Well, these days I’ve been trying to look as dignified as I can wiping the streams of sweat running down my face while I’m waiting for the train. In a few short weeks, summer will be over, and though I complain, it hasn’t been all bad, far from it. In fact this summer has been one of the best I’ve ever had!
Some of the highlights of super fun time Tokyo summer 2012 have been:
- Crossing Izu Peninsula off my places to go list
- Finally going to Kamakura
- My first trip to Tokyo Disneyland
- Facing off with insect after insect until I finally reached the end boss — giant cockroach.
Let’s start off with my trip to Izu. I went with a whole big group of friends, and we all stayed in the same hostel, so it become something like summer camp for 20-somthings, featuring fireworks, alcohol and swimsuits — in other words the most fun I’ve ever had in my life. On top of that, my friend from Canada was visiting at the time so I also got to be a showoff wowing her with my crappy Japanese and how well I’ve adjusted to Japanese life. Hey! Don’t cut your eyes at my blog like that! OK fine maybe not “wowing”…but she was impressed, I think…Oh just give me this!!
Anyway, Izu was just as amazing as I thought it would be. I said we stayed in a hostel, but I use the world lightly. This place was gorgeous, and had it’s own hot spring. It was made to resemble a fancy Ryokan — traditional Japanese Inn — except they don’t give you food, they make you cook your own breakfast and dinner and stuff, and then pass the savings on to you!
We went beach hopping, and my favourite was Shirahama beach in Shimoda because this…
I also ate a lot of sashimi that weekend. I’ve liked sashimi since I lived in Toronto, but this was SA-SHI-MI — straight from the ocean, kicking and screaming, to your plate, and it was just as delicious as it looks.
I also finally, after a year of saying, “I’ll go next week, I’ll go next week”, made it out for a day trip to Kamakura. First I went to Hokokuji temple, which has a big bamboo grove.
Then had a break to eat my third favourite Japanese food, okonomiyaki. Then we went to see that big buddha everyone’s always going on about, and yeah it was kind of amazing. I hear it took ten years or so to build it.
The Happiest Place..uh…in Japan!
And, at last, I went to Tokyo Disneyland, with Loco as my guide/date. We went at night so by then all the little kids and babies had left, and there wasn’t the usual ridiculous crowds. Still, there were no rides that had a wait of less than half an hour. To be honest, the rides at Tokyo Disney ain’t alldat anyway, it’s geared more toward kids, but the atmosphere is fun.
We mostly ate. Loco was hyped to get this smoked turkey leg they had there. See turkey is pretty rare in Japan. And people must be really jonesing for that sweet, sweet turkey meat because the line was really long. So after waiting in line with the smell of delicious smoked meat teasing our noses and making our mouths water the whole time we finally got our hands on them drumsticks. I took one big bite and it was…OK. Kinda bland actually. Hmmm, you got some ‘splainin to do Loco. He said it was better the last time he was there. Maybe he was really hungry back then. You know like when you get so ravenously hungry even tootsie rolls from Halloween three years ago taste good? But whatever, turkey is turkey.
Look at that barely contained panic…but he didn’t scream even once. I was so proud!
And then, even though he hates roller coasters, Loco went on space mountain with me…awww! Here he is, a doomed man waiting in line…
Yup, I’ve seen some good times this summer. But if there’s one thing I cannot stand about summertime in Tokyo it’s the giant (compared to Canada anyway) bugs! All August big disgusting cicadas have been flying around, having loud sex, and then leaving their dead carcasses all over the damn street! Somehow a little green mantis got into my apartment during mantis season in July, and I kicked him out. I gotta always check my laundry that’s been hanging out for little spiders before I bring it in. And then there are the roaches…ooooh don’t get me started on the roaches. The “small” ones are almost two inches long, and the mofos fly! Flying roaches!!
I always had, what I felt to be an irrational fear that one would somehow turn up in my apartment. Even though in almost a year of living there I hadn’t seen one and the walls are concrete. How could something that big get in? Nevertheless, after a summer of dodging cicadas and sweeping up spiders and crushing beetles, it was time to face the boss. One day, after a nice nighttime bike ride I came home, opened my door and there it was, a creature from the foulest garbage bins of hell, a big black roach staring at me in my entryway. I froze, and it bolted to the left and into my bathroom. I was still stuck in shock, sure this was some kind of nightmare, but during my hesitation the thing skittered — like literally skittered I could hear it’s legs scrabbling on the floor — out of my bathroom and straight into the bedroom under the bed. How do they always know we can’t get them under the bed!! I could not believe this thing was in my nice, clean, cute apartment. Anyway, once my body could move again I went out, bought roach traps and put them down and hopped on my bed wearing my shoes. You know that game the floor is lava? It was like that, except the floor was a god damn roach playground. I turned off the light to lure him out. Sure enough he couldn’t resist the succulent roach trap, and when he came out he got one shoe to the face. But one hit wasn’t enough to kill this bad boy. I had to hammer it like five times to get it to stop moving, until it was a mess of guts. Then I shakily scooped it up in toilet paper, and flushed it down the toilet, and spent the night obsessively cleaning.
So, my nightmare happened, and I dealt with it. Let that be a lesson to the rest of you roaches. Don’t mess with me, I’m a badass roach killing commando. Hell, that one was probably the scout. I hope the rest are warned by his lack of return and keep it moving. They better, or I got a nice hard shoe waiting.