Tuesday, 6 November 2007

PostHeaderIcon Horizon

Ahoy hoy

I am using some spare time at the junior high school to write this latest entry. I don’t usually bring my laptop to the school but I was told in advance I wouldn’t be doing much in terms of work this morning. I taught most of my classes yesterday and today I’ve been hanging around in the classroom helping out occasionally. There is a class going on right now but for some reason I wasn’t allowed to go to that one. Who knows… surely having an ALT doing nothing in the classroom is better than me sitting here typing away about it? The English teacher is great though so I’m sure she has her reasons. I just came back from the 1st grade class there and it went quite well. There was one game like ‘battleships’ where an English phrase was said and if the corresponding square had something in it then they lost points. I was helping some students out and I was talking to one kid who had the 100 point square safe. He was asking me how to say the phrase which was “(1) My sister and (2) lives…”. So I walked away and then the teacher read out that phrase and all I heard behind was a cry of sheer anguish from the kid. It was honestly much funnier than it sounds and I was trying not to laugh. At the end of the lesson they had to read out these difficult phrases at random. They obviously didn’t listen to the instructions and I could see some were thinking “Oh on, why didn’t I listen? What’s going on? I hate English.” Then the bell rang and everyone cheered which I found amusing too but I had to keep a stern professional face on. I do quite enjoy being in the classroom actually. Ironically I’d like to have a bit more control of the classes at junior high and a bit less emphasis put on myself at elementary. They are two completely different styles of teaching and have varying degrees of responsibility.

I just remembered something amusing that happened at elementary school lunch last week. I was sitting with the 5th graders and had finished slightly early because I left this disgusting little side salad of bitter mush. I usually eat it all but I truly loathe that particular dish. So I had tidied away all my stuff and was sitting talking for a few minutes. Then the teacher passed the tray of dishes and got the attention of the class. I could see he had my dish in his hand and I knew what was about to follow. He was talking away in Japanese but I knew he was saying “Who didn’t scrape ALL the food off this bowl?” with two slithers of pickle stuck to the side. I rather sheepishly admitted it was myself and then excused myself in a half joking/half embarrassed manner. I then put my head in my hands saying “argh sumimasen sumimaen” to which everyone erupted in laughter. It actually worked out alright and the teacher is cool so we laughed about it. I give everything a damn good cleaning now though.

I was pretty stressed when I wrote my last entry last week. I kind of wish I didn’t write it now because it comes across rather negatively. Also, it doesn’t give a fair overall view of my situation here but rather of a few days last week. I think the problem last week was I didn’t get enough sleep and after work I didn’t really give myself a break. On Thursday night I took the night off from football practice, got some dinner with Andrew up in Aki and then came home and watched a DVD. It was awesome and I felt so much better after just sitting for an hour or two. My job isn’t really that demanding at times but the days can be long and before you know it… it’s morning and back to work. I took it easy this weekend too and spent most of it doing boring housework but also just sitting watching DVDs and eating unhealthy food. I did go to Aki on Friday night for some dinner and karaoke but that was me for the weekend. The next morning we did find this excellent place for breakfast called ‘One and a half view’. It’s this modern (anything that isn’t from the 1970s is good here) restaurant/clothes shop that hangs out over a cliff. The view was fantastic and the food was brilliant and reasonably priced too. Honestly, I’ve said it before but you pay very little extra for eating here than buying and cooking everything yourself.

The weather was really nice this weekend so on Saturday I went out for a walk and later a cycle along the coast. I drove down to Muroto for about 5pm to meet Joey, Wenjun, Mark and Karl for a festival down there. It wasn’t really a festival though and lasted about half an hour. However however however, the lighthouse was opened to the public for the only time in the year and we got to watch the sunset from it. I can honestly say it is the best sunset I have ever seen in my life. The lighthouse is in the perfect position as it is right on the cape/point at Muroto… on a high cliff… overlooking nothing but the Pacific. So the entire view is just the perfect straight line of the horizon. The colours of the sky were outstanding and it lasted for ages. I might even go as far to say that I felt even slightly… dare I say it… spiritual as I gazed out upon the world below me. After that it got dark and I went to dinner with Joey and Wenjun before driving back to Tano fairly early. I got stuck behind a truck going at about 40kmph which is stupidly slow but this did mean I noticed a shooting star because the roads are so dark and I had nothing else to concentrate on. That was pretty cool and marks the second one I’ve seen as I saw the first one in Spain a few years ago.

Going off on a tangent again but bringing the focus to my car. It doesn’t have a working radio or cigarette lighter so I can’t get any music. Sometimes this is quite good because I can think away to myself when I’m driving but I do miss it. So when I have passengers I have devised a way to create entertainment. Are you ready? Car-aoke. That’s right… make your passengers sing away. Although I don’t think anyone has actually sung after I have explained my idea... though Noah has played his guitar in the back once or twice. I’m a great entrepreneur though and I am going to patent the idea to have mini machines installed in all cars. NOBODY STEAL IT! This brings to the sad news that my iPod has died after three long years of service. I was listening to it yesterday and it finally passed away. The screen even showed a little caricature of an iPod with crossed out eyes on the screen and www.apple.com/support written under it. So last night I went out driving in the rain to buy a new 6th generation, 80 GB colour/video piece of wonderfulness. Sadly, the big electronic store never had any but I did see the Kochi University man who came to watch my class last week. He was on the news I think and I watched it on one of the massive televisions. It’s quite easy to recognise him because he looks like a Japanese Lenin.

I drove in search of another shop but I got hungry so stopped at Masala (Indian restaurant) and had dinner there. I like Indian food a lot more here than I do back home. I think I’m allergic to spices or all the colour dyes and processed rubbish they use in Britain (or I just have a terribly weak palate). Anyway, they were are proper guys from India and I could see one of them giving me a nod so I stuck my head around the door and was all “Hey that was delicious. Goodnight”. The Japanese girl serving me looked in shock that I had crossed ‘the line’ into the kitchen. I’m such a big, hairy obnoxious foreigner sometimes. I never found an iPod by the way. Yes, I live in a prefecture in Japan where I can drive for 90 minutes and find one electronics shop that doesn’t have anything.

Back to Saturday night. I got home and watched three films in a row before going to bed. I started off with ‘28 Weeks Later’ which was good but lost a bit of momentum after the initial excitement of the return of the rage infected ‘zombies’. The best bit was at the start when it showed a flashback of what Robert Carlyle’s character was doing during the time period of ’28 Days Later’. I then continued with ‘Sunshine’ which was directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting/28 Days Later). This started off really well and was filmed really well but the plot was weak. It seemed like a mixture of Event Horizon (which it seemed to copy a lot from) and 2001: A Space Odyssey. To continue the trend… I watched another Cillian Murphy (Irish bloke in 28 Days Later/Sunshine) called ‘Red Eye’ but that was bloody horrendous and I think I fell asleep during it.

On Sunday it was the Tano town sports day. Yes, another one with the same events that last all day. Nobody really mentioned it to me but deep down I knew I was expected to go. I participated in a lot of events from my part of the town (west side: pink) but everyone is really old. However, we did win the three legged relay race which was the highlight of the day by far. I genuinely cheered like I was at a football match and my team had just scored. That night I went and watched the sunset down by the coast whilst listening to some music. It was nice and relaxing as usual before I headed out to a small enkai held by our local neighbourhood. It was quite nice to talk to some young families… especially when you see the kids you teach with their parents or you find out which ones are brother/sister etc. There was other stuff going on this weekend but I think I enjoyed just taking it easy this time. I still really like socialising and doing lots of things with other JETs but sometimes I think it is important just to bum about and get some sleep.

I think I’m done writing for now. I should go hit the Japanese books before lunch. I was going to write a big entry on my overall thoughts after three months in Kochi but I’ll save that for later. I’ll upload all my October pictures later on today… but you’ll know that because I’ll post them at the same time as this and the link should be right about… here. Nope, no pictures tonight I'm afraid.


Daniel said...

Ahhh you sound like you're having such a good time out there sheeps, sounds great man.


Darren said...

You should come to Wales, I've seen dozens (literally) of shooting stars here. Saw about eight or nine in one night once. Lying on the beach, watching the stars with no lights around you.. ah, peace.

Then you'll be spiritual boyo

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About Me

I am a 24 year old Scotsman currently teaching English to Japanese schoolchildren. I live in a small town on the east coast of Kochi prefecture.