Monday, June 25, 2012
25th - Day after returning from Thailand. Adam picked me up traipsing along a highway complete with an entire Thailand backpack. I walked nearly all the way into the city from the outskirts! I heard later that my vice principal had seen me, but he was playing pachinko (fake Japanese gambling) and said I looked happy. Went to Udo Shrine with Adam. It's a beautiful shrine set in a cave right on the coast. The history is that a man lived there for awhile, can't remember why. But he was sustained by water dripping from a rock, which now equates to a shrine of fertility and is meant to bless women with babies. Needless to say I kept far away from any and all rocks. Beautiful place though! Glad I could show it off to someone.
October 1st - Finally climbed the mountain by my house!!! I've been trying to climb this sucker for a year and always getting hopelessly lost/tired. It took us about 5 hours I think. The entire way was on a road, so we had to watch out for zooming cars. We also took rests on said road, sometimes stretched out across it. We got to the top, and Adam got me to take a photo of him swinging on the entrance to the shrine. It broke. This thing is meant to signify the entrance to heaven, so basically Adam broke heaven. Nice. We split a bottle of wine and some biscuits, and watched the sun set over Obi and Nichinan. It was beautiful. We explored the top of the mountain, and then realised that it was getting dark and we should hurry down. We started loping down the mountain and made it in a couple hours, in the dark for the last 45min or so. Insanely sore knees but the wine helped. Upon getting home we saw that there was a train heading to the city in 30min, so we carried on (walking) to the station and then went to the city, where I held onto a table to dance because my legs hurt so much. All in all, an excellent day.
Sometime that week: A conversation I had with my supervisor about omiyage (gifts of snacks). Him - "It is very easy to kill teachers. Probably if you put something poison there (the omiyage table) ...we will eat."
Weekend: Dinner, drinks, karaoke. Sang T.A.T.U with Jess outrageously. Stumble home.
To Nobeoka! Hung out with Dohwa on the train for drinks and beautiful scenery. We met Tracey and had a "picnic" which involved discreetly pouring vodka and juice into cups and drinking it. Then we all sat down for a "Noh" performance. This is a traditional Japanese play where the people chant reaaaaaaallllyy slowly and move slowly on the stage. It was interesting and I'm glad I saw it. We left halfway. No regrets.
Izakaya (food and drinks place) outrageous conversation with Nico, drinks in the park, and then home to Tracey's.
Next day: Walked around Nobeoka with Adam for awhile. Watched fishermen over a bridge. While waiting for our train at the station we got a delicious crepe, and chatted with an alcoholic who told me that being totally free (as we bragged we were) wasn't good because to take a road alone was not good. Interesting. He also said that he had learnt English in school (he was 58) and he practised what he remembered on us. Then he told me something that blew my mind, which was that we were the first foreigners he had ever talked to. This is what our lives in Japan are all about, and aside from teaching kids this is probably the thing I feel like makes everything worth it.
Took the train down the coast, decided to get off at Hyuga (coastal town) and discovered that it was actually kindof a hub of tourism! We got a couple drinks and went for a walk in search of the sea, which unintentionally took hours. Granted, we did stop at every park to play and every conbini to get food/more drinks. Finally, we heard the ocean and after plunging into some ominous trees (it was now dark) we emerged on the other side right on a beach! The moon was out and making the sand look white and cool, so we sat down and enjoyed it. Such a lucky night!
After this we wandered up to a shrine which we spied atop a cliff, and startled some pokemon which we tried to take photos of but still to this day can't decide what they actually were.
Train, Miyazaki, sleep.
14th October: Another conversation with my supervisor about his teaching style in which he says, "is not bullying. Education." lol. Also in class I ask, pointing to my stomach (for learning body parts), "what is this?" Students- "BABY!"
I've also been helping a senior with his English test for university. He wrote me a note this afternoon which says (amongst other things) "when I travel, I will think of Tiffany's words." Aww. I love being a teacher.
15th - Went to Fukuoka for a baseball game. Here Jordy taught me how baseball works and how to be an American and we drank beers and yelled obnoxiously. I actually really enjoyed the game!!
18th - Talking to my supervisor about the upcoming mid-year seminar that he should be joining me on. He tells me "I will be sick that day".
22nd October - Went to Cape Toi with Adam! These are huge rolling hills above cliffs over the sea. Absolutely wonderful. To add to this, there are wild horses! They are small and stumpy but we keep our distance and admire from afar. Ish. We climbed a giant hill and watch the sun set together, and I laughed at Adam's shock at all the horse poop. Cityboy. Then we ran down the hill jumping and tumbling like a video game. So much fun! I saw my first light house and we generally ran amok among the hills.
29th - Went to a kids Halloween event, which was super cute. I was one of the "stations" at the event, where tiny kids in costumes had to come and introduce themselves to me for candy. Cutest thing ever. Wish I was an elementary school teacher, but then again I feel like I'd be exhausted all the time.
Also went to an (adult) Halloween party in Miyakonojo, where 3 of us dressed as paper, scissors, and rock. We were a huge hit and despite feeling ill the night was a lot of fun! Hilarious photos abound. But you can't see any because they take too long to load. Soz.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
And so ends my first year in
But the blog does not end here! The incessant daily slogging does, because I’m highly routinised (read: boring) from now onwards, but I’ll be returning to share stories and impressions, you can count on it. You literally can, because I have a full notebook on my trips to
July 25th and 26th Mon-Tues
A week of nothing at work. I have these notes on things I noticed during the day. One of these is the weird little race around the staffroom that teachers will do to avoid each other. It’s as if there isn’t room for us to possibly walk past each other, so as soon as they see me coming they’ll take the first corner they see at a run in order to walk around the opposite side. It’s something I’ve started to be guilty of doing too, but struck me today as looking hilarious and absurd.
Found somewhere in the school is a rotten bento. For some unknown reason it is brought into the staffroom. Every teacher stops to open it, inspect it, and make a comment on it. It smells.
As I’m marking, I lift up a sheet while eating and shake some crumbs off of it in order to continue. One of my teachers starts laughing and miming smearing food and making coffee rings all over his. The secret to adulthood is that there is none.
Only Muqing and I at Jodo, which is unfortunate as the Senseis finally get a good look at how awful I am at it.
Extreme Kendo. “Today, we sweat. Tonight, beer.” He makes me keep going long after I would have given up, long after my body has started faltering. I like that he does this, and that I can do it.
After Kendo I go out to a work enkai. We drive for miles out into the jungle until we reach a tiny wee house in the middle of
At the Nijikai, I drink shochu. When asked to sing I find “Follow Me” by Uncle Kracker. What a blast from the past. This is a wonderful karaoke song, as it stays pretty much in one range the entire thing. When I have finished my kendo teacher comes and clinks my glass and makes everyone around me do the same. Haha. I love adoration based on fear.
To work. I’m hungover but there’s nothing for me to do anyway so it’s fine. I read from literally 8.30am to 4pm. At the end of the day I feel motionsick and disorientated. Reminds me of being a kid and spending weeks reading.
Do stuff in the city. Not really sure what. Convenient time to fall off the note-taking wagon.