Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Feb 18th (cont) to Feb 25th

Feb 18th continued - weekend

Went to Kelly’s for Muqing’s birthday. Shot a giant confetti bomb into her face. Bonded with her workmates over always being the ones hanging out at the food table. Got their numbers and told them to come and visit me in NZ. I bond over food and alcohol and that’s about it. Had a great time catching up, cackling wickedly, being the girls that happen behind closed doors. It was good to see Japanese females lighten up too. I will have to get them alone more often. Sam came around, and everyone hastily got up off the floor to meet him. They soon realized that he cared as little for social graces as I did, and relaxed again. And of course by being relaxed I mean got hyperactive and crude.

Went back to my house for a drink with Sam and Devon. A “drink” turns into a bottle of whiskey and trying to do my puzzle, culminating in Sam forcing pieces everywhere and even going so far as to forcing a marshmallow into a puzzle slot. (Which I found a week later.) Went to bed at 4am, then popped back up at 8 to put on my washing and skype my parents. Devon and Sam both met them, Sam being particularly impressed with my Dad’s moustache. He said they were totally familiar and how he’d expect them to be, which was cool.

Rather tired, but cleaned and travelled to the city with Sam. We took the “romantic” coast line road, which was pointed out to us by the excited gas station attendant who thought we were on a date. I think we even listened to the Beach boys. Met the girls for pumpkin soup at a tiny restaurant, said goodbye to Sam, and then continued on up to Nobeoka for girl’s night.

Now, girl’s night was not girl’s night as I have previously understood it. (I.e, Girls spewing on their hands, holding each others hair, screaming at each other, crying, making up, objectifying males, etc, etc.) So this was a new experience for me. We talked about politics, rights and childbirth, baked cookies, and watched Practical Magic. In the morning we had McD’s and watched Pocahontas (complete with psychoanalysis.) Once I realized I wouldn’t be climbing into a closet to reason with a hysterical female or petting one slumped over a toilet bowl, I put away my expectations and had a really good time. Sometimes the most culture shock I get from Japan comes from the English speakers. Maybe it’s because we expect Japan to be different. We don’t expect English speakers to, say, not want to crawl around the floor.

Travelled home with Jordy, on probably the longest road ever. In Japan, I don’t know why, but it takes forever to get anywhere on a road. In NZ, when you are 60km from somewhere, it takes about half an hour. In Japan, it takes over an hour. 12km takes about half an hour. Time and distance is not relative here.

21

Monday. Kyoto Sensei saw me eating an onigiri (rice ball with fish inside it wrapped in seaweed) at my desk and assumed I was hungover. Instead of being disgusted he was excited and told everyone I was “Nihon-jin” (Japanese).

Still haven’t been back to Kendo (torn calf) so spent all day googling body building.

22

Breakfast at desk again. Kyoto Sensei asked if I drank shochu every night. I said weekends only and he seemed happy that it was at least that much. He asked what I drank and I said “nandemo ee desu” (anything is okay) and he started loudly telling everyone in the office in Japanese how wonderful my drinking habits were. I love that when people ask you “do you drink alone?” they are trying to figure out if you fit in, not if you are an alcoholic.

Showed the ladies in my desk group photos and videos of NZ. They got excited and are now going to come and stay once I move back. Shoko Sensei came and told me that she had heard the same story three times about how one day I gave some students a “hi-touch” (hi-five). So cute.

23

The Christchurch earthquake happened yesterday. So sad and unbelievable. Today heaps of my students came up to the office to ask me if everything was okay. “Mazza? Daijoubu desu ka?” (Is your mother okay?) So much care here. I love this place.

24

Helping a student practice essay writing for his entrance exam to university. I meet with him every day, and I want him to get into the university so badly. I’m becoming so invested in these kids!

Got given a box of Bailey’s chocolates (from Australia) from a nameless, faceless man who I had helped through one of my teachers to write a wedding speech. His daughter married an Australian man, so I corrected his English and then recorded the speech onto a Dictaphone for him to practice, all without ever meeting him. It’s cool to think that I can help people like that.

Read the funniest thing in the world today, courtesy (and indicative) of a good Kiwi lass. “Is it morally wrong to punch a pregnant chick in the face if you’re pregnant too?” Kept me thinking for a surprising amount of time?

Another charming quote received from NZ “Just dug a hole in the garden to have a crap.” This is, of course, in relation to the Christchurch earthquake, and quite a common occurrence, by the sounds of it. Makes me proud that NZers can take things like that in stride.

Also had a sweet conversation about males and females. I can’t remember exactly what it was about, but I’m going to assume the differences between them. All I have written down in my notebook on this subject is… “Good conversation. Males and females. New book idea: ‘Not Caring but in a Nice Way – Apathy, Ignorance and Animal Analogies as an Opportunity for Peace’”.

25

A beautiful day. At 3pm some teachers and students circle around my desk to ask me if they can do fundraising for NZ. So touching. Breathless with the amount of concern and love that these kids fit inside them. Were we ever like that?