August 18, 2004

Our Very Own Ned Flanders

In Winsted, it was a manager of McDonald's on one side and a woman who believed her dogs could talk to the dead or something.

In Seattle, it was some really nice lesbians.

In Orlando, it was "Carlos" (real name, Jerry) and his girldfriend who had no furniture and often fought wildly into the night.

Here, it is Techang. It took us two months to meet him but we finally shared an elevator and met our neighbor across the hall. Before the elevator reached the 2nd floor he had invited us in.

We entered his apartment a few moments later and were immediately filled with envy. His apartment was bigger, nicer and had a bay window.

He told us that he had seen us, mostly Jed and marvelled at his height. He simply could not get over how big Jed was. He laughed and giggled, especially when telling us about funny he found it that such a big man rode such a small bicycle. His English was excellent though he was ashamed at how little he spoke but we were able to carry on a comfortable and lengthy conversation with him. He also said he wanted me to teach him English!

He owns a factory across the street and makes fishing poles. At first I thought it was meaningless factory work but oddly enough, these poles have made their way to the Milan fashion shows and are on the covers of several magazines. He seems to be doing very well for himself. He invited us over to meet his girlfriend the next night.

We went over expecting things to be like they were the night before, casual conversation. We met Michio, his girlfriend, a gorgeous Japanese woman who spoke little English and was too emabarrassed to even try. We saw before us a buffet of traditional Japanese food and were encouraged to eat up. They were amazed that we could use chopsticks, though I fumbled badly with mine. We brought him beer and he gave us fresh fruit. Gift giving is a huge deal in Japan and I wish that we had brought more American gifts to give him.

He has a bed. We were told that most Japanese sleep on futons, which are nothing like the futons in America. These are small mattresses on the floor. Think of the mattress on a cot. So apparently the Japanese slept on futons well before the invention of the modern bed because now they all have beds. Even during our lessons I see my students sitting on them and I fume. These futons lay on the floor on a room made of woven straw (tatami) or something. It is hard and very uncomfortable and if we don't air them out often bugs will invade our tiny apartment which can barely fit me and Jed let alone an army of insects. Due to my intense phobia of bugs and all things creepy crawly, I air the futons out regularly, though not often enough. They need to be stripped and beaten (like any good hooker) (joking!) while we vaccuum the mats and then it all has to be reassembled. I hate it with a passion and cannot wait to burn these heinous things. My point being that our lovely neighbor was shocked to hear that we had to sleep on futons. I was shocked that we had to sleep on them too.

Our neighbor is wonderful and he even offered us use of his car, a land rover or something amazing. Jed said that he could borrow our bicycles anytime since he did not have one.

Anyway, we finally met a neighbor and I thought that would be a fun story to share. He seems to be eager to hang out with us and so I am sure he will show us a Japan we would never otherwise see. Stay tuned for more.......

Posted by karen at August 18, 2004 06:46 AM

i'm glad you had a pleasant experience with your neighbor ... I've had to "break up" with my leach of a neighbor 2 times, so I'm always thrilled to hear about happy neighbor encounters.

Posted by: seesaw at August 18, 2004 08:03 AM

break-ups are always hard...:)

i think as long as he doesn't overstep the boundaries of neighbordom, things will be good.

ps...hope my hooker comment wasn't too offensive!

Posted by: Karen at August 18, 2004 02:23 PM

Naa, i like to strip and beat my hookers too ;)! Miss you guys ...

Posted by: nyceesaw at August 18, 2004 06:34 PM

I agree with what you say - makes sense to me. Looking for some propecia?

Posted by: propecia at November 11, 2004 10:29 AM

An interesting read! I'll consider what you said over my christmas holidays. I want Nokia Mobile Holder MBC-15S for Christmas!

Posted by: Nokia Mobile Holder MBC-15S at December 11, 2004 08:17 PM
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