Friday, March 21, 2003

March 21

Bush's War is in its second day now. Because Japan treats the First Day of Spring as a national holiday, I got to spend the day with CNN. All I can say is that Aaron Brown must have a lot of time on his hands. For 3 hours, I see him and General Clark talking and cheering on the wonders of the videophone. Over here, the Japanese coverage has been steady.

The president of my soon-to-be former school asked me to have a coffee with him after work last night; the first time in 5 years he's ever invited to anything. He implored me to reconsider my departure and offered me a higher position with higher the expense of two staff members which he quietly trashed to abandon. The only question that went through my brain was why he couldn't ask me this years ago. I sense a president who is in desperate need of an MBA.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

March 18

Well, Bush has thrown down the gauntlet, Hussein has thrown his gauntlet, the UN inspectors are high-tailing it, and over 200,000 troops are massed and ready to kick butt. Plus, the Dept. of Homeland Security has raised the alert up to Orange. Great! I'll just be going to my first class in downtown Tokyo at an oil organization which just sits next to the US Embassy. I wonder if the class will be a bit more interesting than usual.

Monday, March 17, 2003

March 17

The big trip to Tateyama in Chiba worked out pretty well, and that big fear of lightening my wallet didn't come to pass. However, for one thing, that "Romance Car" just ended up being a regular express train so the cost wasn't nearly as bad. Also, lunch was provided by one of our students.

After a 2-hour ride to the other side of Tokyo Bay, our first stop was a strawberry farm. They do things a bit differently than how we would pick the berries back home. They cut out the transportation of the berries back home and just encourage everyone to pick and eat right in the patch. We were given 2 plastic containers, one containing condensed milk and the other was for the berry butts after we ate them. Not a bad system; I managed to down about 30 berries before finishing off the milk.

Then it was off to the seashore where we had my student's exquisitely prepared box lunches which included rolled sushi, fried chicken and marinated meat balls. It was quite nice munching with the waves crashing on the rocks. Then, it was up a long flight of stairs to a hotel nearby for coffee and cake. Well, you might imagine that we were feeling pretty stuffed after lunch and dessert so we took a long walk along the road for about an hour to burn off the excess calories before reaching a tourist store selling lots of flowers, honey and peanut-based goods (Chiba is well known for its peanut crops).

Finally, the girls negotiated a ride with a taxi driver who was very kind to give us a tour around the area before leaving us at the station. Another half-hour of drinks in the nearby cafe, and then we were off to another town an hour away towards Tokyo called Kisarazu. There we went to a Japanese pub, or izakaya, for a clam-based meal. The best dish was the clams steamed in sake. However the meal tended toward the deep-fried side so I felt somewhat bloated this morning. All in all, a nice gourmet tour.

In other news, looks like it'll be a light week for me. My night class got canned so I got home around 3:30 today and the same appears likely for Wednesday. Also, Friday is a national holiday, the Vernal Equinox, although I think this week has started more like the depths of winter.