Disaster. Derangement. Detergent.

Don’t ask me where I have been. Don’t ask me what has become of this blog, or what will become of it. I will write about it soon – but you don’t want me to get started. I know I don’t. For now, I have hit my threshold for unfathomable stress levels (since Jakarta, long story), and I need to get the most recent one off my chest before I implode on my bed.

This is serious business. This has no happy ending.

To start the narrative, there are approximately two notable things happening in my life as a Kunitachi resident right now. First, there is a residence festival – and the university festival for that matter – going on, and the sidewalks of this little suburban area see their rare share of bustling crowds. What little space there is left is occupied by stalls selling food – and I am talking a lot of food. The second thing is, for the first time since moving to Japan, my toiletries hit their golden rate of exhaustion. Sorry, I coined that term. To put it simply, everything all but ran out at the same time – soap (I refuse to call it body foam because I feel emasculated), shampoo, facial wash, toothpaste. I had been loving this strictly theoretical occurrence, and today it finally happened. This is subjectively groundbreaking because I have this obsession for buying all the things I need at once and never visit the supermarket again for extended periods of time. To make things better, my last razor blade just got dull, and I cooked all my rice this morning. Perfect.

Some time in the afternoon, to shop I went to the supermarket, walking instead of cycling because legions of victims of Japanese consumerism would roadblock me, and I couldn’t just spitefully run over them without getting deported. After one full loop in my playlist of Maroon 5 songs, I finally reached Seiyu, and started my purchase from the third floor – toiletries. Afterward, I returned to the first floor, and bought the most expensive bag of wash-free rice, because once in a while, I thought I deserved it. Then I moved to the overcrowded register.

Read more…

A Letter to French, the Language

!!!WARNING!!! Parental Advisory: Explicit and Implicit Content. This post is not recommended for children ages 12 or below. I am writing to a language at least 400 years old, so he should be fine… but your children might not be.

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Dear French,

I believe you must be well acquainted with English by now, and as such, I am writing this letter to you in it. If you haven’t guessed by now, know that I do so to spite you. Dear French, I hate you.

I hate how you are like a whore; you look gorgeous and sound sexy, but when I get hooked you give me syphilis. I hate the way you make me choke when you whip out your Rs. I hate maths; by extension I hate how you make me do 4×20+11 instead of 90+1. And the fuck is with your grammar? I hate it.

Your verbs have more transformations than rainbows have colors. Remember English? All it has: the verb word, third person singular present form, present participle, past form, past participle. Five, and I am filing a perfectly comprehensible complaint to you in it. But you have to make things so complicated. Simple past is not simple, imperfect past is perfectly confusing, and compound past is the most common past tense you have? Frankly, I can only afford to give unconditional hate to your conditional verb forms.

In a way, you are like Japanese with your crazy chameleon verbs, except that the Japanese actually have the decency to pronounce every letter they write. An interesting concept you have, that just by the way the words are written, you can tell whether something is singular or plural, male or female. But what on Earth is the difference it is going to make, when you pronounce them all the same? Need I remind you that -ent has three letters, and that means ink, written or printed? But no, you have to make it silent. Fuckent.

I hate your vocabularies. You make me feel like I’m a douche while taking a bath, and like I’m intoxicated when I consume fish.

And although this is not a problem unique to you, where did you ever get the idea that each and every single noun having a gender is beautiful? Most of them don’t even fornicate. And as a proponent of freedom, I believe that I should have my individual liberty to assign any gender I want to my left nostril.

The only thing I can appreciate about your gender fetish is how you made “hand” female. How ingenious. How considerate of you toward your garçons who touch themselves at night. Then again, you basically condemn all your filles to lesbianism. While we are at it, you also condemned said garçons to heterosexuality. Not that I mind, but do expect another letter from the Human Rights Council in the future.

Tomorrow I will have to do you in the exam. Believe me, I hate the thought of it as much as you do. But remember this: you hooked me first; now I am going to stick with you till the end. Languages do not own me; I own them.

Yours illiterately,

Steve

Thieve and Be Thieved – A Story About Retaliation

(This is going to be sweet and short~)

<<Friday, 18 November 2011>> 18:30 ~

An average day it was, with average weather and overall average pleasantness. I had just had the usual debate practice in the university library, in what I believe had been a soundproof room, mind you, and we were all going home. Well, not all. I am known for being hungry, and that day was not an exception. Having accompanied a friend of mine walking to the station, me on my bike, I looked around for options around the shopping district of Kunitachi. My heart settled on Yayoi-ken, a popular restaurant where lonely people like myself enjoy our infinite helping of white rice. Little did I know, as I ignorantly munched my deep-fried seafood that evening, something very, very evil was unfolding outside.

The closest bicycle parking lot outside had always been in front of McDonald’s and Seiyu, a huge department store whose cheap prices draw the consumer out of you. I alone would not dare contest the belief of our mayor, however absurd it seemed to me, that the spacious pavement there was not meant for parking bikes. But when you have the rest of the town backing you, breaking the law is a picnic, or so the whole town seemed to think. So none of us cared about the rules – there always were plenty of bicycles in front of the department store. Occasionally a bike or two would outstay their welcome, and angry Japanese police would confiscate them. But nothing serious should happen if you left your bike unattended only for a short, high-carb, fattening dinner.

You can imagine my surprise when my silver bike was nowhere to be found. Read more…

So What’s Up?

Much. But let’s start with the blog.

During the days this site was an abandoned ship, when the captain had apparently drove himself into an iceberg and drowned with the wrecks, there were still people searching for the remnants of the riches inside. And the ghost of the captain kept an eye of the visitors, watching eagerly what the scavengers found most precious from his treasured ship. And there… more than half a year after it sunk, the ship remained a draw for visitors.

Did I just go through all that verbose shit to tell you that my blog still has its readers? Whatever – my blog is awesome that way. It is still gathering a crowd of regular visitors after over six months of inactivity!

(And no, sis, if you were the one lurking around here all this while… do NOT disillusion me.)

I am pleasantly surprised that to this date, the most popular post in the site is still the little rant I wrote during my days at work back home. I still find it amusing how visitors ended up stranded there. And seeing as the top searches that led to this blog used keywords like “homework vs student mentality”, “insight of teachers”, I was equally astounded that people DO Google these topics- like, what, teaching is actually an occupation that people care for! Maybe my days of teaching ahead won’t be so dim at all.

Of course, some of them just accidentally wound up here after typing these: “huge tits japenese teacher and student”. I don’t remember ever using the words “tits” here, but I reckon THAT will net tons of views.

Read more…

…Boo!…

So half a year has passed since Steve last posted here, so he must finally have become tired of updating his blog, so it has come that is long overdue, so I heard he has been reduced to a lazy heap of flesh, so…

SO WHAT? Steve is alive and kicking! And no, he will keep *actively* posting. Take his definition of “active” with a grain of salt.

Brace yourselves, you small pool of faithful readers! He is back…

Pimples of the Earth

*People who try to find a point to this essay, don’t*

With the upsurge of apocalyptic movies as of recent, one message has – unnecessarily, owing to common sense – been made crystal clear to us: When the world ends, so will we. While my narrow perspective may never get what point they want to prove through the silver screen, I admit that all this Armageddon crap sometimes sneaks into my nightmares – and perhaps others’ too -, proof of the subliminal impact these movies have on our minds. With this ever spreading fear of The End, an ideal that found its way to the subconscious of the bourgeois society is perhaps the preventive “Eco-friendly” label, the popularity of which is popular among some people I know.

Then again, the invalidity of a harmless, optimistic corollary of the statement above is often less pointed out: Is it true that as long as the world doesn’t end, neither will we? In fact, despite whatever confidence they might have had in their survival, the forest-razing, land-carving civilization of gigantic monsters perished only to have their flammable remains fought over and spilled on the ocean by human beings. Who is to say that we will not just be a replenishment to the fossil-fuel reservoir of our planet, and be drilled by future dwarfs to run their lilliputian limos?

Read more…

Winter Resolution

It’s been ages since I last wrote in English. Last time I did, I drew inspiration from the leaves on the branches. Next thing I know, the greens were gone, and now the trees are bald as far as I can see, the state they were in back when I first saw them back in April. I now understand why ads of hair-growing products plague the TV screen in Japan. Here, in less than a year, everything goes bald – again.

To say that the trees returned to what they had been last year is a denial of their growth, though. There is no pause button for the vicious flow of time, and while some things *seem to* remain the same, in a reality that transcends superficial appearances, they are changing inside.

Take my blog, for example. While for months, it has seemingly been changing little more than the position of the winter sun in Antarctica does, it is actually going south fast taking a turn for the better. Or so the penguins and I want to believe anyway. Astronomical references aside, there are indeed astronomical differences in the activity of my blog compared to several months ago, including, but not limited to, the evaporating readership and authorship.

Did I put the word “reader” before “author”? My narcissistic bad. To clarify the correlation: the author gets lazy, and thus the readers too, not otherwise. And I do believe that I need more than one post per month to keep this thing going.

Read more…

Makanan Indonesia di Jepang = Syok

Telingaku yang baru mulai aktif sekitar jam 11 lantaran pola tidur yang berantakan beberapa pekan terakhir ini disambut oleh kebisingan di luar. Dung-dung-dunggg, dung-dung-dunggg. Untung aku lumayan kebal suara, pikirku. Betapa tidak, aku sanggup bertahan tidur tanpa menghiraukan alarm yang berbunyi lima menit sekali selama satu jam. Suara drum, bass, atau apapun yang mereka mainkan di luar itu harusnya sudah tidak levelnya lagi untuk mengganggu tidurku. Tapi akhirnya, begitu terbangun, mau tidur lagi juga tidak bisa. Liburan dalam rangka festival universitas… bisa enak, bisa tidak.

Setahun sekali, di universitas tempat aku belajar bahasa Jepang sekarang ini, diadakan festival “Gaigosai” yang intinya memperkenalkan budaya dan masakan aneka negara. Maklum, namanya juga universitas bahasa asing; kalau tidak serba internasional, apa lagi? Tentunya, di antara banyaknya pertunjukan eksotis yang digelar di lapangan yang sempit itu, selalu ada yang menyebabkan polusi suara. Suara alat musik yang menembus tembok dan jendela itu hanya salah satunya.

Apa boleh buat, alarm yang ini bertahan seharian. Budeg-ku juga kalah.

Headphone-ku yang tergeletak di atas meja seolah melambaikan kabelnya ke arahku, seraya berbisik, “Hari ini tutup telinga lu juga. Denger lagu, main game, biar yang ribut di luar gak kedengaran.” Tapi tekadku kali ini bulat. Setelah tiga hari libur berturut-turut yang habis sia-sia untuk menemani komputer, hari ini aku tidak lagi jatuh oleh rayuan itu. Untuk memperkuat iman, aku menoleh 90 derajat ke kiri, dan lenyap langsung bayangan laptop dari pikiranku. Cucianku yang menumpuk, berserakan di lantai.

Baca selengkapnya…

Summing Up Some Summer

After shying away for a whole month, the clouds are once again back in the sky. With the downpour washing away the lingering heat, the only thing that remains unconquered after weeks of unforgiving sun is my reluctance to restart my life with a new resolve for the fall term. Ah, sloth, so befitting to be my best friend…

At times like this, when my life seems to be stuck in a rut, I humor myself by reliving my past experiences,  trying to find something new in archives of old. Come to think of it, having surrendered myself for nineteen years to the ever torrid climate of my homeland – where seasons bear hardly any significance -, I found my first “real” summer to be a unique torture experience, where for just three months in a year, Japan put Indonesia to shame with its consistent >35°C (read: thirty-five-degree Cruelty) heat, which nighttime did little to alleviate.

Of course, other than the gracefully swollen figures on my electricity bill (thank air-cons for being so dearly convenient), my first ever summer holiday gave me quite a lot of things to cherish and remember. With all the spirit of Reminiscence, below I have noted all the notable events and activities that played their parts in my nonexistent self-development during those 47 days of free time.

Read more…

Paradoks dan Krisis Bahasa

Banyak orang yang bertanya alasan aku tidak memulai blog dalam Bahasa Indonesia. Aku sendiri tidak yakin, apa sebenarnya alasan keenggananku untuk menulis dalam bahasa negaraku sendiri. Lantas, aku mencoba mengangkat pena – atau tepatnya, menghantam keyboard – dan menuliskan kalimat-kalimat di atas, dan dalam tiga kalimat yang singkat akhirnya aku mengerti alasannya…

Bahasa Indonesia menyebalkan!

Sulit dipercaya bahwa beberapa kalimat sesederhana itu memakan lebih dari lima menit untuk diselesaikan oleh aku yang sudah menghabiskan sembilan belas tahun hidupku di tanah air tercinta itu. Kendala terbesar yang kuhadapi ternyata adalah menyampaikan ide di dalam kepalaku… dalam Bahasa Indonesia yang baik dan benar! Rasanya hampir dua dekade kuhabiskan dalam lingkungan yang memakai bahasa di luar aturan dan sangat terbatas. Mungkin hal itu menjadi faktor miskinnya perbendaharaan kata Bahasa Indonesia yang kuketahui, atau (tidak) mungkin aku lebih terbatas dalam bahasa dibandingkan dengan teman-teman sejawatku, tetapi aku berkesimpulan bahwa tanpa memakai bahasa “masyarakat” itu, hampir mustahil bagi orang-orang tamatan SMA sekalipun untuk menyalurkan buah pikiran mereka dalam bahasa yang baku.

“Kalau Bahasa Indonesia yang sesuai aturan itu sulit digunakan, mengapa berusaha menghindari bahasa yang kamu pakai sehari-hari itu? Ingin tampil perfeksionis?”

Baca selengkapnya…

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