Monday, 28 January 2008

PostHeaderIcon It's hard to bow with crutches

So, my leg is still broken. It’s been difficult and has had an affect on my life here despite my best efforts. This includes the lack of motivation to update my blog as I was worried I would only unleash hate filled frustration on the unsuspecting internet. I’ve tried to remain in high spirits and to some degree I have been successful as I’ve avoided turning into a bitter recluse. However, last weekend ranks as some of the most depressing days of my short life. I won’t mull on it too long but I caught a stomach bug which meant I was throwing up most of late Saturday/early Sunday. This left me exhausted (lack of sleep/no food) for the start of the week… which coincided with lots of rain. Every time I left my apartment I had to take a leap of faith on every step as when they are wet the surface turns into some slippery grime. Despite my best efforts I had the occasional slip and smashed my knee/wrist pretty bad at one point. I’ve tried not to exaggerate too much but I was really in an exhaustive spiral of working, sleeping, falling, sleeping, working, not eating and falling. Also, this seemed to coincide with a reasonably short but intense period of culture shock which didn’t help matters. However, come Wednesday morning I had remarkably returned to my normal ways and have been feeling alright ever since.

The one positive thing about this period of depression over others in my angst filled youth is that it has a definite expiration date (8th February 2008). I’ve been back to the hospital and my leg is healing pretty nicely. The x-ray (called a ‘Rentogen’ here after the German bloke who discovered it) I had on Friday shows that a good portion of the bone has healed. I studied all the possible questions/answers and went by myself for once. I was so proud of my memorised medical script until the doctor started talking really, really fast but it’s all good. It’s difficult for me not to write about my leg because every day it determines what I can and cannot do. I’ve managed to adapt pretty well but I really can’t wait until my cast comes off and I can taste freedom once again.

One thing I haven’t mentioned on my blog but has been a popular topic of conversation amongst my friends for a few weeks now is re-contracting. I decided back in November that I was probably going to stay here for a second year. Ever since then I have had creeping doubts and as the deadline gets nearer I’ve been thinking hard about it. It’s quite a big commitment to make as you can’t really back away from it and you’re actually agreeing to 18 months rather than just a year. Despite a few niggling doubts I am probably going to sign my papers later today. I have really enjoyed my time in Japan and sometimes I need to stop and appreciate the opportunity/experience I am having. There are certainly some things that leave me feeling frustrated and occasionally I feel a bit homesick but I am very comfortable in my decision to stay here. A lot of my friends seemed to have had a much harder time deciding and for some periods it looked like a few of them might be leaving. I’m pretty pleased to say that the majority of people I hang out with will be staying next year. I didn’t think it would factor much in my decision a few months ago but I’ve got a good group of friends here which make things more enjoyable/bearable. It’s a shame that some people will be leaving but then there are always new people to meet next year.

What have I done since my last update then? The day after my birthday I had to head to Kochi City for a mid-year conference. I’ve kind of grown to hate these JET conferences to be honest but this one wasn’t too bad. Once they got over the recycled general statements there were a few useful things in there. All I know was my leg still hurt and I had to hobble up and down stairs all the damn time. I was kind of looking forward to the post-conference celebrations before I broke my leg because everyone in the prefecture was there. Sadly I went out one night for a few drinks before I had to head back to my hotel. Just hobbling about a few hundred metres everywhere just about kills me to be honest. I need to literally lift my whole body weight as the crutches don’t give any support under my armpits like I thought they were meant to. Although, I did enjoy going to an Irish themed pub in the city for Guinness/fish&chips and they played some traditional music which was nice. Although that warm, fuzzy feeling could have been the mix of alcohol and painkillers.

Cake on my birthday awww

Can you guess where it's broken?

A common sight for me

This last Saturday was ‘Australia Day’ which, funnily enough, is their national day celebrating ahem… the first prison in Port Sydney. They basically drink all day, have a barbecue, listen to the top 100 songs on the radio and play cricket. Joey in Muroto decided to host something that day at the last minute and a few of us headed down. We headed off up into the cape to an abandoned hotel/restaurant from the days before the economy bubble burst. I always enjoy an abandoned building but I had to hobble up a spiral staircase covered in broken glass. The view from the top was fantastic but it is still January here so the wind and the cold forced us back down. In the end we had a barbecue on Joey's balcony, played some games like indoor cricket and drank lots of beer.

On top of the abandoned hotel on a brisk January afternoon

Australia Day: No sun, no barbecue and no Aussie in sight.

Here ends this update. I still need to write about my trip but I’ve forgotten most of it. I’ll just post some pictures and comment on them later on. Here are some other bits I couldn’t fit in the above post:

At the supermarket I lean on the trolley and glide through the aisles in order to buy food. I call it the ‘superman’ and I enjoy looking at the confused old women.

I’ve fallen over so many times I’ve turned it into an art. I can tell when it’s about to happen and go ‘uh-oh’ and prepare for the smash. It makes me laugh thinking about it.

At the lowest point of my depression I wanted to make beans on toast (I got them in a birthday box). I didn’t have a tin opener so I had to smash the thing in with a knife. I was only partially successful and nearly broke down in tears when I sprayed myself with bean juice and dropped my crutches.

I haven’t shaved since the day I broke my leg. I’m now sporting a pretty terrible beard and messy hair.


Timmargh said...

"It’s difficult for me not to write about my leg because every day it determines what I can and cannot do."

I know what you mean -- I keep starting blog entries that are basically me moaning about something related to my cripness. I usually delete them but the odd one or two slip through ...

Glad to hear the leg's healing and I also know what you mean about the knowing-you're-about-to-fall-over thing -- when I could still walk I knew the point that which, once passed, meant that I was going to meet the floor really, really soon.

And I'm really sorry but I nearly laughed at the mental image of you stabbing a tin of baked beans and getting sprayed in tomato sauce ... :^D

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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.