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    Cozy domestic scene

    Just saw Atsushi off at the station. I have to go in to the office today, and things are easier for him at work on Monday if he doesn’t take the last flight and get back to Kyushu late. That meant I had about twenty-six hours to help him recharge.

    Yesterday he was tired as usual–insufficient sleep is really common among office workers here–so after we had tea in our new Froot Loops-inspired cups, he napped while I finally got around to writing a few letters. (You’ll have no trouble believing I’m the fountain-pen-and-linen-paper type, yeah?)

    One envelope for my best friend from high school. She lives in Toronto now, and up until a year or so ago, we were really good about calling and writing once every two months or so. But you know, you get busy, and you figure you can always e-mail, and then you just sort of don’t. Meaning that I’m just now answering her Christmas card.

    Inside another envelope, a letter to my first American gay friend in Japan, a former colleague now in his late forties who’s been with his Japanese boyfriend for…jeez, it must be going on fifteen years?…anyway, they’re two of the buddies who helped me through my twenties by listening to my bitching and doing their you’re-not-seriously-going-to-date-that-organism-are-you-sweetie? duty when necessary. No, I’m not going to tell you how often it was necessary. I will say that, naturally, they love Atsushi.

    They moved back to the States a few years ago, and they’re going to kill me if I don’t take them up on their invitation to visit them in Oregon one of these days; but for now, all I can manage is to answer not only their Christmas card but this random package they sent me a few months ago. It had a bag of truly frightening cheap-o candy in it–garishly-colored fake hamburgers and french fries and stuff–with a bunch of jokey post-it notes attached and a thinking-of-you message scrawled in magic marker. It came on a day that really needed some brightening up (some friends seem to have a sixth sense about that), and I wrote a thank-you e-mail right away and swore I’d produce a real, proper, witticism-filled, intimate letter that weekend. I think that was…November?

    Look, at least I e-mailed right away.

    And no, those are not the only people I owe letters. Everyone else gets tackled tomorrow.

    Speaking of tackling–hell, speaking of e-mails–while I was making brunch this morning, we had one of the Sunday political yak shows on, and the whole deliciously inane debate over that supposedly incriminating e-mail from Takafumi Horie instructing that money be paid to Chief Cabinet Secretary Tsutomu Takebe’s younger son ( Nikkei Japanese report, Yomiuri English report–love the headline!) was the story of the day.

    Those who haven’t lived here seem to assume, because of the Japanese cultural reputation for inscrutable politeness, that government proceedings are executed with a “With all due respect to my esteemed colleague from Aomori Prefecture, I believe that he is under something of a misapprehension” tone.


    They showed Takebe getting windily indignant in front of a press conference, which was only marginally entertaining. Then they showed Prime Minister Koizumi and DPJ leader Seiji Maehara (is it my imagination, or does he look more like Nefertiti every time he appears in front of a camera?) blustering at each other in the Diet. I couldn’t pay close attention from the kitchen, but it was the expected “You’ve proved nothing!” and “We need time to see whether we can prove something–it’s a freakin’ Swiss bank account!” stuff. As always, there was angry burbling in the background that you figured might erupt, which would have been all kinds of cool. We LOVE uproar in the Diet. Unfortunately, things didn’t explode. Papers didn’t fly through the air, water pitchers remained un-upended, and things just sort of stayed at the percolating-animosity level. But hey–there’s plenty of time for things to get more complicated and vicious, and this is already more fun than Rathergate!

    Off to work.

    Added over slovenly-bachelor busy-day lunch of Big Mac, fries, and Coke: Atsushi reads this blog and asks me questions about cultural references and slang he doesn’t get, so I know that tonight, I’ll pick up my cell phone when it rings and hear, “Hi, dearest. What are Froot Loops?” Froot Loops are a super-sugary breakfast cereal. When I was little, I only ate at friends’ houses or my grandmother’s. My parents bought only unsweetened cereal most of the time. But of course, you couldn’t miss the ads unless you didn’t have a TV, and it’s a pretty universally-known consumer-culture artifact.

    This is also a good opportunity to point out that the pro-Denmark gathering in DC took place as planned over the weekend. Instapundit naturally has pictures.

    4 Responses to “Cozy domestic scene”

    1. Flea says:

      Another child of a strict upbringing… I only at Cap’n Crunch at a friend of the family’s house.

    2. Alan says:

      I was supposed to send a birthday present a friend.. in July. Needless to say, I never got around to that. One of these days…

    3. Sean Kinsell says:

      Flea, in my case, the strict upbringing did what it was supposed to (well, as far as breakfast cereal goes): when I got to college and realized I could eat Apple Jacks every day for the rest of my life, it was a major thrill for, you know, a week or so. Then I started wanting proper eggs and stuff again.

      Alan, the nice thing about birthdays is that, if you’re resolute enough about your slothfulness, you can just buy an extra-lavish present this coming July and pretend it had been your intention to store up value for it all along. Of course, it helps if it’s a milestone birthday.

    4. Mark Alger says:

      At least you get the emails out in a more-or-less timely manner. I keep emails in my Outlook inbox on my principle computer (at the moment a laptop that is always with me) until I get around to responding to them.

      I have a note from my youngest sister dated 6/20/2004 (about some family geneaology);

      one from my wife dated 10/30/2004 (asking me to do some repairs on a dresser for our daughter);

      and one from my mother from back in December (bracing me about how I’m treating my diabetes).

      All owed responses, all sitting there like an epistolary Fast (from the VW commercials) demanding I make friends with my Inner Thomas Jefferson, all giving me a serious case of Judeo-Catholic guilt for my pusillanimous procrastination in replying to them.

      I’ve been one poor correspondent…


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