a The Transit Lounge: July 2004

Back in the Day: I had a quarter life crisis, headed to Osaka, Japan for the unknown–only to discover that a passport plane ride are not necessarily a ticket to escape. Some Years Later: Settled back in Oz, the man of my dreams ended up in Tokyo for work–which is how a passport and plane ride showed me home is where the heart is. And Now: Well as luck would have it, we are about to embark on Japan Mark 3, with a baby in tow and another on the way...

Wednesday, July 28

Internet Access and Working Visas

Just an update to let you know that I currently do not have any Net access at home...my prepaid internet finally ran out (after 6 months) and I am trying to get another hookup through Yahoo BB but they - and all the other service providers here -  keep rejecting my efforts for a new contract on the account of my Visa status, which is totally order but since the Japanese are very fanatical about things, a working-holiday visa aint up to scratch!  Credit cards have no weight over here whatsoever!! So now I am relying on Cal since he has a full visa to get things going ASAP!  I am still writing so next week, when things shuld be up and runnning *fingers crossed*  I should have a few things to post.  Take care - man it is so hot here at the moment - Lizzie xo

Thursday, July 22

Chotto dake kitte kudasai

This translates to "Please cut a little."

These were my explicit - and only -  instructions to the local hairdresser when I walked in there earlier this evening.

Although my hair experienced hell just a few mere months ago at the hands of a Japanese hairdresser, which left me swearing black, blue and horrific shades of yellow and orange that I would never let a Japanese hairdresser near my hair again, after a few days of dispairing over a rapid increase in split ends, I only had one option.  I decided to take the plunge and pay a visit to a salon that I walk past everyday on my way to the subway.

The place looked funky enough - I was always curious about what went on in a hairdresser that has a completely white staircase, mounted with all things kawaii (ie objects so cute that even cute is questionable)  like Hello Kitty dolls, Miffy paraphenalia and Kiki and Lala memorabilia, in an all white corridor leading upwards to...to....the heavens one could only assume. 

One could of been mistaken for thinking the shop was closed, as they made their way up the stairs.  Not a sound, not a whisper.  So I was surprised when I got to the top to find a full house - must be the only place where scissors don't go snip snip, but rather....well they didn't go anything at all, but there was a fair amount of hair on the ground.

I think I scared the employees though - if I wasn't sure at this point in time that I was the only gaijin to have ever dared ventured in there, I was definitely sure of it by the end of my time there. 

After showing them my credit card to check that it was accepted (99% of businesses in Japan are cash only) and being stared down by every single hairdresser and customer there, I sat down to wait, nervously because I had no idea what I would end up with.  When Junya sat next to me 5 minutes later to discuss my wants, I was relieved to learn he spoke the most reassuring words I needed to hear right then - "Short, long (or "wrong" as it came out), shorter and wronger."  He also knew "too short" and "too wrong" as I soon found out.

Before I go on, I must say I am rapt, absotutely thrilled, with the results, especially considering the guy that ended up cutting my hair spoke even less English than I do Japanese, and that we had looked through a host of different hair magazines at hairstyles on Japanese women to find something I liked so I could point it out.  That and the complete 5-star treatment I received, although I am a little skeptical as to the number of hands I had on my hair over the whole period.  I am accustomed to having my hair washed by one person and cut by another.  All in all, after 90 minutes I had had no less than 6 different hands washing, chopping, and drying my locks.  I noticed that other clients had a maximum of 2 people attending to them, and upon hearing comments on my "kirei" (beautiful) blonde hair, I know why I was given such star handling.

The wash was to die for - full head massage included, all the while with a cloth over my face (am I that ugly?) whilst sitting on a barber's chair which kept going up and down on its own accord.  I was even given a Dr. Seuss blanket to put over my legs - can't figure out why seeing as it is at least 35 degrees today.  The cut was professional to the PROFESSIONAL...I have not seen any person cut hair so attentively before, he almost had the ruler out.  I was a little surprised to be taken back to the sink for another wash - and Dr. Seuss rug.

Then came the blowdrying - I have discovered it isn't just over-charging salons in Melbourne that take forever and a day on the drying leg...it always makes me want to wrestle the dryer out of their hands, ruffle my hair in the hot air, and be on my way.  It was during this part, I had 3 extra people working on my hair, and at one time, 2 of them at the same time.  Now I don't have extra long hair (although, after 4 years of shortness, it is down to my shoulders, or was, just parts of it are now) so I am still a little confused as to why the troops were called in.  My only answer is the blonde gaijin factor here. 

It was also during this stage that Junya gave me an almost t00-friendly-for-a-hairdresser-you-have-only-just-met-and-dont-speak-same-language-as massage.  In fact, I have only ever being given head massages during washtime by previous hairdressers.  This was a full on 20 minute back, neck and shoulders deal.  And the scary part was, he was doing lots of groaning ("Mmmmmm....good ne?  Mmmmm, mmmmm") while I was trying very hard not to laugh.  But it did feel good, and after that I didn't mind that the blowdrying continued for another 20 minutes.

With one final measure against the Leveller (I am not exaggerating about the preciseness of it all), a few more feather cuts with a razor, and another shoulder rub (he only stopped once I had signed the credit card slip), me and my hair were ready to face the world, well Callum and Noriko.

Junya tried to convince me to go for a colour next time, as he gave me his personal and business card...have to admit, Junya was actually really cute, so maybe I can ask him for a consultation over a drink.  But isn't that how I ended up with orange hair the last time???

Sunday, July 18

Where Am I?

A fairly appropriate question for this time of the night/morning considering the shape I am in.
 
Okay well I know I am at home and I also know that I am supposed to "teach" for 4 hours this afternoon.  What a night.  What a weekend.  What a shot.
 
All kicked off at my bar job, with one of the DJs birthdays.  Was supposed to keep it quiet for myself knowing full well I have to make it to work this afternoon.  I honestly had the best intentions, I always do, but I can somehow never make it stick.
 
I am blaming the last shot I had at 7am this morning - and nothing else before.  Baracadi 151, I was not informed of its alcoholic percentage, which stands at 76% for those of you wondering, until AFTER I had knocked back the double shot.  It is poison, pure poison, and an episode in hospital on a drip waiting to happen.
 
So now as well as being thoroughly wasted, I am also mecha drunk.  Luckily for me, this afternoon's lessons allow prime sleeping time.  Just set the students on their way, and sit back in the comfy chair in my office, set the alarm on my phone, and doze...and then somehow struggle to this party tonight in honour of something, I cant remember now what for.
 
I have this awful vision of me catching the train to work in 2 hours, and falling asleep, just riding the train back and forth until I wake up tomorrow.
 
Got the gatorade, got the pocari sweat, got the genki drinks.  Wish me luck.

Wednesday, July 14

Defining Tunes

In relation to the previous post, the following are tracks that define points in my life and have had an incredible impact on me for special reasons. I have briefly listed what these melodies induce in me. When I hear these songs, the below is especially relevant...

The Boo Radleys - Wake Up Boo!
Brilliant sunshine filled mornings in Carlton, and a feeling of security that comes with knowing someone loves you.

Jah Wobble - Oh Nama Shiva
Those of you that have had the awesome opportunity to enjoy Lordcore tennis court morning sessions will all agree I know. A sense of wonderous calm and good karma, good friends and good times.

The Beatles - In My Life
John Lennon once said this was his favourite Beatles song. I think we can all identify with the themes running through it.

Crowded House - Distant Sun
It is almost as though Neil Finn was reading my mind when he wrote this song. I relate to everything about it, the lyrics, the harmonies etc.

Cat Stevens - Moon Shadow
I fell in love with somebody who is still so special and dear to me during this song. It makes me feel so safe.

Grom - Love Rocket
Crazy nights, non-stop dancing, The Duke... having those moments when you wonder 'Does life get any better? I've got it made.'

Olive - You're Not Alone
Countless days and nights in Richmond with one my best ever friends *and the G*, someone I can't live without, and a song to pick me up and remind me of what is what when I am feeling so far away from him (and break dancing of polished floor boards). Somehow I know I will push through.

Moodswings - Redemption Song
Too beautiful for words, absolute splendour.

These are just a handful of songs that create this profound effect on me. If you don't know them, I recommend you give them a listen and appreciate them for what they are and perhaps you will comprehend what I am inferring.

The Soundtrack of My Life

If you were asked to compile the soundtrack of your life, which songs would you include? Music is a huge part of my life, and a big part of who I am. I can listen to just about any genre of music, and my collection reflects this - from The Beatles to The Boo Radleys, Metallica to Madonna, Buddy Holly to Basement Jaxx.

Music is also one of the most accurate and prompt recollectors of memory for me. I can hear particular songs and remember certain events down to the minutest details including emotions, colours, smells, sights, tastes and other noises that were occurring within and around me at that moment in time, when that song was playing.

Recently, I have begun to go through my CD collection in Japan and listen to tracks I have not played in years - I managed to take about 60% of my music collection with me when I left Oz, using very limited space, thanx to a tremendous effort by Penglo and the mindblowing capacity of Mp3.

However, everytime a new MP3 goes on, a kind of Pandora's Box opens up before me, forcing me to stroll down memory lane, and reminisce not only about the great and more grandoise instants I have been a party to, but also the things I have pushed to the back of the mind and successfully forgotten about - until the music started.

For example, I am currently listening to Slinky Worldclass, a kind of trashy dance compilation, which has transported me back to Friday and Saturday nights in my apartment in South Yarra 2 years ago, when a mate and I would get ready to go out, champers and ciggies in hand, anticipating the hotwater we would ultimately land in whenever we got together. I used to treasure these moments with Miss Farrah Flicks, it was 'our' time together just to catch-up, gossip about no-one in particular, and plan our night/weekend ahead. Yet it is bittersweet hearing it again, reminding me of a terrible time our friendship weathered and almost didn't survive. You could more or less say it did in fact perish, because although we are still mates, it certainly isn't what it was and I miss that immensly. My problem is that I can't just simply listen to the good tunes, I must (over) analyse the feelings that have been evoked with them. I can't purely let them be, and listen to them for what they are, and what they inspire.

The soundtrack of my life would be somewhat bittersweet, mind you, not all songs would be bittersweet at once - some merely sweet, others just bitter! Still, I listen to this soundtrack all the same, maybe on purpose, as I find I won't (can't) ever turn the music off, and I am compelled to reckon with whatever sentiments are stirring within. You could say it make this easier - the harder blows are softened, the lighter memories become more playful and the tender moments are made all the more intense. And the appreciation for what has transpired in my life, both the virtuous and the troublesome, is taken to new heights.

Tuesday, July 6

Anyhoo...


I have decided to make some changes to The Transit Lounge...still trying to figure out a few things (well actually hoping DJV the superwizz can riddle it out for me). Unfortunately, I've lost all comments on the way, so if you really did like any of my ramblings please comment again once it is up and running! Also, Tortoise Island will be continued soon...I've been busy doing nothing in particular that involved some time in Tokyo and no work this week. Hopefully something will come out of all this procrastination. I have moved onto a new phase of my life - the one where I am going to pretend the male species doesnt exist for a while. They are sending me loco! Miss Rizzie Posted by Hello

What Are You Thinking About?

Well I finally met someone - and it is very over before it could even begin.

If there is one question I can't stand, it would be "What are you thinking about?" I know what I am supposed to answer but something within me never lets me simply say "Oh you" with a bat of the eyelids, and the truth, with whatever can of worms it opens up, comes out. Kind of like payback for even asking it to begin with you could say.

So last night, after having a great meal cooked for me, I sat back and sighed, although I didn't realise it at the time, and this sigh prompted The Question from The-Person-In- Question. The following is quite understandably not what he was expecting to hear:

"Well I'm actually thinking about how, at this point in my life, it is really difficult for me to want to get to know anybody. I just have no interest in finding out any information about anyone and in turn, having to explain myself to new people. I don't have the energy or the motivation to keep up appearances, and I am sad that I can't go back to a time in the past, a time where everything was familiar, a time that I was happy with. I've got no desire to make new friends - I am more than happy with the friends I have, they know me, I know them, we know how to handle each other, we have known each other for a long time. As one friend of mine used to say, I'm not recruiting in that department. And I've also got no feeling to begin a relationship with someone new and having to go through the whole getting-to-know-you process, in both a mental and a physical sense. If I am to be with anyone right now, it has to be someone who knows me inside and out, like I said before, Im not up for explaining myself. I'm not ready for anybody new in my life, least of all a relationship, I've only just started moving on from the last."

I think his response to this was "Tell us how you really feel," to which I despndently replied "You asked."

Call it harsh, call it whatever you want, but it wasn't the first time he had asked this question, along with a whole host of "Did you miss mes?", "Have you thought about mes?" and "How much do you like mes?" Bear in mind, last night was only the 4th time we had seen each other, so maybe you can understand it was driving me a little stir crazy. He said if we aren't seeing each other, then what was I doing at his house? I answered "We are just hanging out, I hardly constitute 4 dates as seeing somebody."

So I left his house, and discovering my bike had been stolen from just outside, I thought this was more of a sign that I had done the right thing.

Yet why is it, considering for me it really has been a case of 'out of sight, out of mind', if he was to ring me now and ask me "What are you thinking about?" the truth ths time would be "You."