Birthday Panda

The panda blog has been in sore need of an update for a while now, sorry.

I turned 25 today. A quarter of a century. A third of my estimated life span. A depressing number which demands I stop referring to myself as being in my “early 20′s” and move on instead to “mid-20′s”, which places me just outside of the coveted “late teens – early twenties” demographic all the advertisers seem to go ga-ga for. Which is to say I can say good bye to racy beer and sports-apparel related ads and say hello the Aflac supplemental insurance duck and pointed sales informercials extolling the virtues of the latest Eurythmics greatest hits CD compilation. (hey man, sweet dreams are made of these…)


Correcting papers the other day I ran across this gem. It reads:
“To school uniform sex is comfortable because we don’t have to decide clothes everyday”

Heaven only knows what she was trying to say!!!

We celebrated on Saturday, a lovely night out on the town, though in my crotchety old age, I didn’t bother to bring a camera along (memory’s going…) and my feeble body threw in the towel somewhere just over the mid-night hump (ah, the late great memories of college-era panda tearing up State Street until the wee morning hours… now just dust in the wind… *sniff*), so helped by the lovely Tennis, stumbled my way back to my newly cleaned panda crib and fell asleep, only to awaken to a Sunday spent alternating between retrospective musings on life and feeling stuffed with cake (mmmm…. cake….).

Cleaning is something that I’ve always enjoyed, and in some ways I think this is because I want my external surroundings to properly reflect that inside of me, such that if I look around, I can feel like there is no discordance between that which lies within and that which lies without. So when these sort of mildly staggering markers like “quarter of a century” come to pass, I think it only prudent to follow that up with finally sweeping out the stale piece of cheesaaaah toahst (actually “moldy toast” at this point) that fell behind the washing machine about two months ago and which I have been meaning to do something about for roughly the past three weeks. I don’t know if it helped any or not, to be sure… these days I’ve been so very very tired and exhausted from work, that it’s all I can do to stay awake long enough to iron a shirt for the next day before hitting the sack – profound feelings having to do with the reconciliation of discordant spheres of emotion will have to wait for another, less exhausted day.


The strapping, towering lad who wrote this is one of the largest players on the baseball team.
It reads: “Hokkaidos is a very beautiful place. There are horsies.”

It’s wierd the way the pendulum swings sometimes. Just a few years ago, I never had anything to do and all the time in the world to spend staring up at my ceiling, crooked finger extending haphazardly towards the meandering imagined heavens, tracing peripheries of buddhas in the jagged outlines of the cracked spackle, thinking of how very very nice it might be if I was to come to Japan one of these days and see about a girl – one particular girl, as the case was – and sort out my life and all that mess. You know, your standard sort of disheveled disjointed borderline-angst filled ruminations of a member of that vaunted early-twenties demographic. Now I find myself in many ways, having fulfilled so many of those goals – sitting here in my non-cracked-spackle sporting apartment (somewhat too large for one solitary panda, as it were) in the middle of ura Nihon, having seen about that girl, successfully sorted out all of those things I had once wished I was – outgoing, extroverted, busy… no longer having any time for those sort of aimless meandering conversations of self I used to have in quiet dorm rooms on a saturday night, with that sickeningly sweet but oh so good beverage of choice, the $3.95 bottle of Arbor Mist – like Kool-aid and Nyquil mixed together with alcohol. Mmmmm mmm good.


Walking along the other day, I espied a bunch of flags hanging up from the ceilings for the upcoming school festival. There were flags from Sweden, and Norway, and Denmark…

I find I miss those sort of quiet moments. It’s like the calm right as you consider the perimeter of the tumult you’re about to plunge head-first into, sort of thinking about your goals, plans and all that mess. Next thing you know, you’re in it knee-deep and it’s all around you, that sort of commotion and noise and the din of confusion – that sort of confusion that is “trying to sort yo’ shit out and roll”, as one of my a-little-too-black-for-his-own-good caucasian friends would say, and all the while, I’m trying to navigate a course towards a goal I no longer remember, by means that are no longer valid, and I just don’t want to fall down that slippery, omnipresent slope towards inevitable mediocrity.

I don’t really know what else to write – pardon the rambling pointlessness up to this juncture.


And, I shit you not, an honest to god freaking huge NAZI FLAG. Hanging right outside the staff room. Stunned, I asked one of the teachers what this was all about. She replied “Oh, it’s a symbol of Germany, right…?” I was literally speechless. The flag is still up there, greeting me every morning as I come to work…

In the pipe for the next week and a half here on the panda blog:

1. Modifications on this layout to make it look a little more original (and to try and not be so blatant about borrowing large portions of other people’s stylesheets). Hopefully by friday.

2. Mistar panda takes to the podium for a rare instance of pontification as he goes off on the Kobe Bryant case and all that’s wrong with what they did to this poor guy.

3. Segueing from this to something that I’ve been meaning to write for a long time – a bit on what I would like to refer to as “Saving the Left from itself”. It’s hard, especially for an avowed liberal such as myself at a time as crucial as this election year, but sitting here in the relatively insulated isolation of Japan, looking back at all the mess that’s unfolding back in America, to know who to be more furious with – the close minded sexist, racist idiotic elitism of the right, or the close minded sexist, racist idiotic elitism of the left. Maybe get a little serious for a post or two here on the ol’ panda blog.

Or maybe not. I’m getting to be a lazy bastard in my old age, and that’s a lot of writing.

I wish I had something more clever to write. But most of all, I just feel old at this point.

Birthdays in this country never seem real. It’s like a nebulous fuzzy haze, amber filtering through trees and speckled sheaves of sunlight falling down in cascading piles onto my face, dust particles billowing up as if clouds born on light itself, and I’m surrounded in it, collapsing into futons and overstuffed pillows and comforters and sleep is a heavy blanket falling over draping, leaden eyelids that just want to close and roll over into darkness and it’s a miasma, but seductive and honey laden, invitiations to a somnabulatory sort of cataconism. I keep feeling like one day I’m just going to wake up and it will be over and I’ll be back in the real world and all of this will just be forgotten distant memories. The thing is, despite the pretenses to the contrary, time passes here as just as readily as it does anywhere else. The difference is, here, lulled into complacency by the shifting illusions and liliting murmurings, we may not come to realize this until it’s too late.

Now listening to: Dave Matthews Band – “Ants marching”

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