Friday, 28 November 2008

PostHeaderIcon Danke

I just translated a letter from German into English for one of my adult students. Their daughter lives in Frankfurt so her fiance's mother sent her a thank you note. They think I'm amazing but I pretty much just used a dictionary for every third word. Still... it brought home to me how easy it is for a native English speaker to learn something like German or French. I could glance over the letter and get the basic idea of most of it. If someone presented me with the same letter in Japanese then it would take me all morning to get to that same level. I will never even begin to master Japanese. Anyway, here's the letter for you nosey lot:

Dear Junko,

Many, many thanks for all the nice things which Sachiko has given to me from you. When I opened them I felt as happy as a small child. Also, thank you for the exercise book. I can use it well. I will continue to study Japanese this autumn. I don't know much at the moment. Although I would like to practice what I have learned.

I hope you are well.

Greetings of love to you, your parents and your brother.
Wednesday, 26 November 2008

PostHeaderIcon Bloody Thailand

It looks like they're having a bit of political instability over there just now. Just in time for the airports to close and for me to get blown up in a revolution in about 3 weeks. I don't even want to go to Thailand but I need to fly to Bangkok so I can get up to Laos. Hopefully that'll work out or I'll lose lovely yen and will need to stay in Japan.

Did you like the painting of me? Every time I see it I am taken by surprise and slightly freaked.
Also, I saw the kanji for 'slave' today and the first part of it has the kanji for woman in it: 奴隷
Tuesday, 25 November 2008

PostHeaderIcon Tano Town's Popular People

All foreigners have blue eyes remember

I was having a peek in the exhibition hall at work last week. As I walking along I noticed a painting that looked a little out of place amongst all the Japanese portraits. On closer inspection I realised it was actually of Noah and I. After laughing for ages I suddenly started to get creeped out by the possibility of some mad stalker. No worries... it turns out it was drawn by one of the nice local mothers who speaks English. The sign underneath it called us 人気者 or 'popular people'. It's so true. Noah's dodgy tache is my favourite.
Monday, 10 November 2008

PostHeaderIcon The last three months

I feel like I haven't really been updating my blog in my second year here. A lot of it is to do with the fact I don't have the internet at work now and I find a lot of my time taken up. Both of these are good things though so I'm not complaining. There is also an element of things repeating themselves so I have less wide-eyed enthusiasm to write about everything. I am still trying to figure out what I want to do next year but it's pretty hard. A third year in Japan looks really appealing some days but then I have bad weeks that make me think again. I had a really bad cold last Thursday and I was stuck at elementary school for hours. These annoying teachers just talked to me all day about really simple lessons and seemed to wonder why I didn't really care. One of them even said to me that I had "lost my genki power". Genki being the overused word for energy/health. That made me a bit sad but I (unusually) don't blame myself for that. I helped Noah with his Halloween party in Tano last week as well which was just as hectic as last year. It went well though and I think the kids do actually enjoy it.

Anyway, I thought I would quickly go over the last three months of my life. I've done an awful lot actually. One of the massive benefits of being on JET is that the money accumulates so easily. I have free rent, low bills, cheap/crappy car.... and it's pretty much tax free. It's actually a bit of an effort to try and spend it all... which I have achieved recently. Here's what have been doing:

August

Scotland: Back to the home country. Spending my time eating and trying to escape to the countryside away from Glasgow/East Kilbride.

Germany and France: 2 days in Berlin and 1 in Cologne. I basically ignored exhaustion by filling my days with vast sums of history/culture and then drinking amazing beer with strangers from around the globe (errr Manchester and Detroit). My favourite bits include sausages everywhere, the whole of East Berlin and dancing to terrible Eurotrash in some old factory/club.

Then there was a cheeky two days in Paris. I didn't enjoy it anywhere near as much as Berlin but it lived up to the cliche of being a beautiful city. I saw all the touristy things and that but my favourite bit was buying a really nice dinner and then walking about the streets after it. Also, I enjoy telling French people that I am Scottish and not English. My school French/German was pretty woeful and I kept trying to speak Japanese. I watched Amelie and Goodbye, Lenin when I came home and recognised all the places I had been. I think I want to study History in Berlin.

September/October

I went to see my two favourite bands (Radiohead and Sigur Ros) in Osaka over two weekends. Taking a plane of course... as you do. Despite being massive let downs... they were still excellent and show the extend of my financial freedom. Last weekend I went to Hiroshima and spent loads on booze, boats and other delicious events. We went to the famous red tori shine that sits out on the water. In between that have been weekends of things like barbeques, beach events, film festivals, English camps and other assorted cultural/drinking things.

December

I'm off to Thailand and Laos over Christmas and New Year with my friend Joey. That's about the extent of the plan so far. I think I need to get a tetanus jag. It's gonna be great.

So basically.... it's good to be young, free and have a fair bit of cash to mess about with. I'm always complaining about Japan and my job but I actually really like living here for the majority of the time. I feel a lot of what I do here makes up for the rather dull University life I had of being responsible and working away like an ejjit. I'll upload some pictures when later.
Tuesday, 4 November 2008

PostHeaderIcon Culture Day

"You mean you'd rather take advantage of your long weekend
and not spend it being surrounded by old people at a sports day?"
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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