Monday, October 25, 2004

What Next??

My god! This poor country is being attacked by Mother Nature. I wouldn't be surprised to find that a swarm of locusts is on its way, or perhaps a volcano that has been dormant for a thousand years is about to explode, and burning hot lava will flow down the streets of Tokyo.

After the last few weeks I really wouldn't be surprised.

The pictures on the news are so horrifying that I can't really grasp that I am living in the same country as all these unfortunate people. Shimane is fine, no real problems from the typhoons or the earthquakes. The earthquake was in Niigata-ken, in a rural area. I swear that all rural areas in Japan look very similar to each other. The pictures on the news could very likely be my crappy town. I look at the ancient buildings in my neighborhood and KNOW that they would never stand up to the beating that Niigata took. My own ugly building would crumble for sure, there are already cracks along the wall in my living room.

Very, very scary.

I asked Tateishi Sensei where I should go if there is an earthquake. She said to come to the school gym. So I asked where I should go if the school gym has collapsed. She had no real answer and said jokingly to head for the hills.

But really, where do I go if the school is destroyed? I can't believe that these things are running through my mind.

Something I noticed about the people being interviewed on the news. Not one of them made comments about losing all their possessions, the destruction of their homes, etc. All the comments were about being happy to be alive, hoping for help, and awe over the power of the earthquake. If the same had happened back home people would be devastated about losing their homes and possessions (as I am sure the Japanese people are, they just think of such things as secondary to the well-being of their family and community.) Do you know what I mean? What I want to say is not coming out right.

Anyway, many people are scared to go inside due to all the aftershocks. They are sleeping in the streets or in their cars. It's getting very cold at night, and there is ANOTHER typhoon expected this weekend!!

Happy to be living in Shimane (for once).

Typhoon Tokage Posted by Hello

This could soooooo easily be my town. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Such a Long Day!

You can tell I'm bored when I post on my blog like 4 times in one day!! I can't believe it is only 2:10. Thank god exams only happen every three months, sitting for so long is really starting to mess with my mind.
Let's see...random stuff that is running through my head today....

One of the movies I saw during my 26 hours of air travel this summer was "Walking Tall". This movie stars that wrestling guy, The Rock. It really is a terrible movie, horrible acting, plot line, everything about it sucked....except that it was filmed in Surrey!

So you should see it, if only for the beautiful scenery (which they try to pass off as Seattle...we all know which country wins in the beauty department).

The other night I downloaded "Without a Paddle". Don't ask me why! Slight case of "I don't really know any new movies so I will download some crap". I laughed a few times and was surprised to spy Burt Reynolds.

About a week ago one of my grade ten boys said to me in the middle of class:

"You light my fire."

Frickin hilarious, I couldn't help laughing and slapping the kid next to him who obviously put him up to it.

Sushi Zou tonight, yummmmmm. Ebi fry maki here I come.

Japan suicide pacts kill nine

Very sad story, but also says a lot about the bullshit pressure placed on the average Japanese person. I had no idea there are "suicide message boards" and self-asphyxiation kits for sale on the internet.
Scary stuff.

It's Been a Year and a Half...

...since I graduated from university. My friend Andrew has decided to create a reunion website for my grad class (not all of UVic education, just us superior elementary program people). It is really interesting to see where people are teaching (or not teaching). I was surprised to see that there are four girls over in South Korea! I really hope to get in contact with them. I am interested in life in Korea. Not that I would consider working there, starting fresh in a new culture would be too difficult for me. The website is still a work in progress.

Why not check out Andrew's photography site as well? I know from personal experience that he takes very nice wedding pictures. Right at this moment it is under construction but when finished it is sure to be impressive.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Fun Times in Hiroshima

Candice, Claudia, Camille and I had a great weekend in Hiroshima. We went to a Sake Festival in Saijo where there were hundreds of different Sake producers offering samples. Only 1500 yen for all the samples you could handle. People brought tarps and blankets to sit on and camped out the entire day. A giant piss-up!

Then we were off to Kemby's restaurant for some delicious Mexican food and cheap drinks. Ahhhh happy hour! Later we went to a club that is popular with the American marines from a local base. Good times!! Shopping and a movie (Van Helsig-piece of crap) the next day and then back to Shimane. A very nice weekend.

Anyone planning a trip to Hiroshima should check out this site.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

A Gotsu Sunset Posted by Hello

Good Times...

Life has been good lately....where to begin?

Candice and I have everything worked out for our fabulous 2 week winter vacation in the Philippines. We are going to the very popular island of Boracay. Everything around Christmas times sells out really fast so the last few weeks we have been working on it everyday. We tried to book our flight to Manila in the middle of Sept. but they were already sold out!!! I wonder how far in advance people book these flights? We were put on the waitlist and then bumped up about a week later after some smooth talking by Candice. She can be very persuasive. Then we started sorting out hotels and such. It is going to be a really great holiday.

I killed my fish. But it's for the best, really. He would have never survived the winter. I bought a small tank heater but it didn't work. After having one of my students look at the instructions I realized that I would need to also buy a pump to move the water around. It wouldn't work without water movement. So I scraped that idea. I read on a Beta message board (yes there are such things, and yes, I went to it for help) that an electric blanket can do the trick. Soooooo I bought the cheapest blanket I could and literally wrapped up the little tank. Everything was going great. As the water got warmer Genki became genki again. BUT I left it on HI all night. In the morning Genki was cooked. Pretty sad day. I flushed him. I told the story to one of my classes and they laughed their asses off. Funny thing is that they said that I should have buried him. Apparently, he will not go to heaven unless he is buried! Where do they learn these things? Not from me, that's for sure!

For a few days I thought about getting a hamster. I love hamsters. But then I would have to find someone to care for him while I travel, and it was difficult enough trying to find someone to care for my fish. So no pets for me. Maybe another Beta in the spring.

Exams are next week. Yeeehaawwww!! So I will be sure to post more often ( due to having no classes).

The Mt. Sanbe welcome party was last weekend. It was fun but it pissed rain the entire time. So many of the new jets are young, really young. Apparently, we were a bunch of pigs and the PAs had to clean up a big mess the next morning and even pay for damages. It wasn't me...I swear!

My wonderful friend Kathy and her wonderful husband Kevin are expecting their first child on Sunday!!!! I am so excited for them and so sad that I can't be there for them. It's times like these that make me hate hate hate Japan. I am hoping for a girl. There are so many cute girl outfits in Japan.

Happy Birthday Sarah!!! My little Meemsey turns 25 today. Miss ya girl.

My students taught me some very useful sentences today:

Watashi wa yukkuri nihongo ga hanasemasu. Watashi wa benkyo o shimasen.

I plan to use them whenever I get that look. The "youhavebeenhereayearandstillcan'tunderstandme?" look.

What else????

Oh... I have officially fought off the NHK lady four times now!!! This is a huge accomplishment. There is a licensing fee for owning a TV in Japan. Yeah, total crap!!! The thing is, there is no penalty for not paying and they come door to door trying to convince you to set up direct debit from your bank account. HELL NO! Twice now they have given me the English version of the pamphlet. I just say thank you and shut the door. Playing stupid, while also being really polite and sweet has kept me from having to pay this fee for over a year now. I don't watch Japanese TV, I don't have cable, I am NOT going to pay just because the TV sits in my house. Plenty of Japanese people don't pay either....

Another long weekend coming up. Should be a good time. I will write about it next week. Promise!