Sunday, May 27, 2007

The heat, the heat!

I think I've overdone it this weekend. I've been out in the blistering sun 3 of the past 4 days. The only reason I wasn't out Friday was because there was a torrential downpour the entire day. Actually, the sun wasn't out, I still rode my bike to work in the pouring rain. All the teachers laughed at me when I walked in looking like a soaked rat in swim trunks and flip flops. When rainy season hits, they'll get to see it every day.

Yesterday was field day at the junior high schools. I went to the party school's festival. It was a lot of fun watching the various events. They had different ones from the previous schools I've been to. One interesting even I didn't catch the name of involved various objects ranging from tires to soccer balls to bamboo poles to 4 balls as tall as the kids, all placed on the midfield line. Two teams stood at the goal line and when the gun sounded ran to try to get the objects behind their goal line. It was amusing to watch them tugging at tires and trying to bounce the giant balls over their opponents heads. As with all Japanese field day events, it wasn't without danger. The bamboo poles looked like they could impale somebody. At one point, two girls collided. One was bleeding from her forehead, the other from her mouth. The nurse sat the second girl down and, after washing out the blood, started poking around in her mouth and trying to wiggle the front tooth. At that point it got to be too much, so I took off to the water fountain.

On the way, I got jumped by a gang of elementary school kids that I teach. One little girl who I swear is an angel in class, took to trying to spank me when my back was turned, even resorting to a quick kancho stab when I leaned down to get a drink. I only had running shorts on instead of my denim armor, so she got me quite good. All of the parents watching thought it was so cute. "Aww, isn't that cute. Little Kanako is poking her teacher in the butt!"

Another highlight was the folk dance done after all the events had been run. I was expecting some traditional Japanese dance or something like that. One of the previous schools had done the soran bushi dance, which I think is particularly cool. Instead, we got some rendition of a square dance song, like what we used to do back in elementary school where boys and girls do a short dance with each other then move on to the next partner. Not to mention it was freakin' interminable! Every time the song ended and we all thought it was over, they reset the track. It must've been stuck on a loop or something because we went through it at least ten times. One of the teachers dragged me out there and got me in the circle to go dancing. The students thought it was funny to see me dancing, and most of the girls I had to dance with could hardly walk they were laughing so hard. Glad to know the students have so much respect for me.

The best thing about field day is the nomikai afterwards. We all met up for a couple hours of hard drinking after, because there's nothing better after 7 hours spent in 30-degree heat than consuming large amounts of booze. It was good to get to socialize with the teachers, and I was able to speak to several who hadn't spoken to me before. Also, last week was the first week for the jishūsei (student teachers). So naturally, they each had to stand up and give a speech. In fact, I think every single person there, myself included, gave a speech. I couldn't follow most of them, but they all had to do with field day and how their homeroom class fared.

After the nomikai, I jetted off to meet people to see Pirates of the Caribbean. Don't go see a movie while liquored up. I ended up with a hangover by the end.

Today I played soccer with some of the foreigners in Hiratsuka. I think I overdid the running around in the heat part, because I've got a throbbing headache. At least I had the wherewithal to put on sunscreen, so I'm not burned to a crisp. But my throbbing head and pulled leg muscle aren't happy with me.

What does CapitalOne have against me?

My lovely credit card company has gone and declined my health insurance payment. WTF? It seems like I have to call up and ask permission to do anything.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Apartment update

Come June 1st, I should be finally moving out of Todd’s house. It’s something I’m sure he’ll appreciate. I’ll like it better too, in my own apartment and not in a small room with all my stuff piled around the edges. The process has been long and arduous, but I finally got something. The apartment itself isn’t much – the living room is spacious, but my room won’t have any closets, and there aren’t any closets in the entire apartment to store miscellaneous stuff, which means we’ll be spending a bit of cash on things to put things in – but the location is superb. We’re on the hypotenuse of a little triangular sliver of a block, across the street from the shrine, half a block to the main post office (great for getting large packages from home, hint, hint) and roughly ten minutes walk to the station. It’ll add about ten minutes or so to my commute, maybe more to the rural school, but it more than makes up for it by being close to the gym and everything else I routinely go to. It gives me less of an excuse to avoid the gym in bad weather, and I just realized it’s about two blocks from a darts/sports bar we frequent. The view isn’t spectacular. We overlook the car park, and the morning sun is blocked by an apartment. But if you look to the left and lean out over the railing you can see the little wooded area that makes up part of Hachiman Shrine.

My roommate will be Happy Mike. For those of you who don’t know him, it’s because the guy never smiles. We should get on alright since our schedules are so different we won’t actually spend much time together in the apartment. His days off are Tuesday and Wednesday, and he usually finishes work late at night, so he’ll get home when I’m already in bed. As long as we both pull our weight, it’ll probably be like not having a roommate at all. Heck, he can’t be worse than Crazy Joe, the guy who used to take baths with his bike and trundle around the apartment like Doofy.