I was observed by my BOE (Masuyama-san) at my base school. I made up some pictures of famous people and slowly showed the kids the pictures. They had to guess occupations, sports, spouses, etc. and I would give hints. It went well and the only criticism they had was for me to repeat words 3 times instead of two. I taught another lesson using the phrase, “-go to” and had a funny boy in the back of the class say, “Go to hell!” Then after all the laughter he said, “Go to Heaven.” At least he’s learning something here. We also asked the kids what they would do if they were rich, to which some students said: buy a Ferrari, become a singer, build a castle, and go to America. During a spelling game, one of the kids was writing words on the board and accidentally wrote “Dank.” I had to take a picture of it and was immediately swarmed with questions about what it meant.
I told them that it was a slang word that meant “cool” and they seemed happy with that answer. At lunch, I had a few boys yelling my name and asking me to come towards them. When I got over there, they started pointing at everything in the room and saying, “That’s dank! That’s dank!”
I made a lesson for Daiichi after school and called it a night.
Not much to report on today. At lunch I had a couple boys asking me tons of questions in broken English. He was asking something about math, but I misheard him say mouse and mouth. Supposedly, that’s the funniest mistake anyone has ever made because the entire class wouldn’t stop laughing. After the laugh session, I walked by some other boys who started to say, “Do you like Coke?” I said, “No, I don’t drink soda.” Then they asked, “LSD, acid, marijuana?” Ohhh, THAT coke. I still have no idea where they are learning these things.
Went for a run after work and passed out watching a movie.
I brought the cards the teacher had asked me to make last week and was told that we weren’t going to do the lesson. This has to be some sort of patience test. "How many things can we make the foreigner do, that are really annoying, before he acts like a total American and gets pissed at everything?" Instead, we played the “Who Am I?” game. When I started revealing a picture of Ryo Ishikawa (Japanese golfer) a girl SCREAMED his name at the top of her lungs. I jumped in fright and she immediately turned red from embarrassment of her intense answer. I guess that’s better than an entire class of kids who won’t say a single word.
I taught at Osaki Elementary today, the most genki (energetic/happy/insane) school on my list.
Another day of holding hands with 6-8 little girls at any given point and boys pushing my butt, back, and yanking on my sleeves.
|Happy kids at lunch recess|
We played baseball for a while and then I drew them a picture of Spongebob in the dirt.
I went to badminton tonight and practiced with the kids. Afterward, I tried to teach them breakdancing moves. After failing with the worm and I somehow managed to do my first complete set of windmills (3 to be exact).
I met up with Kyle and Becca after practice and we had a little party together.
Since we hadn't had any, Kyle decided to make cat sashimi. Becca was eagerly waiting for the first bite. (This is a joke)
Woke up early in the morning and went fishing at my surfspot. There were a few people in the water and only one other guy occupying the rocks. I took a spot near him and we both caught a good amount of fish.
None of mine were desirable fish, so I threw them back, but I did hook up with something big that snapped my line after it dove into the rocks.
Left from fishing and stopped at the Softbank store to finally receive my iTunes gift card. I went home and had a Facetime party with the guys and Miriam back home.
I woke up early and went on a long drive today. Stopped at a little antique swap meet but didn’t find anything worth buying. Drove home and slept for a good while. Woke up and went to movie night at Becca’s with Kyle. We watched Benjamin Button, yet another movie that didn’t leave us happy at the end. Maybe we should re-name movie night to, “Depress yourself into sleep night.”
Had ½ day of teaching at Hishida JHS, but it took forever to get through. I went to the BOE in the afternoon with nothing noteworthy.
At night, we had a nabe party to celebrate Kat's almost born child. The food was great and it turned out to be a lot of fun.
|I just found out tonight, that Kat had her baby over the weekend. Congrats!|
Today is Japan’s “Labour Thanksgiving Day” holiday so I spent most of it at a festival in Asuparu (where I play badminton). I saw nearly all of my kids and gave them some money for a fundraiser.
|Girls who stole me away|
A group of girls took me into a line with them to get some free black pork soup and then I was nabbed by a group of boys who took me to a little lookout spot to spy on girls. Kyle came to check out the scene and we even ran into some of his friends. While we were talking, we met an ex-kamikaze pilot who politely introduced himself by grabbing my genitals and saying how he can’t get ‘get up’ anymore. Nice to meet you too.
Went for a run after the festival on a new route and saw a lot of my elementary kids coming back from the festival. I also found a cool little shrine that was made in a little forest between two houses.
I had a BBQ that night with chicken and vegetables, outside my house and listened to music and watched the stars.
|Cabbage, green peppers, onions, and chicken|
I was scared half to death when my neighbor came out of the darkness and said something in Japanese I couldn’t understand. She brought me a home-made okinomiyaki that was the best I had tasted.
|Greatest okinomiyaki ever!|
Today is the first day of our mid-year seminar in Kagoshima City. Kyle and I were going to drive together but were offered a ride from Ryan again. Super nice of him to do so, since Kyle and I wanted to have a beer or two on the way. We left around 6:30am since the first meeting started at 12:15. Kyle had the ‘wonderful’ idea of mixing shochu with our coffee and it definitely woke me up. A highball, schochu, some donuts and we were ready for the ferry ride across the bay.
|Kyle admiring the shrubbery on our pit-stop|
Kyle and I met up with some other JETs at a building where they allow re-entry permits for internationals. We got that business taken care of and headed to our first meeting. Shortly after, everyone was ready to be done for the day and we found a beer vending machine on the 6th floor. It only had two beers left, so we split them among the 5 of us. After the meetings, Kyle and I met with Lily, who was letting us stay in her cute little apartment. We went to dinner with other JETs at an American food place. They had hamburgers, tacos, and burritos…definitely an American food menu. The burgers actually tasted like home, so that brought some joy.
They had also decorated the place with an American theme. Original action figures from ET were in the bathroom (which creeped me out a bit), they had Newport Beach, Malibu, and other popular destinations drawn on the walls, and even hard to find vinyls of the Beastie Boys were hung on the walls.
|Random restaurant that advertises their heimlich skills...and steak and beer|
We soon found our little group in a karaoke place, singing our hearts out. Somehow, we managed to sing for 2 or 3 hours. Around 3:30am, Kyle and I were walking back to Lily’s. Taking a look at our gps, it looked close enough to reach in 15 minutes by foot. After 30 minutes, we caught a taxi ride and were there shortly.
We woke up to the sound of a nuclear power plant siren, which turned out to be Lily’s alarm clock. Kyle and I found ourselves lying on futons in the kitchen. I think we felt as good as a 3 hour sleep could feel. Drank too much coffee, and survived the first few lectures. My favorite lecture, though, was hosted by Asher and Badillo. They gave a full demo of filleting a mackerel and de-boning it, literally saying, “Take the bones out with your boner.” Epic.
The day finished slower than hoped, but we were all hanging in there. We went to Amu Plaza, a huge mall that has been decorated in Christmas fashion, and spent too much money at an international food shop.
|Welcome to the "Winter Heartland"|
I found 3 different types of TimTams, Haribo candy, and Advent calendars for some of the people back in Osaki.
Our ride home was filled with jokes and personal criticisms, but we had a great laugh and enjoyed each-others’ company. Upon reaching my own home, I found a letter in my mailbox that said I had 5 classes to teach the next day. Not what I was hoping for, but at least I’d get more than 3 hours of sleep.
The first lesson was to introduce shopping and the kids did great at picking up the new words. My second class had the kids exploring the school’s field. They would find a plant, tree, or shrub and we would teach them the English name for it. Then they drew pictures and presented them to the class at the end of the period. During that time, I also showed them how to use blades of grass to make a loud whistle. All the kids tried, but kept making farting noises. I thought my teacher was going to die, he was laughing so hard. The kids were too frustrated to notice, though, and kept making farting noises. My teacher laughed until he stopped breathing, which caused me to fall on the ground in laughter as well.
Later in the day, I noticed one of the little boys wearing knee-high socks that said, “Spicy Girl.” He had found a cat during our plant excursion and held it in the most uncomfortable position I have ever seen a cat held.
|The cat is now seeing his 9 lives flash before his eyes|
The kids would throw the cat 6 or 7 feet away from them (in the grass) and it would turn around and run back to them. The cats here might have 8 or 10 screws loose.
After school I wanted to sleep so bad, but remembered that I had a bounenkai with my coworkers. We met at a local Osaki restaurant and had more nabe. The food wouldn’t quit coming and they seemed a bit disappointed that I only drank non-alcoholic beer tonight. I had to explain that I was driving later and couldn’t drink. Three or four of the guys got smashed and began to ask if I had a hairy chest, if I was going to a sex party, and if they could come. Yes, no, no…but they still asked to come 3 or 4 more times. Maybe some other time.
We noticed a group of girls at a table next to ours and went to talk with them. It turned out to be all school nurses and I remembered one of them from a school of mine. They said multiple times that they were single and this did nothing but make one of the drunk guys crazier. He ran to his little man-purse and pulled out candles. He explained that they are hot burning candles and he likes to drip them on his body. Then he looked at me and said, “I’m freaky.” I swear, it has been a pleasure eating nabe and drinking non-alcoholic beer with you all, but I must be on my way. Have a wonderful evening and good luck with the single ladies.
I left and headed to Kyle’s house. I picked up a couple beers and picked up Becca at her house. We went and drank in Kyle’s house while he, Erin, and Mary Margaret were at taiko. They came home a bit later and we had a small party among ourselves.
Woke up early and took Becca home. Got home and slept until 12. Met up with Kyle and Erin and we got a chance to tour a bell pepper/goya farm.
The farmer was from Tokyo, spoke wonderful English, and ended the tour with complimentary coffee and sembe.
From there, we took a drive to a place called “International Wood” and sat to watch the city for a while. Had a random photo session and then went to buy food for our little Thanksgiving dinner.
We made deviled eggs in bell peppers, sushi, beef, shrimp, clams, and others brought pork chops, cheese, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and a plethora of wine. We had a really fun group of people at Kyle’s house and ended the night with dancing and fireworks.
Kyle was wearing a mask and snorkel, people were passed out on the bed, but we all managed to sleep by 3am or so.
|Scuba Kyle goes looking for clams|
|Topher getting down|
I woke up to my alarm at 6am and headed out the door to get ready for my badminton tournament. I wasn’t in the best shape, but found some energy after eating eggs and toast. My partner and I lost all three of our games (for some reason they put me in C class) but we still had fun. Top finishers won huge boxes of ramen. The adults were allowed to play janken (rock, paper, scissors) for bottles of booze. Then the kids started 6 different tickle fights while we were leaving the gym. I went home and gave my neighbors their Advent calendar, to which they responded with a pot of homemade sweet curry. I made pasta with oysters and shrimp then had some rice with the curry. Here's a picture of one of the clams, after I steamed it...a little crab had been hiding out in the shell...
|A clam with crabs|
I fell asleep at 8pm. Finally, some rest.
Here are some other random pics from the last couple weeks...
|The official book of pooping|
|One of my most prized pictures...|