Monday, February 2, 2009
I stayed in most of the weekend playing that online game. Itís fun
usually, but it gets annoying. There are aspects of it that donít make
sense and annoy me, while others make sense but still annoy me. One
part is very high level players can run around instantly killing lower
levels. Thereís no physical way I can beat them or even slow them down
for a fraction of a second so whatís the point. Itís like if someone
shows up at your work and says ďyou there go to the sandwich place 10
blocks away and get me a bagel, NOW.Ē Sometimes when you revive
yourself they get you again and again until you stall them out by not
reviving yourself. But other than that, the game is enjoyable usually
and keeps me busy and inside not in town spending money.
Saturday I did go into town to get away from the nasty
weather in Konan and then to see
from Tokyo. The weather part didnít work since it was just as bad in
Koriyama as it was here. It had rained and then got cold so there was
rain on the ground and then the rain turned to snow and then
everything was sludge. It was about 8 inches deep at times. Roads had
two big ruts and parking spaces were difficult to get into. I was
actually spinning my wheels a few times in the parking lots. Later I
went to Daveís place and there was a small party for Michelle who was
a Koriyama ALT for 6 years then moved to Tokyo and is now moving back
to Canada. That was fun, but then I had to drive all the way back to
Konan in the nasty weather again. Thatís getting old and I am ready to
move. Photo: Some idiot wearing sandals and socks when there
is 6 inches of snow and slush.
Today I got to school a little early and tried to play
with the kids. That is hit or miss and I donít know what causes them
to act differently. Sometimes they are happy to see me and want to
play, other times they run away and donít want to talk to me. It
actually makes me a little sad when they do that. There are a few kids
that are reliable though, they always have a smile for me and will
chat a bit. Those are the ones I am drawn to and remember. There are a
few kids whose names I donít know or donít remember, because they
always ignore me.
Thereís also a system of walls here, walls of separation
to be precise. Thatís how they punish people in Japan socially, the
person is excluded from groups. Itís always subtle and polite, perhaps
maybe a group will have a party and not tell someone and then let the
person find out later. Sure we all do it to some extent, but itís more
of a thing here. There is a name for when a village excludes someone
living there. I get shut out a lot being foreign and not being fluent
in Japanese. I donít like it, but I know it happens and donít sweat it
too much. I was shut out recently when some teachers had a party and
planned it on the day I wasnít here. I happened to come in for
something and happened to see the sign up sheet that said basically,
please let me know by today if you can attend. Maybe it was a last
minute thing, maybe it was so someone could say ďwell you werenít here
when we had to make the reservationĒ.
Wow I just realized the ski day is on Thursday and I will
not be here. Thatís actually good since I didnít want to go and didnít
want to come to school doing nothing with no teachers or take vacation
time and stay home. I went my 1st year and didnít have fun then my 2nd
year and broke my toe in the absurdly too tight ski boots. Then my 3rd
year I passed and that was the day my alternator blew out causing $300
worth of repairs (exactly when I had an extra $300 from the Bush
Stimulus package (hey we didnít need this money for the war so you
can have it back)). And this year itís on Thursday so Iím not
going. I have snow board gear, but no board. I want to go since it
would be great exercise and something to do, but I donít know if I
will be able to snowboard. I am getting old and have never been good
at these things. The old bones donít move like they did before.
Although I was decent at skateboarding as a kid, I donít know if that
will carry over.
I have two classes today with the seniors. I am showing a
movie and sadly some students have asked if they can pass on the movie
and study in the classroom. Awesome. But thatís fine by me if they
donít want to see it. I would rather they stay in the classroom than
bring their homework to the movie, that is annoying. [Update] In the
first class three students stayed in the room to study or sleep. For
the second class, the one I prefer of the two, everyone came and
thought it was stupid to stay in the classroom rather than watch a
Iíve actually been a little depressed recently and I donít
know why. I should be happy and excited about the 90% chance of moving
to the new apartment in town from April, but little things have
gradually built up causing me to feel bad. Alone they are things youíd
brush off, but eventually enough straws will break the camelís back.
Something recent, today actually, is that the Monday announcement club
does an English bit. Last two terms I prepared something and played it
on the intercom and students enjoyed it. For 3rd term the
two girls merely read from the textbook and I have nothing to do with
it. I should say ďhey great, one less thing to worry aboutĒ, but I
find myself thinking how odd it is that students would do something
English related and not even include the foreign English teacher.
Again, by itself it is just a straw, but too many of themÖ.
During cleaning time I noticed someone had put my skit
backgrounds into the trash pile. That really annoyed me and it has
happened before. These things took weeks to make and were really nice
and then I saved them by putting them away somewhere. Clearly if I
wanted them thrown away I would have done so. But the part that really
annoys me is EVERYONE knew that I was responsible for making them so
how hard would it be ASK me if it was alright. I would have said no
and taken them out of the trash, but now that someone did it this way
I just left them in the trash. I was planning to use them again this
year when the incoming 7th graders do the folk tale skits
next year so now we will just make them again from scratch. That put
me in more of a reclusive depressed-#$%& everybody mood.
For the first movie there was a scheduling issue where I
needed the English room and so did the English teacher. I asked him if
he needed it and he said he did and then tried to do the Japanese
polite way of saying ďyou back down I need it moreĒ, but I didnít play
and won. He said ďdou shiyo (dough she yo) a few times which literally
means ďwhat should we doĒ, but also means ďhmmm, get the hint I donít
want to do what you are askingĒ. A Japanese person would have backed
down right away, but I needed the room and knew he could easily change
rooms. He needed a projector only. I needed the projector, the nice
speakers, and most of all the thick black curtains. I pushed for the
curtains and bought the sound system myself. Any other day I might
have backed down, but I wasnít in the mood today.
After school I saw some of the practice interviews for high school.
Students go to elementary and junior high schools around their house,
but they test to get into top high schools. Everyone else goes to
technical or generally low level schools. The part I saw was insanely
rigid, which didn't surprise me. For about 5 minutes they practiced
simply entering the room. The student kept taking 9 steps and ending
on the wrong foot, but it had to be precisely 10 and ending on the
other foot. She could not get it right without double stepping. I
stood there wondering if there were something even more pointlessly
trivial for them to focus on. The graduation ceremony is the same way.
We will practice it about 50 times and most of those are making them
bow to the correct angle for the correct amount of time. Then taking
the exact number of steps from point A to point B. Well I saw "we will
practice", but I mean they will. I no longer watch the rehearsal since
I want to scream "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WHO CARES HOW MANY STEPS YOU
TAKE". But they do, they care about more than I cared about my entire
high school graduation.
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
I have this one class with some annoying idiot boys. They just act
stupid in class for no reason and there is nothing I can do about it.
One kid started out cool, but then got dragged into the group of idiot
boys. Well this boy, in particular, had an interview with one of the
top schools in Koriyama on Tuesday. Like a true moron he took his
mobile phone, which kids arenít supposed to have until high school and
then they arenít supposed to bring to class or have at school or at
best turn off the ringer or turn it off entirely. Well he didnít and
it went off at some vastly inappropriate time and the teachers AT THE
SCHOOL TO WHICH HE WAS APPLYING scolded him for breaking the rules of
an institution heís not even a part of. Of which he is not even a
part. So chances are heís not going to that school since the
competition is fierce and there is a line of hundreds of people ready
to follow the rules. WOW at the ďjobĒ interview he screws up.
I knew it was serious when I saw the principal yelling at
him. In Japan the homeroom teacher, then the discipline teacher, then
the vice principal will first scold them then talk loudly, then yell.
But I have never in 7 years seen the principal scold someone or yell
at someone. I listened for a bit and could only hear ďI donít have
anything to say and there is nothing to say and you have 3 years to
think about it when you are at [a lower school].Ē Then the boy came
out and had to explain and apologize to each teacher. Not me though
which was good, I would have laughed or done something stupid. But
what an awesome punishment, having to go around to 30 teachers and say
ďhey, Iím a moron, hereís what I didĒ while crying and having each one
of them give a firm talk about how stupid it was. That was moronic on
an epic scale.
He has been explaining and apologizing to all the teachers
for most of the morning. Heís not going to apologize to me though. I
was standing in the kitchen area which is somewhat secluded and he and
another teacher were standing just outside. We usually leave it dark
in there for some reason. I heard him talking to the teacher about it
and then when he finished the teacher asked who was next and he said
he didnít know. Then he said ďmaybe RyanĒ and the teacher laughed and
said ďheís not necessaryĒ. I intentionally dropped a fork so it would
make a noise. They turned and saw me, but didnít know if I understood
or even heard.
On a different note, I really and truly just donít
understand Japanese culture, specifically in the humor area. I showed
the last part of E.T. today for the 8th graders. They
brought all their notebooks as usual and had them opened before class.
I told them if they didnít want to watch the movie they could return
to the classroom, but if they stayed they canít study since thatís
rude. During the movie they were quiet and only laughed at certain
parts, most of which were parts that I thought were too predictable
and slapstick. They were silent during parts I thought they would roar
at and they roared at parts that were trivial and mundane to me.
There is a part where the kids are riding their bikes away
from federal agents. They are just riding then downhill getting away
from the cars. That part caused them to roar with laughter and
excitement. There was nothing remotely interesting about it. Then they
roared at the end when the dog tried to run into the ship and then ran
back out. It was cute, but just nothing worthy of them rolling on the
floor laughing. Itís like the word ďdeskĒ. Itís simply not funny. Itís
not offensive or inappropriate, itís just not funny.
Then I had a class in the elementary school with the
teacher that always hijacks my class. He did this time as well and
caused us to go way over time as usual. He was late because he was
helping another class with skiing. I had already explained everything
and was about to pass out the 20 minute activity for the remaining 30
minutes of class. He came in and made us review everything to the
smallest detail. Itís more important that no student feel left out or
even slightly uncomfortable about an activity. That is far more
important than anything they actually learn. We reviewed what I had
already taught over and over and then each student practiced it and
then we did more reviewing. Now we had 1 minute until class was over
and we start the activity. It went 15 minutes into lunch and then we
stopped. He did this at a recent observed class and was scolded about
it, but still does it. The bad thing is I canít be mad and say ďjust
let me do it my wayĒ because his students do have a high level of
English. I just canít push them or challenge them in any way in case
their delicate feelings get hurt.
Today I woke up with a bit of a throat issue. I think it
has to do with my apartment being too dry from the heater so I donít
want to go to the doctor just yet. There is also the chance it has to
do with drinking too much whey protein since I have a dairy reaction.
I took something last night to make me sleep better and it stayed in
me until this morning. I didnít want to get out of bed and I actually
reset my alarm and went back to sleep until 7:45. Itís mildly hurting
now so I am going to see how I feel after school.
So Sick of It.
Monday, February 9, 2009
I am so sick of a certain class, but not even the whole class just the
boys. I could narrow it down to a few specific boys (the above
mentioned moron is in that class), but most of the time all the boys
join in the nonsense. Today I showed the last part of Goonies in
class. Never before and never again will these kids get to watch a
full movie like that in class. Yet the boys in this class would sleep,
talk, open the window causing light to pour in. The other class that
watched it sat quietly and I knew they appreciated it. Different
classes act differently based on their homeroom teacher. Thatís true
in all the classes I have been in while in Japan. Strict teacher,
quiet well behaved class. Passive teacher, loud rude class.
Firm-and-Fun teacher, quiet and fun class.
Every year I have lived in this small poorly designed not
insulated apartment I have gotten a dry throat that turns into some
nasal dripping sinus disaster. I canít get medicine since itís not an
infection, just a drip caused by sinus dryness. I have it now, but
itís not nearly as bad as it has been in the past. Iíve been taking
something from the US that dries mucus and clears the chest. It seems
to be working great although last night I woke up several times with
Sahara mouth from a nasal clog. Iíve often wanted to shove tubes down
my nose to just bypass the nasal passage, but Iím sure that would be a
This Friday is a week away from the big Konan Snow Day
when 21 AETs come to play with the kids. That takes a lot of planning,
but mostly it is me trying balance and compensate for the nonsense
Japanese traditions that interfere. Normally I would be more
sensitive, but in this case I canít. These foreigners are coming here
to play with the kids. Two grades will be together for one period. Six
grades total means three periods with two grades each. The bus driver
wonít leave the city hall until 8:30 at the earliest, so they donít
get here until close to 9:30. Thatís exactly when 2nd
period starts which is when the first and second graders have their
play time. Last time we did this I begged and pleaded and was assured
several times we would not have an opening ceremony. Not only did we
have one, but it was an hour long. It was almost as if they were
trying to do that more than play with the kids. We had less than ten
minutes for the kids to then find their groups, change into their snow
clothes, change into their outdoor boots, go outside and have a 1
minute snowball fight since there was no time for anything else. I
asked why we did that and the answer was basically ďNOT have an
opening ceremony? That is unheard of. That is absolutely insane.
Thatís like asking us to not breathe. I canít even imagine.Ē
To me it is absolutely absurd and moronic. These foreigners came to
play with the kids and it is more important to follow the culture than
to allow them to play. During the ceremony first the kids walked in
and sat in their seats on the bleachers, then the ceremony was
officially opened by someone, then there were speeches by anyone who
wanted to give one including the vice principal and another teacher, a
speech by a 6th grader in English (though she was reading
Japanese that sounded like English), we sang the school song and then
that song written about Konan, then the foreigners introduced
themselves, then it was closed. FINALLY we started at 10:05 and the
end was 10:15. STUPID STUPID STUPID. I have insisted there be the most
minimal ceremony this year that does not include the songs and only a
few words by the highest ranking person here. I donít know how it will
This Friday is also a month away from the JHS senior
graduation. Itís always on the 13th except when that is a
weekend. This year it will be Friday the 13th (bom bom bom
Ė scary music). I will be so glad when they graduate, well
specifically just one class. The other one I will miss. Iíll miss some
girls from the bad class, but only the girls. Today for the movie I
had to move half the desks away so they couldnít sit in the absolute
back of the room and study. How annoying is that. I donít plan to
participate in any of the 98 million graduation rehearsals either
mainly because they focus on excruciatingly trivial matters and itís
always the same anyway. ďOk letís bow again, you go all the way to 45įand
hold it for 3 full seconds.Ē They even play the piano in a special
three tone chime to make sure people are bowing at the same time. I
think a Japanese kid would freak out of they went to our graduation.
Well first they would freak when they found out we donít graduate from
kindergarten, elementary school, and then junior high school. Then
they would freak at the relaxed nature of it all. We sit, hear some
stupid speeches, walk by the front getting our diploma and shaking the
principalís hand, then sit back down. No one cares how many steps we
take or how we shake his hand.
I had to do it.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
I did something I felt bad about both during and after I did it, but I
had to do it and it needed to be done. I had a class with the 5th
grade today and I usually teach with another teacher, but sometimes I
am alone. I usually prefer being either alone or having a clear leader
teaching. By that I mean if someone is in the room with me we both
need to know who is ďrunning the classĒ and who is assisting. I donít
mind either, but I like to know. So I was alone and the class is
usually quiet, but today they were a little talkative. Some girls had
their backs to me talking which burns me up and one girl was doing
another subject. That pushes me over the ledge since itís so rude,
though not as rude as talking really. I told them to be quiet a few
times and then after class I told the teacher a few students were
doing other work and many were talking. He was mad, apologized, and
asked who, but I asked that he just announce it to the class and let
everyone know. He said ok and then I knew what would happen and I felt
bad. After school three girls came to the teachers room and asked me
to go to the hall with them. In the hall they apologized for doing
other work. I smiled said it was ok, but donít do it again. They
agreed and ran off relieved. I hated doing that, but they were getting
worse and worse each time and that needed to be stopped. They needed
to see I would do something when push came to shove.
My throat no longer hurts like before, but I am hoarse and
can barely speak. I have 4 big classes on Thursday at Ohse. I am doing
NT classes for some reason where I plan them and run them alone. Iím
curious as to why they want to see them. I think they are considering
having me as an NT there which would be more work, but fine with me
really. I still donít know whatís going to happen with me from April.
Cultural Goof (only because itís silly).
Friday, February 13, 2009
Twenty five people from some other board of education came to see our
flagship school. I saw them arrive and told the vice principal. He
acknowledged what I said, but acted like he didnít hear me or see them
or care really. Then I watched and figured out what had to happen. The
highest ranking person from the visiting group had to humble himself
by finding the lowest ranking person in our group (the office staff)
and announcing their arrival. Then the office staff had to tell the
principal that the guests were here. I just interrupted the flow of
I love my job, but hate when the culture gets in the way.
The area Iím mad about now is how there is no punishment in school.
You can do whatever you want and there are no consequences. Or you can
simply not come to school and still graduate. In class students can
talk or turn their back to the teacher or do another subject. Only if
the teacher is loud and strict will the students listen. The worst
part of having no consequences is that in my class where I donít give
grades or ďprogress marksĒ that combined with no punishment means kids
rarely do what I say. Today I passed out a TEST and everyone pulled
out there books. I said put the books away and the students were
appalled and genuinely confused. Some simply didnít them away, they
just smiled and said no. They were polite, Japanese people are always
polite, even when they are being rude.
I had a class with some elementary students today. Thereís
one kid who speaks great English, but has severe behavioral issues.
About twice a month we all hear screaming from somewhere and then see
the teacher dragging him down the hall. Well today in my class he was
late since the teacher was absent and I was alone. They knew this and
a few kids played later. When they got to class the others scolded
them, not because they cared so much about the rules, but more so
because Japanese kids jump at any chance to scold other kids. Anyway,
they all came in late, then this kid comes in later. The whole class
starts yelling at him and I knew he was going to erupt. He slowly
changed out of his ski clothes and came over to one kid in particular
who was scolding him. The loud kid grabbed the other kidís head and
gave him a hard head butt. I ran out of the room and found the school
nurse and the hurt kid walked down there. Then all the kids were in
the hall and it took 10 minutes to get them to go back. It was such a
stressful class because the kids have no attention span at all. I
would say ďsit downĒ and they would be running around swarming me.
Running in Thigh Deep Water.
I am finishing up the preparation for the big Konan Snow Day on
Friday. Twenty one foreign English teachers from around Koriyama
(Koriyama ALTs) will come around 9:30 and play with the students and
then eat lunch together. All my prep work is basically trying to
counteract the annoyances that are caused by Japanese culture. I won
in the opening ceremony area. I did so in a Japanese way too. The
teachers talked about what they could do and I kept casually
suggesting that certain things could be dropped. Finally it was nearly
nothing and I said why donít we just drop it altogether so the kids
could have more face time. Thatís what I wanted all along and I had to
do it gradually to make everyone feel happy about themselves and the
decision. Thatís the Japanese way.
Then I organized where everyone would sit in the
lunchroom. I lost in this area since that was hijacked. Actually, in
Japan the way ANY decision is made is the group is consulted and all
opinions are used. Since I am not Japanese I didnít do that for any
decisions which made people uneasy. I come from a culture where one
person spearheads a project and does all the work or delegates it. In
my culture if something like this were going on and one person said
he/she would take care of everything, I would be relieved since it is
one less thing for me to do. Here itís the opposite. If everyone
doesnít get a chance to put in their opinion then people feel
uncomfortable about the decisions even if that is the goal they would
have wanted anyway. Here itís not about whether or not you win, itís
actually about how you play the game. The MEANS justify the END, not
Iím probably going to just ignore some things if I get too
many more opinions about how things could be done. Itís like running
at the beach in thigh deep water. It takes so much effort and you
donít get anywhere fast. Itís always like this though. 3rd
term is rough for me since the seniors have no interest in any lessons
that arenít flat out fun games or movies. The cold weather and snow
makes me want to hibernate and not do anything active. Everyoneís
emotions start getting annoyed since itís the end of the year for us.
Then April comes and we all start over and everything is renewed.
Thatís one thing I really like about the Japan school/fiscal year.
When things are new and just starting so is the weather and season.
The Worst is Over.
February 23rd, 2009
The big snow day went off with a few hitches, but we managed to make
it a great day for everyone. Really the only person who was annoyed
was me and that was because of the culture causing problems. The first
problem started when the bus driver chose to not come the direct way
because of the snow. He said it would be impossible to get through.
Well he should have told the 50 cars and 10 buses that made it through
successfully. Instead he chose to drive down the main highway which is
known as the ďparking lotĒ and was an hour late. So we had to
completely redo our schedule and change everything. Ok, thatís fine so
now we are really pressed for time letís just get right to it.
Oh no you donít. Since I managed to squeeze out the
opening ceremony they managed to squeeze back in a small informal one.
I should know better, you simply cannot start some function in Japan
without officially marking the starting point. You simply canít and we
didnít. We didnít not do it, we did it. I tried to bring the
foreigners in and have them scattered around the room so the kids
could find them, but that plan was hijacked and they were sent to the
bleachers for a greeting. The kids stood up and said ďhello somethingĒ
I stopped listening. Then we talked about nonsense just to waste time.
Finally the AETs went to their areas and the kids found them after
some coaching and more or less directing them to the person. We
started with about 60 minutes of play time and managed to waste half
so we had 30 which included getting outside and changing into snow
The outside snowball fight went ok and everyone seemed
happy. We were supposed to make it over to the ski slope for some
sledding, but the kids stopped to throw snowballs since we canít do
that anywhere in Japan. Whatever, it was fun and the kids and AETs had
fun. Iím sure glad I went to all the trouble of tracking down all the
Then timeís up and we come back in and the AETs go to
their waiting room and then the 5-6th graders go into the
big hall. I pass out their interview bingo sheets and the teacher
starts reviewing what they are going to say. In Japan itís more
important for everyone to be prepared and feel good about themselves
than to actually do or learn anything. They reviewed again and of
course went into excruciating detail. Then I led the foreigners in and
once again tried to send them directly to their starting positions. I
was told to have them go to the bleachers and I started to get
noticeably angry. There simply was no time for any of this because the
outside thing went 10 minutes into this part and then we took 15
minutes to come inside and relax for a minute.
I said ďthereís no time for another ceremony. We only have
20 minutes until lunch. There is NO time for this nonsense.Ē He looked
at me and said it was very important that we review what was going to
happen seemingly startled that I was suggesting we NOT review this for
the 453rd time. I said there is no time and everyone knows
what to do. The kids have their sheets and know what to ask, the
foreigners have done this activity 100 billion times before, what is
there to review? Then he just locked up into the ďwe must do it this
wayĒ mode and started directing them to the bleachers. I said whatever
and then ďletís do another ceremony. Letís sit and waste more time and
do another stupid ceremony.Ē I was saying it loud to the foreign
teachers, but the vice principal heard me and knew how I felt about
ceremonial pomp so he said something to the teacher and the first part
was a bit shorter than it could have been. They still reviewed what
was going to be asked and the kids practiced again and then they
started. It was now 12:00 and lunch started at 12:10, so what should
we do? His usual plan of pushing this activity into the next one,
which was lunch. Lunch started at 12:10, but we didnít get up there
until 12:30 and everyone was waiting. Who cares, as long as we have a
proper ceremony. Thatís whatís important.
I stayed in the teacherís room printing photos of the AETs
in the snow to attach them to the thank you certificates I made over
the previous few weeks. When lunch was over the AETs went back to the
big hall and signed notebooks and papers and arms and foreheads for
the kids. Finally it was time to go and I passed out the sheets and
they made their way through the swarms back to the bus. It was like I
was paparazzi and the kids were fans and the AETs were celebrities. I
was running around snapping photos and the kids had made a tunnel for
the AETs to walk through, somewhat like London Bridge is Falling Down.
Finally they were on the bus and they left with the kids screaming and
After all that I received about 100 ďwell doneĒ and ďgreat
jobĒ and ďyou must be tiredĒ comments from everyone. Later there was a
meeting where the principal formally asked each homeroom teacher how
many students are eligible to advance to the next level. Iíll give you
a hint. The answer is any and every student who has ever attended a
JHS in Japan. Even the kids that donít even come to school as well as
the catatonic kids who never speak and wander the halls. They are all
eligible to advance to the next level. I was going insane at the
ceremonial process they go through for something that is clearly for
appearance. I kept wanting to yell ďALL OF THEM. The answer is ALL for
ALL classes. There are no punishments in Japan. You do your work you
move on. You donít do your work you move on. ď But I sat quietly
dozing off and reading something online.
After school I had to get away from there so I went into
town and met up with Matt, Marc, Kelly, Erin, and Jak. They were
bowling and then playing some video games at Minami Bowl in town. Then
we went to a yakiniku place (cooking meat strips on a grill). Some
went on to Karaoke, but I went home and Matt rode with me (to his
Saturday I planned to go into town early, but I got online
playing Warcraft and then fell asleep for 3 hours. Finally I went in
around 5 and ate a late lunch (or early dinner) and then went to
Barbara and Henrickís farewell party. They are two Danish locals who
are going to India for 2 months to do volunteer work. They have a
company apartment on the 12th floor right in town that was
amazing. Partially because it was nice and big and partially because
they decorated it in the Danish minimalist style. There was a huge
solid oak 12 foot by 5 foot table that they apparently had to carry up
12 flights of stairs. I couldnít even lift one end. I drove Kathy,
Angela, and Mark (a different one hence the K vs. C) which was a tight
fit in my little Pajero, but we managed.
Then Sunday I had to get out of Konan and went to Indian
food with Matt. As the days go by I am getting more and more annoyed
with living out here. The snow is a hindrance, the lack of any
insulation is annoying, the small apartment is a bugger, but most of
all I have a 45 minute drive before and after any event regardless of
how tired I am. After the party on Saturday I dropped them off and
then drove 45 minutes home alone and tired. Itís just this feeling of
everything is happening here and I am way out there on the outside.
Itís like being 15 and sitting at the kidís table for Thanksgiving
dinner. The kidís table in the other room, or next door. I feel like I
am on hold until I move and then I can start living again.
I still donít know anything official and that doesnít
surprise me. I should find out this week or early next week since they
have to ask the landlord no earlier than one month in advance which
would be the 28th or 27th. Iíve already started
packing and should be able to move everything relatively easily. If I
could rent a large van or borrow the one I used when my old car died
(or was junked) then I could make it all in two trips or so. I found a
moving company, but donít want to call them until I know something for
sure partially so I donít jinx it.
This week I have 2 classes. Two classes all week at Konan.
Well I should have a few at Ohse, but they will be review or something
unimportant to waste time basically. Graduation is the 13th
of March, which is a Friday and everything seems to revolve around
that. The seniors arenít learning anything new, just preparing over
and over for graduation. It must be executed perfectly. There is no
tolerance for mistakes. If someone bows 43įrather than the full
45įthen the whole day is ruined. I couldnít imagine someone bowing to
43į rather than all the way down to 45į. Wow that would be offensive.
Today we had the seniorís banquet lunch. By ďbanquet
lunchĒ I mean regular school lunch with one extra piece of fried
shrimp. I was a little disappointed because last year (and previous
years) it was much more spectacular. Previously there were
strawberries and other fruit as well as more than the usual lunch
options. We did get seconds which was nice.
No One Gets It.
Wednesday, February 25th, 2009
Thereís a laundry-depot I go to when I want clothes washed and dried
within an hour. My washer at home is ok, but the dryer consists of
hanging them for 3-5 days in the winter and then ironing out the
wrinkles. The dryers finish them perfectly and I can use a dryer sheet
making them smell magically fresh. Anyway, there are some big dryers
and some medium dryers. The medium ones are stacked 2
Every single time I have been in there someone has had problems with
the dryers. Not problems with how they function, but problems because
Japanese people canít seem to figure out anything slightly difficult.
You put the coins in a slot. There are arrows that say ďPut money in
here for the top dryerĒ or the bottom one, but people canít seem to
read the Japanese. Japanese people simply canít figure out what to do.
I am not Japanese, but somehow it was perfectly obvious to me. I have
had to help about 2 dozen people of all ages with the terribly
complicated dryers. The place has even put a piece of paper that
blocks the coin slot that clearly says which dryer it runs, but people
consistently get confused. I took a picture to show you how difficult
it is. I truly donít know how they could make it any easier apart from
not having them stacked 2up. The photo is marked when clicked.
There is something in the air today that is causing people
to get in trouble. Iím not exaggerating when I say today about 2-3
times an hour someone or some group is getting fussed at by teachers.
Two elementary kids were fighting earlier, then two others, then some
girls took the balls out of the computer mouses (mice), then some JHS
boys did something, then a parent came to fuss about something, then a
teacher was fussing at some kids in the gym about something, and so on
and so on. Usually there is some small incident about 2-3 times a
week, but today has been constant.
I went to one of my favorite stores, Trial, a heavily discounted
store. I bought a vacuum bag and some other stuff in preparation for
the hopeful move in early April. When I went back to my
car I was about to leave when someone pulled in and saw there were no
more parking spaces. There are plenty in the back lot, but that would
require walking around the corner and this is the country of
convenience. That would be inconvenient, ergo it rarely happens. What
happens instead is people park wherever they want. Handicap spaces
have no meaning and no penalty. They are constantly filled with people
who walk around freely. In this case two cars pulled in, saw there
were no spots, and made their own. Then a third one pulled in
completely blocking the walkway. One old man actually fussed at the
driver, but was ignored.