May 5th 2009
haven't written much recently. I just finished something in April so
you might want to catch up with that. This month I've basically done
the same as usual, but now I live in the city which is great. I have
the bike and I ride some and walk some and try to eat better, but
living in the city adds so much convenience that it's hard to stick to
it. Let's see in a nut shell, I was supposed to get $120 from the
Japanese government as a stimulus bonus, but there was some problem
and it didn't come. I later figured out it was from my foreigner card.
There is a HUGE RED DATE that says renew by 2011, so I assumed that's
when I should renew my alien status, but it was actually when the card
itself expires. So I was here illegally for 8 or 9 months. Though
apparently not too illegally. I got it all straightened out and they
said they would mail it right away, but....
Other than that it is Golden Week this week so I have M-W off and then
Ohse Thursday and Konan sitting doing nothing Friday. Saturday is our
sports festival so Friday will be nothing but preparing for it over
and over. It is crucial that the students follow the script perfectly
otherwise the earth will actually stop spinning.
Monday night until this morning I went camping with a few other people
back to our favorite place, Lakeland Hibarako. I'll add some photos
below of the trip.
Beautiful views from
We ate like kings.
We had an odd fire
that if you are just sitting around staring at each other not talking,
it would be awkward. But if there is a fire, then it is ok. Ours was
There is a Salvadore
Dali museum with actual paintings from him. It's not in Tokyo or
another big city, but really in the middle of no where. It's quite
strange, but interesting.
This doesn't look as
amazing as it really was. Japanese people not only back into EVERY
parking space as listed in the April update, but they also back their
boats into the shore.
When Matt and I
pulled out of the camp ground we drove down a bumpy dirt road for a
minutes, then I hit the road and we started driving fast. As I sped up
we heard a clank sound and
assumed I hit something like a stick or something in the road. When I
got to the 7-11 we saw this.
Apparently it was on the tire and then bounced over to the window like
Friday, May 08, 2009
In my nose, thatís where the party is. I always have a stuffy nose,
but recently it has been much worse. I have to start tracking down
what foods cause my mucus flow Niagara style. Itís either clogged or
running straight out, OR my personal favorite, BOTH. How can a nose be
clogged and running at the same time?
I went camping this week which was fun. We plan to go back
in June sometime for a weekend. I was in charge of the fire and it was
a good one. We had to feed 10 people and it stayed hot the entire
time. We cooked a ton of meat including meat strips, chicken, and
ribs. There was plenty of other food as well such as omelets made by
Angela and vegetables out the whazoo or wazoo or wazhoo. Spell check
likes none of those. We had a camper that was nice, but a tad more
pricey than I was hoping for . Since we only sleep in it Iíd be fine
with the tent only option. Plus I donít like sleeping in situations
where I could potentially disturb other people. I took an allergy pill
which knocked me out for the whole night so there were no problems.
Otherwise I might have snored, walked around, or started naked sleep
wrestling with someone.
Today I have 2 classes, one I plan and the other I assisted with. I
really have nothing good to say about the 5th and 6th
grade textbooks. They are very academic and really stupid. We
practiced saying hello from all around the world today, which was
cool, until we spent 3 minutes talking about Japan. They can say
Konnichiwa, why would we talk about that. There is so much Japanese
language and culture in this book and most of the instruction is
wrong. It tells them to write their name Last Name First Name, which
is fine IN JAPAN, but not when dealing with foreigners. Itís one more
thing we have to un-teach down the road. Photo: I don't even
know what this was.
Iíve had a few experiences with Japanese people and
forming lines. Thereís something to this, but I canít figure it out.
In one sense they will form a line at the drop of a hat and wait in it
for hours for the smallest thing like a donut or some ramen somewhere.
So I want to think they like lines and respect the ďlineĒ. But then
there are equally as many times when they break in line and disrespect
the ďlineĒ, so I canít really figure out what the deal is. The most
recent ones were at the hospital, then pulling into a parking space,
then at the sushi place. The funniest one (to me) was at the hospital.
When I have my blood drawn (by Picasso) they open the sign
up desk promptly at 8:00:00. I put the seconds in there to show
exactly how precise they are. I try to get to the desk early to get a
low number so I will be one of the first ones and then I can go eat.
The earlier I am the quicker they can see me. So the lady stands there
staring at us from about 7:58 to exactly 8:00:00. Itís a federal crime
to open the desk one second before the proper time. She would be
beheaded I think. So then a line is supposed to form, but it never
does. This past time three people went up to the desk and they all
stuck their papers out, but the one on the right stuck his paper out
the farthest so the line semi-formed to the left. I go and stand 4th
in line meaning I should be #4 which is great since they take people
in groups of 5. Some old lady walks up and actually says out loud ďI
donít want to wait in this lineĒ and cuts around in front of the #1
person who is now finishing. The #2 lady looks at her funny, but
Japanese people are too polite and non-confrontational to do anything
(for a while). So the cut-lady somewhat forces her slip to the clerk
and is next.
Now hereís the best part. She then turns around and tells
her friend/sister/daughter/some other old lady, again out loud, ďhey
just come up here and cut in line, you donít have to waitĒ. The other
lady does so and the #2 lady, now #3, gets agitated, but still doesnít
say anything. Then the new #2 lady hands in her slip and, you wonít
believe this, calls her friend/sister/daughter/some other old lady.
That lady comes up and the #3 lady politely says ďwe are standing in
line hereĒ, but the first lady says something like ďbah humbug, bugger
offĒ. So now the agitated lady is #4 and the other lady (that was the
2nd to be called). Then #4 lady now starts to stand very
close to the #3 lady and sticks her hand out and submits it next. Then
the #5 lady (not previously mentioned) turns in her ticket and takes
the #5 blood spot. So now I am next and as I turn it in some man
blindsides me by cutting right in front of me. I was shocked and
laughed a bit at the audacity of it all. Then I am finally next and
some lady sticks her hand around my left from the #6 or #7 position (I
am confused myself) and I glare at her and say ďreally? Are you
serious?Ē a bit too loud and pushed her card away. It was a bit rude,
but thereís only so much you can take.
The kids at Ohse are vastly different from those at Konan.
I donít really know why since both
schools are considered country schools. A recent example is how Konan
kids constantly say ďI canít speak English. I donít know. I canít do
it.Ē They never speak English unless I prompt them and even then it
requires some convincing. Whereas the Ohse kids constantly practice
what they have learned in the halls. On Thursday I was walking around
the school after the last class and the kids were starting their club
activities. Some boys tracked me down and asked if a note was correct.
One student was leaving and couldnít practice with the baseball team.
Since the coach is the English teacher he wrote the note in English.
It says ďI'll go home because I am sick.Ē That would never happen in a
million years at Konan and that makes me sad. I think most of the Ohse
kids go to private cram schools weekly.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
I managed to get out of running on the fat teacher team. Thatís almost
exactly what it is actually called. The correct name is Metabolic,
which means something else in English, but in Japanese meh-ta-bo-ri-ku
means 'fat'. For the past few years weíve had a metabolic team run in
the sports day relay. I hate it for several reasons:
A) I donít compete athletically
B) I hate sprinting for 50 meters
C) I hate running in front of people
D) Itís just insulting to be on a team called 'Fat People'.
e) if they called it something catchy like 'thickness'
I might do it.
That would last about 30 seconds in any English speaking
country. ďHey Mary, you are on the fatty team. You and the other
chubbers get to look stupid in front of the whole school. So anyone
that didnít already disrespect you will now totally disrespect you
since you will look like a fat idiot on the track.Ē I put on a knee
brace and limped around and made sure people knew I had an injury.
Overall the sports day was fun, but thatís only because I
took 900 photos with my new DSLR. I experimented with Depth of Field
and continuous shots and the telephoto lens. I took some great photos
and merely skimmed the surface the cameraís abilities. Iíd like to go
out taking photos around town one day when I have more free time. I
did get burned since I forgot a hat and sunscreen. It had been rainy
all week before so I just assumed it would be cloudy or cancelled, but
it was actually a perfectly sunny day. Sunny, but not too hot (unless
Other big news is that my $120 Japanese government
stimulus payment actually came. Iíll probably take off early today so
I can take it to city hall and get the money today. I bought a bike
this pay period assuming I would be getting the check earlier. I have
nearly run out of money since it came so late. I had planned to save
it, but of course every time I say I am going to save some money I get
some required payment for something. This time it is my car tax which
I hate. I hate it because they tax everything car related in Japan.
The highways are toll roads, they force everyone to get snow tires
which are $200 EACH, there is a $1,500 emissions test every two years,
and gas is about $6 a gallon. Then there is another car tax (this one)
that is $340. ARGH. I want to go back to a K-car with a yellow plate
and much cheaper fees.
I moved my computer back from the living room floor to the
spare room desk. I really liked a friendís set up when he had it on a
floor desk (you are sitting on the floor and the desk is about knee
level) and I wanted to copy it. I got a desk for the floor and tried
it for over a month, but in the end I just hate being on the floor. I
hate being down there and having to wiggle around to get up. I hate
restaurants that have floor seating except for those with the holes
for your feet. I canít sit on the floor for extended periods of time,
really anything more than a few minutes.
Other big news which might not happen. I was planning on
getting a laptop and having a friend bring it over, but it may not
happen. I tried to get one last week, but I have to pay by wire
transfer ($50 fee) and then shipping to Japan is another $150 so that
adds $200 to the price as it is. Then I tried to buy it and ship it to
her address in the US, but pay by ďBill Me LaterĒ where I can pay in
installments, but since I am in a foreign country that must be fraud.
There is no other reason for it other than fraud. So now I have to
wire money back on payday and as soon as it arrives send some to my
credit card and then as soon as that clears order it and ship it to
her next day which adds another $50 to the price. Sheís leaving the
morning of the 28th and I get paid on the 21st
so you can see it might be tight.
I feel like it wonít happen since I have that $340 car
tax. Iím debating getting a cheap projector for games and to use as a
TV since that way the TV tax guy couldnít get me. If I donít actually
have a TV I wouldnít have to pay. All I do is watch movies or English
TV shows from the web so I donít want to pay $15 for yet another
pointless tax. I can get the projector for about $430 from in Japan
and pay no shipping or other stupid charges. If I buy a computer in
Japan it has to have Windows Vista Ultimate (the most expensive OS) so
I can change it to English. It still costs less to buy one from the US
and ship it over than it does to buy one here with Vista Ultimate.
Though I have been secretly thinking about getting a Mac.
Paperwork and More Mucus.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
I took off 2 hours early yesterday because A) I had no classes and was
tired of sitting around finding things to do, and B) my $120 Japanese
stimulus check came in. I shouldnít say ďcheckĒ since that implies I
could take it to the bank and have cashed. There are no checks here,
but in their place there is a ton of paperwork. To get my money I had
to go to city hall and turn in a piece of paper with my name stamp and
show my ID card. I took a number and was sent up stairs to the room. I
was guided to someone in the ďinformationĒ department. That person
filled out 2 forms and gave me one to go another table. The other
person filled out 2 more forms and gave me one and kept the other.
Then we waited as someone took the forms to the back room and then
came back with the money and another form. She filled out the other
form and gave it to me. I didnít care since they were filling out the
forms and in the end I would get $120 to blow on what ever I wanted. I
chose to spend it on food for the next week.
I did buy a few things though, but most went on my credit
card. I bought an arm thing to hold my monitor up for my computer. I
had been using some books to get it up to eye level and that was just
dangerous. Then I bought a plastic bin/crate/container thing to put
some winter clothes
in since my place is getting too full somehow. Finally I bought a
cheap clothes rack to hang more stuff since my portable closet doesnít
really hold foreign clothes well (being that they are wide and long).
Then for some reason I applied for a Japanese credit card online. They
are actually different than US ones. There is the option of using like
a US visa where you charge something and pay it off little by little,
but usually the way they work is different. When you buy something you
can pay 1 time or over several months. The reason I applied was
A) to have some emergency money available such as for a car,
B) because I want to buy a laptop and pay it over several months, and
C) because my US card kinda sucks sometimes. Itís a credit union card
which means low interest and no stupid gimmicks, but they are open
during bank hours. There is no way to contact the credit card place
for an emergency during off hours. Anyway, I donít expect to get the
card, but I did apply at the same place where I have a car loan that I
have paid regularly and on time.
Today I am back at Konan and have no classes that I need
to plan. There were two that I could go to as an ALT or AET, but they
were reading comprehension and I wasnít needed. My English reading
skills are poor so why would I go. Hopefully after August when I get
two more schools I will be busy. Itís so funny that I actually want
So I still have this runny nose thing going on. I went to
a pharmacy last night and explained that I donít have any other
flu/cold like symptoms, but my nose just constantly runs. Iím either
blowing my nose 10-15 times an hour or snorting it back which is a
very pleasant sound. She gave me something that should thicken my
issueÖ.and so far itís ok. I am blowing my nose less, but still a few
times an hour.
Friday, May 15, 2009
I have just felt blaaa this week. The medicine for the mucus festival
in my sinuses has worked about 90%. I still snort sometimes and blow
my nose, but itís not the constant stream that it was. Iíd like to get
to a specialist sometime since itís a year round thing for me and I
have good insurance, but that will have to wait until I have a little
more money to spend on things. My utilities have been really high for
some reason lately. The gas bill was $100 for a month and a half, but
that might be because I left the on-demand water heater on all the
time. Supposedly it only runs when water is flowing, but that seems a
bit much for springtime use.
Today I had one class, but it was with the 4th
graders and it went great. Itís a mixture of a few things that always
makes it go smoothly with them. First, they are good kids and have a
good teacher. Second, there are no big troublemakers that stand out
like in a few of the other grades. Also the things we are learning are
easy to teach and allow several games. I just taught them how to count
to 60 (and then actually 100) and then they learned how to tell time.
Today was about sports, but I reviewed the numbers and time a bit.
Next class will be about sports again and soon I will start with
English letters and the alphabet.
Tomorrow there is a tennis match at Ohse with Konan, Ohse,
and the 4th JHS. I will be torn between Ohse and Konan and
will have to cheer for both equally. The other school is just a bonus
since I know a few of the girls on the tennis team from English camp.
It starts at 9 so I might go there for a bit and then get lunch
I feel like I havenít fully moved in yet. Thatís because I
havenít bought enough stuff to fill the place and Iím not even using
one room. I donít really want to buy too much since I donít know how
much longer I will be here, but at the same time it looks barren and
half full. I also have too much stuff, even though there is plenty of
room to store it. I need to just toss a bunch of the crap away. Iím a
pack rat though and hate throwing things away.
Going To SNAP.
Monday, May 18, 2009
I had a class with the elementary 3rd graders today. I
hadnít planned on it, but it was on a different schedule that I didnít
know about. It was the worst class I have ever had in Japan and not
because of poor planning. I was physically yelling at the top of my
lungs for them to be quiet and sit down. About 50% of the kids were
just walking around or talking or completely ignoring me. It was an
absolute free for all. The other half of the kids were sitting quietly
for the most part, but sometimes they would be the recipient of being
talked to or even respond to the talkers. It was absolute hell and I
nearly yelled at them once and another time I nearly walked out.
Seriously it was that bad. The only way I think I can partially
control them is by making some cool stickers and then giving them out
only if they are semi-quiet. I know they wonít be so I will have to be
firm about not giving in. They arenít used to have consequences for
their actions. I even asked the English teacher to go with me to the
I have been toying with the idea of seceding from the lunch plan here
at school. Iíve found it to be appallingly plain and quite often just
bad. It's about $3.60 which is good, but I think I could eat better on
my own. The saddest part is that my school has a much better lunch
than most of the schools in Japan, because we are too far out in the
country for the city lunch place to deliver. Itís really just not
enough food plus itís rather plain and watered down half the time.
Today was natto which really made me madder than I was during the
above-mentioned class. It smells like sweaty socks that were worn
while wading through a vinegar and feces pond and then put in a sealed
plastic bag for 3 weeks. Seriously it smells that bad and I usually
gag from merely being near it. Apart from that we had rice and some
bland soup that was watered down and some leftover style mixture of
potatoes and other things. I think I am going to see how many crap
lunches I have through July and decide then. Photo: A
typical school lunch from another non-natto day.
is considered inside at Ohse and I can wear my inside shoes to the
secretary puts scraps down on the floor to make sure the kids actually
sweep the whole room.
and I went for a bike ride one day and passed a driving school. I've
wanted to go there and drive a bus, but some guy was driving a
Woo Hoo !!
No spaces? I don't want to park in the back.
preparing for the sports day, we were told to 'pick up grass'.
voted no on that one.
wonderful view from Barbara and Henrik's apartment downtown.
lunch on sports day. The brown things are just filled with rice.
Overall it was a let down, but rather typical of Bento lunches.
Parking is a bit of an issue in our lot. My space is to the right and I
couldn't get to it.
Passing on a curve.
you order a plate, it comes out on a little bullet train.
English room was moved to the 3rd floor library.
is the old room. It was moved so this room could be used for kids.
kids I guess they mean trash.
where you want as slow as you want.
Shut It DOWN.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Yea I shut it down. Two things I put a stop to (I think). First this
little first grade brat, whose brother is also a brat in the 2nd
grade, always punches me in the ding dong and the butt. He punches
hard and he is the perfect height to just punch straight and hit me
there. I canít really do anything since there are no consequences in
Japan, but this time he did it in front of his teacher. I made a big
scene about how it hurt and started saying ďstop, quitĒ in Japanese.
As usual he just laughed and did it more. Then his teacher grabbed him
and made him stop and apologize to me. Rather than blow it off like I
do with others I pushed it and said ďstop doing that from now on, stop
it.Ē He was about to cry and I didnít care. Thatís painful and kids
shouldnít do it. BOOM, I shut that down.
The second thing was regarding that uber-annoying class
the other day. I told the English teacher how bad it was and he said
the art teacher had also complained about the class. I guess he told
the art teacher how I felt since she took it upon herself to fuss at
the class during a recent art class. Several of the kids apologized to
me about it and I hope it changes. BOOM, probably also shut it down.
Weíll see on that front.
Need to Shut It DOWN.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
I had a class with the elementary 2nd graders today, alone,
and they were a bit bratty. It really annoys me how little respect
kids have for me. Most of it stems from there being NO consequences.
The only thing I could do is threaten to write some names down, which
made them quiet for a bit. The annoying thing is the few boys that
yell dirty stuff when we are practicing new words. I would show a
flashcard of a carrot and most kids would yell ďcarrotĒ, but a few
would yell ďunchiĒ (poo) or ďshinkoĒ (something related to
masturbation). That was to be expected somewhat since the boys in
question are generally foul natured, but then when I was doing some
flashcards again to repeat it some girls yelled ďthis is boringĒ.
Seriously, you want to see something NOT boring? How about if I storm
out of the room and go get the vice principal and then tell your
teacherÖwell thatís really NOT Japanese, but it would have shut them
up. They are a little better when the teacher is there.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Itís actually comical how rude the 3rd graders are. They
are well beyond anything I can possibly
explain. Itís truly as if I were invisible and were talking like a
mouse during their play time after they drank sugar drinks all
morning. They were completely ignoring me and the teacher had no voice
so he couldnít yell. It was actually funny this time and I didnít get
mad. They were simply not listening to me in any way shape or form. I
walked around and tried to tell people things individually, but even
then they kept talking to each other as if I were not there. They
didnít even look at me and then ignore me, I simply wasnít in the
room. Then about 5 kids started crying and some other kids started
nagging the criers. Iím going to have to take another teacher next
time to show exactly how bad it is. Photo: The English room was
moved so the room could be made into a meeting room that is used once
every 2 months.
I got paid yesterday and I am already broke. I had planned
to save about $300, but as usual whenever I say I am going to save a
certain amount in comes a bill for that exact amount. This time it was
the yearly car tax of $320, so that plus my $300 car loan payment plus
my stupidly high bills (for some reason) have caused me to pay about
$1,000 right off that bat. Thatís before sending money back (not
likely) and before food money. I plan to eat at a nice place tonight
and then tomorrow and that will be it for the month.
One fine thing about being broke is that I have been using
my juicer more and juicing 5 carrots, 1 celery stalk, and one bunch of
spinach. Itís a pretty intense burst of vitamins and is semi-tasty. I
put some Tabasco in it last night and that was a bit much, but I will
eventually find a good flavor. As it is now itís not terrible, but
just not tasty. I only spend about $5 on each drink, but itís actually
a dayís worth of vegetables. If I have only that for dinner it helps
me lose weight and is cheap.
Absolute CLASSIC example of the big thing I dislike about
Japanese culture. The 5-6th graders came back from their 2
night school trip. The tour bus pulls in at 2:55pm sharp and they
start to unload and get their stuff. They are all lining up for the
closing ceremony which is absolutely required in all Japanese
situations. Then two regular 3:00 buses pull in at 2:58. The 1st
- 4th grade kids board the regular buses, but the closing
ceremony hasnít started. The bus driver said he had to leave promptly
at 3:00. A teacher asked one driver if he could wait for 1 minute so
the kids could board. He said he would wait one minute, but it was
most unheard of and he would be behind schedule. The teacher told the
ceremony leader it was ok to continue. They continue with the
pointlessly drawn out ceremony.
The driver honks the horn and closes the door. The teacher
runs over and says ďsorry, I will have them board now.Ē He opens the
door and the teacher turns to the ceremony leader and says itís ok to
continue. They continue the ceremony. The driver honks, closes the
door, and pulls away. Now at this point they could still salvage it
and chase the bus while itís turning around. He would stop and let
them board, but they would then miss the mandatory closing ceremony.
So what do they do? They hurry along with the closing ceremony and
completely miss the bus. Now these kids, who are dead tired and filthy
and just want to get home, have to wait another hour for the next bus.
This is exactly what I donít like about the culture. They
are trapped by the process. They were physically unable to say ďwe
usually have a closing ceremony, but if we do it now we will miss the
bus, so letís skip it and go home.Ē That would require critical
thinking and the ability to choose what's best. Nope, itís simply what
you do in Japan just like breathing and eating. If you told someone to
not breathe he might say ok, but then he would breathe, because itís
what you do. There is no option. People breathe and eat and have
ceremonies. They cannot do otherwise. To do otherwise would be death.
Up Hill Ride.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
I almost made it all weekend with my plan of using the car only to get
to and from school. I rode my bike most everywhere I needed to go on
the weekend except Sunday evening when I bought a foldable bed for
$30. I actually fit on it, itís foldable to fit in a closet or corner,
and it was cheap so I got it. Other than that I rode most everywhere
and it feels good. It also saves gas hardcore since I get decent
mileage if I only drive to and from school. The city driving drains my
On Sunday I rode to the station on said bike and had McDonaldís
breakfast and then Starbucks coffee. It was much cheaper than usual
since parking always gets me for $5 or so, but I realized something
after having the coffee. I donít want to ride my bike back and even
worseÖ.it was all downhill the way here. I go over it and geared the
bike down so I could pedal like a madman the whole time, but make it
up the hills. It was brutal, but I think I burnt off all the calories
I took in.
Iíve been juicing some meals and steaming others which are
both really healthy. Obviously juicing is better since I can juice 4
carrots, a bunch of spinach, and some celery which is like a vegetable
mega-shot. The carrot juice cleans the liver and pancreas which I
desperately need and I always feel better after drinking a lot. If you
drink carrot juice you might turn a little orange. Itís not a myth,
but it also has nothing to do with the color of the carrot. Itís
because your liver and pancreas are spitting out toxins that go into
your blood and then you sweat them out. Once it stops your liver is
clean and functioning well.
NOT Shut Down.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Yea, nothing was shut down. The kid still ganks me in the jibblies and
the loud class is even louder. The loud class is funny though and I no
longer get mad. I talk a little and when they get loud I just stop
talking. Itís funny because they arenít acknowledging me and ignoring
me, itís as if they simply donít see or hear me. I can be talking
directly to someone and he/she simply doesnít respond. Iím going to
make some Ryan Stickers soon and give them 3-5 chances to get them per
class. Rather than being mad at the kids and the consequence-less
culture, I am going to try to use to make lessons that are captivating
Perhaps that class will be shut down. I again told the
English teacher about the class, but this time I said ďwe didnít do
anything in class, they ignored me and played the entire time.Ē He
then told the art teacher who told me they do the same thing in her
class. She suggested she, I, the 3rd grade teacher, and the
principal sit down and have a chat sometime soon. That sounds dandy
Thereís this other kid that I mentioned above who was
yelling ďmasturbationĒ or something related to that in one class.
Anyway, he always pokes me in the butt and I have told him 1,000 times
to stop. Of course he laughs and knows thereís nothing I can do. Well
this last time when he did it I was in a foul mood and said ďI will go
tell your teacher now.Ē He looked at me skeptically and then started
to smile as if he knew I was bluffing. Then I started asking his name,
which he wouldnít tell me, so I asked other people. When someone told
me his name he turned pale white. While I was typing this I went and
told his teacher and she said she will put a stop to it. I donít mind
playing around with the kids and joking, but for me there is a limit.
Itís not even about being poked in the ass, itís about him laughing
with I say stop, but taking other people seriously. I'm really getting
fed up with certain behavior and I'm going to stop being Japanese
about it and stop it.
Today's school lunch. Rice, some bland soup, a tuna and seaweed salad,
and dried minnows that are crunchy and smell like fishing bait.
Almost Caught Up.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Moving apartments somehow cost me about $1,000 in various ways.
Actually it didnít cost all that much, but certain expenses came at
certain times and that made me shift money around and miss some
payments. Then there were some deposits and other expenses that ran
the bill up. So now I am almost caught up with all the bills. I need
to pay $80 to the gym and then have them hibernate my account for a
few months. When they do that they only charge me $10 a month as
opposed to $80, but I canít go. Iím thinking about quitting since I
donít go that much anymore now that itís warm and I really canít
afford it at the moment. Plus they donít buy anything new so when 2-3
people are in the weight room there is nothing I can do because all
the weights are being used. Iím going to stop going for a few months
and see how it goes. I donít want to cancel since I might go back in
the winter months.
Today I had my oil changed and winter tires removed. They
all laughed when I went in to do that since it is nearly summer and a
bit late for the times. I just couldnít afford it earlier and then I
forgot on the weekends. Plus I needed to take it to this local place
since he found the car for me and Japan is all about relationships
more so than efficiency or saving money. I could have gone elsewhere,
but itís best to go to this guy in Konan. Plus heís good and honest so
I know he wonít rip me off. Todayís bill was $85 which is what I
expected. He told me in November I would need to replace the timing
belt for around $400. Awesome timing since I will be saving for my
Thailand trip then.
I have been juicing more lately to get healthy. The usual
recipe is 3-5 carrots, a bunch of spinach (1 bunch not a lot
of), and some celery. That always leaves some material leftover
that no longer has juice in it. I've wanted to use that stuff for
something, but I have never had a need. Well this time when I bought
the supplies I also bought some meat. Just a little bit of ground
chicken. Then when I finished juicing the stuff I mixed the leftovers
with the chicken meat and cooked it. I figured it would taste nasty,
but at least I could say I tried. Nope, it was great. It was really
actually tasty. They tasted like a hamburger with lettuce already
built in. I added lemon juice to one, bbq sauce to one, tabasco to
one, and the other was plain. They were all great and it was nearly
free since the carrots and stuff were paid for with juicing in mind. I
only spent $1 on the meat. WOW.
Friday, May 29, 2009
There was a meeting at Konan about the wild class. All the elementary
teachers met and said they each have the same problem. There is one
student that walks around doing whatever he wants (and he often wants
to do nasty things) and many of the other students completely ignore
the teachers and just chat away. For the record itís not a bad class
as a whole and I think they would do fine without the one boy. They
seem him doing whatever he wants and that there are no consequences.
They constantly trip to take one more step over the line, but are
never punished for it so they keep going and going. Anyway, the
meeting was a success I hear and from now on all the classes will have
the main teacher as well as visits from the vice principal. Hopefully
this will reduce the problem. Without wanting to sound pessimistic,
Iím not going to hold my breath.
Nope, the class today was the worst one yet. I did take
pictures to show other teachers in case they didnít believe me. First
there was the ďignore the teacherĒ and they ran around doing whatever.
Then I passed out the game and they started to cut out the squares,
but that got boring so we moved into ďpenis timeĒ where one kid shows
his penis to other students as well as shoves things down his pants
and then sticks them in other peopleís faces. Finally there was ďthe
butt gameĒ where he shoved his butt in several kidsí faces. I yelled a
few times, but really youíd get a faster result if you wrote ďstopĒ on
the wall and try to yell at it until it changed to ďgoĒ. So I stopped
yelling and just talked normally. Some kids could see me being
frustrated and I could tell they felt bad for me, but there was
nothing either of us could do.
Then I had the exact opposite experience with another
grade. The 4th graders are the best class I have ever had.
They listen and do what I say and donít talk and actively participate.
They make teaching fun and cancel out the other class. Today we
reviewed numbers from 1-60 and practiced ďsportsĒ one last time. They
are experts in everything we do since we have class every week and
they pay attention. I am back to feeling good after that class. I was
partially numb/exhausted after the other one.
Todayís lunch went into the ďblahĒ category again. There
was about half a small salad, blah soup, and of course rice. It wasnít
nearly enough and had no real flavor. One day this week we had some
amazing, though too buttery, fish. I mean my mouth was watering. Of
course that too was grossly too little as well, but still bonus points
for taste. A funny thing that happened as we started eating was that
one teacher gasped and we all got quiet. Oh no is there a roach or bug
or a finger? Nope, the soup was where the rice should be and the rice
was where the soup should be. Oh dear GOD. I could honestly not care
any less about that. Seriously, I care more about how oven vents are
made than I do about that. I mean thereís one thing to have a
preferred way of fixing the lunches, but to gasp as if something were
horribly wrong. Itís like the Twilight Zone sometimes here.
Iím helping three students with the skit contest. The
deadline is always way too early and we end up panicking at the last
minute. So far they have written a decent script, but I have been
steering them quite a bit. When I donít, they take it in a really
strange and not funny direction. Itís about a talking penguin at the
zoo and today they were trying to add in a part where the zookeeper
wants the tourist to come watch a penguin show, but the tourist is too
busy. I kept trying to politely say that was not funny and actually
not even interesting. Finally I convinced them there was no time for
these things and then I said ďok Iíll write out an ending and put it
in your shoe box to read over the weekendĒ. So I might be writing the