Wednesday, September 16, 2009

In My Former Life

Today during lunch my kids performed the dance they've been practicing for Sports Day. Can you imagine a group of 11 year olds doing the choreography from Michael Jackson's "Thriller?" Such eagerness to share and please. Any sadness or anxiety I was feeling completely vanished once I saw that.

Still no packing. I catch a train at 4:42 in the morning, and I have appointments this evening. 

Monday, September 14, 2009

How to Get Absolutely Nothing Done

Look, we had babies!


You can see that I am almost expert at cradling my wee babe in my arms. This pic was taken last month at the "Eco-village" outside of Takayama (I think) in Gifu prefecture. I really hoped to make it to the "Teddy Bear Village," but there was no time :( 

We also ran into this family. Cute apple-faced kitties and a badger hound.

Speaking of time, I'll try to post more pics from that trip when I have some more of it.

I leave for Chicago and Quebec in 4 days! I probably won't pack until the night before because I'm downright lazy.

Tomorrow, I'm going to see Onishii-san for a much needed shiatsu. My back has been so sore lately, and I hope he can work a miracle.

For now, I will listen to the latest "This American Life" with my headphones on, thinking about all the things I should have done/should be doing.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Sartorialist This

fun on the platform

Friday night, David and Paul were kind enough to invite me with them to see William Kentridge's free (!) performance in Kyoto City. It was clever and refreshing, and I think the boys really enjoyed hearing a little bit of home in his South African accent. A little bit of Russian Absurdism never hurts, either. Afterwards, we tried to eat Indian and instead I got us lost, but that was ok because we discovered a nice little place upstairs from Cafe Independent.

The next morning, they got J-haircuts from one of the salons right down the street from my mansion.

They are the superstars of our fair city of Kameoka, aren't they? Afterwards we went second-hand store shopping and then had lunch at a little treasure of a restaurant called "Limone," where they serve apƩritifs and amazing vegetable curry in what looks to be a boiling hot mini-cauldron.

Whenever one of us comes across a photograph-worthy outfit, one of us will inevitably say, "Sartorialist this!". This, my friends, was a Sartorialist moment.

Paul: Wait, what about the red socks? David, get down on your haunches!
David: Like this?

Goofy fun was the thing that was had.

Can't Speak English Worth A Hoot

Thanks for discovering me new this, Shannon. I listen more to it everyday.

How many times one can listen much to one song?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Back in the Saddle

Oh, blog, how I've neglected thee. Talk around town and City Hall has been focused mainly on the influenza. My body ached today and I thought maybe I might have contracted the new strain, but that was just my hypochondria talking. As a child, one of my favorite pastimes was reading the AMA Family Medical Guide, following the charts and tracing my symptoms to see what disease I might have. It was like a "create your own adventure" of sorts.

There's a lot I need to catch you up on, but not enough time. So in the meantime, enjoy these pics from a little festival held in my town a few weeks ago. One of my Japanese teachers is a fire performance artist and he invited me and my fellow ALTs to come watch.

I was also lucky to run into some of my students dressed up for the festivities. Aren't they adorable?

For now, I gotta hit the hay!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Not a Mukade

I had been dreading this workday, mostly because this particular school schedules me to teach all six hours. It shouldn't seem like such a big deal, since classes are only 45 minutes and in total it adds up to only a 7-hour workday. But when you factor in the onigokko during mid-morning break and recess and then all the screaming at the top of your lungs and acting genki on top of that, it makes for an exhausting day. No one's complaining here, it just makes for one of those days when you immediately collapse in the bed as soon as you walk in the door.

It's days like this, however, that I remind myself of the people who have to toil like mules until they die, and then I thank God for my overpaid position as the clown foreigner.

The kids actually didn't want to play onigokko today! Here's a transcript of today's exchange:

starry-eyed first-graders: "See-saw sukinaaaa??" translation: Do you like see-saw?
Me: "Dai-sukidesu!" translation: It is the thing that is loved!
starry-eyed first-graders: "Asobu!" translation: To play!
Me: "Ikimashou!" translation: Thank you, little darlings for not making me play onigokko! Let's go!

They led me to the see-saw, which--I might add--had a much safer construction and design than the ones I remember as a child. It even came equipped with a tire stop that was embedded under each end, to give it a little bounce every time the lever hit the ground. I tell ya, the Japanese always do it better.

starry-eyed first-graders: "Sensei wa nani kiro?" translation: How much do you weigh in kilos?
Me: ".... Wakarinai" translation: I don't know. I'm American, and I haven't figured out how to convert pounds to kilos yet.

Apparently, one Kim-Chi + 2 first graders is equal to 3 and a half first graders (one of them just kind of draped himself over the beam), all screaming, "Kohaaaiiii (scary)!" at the top of their lungs. You do the math.

As I was hanging my laundry tonite, I stumbled upon this on my balcony:
One of the very poisonous and quite commonly seen insects in Japan is the mukade. They're nasty little things, and last month I saw my first live one, scurrying and slinking a hundred miles an hour after a fresh rain. Up until then i had only seen dead ones lying flattened in the street. One of the first things my coworkers told me when I first arrived in Japan was to call an ambulance if I ever got bitten by a mukade, because the bites are nasty and can cause a lot of problems. The fear was instilled in me early on.

Anyway, all the legs on this little guy had me a little freaked so I ran to my computer to do some quick research. Turns out that this is a Geji Geji, a house centipede, and that they're actually quite harmless. I let it be, hung the rest of my laundry hoping that it wouldn't decide to jump on me (they're jumpers and they move fast), and we shall live in symbiosis. Ah, symbiosis.