As if it wasn’t clear by now, I am a big fan of bowling. Its a great way to spend time with the homies and the game itself is rather enjoyable. Following up to my previous post, TJ, James and I made yet another trip to the Hyperlane bowling alley in Ikebukuro. This time, we decided we would write our names on the player card as incomprehensibly as possible to add a little confusion to the staff. This is what our score card read:
This is what we got:
And no the way I spelled Ninja here is not a typo. Thats how the clever people of the hyperlanes bowling alley wrote it.
Employees 1, The Lads 0.
For the first time since I got here, I decided to go bowling with the homies. Our destination was the Ikebukuro bowling alley located near TJ’s apartment. Apparently the place was 24 hours and ready and willing to accept some eager bowlers. Now, I’ve been to a few Japanese bowling alleys in my time, even a few in other countries like Nicaragua and Vietnam, but this one was by far the most entertaining I have been to internationally. First off, we were required to fill out a card with our desired bowling name, real bowling name, address, phone number, sex, previous visits, mother’s maiden name, the names of capitals in 28 random states and the birthday of Prime Minister Koizumi. Ok ok, just kidding, they didn’t ask for Mom’s maiden name. Anyway, after skipping the majority of the unimportant info our bowling card looked like this under the list of names;
Naturally, my mighty bowling name is Riboflavin and TJ’s last name is Kemper, thus Admiral Kemper. We turned in our card, picked up our shoes and sat down at the computer screen on the lane and viewed our names freshly typed into the screen. They read;
In short, TJ and I laughed for a good 5 minutes at that. We decided that from now on my type of writing was too stylistic for the clerks to read and reinput properly so my job as card filler-outter was quickly revoked.
As if this wasn’t good enough we were treated to the experience of how Japanese people, most likely the Men, prefer to bowl. On the screens above our heads were our running score totals, yet occasionally the screen would change based on how you threw the ball. Naturally all these changes on screen involved scantily clad women and them offering words of encouragement or congratulations. On a gutter ball, I was treated to two ladies with bright smalls and tight clothing offering their encouragement. As if this wasn’t random enough, quite suddenly a Japanese fellow dressed as a Baseball umpire also showed up beside them and gave me a big thumbs up…I love Japan.
This evening I was journeying out to Kichijoji to do some people studying. For anthropology, we’re supposed to choose a fieldsite and observe people, customs and culture. I chose McDonald’s and the seemingly different kind of culture that exists here in Jerpan in regards to the way people use fast food restaurants. On my way to the station, I noticed here in Kugayama there seemed to be a great deal of activity on the main road that seemed out of place. There were bright pink lanterns all along the street lights with the characters for Kugayama painted on them. People were everywhere and all the local convenience shops had little stands outside selling mostly food items with the occasional trinket or piece of junk for the visitors. Basically, it was Kugayama ni Yookoso Day, translated to Welcome to Kugayama Day. Not sure why the people of Kugayama were inspired to invite people here seeing as how there isn’t much goin on, but it was very interesting nonetheless. Near the main strip is a bike/walking trail that people often use, so they set it up that you enter the trail at one end, and all along the way you get to stop by little food and trinket stands. Its a comparable experience to our 4th of July on Bainbridge. It was a very cool thing to check out even though I didn’t purchase anything. Wish I’d known it would have been there or I would have taken pictures.
Midterms are just starting to wind down here, so we have another pseudo lull period in studies until we hit our finals. Can’t believe I only have two months left here.
So I was riding the train today, reading a book on the making of the latest Star Wars when the train stopped at one of the stations along its route. I paused for a moment of quiet thought as hordes of black haired Japanese people passed me when I happened to look up at an advertisement for the upcoming World Cup. The advertisement was in Japanese (obviously) and seemed to be a photograph of the advertised magazine’s current cover. The funny thing, is that on said cover of the magazine, was a very blown up photograph of Japan’s current Soccer coach. A Brazillian man whose name I don’t recall is pictured on the front looking intense and focused as if to suggest the World Cup game was tomorrow and he was ready for it. Heres the best part: directly above said Coache’s head, in English are the words, “Germany Will Be Mine!”
I’ll let all of this advertisement’s deep meanings sink in for a few moments.
On a related subject, Bananas in this country need to be sold less yellow and more green because they go bad in two days and despite my love for Bananas, I just can’t eat that many that fast. I’m sorry.
Lets talk about Combini. Put simply, Combini are short for Convenience Stores, and they are an essential ingredient to the Japanese economy, way of life and overall social stability. Combini serve incredible purposes. Mostly they supply you with all manner of foods, but they are good for other things as well. Making copies, renting movies, reading porn that is in plain sight and reach of 5 year olds, but most of important of all, you can pay your bills. Thats right, at the convenience store, you can take your monthly gas, electric and water bill and pay it right there and then. You get a stamp and a receipt and you’re off on your way to doing whatever it is you feel is important at that time juncture. Its incredibly convenient and time saving, not to mention you don’t need to spend money on stamps or envelopes. Now if only dealing with school administration was so simple…