October 22, 2012

Ugly Ducklings

Today was another Keither Powell:

I've always been amused by swan boats, yet I never had the chance to pedal one. The Boston Public Garden is famous for the swan boats that shuttle tourists across the pond, but they aren't the classic kind that you steer yourself. So when Kelly told me her church was located directly across from a lake with true swan boats, I immediately added it to the list of 89 things to do.

The two of us got an early start to our day as we wanted to allow ample swan and nature-taking-in time. It was a gorgeous, cloudless day. As we made our way to the lake we found a local baseball game between rival elementary schools. I would peg the children to be about 6 years old, but I'm so much taller here that everyone looks like they're 6. One thing that I was sure of though is that small asian children in pinstripe baseball outfits are always adorable, and when you combine that with awkward running and fielding, it's a gold mine of "awws".

We continued towards the lake and decided to walk the perimeter while we waited for Catherine to arrive. We moved in and out of the trees and bamboo groves, admired some shrines, and made friends with the local wildlife:
Koi not acting coy. 

I haven't been here long enough to get bored with bamboo. What a beautiful plant.
Kelly mapping out our swan journey

Once Catherine arrived we made our way to
the dock and rented our swan. I don't think I considered the fact that a swan boat is not something usually enjoyed by those over 6 feet tall. And add to that a Japanese swan boat and you've got a real test of flexibility:
Fully extended
Our trusty vessel
Asian tourists.
Swan selfie. Swelfie.
We all took turns pedaling and steering, and while it's hard to say who was the best captain, it's actually not hard at all. It was me. I steered our swan effortlessly and with grace. Kelly may have been a little drunk because she kept bumping into things. In a lake. How does that even happen? And Catherine, while she had good technique, just couldn't help but get caught up in conversation and photo taking. I was clearly the only one taking the swanning seriously.

When we nearly decapitated our swan while debating if we could fit under a bridge we decided it best to return safely to shore. It was hard to leave. Not because I had grown attached to the swan, but because I was physically too big to escape the belly of the beast. Through a series of maneuvers that can only be described as "definitely not suave", I managed to emerge.
Seamen and Swans

Goal 73: Thanks for the ride.

My other accomplishment today was being invited to a dinner party (10). Kaorina and her roommate recently inherited a couch and that was cause for celebration. I was not there for the planning, but I can only assume it sounded something like this, "Dude, I'm super stoked on this couch. We should have people over for dinner to celebrate finally having a place to sit."

And celebrate we did! There were nine of us there, admiring the couch as we chowed down on some fantastic home-made curry. I love people who will find a reason to get together and celebrate, even if the accomplishment is simple acquiring a couch and pouffe. 

A pouffe? Apparently it's another word for ottoman. Yeah, I didn't know that either. 

It's been interesting seeing how foreigners my own age are living in Tokyo. I've been surprised to find somewhat roomy apartments. Although, as I write that, I realize that my first impression of Kelly's apartment was that it was tiny. Now, however, these efficiently used shoeboxes feel spacious. There is certainly less room for spontaneous dancing, but when you've got the music of Flint Flossy and Young Humma, you somehow find a way to make due:

Smang It is the same in all languages

Good food. Good people. Good couch. What more can you ask for?