I know I've always been a rather cynical person, whether I choose to admit it and/or fight it or not, but recently I've found myself hating the Internet more and more. Part of the problem is that after years of sitting in front of a computer screen, I just don't want to do it any more. I spend all day at work in front of several computer screens, so why should I go home just to sit in front of one of those same screens until it's time to go to sleep? It's not just that, though... in an age of mindlessly clicking on "like", or where any person can mindlessly and anonymously comment on anything that they feel NEEDS their input, where there are no penalties or consequences for improper grammar or good ol' fashioned stupidity, I feel like there's no personality behind the internet. More and more, the people I know and care about seem to turn into faceless numbers that aren't much different than anyone else using the Internet that I don't actually know. It sounds like the plot to a million bad movies, but it really does kind of seem like the more time people everywhere spend using the Internet, the less meaning anything that appears on it actually has.
ANYWAY... the point of all this is that my blog and my flickr account have both fallen out of use because I don't like spending time in front of my computer unless I'm talking to Miwako. Even my website, kurtasbestos.com, which I had such fantastic visions for, is finally gone now that I've come to admit to myself that I'll never do anything with it (which has also resulted in a million broken image links on this here blog here). Friends and family who are actually interested in what's happening in my life tend to get the relevant information from me without depending on my blog or facebook status updates anyway, so I figure the world isn't missing out on much. But hey, I still have dumb old blog, and I would still like to make some sort of attempt to communicate with the outside world (at least, outside of Japan), so I'll try it today and see how long it lasts.
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After going to Japan last winter in order to make up for the one summer I missed, I wanted to make it an annual tradition in the manner of my "Road to Rising Sun Rock Festival in EZO" series of visits to the land of the rising sun. Rock Festival. in EZO. I didn't think I'd be able to pull it off this year, though, so I instead tricked Miwako into coming to Seattle for New Year's Eve and such. But then between my birfday and Garstmarst, I got a bunch of money (that I had originally intended to put towards making one of my mopeds go faster than 30 mph), and I bought a ticket to Sapporo.
Not including my initial year-long stay in Otaru, this was my 8th visit to Japan in as many years. It was also the shortest trip I've ever taken to Japan, considering I didn't arrive in Sapporo until late Thursday night (after about 25 hours in transit), and I left late Sunday night. I didn't spend any time in Tokyo for the first time ever, other than at the airports where I had all kinds of time to kill in between flights (I had never actually had a connecting flight to Sapporo before.. I've always flown to Tokyo with one airline and bought my next ticket separately). I also didn't tell anyone I was going... we ended up meeting with Erina, but my other friends in Japan didn't know I was there until after I had already left. Of course I wanted to stay longer, but for various reasons I was unable to. That's okay, though, because I had a mission to accomplish on this trip.
We had a nice dinner. I forgot how delicious horse is. To all you animal lovers (or, more specifically, non-animal-eaters, since Miwako and I both love animals), I feel like you shouldn't be any more offended by the idea of eating a horse than the idea of a cow or a goat or a lamb or a deer or some other similarly-shaped animal. They're all the same. It's equally sad when any one of them dies just to be eaten by humans. No, it's not. Horses are dumb. They deserve to get eaten more than any of those other animals.
In the morning, we made our way to Sapporo, and after some shopping went to the Sapporo Snow Festival. We didn't have a lot of time, but it was a lot of fun, and we both agreed that the best of show was this thing:
After that, we went to Zenibako to meet up with her family again. Expecting a casual dinner with the family, we instead walked into the house to have her sister & family go hide upstairs and her dad ask me to take a seat across the living room table from me and say "so I hear you have something to say to me". Then came the barrage of questions that were mega hard to understand because of his mega strong accent. Meanwhile, Miwako was kind of half-asleep and distracted by the dog, so I was mostly relying on Mom to be my interpreter. About 30 minutes later he said "okay" (though even that had to be clarified by Mom because I was so damn nervous and worn out by that point), and Miwako and I had her parents' blessing to get married. Dip!
On Saturday, we headed to Otaru for the Snow Candle Road Festival thing. It was as beautiful as last year, though it was a little more crowded being the weekend and all, and there weren't as many igloos.
Eventually we found a place that wasn't crawling with people (possibly because it was behind a giant wall of snow overlooking the Otaru canal, which made it cold and windy as shit) and I presented her with the secret gift that wasn't at all a secret and that we had gone shopping for the previous day together. Then I put a ring on Miwako's finger and she "officially" became my fiancee. Success! After that we met up with Erina for some delicious ramen, then for some delicious cocktails at Bar Modern Times. Another first for this trip: I didn't go to karaoke because we ran out of time.
On Sunday we relaxed around Miwako's place, walked to the onsen which I had been to a million times before during Rising Sun (but never before during winter), and had another nice dinner. At night, she took me to the airport, and I began the super long return journey to Seattle. Like I said, WAY too short. But I accomplished my main goal of the trip, and later this year Miwako and I will be married. FUN+1!!!
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So yeah, the whole point of this ridiculously long blog post that very few people will even see, and even fewer will actually read, is to announce my engagement. Ridiculous, yes, but isn't it better than something like:
KURT BEST is engaged to MIWAKO HATANAKA.
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