Sunday, February 27, 2011

Giant Pineapples and the Kumano River

Yesterday, I went bike riding around town and into Mie Prefecture. (The next state/provence over). I would love to regale you with tales of my arduous journey, but alas, it only took about 20 minutes to get from my apartment to the other side.

I decided upon three directional options once I reached Mie. Judging by the scenery, I picked the wrong one. It's not that smoke stacks and a Circle K weren't fantastic, but I already had both in my own area. Fortunately, there is always next time.

After I returned to Wakayama, I continued riding around the Kumano River. I enjoyed the scenery, the pink clouds which softly glowed over the mountains as the sun set, then passed by a temple, and of course, a giant pineapple-shaped palm tree.

Wait; what?

Yes, that's right; a giant-pineapple-shaped palm tree. Although it seems such trees are sub-tropical, and, as such, make as much sense in Japan as the other types I've seen, I have never seen that kind before. It was so very whimsical. Just another of the wonderful things I am able to stumble upon as I live in Japan.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Japan Hates my Left Leg

Yesterday, while riding my bike home from the grocery store, I was hit by a car. I was knocked off my bike, I hit my head, landed on my knee and my hands. My grocery bags flew out of the bike basket; it was a grand kerfuffle. Luckily, I landed away from traffic, in the parking lot of a convenience store. Convenient? Oh, how right they were!

I was so happy to be a girl as I sat on my bum in the lot of Lawson, crying my eyes out over my skinned knee. It hurt like &#$% and I had no need to pretend otherwise. I had not merely fallen off my bike, I had the assistance of a moving vehicle to jolt me! I was not comfortable.

In truth, though the pain was cumbersome, I was more bothered by the symbolism of it coupled with my terrible week and the fact that I had plans for the evening. I really did not want a car accident keeping me from the gym! (*sigh* But, so it goes...).

I was all jumbled as the bystanders asked me about an ambulance; it happened very quickly. I nearly refused one, because it didn't seem necessary, but, recalling that my head was hit, I decided it was worth getting checked out.

Verdict: Clean bill of health, but my knee is going to hurt for a while. (Apparently, so is my head and neck... -_-)

The women who hit me, to my surprise came to the hospital to pick me up and take me home. They also retrieved my bike for me. This was on top of paying my medical bills as required by Japanese law. I was quite touched.

I was extremely lucky. When being hit by a car on a bike, it certainly could have turned out worse! I'm so lucky to have ended up with only a minor injury!

However, I have now ridden in an ambulance thrice; all times in Japan and all times because of my left leg, so, Japan, my dear friend, I must ask you: Why no love for Lefty? Has it done something to wrong you?

I know "left" means sinister in Latin, but I haven't found any problems with Lefties here. I am a Righty, actually, but my leg, my leg... for some reason they want my leg!

Coincidentally, yesterday was Setsubun. It is the first day of spring in Japan. For Setsubun, people throw beans out of their houses, or at demons to get rid of the bad luck from the previous year. 2010 had me feeling like a bit of a schlemazel, so, I bought some setsubun beans, complete with demon mask! (Relax, it's for kids―sheesh). Since they did get thrown, albeit from my bike basket, does that count for the ritual? Oh, good gods, I hope so!