Stephen Starts a Diary: May 12th

5/12 Saturday

“What do you do on your days off?”

It’s a question that people ask more often than not, blissfully unaware that as a brokeass young comedian, I have no days off. 

Today for example, was a “day off” where I had no official work but rather spent the day with my comedy partner working on stuff for our act at a local park.  The weather was great, the stuff we were coming up with was coming along well, I got beaned in the back of the head with some kid’s baseball.

I don’t know if it qualifies as work but I certainly don’t feel like I had a day off.

PS, even though it’s probably the city-est city in the world, Tokyo still has its charming places of greenery.

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Stephen Starts a Diary: 5/6

5/6 Sunday

Today was the last day of Golden Week, the hellish week where every single Japanese person gets a week off of work.  Normally owarai comedians, being based in an industry predicated on the leisure dollars of the employed masses, are incredibly busy on vacation weeks like this one but I, after a string of gig cancellations and whatnot, was not.

Unfortunately, I also happened to catch a cold this week so I spent most of today layign around my small Japanese apartment feeling very sorry for myself.  I did get out for a walk (mainly just so my Apple Watch would stop yelling at me to exercise) but with it being the last day of Golden Week, my usual park of choice was supercrowded with families of people who either didn’t get out on their week of vacation or people who came back from their vacation a bit early.  It was not, unfortunately, all that relaxing.

Also, a kid ran over my foot with a tricycle.

Tomorrow brings the return of the working week and I have an English lesson first thing in the morning to get things started off right.  It’s my first lesson with a relatively higher up guy within the Yoshimoto corporate structure so we’ll just have to see how it goes.

Before the oncoming Japanese snow storm. (Kairakuen)

There’s supposed to be the biggest snowstorm in at least ten years heading into the region tomorrow. (Or maybe I misheard that… I probably did). Anyways, I decided to enjoy the last day of no snow for a couple of days (and the last day of my weekend) and took the forty-something minute trek out to Kairakuen in Ibaraki Prefecture.

One of the three “Great Gardens” of Japan (the others being Kenrokuen in Kanazawa Prefecture and Korakuen in Okayama Prefecture), Kairakuen(偕楽園) was established in 1841 by a member of the extended Tokugawa Shogunate family, who, in a completely unprecedented move, actually opened his park to the public, thus helping to establish the concept of public parks in Japan. Though it was dead when I visited it today in the dead of winter, the garden is renowned for the beauty of its plum blossoms in the spring and a temporary train station is actually opened nearby to accommodate the onslaught of people making the two hour trek from Tokyo to frolic amongst the flower petals and drunk people (drinking and enjoying the beauty of nature go together here).

In other words, I’ll have to make a repeat visit in a month or two when the trees and grass aren’t a frozen mess. Until then, there’s a bunch of dead grass and leafless trees.