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Dapper, and Famous

Thursday, November 03, 2005


On Saturday, fearing a lazy and unproductive weekend, I got on the ferry to Takehara with the intention of getting a haircut. I knew of a place, I took the scooter, I arrived. I walked in with conviction, money, and a picture of my hair as I would like it on my cell phone. I put my name down, got a shampoo (a daunting proposition when you don't know the words for "put your head down" or "ok, we're finished") and was directed to a chair.

My stylist was a charming gentleman with a tiny bit of English, he understood (in my rudimentary Japanese) the picture, that I hadn't gotten a haircut in three months, and that this was my first haircut in Japan. We chatted, if you can call it that, about teaching English, my island, Megan's baby (he already knew), and whatever else came up. The haircut was going fine, everything cut carefully and evenly, and in Japan they do this nice thing where they wash your hair again after they cut it to get all the bits of hair out, and then it was back to the chair for styling.

Four big sprays of mousse, a blow drier, and a round hairbrush later, it turned out that the stylist and I had a bit of a difference of opinion on how my hair should be styled:

I walked down the street, around the corner, took this picture, and then frantically mussed up my hair.

Then I went home and put my wallet in the washing machine.

Where is that blow drier now?

Either way, it seems my fears of a lazy weekend were unfounded. On Saturday night I was invited to play volleyball in the town gym near my house. They play teams of four, usually two men and two women, with low nets and beach balls. Don't let that fool you though, this is serious business, with designated setters and hitters, and a lot of balls popped from big hits into strong blocks. I am just getting over my sore muscles and bruises today, I can't wait until this Saturday. I need to get some knee pads.

Saturday night Mori and I went out to drink some beers at a little bar that was having a Halloween night, and we planned to go fishing and get lunch the next day. My weekend status quickly went from "Fearing Boredom" to "Woah Nelly!"

Fishing etc.

At 10 the next day I went over to Mori's house and we got our stuff. On the boat we headed out to a narrow channel and dropped our lines in to try and catch a fish whose name escapes me at the moment. Apparently it's very popular in Japan because it's cheap. After about an hour, Mori spotted a TV crew on the docks near us, and soon enough a beat up old boat came puttering up next to us. Mori told me the woman in the boat was the host of Hiroshima TV's morning show, and they circled around us a few times, asking questions and filming us. Mori translated the questions I didn't understand, and I did my best to answer in Japanese.

Today I got a call from Mori saying we made the morning show and his mom's friend has a tape. I will do everything in my power to procure said Japanese morning show brush with fame.

Mori catches a monster.

I put away some monster fishing rods.

I still don't know what the boat is called, I keep asking, the name keeps being a hard to remember Japanese name, and so it goes.

A pretty little traditional Japanese fishing boat. The sail is actually not for sailing, but to keep the boat pointed into the wind when it's drifting. The boat I was on had a bigger version of the same thing.

The fish we were going out for. I caught this one.

Mori shows me the morning's catch. This is "Taiwan's Crab" in his words.

And this is a huge flounder he caught with a net. By his figuring, this fish will bring in about $150 to $200.

The forgotten-name boat, from another angle.

After the fishing (and delicious Ramen) is skateboarding, of course.

The skateboarding had a different feel this time around. There was a pack of young kids who wanted to learn to skate, and then they decided we should play a game called "Run Away From Ben When He Points The Camera At Us." Seriously, that kid is considering going over the railing into the water.

That's Takenobu on the left, from last time, and on the right is the other dude whose name is Koichi. This brings me back to the part where Mori told me that the group of skaters on the island collectively refer to themselves as "The Circus." This Koichi dude, he's the boss of The Circus. When I asked Mori how many members they had, he told me "It's a small crew, maybe 7 guys. Now 8, because you are Circus member." So just like that, I have fallen in with a Japanese street skater gang.

To Do List:

  • Fall in with Japanese running crew.

They're not all bad, along with the graffiti and skateboarding, they do seem to like little kids. Score 1 for The Circus.

If these kids were American, they would be just about the last people I would end up hanging out with. But why not? I'm in Japan.


My kitten is a killer with no mercy.

Yum! Blood and guts!

After dinner, I cleaned up and got the trash ready to go. I think she was ready to go with it.