Thursday, February 11, 2010

My Life

So far, you’ve read my observances of Japan – all fun and eye-opening, I hope.
For the next little while, I’m going to present episodes from diary, so you can get a better feel of what life was like for me in Japan.

Monday, October 29, 1990 – my first visit to Sakuyama Chu Gakko (Sakuyama Junior High School).
Up at 6:30AM, I am picked up by the school’s science teacher (Names! Names!) at 7AM. We chat nicely in his small white sedan, arriving at the school 20 minutes later.
After the obligatory introductions around the teacher’s room, I’m ushered into four successive English classes and perform my full-length, 40 minute self-introductions (#61–65, as I’m actually keeping count. Mrs. Sekiya is the Japanese teacher of English, and is a very nice person, with excellent English skills. She understands everything I tell her, and don’t have to repeat anything twice as she quickly translates my gobbledygook into Japanese for the dull students. At that time, I thought the students were a little dull – inactive – but really, I found out it was a combination of upcoming exam stress and the fact they were extremely well-behaved.
After playing soccer with some of the students after lunch, I was asked to speak in front of the entire school – as a kind of introduction. While completely unexpected, I’ve already got the hang of speaking my mind here – tactfully of course, despite my manner of writing here. I for got to bow to my audience, and began speaking before they bowed to me. – whoops. Stuipd gaijin (foreigner/outsider).
After school, I spent an hour or more helping three girls who would be giving speeches at a contest the next day at a sectional competition I was invited to judge along with Matthew and Jeanne. No Ashley, as she’s a high school AET (Assistant English Teacher).
At 5:15, I’m given a drive home by the vice-principal (Name! Hey, at least I got one out of three for this blog!)
Arriving at my Zuiko Haitsu complex in downtown Ohtawara (it really does sound more impressive than it is), Kanemaru-san jumps me in the parking lot, asking me to hanko (signing via a ink stamp) a document that will provide me with ¥21,000 (about $210) in expenses for an upcoming AET conference.
After he leaves, I go up to the apartment and find Ashley there. She seems kind of dull, too (Is it me? I know I’m very tired having just spent a weekend in Osaka with a Japanese woman I had never met before – details? Later). Matthew comes over, and I divvy up the presents I bought for them – special guilt ones for Ashley, I suppose. I tell them of my adventures in getting lost in Osaka, while they eat my food and leave at 7:30PM. After watching some television and cleaning up the apartment a little, I telephone Matthew and tell him the real story of my Osaka trip. What do I mean? Well... that's #2.
Somewhere in bed by 11PM,
Andrew Joseph

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