Sunday, June 27, 2004

In training

The storm has settled down and things are heating up. It was the first day of summer, officially Monday, so people seem to think that's why it got hot so fast. I slept with my window open last night and didn't have to get up at all to turn on the AC, so that was great! The rain cooled things off just a tiny bit to enjoy the evening.

Today, however, I've had the AC on for most of the day--at least the part when I've been home. Work felt like a walk-in refrigerator--but I'm not complaining. It felt quite nice, actually.

I saw a Starbucks packaging ripoff at the grocery store today. They have a pre-packaged latte in a paper cup with lid and straw that looks, at first glance, exactly like a Starbucks product. Upon closer inspection, the green circle logo contains a picture of a snow-capped mountain and the words "Mt. Rainier." Can't believe they're getting away with it, especially since Starbucks coffee shops are so popular over here.

I opened something today that I thought was orange-flavored yogurt, but in a bigger carton, and it definitely was not yogurt. I'm still trying to figure out what it was. It had the consistency of Jell-O, kind of, and it was orange. No milk or cream at all. It was just this orange, wiggly stuff inside. It was sort of sweet, but not too much. The Japanese are not big on really sweet stuff. Then I got to wondering if I had eaten orange juice concentrate. But it wasn't frozen or in a long, thick can like frozen orange juice concentrate. It was in a carton that looked exactly like a yogurt container. Anyway, I bought three different flavors, so I guess I'll be eating the rest of them soon.

There are just so many images I want to capture, but I'm still reluctant to whip out my camera. Like tonight, for example. I've seen this a lot, but for some reason tonight it really hit my funny bone as the business men piled into the express train around 9:30 (I was heading home from work). I always let the express go, even though I want to take it because it's so much faster, but if you could see what it looks like as the train pulls out of the station, you would either recoil in horror, or laugh. And laugh is what I did tonight. It's so darn funny to see all these people smashed against the doors, literally with their cheeks pressed into the glass. No matter how tired I am or how soon I want to get home, nothing is worth that kind of discomfort! (quote me in a few months!)

So when I did get on the train, it was the local which is also quite crowded at that hour, but not as bad as the express. After a few stops where people got off, I got a chance to sit down. I love to observe all the cute young girls (20s or so) who end up sitting next to some big, ugly guys who want to fall asleep on their shoulders. The girls have this down to a science and it's absolutely hysterical to watch! For the most part, they have all the body language of someone saying, "eiwuuuuuuu! don't come near me you creep!" The guys usually ignore that and proceed to "fall asleep" faster than you can say "now's my chance." They lean and sway and bob to the rhythm of the train clacking down the tracks, all the while their heads are getting closer and closer to the girl's shoulder.

The girls, for the most part, are on alert (even though their own eyes are closed and their heads tipped downward) and ready to jump into action. There's a whole series of "proper etiquette" and those girls who are really cute and more outgoing will simply give a heave-ho with the shoulder closest to the "wannabe prince charming." This usually knocks him back over into his own space. The guys who are really good at this game never skip a beat. Their eyes remain closed, mouths gape open a bit and it starts in all over again. If the guy reeks of beer, it's usually even more fun to watch! I've seen girls move forward in their seats a little just to get some leverage from their elbows which end up in the guys ribs! This will usually put a stop to the game.

The less pretty girls have a little different strategy, usually. I've seen them take quite a bit from the big oafs before fighting back. They all, whether pretty or not, get this look that crosses their faces. I wish I could capture it on camera. The look is as though they have just smelled something so entirely offensive that they might throw up. Their brows furrow, the tip of one lip pulls up from the "smell" and they become completely revolted by the would-be "sleepy lover." There's usually a series of shoulder bumping, but I've also seen girls who literally make themselves smaller. They seem to suck their shoulders together in an attempt to keep any part of their body from coming in contact with these slobs. As the guy weaves dangerously close to falling on her shoulder, the girl will throw a punch with that shoulder. I've also seen girls lean away in the other direction, as far as she can go, to keep away from the sleeper--all the while holding that same disgusted look on her face.

I couldn't take my eyes off the performance tonight. You can't pay for entertainment this good!

Another thing I've noticed is that most of the young girls have this full-time pout on their faces. Even if they're walking with the cutest guy on the planet, they maintain a perpetual pout. There's nothing any of these guys can do to be good enough for this kind of gal.

And one more thing, many girls seem to walk with this funny foot-dragging thing--whether they're in sandals, heels or whatever. They have created an art form out of this. Many of them wear thong-sandal-heels and they seem incapable of actually lifting a foot to take a step. It's quite odd to see, actually. Most of the time they come across as these little baby girls dressed in their mother's heels, trying to walk. Most amusing.

The exaggerated pointed-toe shoes have taken their toll on so many young feet. I was shocked to see how many are disfigured. Their big toes are bent over, often pointing to the second toe. It reminds me of the 60s when so many women ended up with the same disfigured feet from wearing those pointy-toed heels.

Anyway, that's enough of my latest observations. There's just so much, I could go on and on.

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