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Sub: HELPLOL, I had to read it twice while I laughed myself silly. Before heading next door to save Stephanie from the pigeons, I began the following email conversation.
Anyone near our dorm and aren't afraid of pidgeons?!?!
There are pigeons in my floor's laundry room. They pooped everywhere. I told the dormitory office people and they told me to get rid of them! I tried to open the window but I can't get there. They seem to fly everywhere whenever I get close them or the window.
Me: LOL! I hope you take pictures, lots of pictures (~O~)
Stephanie: I tried to get rid of them like 3x. And, I went "Kyaa!!" all 3 attempts (when I hear them or see them flapping)
Me: damn, lol. I'm working this into my 宿題(homework). 「ステファ二ーの洗濯機でピジョンを片付けることほど勇気の要ることはない.
Stephanie: LOL!! COME HELP ME AND STOP MAKING FUN OF ME! AT LEAST YOU CAN GO "KYAA" TOO~
2 harmless pigeons, that I simply shooed out the window (after opening it) with the help of Stephanie's umbrella. In fact, I was in the middle of opening the window when I decided to re-close it and find Steph to witness the removal of her pigeons. When I turned towards her room (just down the hall from the laundry room) we surprised each other. She wasn't expecting to see me, and I wasn't quite prepared for her anti-pigeon gear.
All in all, a moment worth remembering for the laughs and ridiculousness. Unfortunately, in the wake of the pigeons, the laundry room was left somewhat of a mess.. thus the title of this exciting blog entry: the attack of the pooping pigeons.
After our late night on Tuesday, Wednesday morning didn't fare as well as we'd hoped. Both mine and Lora's alarms went off on time, but as we Canadians do so well, we turned them off and went back to sleep. Until 10. As it turned out, neither of us really minded getting off to a late start, seeing as it was our holiday, we decided to relax and just enjoy ourselves.
At the train station, we purchased our tickets for the following day, and then made our way to the bus stop for our day trip. Since the bus wasn't due for nearly an hour, we had time to find a bakery in the eki basement, and we packed up a few provisions for the road. According to the guide books and bus schedules, the bus ride to Jozankei should have taken about 50 minutes, and so we looked forward to a leisurely breakfast on the bus. We should have taken the national holiday into account and better prepared, because with the amount of traffic on the roads leading out of Sapporo, the bus trip ended up taking 2.5 hrs, and our breakfasts had to tide us over for an extra 90 minutes of boredom and hunger. As a result, when we finally reached our destination, we were a bit restless and eager to start sighteeing.
To begin with, we found the Jozankei Tourist Information Center slash Tourism Museum. In reality, this was a building full of random pamphlets, maps and stuffed animals, in the creepy sense of the words. For seemingly no reason at all, the museum showcased the following:
anyways, after grabbing some handy walking maps, Lora and I eagerly headed back outside to see what awaited us in Jozankei.
Wikipedia's Description of Japanese mythical creatures: the Kappa
Kappa are mischievous troublemakers. Their pranks range from the relatively innocent, such as loudly passing gas or looking up women's kimonos, to the more troublesome, such as stealing crops, kidnapping children, or raping women. In fact, small children comprise one of the gluttonous kappa's favorite meals, though they will eat adults as well. They feed on these hapless victims by sucking out the entrails (or blood, liver, or "life force", depending on the legend) through the anus. Even today, signs warning about kappa appear by bodies of water in some Japanese towns and villages. Kappa are also said to be afraid of fire, and some villages hold fireworks festivals each year to scare the sprites away.
Kappa are not entirely antagonistic to mankind, however. They are curious of human civilization, and they can understand and speak Japanese. They thus sometimes challenge those they encounter to various tests of skill, such as shogi (a chess-like game popular in Japan) or sumo wrestling. They may even befriend human beings in exchange for gifts and offerings, especially cucumbers, the only food kappa are known to enjoy more than human children. Japanese parents sometimes write the names of their children (or themselves) on cucumbers and toss them into kappa-infested waters in order to mollify the creatures and allow the family to bathe. There is even a kind of cucumber-filled sushi roll named for the kappa, the kappamaki.
Once befriended, kappa have been known to perform any number of tasks for human beings, such as helping farmers irrigate their land. They are also highly knowledgeable of medicine, and legend states that they taught the art of bone setting to mankind. Due to these benevolent aspects, some shrines are dedicated to the worship of particularly helpful kappa. Kappa may also be tricked into helping people. Their deep sense of decorum will not allow them to break an oath, for example, so if a human being can dupe a kappa into promising to help him, the kappa has no choice but to follow through.
Alright then, as I was saying, Jozankei was filled with various Kappa monuments and paraphenelia. Between the statues and artwork, we were inspired by the beauty of the quiet little mountain town, and its natural serenity in things such as the stairs to Iwato Park, and dangling suspension bridges. As an added bonus, because we were there during Golden Week, giant flying fish were suspended over the village, added colour and vibrancy to the sights.
Arriving in Sapporo, Lora and I exchanged messages planning to meet at the travel center I remembered at the Eki. There, I found pamphlets on all of the places I wanted to visit, and got to use the free internet for a few minutes before Lora found me. We chatted on the walk back to her dorm, when she informed me that since the last time I'd seen her, she'd met Mark, her boyfriend, broke her arm, and been to Honshu for 10 days to see Kyoto, and surrounding areas. I was blown away, to hear that she'd had to experience going to a Japanese hospital (by herself!) and enjoyed first hand the Japanese medical system. (from what I hear, nowhere near what we're used to from back home.. in fact, her cast wasn't even a cast, and as a result, her elbow doesn't seem to have set properly, and she'll probably have to go to physio when she gets home to deal with that... the poor thing). But, despite the traumatic possibilities, Lora told the story with her usual happy spin, making light of the worst points, and stressing on the laughs she managed to find in the situation.
When we got to Sosei, her dormitory, we dropped off my bags and headed out to a group dinner at a nearby Chinese Food Restaurant. I enjoyed just sitting back and spending the time with a new group of people, a new group with new stories, new laughs, and new points of view. Unfortunately, the majority of the group (including Mark, the new boyfriend) were Americans, so everything was in English, but it was still nice just to be around new conversations. After dinner, we hit the combenie and picked up some drinks and food for the week, after which we returned to the dorm and snuck me in past the front desk where the bachans stood guard. From there, we set up my futon (Lora's room was big enough to fit my futon, my suitcase and me.) and stayed up late visiting with Anne (Lora's French neighbor who I'd met the last time in Hokkaido) and reminiscing about Canada/Edmonton/UofA/etc.