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Good News, butÖ
Wednesday, March 04, 2009

            I did get the green light to move apartments in April. That seems like great news, which it is, but I canít move until after April 1st. I had the 27th to the 31st of March reserved for moving, but now I will be sitting in my apartment with all the packing boxes literally doing nothing for those days. I can start moving from April 1st, but that day is the biggest day of the year in Japan. Itís the first day of everything new and I have to be at school. Actually I canít even imagine not being at school that dayÖI think Iím turning Japanese. Thatís the day the new teachers will come and I need to be there to show them I am already part of the group. So I guess I will move a load that night, and then another load either the next night or next day. I might take the 2nd and 3rd off to move and then finish with the big stuff on the weekend.

            The other part that fits into the ďbutĒ (ha ha not even remotely what I meant). The other part that is not in the good news category is that I wonít be getting any new schools until August. The BoE just doesnít understand how hard it is on us to change schools in the middle of the year. So I have to drive to Konan 4 days a week and probably have classes 2-3 days a week. Iím still super excited that I am moving, but slightly sad that my whole routine wonít change for a while. At least I will be able to get my life back and start meeting people.

            Last night I went to Jintei the famous place in Koriyama with some kind of chicken dish wrapped around cheese. I canít explain it, but itís incredible. I ate with Matt and we chatted about the usual things we chat about. Mostly online games, science fiction stuff, and various funny videos or stories we have seen/heard. Iím still full from it since I ate so much as always. Then I did laundry at the laundry depot and there was yet another incident, though this time not related to which coin slot is related to which dryer. This one was even better. The lady didnít know how to start the machine. There is a green button that says START in Japanese and an image of a finger pointing to it. She had no idea what to do and I thought she was kidding for a minute. Then I pressed the start button in a slow sort of ďuhÖ.maybeÖthis buttonÖĒ way. She gasped with the usual ďnaruhodoĒ (oh I see) and then left. Wow. How do you function in life if you canít even start a dryer? Then some couple argued about which dryer to use; a bigger slightly more expensive one or a too-small cheaper one. She went with the cheaper one and it didnít dry the big blanket. The man kept yelling ďsou itta noniĒ (I told you so), enough so that I learned it in context. I think thatís a good way to learn a foreign language and I might start making videos like that. Something where a certain phrase is repeated over and over in context maybe with subtitles so students can hear it and see it.

Celebration of Life.
Sunday, March 8, 2009

            I  stayed home Friday since I had no classes and just wasn't feeling like being around people. Several small things built up to me just wanting a "me" day and not having to worry about other people's schedules. I take about 1 per year so I don't mind. It ended up being perfect timing since I had some stomach bug, but didn't fully realize it until after I ate Indian food for lunch. On the way home I slept in my car in the "Home Depot-ish" place for an hour. Then I got home and slept for another 4 hours and then went to bed and slept all night. It was odd.

            Saturday I stayed in all day on the computer doing various things. Then today, Sunday, I was invited to a small wedding ceremony by the river in Koriyama. It was only about 10-12 people and casual. The weather was great as they said their vows. It was in English and Japanese since the crowd was mixed and so were the couple. She is Japanese, he is American. It was a nice little celebration of life and I'm glad I was a part of it.

             This week I expect the minimal number of classes, if any. Graduation is this Friday and it's absolutely crucial that it be perfect. I remember A) having no graduation for elementary or JHS and B) practicing about 1 hour for my high school one. Without exaggeration they have practiced about 50 hours so far. Mostly that involves what I consider to be the most unimportant things imaginable, but formality is imperative here. They spent one entire hour practicing how to bow. Certain times they go exactly 45į and other times they go the full 90į. Then they practiced standing up and sitting down. It must be done in absolute unison. There is a precise number of steps the graduates take from the door to the turning point to the stage to their seats. The first one is 15, but then I got bored and stopped counting. I can't imagine having any classes with the seniors, which is fine. They care about nothing other than graduating.

              After graduation on Friday I go into Koriyama for a meeting about English camp. We have the camp in August and March and this is the March camp coming it. It should be fun, but it's so much planning. This year I am in charge of running it. Next year it will go to someone else which will be great. I love participating, but planning it is tough. Especially since I emit some vibe that makes people ignore me or not pay attention. Ah I see you've stopped reading.


Monday, March 09, 2009

            I have 4 classes this week, but really two since the other two are with the seniors and clearly all we can do is some fun farewell thing. It will be two days before graduation so they are going to be worthless as far as learning. Even the better of the two classes wouldnít pay attention. Iíll have to show Mr. Bean or something short.

            I nearly did something terrible today. Not super terrible, but it would have been bad for someone else. In Japan when you call someone or talk to someone you have to grovel and apologize for wasting their precious time with your trivial matter. Iím not actually exaggerating there. So the school nurse was on the phone with someone and she was standing in front of me, about 4 feet away, talking towards me. She started the conversation with ďHello this is so-and-so, I am so terribly sorry to bother you, you are always so kind to us, I apologize for wasting your timeĒ. That part is standard for calling someone like a parent or someone outside of the school. Then they talked and when it was time to hang up, the party started. She said the usual ďthank you so much for tolerating my petulant insignificant issues, you are always so kind, thank you dearly, I will now hara-kiri myself for disturbing youĒ. Then the other person apparently said the same, then she said it again, but more politely and groveling, then again even more so. It was like two lovers saying ďoh you hang up first, really no you, ok, no you, you do it first, no you, no you.Ē Then I found myself reaching towards the hang up button just as she was hanging it up. She looked at me and I realized what I was doing (acting out a thought) and I laughed and made it look like a joke.

            I spent some of the morning signing these English memory sheets for the seniors. Most of the kids picked something random to say like "Hatched" which I assume to be some incorrect translation of 'graduation' or wrote one of the standard phrases they have learned over the years. One of the phrases is "Don't forget me, I'll never forget you". A few kids wrote that, but one kid in particular wrote it wrong. I had to take a picture of it since he wrote it wrong on every sheet.

            The other amusing thing that happened today was the school nurse asked me again for a copy of my health check. I donít really mind showing people this since anything thatís wrong isnít wrong due to something bad I did. But still there is something that is really annoying about the COMPLETE LACK OF PRIVACY IN JAPAN. Actually itís comical how far they take it. She took my results and read them all, which was ok I guess since she had to make a copy and file it away. Then she noticed something interesting and pointed it out to someone. Wow look at this. ARGH. It didnít really annoy me, especially since the results were much better than last year, but the whole cultural thing about the group knowing everything about someone is so violating. When I go to the local doctor for anything, the nurse calls my school and explains exactly what was wrong with me. Again, itís usually just a cold or the flu, but MY GOD what a blatant violation of my privacy. I can see lawsuits flying in the US and other countries. If I ever had anything even remotely personal or private I would go to another prefecture and not tell them where I work.

            When I had my health check last year and the principal sat me down to explain that I HAD to go to the hospital the next day for a recheck, he started with ďwe respect your privacyĒ. I actually laughed out loud a bit since, well, they donít. The Japanese version of privacy is at the group level. My version of privacy is at the individual level. Sure enough, when the school nurse took me to the hospital the next day it was first written on the whiteboard for all to see and then she had to announce to the group where she was going. It was ridiculously absurd and almost like something from a sitcom. If you were to think of the most absurd situation possible that was the exact opposite of respecting someoneís privacy, this would have been it.

            Something I am really depressed about (which is partially causing my recent bad mood) is that I wonít be changing schools until August. I was supposed to get 1-2 new elementary schools since Konan only needs me about twice a week, but thatís not going to happen until August, so I have to sit here doing nothing with my 5 classes per week until then. The bright side of that is that I will be living in Koriyama and have a social life again, but now I have to drive 45 minutes each way to sit and do nothing most of the time.

When it rains.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009

            I am skrewed for money this month. Back in April I told a teacher I wanted a yearbook for the seniors. It came in today and I have to pay for it this week. It costs $280. WHAT?


            Seriously, I never paid more than $30-40 for one in elementary through high school. The big thing is that it only has the seniors in it. Only they buy it and there are no other photos in it. Itís only about 20 pages of photos and then 40 pages of messages and some blank pages. But I want it so Iíll do like everyone else, pay it and get over it.

            So I have the $280 to pay, then I have to buy about $100 worth of chocolate for White Day since some kids gave me chocolate on Valentineís day (the Japanese have stretched this one into two full shopping days).

            Luckily I should be getting $200-300 back in late March, maybe more actually. Every month I pay $65 for school lunches and $35 for teacher related things including some parties. Since I havenít eaten every school lunch and even had to pay for July and August and December I should get all that back. Plus I didnít go to the end of the year party as well as a few others that were paid for by that so Iíll get that back. Last year it was about $280 (ironically), but I will double check that. This year should be more since I have also been going to Ohse once a week so thatís about another 25 visits at $3.50 per lunch. Itís just that-that money will come in after I need it. If possible I am going to put that in savings, but thereís always some expense that is exactly the same as what I intend to save, sometimes to the penny.

Chocolate Butt (reprise).
Wednesday, March 11, 2009

            I had a class with the 2nd years (8th graders) and I was so worried about it since I felt like I didnít have a good plan. I tried out some ESL card games I have been making and they actually worked well. One was called ďshichi narabeĒ and is based on a Japanese game (hence the Japanese title). 4-5 people take all the cards, put down the 7s and then line up the cards incrementally or decrementally from the 7 card. I made it using a sentence and color cards. So the red cards spell out ďI think Godzilla is stronger than King Kong. Godzilla is the strongest of all monsters.Ē even though he is not. Thatís from the textbook in the comparative/superlative chapter. Heaven forbid that a Japanese creation be inferior to another monster. If King Kong punched Godzilla it would be lights out, but Godzilla has the tail and the fire breath.

            Anyway, that game went over well. Then the other game was a question/answer game where there are 50 cards and half are questions and half are answers. They are all set up so only one answer fits one question. I tried this at Ohse and it was ok, but I found some problems. I marked the question cards with the word Question and the same for the answers. Then I had 3 people ask questions to three people with answer cards. It was a lot of speaking and listening and thinking if questions and answers fit.

            Then I get back to my desk in the teacherís room and see some chocolate smeared in my seat. OH GOD, did I sit in chocolate? I mean of all the places to have chocolate smeared. Please tell me this isnít so. I ran to the bathroom to findÖÖdramatic musicÖÖ.there was nothing on my pants, so I donít know why there smeared chocolate came from. That has happened to me before and I had an elementary school girl (group of 2-3 actually) point at my butt and laugh. That was awkward in a ďwhy are you pointing and laughing at my buttĒ sort of way. I have been driving and eating chocolate and then gotten home and seen it was smeared on my pants (same area), but luckily no one saw that. I donít know what the connection is since that has only started recently.


            The English teacher just told me the English room was going to change next year. It would be moved to the spare classroom across the garden. I didnít really react because I didnít really care. The room will be smaller and tighter and itís a stupid idea, but there have been so many stupid ideas that this one just fits right in. Still I didnít say anything since itís like a bulldozer in a flower bed once decisions are made. Then I asked why, assuming it would be made into a meeting room or something since it has carpet and is a little nicer than the other rooms. No, that would make some shred of sense so it canít be that. Itís going to become a room where elementary school students can play after school. I actually laughed when I heard that because that would be the absolute last thing I would have imagined it would be used for. Thatís a horrible idea and I canít understand it at all.
All the time and effort I have put into making the English room look nice.

           First of all, itís in the JHS. So the kids are now going to run around the JHS which is so kid-friendly. Second itís no where near the door to go out and play, the kids will have to run (while screaming) past the teacherís room. They currently use the ES library and Big Hall. Why canít they use the big hall instead of the English room? That would be logical. Iíve put so much time (and some money) into the current English room and Iíve learned my lesson. Iím going to pull it all out and not do anything. I may not even decorate the new room since itís just a stupid classroom. Japan never ceases to amaze me at how stupid things can be.

            It has been warm for a few days now and the snow was melting, but today is another blizzard. I didnít even wear a jacket this morning since it was warm, but now itís frigid and thereís about 3 inches of snow on the ground. The stupid weather fits perfectly with my stupid mood. Iíve been sick and or really annoyed for most of February and March and I really need a big vacation during the break. I plan to do something that involves me not being at school or around Konan. I REALLY had hoped to be moving in, but I canít do that until April 1st. Maybe I will go to Tokyo and take photos.


Slightly Better Mood.
Thursday, March 12, 2009

            I went to Ohse today and time dragged on like a turtle. I had two classes with the first years and then they cleaned the school hardcore. After lunch we had graduation practice for the 1-2 years, the seniors went home. It was 4 long hours of watching them stand up, sit down, bow, sing songs, rinse and repeat. Finally it was over and I went to Koriyama to have a meeting about the upcoming English Camp. I'm planning it and there are two first years helping me. We are talking about ideas and getting ready for the bigger meeting tomorrow with all the EC people.

            Before that meeting I had 40 minutes to kill so I went by the BoE to drop off a copy of my car insurance, license, and something else for moving in April. I asked about setting up utilities and they said they would do all that for me as well as fire insurance. That's a huge relief since it's a hassle and tons of paperwork and expenses. Then while the lady was copying some stuff, the man in charge of the foreigners asked what I planned to do during the break after the English Camp. I said I would be sitting around my apartment with everything packed doing nothing since I can't move in until April. He said it would be better if I could move some boxes on March 28-29-30-31, but not move in until April first. That would be much better than doing nothing until the first, but not as great as moving everything (including myself) on the 28th. So in the end that is great news. I will have those days off and I will pack my little Pajero up and make several trips. Then I'll hire a rental truck or moving van for the big things. I'm not going to ask the BoE to pay for anything else since they have been so kind about letting me move and setting everything up.

          Tomorrow is graduation for the JHS. The kids are going to cry like babies, they always do. It's a big thing for them since the group is dissolving. Most of these kids have been together in a small tight-knit group for 3 years and then 6 at different schools as elementary kids. When I came to Konan these kids were elementary 6th graders and now they are graduating. I won't cry, but I will be sad to see some of them go. Not all of them, but some.


Today was the day.
Monday, March 16, 2009

            Today was the day that the kids find out exactly where they will be going to high school. Many of them already knew, but some failed the first entrance test and then took a secondary test. Today was the day that secondary test's results were posted. The whole day consisted of the vice principal getting calls from various students explaining how they did and whether or not they were accepted in the school of their choice. Many kids didn't make it and have to go to the local school that literally takes everyone. Last year they took the kid that NEVER SPOKE and wandered the halls during class.

            Some boys came and announced they were accepted to that school and were so relieved. The stress was killing them. I congratulated them and refrained from telling them the school takes anyone and everyone. Other kids came by and showed off their acceptance letter from the schools of their choice. I found myself just congratulating anyone who was smiling and holding a sheet of paper and not saying anything to people with nothing in their hands and the look of death. That's the main part I hate about this process, if they fail the test they have to come and announce it to all the teachers. I mean is it not enough that they failed the test and cannot go to the upper level high school and now they have to go to a lower level school, but no that's not enough...now they have to come to their JHS and announce their shame. Japan can be brutal sometimes.


Beautiful Day.
Thursday, March 19, 2009

            I drove home with the window down. It was 13įC which is about 58įF whereas yesterday it was around freezing. It was such a nice day. The only thing that bugged me was that it was cold this morning so I wore my thermal long johns and a sweater so I was sweating most of the day. I took vacation time from 2 so I could wire money back and get some things for the upcoming English Camp. For dinner I ate with Dan, Matt, and Angela at the Indian place and it was good even though I ate way too much.

            It's less than two weeks for me to be in my new apartment in town. I'm so excited, but don't want to think about it too much in case I jinx it. That would suck royally. Currently I have hay fever from all the pollen falling around. My nose is a virtual mucus waterfall and it's annoying it. It just won't stop. Other than that I'm in a good mood and glad things are running smoothly.

Free Friday.
Friday, March 19, 2009

           I drove into town early today to give Kathy a lift to the station with her big bag. She's going home to Singapore for spring break and needed a lift. When we arrived we had McDonald's breakfast and then walked around a bit. I bought some candy for the English camp next week. Her bus came at 11:20 and she boarded and then I left to get some Starbucks coffee. Then I did some more errands related to English camp.

          Before heading home I went by John's apartment which is the one directly above my new one. I went there mainly to take his photo so we can give the kids little stickers of us when they ask us questions. The secondary reason I went by was to see his apartment. I saw someone else's apartment in the same building, but it was the reverse layout of what mine will be and I was mentally unable to flip it around. I even drew out what the apartment looked like and then flipped it, but I kept putting the kitchen on the wrong side I also envision the living room being where one of the bedrooms will be. So seeing it was a nice mental image. He has a cool set up as well. I like what he did and plan to copy much of it.

           I'm in an annoying holding pattern now. My apartment is almost completely packed up, but I can't move anything until they clean the new place and give the BoE the key. I was told it could be Friday night, which would be perfect since I could start making some trips on Saturday and Sunday and then just have the big stuff to move Tuesday and Thursday. I'll be at school Monday and Wednesday. Monday for the farewell bit and to move my desk in the teacher's room and then Wednesday to greet the new teachers and have boring meetings. If I can't move stuff that weekend then I'll have literally nothing to do other than sit in my packed up apartment doing nothing.

Ready to Move.
Sunday, March 22, 2009

            I went by the local "convenience" store on Saturday to get something, but it was closed all day. ARGH. I am really tired of living in a small town and I am ready to move. I went to Milky Way to eat first since I haven't had vegetables in a few days. I got the salad bar and a small hamburger plate. After that I did laundry and I think I ruined my comforter. I usually send it to the dry cleaner, but since I was washing the futon mattress thing I figured I would wash the comforter as well. Big mistake...the innards are all clumped up now and it's not fluffy. After that I went to the park to walk around a bit. This is the park that is 3 minutes from my new apartment. Then I came home around 4 and continued to work on the preparation for English Camp this week.


SO Ready to Move.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009

            Ok, so let's see. Monday was graduation for the elementary school. That was on the verge of painful at how long and formal they made it as well as how they made the 1-5th graders sit through it. It was bad for the 1st and 2nd graders mostly since they haven't sat through that many. It was painful for me because it dragged on and on. The worst part was when EACH graduating student stood up and said a few words to their parents about how thankful they are. The painful part of that is there are 27 kids each speaking for at least a minute, but really more since someone would stand up and say "mother and father...." and burst into whimpering tears for about a minute. They would then realize how long it had been and start talking while crying. It's hard enough to understand what they are saying normally, but while crying was just awful.

            Then today I took the day off to prepare for the big English Camp from Wednesday to Friday. It's held at a YMCA type place on the outskirts of Koriyama (the big city). About 50-60 kids come from all the JHSes around Koriyama and participate in 3 days of English games and general fun with foreigners. I love doing it, but not running it so much. I realized most everyone participating was new so I couldn't delegate that much, but we'll see how it goes.

Friday, March 27, 2009

            The camp went great, well mostly great, but great as far as the kids knew. There were some problems that come back to me since I planned it. One problem was that the game show is still boring at parts. I redid it from last year, but it's still a bit boring at times. All the AETs did great and there was no drama or arguing like there was years ago, but we still have some planning things to work on.

    The best part of it all was the superintendent of Koriyama schools came by to give the students their "official" certificates. After his speech we had it planned so Detective John (an NT like me) would interrupt the fake speech made by the Board of Education department head and tell everyone there was a murder in the gym and they all had to go help figure it out. He was dressed like a 70s detective and played the part well. They were all surprised since the speech was by someone important and why were we interrupting that. Finally we convinced them to get up and go to the gym where they saw a body under a sheet in the dark surrounded by candles as they entered to the theme song from Eyes Wide Shut. After they were sitting there for a minute staring at the body (that was in near darkness) Mrs. Body came in and found her dead husband and summoned the butler. Then he called the cop and detective and then the suspects came in and lined up against the wall. The suspects were the people that worked in the house such as the maid, Mrs. Body, the gardener, the driver, the cook, and the butler. We went with the clichťd ending of having the butler do it.

         The next day they learned about our hobbies and played Rounders (English game), learned about taking pictures, Angela had a drawing class, Lydia did a dance class that was popular, John and Henry did games in the gym and they learned about the New Zealand Maori Haka dance, finally Maxime did a class on how to make fake wounds using latex. After that kids were walking around with huge gashes across their legs and arms. Then we had a game show that didn't work so well, but we don't know why yet. After lunch we showed them what their skits were for the night.

          The skits were popular movies that they had to act out. They couldn't say the name of the movie in the skit such as "look it's ET", everyone had to speak, and they had to say "Yes we can" in context somehow. The skits stopped way too early so we had the girls from the dance workshop give a presentation as well as the boys from the Haka dance. Finally the AETs talked about what we remember most from the camps (there is one in August and March with the same kids. As a finale we gave them the certificates we made for them which were drawn by Angela (and looked tons better than the previous years) and also had a photo of their group on it.

           The next morning each group got up and talked about their favorite memory from the camp and then we had more interviews. The kids had little notebooks and would ask us some questions and then we gave them a little sticker with our name and face on it. It was someone to remember us by since they couldn't bring digital cameras and take a billion photos like we did. We being the AETs, they being the students.

           Camp finished at 10 and I did a few errands and then drove home to sleep for a bit since I was exhausted even though I slept 6 hours at the camp each night. Part of the reason I was exhausted was they INSIST on playing some chime song at 6am. In Japan it is crucial that everyone wake up as a group so they play this annoyingly loud song to wake everyone up together. They also broadcast the song on loud speakers in my town at 6am as well. It's annoying, but you learn to ignore it until it's on a speaker a few feet above your head. There's another chime at 12 and one at 6 as well.

           Around 4 a friend ChloŽ came by and took a car load to my new apartment. It was really nice of her to offer to do that since I live 40 minutes out in the sticks. Her car is small, but when the seats fold down there was a lot of room. It was about the same as two trips in my car so my car was full, plus hers means that was a good three loads. I estimate I have about 5 more trips in my car and then I will just have some big things that I will need a truck for. I might see about renting a truck today for Tuesday. She then drove home since she lives beside me in the new place and I drove to get the key from the BoE. They gave me the key and went through all the details of living there. I managed to take some photos even though it was getting dark. I need to buy curtains today since there are none on the sliding doors.




Standing in the entrance.


Looking right into the big kitchen.

Looking behind me into the spare bedroom.



The other bedroom. All the bedrooms have tatami floors of which I am tired, but whatever.

I had a separate sink from the toilet and shower.

Look how big the shower area is and it's not IN the bath like now. I can sit and scrub my feet. (I would be sitting on a special bath seat)



         There's also a living room, but it looks just like the room on the left. I can't decide what I am most excited about. It's either the big shower that I can sit down in or have two other people in it with me, the fact that I now have a balcony, It has two huge rooms PLUS a living room (as opposed to my one-room place), or that the door jambs are 2 meters tall and I am just less than 2 meters. All the doors in my current country apartment are stupidly 180 cm. WHY? What is the point of that absurd height? The doors at school are two meters which makes sense, so why are they 180? I am 188cm tall and have hit my head about 428,438 times (roughly). It also has curtain hooks in places that make sense, like one at the door entrance and one to the bathroom area entrance. My current place has a stupid door blocking the kitchen from the bathroom and entrance. That would be convenient if I ever ran out from the shower and didn't want to disturb people in the kitchen. I have never once closed that stupid door, I even taped it open.

         Basically all this weekend I will be making trips back and forth in my little Pajero Junior. It holds a decent amount, but not as much as that van I used when my 2nd car died. I thought about asking to borrow it, but I'm just going to rent a van from the Toyota place or a truck. I hope they don't give me a toy yoda.


About Halfway.
Saturday, March 28, 2009

            I have made about 5 trips so far and expect to make about 4 more plus one with a long van to carry the couch. The current issue is taking the washing machine and the refrigerator. The WM should be ok, but the fridge can't be tilted to one side since the oil will run out of the compressor. I think I can lean it forward in a way that doesn't mess it up, but we'll see. I'll post photos of the minute by minute progress on that. I also bought some curtains and hung them and installed the sliding door locks that the BoE bought for us since someone's apartment was broken into recently.

             On an annoying note (well two), around 7:00 I went to the local (in)convenience store to get something to eat since I ate dinner around 4 and had the munchies of sorts. It was closed as it has been a lot recently and that was really annoying since the only other food place in the general vicinity closed at 7. I wasn't too hungry and ended up having a beer, but still....I am ready to get out of the country (inaka in Japanese [e na ka]). Apart from being really lonely and far and cold it's also inconvenient too. The nearest ATM is Koriyama which is 35 minutes away. Same with dry cleaners and anything else really.

          The other annoying thing happened at English Camp. The people that run the place are on the verge of being Nazis. That building is the summation of everything that is annoying about Japan. All the rigid cultural points come to a peak there. Last year they told us we could not use the lights in a meeting room from 8am to 9am, only at 9am could we use them. That wasn't terrible since it was daylight, but it was just absurd. This year I think they topped it. Some girls were playing piano in the music room and the crotchety old guy came in and barked "why are you playing that? Who said you could play the piano? It costs money to play it." Actually no #$%@-head it doesn't cost money to play it. Why on earth would it cost money? When we rent this facility for three days why doesn't that include the piano? How much does it cost? What about just one note, how much is that? Here is the absurdity from last year.

No dogs in the washing machine

Do not put diapers or dogs in the washing machines.

Stretch limo, man that would suck to drive a limo in Japan.

The bathrooms at the baseball stadium. Women on the left, then they walk right
by the men peeing. I'm standing in the passage way where they would leave.

Strange Japanese English...Engrish

I don't have any idea what this means. It was a sporting goods store.


Japan's pot leaf shaped air freshener

An air freshener shaped like a pot leaf with the caveat (don't do drugs). Smells good though.

Japanese nonsense

If it's one price, why are there two prices at the bottom?


fBad Japanese Drivers

Red lights don't mean anything in Japan, but occasionally the other drivers
cut you off before you can run the intersection. Classic moron and not surprising.

What's wrong? I'll tell you. It's perfectly ok if anything Japanese blocks or covers anything
 in English, but absolute blasphemy the other way around. That's what's wrong.

Japanese superstitions...no number 4 or 14.

My shoes are in locker number 4, or was it 14? It was neither since those are
bad luck numbers in Japan. There are usually no 4th floors either.
There's no 104 or 204 apartments at my new place.

Near nudity in a children's arcade in Japan.

Perfectly acceptable in a children's arcade. I wouldn't mind it in my apartment...


Last Night in Konan.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009

            I nearly saw two bad wrecks. Both were because people pass whenever they feel like it here. On a hill... who cares do it...around a turn...who cares do it....on a hill around a curve in a tunnel...yea. It's like people cannot wait for one second here.

Toyota Hiace rental van for moving            Well I rented a van and filled it up with my couch, wardrobe closet, washer, mini-fridge, set of 1967 English encyclopedias, and desk chair. I planned on taking two trips, but the van was bigger than I thought and I managed to get it all in with only one trip. I loaded it alone, but two other English teachers helped me unload. It was a diesel  van and I had to fill it up when I finished, but it was only about $5. It didn't take long to unload it and then I waited for a lady from the BoE to come by and inspect various things in the apartment. After that I returned the van and ate some dinner and after that I got a lot of the stuff arranged in the new apartment. Tonight is my last night sleeping in Konan. I really don't mind at all. I love the town, but living here is a bit much for me. I really feel like my life has been on hold for so long and I plan to really make some changes when I move.

            Tomorrow the new teachers and principal show up and we have a full day of meetings. LuckilyToyota Hiace rental van for moving my desk is now way in the corner so I can pretty much do anything and they won't see me. I was attached to the 2nd years, but when the vice principal was printing the schedule he asked and I made a sad face, then he said what about the 1st years and I lit up. I love the incoming 7th graders, they are my favorite kids in the whole school. So I'm happy about that and really ecstatic about moving in general. There's a party this Friday for the new teachers and I can easily go and drink and walk home. No more hotels for me. Then there is a PULL DJ party after that  I can go to and drink. It's been months since I have gone out like that and then I had a hotel room.

         I transferred my internet to the new place, but they can't flip the switch until April 9th so I will be radio silent for a while. Maybe I can update Facebook from an internet cafe. I need to buy a lot more stuff for the apartment since it didn't come with lights or curtains. I also need a bike since I plan to use the car only for school and long distance stuff. It seems like I will be driving a lot more now, but I would usually come into town 3-4 times a week and now I will be driving to Konan 4 times a week or less if there is a meeting or something here. So it's really the same, but the best part is I have things to do at night. Every night this week the local Smile Mart has closed around 6 or 7. It's annoying since that is supposed to be the place to go after 7, but now everything shuts down by 7. I am so ready to get out of here. All I have in the apartment now is my futon, the TV, this computer, a carpet, some blankets, and a trash can. That can all fit in the car tomorrow. I am about to sign off this and clean up one more time. So, the next update will be in a week or two from Koriyama. WOO HOO.







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