Wednesday, December 12, 2007

12/13/07 Mercado de Ota

I finished my morning routine this morning and rushed out the door. It was raining. When I first arrived in Ashikaga, I would thoroughly ignore the rain in most cases. It was so hot that I welcomed any change in the weather. Now, its cold enough that I doubt I could go out in the rain without getting sick. I went back inside and retrieved the rain suit that my parents were thoughtful enough to bring and quickly put it on, then went back outside. The rain pants and jacket are big enough that the rain didn't have much effect, apart from making my hands cold and obscuring my vision through my glasses. I was maybe halfway to school when someone's bike jetted in front of me from behind a walled alleyway. It was perfect timing, and I probably wouldn't have been able to stop even if it hadn't been raining. I hit their bike pretty much full force, completely knocking them off. I smacked him at almost a perfect 90 degree angle. As I looked down on this person and began to apologize, I realized it was a student from my school. I started to laugh a bit and he said he was ok, so I didn't worry about it too much after that. The students aren't supposed to be riding bikes to school, probably because of the mayhem that the hundreds of bikes would cause to traffic. In addition, because of the rain this guy was holding an umbrella in one hand and steering his bike with the other, which is actually against the law. I decided not to mention it to anyone at school for both of our sakes.

This happened to be one of the spiky-haired kids that probably has yet to lift a pencil in my class, so I'd like to think that karma was in play. Maybe I knocked some sense into him.

We went on another trip to Ota yesterday, but this time we made a short detour to an arcade in Ashikaga that we spotted from the window of the train. The building to this yet-unexplored arcade bounty was large and cube shaped. It seemed very promising. Before we even got through the door I saw a group of teachers from my school. Normally I would be a bit annoyed to see the infringement of the work-world into my video game time, but I played it cool. I asked them what was going on, and they told me that they were on "patrol". I talked to them a bit and more today at school. Seems that a group of teachers watches this particular game center and two of the shopping malls to keep the school's students from hanging out there. So everyday teachers go out after a full day of work and wander around keeping kids from arcades. I feel bad for everyone involved.

A big screen stands, flashing with a population of overly happy puppies. Treadmill, plastic dog with a leash to hold. Yes, it is what seems to be a dog-walking simulator. I don't have anything witty to say about this game. It just hurts my head a little. Who plays this?

Well, the game center ended up being pretty entertaining, but unfortunately it is far enough out of our way that it's probably off the list. We continued on to Ota and ate at a Chinese restaurant. Upon closer inspection, the group of restaurants that I mistakenly thought were all Chinese have a few gems of their own. One is a Korean place and another is Mongolian. Something to look forward to on future trips. I had to make another trip to my beloved Brazilian super market. They are selling little cakes in square boxes, both chocolate chip and fruit-cakey flavored. I assume that this is a Brazilian Christmas thing. I bought one.

Mike trying to taste the Brazilian cakes through their boxes.

The whole trip really made me think about how mono-cultured Japan is. I feel like Ashikaga doesn't have much evident influence from other countries, and that's too bad. I definitely enjoy Japanese food, but sometimes I want something that is outside of the Japanese-box, ya know? It really leads me to appreciate American multiculturalism, if only on a selfish, food-based level.

An advertisement for the Ota Super Mercado. Looks like it just opened. Lucky for me.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:25 PM

    hehe.. it says SUPER MERCADO BRAZILERO!! they open on the 29th.!! Pretty similar to spanish! You see. if you learn spanish, you will be able to talk portuguese too!