October 21, 2012

Burning Man

For the diehard readers out there (mom), I must apologize for not posting yesterday. I found myself working on another animated sign late into the night (or is it early into the morning?) and then crashed.

Here's the signage I was working with:

And my interoperation:

Friday began with my second interview at Gaba, which left me with more questions about my life than ever. It was my first real interview and
the young lady from just outside of Boston kept inquiring about if I really thought this was a good choice or if I was sure I would want to be a teacher for at least a year. "How do you know you'll like this?" "What if this ends up being something you don't enjoy?" "Are you just putting your music production aspirations on hold?" I understood that she was making sure I was committed, which was a good sign because it meant they were seriously considering my application, and while I gave good answers, I spent the rest of the afternoon wandering through Yoyogi park contemplating those questions.

What I determined was this: I do not know what my end goal is, both in life and on this trip, but I believe that very rarely does life take a straight path. I would like to plant as many interesting experiences and connections on that path now, while it is easiest, and be comfortable in the knowledge that the fruit will be plentiful.

How's that for an answer, Ms. Interviewer!

One of the more interesting aspects of the interview process was a role playing activity in which I taught a lesson plan to a level 3 student (can hold a conversation but is very limited in vocabulary and sentence structure). It was not what I was expecting. Not harder. Not easier. Just different. How does one ask questions to a person just learning a language? I enjoyed the challenge though and felt it was something I could learn how to do effectively and efficiently in a very short amount of time. I think that showed.

The nice part about spending the day wandering through the park, Shinjuku, Harajuku and Shibuya was solidifying my sense of direction. Before every turn I said to myself "Oh, there's about to be a Rag & Bone up there" or "This is the street with the Ralph Lauren". It became clear not just where I was going, but also where my attention lay.

The night ended at the Swedish Embassy. I showed up after receiving an invite from Robin (the Swedish intern) and was the first to arrive. The apartment was huge and could easily and comfortably sleep 15 people. But because the two occupants are only here for a few months, they did not feel the need to furnish their pad. So we made due with the card table, two chairs, and a million dollar view of Tokyo Tower:
Robin and I sat around talking for a bit, me in my job interview attire and him in red socks and a green robe. I asked him to play me some Swedish music while we conversed and then fought with the hard hitting bass of Swedish House Mafia as I tried to have a conversation. 
I inquired about his finger, which he had lit on a fire a few days earlier. On purpose. He said it was doing a lot better and didn't hurt anymore. He then offered to do it again. How could I say no?

As soon as Robin was not on fire we made our way downstairs to let in about fifteen embassy friends. The room exploded with people from Austria, The Netherlands, Germany and a few other countries that I only knew of because I had once ridden roller coasters there. It was a great night of learning about social issues in various European nations, all over a riveting game of chess.

Who knew this was a spectators sport?
Before I left to catch the last train, I started talking with the blondest girl I think I've ever been blinded by; she made me look brunette. Flora was her name, but it helps to pronounce it as if you were wearing lederhosen and holding two mugs of frothy beer. Within three minutes of talking with her, I discovered that her one trip to America had been to Boston. To attend a language class. At Emerson College. And lived in my freshman year dorm. And took classes no more than 500 feet from my Boston apartment.

I have said this many times already and I know this will not be the last time I say it: the world is a very small place. I did not expect to meet so many Europeans in Asia, nor did I think I'd ever be speaking to someone at the Swedish Embassy who also lived in the Little Building, but I am embracing every quirk of this adventure.