Friday, 6 June 2008

PostHeaderIcon The rest of May

May was a good month by all accounts. Like the weather, the months have slowly being warming in enjoyment since my winter of discontent. After I returned from Tokyo I spent a good week of my free time playing Grand Theft Auto 4 on my Xbox 360. That was fun for a short time but then I realised that games can be a waste of valuable time off when you need to go to work all the bloody time. I then tried to crank up the Japanese studying but my enthusiasm waned after a day or two of stems, particles and the like. I'm currently reading my way through a book on the British Empire by a historian who taught me at Glasgow but is now some Harvard big shot. I bought it in an actual bookshop when I went to Tokyo actually.

The first half of the month was a bit quiet but I remember it being alright. One weekend a few of us (Noah, Andrew and Joey) had a small barbeque down at the beach in Aki. The beaches on the east side of the prefecture aren't exactly breathtaking but it was nice enough to just sit back and stick a beer in the sand. The night consisted of all the usual banter such as singing a few unflattering songs about Joey, making fun of America, making fun of Scotland and going for a quick pee in the Pacific. The latter proved to be more difficult than it sounds as the waves were surprisingly strong that night. There I was taking a stroll to the ocean... having a wee whistle to myself when a wave crashed against the shore and came hurtling towards me. I had misjudged it by about 25 metres I reckon. I quickly ran back so that I wouldn't drown. I warned everyone else about this but they subsequently went through the same experience. After the fun of being up to your knees in sea water, we got talking to these old Japanese guys who were digging in the sand with flashlights on. One of the old guys had noticed that a turtle had laid about 50-100 eggs earlier that day and this was now a rare thing these days. So him and his mate were moving them further up the beach as a typhoon was due to whip the prefecture with its tail the following week. Then that was the end of the night.

Those waves are not to be underestimated.



The following weekend was work related as I helped organise an event with Noah. We tried to change it from the norm of 'English Camps' which towns will hold for their students and get some other ALTs nearby to help out. Instead, Noah had the idea of just having a fun day with some Western food and meeting some other foreigners. This mainly stemmed from a pretty woeful Kochi University day that our town had a few weeks ago. There must have been about 12-14 Education majors and all they managed to do for 6 hours was create static electricity with balloons and organise an 'English hunt' around the town. It was crap basically. Our day was originally planned to be outside in a park but the weather forecast said it was going to pore down. We had to move it inside to a gym which took some of the outdoorsy/summer/picnic shine off the day but in the end it was probably easier to keep all the kids together inside. A lot of the younger kids are adorable but they also run about like crazy and it's hard to keep their attention focused at times. Quite a lot of our local friends came to help out too without getting any daikyuu (paid holiday) out of it which was cool. They were Joey (Aussie/Muroto), Nick (Aussie/Kitagawa), David (English/Yasuda) and Erin (American/Nankoku) We played some games in the morning before stopping for a barbeque lunch thing. It was actually a load of hassle to get enough minced beef for everyone and Noah had to arrange for a local bakery to make proper rolls. His sister sent him a few boxes of Mac&Cheese too and we just cut up some apples for the last dish. In the afternoon we played some dodgeball, did some limbo and then let the kids smash the pinatas that we had made. They were a real pain to make and decorate (the football looked appalling thanks to me) but they were a success in the end. It was a pretty good day in the end I reckon.

Introducing the foreigners.

3rd to 5th grade kids.

Playing 'British Bulldog'

I'm surprised nobody got food poisoning. Damn, dirty kids.

My 4th grade eating lunch.

Singin' gaijin

Before the smashing (of mainly the wall) begins.

The goods.

The end

Last weekend I went to football tournament but I will save it for later as it deserves its own post. Work has been going pretty good recently and teaching has become exceptionally easy. There were 2 weeks in a row where my English teacher at junior high school was off so I had to teach all the classes myself with about 15 minutes notice. They all went really smoothly and I got a bit of a kick out of teaching them. I had one class where the principal and the head of the Board of Education (big boss) were both sitting watching me but it went great. I actually watched some baseball later that day and enjoyed it too. It was the bottom of the 9th inning (I think... I had to check) and they had a runner on 2nd and 3rd base. He had struck out once before smashing the ball for miles and they all made it round. Those 3 runs won them the tournament. It was all very exciting when I processed what had happened.

So that was the majority of May then. The start of June brings with it the rainy season but so far there have only been a few days of heavy rain. It's really quite lovely outside just now. I reckon it is another case of sun soaked Americans and Aussies moaning about a few weeks of fairly regularly rain. I've had whole summers in Scotland where we got less sun than I've seen in the past day or two. The whinging gits.

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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.

Shashins