only stay in this store for a few minutes and then we
suddenly got sad.
Why do you
need a window
in the door?
this would a cool thing. A standing sushi bar, wow, great idea.
Nope, not a
great idea. The food
was around my thighs and hard to eat. It
was mostly foreigners and young Japanese since adults knew
was just a novelty.
Man to Man
question quiz on simple verbs.
The answers were: Ask, Buy,
Clean, Close, Cook. She meant to write
SHUT for Close.
pass thank you.
Skit Contest Monday, July 2nd, 2007
Three girls wrote and have memorized a clever skit for the skit
contest in a few weeks. Last year I wrote the skit and it was very
Abbott and Costello, but it was rejected by the BoE. Iím still a
little mad at them for rejecting it. The boys were really excited
about English and memorized this complicated back-and-forth ďwhoís on
firstĒ style skit about the differences in Japanese and foreign
cultures. The BoE said it didnít fit into the typical style of skit,
even though at every skit contest, the judges tell the contestants to
break away from the traditional style. Every year the group that
breaks away from the traditional style is the group that wins.
Anyway, this year I let the kids write it completely and I only
changed a few things that didnít make sense as well as cut a few lines
that were redundant. Itís really clever and I think it has a chance at
scoring or winning. Itís about a boy and a girl who go to a fortune
teller, even though the three actors are girls. There are some lines
that still crack me up. Theyíve already memorized it so all we have to
do is practice it a few times.
We filmed it last week and sent the video to the BoE. I canít possibly
see how they could reject it. If they do I am going to politely let
them know how I feel. Iím going to let them know that these girls are
really excited about English and now they are sad because it was cut.
Furthermore, it would be nice to receive some guidelines about exactly
how the script should be. Iím getting ahead of the cart though since I
donít think they will cut it (sending out positive thoughts). When we
filmed it the English teacher and I played a trick on the girls. The
cameraís recording light is very dim so we just left it running the
whole time. In between takes we would tell them to relax and dance a
bit to get loose. One girl would always dance it up, while the others
would only a little. Iím going to edit it somehow to make it look
really funny and play it at the school festival in October.
Ok, new monetary goal. I will pay off my 2nd loan by
December of this year. Then next year, I will pay my completely
unnecessary federal college loan down, hmmm, letís say $10,000? Thatís
doable I think. I will have no major trips planned and can easily send
back $1,000 a month. Though I would be happy with paying it down less,
but no lower than $5,000. I would like to travel somewhere during the
summer (of 2008) and then I will be going to Thailand again in
December, but that wonít require a huge savings. Oh wait the Olympics
are in Beijing in the summer of 2008, well nix a China trip. Australia
and New Zealand are going to be in winter, so thatís out. I could plan
my Europe trip then since I have about 4 weeks off. I also have my car
emissions tax in November, but that should be less than $1,000
including the weight tax (as opposed to $2,000 for my old car). I can
start saving for that early on. This year is the year of the Boar,
next year will be the year of money. (Ironically it will be the year
of the Rat, which is about wealth).
Sunday I got so tired of doing nothing that I decided to just drive. I
ended up at some sushi place in Koriyama and hung out with a cool
Koriyama JET named Chandon. I guess heís no longer really a Fukushima
JET since he teaches elementary school privately. Anyway, he bought me
a tasty mango iced drink and the worldís tastiest macadamia nut cookie
and we chatted about Japanese culture in the coffee shop of the
Tsutaya book store near his place. We share some beliefs about
Japanese culture. He too can see the negative things and wonders why
they happen. We agreed itís not the cultural differences that bother
us, itís the underlying attitude associated with them. He will stay in
Japan a long time and possibly forever since he has a Japanese
girlfriend and he loves the history and culture. I donít think I can
stay here forever since I let things bother me too much. Thereís a lot
of discrimination and denial and even racism, and it gets annoying to
me, whereas he can ignore it and accept it.
Today the P.E. teacher has a big test for all grades over two periods.
It was scheduled for last Friday, but it rained. Iím pretty sure he
doesnít like me, or foreigners in general. When he first got here I
asked him which school he was at before this one. He said it was hard
to explain. Then I later overheard him telling another teacher where
he was and it was suddenly easy to explain. It was a big school in
town so I have no idea why he couldnít explain it to me. I think those
were the last words he has spoken to me since April. He wears his
collar up all the time and I have overheard some of the younger
teachers saying he is an alpha male. Not only does that phrase
translate, it is exactly the same ďah-rue-fah-meh-rueĒ. One thing I do
like about him though is he demands silence when students line up
after cleaning. Sometimes he will get on the intercom and say the
Japanese version of SHUT THE #$&% UP NOW.
I wish I could prohibit girls from cutting their hair so short. One of
my favorite 8th graders had long flowing hair and these
dark rimmed glasses and really had a nice look. Iím not saying she was
attractive or I was attracted to her, Iím just saying she had a style.
But she came in today and had her hair cut short, almost as short as
my buzz cut. She looks like a black tip ball point pen. Iím sure itís
easier to manage, which is why mine is so short, but she looks odd
now. I know her looks are irrelevant to anything, especially me, but
still she had style and looked cool.
I have one student who is a 7th grader and I love her. Not
like love-love her, I mean as a student she is great. She already
writes English better than most seniors, but that is due mainly to her
desire to learn and because she went to a private school for a while
in elementary school. When she writes something in her daily journal
(they are required to write 10 lines per week and she writes 10 daily)
if she makes a mistake I will correct it and then she wonít make that
mistake again. She is going to be my start student. Iíve already
starting slipping extra worksheets in her journal and she does them
and gives them to me the next time she turns it in. If she ever goes
to a foreign country she had better change her name since in English
it is pronounced Lunar. She even knows what it means. She has more
points than the rest of her 30 person class combined.
Computer Time Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007
I got sucked into the land of computer time, which is where you are
doing something and then realize itís been 30 minutes or an hour since
you looked up or moved or stood up, etc. I was searching the web for
something stupid and all the teachers left to go do their after lunch
homeroom type thing. As usual the teacherís room was empty for a
while. Then I kept typing and searching and later realized my leg was
asleep from sitting on it funky, for an hour. Where are all the
teachers now? So I looked at the whiteboard and realized there was
some big speech in the big hall by some office workers from Koriyama
city. Iím sure it was more interesting than I just described it, but I
donít know what it was about. I strolled down there and saw all the
teachers sitting in the hall listening and then quietly slipped away.
I have no desire to sit through a two hour meeting, all in Japanese,
about something that doesnít concern me in the slightest. Iím glad I
didnít go to the meeting since the board says it was supposed to end
at 3 and itís now 3:30.
Green Tea Revisited Wednesday, July 4th,
I was in the small kitchen area of the teacherís room and about to get
some green tea. Another
teacher was in the room filling up glasses with green tea for some
visitors. She was pouring the dried leaves from a canister I always
use. When she saw me she asked what I was doing and I explained I was
getting green tea. She grabbed another canister from the shelf and
handed it to me while saying ďhere is the green tea for regular
teacherís use, of course you would never use the green tea I am
holding since it is the higher quality ceremonial green tea reserved
for visiting royaltyĒ. I used the tea from the canister she handed me
and it tasted like stale pond water that buffalo had passed through. I
can only assume Iíve been using the ceremonial high quality tea
instead of the poo tea.
yea, Iím gonna keep using it.
I drink two of my McDonald's cups of the nice green tea everyday at
school and then 2-3 big 32 oz cups of water after lunch. I only drink
the green tea before lunch since it has so much caffeine I'd never get
Both Ways Thursday, July 5th, 2007
The cultural differences I lash out at, sometimes work in my favor.
There are some visiting dignitaries from Tokyo University here from
some reason. They came with the board of education. When they arrived
some people scurried into the kitchen and began preparing tea (the
previously mentioned ceremonial tea) and small snacks. I walked over
to ask if I could help and they said no. But they looked really
stressed since there were about 7 people visiting and only two women
were helping. I asked again and they said it was alright, they could
manage. So I said ďreallyĒ and they replied, ďwell we could use help,
but you are a male soÖ..Ē So that means I am above doing these minor
things and the people who are not above it, even though they are above
me in rank, are the women.
Iíve gotten pretty skilled at walking by the ďgiftsĒ table and subtly
picking up two or three treats brought by visiting dignitaries. I
donít want to hover and seem like I am shoveling my face, which I am
sometimes, so I casually walk by and pick one up and slip it in my
pocket. The only bad part about doing it is when the treat is wrapped
in some plastic wrap that makes a noise when I pick it up. Sometimes I
will cough to mask the sound, but I fear this might attract more
attention than just the wrapper sound.
After school, or rather 5th period, there was a special
math class with the 4th graders where the prestigious math
teacher from Tokyo University taught. About 20 teachers and officials
were in the room with the kids and it was a big thing. Grades 1-3 were
sent home so as not to disturb the event. I watched a bit and then
left as I was bored. I went to the library and played with some kids,
but a few were physically hurting me. They would hit me like they were
playing, but it was actually painful. Then I got them back good.
They ran into the hall and I chased them. Then I stopped and said
ďDonít go down to the 4th grade classroom, they are having
a special class.Ē The kids did this stupid thing where they pull down
an eye (like you would to show something to a doctor) and then stuck
their tongues out. Then they ran away and went all the way down to the
4th grade classroom just to spite me. Then they ran INTO
the room still squealing. I couldnít see what happened, but I saw the
vice principal walking them sternly back to the library. When he got
to me I explained that I had already told them to not go down there
and if they did to be very quiet, but they ignored me as usual. The
kids confirmed what I said and apologized and looked really sad. It
Sick Friday, July 6th, 2007
I did two very Japanese
things today at school. First I came in around 11:30 (not very
Japanese). I was sick last night due to some nasal drainage down my
throat. I couldnít sleep since my throat was dry and scratchy and my
nose was constantly running. I waited until 9:30 and went to the local
clinic. They opened at 8:30, but I forgot. There were a lot of people
waiting, but I went right in for some reason. He checked me and gave
me the usual medicine which is a bag of powder with some pills in it.
You just dump it in your mouth and wash it down. I went back to my
apartment and got a bite to eat and rested a bit and then decided to
go to school since I felt fine.
First thing I did that was Japanese was to come back to school and not
take the day off. I easily could have and every kept saying I should
take a rest. But I will rest tomorrow and Sunday since Iím still
broke. I also had mock interviews after school and I didnít want to
miss those. The teachers were saying how dedicated I was to come in
just for that. The second thing was as soon as I came in I went
straight to the vacation time ledger and wrote 4 hours of vacation
time. Japanese people receive sick time, but never use it. By never, I
mean never. You lose a limb, itís a vacation. Get scurvy, vacation.
Foreigners typically think of vacation time as voluntarily choosing to
not be here, such as actual vacations. Japanese think of vacation time
as not being at work for ANY non-work related reason.
doctor said it was just a cold, but that could mean a variety of
things. They refer to several things as a cold. Pretty much anytime
you donít feel good for any reason, itís a cold. I donít care what it
is as long as he had medicine that makes it stop. My nose was running
(though mainly my left nostril only), my throat was itchy and dry, I
would sneeze and cough a lot as well. I didnít sleep much last night
because of it. I would have been alright if I had some NyQuill and
Glad to be
Sick Saturday, July 7th, 2007
Sounds strange, I know, but
I had no money and nothing to do so I was glad to be sick. I'm much
better for the most part, but the medicine makes me a bit sleepy, so
three times a day when I take it, I went to sleep for a while. At
school I counteracted it with green tea, but at home I wanted to waste
time by sleeping. So all day today I would sleep or watch TV and then
pass out or work on the computer a bit. It was much better than last
weekend. Although now everything has that layer of sick sweat to it
and that sick smell. I guess I will do laundry on Sunday if it's
No More 545s. Monday, July 9th, 2007
I woke up this morning as my alarm was going off at 5:45 and said ďNo
more 545s, I didnít order these, send in the new models.Ē Then I heard
myself talking and realized I was in a dream so I went back to sleep,
though I didnít realize that I had turned off my alarm. Luckily I woke
up again around 7:30 and went to school.
Then at school I was checking studentsí journals. One girl wrote 10
lines as expected and then attached a few of those little thumb nail
sized photos called ďPrint ClubĒ. I looked at the photos and thought
ďhey this must be your older sister and some cute friend.Ē Then I read
the caption and it said ďthis photo is me and XXX (another girl in the
class).Ē WOW you look like you are 25. They had regular clothes and
were posed and didnít look like 7th graders at all.
Since I overslept a bit, it threw me off my regular work cycle and I
felt sluggish for a while. Then I drank my cup of green tea
(ceremonial tea) and felt better. Thereís a distinct point at which I
could feel it kicking in. My brain starts moving faster, I want to
stand up and move around the room, I get new ideas, etc. Itís pretty
cool actually. Iím glad green tea is good for you since coffee was not
so good for me. Although the coffee itself might have been alright
minus the ten sticks of sugar I had to put in each cup to make it
Sleep Talker. Wednesday, July 11th, 2007
I really chatter in my sleep. I have for years and I donít know how to
stop it. Iím always afraid I am going to have some dream about
something I shouldnít and talk in my sleep about something I shouldnít
be talking about at a time when I shouldnít be talking in my sleep.
You can fill in your own worst case scenario for that.
Anyway, what I really hate is when I wake up while I am talking and
then get confused as to why (or to whom) I was talking. The above
mentioned 545 conversation was an example, but itís much worse when I
am in a room with other people. This morning, though alone, I woke up
and I was angrily talking to someone and then I got up and started
brushing all the non-existent ants from my bed. I was nearly yelling
ďstop it, get off me, stop itĒ. I had my window open so I can only
imagine how that sounded if someone was up at 5am. Iím going to put
that down on my personal profile if I ever join a dating service. ďI
talk in my sleep and sometimes I act out my dreams.Ē I bet that will
drive the ladies wild.
UNREAL. Thursday, July 12th, 2007
cannot believe it.
Our skit was
Itís not possible for me to be any more livid than I am now. Iím not
mad that we canít participate and I wouldnít be mad if we didnít win.
Iím mad because there is no limit on the number of schools that can
participate. There is no 10 million dollar prize. No one wins a trip
around the world. These kids wrote this skit by themselves. They spent
hours memorizing it and making it interesting. I didnít help them too
much, I let them do most on their own. They were excited about
English. But their skit was cut for NO #$%&(&$% REASON.
When I cool down a bit I am going to write a letter to the people in
charge of deciding. Itís going to be a polite coherent letter and I
will have the JTE translate it to polite Japanese. If I wrote it now
it would just spew hate and some offensive slurs. I get so mad when
bureaucracy stomps studentsí efforts. That happens a lot in Japan.
I was wrong.
I can admit
I had faulty information. I thought the people didnít approve the skit
because they didnít understand it. I asked several times how many
slots were open and I was told it didnít matter, as many schools could
go as wanted. As it turns out that means as many schools can apply as
wanted. But the skit contest is prefecture wide and only two schools
from Koriyama city are allowed to go due to space limitations. Ok,
that explains it and I am no longer angry. I was under the impression
they rejected it because they didnít understand it or it didnít fit,
but I get it now.
Farewell. Friday, July 13th, 2007
We had a farewell party with the board of education and all the
foreign teachers in Koriyama. It was fun, though I really couldn't
afford the $40 fee, and I wasn't drinking. I chatted with a lot of
people, but one conversation is worth mentioning. Konan's old
principal is now an upper level bigwig at the BoE. I told him about
how sad the girls were about the skit contest. He suggested, rather
than have them video tape the skits and then get a simple rejection
notice, they should perform the skits and see the winner so they know
who deserves to go. That's a splendid idea and I hope it works.
Sun. Monday, July 16th, 2007
Finally the rain from the typhoon stopped. I had a "doing nothing"
headache all weekend and had to get some exercise. I speed-walked
around the rice fields this morning and it was nice to get the blood
flowing. Some people at the part Friday mentioned I seemed thinner in
the face. Maybe the exercise is working. Then I got back to the
apartment and typed an email and during said email we had a rather big
earthquake. The whole building shook and I was able to see other
houses shaking as well. It was nice.
Waiting Tuesday, July 17th, 2007
We should get the results from the standardized English test
interviews this week. I think most people passed, but I wouldnít be
surprised if one guy failed again. His default confused look is
silence and mumbling and thatís not good. I taught the other kids to
pause for no more than 10 seconds and then ask for the question to be
repeated and then if they still donít know just say ďIím sorry I donít
understandĒ. Iíve had several students pass and say they didnít answer
anything, but they had the structure of the interview down and just
said ďthey didnít understandĒ when they were confused. I love Japan.
You can pass an English interview by saying ďI donít understandĒ. Hey,
Iím not complaining, it works in my favor.
Something in the Air. Wednesday, July 18th, 2007
In the hall several boys, separately, asked me if I play ďonaniĒ. I
knew it was bad since they were smirking, but I didnít know exactly
what it meant. Later one kid gave me a mock demonstration and I
learned it was masturbation. Groovy, one more word I didnít need to
know since I foresee saying it at a bad time. The kid wasnít being
rude, just a kid. Oddly talking about stuff like that is more or less
acceptable in Japan, especially with kids, even more especially when
it is toward a foreigner. Most anything is acceptable toward a
foreigner. If a kid were to do that motion to a visiting dignitary he
might get a small, polite, lecture afterwards when it was convenient
for both the teacher and the kid. But to a foreigner, itís funny.
Then in the 7th grade class I was acting like an ALT. I
donít mind it since last year I didnít go at all to the first grade
class and as a result I didnít/donít know the 8th graders
level. Anyway, I was in class and when it was over I drew a stickman
on the board for this one girl. Sheís one of the top 8 who go to a
private school every week and she is advanced in English, but she
never writes her nikki (weekly journal Ė though it literally means
daily writing). When I see her in the hall I hold a key to my knee
which roughly means ďknee keyĒ or nikki. So I decided to draw this as
a reminder to her. I drew a small stickman in the top corner of the
board as the teacher and the other students were wrapping things up
after class. I drew the head, body, one leg and a key for the other
She had this wide eyed look on her face and I assumed it was because
she was surprised I drew the knee-key guy on the board. I pointed and
said ďthereís a reminder for you, just for you, look at that drawing
everyday and think of meĒ. She sat silent, as Japanese kids do, and
just stared at it. I pushed my point ďeveryday I will draw this and
you will look at it and feel bad, it will make you think of me
everydayĒ. All in Japanese so she really understood it. Still she sat
staring with a shocked look. The whole time I was looking at her and
pointing at the board. When I looked at the drawing I too was shocked.
I had drawn a stickman which a huge penis.
Think about how a key looks. Itís bulb-like on one end and then
elongated on the other. Without much detail like a key hole or the
valleys and grooves, it really does look like a penis. Plus the
stickman was small so there wasnít much room for detail. I erased it
and walked out. I passed her in the hall, but we didnít make eye
contact and I certainly didnít do the knee and key thing.
When I got home I downloaded the FuJET newsletter and it had an
explanation of the word ďonaniĒ. Apparently it comes from the Old
Testament and a guy named Onan who spilled his seed on the ground.
Somehow that was imported and used to mean self pleasure /
masturbation. I really wish I didnít know this word since I am already
thinking of words it is similar to. Nani means what. Konan is my town.
O is a particle in Japanese. Yea, I see problems with that.
I have had a small headache for a few days now. Itís not enough to
really hurt, but just enough to make me think I have a brain tumor or
something else. I canít get rid of it by normal means so I am starting
to worry. I even went jogging this morning to really get the blood
flowing, but that only helped for a while. Iím going to see what
happens over the next few days and then panic.
The results from the English interview came in and everyone passed. A
few students said they were sure they failed because they couldnít
answer one or more questions. They did say that they asked for the
question to be repeated and then said they didnít understand and I
told them not to worry since structure is more important than English
ability. I could probably pass a test of Arabic or Hebrew that way.
You gotta love Japan, especially when the ďJapanese wayĒ works in your
favor. All the kids are happy, the teachers are happy, the
administration including the BoE thinks it was my strong, well
planned, intensive English classes, but really I was just using the
system against itself.
The White Man Thursday, July 19th,
I really enjoy the total state of denial Japan is in. Whatís more
interesting is not only how they deny their bloody past, nor how they
constantly preach how they have always been the victim, but mostly how
they show any shortcomings of other countries ESPECIALLY the US. Now I
am not trying to downplay our bloody and racist past. The US most
definitely did (and some say are doing) some hideous things to other
Americans and usually non-Americans. Iím not debating that for a
second, what I am asking is what is the point of having the pictures
and stories below in a childrenís book about the US?
photo might show one example of interesting sightseeing spots around
there is Disneyland which is world famous. We should include that most
definitely. Maybe a shot of the area around the Grand Canyon would
show the diversity of the land in the US.
But how did
America come to be?
the white man came and killed all the Native Americans and ran the
buffalo out of their sacred land by building trains and taking over
white man rounded up some free Africans and brought them over for
slavery. When these Africans rebelled the white man formed hate groups
and killed them by hanging.
Africans were allowed to go to school, but the military had to help
them since a governor told them to go away.
Who wants to
visit racist America? Letís do a home stay.
Iíve seen this stuff before, but it was in high school books. At the
time that sounded absurd, but now it seems to make more sense than
this which is from an elementary school library. I couldnít imagine
having a book about the Rape of Nanking, the Singapore-India railway
(bridge over River Kwai), the Korean occupation, orÖwhat was that
other small thingÖ.oh yea, Pearl Harbor. A childrenís book for #$&%
sake. Ok class, todayís reading sample will be about ďcomfort womenĒ
and ďefficient ways to decapitate prisonerís of warĒ. Yay!! Comfort
During lunch I had another discussion about differences in cultures.
Today we had this pork chop type thing, which in itself, was tasty.
But itís nearly impossible to cut it with chopsticks. I was fighting
with these two pencil like utensils and it wasnít pretty. Luckily
other teachers had the same problem. Then one asked ďhow do you eat
Ďsteakí in America?Ē I explained we use a fork and a knife. This
brought on the usual mild laughter. Ha ha, can you believe those
savages use a fork and a knife? I guess they canít use chopsticks like
our advanced culture.
I wish they would use mentality in all aspects of their culture.
Farmers donít use two metal poles to do farm work, they use a
pitchfork or a shovel. People donít rake leaves with two poles, they
use rakes which look like forks (and sometimes they sweep the leaves
with old straw brooms). Chopsticks are great for noodles and flat or
small (non-round) things, but as far as cutting steak goes, anything
would be better.
World Record Friday, July 20th, 2007
I set the world record for fastest language flub after learning a bad
word. Today I was talking about who came to a French Horn concert
yesterday sponsored by some local windmill electric company. A teacher
said parents and neighborhood people. I said a neighborhood is a
little smaller than what he meant so he should say people of Konan, or
Konanians. He looked at me and said Konani, which apparently means " a
little masturbation" since Ko means small, and we've established the
rest. I just smiled and said "nice, that was fast". He was confused so
I just mumbled and left.
After the closing ceremony I drove into Koriyama to get some small
time-sensitive errands done. I had to send money back to the US (with
a lousy exchange rate) before 3pm, then I had to mail something, and
get lunch that wasn't my usual school lunch.
On the way there I noticed I was behind a big truck on the small curvy
road. I tried to pass a few times, but since I'm not a moron and don't
pass on hill curves in a tunnel I wasn't able. Then I realized, I
don't want to pass. This guy is taking up the whole road. Oncoming
cars must stop and get out of OUR way. We are the masters of this
road. You there, divert your eyes when you approach King Ryan. Cars
were coming up and then wildly getting out of OUR way. We must be
allowed to pass. Thou shalt move.
Look at that, he's
taking up the whole road. WOO HOO. All shall stop in my presence. We
were hauling butt and I was right behind him for a while. I was free,
I was driving like a king (if a
king ever drove himself). Quickly jump
off the road you foul peasant, WE own this road now!! HA HA HA.
Then the road widened and my little fantasy ended (with stupid things
like that being yelled out the window). Eh, it was fun for a while.
Koriyama, I had sushi for lunch (the better slightly more expensive
sushi) and then got a haircut. I mailed something to someone and
finally filled up my car with gas. I still put no more than $30 in the
tank and drive as far as I did in the huge Legacy which took $70 fill
up, I just don't get there as fast. When I finished I decided to get a
car wash from the automatic machine that actually touches the car with
brushes. I drive over there and start reading the sign and then I
realize it is telling me to get out and completely tape up anything
that protrudes from the car. That's stupid, and yet I expected it, I
just want to drive up, drop in some money, get washed, then leave. I
don't want to tape my car shut.
You can even see the
yellow tape in the lower right hand corner. I was supposed to tape the
wipers, back wiper, the mirrors, the gas tank, and whatever else there
was that protruded. So I just left.
I had the bright idea to wash my car at home. When I got home it was
pouring down rain. This is great, I will run inside and get a bucket
of soapy water and a sponge and soap it up and let the rain wash it
off. Brilliant. The sky is completely black so it should rain for a
Oh no. The second the
car is completely soaped up it stops raining. Because that is my life.
This was after I had run inside and filled up the bucket twice and
thrown it on the car, but there is still a lot of soap around the
front. I can control the weather. Next time I have some outdoor
activity planned and want it to stop raining, I will just soap up my
are no guns in Japan Saturday,
July 21st, 2007
I was woken up at 7am by one of those annoying
election vans driving through my town SCREAMING over LOUD speakers
about how we should all vote for some guy. It was so loud. For some
reason I jumped out of bed and grabbed my camera and filmed it and
then I uploaded it to YouTube.com. Check it out and remember 7am. If
there were guns in Japan someone would go out and shoot these speakers
off the truck. Turn your speakers WAY up to get the full effect.
Lazy Cool Summer Tuesday, July 24th,
Monday, time flew by and then the VPs made an announcement that we all
need to get out by 5. I actually wanted to stay later since my
computer at school has MS Excel and I donít have that on my main
computer at home. I have it on my older laptop, but that was in the
corner and I didnít feel like rearranging everything. In the end I did
move things around and put my laptop on my desk with the big computer.
Then I spent about an hour redoing the stupid window covering paper
screens. Iíve been gluing little pieces of copy paper to cover the
holes that appear from air pockets between the window and the paper
screen. At some point I bought a roll of the replacement paper, but
never got around to it. Then Monday I got tired of there being holes
directly into my living room so I took them down and fixed them. I had
the forethought to NOT rip the old paper off and start over in case
there was a problem. There wasnít, so now I have, more or less, two
layers of the paper. One with some holes, the other nice and solid.
Today the time has gone by really slow. I guess it is because of the
fact that the internet is down today, or more likely they are doing
some upgrading on the network. About every 10 seconds I open a browser
because I have some obscure thing I want to Google, then I remember
and close it. Now I am to the point that I no longer open the browser,
but I get the urge to every 10 seconds.
Tomorrow is the new (and improved?) English Camp for Koriyama. I
actually think it will be better than before since it is two full
days. One aspect of the camp that I loved was how the kids would go to
English camp about three times a year and really get to know these
other kids from other schools around Koriyama. They made some close
friends who they kept seeing at any English event such as speech and
skit contests. But this is two FULL days which should be more intense
than 3 nights. Plus there is no school so the kids donít have to worry
about studying like before.
Back to the Grind Monday, July 30th, 2007
English Camp is finished. It was good, but there were some growing
pains since it was a completely new style. The next ones will be
better. It finished Saturday morning and then I drove back to my
apartment and felt sad and alone. I had been through three days of
constant excitement with 56 kids running around and 10 of my foreign
friends being there, and then I was alone in my apartment.
Sunday there was a bowling day with the 2nd year JHS kids
and their parents and the teachers. I didnít do well and I noticed I
never do at bowling. I was living in ďalmostĒ town for most of the
game. I would get all but one pin then miss the spare. A few times I
got a strike, and then I would gutter. I really wanted something to
impress the kids with, but not in Ryanís Almost World. Then they asked
me to make a speech at the closing ceremony. It was embarrassingly
stupid and I really need to learn more Japanese.
Today is Monday, as mentioned in the clever title of this section, and
I am back at school. Iíve got nothing major to do this week, but
several small things that need attention. Iím working on one project
that will take a long time, but should be good. That was vague on
purpose since I donít want to spill the beans yet. I should get back
to that now.
The power of music is amazing to me. The elementary kids were
practicing for some concert in the fall. The song they are doing is
some foreign song that I swear sounds like the theme to MASH. Then
another part sounds like a part of the Jurassic Park music, but not
the part where they are being chased by the dinosaurs, the happy part
where they just won or something like that. So all day I kept thinking
about MASH and Jurassic Park and then sometimes at the same time. Like
a T-REX attacking the MASH compound. The music was faint and in barely
audible so I wasnít always aware that I was listening to it, plus they
were practicing all day so I thought I had tuned it out, but I guess
Insert/Overwrite Tuesday, July 31st,
I spent most of the morning translating so much stuff from memos I
have received over the year. Then I hit some random key sequence that
changed my Japanese keyboard from insert mode to overwrite mode. Since
there is no INS key I couldnít do anything. Usually I simply close MS
Word and re-open it and that clears it up, but no luck this time. I
tried everything and then figured out a surefire way to fix it. I
would use Ryan Syndrome to fix it. I figured if I asked some teacher
about it and tried to use my computer as an example then it would
suddenly fix itself. So I tested it by closing and re-opening MS Word
several times and it definitely was not fixing itself. So then I asked
a teacher and said ďcome look and I will show you on my computerĒ.
Then I opened MS Word and tried the exact same thing I did before, and
it magically fixed itself as I knew it would. I have since opened a
help request ticket on Answers.com hoping someone else has had this
problem in the past. I have had it several times in the past and itís
Well I have good news and bad news. Really itís just good news, but I
am afraid I might make it into bad news. I finally got the car tax
refund back from the tax office. Well I have a sheet of paper that
says I can pick up the money at any post office at least. So that is
good news. The other good news is my car tax for the new Kei-Car
(really small engine) will only be $65 so I get $330 back. Thatís more
good news. The possible bad news is that I am really broke this summer
and might have to spend some of it. I could do a week long fast or
just eat $1 for a week if I had to I suppose. I had earmarked the
money for the last part of my plane ticket back to the US in December.
I need to get that soon before the good seats are gone and the prices
go up. I think I might be getting some money for English camp which
would be a wicked bonus since A) it was fun, B) we got free room and
board for three days, and C) I would have done it even if we didnít
This English Camp was much different from all the others. Rather than
have the kids be taxied there every night for three nights and then do
2 hours worth of activities and then go to school the next day, they
had it so it was two solid days of camp, plus most of a third day.
There were some problems with planning since one guy was assigned to
run the camp and only a few other people helped, but overall it was
fun. I want to help plan more of the next camp and I think I will be