I am not sure what to say.

Why did I begin this in the first place? Why did I feel that my thoughts were important enough to be preserved in this manner? That I should make use of equipment that had been issued to me so I might better care for the Machine, a moloch's highest--no, only calling, in order to engage in the selfish and time-wasting act of self expression?

Thoughts, and feelings! How ridiculous. The fleeting impressions that flicker across a moloch's brain, mere chemical and electrical activity incidental to the existence of a creature made for work. Wasteful. Worthless. Contemptible.

The cape I wanted so badly, the beautiful red cape that moloch17 bought before I could. For a month he wore it everywhere. Flaunting it. Discussing its fine quality with other molochs where I could hear. Some of them caught on that it was a joke on me. Of those, some joined in the game. They would cast amused glances at me as they loudly agreed with him that it was indeed the finest cape they had ever seen. I stood apart and would not look at them. The new moloch tried to befriend me during this time, but my responses to his overtures were short and grudgingly given. Eventually, he stopped trying and joined a more convivial group.

One month moloch17 wore it; and then he put it away. Where is your cape? they asked him. Oh, he said, I grew tired of it. Such an old thing. It bored me so I put it away. One should concentrate on the work and not allow one's self to become obsessed with idle things, don't you agree? Yes, they said, this is very true.

Why should such a simple thing hurt me so badly? We are not complex creatures, we molochs. And yet I do not understand myself.

I am a foolish moloch. This journal is a record of my foolish thoughts, my foolish desires, my foolish anger. If only I could add an image of me, the portrait would be complete: this awkward body, its ugliness thankfully hidden in the perpetual dimness of these Shafts. I am glad they have not replaced my electric light.

I promised myself I would never write in it again. And yet, here I am.

My crawlie is here. It has been ages. Where have you been, little friend? What have you been doing?

I crouch and hold out a small piece of ore. Gingerly, he approaches and takes it from me. We sit together for a time, silent, companionable.

previous | next

A dialogue written as a first-person narrative:

Hey, God does crazy shit. Why create the world to destroy it? It goes into the idea that (uh-oh, prepared for some theology) God is outside of time. If God is outside of time, then everything was created and destroyed at the same time, according to God. So there was no "put it there to remove it later" or "create to be destroyed later," it all happened at the same time.

Since God created the world outside of time, but we perceive time to continue, in our perspective God must still be actively creating everything So God is, essentially, taking away the stuff that God already put there in the first place. This makes free will irrelevant, because God is creating us and our minds and bodies every microsecond of every day, and thus creating our actions. People who believe in God and free will are limiting God's abilities.

that's one of those things that makes sense as a theoretical diagram, but the logic of it, for me at least, always crumbled under one word. Why? Why what? why bother? Why bother what? Creating it all? why would god bother doing it, I can't see a purpose.

It's not our business why God does it. the problem with logic is it can lead you anywhere but when you ignore the specific steps and think about the overall, it stops working. I think it's definitely our business.

But there is a certain sovereignty that we religious folk attribute to God, and that's one of them. It's a problem when people stop questioning what they hear about God. Not that you aren't thinking for yourself, but you have to see my problem with that argument: if you don't question God, you'll believe anything about him. I never liked the argument they gave me at school that God just did it because that's what God does and I should just believe it and stop asking. Dyou see my point?

I question an awful lot about "How," but "why" is a question that has no affect on me. I see your point, yes. Why, I think, is immensely important. To try to understand "why" is to try to understand God, which is humanly impossible. It's an exercise in futility It's just a matter of how you perceive the world... until I understand why, I ignore how. because if there's all the logic but no ultimate purpose, I can't believe it

I'm not denying purpose. I'm just saying that there's no way in hell I could ever understand it. It's part of the nature of God; God is not human, and doesn't have a human mind. The "why" is impossible for us to comprehend, but if you're created in god's image, that seems to be a spiritual/intelectual reference. so if values are replicas of God's ideals, then fundamentally, people are imperfect reflections of God so the comprehension is more possible than that.

Can a reflection in a mirror think? And values change depending on people's perceptions of God. Or, well, people's perceptions of God change depending on their values. I know one thing: I am thinking. This I am certain of. Now, why am I think what I am? Hormones, genes, culture, environment, sleep deprivation, who knows. But I can't believe in fate if I can't see a purpose, and if something is unknowable, I can't trust it. God as a Clockmaker makes sense to me.

The only reason to trust it is because you are alive. But what do you trust? Organized interpretations, yourself, a set of values you've reasoned? I trust the fact that I am alive. I trust that my life, in it's totality, is in someone else's hands and I couldn't change that if I wanted to. There isn't an ultimate truth that everyone can be certain of, and the only option is to trust or not. I also trust that I'm alive, but I can't trust in fate because I can't know if the establishment suporting it represents the truth.

But the fate is outside of the establishment. But you have to believe the establishment to believe in fate, it's just true. Nay! how else? the establishment preaches fate. Because to believe in Fate, which encompasses all time, is to believe that Fate was acting before the establishment was created. that's not something that exists as a universal maxim. but the establishment tells you that. it's not part of every culture or every religion... not even most of them, no, it's not. my only point is, I trust myself and I trust what I figure out for myself. I will support you to my death or you own in that

God makes sense. But I don't believe that God makes sense, not in our understanding of it. There is no reason to believe that God is logical. The human mind is logical, why not its creator? You're creating God in man's image. It's the other way around. We have no idea in what way, shape, or form God created us. Or in what way the image is reflected. We just know that there's something about us that's similar.

I'm saying, we're based on God. something as fundamental as logic isn't coming out of nowhere. the universe is constructed according to logic. there is some crazy form of reason in every instant and atom of our lives. whether it's direct or not, there's a reason.

What about Eisenberg's uncertainty principle? Well, it's a principle based on Eisenberg's rational thought. So we're right back where we started. Yeah, but the rational thought is created by God. And rational thinking is linear, like time. so God is subject to some form or other of rationality, he's the source of some form of rationality.

God creates rationality, but why do you assume that makes God rational? because he's the source of rationality. God creates evil too. Is God evil? does god create evil or is evil the absence of God? I'd say the second. I'd say the first. it's more of a vacuum than an entity. But that's because you believe in the clockmaker, and I believe in the eternal creator.

Space-time. The scientific community agrees that space and time are related in a continuum, right? sure. Using that as a premise, and acknowledging that God is outside of space, then God would have to be outside of time as well, logically. If you were to accept the idea that God is outside of time, the clockmaker-God would be impossible. you have to be careful about logic. it's deceiving. but here it checks out. Where there is no time, a beginning and an end are impossible. Everything happens at the same time, or has always been and always will be happening.

I have trouble with that one. Sometimes you have to look around you. There's no doubt that we perceive time. For all practical purposes, time may even exist for us. But not for God. The concept of an existence outside time, or a timeless creation is very, very, very difficult concept to get one's mind around. No, it makes perfect sense. But you still have issues with it.

Because if you have an umovable creator you can't hav ea beginning to time. It's the same idea as that of "Eternity" Eternity means it always was, and always will be. time and eternity are enmeshed, but is there an eternity, and is time constant. because if there is no space, there is no time, and at some point or another, something had to come from nothing. in which case your time as a blob theory works again, but you have to look around you and see the effects the past has on the present and realize that doesn't coincide. you can't have echoes if every sound erupts at once.

I already said, we are certainly not outside of time.We experience time day in and day out. then time exists, but not to God. you can't have it both ways.

Okay, let me analogize. Paper exists. Am I bound to the properties of paper?Hmm..that didn't work. Let me think again.

I have the idea, but I'm having difficulty explaining it. Because God created everything. And God is outside time. And God is outside space. So space, as we know existd. God is simply not limited by space. Likewise, time exists, but God is not bound by the constrains or properties of time. I think that's better than trying to execute an analogy.

it works on paper. but if god creates everything he creates time. and if there is not time without god, god has no origin, and even your time all happening at once can't work. God has no origin. God is eternal.

By separating god from time, time becomes its own god. you can't separate God from time, he creates everything, and it limits his power. if there is existence of any kind there is time. But you're misunderstanding. An eternal God is one who always was and always will be. Not dating from the beginning of time to the end of time, but always.

And that means time is always and space is not because space has an origin, the correlation's dead if they aren't codependent. Why does that mean that time is always? how do you define time? That doesn't answer the question. I'm not trying to answer, I'm trying to see how you define time. it seems like we're starting from different point on this one. But if my definition of time is shaky or weak, then you'll use that to debase my whole argument about God being outside of time because of a faulty premise. that's my problem, you have to define time to see if it's really separate from god. If I had to choose, I'd say that time is the progression of events. that's a good definition. I would've said the same.

So let's say time is the progression of events. God is the origin of all events. God is the origin of time. Time cannot exist without God, and simply by existing, God creates time. Eiter God lets time unfold, or God creates every instant of time. But time, by its very nature, can exist independent of an outside, perpetuating force. It is self-perpetuating by definition. Therefore, God is either the Clockmaker or he is the origin of every waking instant. So where does this leave us? I'll tell you where it leaves us.

It leaves us with God is either a Clockmaker, or God created/creates everything in all time. exactly!

I've been gone for a while now. I guess I don't even know if I'm really back, but I need to write this. There is a point where it all just needs to be there, in front of me, so I can face it.

I received a call from the number tree not so long ago. Calls coming down the number tree are usually never good. I listened and prepared to write down all of the information to tell the next person I needed to call. Then I froze. "There was an accident tonight. There were two students involved. One was killed instantly." I waited for the names and felt sick when I heard them. I knew the name of the student who had passed away.

He was one of my students. The kid I could always count on to stick up for the students who needed help. He made sure everyone had a partner and worked so hard. This young man radiated joy.

and i threw a pot of boiling vegetables into the sink and cried. someone else continued the tree. i went to the school and supported the kids. cried the whole time. what will we all do with that empty desk?

Before I started teaching, I believed that teachers had all the answers. I didn't have an answer for the students who came to my classroom. I still don't. I've tried to be honest with my students. When they've needed a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on, I've tried to be there. I still feel helpless.

We've carried on with our lessons. Sometimes the kids will bring up memories that make us all laugh. Bittersweet laughter, but we're laughing. I know he can hear us.

We remember.

I'm here again. The brokeness of everything. Pity Party Central. That's me. This is the only place, now, where I air my grievances with Life in general. No one asks in real life anymore. No one seems to notice that I'm bothered or feeling the weight of my own decisions yet again.

Day before yesterday I slept. All day, I slept and when I woke up I just lay in bed. I knew, dimly, that I was depressed. That I lacked motivation. That, deep down, I wanted to get out of bed. But I just lay there and wallowed in it, whatever it is. I let it run through me, held it, looked at it and then wore it- alone, in my place of solitude, no one to share it with. Naked.

Routines. Lots of routines. And sub-routines. If-Then statements for my ennui. Subjugating a sharp intellect for boredom and self-introspection. Got a call from my mom, asking me to "decorate" a metal flower for my uncle's up-coming birthday. Sure. I'll do it. I didn't bother to ask her how I was going to afford sending it back to her once I was done, or how I was going to afford the materials necessary to "decorate" the thing once I received it in the mail. Not a thing worth bringing up.

I've been here before, broke and close to destitute. Lonely. Wanting to work, but not wanting to at the same time. Wondering where my next meal will come from, knowing that it will be the only meal I have for that day.

I have a job. I am a server, a waiter, at a new restaurant in the Nashville area. Hair of The Dog. "What you need, son, is a hair of the dog that bit ya." Bar. Bistro. Cafe. Music venue. No business. Two days a week.

I swore to myself, years ago, that I would never get a server job. Here I am. Breaking my promise.

I have sunk that low, working for tips and tips only.

Working on a new 3D model in my spare time (of which I have lots these days). I should be out looking for a better job, something that pays the bills. Instead I am behaving irresponsibly and fucking around. Another day, another dollar down.

Same places. Same faces. Same haunts. Same thoughts.

It's getting old. It's been old for a long time. And I'm getting old, too.

I turn thirty-one this year. I shave my head now, not only because it feels good but because I am hiding the grays. Four years ago I would have been stressed out. I am amazed at how stoic I am right now, how not-stressed I am. I want to write, can't. I want to go job-hunt, won't. I want to stop being alone, don't.

Can't. Won't. Don't. Should. Can. Not.

Teeth are getting fixed, slowly but surely. Major work being done on them. I don't want to lose them. Smoking and coffee probably isn't helping. But I'm brushing (more) regularly now. With flouride.

Where did my youthful vigor go? Why am I relenting to the depression? I know the advice I would give someone in my position- I'm not taking it, not even thinking about it.

Money. Money. Money. I fucking hate money! I'd be quit of it if I could afford to be.

Time to do the laundry. Did that yesterday. The clothes are clean. My soul is dirty.

I need one more writeup to reach level 6. Fuck that. It's just another rap song and I hate rap.

Happy Birthday to me!

Today I am 18 years old... or young, depending on how you wanna look at things. Today is especially special though, for unlike past birthdays, this one imparts unto me the requisite knowledge and wisdom to manage the hefty responsibilities of porn, cigarettes, lottery tickets, voting, and most important of all, ordering stuff that I see on TV. I have to say though; I don't feel any differently than when I was a mere 17 and 364 days old...

Anyway, I've chosen to look at today as a day of reflection, like an 18 year progress report. I am quickly approaching a large change in my life. High school is only twelve weeks from being over, and college is only twelve more weeks more from starting. As much as I hate to say it, I'm going to miss high school. I've just gotten to the point where I feel comfortable in that environment, where I've formed relationships with some teachers, and even call some of them friends. But most importantly, I still don't have a girlfriend. Ever since middle school, I've made it a goal to prove to myself that someone out there of the opposite sex wants to be around me, and could think of me as more than a friend. In middle school though, I could safely procrastinate when it came to finding someone who would go out with me, because I would see most of the girls I was interested in for another four years in high school. Then, with slightly less confidence, I could procrastinate finding a girlfriend each year of high school, because I still had a little more time to improve my social standing. But as my high school career is waning, I am finding a significant decline in the comfort I get from my ritualistic procrastination. To top all that off, I'll be moving away from home next year. Not that I won't be able to handle it, but I'm gonna miss some of the things that have become part of my routine. Eating my mom's cooking nearly every meal, watching episode upon episode of The X-Files and Babylon 5 with my dad... but most of all, I think I'm gonna miss my friends. These are people that I've known for nearly eight years of my life (some more, some less), that I've seen nearly every day. I'm not against meeting new people, but I hate phasing people out of my life. I'm not against change, but I like to have some control over how much is changed at a time...

Just last night I finished watching all 26 episodes of Cowboy Bebop for what must have been my fifth time. I can't get enough of that series. Every episode holds a different memory, and makes me think: "what have I lost, what am I running away from, what are my actions making me leave behind?" I have a little tradition (albeit really nerdy): after completing Bebop, I'll watch Neon Genesis Evangelion, in it's entirety (again). Every time I watch that series (and accompanying movies) I can't help but be put into a contemplative mood, where I can actually think about some of those questions that I ask myself after watching Bebop. It's a 600+ minute tradition, but when it's all done and over with, I usually walk away with a better sense of understanding of myself... at least for a little while.

To top off the anniversary of my birth, I'm going to put on what will be my last true childhood birthday party. After I decided upon the details of this shindig, I went to the party store for supplies, and was drawn to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles themed party favors. In my youth I loved the TMNT movies, and games, but most of all, the cartoon series, so I couldn't help but purchase the overpriced nostalgia when I saw it. Granted, the stuff I bought was all based on the new TMNT cartoon, which I must say, pales in comparison to the original. I managed to get over that small fact pretty quickly though, and I bought all the stuff needed for the occasion: themed plates, napkins, cups, noise makers, party hats, and just for good measure, a turtle piñata. Plus, each person in attendance will walk away with a goody bag, filled with candy and other useless trinkets that you might remember finding in goody bags when you were young. The party's gonna be a hoot. There's gonna be a Dance Dance Revolution tournament (complete with prizes), tasty food, and best of all, a cake (yum!). This Saturday will serve as a culmination of my childhood, but most of all, as a celebration of all my childhood delights and memories.

Running Log

Tick surgery, bad consequences, Mengele the dental hygienist, SIOP FORCES, seeing an acquaintance on the Today show, and the ethos of saying hey

Yesterday’s tick proved to be bigger than originally thought. The doctor spent half an hour scraping away inside the wound getting the various legs, mandibles and whatever wee little chitinous parts out.

Doxycyclene, an antibiotic, is being prescribed prophylactically. Two tablets per day, taken between meals.

Keep an eye on the wound. I should look for a red rash ringing the bite site 3 – 32 days following the bite. Also, muscle pain, joint pain, fever, headache. Two possible diseases borne by ticks in this area are lyme disease and Rocky mountain spotted fever. Due to the law of averages I’m unlikely to get either illness.

I added a step to today’s dressing regimen (if that’s what throwing on shorts and a tee shirt can be called): rubbing Vaseline over the tops of the socks and around the shorts elastic waistband, to prevent ticks from finding purchase there.

Yesterday before work I had a dental appointment for teeth cleaning. The dental hygienist, Diana, gave me a little extra lovin’ for being 15 minutes late. Dear girl. I tried to mumble something about a tick while she was doing the poking and polishing, but it came out like “I ah a ick eh uhihg. A ick. A ICK. Ig ick, ery ig.” She was unimpressed with my particulars, but was very focussed on telling me about her gym workout and how it was so hard to find single men (got a little extra jolt there) around this area who weren’t comPLETE (jolt) JERKS (jolt – ooooh that one hurt).

Last night I had another surreal moment. I’m having a lot of them lately. So we’ve got this big engineering meeting last night, and I’m having a glass of wine and do my usual meet and greet strategy at such events: avoid your friends, because you know them already, and talk to J. Random Dude so you might to get to learn someone interesting. I stand next to two good looking guys in nicely tailored suits. One guy knows of the other guy by reputation, and he’s kind of toadying up to him. The tall good looking silver haired gentleman has this aw-shucks quality about him, but it turns out he’s a vice president at a local Big Company, ex bird colonel in the air force, served on the OSD and all that.

He had these great stories about serving on nuclear weapons inspection teams after the Cold War. He said how wild it was to be permitted to fly a Soviet AN-24 transport plane around Kiev in the Ukraine. His Russian counterpart, the pilot of the transport, was pointing out key features that they used as navigation markers. What made it particularly wild was that he was trained to run SIOP sorties on B-52s, and all of his routes took him over the Ukraine. He said he’d ‘flown’ these sorties virtually so many times he could anticipate and recognize the landmarks almost as well as the Russian pilot who flew here every week. He looked out of the cockpit windows and thought to himself, yep, I’d be dropping a bomb here, and here, and over there.

Ah me. Back in the day, when I used to have boatloads of clearances, I used to do architectures for satcom resources for all of the SIOP forces. If you don’t know what I’m talking it would take too long to explain. Part of the drill was to go into the mountain and check with the two star about how they got out their Emergency Action Plan to all of the triad of the SIOP forces: boomers, SAC, and the ICBMs. These were the kiss your ass goodbye messages that Absolutely Had to Get Through and get acknowledged again and again and again. Talk about serious shit, that was serious shit. I don’t miss that life one bit. I am super glad we’ve got silver haired men, hugely competent men, that run these systems, that keep us safe. I am super glad there’s no one big enemy any more, that there’s no brinksmanship any more. What you see today is nothing like what life was like in the mountain when you went to defcon 4. Sphincter constricting, is all I can remember.

44 minutes. It was freezing cold again this morning. All the spring peepers are silent now. Can they live through such frosts? I ran past Kristy’s field and all the way to the big electric tower that holds the high voltage lines. Sweet Kristy. She’s getting married this summer.

Thigh rash now requires Vasoline before and after run. Arms still lazy. They drift up and down in random motion. I don’t bother to control them. They just do whatever they feel like doing. Knee good, hip good.

I have absolutely no problem running now. Of course, it’s only 44 minutes. No problems with wind, and the legs aren’t tired yet. I’ll bet problems of motivation will kick in once I get over an hour a day running, because that’s usually been the break point in the past. However, this training regimen feels fundamentally different than in the past. I wonder if this is because the marathon is now really a means to an end, the end being the 2100 mile hike in 2006.

I figured out the code behind saying hey along the running trail. If you’re running and another runner runs the other way, when you’re around ten yards from him you look up and make brief eye contact and then say “Hey” and maybe wave. I’ve noticed the really cool guys don’t wave. Makes me wonder if I should wave, but then I worry that probably I’m not really cool enough not to wave.

Now, if you double back, this ethos changes. When I turn around at the half way point and run back, if the guy I just passed has also turned around, and we are forced to acknowledge one another again, the rules are different. You hit that 10 yard mark and then you look at him and lift up your chin, as if silently saying “Sup”, but you remain silent. And you definitely don’t wave. Waving, or saying anything during this second delicate time makes you a complete dork. It makes you look needy.

I have not yet understood the ethos behind acknowledging women runners. A whole nuther thing. First of all they usually run in groups of two or three, and usually have a dog with them, so when you do encounter them, it’s hard to acknowledge all the lifeforms in this pack. You’d sound completely ridiculous saying, “Hey”, “Hey”, “Hey”, and “Hey, pooch.” I try to get by with a wave that lets them know I am not a serial rapist or Trail Bludgeoner. It’s also difficult to know which woman to look at. The best looking one? This makes me superficial. (Well, duh!) The homeliest? Does this get me sympathy points with the cute one? Doubtful, really. Do I just look at the dog, thereby making me a dog lover and thereby tolerable and perhaps even desirable? Or perhaps does that just brand me a weird people hater? It’s so difficult to answer these questions. You can see now why I’d rather run in the darkness when no one else is on the trail. These social conundrums are beyond me.

On returning, my wife was watching the Today show and motioned me over. Some talking head at the Pentagon… hey wait a minute, that’s Mike Dominguez! And holy shit, now he’s like an assistant under secretary of defense! Mike who complained of how brutal West Point was, and how he didn’t feel he was up to the standards of his classmates, and here he’s answering Katie Couric’s questions in a poised and dignified manner. Mike’s wife knows mine, and the two women would talk about life in the fishbowl world of the Pentagon. Ha ha ha. So now Mike’s on television. Life’s too funny, sometimes.

To a friendship that’s run its course: Goodbye to Jim, Dick, Bill, Knox, Ed, Steve and Miguel. Love you all more than you can know. Jesus said “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” – John 8:32. For some, prison is more comfortable, and freedom is too confusing. But this is the free world, and free is what I have to be.

The esteemed JessicaPierce /msged this, which you ought to know:

as far as the problem of how to acknowledge groups of female joggers – I'd vote for a small nod (NOT upnod, which connotes curiosity or flirtation - a request of some kind) plus a brief, civil smile. This says "I see you, I acknowledge you, but I am not asking anything of you." As a taker of long walks, this is the best sort of wordless stranger-contact on the trail - anything more makes me think the guy is specifically out to ogle, which puts me on edge.


Hokkaido, Japan
from the foreign female perspective
Day : 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

After raiding the hotel restaurant less than half an hour before they closed and taking our sweet time about it, Aaron and I set out to find the 踊りバスセンター (Odori Bus Center) where we were supposed to board a fancy tour bus to our next hotel in 層雲峡, the 層雲閣グランドホテル.

Since we were lugging our luggage (are those words related?), we thought it would be worthwhile to take the subway to the Bus Center after we discovered it was a few blocks away. Normally walking less than a kilometer while towing seemingly weightless suitcases on their little wheels is hardly a chore, but given the massive sheets of ice and potholes of slush covering the sidewalks, it would have been a miserable, if not impossible, task. So we descended into the depths of the subway station and looked for signs pointing towards the 東豊線 (Toho Line). This was the beginning of a remarkable journey.

It started with toting our suitcases along wide, underground hallways lined with numerous large stores and restaurants. This turned into pulling our luggage through narrower passageways past bakeries and 弁当 shops, following an endless path of signs pointing towards the elusive 東豊線 (Toho Line). Bakeries turned into a tiny escalator, which became a cramped ¥100 shop. We were reduced to lifting our suitcases over cardboard boxes and employees who continued to stock shelves as we struggled to find a path through the store, still following the signs. After being directed through the checkout line, we went down yet another one-person wide escalator, where we finally saw the ticket barriers. We had arrived at the entrance to the subway after nearly 20 minutes of searching and following arrows.

It took about 5 minutes and one stop to get to the Odori stop, where we spent another ten minutes carrying our luggage up stairs after abandoning all searches for non-existent escalators or elevators. The Bus Center was easy enough to find once we got out bearings on the surface, and we found the door where we were supposed to wait with only minor mishaps. The ride there provided beautiful highway scenery and mountains, and gave me time to catch up on sleep.

The hotel was gorgeous. The view was amazing. The room was absolutely wonderfully massive after our cramped quarters in Sapporo; the tatami section of the room alone was easily 十二 (12 mats, or Super Huge for a Japanese room), which doesn’t take into account the bathroom, shower room, or wooden sitting sections.

The bathroom. My friends, let me tell you - they know how to make a toilet in Japan. For starters, there’s nothing like a heated seat, especially for women who have to brave icy toilet seats far more often than men. It’s even nicer when you come inside after freezing your ass off in three feet of snow, only to plop down on a pleasantly hot piece of plastic to take care of business. I found myself longing for more quality time in the bathroom to enjoy this wondrous feature. Then of course there was the ridiculous multitude of bidets to choose from, an option I was reluctant to try as I don’t trust water spraying in certain areas. But I figured it would be the best time to try, so I did. It was weird and that’s about all I have to say about that.

After taking care of hospitality and getting tickets for our meals from a hotel worker who knocked on our door, Aaron and I chilled in the room watching TV and working on a comic idea we had jokingly conceived on the bus.

When it was time to eat, we took our ticket and went to the main dining hall area. The lady at the entrance directed us off to the side and down a dimly lit, moody wooden hall, where we discovered a beautiful restaurant filled with traditional Japanese tables and booths for couples. Dinner was fabulous, but there was way too much food. I hate not being able to eat everything and feel like I’m wasting perfectly tasty (and paid for) cuisine. Thankfully Aaron was up to the challenge of finishing that which I left untouched. There was wonderful seafood なべ (fish, crab, scallops, and veggies cooked in a pot in the middle of our table), 刺身, mysterious dishes of varying colors, brown rice, soups, tea, and desert included slices of WATERMELON, which I have been missing like crazy, as well as なし, which I hadn’t tried yet.

After resting for a while, Aaron and I decided to give the 温泉 a try once it was past midnight and we could avoid the crowds. I’m getting used to being naked in front of other people, but it’s scary when you’re friends aren’t there to talk to and ease the tension. So I ventured into the women’s bath alone, clad only in my yukata and then nothing, and did my best to ignore the stares. I figured I should be proud that people want to look at my body, whether out of curiosity or admiration or whatever, but it was so hard. I knew a pair of middle-aged women were talking about me, but they had the grace to whisper so I could only catch a few words. It’s worse when the people speak at normal conversational volume, assuming that I can’t understand what they’re saying about me.

I only stayed for maybe 45 minutes and then left. My circulation is so bad and my blood pressure is so low that sitting in hot water for too long makes me faint like an old-fashioned Victorian Lady. It can be funny or embarrassing, depending on the situation.

And that concluded Day Four of kaytay’s Hokkaido Adventure.

Day : 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

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