a The Transit Lounge: September 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...

Friday, September 17

Friendship...I know some of you will recognise this! Posted by Hello

Thursday, September 16

24 Hour Party Classes

***To be finished sometime this week*** Im all karaoked out at the moment.

Bored of those business English classes? Discovering that those pre-planned Nova lessons don't relate to real life at all? Wondering how the hell you will learn anything when your teacher is even more bleary-eyed than you? Wishing you were back at the bar?

Then come one, come all to Lambert's 24-Hour School of Useful English Language. You will learn all the necessary vocab, grammar structures, and conversations skills required for a range of authentic, everyday situations that you are likely to encounter, while relaxing in your choice of preferred environment, be it at the bar, in the karaoke room, the love hotel, or for old time's sake, the classroom.

Subjects Covered
Learn how to drink tequila shots (without chasers) all night long, pick-up those wiley westerners, and party hardy in no vague terms. Study many social situations and start feeling comfortable amongst foreigners, including how to pick fights, give dirty looks and talk back with confidence.

Other topics taught are:

Hostess Geography
What you need to know in keeping those foreign hostesses happy, and ringing YOU for those dohans and fur jackets.

"You, yeah you. I'm talking to you."
Know exactly how to respond the next time a drunk foreigner starts picking you.

Bar Etiquette
This subject includes such tips as go home when you feel like you are going to fall asleep, and always shout a round the rambunctious foreigners in the back corner.

The Art of Seduction Western Style
Be aware of the million different ways or so to respond to gaijin females that say "Is it true what they say about Japanese men?"

"Let's take this outisde."
Learn the options you have when confronted with this from foreigners of all shapes and sizes, including how to befriend the Brazillians.

Singing Karaoke in English (and how to do improv to such songs as 'We Are The World')
English vs. Engrish - Why "L" is Feeling Lonely
Americans and Canadians - What's The Difference?
Australians and New Zealanders - Know The Differences or Suffer The Consequences
Queen's English - A Crock Exposed: Your Guide to Speaking Slang with the Best of 'Em!

School Hours/Enrollment Guidelines
As Lambert's 24-Hour School of Useful English Language is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, there is no need to reserve lessons in advance. Walk-ins are welcome. Please note - although Lambert's takes no responsibility for the state their teaching staff may be in, especially on Sundays, this is in fact another educational strategy employed by the administration of Lambert's to ensure that students are exposed to true and very likely circumstances (think about it - it is not often you will come across any gaijin sober, even in the classroom).

Lambert's will guarantee that appropriate staff will be on-hand at all times to assess your current English speaking skills and plan a "Lesson Schedule" tailored to your specific needs to get you speaking the English you want as fast as possible (See "Lesson Schedule" example at the end of this section).

Lambert's "Get Stuffed" Guarantee
All teaching staff are professional, have a sound knowledge of their subjects including the experience to back it up, as well as appropriate lesson materials and props to make your study as authentic as possible, in order to enhance your education experience.

If you are not satisfied with your Lambert's experience, then you will be shown the door, robbed of your Louis Vuitton wallet and then told in no uncertain terms to go get ******! It is also a likely indicator that you should avoid foreigners at all costs.

Monday, September 13

Wanted: Dazed or Confused. Posted by Hello

Freeza Frames

Saturday night will be one to remember forever for various reasons. What started out as what can only be described as Shelbyville, came good in the end when we found ourselves in Springfield.

Liz: "I'm so funny I deserve my own sitcom."
The restauraunt, for a few lost hours on Sunday morning.

Makoto: "When you move into Ange's building, we can go drinking together."
The restaurant, Sunday morning

Ben: "Man you sucked as a DJ"
Crap DJ: "Well I just wanted to play my own music."
Ben: "That was the problem. You see that dance floor? You cleared it!"
Freeza, Saturday 11 September

Troy: "Do you recognise this man?"
Liz: "Do you recognise this woman?"
Together: "We have reason to believe they committed numerous crimes last night together."
Freeza, Sunday 12 September
*thanks to Mieko for her well depicted sketches of us*

Woody: "Which name should I save your number under?"
Liz: "Candy pants will do just fine."

Troy: "I got welcomed to The Family!"
Just summing up a great adventure.

Kaori: "I'm an Emperess."
Liz: "Can I call you E-chan?"
Kaori's pad

Loosley translated from Japanese to English...
King C: "I saw a show about a person who got caught in the middle of a twister, that made them fall asleep for 300 years and when they woke up, they were in a completely different place."
Liz: "You sure you're not thinking of The Wizard of Oz?"
King C: "No, I saw it on Discovery Channel, it's definitely true."
Liz: "The Fiction Discovery Channel."
King C: "Yes."
E-chan's Imperial Palace

Liz: "What do you think this mark looks like on my leg?"
Cal: "A blister....maybe a burn of somesort."
Liz: "Oh yeah - it would be a carpet burn. I was rolling around on the carpet for a few hours this morning at the restaurant."
Cal: "What??!!"
Liz: "Yeah well none of us could actually walk, so we were all just crawling across the carpet the best way we could. I guess I was sort of dragging my legs."
Finally at home, Monday 3am.

Monday, September 6

I Feel The Earth Move

And Im not talking about singing Martika's cover version in karaoke.
If there is one thing most foreigners (secretly, sometimes not so secretly) want to experience during their time in Japan, it's an earthquake. We all talk about it, we all joke about it, but bearing in mind the devastating quake that hit not too far from Osaka in Kobe 10 years agos that left over 6000 people dead, we always tack "just a small one" on the end of any discussions about it (You can even still see the evidence of this quake where we go to the beach at Awaji - there is an area where the earth is scarred, split open and one side is a lot higher than the other, even on Kobe port, the ground is uneven).

Last week there was a report released that there is a 90% chance that Tokyo and Osaka will be thoroughly thrashed by a major quake in the next 50 years, with a 30% chance of it happening in the next 20 years. So in recent days, this has been a huge conversation starter.

Therefore it is an eerie coincidence that for those of us in Osaka and other areas of Kansai, about 7.15 last night, there was a whole lotta shaking and rumbling going that turned out to be what is described as pretty big earthquake, measuring 6.9 on the Ricter Scale - the one in Kobe was 7.2. The epicentre was off the coast near Wakayama about an hours drive from Osaka, thankfully not in a major city so there was not too much damage done, but they did have a tsunami warnings for those along that particular coast.

Cal was at home and said the shaking was unbelievable, things moving along the ground with the rattling etc - he went to stand on the balcony, as you do, and thought he was going to fall off. I'm not sure how long it lasted, but maybe 20 seconds because I had just left the house and was attempting to order my dinner at KFC. I walked into KFC and started feeling really dizzy, like you when you have had a bit too much to drink and you lie down and put your head on the pillow and your world starts spinning - you know the really horrible feeling. And I thought "God, what's wrong with me? I'm going to fall over!" So I grabbed onto the counter to steady myself and Im thinking "Why isn't this working? Why is the counter moving with me?" It was like trying to walk across the deck on a boat during rough seas - you can't. And I had the seasickness that goes with it. And then for a split second I felt fine, and then it happened again and I'm thinking I havent had a drink for almost 12 hours, whats going on???

Then all of a sudden, I felt normal and ordered, got my vegie burger and started walkng home, thinking "What the hell was in that last cocktail??" I get in the door and I said to Cal "Man I must have had more to drink last nite than I thought - I just had the weirdest thing happen in KFC. Im suffering somesort of bizarre 3-drink delayed hangover. That's it Im not drinking for a month!" Then Cal says "Hang on, before you go start making rash decisions, did you feel that earthquake??!!!!!"

Freeeeeeaky....made me want to rearrange my bed - Sleeping with my head under the AC unit on the wall with a 2 metre wooden wardrobe within striking distance didnt sound too appealing. We were all a bit freaked out - lots of phone calls and sms's going back and forth - and PEte, who had been at work for the first one, which was a lot closer to the epicentre and a lot worse (they were all under the tables at work), was crashing at mine last night as we had an appointment with the Union this morning. So everyone says their goodnights - about an hour, around midnight later it all starts again. I woke up and let out this almighty scream, I thought the sky was going to tumble down along with my roof before i had a chance to do anything - I have never felt anything shake or rattle so much. Im trying to get dressed and Im screaming at Pete in the loungeroom and then I went and fell onto the couch (Cal had gone out to the pub) and I think I almost broke his shoulder I was squeezing it so hard. Then Pete's like "Its ok, its ok" cause the shaking seemed to be getting softer then in one instant it was the worst it had been and we were sitting there in the dark (not sposed to turn on lights cause of the danger of fires etc) it was just so spooky, we could just feel the shaking getting so much harder (since been told to open your front door incase something major happens and there is structural damage that may prevent you from getting out later). My heart was beating so fast, the adrenaline was pumping through our bodies and we had no idea what would happen. It was so intense!! And so scary, you cannot do anything, its pretty hard to even stand up. And my apartment is on the top floor of the building - a grand total of 5 floors (so not so high), but the swaying of the building - along with totally abnormal sounds - was probably what got me so frightened, even though I know the buildings are designed to do that and its safer like that. It hadnt helped that we had watched a doco earlier in the evening on exactly why the Twin Towers in NYC had collapsed after the planes had crashed into them.

That second one lasted a lot longer - I was able to scream for a few seconds, get dressed, find my glasses and stumble out of my bedroom - it was strange because as I was trying to sleep I had notice some minor shaking. Pete said it had been shaking lightly on and off for about half an hour before the second one which was 7.3 on the scale. When the ground stopped shaking, it took a few minutes for the building to stop moving which was very creepy. It took me ages to get to sleep again - I pretty much flattened myself against my window, so if the wardrobe fell it wouldnt land on me. A few hours later, there was some shaking again but not as bad. Apparently it was another big tremor/smaller quake. I was too tired to panic over this one and stayed in bed. Everyone was very uneasy and all day at work Pete and I kept staring at the overpass running over our work building....after seeing photos of the Kobe overpass simply toppled over onto its side, made us realise our building would be squashed flat.

The experts are trying to decide whether or not this was supposed to be the BIG ONE that was to send downtownJapan to its doom. Im hoping it was. I dont ever want to experience that again and I now know what to say to any foreigner who thinks they do!

Saturday, September 4

Til The End of Time

Troy Boy: "If nothing else lasts forever, why does love have to?"

Cliff: "Isn't that more the fear of dying alone?"

Thursday, September 2

The Members Lounge

1 September - 2 September 2004

"I'm published!" Liz

Liz: "Look, that's MY name in print."
Cliff" "Well who's Elisabeth then?"
Liz: "Um...that's my name."
Cliff: "Holy shit, you're an Elisabeth!"

"Be Cool"....Kaorie, Mieko, Liz

Pete: "So after I say 1, 2, 3, we all have to point at someone...here goes...1...2...3..."
Kaori: "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 yeah!"
Pete, Mieko, Liz: "That wasn't cool obahan...."

"Remember be cool!" All of us

Pete: "Three in the bed and the little one says...."
Liz: "Mecha Kimochi."

Liz: "Who's Kaori talking to?"
Kaori realising she is speaking to herself, grabs her mobile..."I'm on a phone call."

Mr Cunningham: "Bikory kory kory kory kory kory"
Liz: "Bikory kory kory kory kory kory"

Liz: "You want me to call you now?"
Mieko: "Lets do it."