Singing, Showering, and liking you better…

Today, I sent a message to my best friend that read, “For some reason, I regularly think about messaging you when I go to the bathroom”

Her response was prompt and simple.  “Lol,” followed by, “You like me so much better when youre naked”

“Duh,” was my casual response.

You see, the whole thing started back in college.  Freshman year, I was Skype-ing with Christine one day, probably early morning.  I had gone into the common room to chat with her, but, since we were in an all-girls dormitory, and it was too early for visitors to be around, I wasn’t fully dressed (probably just a t-shirt and underwear).  When we started the call, she let me know that a friend of hers was with her, and that it was a guy (because it was already afternoon in Cambridge, England, so it was normal to be hanging out with people already there). So, I had to go put on some more clothing before we turned on the camera.  (At least, I think that was the case… she might have just checked to make sure I was properly clothed, because I regularly would be not fully clothed.  Either way, the next part did happen.)  When I commented about this, the guy friend of hers made a comment about liking someone so much better naked (I forget if it was about Christine liking me, or what, but it was totally silly, and seemed such an odd comment.)  We both were lacking in understanding at first, but he explained that there was an actual song (by Ida Maria), and that that was the line the girl used in it.  (See, it made sense and wasn’t actually weird at all.)

The chorus goes like this:

But I won’t mind
If you take me home
Come on, take me home
I won’t mind
if you take off all your clothes
Come on, take them off
‘Cause I like you so much better when you’re naked
I like me so much better when you’re naked
I like you so much better when you’re naked
I like me so much better when you’re naked

We found it hilarious.  We found the actual song and music video, and fell in a sort of this is silly and utterly ridiculous, but I still love it kind of love with the song.

I shared it with my hallway neighbor, who played guitar, and we tried playing it a bit on the guitar.  I eventually played it for Christine one day on Skype.  My greatest, proudest achievement with the song, however, was the time I snuck into the bathrooms (they were shared, and had loads of stalls and multiple showers) one day, just after Jessie, the neighbor, had gone in to shower.  Once I knew she was actually in the shower, showering, I walked into the showering area (mind you, not into her stall, just in the showering section of the bathroom), and began playing the song on guitar, and singing it to her.  I could hear her snorting, gurgling, guffawing laugher emitting from the shower stall as I sang and played.  It was spectacular for the both of us.  I shared the story with my best friend, too, and she loved it.*

So, the song has always held a special little place in our hearts, minds, and lives, all three of us.  Everyone else probably just thinks we’re crazy, whenever they overhear us mentioning or quoting or singing it.  😛

Here’s a link to the music video.

 

*This reminds me… I sang to a friend of mine in Japan while she showered one night.  We were chatting on the phone, just hanging out one night, after we’d both gotten internet, and so didn’t have to hang up after every five minutes anymore, and she really needed to shower, but we weren’t ready to end our conversation/hanging out.  So, she set the phone to the side on speakerphone, and I sang to her while she showered.  I had been humming and singing quietly already anyway, so what was the difference if I just did it a little louder, right?  It was spectacular, of course.  Then a night or few later, when I mentioned to another friend that this had happened, he complained that I didn’t sing for him and that that certainly wasn’t fair.  And so I sang to him over the phone… and he fell asleep.  😛  Spectacular in a different sort of way, I guess, but still spectacular.  🙂

Post-a-day 2017

 

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The Lingering Effects of Culture?

I have noticed two behaviors of mine that linger still (and consistently), despite my having been in the USA and out of Japan for almost four months.  They are 1) constantly looking right first before crossing the road, naturally walking to the left, and casually beginning on the left side of the road when riding my bike; and 2) silence.

The first has been improving significantly, and is almost never present when I am driving a car (though those two-lane, small town style, empty roads do make me think twice before I pull out onto them).  It is mostly just my bicycle riding and walking that is still in the habit of Japan’s side.  Seeing as how I am aware of the road-crossing issue every time I approach a road, I feel confident that things will be fine there – even if I must continue constantly checking both directions over and over again, because I don’t trust myself as to from which way the cars actually will be coming on which side.  The second is a bit different.

I wonder if the silence is something about which I need to worry.  I feel like it is no big deal, however, when I look at it from an outside, USA perspective, I seem almost oppressed in the action.  The silence comes in the regular everyday passing of people at work.  I often only smile and nod when we make eye contact, and I regularly say little-to-nothing in group conversations.  Partly, I have no interest in discussing the present topic with the present company most of the time.  However, I wonder if part of that is because I am not accustomed to discussing things with people like I once was.

My distress tied to living in Japan significantly affected my desire and will to learn Japanese.  Therefore, I really didn’t put forth almost any effort in the language beyond the absolute necessary, until I was on the rise from all of the depression, only a few months before my departure.  This means that I was not able to participate in most conversation around me.  Yes, I could understand a good amount of it, and often all of it (though, occasionally almost nothing), but I usually was unable to respond.  It was my first experience with what I previously had only heard other people say they did, and the development of which I couldn’t understand: understanding a language, but not speaking it.

So, I grew incredibly accustomed to speaking very little and to listening a lot.  And this was not a conscious decision, necessarily, though I had intended to observe for the sake of learning all about the culture and language.  My goal was to learn, not to separate and somewhat exclude myself.  Transferring the same behavior over here to the USA, my native country, has the behavior occur quite differently.  As mentioned, I seem somewhat oppressed, like something is preventing me from speaking.  All I notice is a lack of desire to say anything most of the time.  But I also don’t even consider whether I want to speak or not – I just don’t speak…  So, I am wondering about this, whether there is something more there, something in the way for me, preventing me from full self-expression.

 

Post-a-day 2017

A thank-you note

I sent a message to a friend of mine the other night, after reminiscing on how beautiful it was, having him be in my life in Japan.  He is still a quality friend now, despite our being worlds apart.  Open forum was the standard for our time spent together, and life was discussed earnestly and with invested interest in stepping forward with fulfillment and joy.  We supported one another in a way I have not really known before it.  Our lives intertwined just enough to be able to relate to one another, but without conflict or jealousy.  We became friends out of circumstances, but I couldn’t imagine a better friend to have been in his place this past year and a half.

 

These were our messages:

“I want you to know that I am extremely grateful for your friendship. I still regularly recall memories that remind me of how much of a blessing it was last year, having you in my life. Costco holds a warm spot in my life now, and it cracks me up that, of all places, Costco would have a warm spot. 😛 It was like things could feel normal for an evening, in the midst of the craziness that is figuring out life.”

“That was such a nice message to receive in the morning as I got out of the shower! Thanks for the message. I feel the same way about the friendship and how helpful it was and is while figuring out life!
It is funny how such an “ordinary” place like Costco can morph into something else like that”

Yes. Yes, it really is.

Post-a-day 2017

Missing…

I miss my bed in Japan. My bedroom, especially, is one thing I miss most these days. It was a haven for me. No matter what kind of chaos or boredom lurked in my life, every night, my bedroom awaited me in calm, open, and empty space… in beauty. I shut my doors, and was safe in my retreat from everything else. Only love and blessings were ever allowed into my bedroom. I wasn’t even allowed to walk in it if I hadn’t recently showered. Clean clothes, my ukulele and ukulele music, my nighttime books, and water and tissues were just about all that ever went in there, aside from a clean me and my bed.

My bedroom now is slightly larger, but filled with boxes and stuff… a sentimentality to which I am not so sure I still want to cling. I think I am afraid that I will forget the memories, if I get rid of the objects. I do not, for the most part, want the objects, but the memories and the ways I felt. Without the objects, what will remind me?

Post-a-day 2017

Japanese Animal Crackers

Because this small interaction with some of my Japan people was awesome, I thought I’d share it.

……………………………………….

Person 1:

Person 2: Cuuute. Where’s that from? 

Person 3: Kawaii

Person 1:


Person 1: Animal crackers!

Person 4: M. Duck. We’re one step closer to learning the duck’s first name.

Person 4: Any bets on what it is?

Person 1: Haha, I thought the same thing

Hannah: Mallard duck

Person 4, simultaneously: Common sense says something nature-themed like Marigold, but I’m voting Marzipan

Person 4: Shh, no one asked for rationality.

Hannah: Okay, then. Obviously, it’s Msteven Duck

Hannah: The M is silent

Person 4: That’s the spirit

Hannah: Don’t you mean “mspirit”?

Hannah: :P.

Person 4: Hahah

Person 4: Touché

Sticker from Person 1: Punked?!

Later, from Person 1, again: Some of these are oddly specific, while some are not


……………….

I really do love Japan’s odd relationship with English.

Post-a-day 2017

Good morning… fancy an earthquake?

This morning, I woke up around five in an extreme panic.  My bed was shaking, and my subconscience was sure that the building soon would be tumbling down – this was a massive earthquake, and it was lasting… already almost a minute before I could get my bearings and turn on a light.

And then, as I discovered where exactly I was, – in the USA, and specifically Texas – it took me another moment to discover what was happening.  I knew that it was not an earthquake.  It was not the gymnasium over my head, either, as it was in a place where I briefly worked immediately after arriving to the US.  So, what was it?  ‘What is going on?!’ my insides demanded to know.

And then I heard it: a wind-filled noise, accompanied by a soft chugging sound of deep iron.  It was a train.  While the sounds of trains have never much bothered me, even when I lived beside tracks in the past, I’m not sure that I ever noticed a shaking tied to the passing of one.  Nonetheless, I experienced it in full force this morning.

After I realized that it was simply a passing train, – though, I was still surprised at how much it shook the house and its contents – and not an earthquake, I mentally noted that I didn’t even have to start panicking.  A few seconds after this noting, my body finally began to respond to the threat of the earthquake.  It had been as though I were in a fight or flight mode, and so hadn’t had the various responses tied to the fear in the perceived situation.  Once I was safe, they all kicked into action, and I began shaking all by my self.  I was physically panicking now.  My breathing tighted to a near non-existence, and my heart raced.  My skin prickled all over, and I had to force myself to swallow and then take slow, deep breaths.

I wonder if it will happen again this morning…

Post-a-day 2017

Kill Bill and Mailboxes


Have you ever seen “Kill Bill”?  It’s a spectacular film (and set, actually), and I fell in love with it when I was around the time of middle school.  My eldest brother was in college, and he had me watch it with him one time.  I was enthralled.  I couldn’t tell if I actually wanted to be like Uma Thurman in the film, or if I just liked marveling at her humbly.

It ended up being one of the few pieces of Japanese culture that has stuck with me (before I moved to Japan, that is).  Not that the film is Japanese itself – it just has Japanese things in it, specifically a samurai-like relationship to swordsmanship and fighting.  Quentin Tarantino was the first director whose name I remembered, as well as the first whose style I learned to identify.  I’m not sure I would have been a fan had I not seen Kill Bill as my first full exposure to him and his style.  However, I absolutely love his directing, and therefore end up loving movies that otherwise make little sense at my being a fan of them (blood and gore and anger are really not my thing).

All of this aside, however, something from the Kill Bill films stuck with me even stronger than anything else.  The scene where the money briefcase is opened, revealing loads of cash, and then, suddenly, as a chunk of cash is removed, a poisonous snake shoots out and bites the man who opened the case, killing him.  It is such a sudden event, and it includes such a confirmation of the guy’s mortality, that it hit me hard.  While I mentally am totally comfortable with the scene, I suppose there is a sort of psychological response that I had not anticipated would last for so long as it has: I don’t stand in front of the mailbox to open it.  I stand to one side, and open the box.  Then, I lean over to see inside the box, still at an angle to it.  Once I have verified the absence of any snake, I then reach in and pull out the mail.

This was an immediate response to having seen this scene.  It was intentionally done, each time I went to check the mail.  Now, more than 15 years later, I still do it.  I kind of chuckled at myself today, as I noticed that I was doing it, completely unaware of what I was in the process of doing – avoiding a snake attack.  I mean, seriously, a snake in my mailbox?  Possible, but insanely unlikely.

Like I mentioned, it might be something psychological deep down… but it also could be just that I grew so accustomed to doing it intentionally, that I ended up sticking with it unintentionally, even after the snake idea was long out of my mind.  I find the latter to be more likely than anything else.

But I could just be crazy.  That would explain a lot, I imagine. 😛

Post-a-day 2017