Last week at work, the other foreign teacher got really sick and was out of commission for a few days. While this didn’t really affect my schedule too much, save for having to teach 3 extra classes over 3 days, and changing my schedule around on Saturday, it was very interesting to see how things operate at AEON and at my relatively small school in general. Since there are so few teachers at my school; 4 full-timers and 3 part-timers, when one person is sick or takes a day off or something, it really screws things around. That being said, it’s nearly impossible to take vacation days or anything, unless you want to royally bone your co-workers. This is an example of a situation at AEON, and in Japanese culture in general, where you’re not explicitly not allowed to do something, but doing so is so socially unacceptable or otherwise frowned upon that there is no way you could even consider doing it. It would be like meeting your boss’s wife, and instead of shaking her hand you German suplex her to the ground and do the Rocky victory dance. No one told you explicitly not to do that, but you just can’t do it. That being said, I doubt I’ll be taking any extra days off this winter break. Might be heading down to Kansai either way, although if I thought it would be possible to take off 2 extra days before Christmas, I’d be able to hang out with Nick in Kobe before he heads back to the States for break. This, my friends, is a prime example of giri.

Anyways, I had a great weekend. Saturday night after work I bolted to Soga and saw Death Note: The Last Name, the sequel and conclusion to the first Death Note movie. To quickly explain, the movie is based on a comic series that I read this past summer. A prodigy named Light finds a notebook that kills people when you write their name in it. He starts killing criminals, and the world-famous mastermind detective “L” is put on the case. It’s not an action movie, it’s not horror….it’s a little hard to describe. It’s like a really good drama with detective elements added. Either way, I highly recommend you download the first movie via your preferred illegal downloading methods, and enjoy. I’m pretty sure that there is an English subtitled version up somewhere. The first movie was really good, and pretty accurate to the original comics. The second movie, though, was even better, and had some really good plot twists that weren’t in the comic. The concept of this story is just amazing, and the movies did a really good job. You pretty much have two geniuses trying to outwit each other, one with a magic notebook and the other with the Japanese police force behind him. It might sound really hokey and stuff, but trust me, this is a damn good set of movies. Also, Takeshi Kaga, the guy who played the Chairman on Iron Chef, plays the police investigation chief (who happens to be Light’s father). Believe it or not, he’s a really good actor. Also many hot chicks in the movie, so you have a little bit of everything.

Here are the trailers for the first and second Death Note movies. I found them on YouTube.

Hit up Costco on Sunday, which was everything I hoped it would be. Met up with Blanchard and waited for the Costco bus outside of Kaihim Makuhari station. The bus was really late or something, and I think we were waiting in the rain and cold for almost an hour, but it was totally worth it. First we ate a ton of food, mainly the giant Costco pizza which we couldn’t finish. We then went shopping and I bought some of the stuff that is near impossible to buy anywhere else in Japan. Namely, a jug of Picante salsa and 3 bags of Tostitos. The great thing about Costco is that they have a ton of American stuff, but to make that even better, it’s all super cheap and pretty much the same as it would be in the states. It was also funny that when we entered, I showed my Dad’s old Costco card, but the lady checking cards noticed that there was no picture on the back of “my” card. So I had to go to the customer service desk, where I thought I had been caught. No, not at all. I gave him my ID, which obviously doesn’t have my Dad’s name on it, but they must have thought “oh well, foreigners must have weird names,” and he took my picture and put it on the card. I’ll now never have problems getting into Costco. Also, I’m pretty sure that the American and Japanese Costco systems are not connected, so they can’t tell that I’m using an old (and probably expired) membership card. Woo-hoo!

And, since they have so many American products there, they also had this monstrosity. The signature of Mr. Patrick Ellison: