February 14 2001

Subject: Happy you know what day

Date: Wednesday, February 14, 2001 4:50 AM

Today was (guess it still is), Valentine’s Day. Yup, celebrated here in Japan, but like many things, it’s a little skewed. Sort of like going to the carnival and looking at yourself in the fun house mirror and your reflection isn’t quite right (I’m big and buff in my fun house mirror)

Excuse me while I try to warm up my fingers so I can type coherently (stop laughing all your smartasses out there).

Wow, sitting on cold hands is not fun, but it served the trick. Now my butt is cold. Oh well.

Anyway, Valentine’s Day. Today the men do no work, it’s all about us. That’s right men, we aren’t supposed to do a damned thing…today that is. What happens is that today the women give the men chocolate, underwear, you know, gift stuff. But more so then that, it’s a lot like grade school, where you give hearts and candy to everyone in the class. My office ladies banded together and bought chocolate for all the men in the office. Now that I think about that, phew, big bucks. There’s no romance attached to this at all. As one of my teachers said yesterday, “It’s obligation chocolate” (this is the teacher who then gave me a tie! Obligation tie? It seems to have been swallowed up by my tatami mat floor. My place is a mess. Go figure.)

For one day, we men rule the roost. But, of course, the Japanese being the marketing machines they are, the women get their comeuppance (and how!). Next month, on the 14th or 15th, we men give chocolate to the women on White Day (I think it’s white chocolate as well). The kicker is that it has to be three times the value of the chocolate that was given to you. Phew. So you figure, four women in the office bought chocolate for roughly 35 men, so…come White Day, damn! They are going to be raking the candy in. And at three times the value! The candy companies must love this.

Me being old school (and not Japanese), I did the normal Valentines thing, and thanks to the good graces of the Japanese Post Office, it all worked out.

It doesn’t seem to be a big “date” day either, that’s Christmas Eve. I try not to think about it too much, I tax the last brain cell enough at the office as it is.

Went to Tokyo two weeks ago. Had a blast. Didn’t get into Disney Land, nor Costco (was going to stock up on Power Bars), but ate at Kua Aina (umm, cheeseburger), engaged in some culture acquisition, as the girl friend and I went to the Japanese Natural History Museum and this gorgeous temple in Narita. It’s just huge! And very pretty. Lots of smaller buildings and shrines. I’ve also been told it’s known as the “you will soon break up temple”. Seems if couples go there, they will break up. I think the girlfriend was being clever and trying to get rid of me AND check out the soon to be available guys, but she assured me that was not her plan. To counter act the curse, she broke up with me for ten seconds and made me perform the ritual washing of my hands in the really cold water. She kept her hands in her warm pockets. Why do I always date women smarter then me?

Oh, hands are getting cold, have to sit on them again. It’s gotten cool here. Again. We have days of t-shirts and shorts (and Teva’s), followed by days of long sleeves, fleece, Gore Tex (and Teva’s, with cold toes). It’s the cold wind that comes down from Siberia. Damned cold. And rain. I actually use the hood on my jackets now. What a wussy.

Hey, Jeff and Sara, did we really have a conversation one day this weekend at 02:45 my time? Can’t have been a dream, as it wasn’t weird enough. Must have had the conversation.

The Taco Bells of O’ahu will be pleased to note that their favorite customer will be visiting them during the last week of April and first week of May. I’m just going to get on the Voodoo and ride from drive thru to drive thru, eating bean burritos till I explode. Death by gas. What a way to go.

I’m cold and I’m going to go shower now.

Chris

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