Monday, 7 April 2008

PostHeaderIcon Boys and girls, be ambitious.

I attended the opening ceremonies for the junior high and elementary school today. I wasn't really sure if school started today or what I was meant to do. I felt a bit lost ever since I left my house in the morning to be honest. Without dwelling on it too much... I've increasingly found myself in situations where nobody has told me what to do yet everyone else expects that someone else has told me. This won't be helped by the fact I have a new supervisor who hasn't said more than two words to me this past week. Anyway, one small example of something that frustrated me was being asked by the principal "Don't you know where you've to sit?" at the ceremony. Then preceding to have a conversation with the three other teachers for ages whilst I stood like an idiot. In the end it was decided I should probably sit with the teachers this time but not in the first row of course. I'm sure a lot of it is my fault but little misunderstandings and lack of communication on a rainy Monday morning can aggravate my otherwise apathetic nature. I'm sure 9 hours of damp socks didn't help matters (in my top 5 hates) but alas... the sun came out later in the day.

Oh I forgot to mention the important thing. Like all things here... most of the ceremony was rehearsed to death and everyone just jumped through the hoops of what was expected. However, my boss (head of Board of Education) actually gives a proper speech at these events which I always enjoy. I don't understand a lot of it but I think I picked up bits about the students being brothers and sisters... or something like that. Then there was something about listening and learning from the teachers. Noah told me that he said the new 1st graders should look back on their kindergarten years and contemplate how much they've learned since then. After that he then broke into a few English words of "Boys and girls... be ambitious!" I think it may have had more of an influence on me than it did them. He called me a Viking a few weeks ago because of my hair and beard too which made me laugh. I shaved them both off today after work and it felt very liberating to say the least.

I had a very busy weekend but I shall save that for a separate entry that I may write tomorrow at work. Tonight I wanted to write a little bit about the film 'Lost in Translation' which I'm sure most of you have heard of. If not then it's a film set in Tokyo that stars Bill Murray and Scarlett Johannsen (probably spelt wrong, who cares) as two 'lost' Americans who meet and bond in a hotel. Despite it being released in 2003 and being critically acclaimed, the first time I watched it was about this time last year when it was shown on Channel 4. I had just recently been accepted onto the JET Programme and was pretty excited about moving to Japan. It might not be the coolest thing to admit but watching it did make me more excited about coming here. Anyway, I just finished watching it again and I really enjoyed it. It is an above average film in its own right but I do feel this weird sort of connection to it after living here a few months. Not that I see any comparison with myself and the characters but more the cinematography and the basic level of excitement that is recreated in me when I watch it. Indeed, if anything, I feel slightly antagonistic to the culture shock portrayed by the two leads as they're basically having a 1-2 week holiday and staying at a fancy hotel in Tokyo.

Nevertheless, I feel it is a film I will continue to watch every few months I am here to try and jolt whatever energy it has into me. I quite liked being able to understand some of the Japanese in it as well this time. There is a scene where Bill Murray is promoting the Suntory whisky and a Japanese photographer is barking instructions at him but there are no subtitles. This time I picked up that he wanted Bill Murray to know that: time is money Bobo-san, this is the number one brand whisky Bobo-san and treat the whisky like an old friend... Bobo-san.

Anyway, the music is really fitting and I have found myself listening to it a lot more. The closing song is 'Just Like Honey' by The Jesus and Mary Chain. It just so happens that they come from my home town of East Kilbride in Scotland. I told this to someone the other night and they had a mild interest I guess. It's hard to explain the significance of anything artistically decent coming from a post-war new town to someone who hasn't lived in one. I mainly just appreciate the link between this 1980s band from my town and significance they have with the film. Until tomorrow. Goodnight.


Jay said...

I have recently fallen in love with the French band Phoenix for the second time. They had a great song which was included in "Lost in translation" during the party in the apartment. The song is called "Too young" and its great!!
Your blog is a good read.

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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.