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Iyo’s Bike, I Turned Nineteen!, and Other Short Stories July 4, 2013

Posted by soratobuzou in Travel Log.
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CALL ME MAYBE

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There’s a plaza outside the cafeteria where bands perform during lunch time. Unfortunately, their timing conflicts with our class schedules, so we don’t get to watch them anymore, but we did see one performance before classes officially started. The group was the I-Pop band, a part of the English speaking I-Chat club, that performs a wide variety of English songs. Some of the Japanese roommates are in the band, so we went out to cheer them on.

They sang a few songs we didn’t know, and then, suddenly Call Me Maybe.

You can never really escape Call Me Maybe.

AQUARIUM STORY, SCENE ONE

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We were walking past a tank full of fish when suddenly a man behind us said, “おいしそう!” That is, “They look delicious!”

FERRIS WHEEL TWO

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The second Ferris wheel I rode in Osaka was the Ferris wheel outside the aquarium. Its cars were rainbow colored.

I TURNED NINETEEN!

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Shortly after our Hep 5 adventure there was a small party for the early-June birthday kids. It was nice. There was cake.

AQUARIUM STORY, SCENE TWO

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I was sitting in front of a tank of spider crabs when a girl started asking her mum, “焼いて食べない? 焼いて食べない?” That is, “Can’t we fry them and eat them? Can’t we?”

IYO’S BIKE

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Iyo’s bike is bright orange and usually parked in front of our apartment. It’s a lovely bike, and I really only have one complaint about it – I have to ride it sometimes, futari-nori style. That is, Iyo does the driving and I balance awkwardly on the rack in the back.

Three points, as context for my discomfort:

1) Remaining perched on the rack of a bike with nothing to hold takes a significant amount of balance. Unless I anticipate Iyo’s movements and shift accordingly, we’ll both end up on the ground. Luckily, reflexes generally cover this, but I do spend most of our rides awkwardly nervous that I’m going send us sprawling.

2) Osaka bike traffic (and traffic in general, to a lesser degree) is crazy. I usually just tell myself that Iyo is used to it, so I should trust her judgment, but that’s a little less comforting when we’re literally driving into an oncoming car. Then I remember that one time I read Japan has twice as many bike accidents per capita as the US does.*

3) I haven’t ridden a bike in years.

To be fair, we have yet to actually meet with an accident (although there was that one time we almost crashed into another bike turning a tight corner…), and I’ve accordingly gotten over most of my discomfort. And, honestly, I think it may be more my lack of control over the bike that bothers me than any actual risk.

Still. I get a little sad every time Iyo asks if I don’t want to take the bike.

FERRIS WHEEL ONE

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On our first weekend in Japan we went into Umeda for some exploring. There was lots of shopping to be done (I won’t even comment on the eleven-story-tall malls, but I will say that the thrift stores in Japan are like miraculous presents from the shopping god; unlike their American counterparts, they abound with cute clothes in the right size at a beautiful price), but by the end of the day a few of us were getting a bit tired of it so we decided to ride the giant Ferris wheel in the middle of Osaka at the Hep 5 shopping mall.

It was lovely. The feeling of floating above the huge city was beautiful, especially since we were all still on that tourist high. The car even had a sound jack so we could listen to mood music.

Later we learned about an urban myth that couples who rode this Ferris wheel together were doomed to break up, but we’re all still friends, so I guess that doesn’t apply outside romantic relationships.

That’s it, really. It was a lovely moment.

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