Saturday, September 9

Saved From Frig... Barely

Well, you all are lucky the stupid pictures weren't uploading correctly last night (as they are still not uploading correctly this morning), as you were spared my cranky Frig posting. However, I'm still pretty cranky this morning, suffering from Tired of Being Hot and Sweaty, and Where the Hell is Everybody and Why Won't They Hang Out With Me, and I'm Bored as Hell and Need to Get Out but Tired of Being By Myself so Somebody Please Come Play With Me.

That said, I had a decent couple of days at my new mountain school. Note the lack of capitals as it still hasn't gotten a name yet. Now, I feel funny writing about this school because it was the home school of one of the outgoing ALTs, Jim. He was the only foreigner in this tiny mountain town (the entire JHS student body is the equivalent of one class at GS, of which there are 3 or 4 per grade), and lived up to his celebrity status, rocking the kids with his guitar, his parties (kiddy parties), and his overall creativity and humor. He spent 3 years there, so I can imagine how much he felt at home. I don't know whether Jim ever reads this blog (probably not), but for these reasons I feel funny commenting on his school. I even felt bad taking his little notes out from under the plastic sheet on the desk...

That said, we'll start with the drive up. The school is about 45 minutes away in good weather and without any slow-mo's in front of you -

-pause to rant- most of the roads that I drive on are "two-lane" streets. Meaning one for me and one for the oncoming traffic. Not a problem if there's a clear road ahead of me. However, should a slow person get in front of you, you're stuck. Sometimes there are dotted (dashed?) lines meaning you can pass, but many times these are on a curve or in a "heavy" traffic area, so your chances to actually get around are slim. And for a good portion of the way up, there are one-and-a-half lanes of CURVY, WINDING, HAIRPIN, CLIMBING road. Fortunately most people I've been behind on that last leg have been pretty responsible and haven't kept me from getting up the mountain. However, I do miss a nice stretch of straight road, with the option to pass via a second lane that goes in my direction. End rant.

- and passes through two "main" towns besides a lot of countryside and mountain area. The drive is spectacular, especially in the morning and late afternoon, when I make my treks. The drive home felt a little long yesterday, mainly because of my Severe Cranky State. But it's all good.

My first class on Thursday was the ni(2)nensei class, consisting of 3 students. The teacher, who is also the Kyoto-sensei (vice principal) told me that he would be there for the greeting, but then I would be on my own. Well that's a nice how-do-you-do for my first day with the kids. But they were great, having forgotten my intro pictures I showed them my My Summer Vacation PowerPoint, which they enjoyed. Especially when they saw my Renji wallpaper, and it turned out two of the three are big Bleach fans. One of the girls, the most outgoing of the bunch, well, she's outgoing in general, is fabulous at manga drawing. At the end of class she showed me her summer project, for which she invented like 6 characters, complete with names, clothing and swords, and then drew out four pages of story boards. Awesome. She was so excited that I like Bleach, so yesterday she brought me a pack of pages cut from an anime magazine, all dealing with Bleach. Very cool!

Second period yesterday was ichi(1)nensei, with S-sensei, my main teacher, who is, by the way, very cool - she likes reggae and rap, like Nas, and I can't think of who else, but she knows Tribe! What? So cool. As an introduction to the kids, S-sensei had prepared some cards with some kanji from their names. I held them up one by one and asked "Who has 'tree', 'woods' or 'forest' in their names?" As the kids raised their hands, I would ask what their names were, shake their hands and say "Nice to meet you." It was a great way to get to know their names and to remember them, still a difficult task for me.

And those were all the classes I had yesterday. I thought I'd have a day of free time, with boredom setting in eventually, but no, 3rd and 4th period were dedicated to presentations of the kids' summer projects. There were the usual displays of chairs, tables and bookshelves, but also the manga project, another kid's animation, some fashion designs which were very good, a translation of Queen songs, some sewing projects, a cake recipe, etc. etc. But not too many etc.'s as there are only 18 kids in the school.

And get this... Are you ready??? The parents of the kid who did the animation are animators/cartoonists themselves. And his mother... draws for Bleach!!!!! WHAT!?!?!?!? Wow, that just made my day when I heard that on Thursday. I must meet this woman and pledge my love to her. Or at least just ask her about how she does her job, and can I see some of her work... Geeeeeeeee! (that's a happy, high-pitched Geeeeeeeeee!)

After lunch we went to the gym for some cheer practice and a face-off between the Red and White Teams. But, pobrecitos, there aren't enough kids at either the JHS or ELE to have their own Sports Festivals, so they combine. So there they were, from 6 to 15, lined up doing their chants. Kawaiiiii!

Sixth period I really had nothing to do, so I went out to join the elementary kids who were playing outside. This may prove to be a fabulous feature of this new school. Whenever I've got some bored time I can see what they're up to. Nice.

Yesterday was classes, with taiko practice during 6th period. This town is very proud of their taiko, considering themselves the originals in the area. Next month there will be a Taiko Festival, which I am really looking forward to attending.

And I'll end there. It's time for breakfast which may include some pancakes, replete with flax and the bananas that are too old to eat plain. Sorry for this being such a doozy of a posting. Keep the Peace, brethren.


Anonymous Robin said...

Hey - you can't be genki ALL the time... ;o)

About the roads... around my apartment I have some roads for two way traffic. I don't have to worry about any lines though, since the darn things are barely wide enough for one vehicle, let alone two. Passing is definitely NOT an option - even if you are on a bike!

2:12 PM

Blogger Abbey said...

Girl, I hear that!

8:23 PM


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