
but we live here
     in the grass roots
          the country
               inaka
fickle-faces in the
     early morning for
     foreigners behaving
     badly, but
the only faces to
be seen besides our
own are victims of
similar circumstance
such a curious thing
     this — that
sleeping in a convenience
store, employees re-
treating out of sight
because they already
know we’ve bought
what we’re going to
buy — rice balls &
potato chips — now
we wait for the
trains to come
can’t sleep face down
     on a cafe table,
get up — walk-about,
stroll to the porn, but
remember it’s all
taped up; half-a-
mind to cut it w/
no employees around,
but look-up and
of course: cameras,
my face is too
     memorable here
even tho I look like
everyone not from
here, flip thru a
normal magazine
     instead
return to the table,
friend, Adam, stole my seat —
must’ve seemed better
to sleep in — no
tragedy, couldn’t sleep
there anyway
so it goes.
Later,
     wake friend & check
his watch because
my phone’s dead:
it’s time to head,
get to a real bed
Night’s brisk, try to
keep my balance, and
not fall ass over tits,
sobering up can feel
cold stumbling more like
bumbling — a
haphazard flight
plan
walk past the train
station that goes
to my house to get
to the one that goes
to his; I do a
lot of pointing; it’s
4:30AM and the
street musicians are
closing shop
they come out
around midnight, but
the circumambient
haze of booze,
msg, and nicotine
keep us from hear-
ing them here before
10 minutes into the
future we drop $7
a piece for tickets and
board the train
we will have been
on it for ~ little
over 40min. by
the time we
   arrive at home,
     not my home
     but a home:
   someplace inside,
familiar, and for
sleeping
wake up for lunch:
friend’s made pork-
chops + vegetables:
eggplant, onions, green
peppers, with
some noodles —
delicious!
still worn out though,
spend the day lounging
at his place, playing
video games
come night:
he’s off to see
the girl & there’s a
b-day everyone’s
going to, and I’m
thinking about.
Still worn out,
but RedBull cures
all ills. Buy a fresh
shirt & underwear
at the convenience store.
Buy a towel &
wash face & hair
in the sink.
Some deodorant to
cover up what
little of yesterday
might be lingering.
Strange to have found
myself so often living
out of convenience
               stores.
Such is the convenience
     of living.
Snagged a charger
for the dead phone
too, let it vampire
the life out of some
convenience store
batteries, thanks to a
convenience store
battery vampiring
cell-phone attachment.
Now I wait for
birthday time, a little
over an hour into the
future. No time
like the present,
even though presently
waiting — happy
to be!
Reminds me there’s
time, time to be
          spent, time
doing something, and
     not only
time that has passed.
Too often I am
finding myself awake
in moments where
I’m struggling to keep
up w/ how much has
passed.
One day, I’ll wake
up and be 80,
and soon after,
not wake up at all.
Time moves faster here
than anyplace else on
Earth, I guarantee it.
You’d know what I
mean if you lived here.
Think of movies:
     slow-mo scenes
     w/ 35 frames per
               second (fps)
regular speed at about
     24 fps
and then crap budget
animation shows w/
     14 fps
same # of seconds
but dif # of frames

there are fewer frames
     here; time
appears to be in the
same quantity,
and the same events
occur in logical amounts,
but there’re fewer
frames, and from the
inside looking out, time
flies —
about an hour into
the future now,
the party waits, while
I wait here at the
convenience store.
Cute girls come in,
cell phones w/
fluttering fingertips
short jeans and clothes
painted in New
Modernism w/ indecipherable
English — have trouble
guessing how old they are,
but they’re w/ a group
of guys in suits I
think, or at least
they know each other.
I defer conversation,
as they talk to
one another, not
looking for any
sidequests, splits-off
from plans in motion:
my premeditated motions.
Sometimes,
     I enjoy drinking
tea and keeping to
               myself.
I realize I could
understand their
conversation, as I
pluck bits and pieces
from the air like a
magician: sore wa,
yabai, dekinai, but the
details get drowned
in swift, soft, subtle
speech, and the
music blaring over the
convenience store
speakers — could
use some speakers.
No hope for
eavesdropping in the
noise.
Wish I’d brought the
gameboy or PSP, just
flickers of light &
sound in an irrelevant
reality to bide
my time.
Problem w/ packing light.
Boys leave, girls stay —
weren’t w/ them, I guess.
Cell Nick about his
party in 45, get
the details.
All set.
Waitin’ it out w/ my
own music.
“Sugoi na!”
Damn right, cutie.
Enchiladas & pinyatas
make for a birthday bash.
A crowd crowded into
an apt, sipping at
margaritas — walking,
talking, sitting, shouting.
Japanese girl slaps
my ass for no real
reason, and I get my
first drink. She’s had a
bit much, and she
can’t keep her mouth
closed or her tongue
from dancing across her
teeth. Two drunk ones
are the two who
don’t drink — s’like
high school watching their
melodrama move thru
their sentences, like a
man drowning in quick-
sand, those stages of
denial, anger, bargaining,
          depression,
acceptance. After
everyone else leaves,
3 of us go to grab
chicken & beer around
midnight. At the back
of my thoughts rest the
multitude of conversations
from the night, the
verbal casualties, the
friendliness of friends,
and this marvelous feeling
of family half-a-world
from where I was
brought up: what it
must be like for 2 girls to
scissor, the comedic but
decidedly uninventive drinking
game of touch my penis —
not that it was actually
played, only the rules
     disputed — the conversation
I couldn’t manage w/
cute Japanese girl,
Halloween costumes, future
               parties,
life in the past, life in
the future, calming the
drunks, wouldn’t it be
funny if? yeah it would.
Dan & Nick mix damn
good margaritas — no
premade mixes here, just
handfuls of freshly squeezed
limes. Chicken & beer is
good — hit on waitresses in
Japanese, say good &
               bike home.
Phone call next morning —
time for airsoft, for
action movie actions
amidst the pines:
unter dem Pines. Like
storming Berlin, or at least
a forest w/ bunkers.
Hustle to train, winded,
just make it. On train,
music to get pumped-up.
I can’t help but smile,
     almost laughing, as
dad holds boy aloft,
and boy tries to dangle
from the standing
handholds on the train.
His older sister runs
over and tickles his
exposed belly, as dad
stares around the crowd
w/ tired eyes and mom
smiles. Too adorable.
I wait for last stop
w/ my music, cute girls on
               the train
get off at the stop beside
the shopping district —
oh well, no time now
anyway. I get to the
station a little early
and wait for comrades
before heading on.
Some tea to tide me
over, besides I can
still taste the extra
RedBulls I used to get
home last night.
Two trains and a taxi
to get from A to B;
not cheap, and only 3
of us playing.
Airsoft mp5 makes
things better — we’ve
taken over a temple site
and will battle it out
in the surrounding
woodland trails.
Leaves scattered
across the forest floor
steal away silence.
Careful steps to obscure
presence but presently
double-checking crossroads,
too pivotal to relinquish but
too dangerous to stay.
Advance & reposition.
Go off trail, split-up,
draw fire to offer flanking
and then…
     shots fired.
3 rounds in 3 spots
— sometimes a car goes
by, down nearer the road
I can hear them, and I have to wonder.
Had a great time,
now covered in scuffs &
scratches from
diving thru bushes
and spiders’ webs.
Time to go home: only
been in my house 7
hours this weekend: to
sleep.
But this is not unusual
for me, here.
My far sight seems to
be growing worse,
words at a pace
sometimes scramble
themselves — bastards.
Back to work Monday:
studying Japanese w/
what little free time I
have; already teaching
3 classes w/ a 5-
period, shortened, day, and
a teacher asks so nicely
if I can do 1 more.
I say yes.
So it goes again,
all too often.
Lunch is fried fish
w/ teriyaki sauce,
rice, and some sort of
stew, w/ 3.5% milk
— drank the super-thin
stuff at home, still
surprises me everytime,
and I know, as I
put in the straw, that
soon,
I will be surprised:
odd thing this.
Saying goodbye to the
weekend, I’m in
the — — — > future
now. Had to happen
sometime.
Just wish it’d stop
happening
so quickly.
Students
are
ridiculous.

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