25 October 2005

Flashback to Miyazaki

Originally uploaded by Andrewdeluxe.
A quick flashback to the Chicanos; this pic is from Deluxe's Flickr Page. It's a much better view of how some of the guys at the event were dressed. I'll post up a few more of his pics some other time.

Pretty Little Thistle

Pretty Little Thistle
Originally uploaded by gogakuhei.
I wanted to give a certain somebody a flower, but from the other side of the globe this is the best I can do for now.

Hope you like it.

18 October 2005

Busy Schedules and Little Monkeys

My first two Kid's English "Club" classes were yesterday. I know I have to stick it out, but this is going to wear on me a little bit. It will be a challenge working with the little monkeys. The first through third graders weren't that bad, but the 4th-6th grade set was a bit harder. The girls were so quiet I couldn't hear half of them even if I was right next to them, and the boys were loud and rambunctious and spoke almost anything but English. I thought I'd work with them on the numbers and the ABCs... but they already knew them. Lesson plan: Out the window.

It also didn't help that my prep time yesterday was taken over by things I suddenly had to do before class - things like make and cut out name tags. Making about 80 name tags and cutting them by hand with a razor and ruler takes just a little time, y'know? I wish I knew why they didn't tell me about this earlier, when I had a little more time.

I then get to my evening English conversation class on time, and find the community center dark and locked up. Despite the fact that we submitted the reservation form last month, it got lost somewhere, somehow. I called the office, and they made a few calls, and the caretaker showed up. I guess most of the students arrived before I did, saw everything closed up, and went home. I wound up having two students - a middle schooler and a high schooler. I had an activity planned, but wanted to save it for when I had a full class... and so I had to tap dance for an hour or so. Tap dancing is pretty hard when your brain has already been shot up by rowdy little monkeys.

I really hope every Monday isn't like this, but I fear that it will be. At least, the tired feeling I have by the end of the day. I worked from 8:30 until 9:00 at night, and didn't get home until almost 9:30. One break from noon to one, and a dinner break from 6:15 to 7:15. My coworker and fellow JET told me that I should have talked to her before agreeing to four kid's classes per week; that alternating weeks would have been better. Yeah, I suppose so.

Well, I'll just have to buckle down and get used to herding cats, or entertaining monkeys, or whatever euphamism you want to use. I'm sure once I get used to the kids (and they get used to me) and I have a better idea of what's going on, it'll get easier.

On other fronts, it's really cooled down this week. When I wake up in the morning, there's condensation on the inside of my windows. I'm sitting here at work with goosebumps since they have a few windows open. By afternoon it'll be hot, and it'll be nice to have the breeze, but for now both the extra-bitter coffee we have in the office and the cold wind blowing papers off my desk are keeping me wide awake.

Shiver. Burr.

12 October 2005

News Quiz

Read the following quotation, then choose one answer below.

"What this man who grew up in wealth and privilege considers good for [the poor] is that they become killers and [bombers]. He assures them that this is the road to paradise - though he never offers to go along for the ride."

This is...
A) George Bush talking about Osama Bin Laden
B) Osama Bin Laden talking about George Bush

Maybe it's me, but it really could be read either way.

(Taken from The Guardian, 7 October 2005.)

I spent some time this afternoon reading a little news, and revisited some memories from my time in Iraq. I suppose it could be the current media portrayl, but it really seems like things are getting a little better over there, day by day. Hopefully it won't be too many more years before Iraq will be able to stand on their own, regardless of the internal strife or nearly 2000 years of religious conflict.

Not that I want to be political here -- this is supposed to be about my time in Japan -- but man, what a mess.

07 October 2005

A Short Equation

In Japan, there are urban areas, suburban areas, rural towns, and tiny villages. This is just a guess, but I may have found a simple equation you can use to determine the classification of your environs.

If there are no tanbo (rice paddies), you're in an urban area.

If there are more buildings than tanbo, you're in a suburban area.

More tanbo than buildings? You're rural.

More tanbo than people? Tiny village.

I welcome comments, input, or amendments to this equation -- just use the "post a comment" link below.

Oh; I'm headed for Tokunoshima (Tokuno Island) this weekend, so I hope to have a few good posts out of that. I'll even try SCUBA diving while I'm there. Wish me luck!