Friday, July 28, 2006

Arrived home safely

So I've been home for a few days now. I must admit, it has been hard. What an emotional rollercoaster! The nasty jet lag hasn't helped much either. But today I went out with some friends and it really helped me to feel normal again.

I stayed in Japan too long. No longer do I think "it's so much better in Canada..." If I'd left after my first year I'm sure I would be so happy right now, eating all those foods I missed, shopping, enjoying western stuff. But all I can think about it is how strange it is to abandon your life, unwillingly. I really need to stop thinking about Japan so much, "it's doin' me fookin' head in" (BB7 Lea reference).

It was MUCH easier to come to Japan than it is to leave.

But I guess this is all part of reverse culture shock ne?

To everyone back in Shimane: I love you guys!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Last day of school

We finally had our closing ceremony today, after postponing it due to the heavy rains and all the havoc they caused. The principal made a speech and my student, You, also made a speech on behalf of the students. Then I busted out my Japanese speech.

Oh wait...

That's right! My Japanese sucks sweaty goat balls!

So I made a speech in very easy English. Afterwards, students and teachers told me they understood everything. So I don't feel too bad about the lack of Japanese.

I've been overwhelmed with gifts. My money envelopes now total 6 and the day isn't over yet. I'm soooo tempted to rip them open to see how much is inside!! But it's the actual things and letters I have received that mean the most to me. I think I could fill one suitcase with all the stuff I have received. I'm even getting gifts from people I hardly know! It's pretty embarassing thanking someone for a gift when you don't even remember their name!

My goodbye enkai was on Tuesday, thankfully before the rains became really bad. It was a great party, but I was seated at the table with the principal and the vice principal...strange conversations from those two!

Then on Weds. my cooking class had a goodbye party for me at a local sushi restaurant. Why is it that I discover a kick-ass sushi place, minutes from my apartment, NOW? The food was amazing!! I didn't know sushi could taste like that, and I love sushi! My cooking class is full of great people, we always have so much fun. One man asked me if there was any Japanese food I hadn't tried yet. I wasn't sure, but I said that I hadn't tried horse yet. So naturally, being at a sushi restaurant, he ran downstairs and ordered up a bunch of horse! As I took my first bite everyone started making horse sounds!! A horse sound in Japanese is not the same as a horse sound in English, so it wasn't so bad! Horse is delicious!!! Bring on the horse! I'll have another order of horse please! Neeeeeeeeeaaaa

My cooking class teacher, Takahashi-san, gave me the most beautiful jewelry box I have ever seen!! I would love to know where everyone is buying these amazing gifts! I have struggled for three years to find nice gifts around here.

We were eating rice with this nasty sticky slimy sauce on top (can't remember the name, you know the slimy potato they have here, it was made with that) and my teacher started talking about her childhood. The slimy sauce made her think of her life during the war, because the slimy potato was a part of their everyday diet then. It turns out she is a survivor of the atomic bomb that hit Hiroshima!! I have known a survivor for the past three years and I didn't even know it! She was 5 years old at the time. She wasn't hurt but her older brother died and was buried in some rubble. She was the one who found his body. Can you imagine? She said she was very happy to find his body so that the family could have his bones (ashes?). What a fascinating woman!

Then last night I visited my homestay family, the Takahashi's. Their two oldest children, Masamoto and Norie, are home from their international high school in Shizuoka. It was great to see the whole family together again. I took Norie and the youngest son, Teramoto, to Green Mall to hang out and do puricula. Apparently, Norie has been obesessed with doing puricula with me. It was fun to hang out with them and explore the game center. Dinner was delicious and entertaining! With three boys in one small house I don't know how Matsuko, their mother, keeps sane! They are constantly beating, chasing, and yelling at each other, even at the dinner table. But it's all out of love, you can tell. I will miss this family, I've enjoyed seeing the children grow and mature over the last three years. I have a feeling this won't be the last time I see Norie.

Now I'm just waiting. There are two classes today, to make up for the two classes we missed on Weds. Then my ESS club are having a goodbye party for me. My desk is clean, my lessons are somewhat organized, and (I hope) all the paperwork is finished.

I'll add photos to this post when I get home tonight.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Happy Birthday Rebecca!

All the pictures can be found here.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Rain, rain go away...

Ishikawa orders 10,000 evacuated due to heavy rain

Heavy rain drenched wide areas of Japan on Monday, with downpours causing a mudslide and a train derailment in Shimane Prefecture and prompting Ishikawa Prefecture to order more than 10,000 people in Kaga to evacuate.

In Unnan, Shimane Prefecture, heavy rain triggered a mudslide that crushed a home, burying two people. They were rescued but one of them, a 38-year-old woman, remains unconscious, while her 77-year-old father sustained slight leg injuries, Shimane Prefectural Police said.

In Matsue, also in Shimane, a mudslide near Nagae Station on the Kita-Matsue Line caused a two-car train to derail after it ran into mud on the tracks at around 10 a.m., according to Ichibata Electric Railway Co.

The mud caused the first car of the train carrying some 30 passengers to tilt 45 degrees. But there were no injuries, the railway said.

In Kaga, the front dumped 200 mm of rain from 6 a.m. Sunday to 7 a.m. Monday, threatening to cause the city's rivers to flood the surrounding areas.

The Ishikawa Prefectural Government Monday morning ordered 10,100 people at 4,200 households to evacuate the areas close to these rivers.

The Meteorological Agency said the seasonal rain front is engulfing large areas of the country, stretching from the eastern area surrounding Tokyo to the Hokuriku region to the Sanin coast in western Japan facing the Sea of Japan.

The agency said the front is expected to bring heavy rain to a wide area from Monday to Tuesday.

Story from the Japan Times.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A few random videos

A typical day at ESS club

Lena's Vagina Monologue

Maya and Chris

Okayama Naked Man festival

Lick, Drink, Lime

Lena's birthday song

A trip to Aquas

We're STARS!!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

CHESS 2006

To see the rest of the 180 pictures go here.

Monday, July 10, 2006

The POWER of a Blog

A Canadian man traded his way from a red paperclip to a free house.

Read the story here.

This is what happens when you pair a bored ALT with a bored exchange student

Tom started a blog!! Please check out Hamada Guy!!

and no, I didn't influence his name choice.