JET Programme: In Pursuit of Golden Cabbages

In a truly international event, I went with some other JETs to see an Argentinian film about a beautiful and notorious serial killer. The movie was in Spanish with Japanese subtitles, and I wanted to test the theory that my Italian skills would help me understand most of what I was watching. I understood about 70% of what was going on in the movie, which was refreshing, considering I understand about 1% of the Japanese that is spoken around me.

After the movie, we went to a curry place, which happened to have a 100 yen fortune telling dispenser. I couldn’t resist, so I picked up. In America, usually fortunes are mindless platitudes that could apply to just about everyone’s life. This is apparently not the case in Japan, where there are different types of fortunes ranging from positive to absolutely catastrophic.

Mine happened to be a mixed fortune, which one of the Japanese proficient JETs happened to beautifully translate for me on the spot. Here’s the less beautiful google translation:

The fortunes are upside down and disasters occur from heaven.  The problem that must be cleared up is likely to be exposed to a harsh environment where you look up heaven unintentionally as you pile up or get sick.  However, since it is time to learn about the kindness of a person, you can ask for help from someone without reluctance.  You can survive by doing so.  Don’t forget to thank for your daily relationships.  Health … I worry about cholesterol.  Try to reduce it.  Tomorrow’s fortune tomorrow today … If you have a taste for the hobby of your favorite person, GOO!  Money luck … Don’t carry more cash or cards than you need.  Lucky number 3.7+ color … orange ..

I’m not very superstitious, and I believe that we make our own fortunes in this world, but there are many things beyond our control. So, I bought some orange and blue pajamas for good luck. Hilariously, pursuing a hobby of my favorite person would mean getting into Classic WOW. I hate the art style of WOW, but I think I will try it out for at least a month…. maybe more in the winter months. As for relationships, I’m trying my best to reach out and make connections and friends in order to have some kind of support network. I couldn’t help but think of the Twilight Zone episode with a young (beautiful) William Shatner when I got this fortune.

This weekend was the annual Gunma Games, in which the four regions of Gunma competed for the glory of the golden cabbage. The lead up to these games also started a meme war on the event page. Initiated by a one man meme machine, Mr. Aidan from Tobu(green team), in a frenzied late-night mania, posted several memes to the Gunma ALT group facebook page. Some of the best memes:

In response to the late night night meme flurry, another ALT posted this.

The memes started to take it up a notch:

There were wholesome memes, too.

This dank meme battle set the tone for Saturday, as it mostly set people against the whole Tobu team. There were many defectors (read: traitors) from Seibu, to other regions, as other regions have fewer ALTs, thus recruit ALTs from the most populous region. There were many games, many of them cabbage themed (as this is what Gunma is known for).

I participated in the cabbage toss, in which you must YEET the cabbage the farthest in order to win. I felt confident in my strength ( it was a man/woman team for each region). While I used a football throw technique for the cabbage, Tobu team used an underhand throw which ultimately won them the cabbage toss game.

My back was in kind of weird way, so I decided not to fully jump into more of the physically challenging games. My friend that was holding the flag wanted to jump into the balloon stomp game (think N64 Mariokart battle mode), so I volunteered to hold the flag.

Derping with the flag

This violent flag filled me with patriotism and bloodlust for the glory of Seibu! I noticed many of the Seibu spectators were not gathering around the balloon stomp game to support our troops, so I called people over. The balloon stomp game was absolutely electric! Twists and turns! Trying to guard your balloon, whilst also trying to stomp out another’s! At the very end, in incredible show of athleticism, one of the Seibu players cartwheeled backwards to avoid getting stomped out, which left many in the crowd shooketh to the core. My friend managed to get the winning stomp in and everyone went absolutely bonkers on team Seibu after that.

After a full day of games, we waited as they tallied up the scores. In dead last, was Tobu, which most everybody felt happy about, because of the meme war. Seibu was crowned victorious!

All Glory to the Golden Cabbage!

Update: Mr. Aidan has also posted his version of the Games events.

Had many fun adventures this week! Tune in next time for more or check out my old posts:

JET Programme: Cats & Mall Rats

The Mandoue (万灯会) Candlelight Festival on Kannon-yama

JET Programme Week 3: Orientation 2: Electric Boogaloo

JET Program Week 2: Getting into the Groove

JET Programme: First Week

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Friday Faves: The Number 13

Walking under ladders, crossing paths with a black cat, and the number 13. These are all things that are said to bring bad luck. Today is Friday the 13th! This is a day where many people, especially in the U.S., have anxiety about going about their daily routines. It is also a day to watch scary movies and get cheap tattoos. I have always been a contrarian, however. I have found that 13 has been my lucky number.

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Mimi the cat. I don’t think she’s unlucky!

I often had the number 13 for my soccer jersey as a child, one of my favorite jobs was off of 13th street, and my boyfriend and I first moved in together in an apartment #13. A few years back when I was flying RyanAir, I looked for a seat on the 13th row and found that right after 12, they had 14! This is apparently very common as some buildings also skip the 13th floor and go directly to the 14th.

Lucky 13

I found when I lived in Italy, 13 was lucky:

In some countries, such as Italy, 13 is considered a lucky number.[18] The expression fare tredici (“to do 13”) means hit the jackpot. 17 is considered an unlucky number instead.[19] (Wikipedia)

It seems that I am not alone in my love of the number 13. What is your lucky number?

Jane Eyre (1996)

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This movie is my favorite adaptation of my favorite novel.  For those unfamiliar with the novel, it is written by one of the Bronte sisters (basically the Gothic cousins of Jane Austen). It is set in the 1800s in England, where poor little orphan Jane Eyre is just trying to make her way in a world that wants to crush her willful, wild spirit. After her family dies of a terrible disease she goes to live with her aunt and her children and they all are absolutely terrible to her and mistreat her.  So they send her off to boarding school, namely, an extremely hard-nosed, straight-laced boarding school with a penchant for telling little girls they are going to roast in hell for minor character flaws. Jane Eyre survives 10 years in this place and seeks out employment at the mysterious Mr. Rochester’s mansion to be a governess to an adorable little girl named Adele. Jane Eyre begins to develop feelings for the very dark and brooding Mr. Rochester and of course he has a dark secret hidden away.

This adaptation is my favorite mainly because of the casting. The young Jane Eyre is played by a young Anna Paquin, and she definitely captures the young punk attitude of the young and wild Jane Eyre before she has to keep her feelings bottled up inside herself. Jane Eyre is never described as beautiful in the book, she is described as plain and almost bird like. Neither is Mr. Rochester described as handsome.  I thought William Hurt did an excellent job of portraying him.

The script is wonderful and includes the important parts in the beginning of Jane’s life that are very important to understanding her character. Other film adaptations skip over her childhood trauma to get to the romance parts. While I liked the 2011 adaptation, the actors were too beautiful (looking at you, Fassbender) and blonde (?!) and so it was hard to see that Jane felt ugly and unwanted as opposed to the 1996 version, with the beautiful mirror shots in several parts of the movie. The 2011 adaptation definitely highlighted the gothic/horror elements of the novel, which I do wish was more in the 1996 version.

Ultimately, though, the 1996 adaptation of Jane Eyre is my favorite! I recommend everyone to watch it if you’re into tortured souls trying to find love despite circumstances and their duty obligations.