Friday, February 12, 2010

You Talk Too Much

Tuesday, October 30, 1990 – the Speech Contest

Matthew arrives at my place at 8:15AM, and we make the five-minute bike ride to the Ohtawara City offices to judge a speech contest featuring junior high school students from Ohtawara and surrounding small villages (where Matthew and Jeanne Mont Blanc teach. Jeanne lives in the same building as Ashley in Nishinasuno, and is a mature-acting, very intelligent young woman from Quebec who I’m sure likes to have fun, but is still a very private individual).

At the contest site, no one comes over to talk with us, except for Shibata-sensei of Dai Chu (Ohtawara Junior High School) and Suzuki-san (Matthew’s boss who was probably the funniest person I met in Japan and a super nice guy). Jeanne rolls in at 9AM – better she should have stayed away.

The speeches begin. There’s little difference in their reading styles, though the three girls I helped yesterday at Sakuyama are quite good and earn high marks from me. Oh yeah. We weren’t introduced at this contest or told how to mark the contestants, so I made up my own system – but we did get to sit right at the very front.

At lunch (it’s raining), we three AETs are served a bento box lunch by the female teachers, who also serve the other male Japanese teachers in attendance. Sexist or what?

Anyhow, after eating, we three head over to Mosburger for more food. I stop by the nearby Iseya department store and hand in some film and post a few letters.

We head back to the contest to listen to the remainder of the speeches. Boredom can’t even come close to how I felt. When its finally over at 4PM, all of the results are collected—but not ours.  Now I’m mad. Why are we here? Did we do something wrong? Is this our punishment?

Tomura-sensei (English teacher at Wakakusa Chu  (Wakakusa Junior High School) asks the AETs to make a few comments about the speeches we just heard. Wha-?!
I make up some stuff on the spot, as do Matthew and Jeanne. We’re all pretty angry as we ride home in the rain.

At 7PM that night, Ashley calls telling me she has no get-up-and-go (no kidding… it’s pretty much the cause of my friction with her). She says she knows she has schoolwork to prepare (She’s probably a far better teacher than me, because I have never prepared and will never prepare a single thing for my team-teaching classes in three years), but doesn’t want to do it. I want to call her a lazy cow, but think better of it. I know what I was like when I was her age (22 – I’m 26 in another week). I was lazy. I tell her to stop reading my Shadowland book and write a letter to her sister, folks and friends back home – her schoolwork can wait.

Matthew comes over – we make fried chicken (okay, Matthew does) and watch episodes of Quantum Leap and Max Headroom that his folks sent over in VCR format. I tell ya, that Matthew was a life-saver for my fragile mental and emotional health.

On a bathroom break, I pass by the room I call my den that has a balcony facing the west. I discover why my apartment is so friggin;’ cold—as my building superintendent must have come by to fix the lock on my den’s outside sliding door, and neglected to close it. I’ve had cold air blowing into my apartment for three weeks! The apartment quickly warms up, though a quick glance at my five-gallon goldfish aquarium shows me my fish are facing away from me with their large bulbous heads in a corner. I wonder if they suffer from depression. Does Ashley? Do I?

Somewhere asleep at midnight,

Andrew Joseph

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...