Haiku, happy athletes, and karaoke


Today is Friday, one of my days off, so I slept in, then wrote a haiku about the little cast iron bell I bought for $1 at my school’s bazaar in the lobby:

Morioka bell,
calling high and sweet, even
dogs stop to listen.

After breakfast, I headed through the muggy air to haunt the tourist center until 2ish, at which point it was obviously time for jajamen.  The thick, warm air scared off all but die-hard weirdos like me, so there was no line today.  The chef, a tired, round woman, cuts a noodle with her thumbnail to test if it’s ready to serve.  She wears a green apron with white kanji that means “white dragon.”  The patrons are all male, with the exception of one table of three women.  The baseball on the TV catches my attention: one of the players hits a home run, and smiles and pumps his fist in celebration as he jogs to home plate.  His teammates smile and high five him enthusiastically.  This strikes me as so different from the way the game is played in the US, but when I mention this to my students the next day, they clarify: those were high schoolers playing, not professionals.  Still, the stakes are high.  Apparently, agents watch these games very carefully.  High school baseball is taken as seriously as high school football in some small towns in the US.  Still, I’m happy to see that there is still some joy left in a televised sport.

Having spent all morning (and some of the afternoon) chatting with people back home and stuffing myself full of delicious noodles, there was no time left to go to the martial arts supply shop.  I headed home to shower and change, then meet Ryann for a girls’ night out with Annie, a friend and coworker who occasionally teaches at our school.  We get Indian food, and each of us orders a different type of Naan: sesame (Annie), garlic (Ryann), and honey (me).  I clearly won, but everything was delicious.

Then we hit up a karaoke bar on Odori that charged like $90 for an hour!  I was shocked, but it was fun to finally do some karaoke in Japan.


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