October 17, 2012

The Past & The Future

I woke up today to an email from Gaba. Not Lauren, the company. The application I submitted the previous morning had been processed and they wanted to schedule a preliminary phone interview. How exciting!

I spent about 20 minutes talking to a very kind American woman who works out here. She wanted to screen me to make sure I was committed and able to work for the company, should I be hired. I passed so we set up an in-person interview for Thursday. She also ran over the list of things I needed to supply, including my diploma. Not a copy, but my actual diploma. But, you know, when I was packing for this trip I had to choose between my diploma, which is something you obviously bring wherever you go, and the latest GQ. The latter was awarded precious backpack space.

Then, soon after, I received a Facebook message from the Australian gent informing me he had spoken to the woman at his company who is in charge of hiring. Apparently she's half Japanese and half Scottish, which means there will be absolutely no way I'll be able to decipher a word she says. But they're looking to hire, so I submitted my resume. Rather than Gaba, which is a one-on-one school for adults, this company places native English speakers in nursery schools twice a day for 90 minute English lessons. So if I get that job, be prepared for a blog filled with cute asian children.

Caught a small glimpse of what my future here could be and I became excited. There are still plenty of obstacles to overcome, but it has become apparent that
moving here for an initial 3 months was the right choice in terms of trying to find work. Believe it or not, being a friendly face in person is more conducive to finding work than being a random email address on the internet.

My intentions for the day though were not to think about the future, but instead the past. I wanted to head to Ueno Park where there are a number of museums as well as a zoo (this last one doesn't have much to do with the past, but come on, monkeys). Unfortunately, I got a late start to my day so I only had time for the Tokyo National Museum. The blessing in disguise was I got there one hour before closing, which was more than enough time to look at a bunch of stuff I didn't care about.

Here are the few highlights:

That brown guy is the mascot. Apparently he's a dancing man but I think he looks like a pervert.

There was a request for photos of me, so let the selfies begin.

The rooms devoted to Samurai helmets and armor were pretty great.

This mask would be appropriate for Takeshita St.

The best room in the museum placed me in the center of hundreds of faces.
There were many rooms dedicated to swords Identical looking swords. Rooms. Plural.

It was such a beautiful evening when I left the museum that I found a coffee shop (Sta-buku-su) in the park and wrote some post cards before plowing through a few chapters of Norwegian Wood.
Just a reminder, if you want a postcard, give me your address!

I realized I was only minutes away from Ameyoko St., which roughly translates to "Candy Store Alley". This was supposed to be one of the stops on the Kit Kat hunt, but our first destination proved bountiful so we didn't venture to this alley.

Hundreds of small shops comprise Ameyoko St.
Despite the name, all I was able to find were ocean-related products. I checked online and learned that this name was given to the street in the 1940s, when sweets were actually sold there. I would just have to return home to my 9 different types of Kit Kats and be happy for the time being.

Ameyoko? More like Ameyucky
$82 spikey melon, almost achieved goal 23.

But then something caught my eye... Goal 13: Beat someone in Tekken. For those misfortunate ones who don't know, Tekken is a video game. I was obsessed with it for many years. Still am! It's a fighting game and is considered one of the better ones by the sorts of intellectuals who consider these sorts of things.

I fought through two stories of smoke and loud video poker machines in order to complete a goal and lay to waste some unsuspecting nerd. I finally arrived at the Tekken area and found my target. I explained that it was my mission to win and we started playing. I should have known from his stack of yen and half-filled ashtray that this warrior had been stationed there for a few hours. And boy did it show. I didn't even have a chance. I had to claim defeat after 400 yen. We shook hands but he refused to take a photo with me. Just as well, I never want to remember this devastating defeat again.

Whatever, dude, get a life.

There were four rooms dedicated to virtual horse races. Gotta love Japanese arcades.

It has become apparent that some days will be action packed while others will be spent wasting 100 yen coins in an arcade. I've got many plans shaping up for the week: fireworks, a film festival, swan boats (goal 73),  a job interview with Gaba, and drinks with the two Aussies. Also on the horizon are a sumo tournament, a 25 hour ferry ride to Okinawa, and some quality time with my friend Kurumi. But for right now, I'm going to look up moves for my favorite Tekken characters; I have a goal to complete and honor to restore.