Monday, August 15, 2011

Pop Goes The World

So... after a late night of binge drinking after I gave my speech to the people of Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken, Japan, I am up at 6:30 in the freaking morning and not very happy.

I have to be in Utsunomiya-shi (Utsunomiya is the capital city of Tochigi-ken) by 9AM so that I can participate in some stupid JET international dance festival dreamt up by some tea-totaler with a-way too much free time on their hands.

I'm an assistant English teacher on the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme, and have been in Japan for 15 months - and to quote Maxwell Smart (of the TV show Get Smart  - here's the opening CREDIT - god help me but I have all 5 seasons on DVD!): "And... loving it!".

Matthew, who is also a junior high school teacher like myself lives in my city, but he teaches all of the schools outside the city limits, while I have the ones inside.

Matthew, is participating... it's odd... Matthew didn't do a whole lot of participating during the first year because he was very busy chasing skirts, but he's making a big effort these past few months, as a leader... trying to help all of the other newly arrived foreigners here in Tochigi adjust. I guess we're both trying to do our part.

Anyhow... that bugger is late arriving at my apartment! He was with me last night and we were neck and neck to see who was going to have the most to drink. No one won.

Since he's late, we have to ride our bicycles like the wind to the eki (train station) in nearby Nishinasuno-machi (Nishinasuno Town). The speed at which we ride is impressive for two people who drained a bar only a few hours ago... and it makes me sweat and my knees hurt.

Just so you know... the actual dance is happening tomorrow. This is our second rehearsal.

We arrive in time for the rehearsal, which goes well. I still don't like the entire set-up. Can-can for the French, Hula for the Americans, and line-dancing for Canadians like me. I hate the dances! I'm only here to meet people.

Afterwards, we have a JET meeting to decide who should be the Tochigi-ken head representative. Susan St. Cyr abdicated last Saturday and told everyone that Gail would take over... but Gail had never even been asked by anyone, nor had she ever expressed any interest in taking over. One last screw up before leaving for Susan.

We elect Jeanne Mance Blanc from Sherbrooke, Quebec works. She is an AET on the JET Programme too, and while she lives in an apartment above Ashley (my ex-girlfriend whom I am still sleeping with. It's not that complex, really, and it something everyone should continue doing with their ex).

Jeanne is a junior high school AET like Matthew & myself, and works at the Tochigi Board of Education (Ohtawara Branch).

Jeanne was elected because nobody else wanted it. She thought I really wanted it and was surprised when I turned the offer down. besides being busy with the editorship of the Tochigi newsletter, The Tatami Times, I'm not technically a member of AJET anymore. Hmmm... I wonder how that would have gone down... me the head of the Tochigi AJET, but not a member of AJET. Hell... I should have accepted just to see what sort of trouble that would have caused... but to be honest... I'm not really an organizer... I'm a participant who takes over as a leader.

I have a couple of beers with Matthew and head for home. Ashley had left earlier so she could take part in a badminton tournament. Good for her. I had no idea she even knew what badminton was, let alone could play. I suppose that's a small reason for us not being a couple anymore... but then... getting information out of her was like pulling teeth. Getting information out of me... well... you're reading this so you know how easy it is to get information out of me.

Back in Ohtawara, Matthew and I ride to the local video store (it's immense... think about the largest video store you have ever seen and then double it in size... unless the largest one you have ever seen is the one in Ohatawara, in which case, don't double it in size).

I call up Ashley at 6PM. Apparently, she's just on her way out to go back down to Utsunomiya for a girl's night out.

Before hanging up, she blurts out that she found out this afternoon that one of her students at Ohtawara Boys High School attempted to kill himself last night after school.

She's very vague on the details (and I never ever found out any more... let's just say this sort of stuff was never discussed at my OBOE (Ohtawara Board of Education) office. Heck... I asked, but even the effervescent Hanazaki-san was reluctant to tell me anything, except to confirm that the attempt did indeed happen).

Ashley didn't really know the student, but she thinks she may have been the last person to so see him before he made his attempt. She was pretty upset. Poor stupid kid. I hope he gets the help he needs.

Off the phone, I play video games until 12AM and then head out alone to the 4C for a couple of vodka-based drinks... six of them. That's a couple, right?

Somewhere in a haze,

Andrew Joseph

Today's blog title is by: Men Without Hats, a Montreal, Canada group I used to like when I had hair with a a lot of hairspray - POP

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