I recently re-discovered the value of pennies.

I've started picking them up off the street now, despite the taboo that surrounds that very exercise. In fact, whole groups of people (those economic types) would have us believe that we'd be better off without pennies in our economies.

I used to be one of those people, I think. I'd see a penny on the ground (or a group of six or seven, even!) and just nonchalantly walk right past them.

Not anymore.

Perhaps it's the fact that I've been rather strapped for cash these past few months, and will continue to be so until the end of September until my first big paycheque from teaching comes through. Or perhaps it's the fact that the rather dysfunctional parking meter in the parking lot where I work presently accepts pennies as if they were nickels (and sometimes dimes!), saving me precious funds.

Or perhaps (most likely) it's because I've come to realize that certain things that seem to have little value at the present time or that I take for granted have been disappearing on me as of late. The trust of a good, good friend. The company of my girlfriend (no, I didn't make her disappear; she's leaving for Winnipeg in mid-August, and I can't go with her) for 10 months. My sanity, bit by bit.

Obviously this isn't a new revelation to most. But perhaps, by re-discovering the value of the one-cent coin, I can start to re-discover just what is important to me, or at least what should be important.

That, and I can park at work for 3 hours at the princely sum of sixty cents instead of the outlandish three dollars.

I'm sorry, Christa.

why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why?

I have to take it.

And why is that my friend?

You left it here for me. Didn't you?

Of course I did. What's mine is yours.
It's always been the same.

But what of our friendship?

All but gone now.

How? And for better, why?

You know why. I just can't look at you the same.


Ever since you layed eyes on me in that fashion,
that horrid, tired fashion.
I wanted to hurt you my friend.

But I love you. You know I do!

And love me like a friend you shall. Nothing more.

I do love you as a friend! Nothing more! Nothing!

I can never let you in again.

Why? Please! Tell me why! Please, I need you. I need you!

...

...

why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why?

It's hard to believe that there are only 3 weeks of summer classes left in the term. 3 and a half if you cound the remaining 2 days I have this week. Overall I think it was a good idea for me to take 12 credits this summer. It gives me flexibility, takes care of the last couple prerequisites, and kept me busy for 3 months. Unfortunately, I'm probably not going to be pulling anything better than a B in Java, and a B in Physics 2. I'm still holding out for my A in Statistics, but after being stumped for an hour on an 8 point question on yesterday's exam, I feel hope as a fleeting emotion.

At any rate, Otakon is in 2 weeks and change, and I'm going as Kefka. I'm damn excited.

I really need to be going. Java exam tomorrow. Teacher is scaring me.

bah. she's not so slinky. but then again, she isn't devoid of the charm of the angels either. I could slide up to her and ask her to dance, but then again I could wait. it's not that important anyway, she's got the brown hair of all woman I am cursed to adore from afar, and in a few short weeks I'll be gone from here and in Munich to see some old friends. then i'll do us both a favour and forget. such a pretty girl too. it's such a trade fair, really, this whole emotion thing.

i mean when you think about it, loneliness is debt, or zero, and friends and lovers are assets. or some such nonsense. but it does work in a crazy sort of way. look, a bunch of buddies is good to keep the long weeks at bay, and provide stability, but then the quiet hours of night and day hours of work stand out, and you need a Relationship. This keeps those hours protected from the chasm of loneliness, that awaits. One great relationship is the ticket, but failing that several semi-decent one's will do. as long as you don't take them too seriously, otherwise you'll get depressed.

I AM NOT DEPRESSED. just quiet. learn the difference people.

I am of course in complete control of my destiny. two cheese and cress sandwiches please, and a slice of ice cream.

What do you mean you don't serve slices of ice cream?

The service is some places, sheesh. right. anyway. what I just said above is horse doo-doo ignore it. cos that is only the way it works if you're a sad and pathetic loser, as opposed to a complex and mature human being whose sensitive yet at the same time manly, in a cool and accessible kind of way. of course. friendships, and other human relations aren't about what you get out, or put in. it's about being, not trading. the chord that your two notes meet, it should sound good to both parties, that's what makes it or breaks it. and those people who are willing to fight for it. that too. it has to matter, otherwise, nothing is sacred. at all.

Well, today was a pretty jam-packed day. Where to begin? Today was the second day of our two-day orientation required for our cheap ass university. Don't ask me what happened, because I skipped most of the day. It's just an excuse to get some of your money (you had to pay $40 to apply for it). I finally registered for classes for the Fall term--my first term in college.

That's only phase one of my day today. Phase two involves my little nephew's second birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I'm sorry, but he isn't one of those super-babies--he can't read yet. But when he's old enough to read I'm sure he's going to read this and other cool stuff on E2. He's cool like that.

Oh yes, I forgot--my uncle, his family, and my grandparents, just got back from Saudi Arabia today. They went to Mecca and Medina, and boy I wish I could have gone with them. They did an Umrah, which is very simliar to a Hajj, but just not during the Hajj season.

another day

weill in japan: day 07

As this seventh day comes to a close, the big news is that there is no big news. Today was a good day.

level up!

As I mentioned yesterday, I was placed into the Intermediate I class after my lackluster performance on the placement test. I had originally requested the Advanced class, but I had no idea what their idea of "Advanced" really is. After my professor evaluated my essay, and after a frustratingly slow first day in class, I decided today to ask about switching up one level. After the first two periods, I moved downstairs to sit in on the Intermediate II class. After being impressed with what I saw, I was allowed to transfer. My decision is far from unique: about half of my class ended up moving to the next level. Shifts up from the Basic II level filled the empty seats. I think that this new class will be more challenging but not overwhelming.

Last Saturday in Akihabara, I picked up a relatively cheap electronic dictionary to help me in school. It turns out that because the dictionaries are easy to use and relatively inexpensive in Japan, everyone has them. The gentleman in the morning session was not only using his, but also generating little beeps with every key press. He doesn't seem to be able to turn the beeping off, so in a way I'm glad I transferred out of that class. Dictionaries seem to be used in moderation in my new class.

extracurricularity

The ICU summer program features a variety of cultural events, although I was very surprised to hear that each student can only sign up for three events. Today was an interesting and somewhat informative shiatsu program, and a visit to a local elementary school is planned later this week. I also plan to visit the sights at Asakusa next month, where a tourist trap has grown around a centuries-old temple.

Extracurriculars help me talk with my fellow classmates, and get to know the international population. Of course, to call International Christian University "international" is stretching the term. Full-time students come overwhelmingly from Japan, with only 5% of the student body coming from outside the island. In the summer, due in no small part to a partnership with the University of California system, U.S. citizens dominate the ranks. Still, the 117 students this summer represent 20 countries. So far, I've met folks from Canada, Taiwan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Venezuela, and Slovenia. Everyone seems happy to be here, and the folks in the dorms get to have that much more social interaction.

To compensate for the fact that I don't live in the dorm, I've been staying on campus later and later. Yesterday, I didn't get into the train station to head home until just after 5:00 PM; today, I came back later still. Consider that classes end at 12:30 PM, and that's a lot of time that I've been killing on campus.

et cetera

I might be making a trip back to Akihabara with a fellow homestay student, to buy some more stuff. This other student has already bought a PlayStation 2 while here, and hopes to buy some Japanese music CDs. CDs are very expensive in Japan: a typical disc might cost ¥2500 ($20) while imports can be as much as double that. As for DVDs, they too are pricey: new discs are usually around ¥4000-5000 ($33-41) while imports are cut off by the DVD-CCA's region coding. Of course, you could always get some black-market VCDs in Akihabara for much less money.

A lot of kids in Japan have shirts that have poorly-phrased English sentences on them. I have to find and buy lots of these shirts. An otherwise reputable store had a shirt which said "DON'T WORRY - 0.0 CONFIDENCE" on it, for example.

I have to get up at 6:30 AM or earlier, I'm taking a harder language course now, and it's late. I picked the wrong time to start getting addicted to games again.

Some notes on a very cool IBM Workpad and the girl who uses it

A piece of plastic taps on a glass screen; so insignificant at a first glance. Maybe, but look at the face of the girl that is tapping and the little black box. Look closer at the words that appear and copy the thoughts within the face that’s reflected in the screen.

That’s the magic; with a few taps you can make words appear on its little screen. You can write stories in it and save them for others to see. So many thoughts can be held inside that little black box. If only the world knew what she holds inside that little black box with the hot-sync ID Pixie.

It's not about what you have. It's what you do with it

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