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February 04, 2003

School Time

Went out for sushi last night with Larry & Atsuko (and chibi-chan, Aiya? Not sure how to spell it.). I can see why Atsuko wants to move out of a small town like Hakodate. There are some people who seem so un-self-aware that you wonder how they remember to breath. Then there are others who just dropped in to say hi, on their way between walking the Silk road alone and trying to culturally relocate Edward de Bono in a Japanese context. (Just pretend I said ""Between two interesting and wildly incommensurable things.) Aiya can hold her own against two parents who are chastising her simultaneously in Japanese and English, and is as fluently bilingual as any eight year old can be. She and I left the restaurant poking at each other and muttering ""Tsun! Tsun!"" Which is, of course, the sound that poking at someone with your index finger makes. She's very much at eight, what my niece Marie is at 12; an independent soul in Japan. And as with both, the question is how parent can nurture it. Foood: The sushi was excellent. Garish and noisy and family restaurant like. Line-ups, 6 shouting sushi chiefs in the middle, and a beltway of delicacies circling them. The shouting was as people requested special things. The sushi was like sashimi that had been mistakenly dropped on a few grains of rice. Ate mostly things I knew: squid, octopus, salmon, tuna, maguro (minced tuna belly, with green onions), crab, and cucumber (a favourite). Probably more, but we just kept piling up plates. And my gracious hosts entertained me with chat and stories. I don't usually feel that relaxed with people I've met so recently. But Larry and I have chatted so often, though usually for brief periods, online for the past couple of years, that it was easy to slip into casual. Atsuko, as mentioned, would be someone you could strike up a conversation with during an earthquake. Then larry and I went out to a coffee shop for some brewskis. I had 25 grams of blend B in 150 mil of water. Larry and 20 grams of B in 150 mil of water. It was about 50 (70) more for the extra, but I wanted a boost. Excellent coffee. If you don't know, in Japan, you pay premium for coffee, but that's really just a charge for the opportunity to have a quiet place to chat unmolested. Just like the extra charge for first class peace of mind when traveling, rather than standing all the way. And I got 5 full hours of sleep, getting up a 5:30. Going in to see larry's uniZoo in about an hour, after finishing some yoga, and more microwave rice. Today was fun. Forgot to take pictures, but I do have some of the university that I took yesterday when I walked by. Larry has more computer toys that I've ever seen anyone have. It is just insane. Every little toy and gadget. I fixed up some problems he was having with his previously unused iPod, getting 18 gigs of mp3s off a computer. I'm going to wipe this puter and set up moveable type and PHP nuke, and mysql on it. And maybe OJS (Not Orange Juice Simpson). It's a nice g4 mac. Then we'll drag in the Dell server from the other side of the firewall room, and set it up for MOOOOOing. It will take for ever to download and apply all the patches, but it should give me a list of what I need to do for Achieve when I get home. It's behind on some of its patches. Larry introduced me to one of his colleagues, and I met some staff, watched a pile of student presentations (some more tomorrow too) and then I got my picture taken and got a space in the visiting scholar's wing. I'll probably spend most of my time in Larry's office, because more of the hardware is there, but when I have to retire somewhere to write, I know I've got a private space. But the highlight was Atsuko's decision that we were going out for Ramen!!! I love ramen more than sushi. It is a Japanese adopted chinese dish of noodles. I've always heard that the best ramen was in Hokkaido. And it was really really wonderful. No shit. It was a great bowl of noodles. Probably the best since 1988 when I was in Yuka's home town... another special area for ramen. Figures that they're the two parts of japan that have had some of the most non-japanese contact during the shogunate."

Posted by jason at February 4, 2003 03:52 AM