On sacrificing one's liver for culture:
So part of the thing is trying to get out and talk to people. But where do you go to meet new people in a strange town?
Bars, of course.
Which means a fair bit of drinking.
The results have been interesting, though... Wednesday, it turns out, was a holiday. (I had planned to go down to Sakai to meet the local Seido group, but got a message Tuesday night that Wednesday was holiday for the spring equinox. Cool, just wish I'd known earlier.) So I took myself out Wednesday night. It was pretty slow, as everyone went out the night before their day off - duh. Still, I biked downtown and ended up at Mojo Bar. Had the place to myself for a while, had a good little bit of talk with the bartender, a musician with good English; we talked about how the Japanese aren't "really religious", though he was raised Buddhist. He had two crucifixes behind the bar, decorations, the way an American might display a Buddha statue. (One of the crucifixes lit up, Rachel would have loved it.)
In walked a British guy, in town for a friend's wedding. As the only two native English speakers there, of course we struck up a conversation...over a few more drinks. I think it was around 3am when I headed home.
And here I am, out in a bar (The Cellar) again, after a day trip to Kyoto. Went to Daitokuji, a Zen temple complex. Most of the temples are closed to the public, a few are open; gives the place a nice feel, a balance of "come on in, but we are doing some serious work here." Lovely gardens. One place offers daily zazen, though it's at 7am in a city that's an hour away; still, I might check it out sometime.
Tomorrow, plan is to go see the Dali exhibit at the Suntory museum (which it turns out, is on my side of town, down by the waterfront, so I'll get down there) with Liz and company.
A little while later, at Mojo Bar...down the other end of the bar, a white guy putting the moves on a lovely young Nihonjin lady, and it occurs to me that if nothing else, international romance make racism and blind nationalism that much harder, harder to hate people of another race or nation or religion once you've been to bed with one. So in the name of world peace, I wish him luck. (Velvet Underground in playing on the stereo now, Lou Reed singing "Heroin", not relevant but noteworthy still.)