Well after a whirlwind trip to Osaka I came back to the departure of Jeff. He left first thing this morning on the train, so it's been quite a hard day. I don't think Edel's leaving hit me at all till now either (she's only in China! she could come back at any time! is what I think I keep telling myself), and I'm now really feeling the effects of having lost probably my 2 closest friends here in Honjo. It is amazing how much this shared experience brings people together, people you never would have met otherwise and you become so close so fast with. I now know how Amelie must have felt last year, dealing with split emotions of saying goodbye to friends while trying to be friendly-genki to us new folk, changing the relationships you're investing in so abruptly, and she was doing it ten-fold! Anyway, I'll miss Edel and Jeff, but I wish them the best of luck in their new lives; I know I'll see them again someday soon enough.
And thanks to Coldplay for the song that made the title of this post, which has really set the mood of the day, and probably at least a few more days to come. As a carrot-treat which has been keeping me somewhat upbeat, I got a new car yesterday!
And oh yeah, summersonic. My first music festival. In truth, I don't think I'll ever go to one ever again. Well, maybe. It was excellent for hearing and getting hooked on new music, possibly a refreshing change from the same 10 or so bands that I've been listening to for years. It was a scorching hot day, and I was pretty terrified of getting heatstroke and passing out unnoticed somewhere, so I concentrated on staying hydrated and in the shade. But the festival did give me a newfound respect for Japanese pop artists, and Alicia Keys, who was probably the best performance I saw all day, although she spoke continuously throughout her set in English, which did not impress the crowd too much. In general Japanese concerts seem to be a little less fun than what I'm used to, no singing along and basically no dancing. A favorite band from New York was there and they tried to do a little repeat after me action on a song, which failed miserably. I also stopped by Fatboy Slim - had no idea what a weird guy he was. Of what I saw, he spent most of his time sitting on the edge of the stage dangling his legs and leering at the audience, or alternatively lying flat on his back motionless on the stage. Coldplay was a real crowd pleaser, Chris Martin making practiced comments in Japanese at almost every break. At one point they broke away from the main stage to a smaller side stage closer to where I was, very exciting indeed. Here are some low-quality pics I illegally snapped with my phone (they didn't allow cameras).
coldplay, really close to me
The following day I explored Osaka and met up with a seriously old friend I hadn't seen since junior high school, Ryo. We were in school together in Germany, pretty random. Although we easily recognized eachother from afar, and both said we didn't think the other had changed too much (except of course Ryo is now a fluent English speaker). He brought us to an excellent restaurant to sample the famed local culinary attractions, and we had all the yaki - takoyaki, okonomiyaki, and yakisoba. Delicious, and indeed better than in Akita. Afterwards we visited the Osaka Castle Park which was lovely but unfortunately our energy was already zapped for the day and we had a long trip back to Honjo ahead of us. I'll be seeing Osaka again in September; I'm now eagerly planning out Gina, Marge and Noura's visit. :))))
ryo and me
an Osaka Castle Park band with lots of fans
Ryo and my elusive traveling partner, Jon. Check out Ryo's Manhattan Portage bag - he knows what's up.
This guy is some famous character on a billboard. Of course his head is in omiyage lollipop form!