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Friday, December 2nd, 2005

We had a class today where I was the assistant. I don't mind those at all now that I am used. Today's lesson involved the students writing their own speech about something we were talking about. They had to use "uh-huh", "that's too bad", and "lucky you" in the little skit. Hey, it's in the book.

So a few groups go and they are average, nothing interesting. Then one group goes. A group with a really advanced kid that likes English and did very well on the English interview test. He tested at a 9th grade level as an 8th grader. So anyway, his group goes and it is something like this:

A: Are you going to see Harry Potter this weekend?
B: Uh-huh.
A: Lucky you. I really want to see it.
B: Do you want to go with me?
A: That would be great. I will drive.

Next Day.                  (they actually said that)

B: Oh, no I can't go to Harry Potter today.
A: Why not?
B: I forgot. I can't drive.
A: Why not?
B: I am only 13. I don't have a license. Or a car.
A: That's too bad.

The teacher and I were laughing since it was such natural English. The other kids didn't really follow it, but man it was great. Not only was the English great, it was funny. All the others were just a slightly (very slightly) modified version of the example in the book.

Later in the day they passed around a memo and then after that we had a meeting. After the 30 minute meeting an English teacher leaned over and said "all that, and the memo, was about how we should not drink and drive. Like we need a meeting about that". It wouldn't be Japan if we didn't have meetings and memos about that.

Oh I guess the big news of the area is the new tunnel opens tomorrow. It will save a decent part of the trip. Well no not really. It only saves about 1 minute, but it does cut down on a few nasty turns. The eventual plan is to loop the end part around and make the whole section flow really smooth. I will take pictures and draw a map later. There is another plan to cut out some of the narrow winding road in a different section. Once all that is complete more people will want to move out this way since it will be much easier to drive into Koriyama. That is good for this school and possibly me. Though I am not sure how long I will be staying here.

It would be nice to stay long enough to see some of these kids get jobs. Like after they graduate high school and then college, but that would be about 6-7 more years. It's possible, and I would have MAD BANK (that means a lot of money. But I don't know if I want to stay that long. Although my Japanese would be great and I would probably have traveled the world by then, so who knows. Right now I have no plan. I'm just going with the flow. I will make a decision around the 3 year mark. I have figured on staying at least that long. That's a good amount of time to see the full cycle of things and that would put my ES 4th graders as JHS students. I need to set a Japanese language goal. Maybe the JLPT Level 2 by December 2006. Maybe. Possibly. Esta El Posible. At least it would be a good goal.

Saturday, December 3rd

I am starting to see that people aren't exaggerating when they say it snows like 5-6 feet at a time. Last night I cleaned off my car. This morning I went out there again and there was already 6 inches on it. Then I cleaned it again. Now there is another 3 inches. Last week at school the principal and I built a small snow slide and the kids loved it, which means now I want to build a bigger one, like 5 feet tall and wide. Also I want to build some snowmen. Or snowpersons to be correct in this day and age. I have even been googling how to build a nice tall one.

There was an earthquake last night that actually startled me. It was the usual strength but it came on so fast. Usually something moves, then a bit more, then more, then ok we are in an earthquake, now it's dying down, more, and more, and over. This was like BAM shake shake over. Minus an explosion it felt like a bomb went off nearby.

Today I have done nothing much. I shoveled some snow, which is now wasted. Then I spent a while repairing the really stupid window covering I have. I have this big window that's like 8 feet wide by 5 feet tall. There are two sliding windows that I can open. Covering them are two thin pieces of paper held up by a grid of wood. It's a very Asian look, but the paper keeps cutting and people can see right in. I spent a while taping the paper to the wood. It's fixed now, but I really just don't like it as a window dressing. I might invest in blinds or something later.

I think I need to go to the store and get more food if it is going to keep snowing like this. I have that special class tomorrow and need to prepare for that. Then I have Monday off since we work tomorrow.


Yea. It's going to snow a lot here. Tons. I drove to the store around 2 to get some food for tonight and tomorrow. Obviously I cleaned the car to drive there and back. So now it is 5:30 and I just went to the car to get something and I couldn't remember which car was mine. There was so much snow on all the cars that I couldn't see it and I wasn't sure where I parked. Wow. I cleaned a good 5-6 inches off it again. Wow. The good news is I can build a serious snow slide or snow man. I would do it today so the kids could play with it tomorrow since we have to go to school on a Sunday, but I would rather now have all the parents seeing it. The slide that is. Though this is Japan and not the US so there would be no parents saying "I'm not comfortable with my child blah blah blah and I am going to sue". But still I would rather wait.

On a lighter note, I can see my breath in my apartment. Isn't that great? It's the Japanese way. Houses are built to be cool in the summer, not necessarily air tight and warm in the winter. If I run the heater all day then the air gets too dry. So I can see my breath in my own apartment. For some odd reason it makes sense with my Japanese hat on. Strange.

Sunday, December 11th, 2005

I'll make a bigger update soon since I went to Tokyo for the weekend and took a lot of good shots with my nice new camera. But for now let me say this. Without  exaggeration, it has snowed more here in the past month, than it did in Fukushima city in 3 years. I left Saturday morning and I had to clean off my car. There was at least one foot of snow from Friday. So as I was cleaning it another teacher was leaving. He drives a white van. It's a family van, but he is a single guy. Who knows. So he said he was going somewhere and would be back Saturday night. I said I was going to Tokyo and would be back today. When I got back today his van had over 2 feet of snow on it. There was so much snow I had to go an alternate way to get to my apartment and then I couldn't find the stairs. It's insane. More on that later, and I even have some photos of the snow. I will create a page called Magical Winter Wonderland and post them there.

Tokyo was fun. It was good to get away from cold small Konan. Tokyo was much warmer than Koriyama and Konan. I actually didn't wear a jacket most of the time. While there we went to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It was pretty good. Some parts seemed to skip around, but overall it was ok. I could see it again.

At one point we wanted to go to a bar, but it seemed we were too old. How strange it was to be too old to go to a bar, but here's proof:




I assume the word lounge doesn't mean bar, so much as a place for kids to go and relax after a hard day's work. No seriously, I'm sure it was just a changing station, a transfer point.

I've got some other pictures so I will just make a page, with a less catchy title, and upload them all to that rather than slow down the loading of this page. That page will be located in a here like manner.

On Thursday of last week I had my annual health check since I am a government employee. At first I didn't care, I have had them before. I didn't like having to drive into Koriyama early Thursday morning since it was snowing and plus the 1st grade kids had some big treasureland thing planned. But I went. Then I get there and I find out the exam is much more than I expected. I have to change into this stupid hospital like robe and wait with about 50 other government employees. I was all upset about everything. Then I went through all the tests.

They poked and prodded me me for 3 hours. I had tests for vision, hearing, body fat (ouch), height/weight, glaucoma, blood pressure, blood, heart EKG (or ECG), barium drink and x-ray, chest x-ray, and a few others. When I finished I got "chewed out" more or less. The nurse was nice but very direct. Basically, in a semi-exaggerated way, she said:

You are fat. You are a fat greasy slab of hog meat. You are out of shape and lazy. Look at your fat belly. Are you pregnant. How hard is it to not shove food in your mouth constantly. Why don't you walk a little, or at all. Please do the slightest amount of exercise before coming back next year.

Wow, so that was to the point. But it was good to hear it, I plan to really make a difference when I get back from Thailand. Why not start now? Well I already have some food that might last until I leave and I would rather just start the new year on a new foot. Or a new note. Or something. I am going to make 3 or 4 actual and do-able goals.

What else is new. Hmm. Oh I will be on TV next week. Not sure why, but I suspect for two reasons. One is because my school is a new model that is relatively unheard of. It combines 5 elementary schools into one and that's in the same building as the junior high school. And two, because my job is new. I am an actual full blown teacher. I have a teacher's license and I participate in all the regular duties of a teacher, minus a few. So those two combined make for an interesting story I guess. Unfortunately, one of the two classes they are filming is not a super interesting one. The young kids will be making Christmas cards for the orphanage I am going to in two weeks. But I will explain my job is about natural communication as well as internationalization. The JHS class they will be filming will be that Jeopardy like game. I've made sure my bulletin boards will be stocked with good English, and there will be English words all around the English room. Here are my stupid (intentionally) bulletin boards.

Here is a photo of a brochure explaining the new tunnel and future tunnel. It really makes a difference. When they complete all 4 phases the drive out here will be easy and more people will move out this way I reckon.

So yea, not the best image. Looks great on my computer though. However, I don't know why they didn't do this to begin with:

I'm sure there is some reason they aren't telling me.

Anyway. Loving the new camera so far. It's totally point and click. So far it hasn't let me down. To clarify that means it has been great in the 72 hours I have owned it. But it zooms great. Comes on fast and shoots quick. Prevents shaking for the most part. Has a tripod screw and moveable LCD display. Focuses fast. And there is a setting that takes low sized crisp shots that fit directly on this site with no adjustment. It also goes up to 5 Megapixels. Should be great in Thailand and then in China. I should update my goals page.

Here is a funny animated GIF my mom sent me. I hate forwards, but this is cute.



Simple and to the point.


Wednesday, December 14th, 2005

I got up early and dressed to the nines and left the house by 7:25am to get to school early in case the camera crewed asked what time I usually get to school. It would be corny to say I usually get to school by 7:30, but today I got here late. So I get to school and there they are filming me walking to school. They had already set up adn were waiting so that means they left Koriyama this morning around 6:30am. Ouch.

The newscaster was a nice young girl who spoke English very well. She had spent a year in Rhode Island in high school. We chatted about what would happen today so I was more prepared. For some reason I wasn't nervous. I had worried a bit before, but I guess I prepared enough because I just didn't care today. So as usual when the buses arrive I greet the kids with a high five and "good morning" in English. Of course the crew loved this and filmed me from all angles. Then I had a class with just one student. It's a special class that she chose to be in, and I am glad since she is nice and likes English. I interviewed her with the questions I ask before all classes. She should be able to answer them quickly now and sit down first.

Then comes my 2nd period filmed class. First I greeted them with How Are You, and much to my annoyance they responded with the Japanese response "I'm fine thank you and you". I hate it because they are only taught to say that, so if two people say it to each other, it would go on for infinity. But at least they are speaking good English. Then I asked them "How's the weather?" and they all said "It's snowy". I also asked what day it was and they said It's Tuesday.

This is incredible English and listening for 3rd grade elementary students. They are going to be great when they get to JHS. I wonder if I can wait around to see them. That would be 5+ years, so we'll see. Anyway, then we played a quick game where they did rock paper scissors and the loser had to ask "How are you" and the other person replied with the standard J-response. Of course this was great for the crew as well.

Then I talked about Thailand and how poor the orphanage is that I will volunteer at in two weeks. I said they have no Christmas decorations so let's make cards to send to them. So we practiced some Christmas vocabulary and then they made cards. The crew was all over this and got in their faces and filmed everything. It was a good class.

Then I had a class where I was an assistant and the crew filmed around the school. Finally 4th period came and it was my solo class. I had to do something upbeat that the kids would get into. This means putting them in groups and making them compete against each other. Japanese are big into groups and bigger into competing. So we played Jeopardy. I had already created and printed colorful dollar amounts such as 100, 200 and so on up to 500. Then I wrote some categories above them and had the answers on my sheet. This is really a great ESL game because they choose a category and amount in English, then I ask a question in English, then they respond in English. It's one of my favorites for many reasons.

The crew loved it as well. They filmed me asking questions, the students answering and choosing, and the kids cheering when they got one right. We finished 10 minutes early and if the crew had left I would have let the kids just relax, but they were still there so I suggested we continue the competition and play a game called shiritori. This technically means butt grabbing, but it's the game where you say a word and the other person grabs the last letter and makes a new word. I used the same teams, which was boys vs girls. I drew a line on the board and gave two students chalk and said RYAN. So they started with N. They would race to the board and write a  word and then pass the chalk. The crew loved this as well and had many great shots.

I have an interest in photography so I understand framing shots somewhat. I did many things just so the the crew could get good shots. This game finished and the girls won by a few points. Or maybe the boys won and the girls won at Jeopardy. Anyway after that the crew filmed me eating lunch with the ES kids upstairs in the big lunchroom. It was slightly annoying to be filmed while eating, but I made sure to eat with my mouth closed and use the chopsticks properly. The newscaster asked if I could use chopsticks. Classic.

They they filmed some other stuff and left. Then I had a class 6th period with the seniors. They were watching some Christmas cartoon. When it was over one girl was reading an English newspaper in the back of the room, or at least looking at the pictures. She put it down and someone dropped a book on it and made the cover fold a bit. This caused the woman's face on the cover to distort in a silly way and we couldn't stop giggling about it. I mean it was that silly been-awake-for-2-days-straight type giggle and I couldn't stop, nor could they. It was so bad I had to scan the cover to show you:

Regular cover.

Pinched cover.


So maybe it's not as funny as I thought. Oh well. Then school was over and I came home to watch some videos my parents sent. Tomorrow is nothing of interest. Two classes. Then Friday I have two or three. I need to start packing for Thailand and thinking about my Spring Break trip, as well as China this summer.

Friday, December 16th, 2005

I have discovered the greatest thing in the history of all life.

Turning on the electric blanket on my bed an hour before bedtime. When I get in, the room air is freezing, but the bed is nice and toasty. It's so cozy.

Saturday, December 17th, 2005

Nothing much to do today. This morning a care package came from an ex-JET named Liz. I mentioned her a lot over the past two years as we hung out a lot in Fukushima city. Now she's back in Athens, Georgia. She sent me a nice package about 6 weeks ago and it just arrived. It has Mac & Cheese, Grits, Kool-aid, Stuffing Mix, Popcorn, a cool Arrested Development shirt, and much much more. It came at the perfect time too. I have nothing to do today and no money or food. Now I can watch the videos and eat good old American food.

In Thailand I always eat great. It's all light vegetarian food and I always feel so good there. I still want to live there for a while after I finish teaching here, whenever that will be. I don't know if I will teach English there or find some relaxing job or something. Maybe I will learn about Buddhism at one of the temples, or Thai massage, or Thai cooking. Or who knows what. I just feel good there, relaxed and healthy. I'm really hoping to get down to Singapore from Bangkok by train since it would be cheap.

It's really sunny today, sunny and bright with all the snow on the ground. I'm hoping it melts some of the snow and doesn't snow heavily again until after I leave. I thought about going back into the city today, mainly to get money and then maybe some food, but I don't know. I only have $50 to last until Wednesday, which is totally doable, but I don't know what I will do if I go. Everything costs money, even filling up the tank with gas.

Monday, December 19th, 2005

There is a a huge blizzard outside and it is by far the worst snow storm I have ever seen. I am sure there are places in Japan and around the world that are much worse than this, but for me it's amazing. I drove into Koriyama yesterday, and that gets it's own page later, but when I returned it was snowing hard. It wasn't sticking in the city, but as I drove closer to home it got worse and worse. When I returned I saw that it had snowed 2 inches in the few hours I was gone. It continued to blizz (present verb tense of blizzard) all night and so far all morning. When I left the house I couldn't see 20 feet in front of me. The wind was blowing sideways and it was snowing heavily. I had to take massive high steps because the snow is about mid thigh high on me and I am tall. It's around 3.5 feet tall here. I got to school early to help shovel the snow around. I can't take a picture of anything because it would be all white. It will be a nice change to be in warm Thailand.

I have decided to no longer drive into town on a Sunday. That's the big shopping day since so many people work on Saturdays. That includes teachers and business people and such. So Sunday is the big shopping day and people drive into the city. The reason I won't drive into town anymore is going to be an entry in my cultural diversities page because there is no nice way to say it. So here it is:

Cultural Disparities   Don't click on it if you don't want to hear me whine about something.

Ok, now that that has been said I can move on. There is a place by the station that sells old American movies with English or Japanese subtitles for $5. They have 100 titles and I plan to buy them all. I can afford about $100 each paycheck. These should work great for several things. One, I have never heard of half of them but I know they are classics. It will be nice to watch them and have a small library of them. Two, they are all old American stuff which means they are clean with no sex or violence or bad language so I can show them to the kids. Three, they are in English only so people will have to hear the English, but read the Japanese. That will help with listening even if only a little. Four, I plan to leave them at school once I watch them so kids or teachers can check them out and watch them at home. For kids I will have them do a small book report type thing in English after they watch the movies for extra points. So far I have seen Vertigo, Rear Window, Wizard of Oz, It's a Wonderful Life, All Quiet on the Western Front, and one other I forget. I will buy more on Wednesday.

I have a lot to do on Wednesday. I have to buys some stuff for Thailand like balloons and other crafts as well as other stuff. I plan to buy as much as possible in Thailand because it will cost 365% less, but I want to get some stuff here in case I can't find it all there. I want to buy more school supplies, batteries, and some cheap clothing later as well. I want to pack as light as possible, but I know I will need two bags. I was hoping for one, but I have so much camera equipment and iPod stuff and what not. So much for giving up material goods. Though I plan to get some good shots with the new camera. Some big 5 MP shots of the Grand Palace and whatever else I visit again. It will be my 3rd time to the GP, but always worth it. I might buy more clothing from the custom tailors, but I don't know what I can afford. I need some dress shirts both short and long sleeve and having them custom fit is much better. I have a low waist and shirts always come untucked. I hate that along with turtlenecks and things around my wrists. I don't wear watches and hate wearing a tie.

After today I don't have anymore classes to prepare for this year. All the rest are me assisting and I bet some will be canceled or not need me. When they give tests or return them, I'm not needed. It's alright. I won't be here Wednesday, I think we leave early Thursday, and Friday I leave for warm-land. I was not excited for a while, but now I am. I guess I was worried because I was focusing on all the little details. But things always work out in Thailand. I'm going to check into living there this time, I really want to live there for about a year. I'd rather not have to have some job where I am forced to be places at certain times, but I don't know what kind of situation would allow me to go and just hang out. I think they frown on that. I could enroll in a Thai school or a monastery to learn Buddhism. Man that would be so out of character, but also interesting. Perhaps I could get endorsed by the orphanage for a 6 month stay. I'll ask. I just always feel good there. Maybe I was Thai in a previous life.

The trip should be fun. We stay in Bangkok for a few days then casually take a train to the bridge over the river kwai. Then a taxi to the bus station. Then a minibus for 5-ish hours to the middle of no where, then we keep going to the orphanage. While there we will do the village day same as last year, and go into Burma for a bit. There are some caves to explore as well as a sunken city to float over. Then we come back to Bangkok for new year's eve and around the 3rd we hope to get to Laos or preferably Singapore for a few days. I'd like to take the train to Singapore which is cheap and passes through Malaysia. It would be cool to see the Petronas Towers and go up to the top. If that's even possible.

I plan to make some doable new year's goals when I am in Thailand and really commit to them when I get back. There are a few that I can really do, if I make an effort. I always set stupid impossible ones, but the ones I have in mind are feasible. That's a fun word. Feasible. What's the feasibility of this venture. I want to have a job where I can talk like that and no one will giggle.

What's the feasibility of this venture. Are we vested? Who is being insubordinate? This is blatantly flagrant. We must maintain system purity. I demand an immediate response. Who will dictate the appropriate verbiage for the documentation? What is our core competency?

Or something like that. I'd need to be in upper management so I could direct my underlings to do worthless feasibility studies of various ventures. So, yea. Not sure where all that came from. I guess I allowed myself to babble. I need to pause for station identification and write some skit for the lunch break. I assist with the announcements on Mondays by doing a short English conversation with one of the girls in the announcement club.

Did you know they have announcement competitions here? I really don't know what that would would include. Fastest mic usage? Best voice? Seriously, it seems odd. There is also something like a reading circle club, which may have some competitive nature involved. I remember when I studied in Sapporo this summer, we had to ask people what their hobbies were. The teacher was the example and when we asked him he said, or so we thought, "dog show". So we said you like "dog show" and he said yes. So we all started talking about dogs and breeds and breeding (of dogs silly) and movies about dog shows like that funny one with Eugene Levy & Christopher Guest that I can't think of now. Oh yea, Best in Show. The teacher was confused at our tangent, he actually said "dokusho" which means 'reading' in Japan, but sounds a lot like Dog Show. That was a funny moment. Again, not sure how I got on that topic.

I seem to have a slow un-caps finger. When I am writing a word with a capital letter, half the time the secondary letter always gets capped. Sounds like a mob or gangster movie. "If the first gets capped, so does the second in line". So I apologize if some words come out like THursday or TExas. Though I have no idea why I would be writing about Texas, unless I was writing about people who were not actually elected, but placed in office.

Man the snow is getting bad. It's still windy and snowy and I think they are calling the bus company to have them pick up the kids early. They simply won't cancel school here unless it is nearly impossible to get to. I would say if we had a three day weekend and it was snowing from Friday through Tuesday morning, then maybe they might consider it. Or if certain teachers that live in Koriyama were unable to make it, but that is unlikely. Ha what a tangent. I really need to stop and write that lunch announcement.

Ok I did it. I made the announcement about the phrase "Look Out" which is today's English phrase in the lobby. Another English teacher does that and changes it everyday. It's usually stuff that's a bit too hard for the kids, and they can't remember all of them. We randomly quiz them and some will remember. When I give chocolate they try extra hard and usually can remember part of it. It's nice to see kids looking at it and trying to remember it when they don't know they are being watched. Of course when a teacher is around I would always act proper, but when no one is watching, that's when you act naturally. So when kids check the board on their own, it's a nice feeling.

Starting in April, when the new year begins, I want to have a better plan for teaching. I want to focus on the alphabet and phonics for the 1st year kids, vocabulary for the 2nd years, and writing and listening for the 3rd years. I'm developing a point system where they compete against the other class for a big party at the end of each term. [the teacher beside me just spilled his coffee everywhere]. I will give points for all sorts of small things. I want to make it a Ryan-Money based system, but there might not be enough students for that. I think class against class would be better now. It would encourage the better ones to push the lower level kids. They will get points for things like writing a daily journal, doing a book report or movie report, sending me email once a week, doing various assignments as homework and so on. I'll make it so that each person that does it in class puts one point toward the whole class, plus a bonus point amount for the class with the highest percentage of doers. But this system will only work for two one year because....

The jHS forms two classes only when there are more than 30 kids in that grade level. Now there are 40 per grade. Next year, the current 6th grade ES students, will have 36. But the following year and on for at least 5 more years will only have 1 class. So in about 4 years there will only be 3 classes total in the JHS, one per grade. The numbers are steadily going down. I think the incoming 1st graders from kindergarten will have less than 30, and I doubt too many more will come in after that. Perhaps when they finish the road improvements between here and Koriyama then more people will move out here. But for now, the population is going down gradually. I guess we will get one less teacher in two years and then a few less when there is only one class per grade. That's going to be weird for teaching, but I guess a tad easier. I should be able to put the students against each other when there is only one class per grade and use the Ryan-Money system.

Speaking of money systems, man I am typing a lot, I asked some people who are traveling to bring me back some foreign money. I want to start a foreign money library here as part of my internationalization efforts. I should be able to collect several countries worth. If anyone reading this has any foreign money they want to donate please let me know. I will even buy some as long as it is less than about $10 USD. I prefer the coins and then the lowest bill. I already have USD, Thai, and maybe Singapore taken care of, as well as NZ coming soon and maybe others. I'll add my address in as an image.

I just finished all my classes then hung out with the kids at the front door while they waited for the buses. The buses all come within a 15 minute period so we didn't wait long. Some were throwing snow balls at others, including teachers, others were just standing and waiting. One girl, the previously mentioned brat who is no longer a brat, was standing off to the side semi-pouting. I asked why and she wouldn't say. I saw her shaking her hands and touched them. They were cold. She was holding her mittens so I touched them too and they were soaking wet. I took off my huge gloves and let her put them on. She had fun waving them around and had warm hands if only for a few minutes. Sometimes I go up to a kid and drop to their level and stick my head around from the back until they see me. It's funny to watch them looking straight and then their eyes glance over and then they turn and gasp. Sometimes I whisper in their ear. Not sweet nothings, but just their name in my deep announcer voice. It scares them with equal scareness. There's a new word. I made a point to point out (can I say point again) to all my classes that in one week at this time I will be in warm Thailand. They asked for me to bring them back some gifts, so I will bring them back each one Baht, which is worth nothing really. I'll have to go to a bank probably and get samples of the money. I might even get the coin lower than the Baht, which is nearly useless. It's called a Satang which is 1/100th to the Baht, which means at one time the Baht was around the $1, whereas now it is worth 3 cents. So really one Satang is 1/100th of 3 cents. Would that be 1/33rd of a cent? Wow. If you care, here is more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thai_baht . I remember reading a book about a guy that smuggled drugs into Thailand and got busted and was sent to the evil Bangkok prison. I just searched, then got side tracked for an hour looking for the name of the prison. Anyway, at one point the guy mentions he bribed the guard 300 Baht which was the equivalent of $100 USD, whereas now it's the equivalent of $9. Wow what a drop. Ok, enough for me now, I'm going to search for more Bangkok Must See places.


When I got home tonight, I inflated a balloon and started working on this:


It was going to be my test of making paper mach, but my fingers were nearly frostbitten in the flour-water mixture. I mean really cold, so I quit. This is really as much as I need. I suppose I could use hot water for the next test. I just need to see if I can make a decent paper mach thing since I plan to make one at the orphanage for the village day. I mean make a pińata for the village day and fill it with candy and stuff. I will use some of the balloons I buy Wednesday for the pinata and have the kids and other helpers help me. Heck, maybe someone knows more about pinatas than I do.





Ryan McDonald 2005, for information about using images or text please click here.