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Monday, March 26, 2007

Blogger is eating my photos as I try and move them, so I'm just going to leave them up here...
random flowering tree in Yoyogi Koen
who's coming?
interesting goods
more random flowering tree in yoyogi koen
sunset on the way home from the overpass
interesting goods shop
Today was a lovely and quiet day, in which I didn't do very much at all, but also didn't feel as if I should be, which is usually my issue - I'm either feeling bad b/c I'm not working, or thinking that I should be sightseeing or something. That all might be true, but today I just enjoyed the fantastic spring weather and chilled out.
After I got up, I read for awhile (Wish Upon a Star by Olivia Goldsmith) Then, at about 12:30, I walked down to the Shibuya ward office to get my visa extension moved over to my gaijin card. At least there aren't immigration length line ups there! It was all rather quick and painless, and I was out of there in about ten minutes which was great - either they were practicing 'cool biz' or just had the heat on arbitrarily, but it was hot in there!
I head back into the perfectly temperatured (yes, that is SO a word!) day outside. It was absolutely gorgeous today! I was exactly comfortable in a T-shirt, although judging by the number of coats I saw, its a few days early for that for most people ;). I went down to the big crossing in Shibuya to get some street snaps for BAB, and had limited success, although I think we have enough now for this issue between the few times we've gone out to get pictures. Generally people are fairly friendly about it, but there are people, who when you approach them, are very defensive and dismiss you straight off the bat. I don't really blame them - most of us still have our defenses/instincts turned up high from whatever city we were living in before, and its also somewhat disconcerting to be approached in English here, as you really don't expect it. Interestingly, just minutes after I left the crossing, and I was deep in thought about this very thing, a guy came up to me, kind of from behind (middle aged Japanese salary man from the looks of things), and just asked me 'are you busy?' without telling me why he was asking or anything. Instinctively, I was just like 'yes, I'm working' and kept walking.
I had some lunch and then headed up to Yoyogi Koen to enjoy the last of the sun and see if the sakura were out yet. Reports online have been saying that they are just starting/about to start, so I went to check it out, and they were indeed out, but I think probably not at full bore quite yet. There were quite a few people having Hanami parties, where you spread tarps out under the trees and eat and drink, and have picnics. It looked like good fun! I think one in a park would be nice, but they also do them in cemeteries here, which just seems very bizarre to me!
I was innocently taking pictures of some gorgeous flowers (not sure, what they were - magnolias?) when this middle aged, plumpish Japanese woman walks up to me, and asks if I'm a tourist. Since I doubted she'd get my joke about being a livisitor, in that in between stage of living and visiting, I just told her I sort of was, and that I was staying for about 8 months.
Then she says to me: "I'm just exercising, and I need a model to help me get rid of pain here and here and here" gesturing to her shoulder, neck and back.

"Can you help me for a minute? It will just take a minute or two"
Perhaps because I'd been thinking about how people just don't help out the crazies on the the street anymore, or because I was thrown off guard, I was like
So, backpack and camera to the ground and she gets me to roll my neck, touch my toes, bend backwards, and twist my back a bit. Then she's like

"I do one point, so which you want?" And I'm thinking 'aren't I supposed to be modelling something for you? And yea, I know this is kind of sketchy, so can we just move the show along?' So I just go,

"Well, you know, whatever" and she's like "no, you pick", so even though I don't particularly have any back issues, I pointed to my lower back, and we get the show on the odd little road that its heading down!

She made me stand there, and then stood perpendicularly to me, with one hand poised by my back, and the other by my front (not touching me), and then proceeded to pull her hands back and forth quite quickly, as if she were pulling gum or something away from my body. I was just like 'what? how does this happen to me? at least I can blog it!' then she started muttering some stuff, in Japanese, and I started having a very hard time not giggling at the absurdity of the whole situation, and then I started to get a bit worried that she was going to want me to pay her, or donate something to a cult or something, but when she finished, she just asked me if it felt better (yes, of course, what else am I going to say?) and then looked me straight in the eye and said:
"we all have a life force, use yours." and then turned and quietly walked back off into the trees.
What else can one do after that except sit by the big fountain, soak up the sun, read your book, listen to the drumming, and marvel at this fantastic and crazy city?

By the time I finally got home, after stopping by the 'interesting goods' shop near our house which did, in fact have interesting goods if 1950's Americana floats your boat, it was about 6. I spent the rest of the evening luxuriously reading, and I finished the book, which was quick, even for me - 501 pages since 10pm last night! It was good tho - pretty great chic lit! (She wrote The First Wives' Club of movie fame). In the back of the book, there is a pretty touching tribute to her from her former assistant, as she died after completing Wish Upon a Star in 2004 and it was actually published posthumously. I did a quick wikipedia to find out what happened, and it turned out that she died of complications relating to a 'chin tuck'. As she wrote often about plastic surgery in her books, it seems rather an ironic way to go! She was just 54.
And that's about it - made some bulgar wheat for dinner as Peter was out with Mibu, and then blogging this before bed - work, and pecha kucha night at Super Deluxue tommorow.


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