March 30th, 2005

Manga Me

"Fleur and Mad Dog II: World Tour"

In college my friend Greg gave me the nick-name Mad Dog. Though it never stuck quite like Big Grumpy did with my Alliance crowd, and an interesting side effect of the “Mad Dog” label was how perfectly it fits with Fleur’s to produce a good movie title. Thus, the Mad Dog and Fleur movie was born, named "Fleur and Mad Dog." Though no actual script was created, it was decided that, had one been, it would easily be the greatest action, adventure, psychological thriller, romance, comedy, expressionist film ever made. Furthermore, the movie would obviously splinter off into… "Fleur and Mad Dog: The Animated Series."

So it comes to pass the sequel was formed. Fleur’s short two day visit was really wonderful. We went to the World Expo on Tuesday, which I will review at a later date (when I put up some pictures). But, let me just say Mag Lev Trains were looked at. They had the superconducting Mag Lev that went around 550 km/h (340 m/h) in tests, but only to look at - they did not have it running. They did have mag lev trains shuttling people around (but they did not work via superconductivity) I did not get to ride on one because Fleur and I had already bought an all day bus pass, and I thought the trains faired people around on the INSIDE of the Expo, not too and from it. But I would really like to go back to the Expo (as it is only $60 to get there and then about $40-50 for an all day pass) because there really was some neat stuff to see.

We rolled into beloved Daito about 9-10 that night. We went down and hung out with Chris and Flora which was a lot of fun. That went on for quite some time, until bed in fact. Today we got up late. Fleur was happy her system seems to finally have conquered jet lag, but she goes back to the States in 2 days, so it isn’t much of a victory, and will probably feel like a defeat when she is in the States. For brunch we went to Mr. Donuts, a treat for everyone. Like all sane and rational people, Fleur fell in love with the Pon de Lion. Next we went to the aquarium which Fleur really loved. It was nice because Fleur majored in biology so she could tell me all kinds of stuff about animals I did not know. Plus the animals seemed to appreciate a biologist presence because they were all really active and out and about. Hurray for animals! Hurray for biologists! Hurray for Fleur!

Then we went to lunch and Fleur at chicken, which made me feel a sense of great satisfaction. Fleur is a vegan. I am a strict carnivore. Japan also seems to think that fish is a vegetable so it is admittedly hard for people like Fleur. All the same, I felt a certain sense of twisted joy watching her eat meat. I think it is what the aggressive vegan must feel when they “convert” someone by making them watch grisly meat butchering videos. So here was Fleur eating a chicken sandwich, it was exquisite. I rather enjoyed being the serpent in the garden.

Alas, soon it was time to come back to my room, pick up her stuff, and head to Shin-Osaka so she could catch her shinkansen home. It is always sad to go to the train station as a duet and come back a solo.

Fleur also reminded me of Oberlin and got me a bit nostalgic, AGAIN. It is something about the shared vocabulary and experiences that makes me feel good. Flora and Chris have a tendency to talk about stuff from England and Ireland that only someone from England or Ireland would know. They have a shared experience that can leave other people out of the loop. They don’t do it maliciously. And it is rather cool and wonderful that they share so much vocabulary and experience. Dan and I can do it with stuff about Main Moon and Alliance, but compared to England/Ireland, Alliance just doesn’t have the same level of available conversations. So it was really wonderful and refreshing to have Fleur here and know that she walked a different path in Oberlin (oppose to say Katie or Dave that struggled beside me on our misbegotten horror of a major), but she still walked a path in Oberlin.

I can also slip into who I was at college around Fleur and I think she can do the same. We can be a bit more sarcastic and cutting. We can be meaner or sillier because we know the other doesn’t mean it. There is the safety of not coming off as a jerk. She understands that I like to take a jab at the hippies of Harkness and the “buy everyone in the world a puppy and the world would be in peace” idiots at Oberlin. In short, we can be the proud anti-Obie Obie alums.

I miss Fleur already. All my friends should move to Japan. Or better yet I should buy parts of Oberlin and Alliance and put them all on a giant rolling platform and just drive it around to wherever I may be. That way I can always have a little bit of the places I hold dear with me at all times. And by a “little bit,” I mean all of it.

So "Fleur and Mad Dog II: World Tour’s" final scene was two hugs outside the ticket gates of the shinkansen area. As the music swells and the scene fades to black the audience sees Mad Dog and Fleur walking away, each on their own path, each being swept away by the ebb and flow of the tides of humanity at a busy Japanese rail station. The audience is struck by the bitter-sweetness of it all. After all the adventures, after all the laughs, after all the growing – our protagonists must go on growing in different directions. The audience is allowed to drink deeply from the cup of life, and for a few moments vivaciously be Mad Dog or Fleur. It may not be the ending the audience desired, it may not be the ending the audience expected, it may not even be the ending the audience’s likes, but that is the way "Fleur and Mad Dog II: World Tour" ends. Roll credits.
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    nostalgic nostalgic