Wednesday, 16 April 2008

PostHeaderIcon Whale

'Endangered' in Japanese roughly translates into 'delicacy'*

I've got an hour left of work today and I reckon it's going to drag on so I thought I'd write a cheeky wee blog update. I was really enjoying my job the last two days as I was actually in the classroom and talking to the students. However, today has seen me back at the B.O.E and sitting with damp socks as it pours down outside. The weather is very pleasant here just now though so hopefully it will be all well and good tomorrow.

In other news, Noah's dad and step-mum are staying in town just now as they complete a tour of Japan. The people at my work hosted a really excellent enkai in Aki on Monday night for them on which I tagged along. They provided endless amounts of traditional/expensive/local Japanese food and drink for them to try so I happily stuffed my face as well. Also, I was presented with my first opportunity to eat whale. Personally, I don't feel that strongly on the subject of whaling so happily tucked in. I'm sure if you mention whaling to anyone then they'll first assume "ah yes, that's terrible" but really humans hunt and eat everything. My eikaiwa also told me last night quite passionately about the history and tradition of hunting whale in Japan. One good point they made was the Western countries used to hunt thousands of whales for their oil only whilst Japan had a use for everything. It may appear that I've been brainwashed but the Japanese kind of irritate me as well. I think it's borderline retarded to continue to hunt a species that has a chance of becoming extinct. Furthermore, breaking international treaties and antagonising other countries by fishing near their waters is just plain... rude. Lastly, using a loophole in the treaty and calling whale hunting 'research' just makes them look like dodgy gits. I also hold some views that the continuation of whaling is one small way that Japan can flex its power/nationalism/history on the world scene. With all this aside... whale is pretty tasty. The cooked stuff tastes like my Gran's roast beef and the raw stuff is some of the best sashimi I've had. I didn't touch the blubber because that made no rational sense in my mind.

Yeah so that was another successful enkai all round. I ended up drinking about 5-6 bottles of sake with the jicho (second in command at B.O.E) and some of my teachers. I think everyone enjoyed the evening although Noah was working hard as translator whilst I stuffed my face with delicacies. Coupled with my eikaiwa last night and work all day today, I'm feeling a bit sleepy right now. My eikaiwa (that's my English class by the way) kind of irritated me last night to be honest. The CIR in the next town cancelled his class because he's got a Japanese test coming up which is fair enough. However, some of the eikaiwa refugees have sought shelter in my advanced class. Now, my class is full of old women who speak near perfect English and whilst the news ones are alright they're miles apart. So now I need to simplify my lessons whilst the old students seem irritated that I'm doing this. This is along with the new students who seem too nervous to contribute and don't flinch when I ask them three times "What did you do at the weekend?" Another one got a bit angsty at me when I politely declined her invitation to drive her into the city so that she could see another 'Genki Musical' performance on Sunday. It made me wonder how my life has evolved into old Japanese women expecting such things from me.

I made a Japanese sentence up earlier in my workbook that I found slightly amusing:

keki o tabemasho. pan wa tsumaranai desu kara.
Let's eat cake, because bread is boring.

Oh wait, I should have ended this entry with something like "Let's eat whale, because it's endangered."

*That might be true.


Mike said...

The research project is called "Let's find out what whalemeat tastes like - a scientific investigation"

The BBC has a good page about whales and whaling. Apparently Japan take 900-950 minkes a year from a population of probably 450,000+. Norway take a thousand, and I've never heard anyone complain about them.

Anonymous said...

Hey Craig,
I was going to comment that I always find your blog witty...but I have concluded that you are more jocose than witty and it's very entertaining to read.

I do really like your new japanese sentence that you constructed about cake and bread. I dare you to bring a selection of cakes and bread to your next Eikaiwa - liberate that sentence through your voice and journal the reactions of your students, especially your 'refugees students'.

That said; I can not believe you ate whale.

Craig said...

I had to look 'jocose' up in the dictionary you know. Whale was tasty mmm mmm

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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.