Thursday, July 8, 2010

One For The Road

It's Sunday, December 9, 1990 and I'm at the Kanemaru residence in the village of Kurobane which is south east Ohtawara (Although I believe in 2005 it joined up and became a part of Ohtawara-shi (Ohtawara City)).
I'm awoken at 7AM... and because I'm still young and stupid, last night's drinking does not hurt me. Never had a hangover in my life, in fact.
Breakfast is that old standby:  dinner leftovers (beef stew) and a quiche and we're out of the house at exactly 9AM.
Oh yeah, I had the mustard plaster removed from my back along with pretty much all of my back hair and skin... but skin pain aside, the muscles and bones feel pretty good.
As we head out on the highway, I'm still unsure where we're going. Tomahiro is feeling a little sick, but what is alarming is the fact that he isn't wearing his seatbelt beside me in the backseat. He says he doesn't ant to, and his folks (I love'em to death) don't seem to mind because they don't say a word.
Kanemaru-san's white Nissan Cherry Vanette (see photo below) has something on it that causes a bell to go off if the vehicle is driven over 100 kilometres per hour (kph). Man, that would drive me crazy. However, just to show he's a rebel, Kanemaru-san checks out my tolerance levels by driving no more and no less than 101 kph.

Okay, I finally realize that we are driving out to Ashikaga (southwest Tochigi-ken) to see the oldest school in Japan - it's supposed to be 500 years old.
When we arrive, I think it looks pretty darn good for its age. At the entrance/fee place, I pick up a brochure. It says Kurita Museum. Whoops. It's a pottery museum, and once you get past that fact, it's a pretty neat place.
next we spend 30 minutes looking for a place to eat lunch - Japanese food, of course,and I have tonkatsu (breaded pork cutlet) which is now my favourite food. Oink.
We then drive out to the school. Honto (Really). We park, walk up to the entrance and discover that it is closed today. It's time's like this when I am very glad I don't understand everything I hear because Mrs. Kanemaru was giving it to poor Kanemaru-san.
We then decided to go home... or so I thought. We parked again and stepped out onto the set of a television NHK samurai drama called Taiheiki about a guy named Ashikaga Takauiji, the first shogun of the Muromachi Shogunate in the 14th century.
The set looks exactly like a real old village, but it was built only two months ago.
Click HERE for some photos of Ashikaga.
Home is the next target. I think.
Kanemaru-san is falling asleep at the wheel. His wife, who can drive, is afraid to do so on the highway. We're all going to die. Tomahiro really should put his seatbelt on.
Anyhow, after a couple of packs of Golden Bat cigarettes and a few coffee breaks, we finally head of the highway at which point the missus takes over behind the wheel for the last 10 minutes of our trip back to my apartment.
I'm tired and really need to pee, so I trudge upstairs, open the door and walk into the bathroom, neglecting to close the door - why? It's my place.
Just as I'm about to finish, I hear someone call my name.
Peeing everywhere, I scream in mortal fear!
It's Ashley.
She said she spent the night waiting for me to show up after she and Matthew spent the night drinking at the local 4-Carat before they both crashed at my place for a while.
Anyhow, long story made longer, we're now back together. She tells me couldn't get me out of her mind, and in an attempt to do so she burned all of my photographs. Apparently that voodoo trick didn't work.
Anyhow, after we consumate our togetherness, I wryly think to myself that I've just been with three women in four days. I love Japan. I hate Canada. Not really, but I assume you know what I mean.
Sleep is no longer an option because while Ashley and are are working out our problems, I'm also in entertainment mode. Tim Mould calls. Matthew Hall calls. Kristine South calls. My parents call. Yeesh. Thank goodness Christine L. didn't call.
After I ride back with Ashely to her place and then an hour later ride back to mine, it's 2:10AM and I have to get up in four hours.

Somewhere wondering how I'm going to top this week,
Andrew Joseph
PS - Today's title is delivered by Judas Priest, and it was chosen only because the title presented triple entendres - which is why I created this blog in the first place. LISTEN if you dare. Man I have strange taste in music.
PPS - I just need Kristine to miraculously show up my place tomorrow. I can dream, can't I? It's been that kind of week. Too bad it's over.

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