goat girl

this does not bode well

Well, I had an interesting post to make, but that will have to wait. It
might become more interesting this afternoon, anyway, as installment two
occurs. It'll give me more time to compose something awesome anyway.

Right now, I am going to be emo:

I started composing my goodbye speeches to my schools today. I figure after
four years I should probably make a different one for all of them. Since
each has been a different experience I can't really say the same thing to
all of them anyway, nor do I want to (although HES and IES are getting
approximately the same one. I've only worked at them for one trimester, so
there's not really a lot to say).

I am discovering that even this is making me cry, though. If just WRITING
them is making me tear up, I can't even imagine what is going to happen when
I actually have to give them. Maybe my schools will just let me fade into
obscurity and creep out the back door instead of having to say goodbye. That
would be easier on my heart. I might even still have one.

Also: cold jasmine tea is very, very bitter. I think I shall not be bringing that to work again. :(
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    sad sad
goat girl

A little knowledge?

Today, I had my last classes with my fifth graders at Atago. Four years with
those kids. Bad enough when they graduate as sixth graders. This is me
leaving THEM and it makes me very, very sad. The third kumi wrote a song and
choreographed an...entirely ridiculous...dance. I cried. A lot. I made the
HRT cry too, even though she's new to Atago and I hadn't met her before
this year. Amazing HRT, though. I'll certainly miss her more than many of
the others. ^^;

So, yes. All three classes made me sniffle, but the third kumi made me
outright sob. That's not why I'm hear, though. That's because afterwards, at
lunch. I ate with the first class and, for some inexplicable reason, one of
the boys decided to get all the other kids yelling "sex". The most amusing
part of that was that over half were pretty sure they were changing "six"
and a bunch of the others didn't guess the meaning (...yay for katakana
English and loan words). So I got a good ninety seconds of staring in
confusion trying to figure out what I was supposed to do with the 35 fifth
graders rhythmically chanting "Sex. Sex. Sex"

Seriously. My life shall never, ever be this weird ever again.
goat girl


Sometimes, my kids are geniuses.

One of the units in the Eigo Note 2 is this random one where half the
chapter is on the numbers 20-100 and the other half is on small
letters. Why this is, I have no idea, but it starts off with an
extremely random picture of a zoo with the target of "how many _____
do you see?". It also has each of the animal's names written in a
different language but, strangely enough, only gives you the ENGLISH
pronunciation. If you're going to have "tiger" written in Korean and
"Elephant" in Thai I want to know how to SAY it, dammit. Not just look
at it (the teacher's manual does have the pronunciations written in
katakana, but none of the audio materials have them. Indeed, they have
the things written in X language but when you click it says the
English word.)

Anyway, that isn't relevant. I was working with one of my best
teachers and we were asking if the kids knew the words in any other
languages. We got to "Bear" and she asked if any of the kids knew it
in Korean.

There was a long pause, and then one of my boy's raised his hand and,
when called upon, replied "Pusan", the name of one of South Korea's
major cities. I nearly died laughing when I realized he was getting it
from "Pooh-san", which is what the Japanese call Pooh-bear, what with
the honorific and all.

I love my kids so damn much. &hearts
goat girl

orz ;-;

Today, I hit my favorite sensei in the head with my shoe. We were playing charades in class and l was doing soccer. As I kicked the nonexistant ball my shoe flew of at high velocity and hit my sensei in the head.

I kowtowed. still feel bad.
goat girl


There is a rather large (several hundred people) protest about the military base going on within hearing and seeing distance of my apartment. It's...rather nerve-wracking. Especially when the really angry people start talking about the rude Americans who never learn the language and just make a mess, and how if they're not careful America will take over Iwakuni and Okinawa and, before anyone knows, claim Japan for themselves by setting off another A-bomb. Others are talking about how they're making themselves greater enemies of China and North Korea by letting the us stay.

I need to go shopping. It seems a bad idea to venture out in the bunch of angry people yelling about Americans, even if I'm not military (we're talking the whole "angry person on stage says something with a megaphone and all the people there shout agreements" type of protest).

Now they're singing the Japanese National Anthem.
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    uncomfortable uncomfortable

(no subject)

Today the post office tried to make me change the purpose of my money order to "payment for mother services"

I blinked. So hard. I didn't think one generally had to pay for those. ^^;
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    amused amused
goat girl

stick 'em up?

Thing 5,301 I will miss about Japan: Safety

This one is actually quite a lot higher on this list, and I think about it a lot. Usually when I'm fighting off insomnia by walking around in the middle of the city in the dark alone at night, when pretty much the only thing I'm NOT worrying about is bad things happening to me via a person.

It was brought to the forefront of my mind, however, when I went shopping in Hiroshima today.

I was riding from Hiroshima proper to one of the suburbs via streetcar today, since it was lady's day at the cinema and I'd been itching to go see Hurt Locker. Since I was already in the area that meant I didn't have to pay anything extra for train fare, making it a reasonably good deal.

The train cars were fairly crowded since it was a national holiday and many people were out and about doing things. A few stops after I got on, a really rowdy group of teenagers got on yelling and carrying on as happy, holiday-having teenagers are wont to do. Very loud. They were putting Marines to shame and it caught my attention.

It was at that moment as they were shoving people out of the way to get into the train (there were about 10 of them) that I realized they were all carrying guns.

And nobody even looked twice.

Now, they weren't real, obviously, and after looking at them further I realized that they were paintball guns. But we're talking the realistic type, here. Metal and black. No orange, no nothing. Just metal and black rifles and handguns. The only reason I identified them as paint guns as opposed to anything else was because the apparent leader of the group pulled out paint capsules and started dividing them up. They later spilled a bunch of them and had to go chasing them down the train, which was amusing.

So, let me repeat: A group of ten teenagers climbed aboard a crowded train rudely shoving people aside while brandishing guns (ok, less brandishing and more holding them out of the way). Not a single person batted an eyelash.

Now, it would have been silly to think they were real, sure. There isn't exactly a teenage gang problem in Hiroshima. But the fact that everyone just carried on, carried on made me feel so much better about where I live.

You know, as opposed to America where carrying a bright yellow water pistol can get you arrested because people are so scared.

And it kept me entertained, too. I wasn't having the best day so I spent the remainder of the trip carrying out an elaborate fantasy in my head involving the streetcar getting hijacked by teenagers and made to careen wildly down the main street, tracks be damned. ;p

Oh, and at one point in the real world outside of my fantasy one of the kids wondered if it would hurt to shoot himself repeatedly in the leg with an empty gun. That was entertaining.
goat girl

Chicken Nugget Heroism

I am apparently a hero to a cashier at McDonalds. Or at least someone worthy of repeated thanking, weeks later.

See, about two weeks ago I decided I didn't feel like going through the hassle of actually making dinner for myself. I'd taught five classes and had to stay an hour late to meet with my supervisor. So I said "screw it" and wandered off to McDs to grab a burger to go.

When I got there, I found myself in line between several Marines ordering food. As always, they were ordering in English and getting exasperated when the cashier didn't understand. One of the gentleman was pointing to the five-piece chicken nugget set (the menu is in English, btw) and repeating "twenty" over and over. She understood the word but was more than a little confused about why someone would be ordering twenty 5-piece boxes. But after much insisting from the gentleman (she wrote it down on paper to try to confirm) and even ringing it up, he, nor any of his buddies, seemed able to figure out what the fuck she was so surprised about. After watching the poor woman fret about their stock for a while I finally stepped forward and asked the man whether he wanted 20 nuggets or twenty boxes of nuggets. It did turn out to be the former and I very quickly changed his order to the much more logical "four" (well, "he wants four boxes of five"). I figured that was that and headed back to my place in line, which was actually behind another Japanese couple.

When I got to the front of the line the woman thanked me profusely over and over and, I realized later, gave me a discount on my meal. I insisted that it wasn't a big deal. I mean, nobody was going to have been very happy if the gentleman had received 100 nuggets. So I insisted it was no problem, thanked her for her thanks, and wandered my tired ass home.

A couple of days later I went back up after work for a pop, and the same cashier was there and thanked me AGAIN for helping her that time.

Then, a few days ago, I was going into the grocery store and met her on the way out. She introduced herself as the cashier from McDonalds and thanked me yet another time. I can't believe she even remembers, let alone considers it worthy of continued thanks two weeks later. Makes me feel kind of warm and fuzzy.

And "Chicken Nugget Hero" has an interesting ring to it.
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    calm calm

Do they mean I want to kill my mother?

Well, this isn't exactly Japan-related and I suppose it could have happened anywhere, but it DID happen at one of my schools so I say it's relevant for this journal. ^^;

Anyway, I was at one of my new schools, bored out of my mind because the teachers were all off on home visits (about a week after school starts the teachers visit the houses of each of their students to talk to their parents.) So I took my sketchbook out and started doodling. There are no English monsters left to doodle so it was just random things. More monsters, though, because monsters don't actually have to look like anything. ;p

Anyway, one of the first HRTs back was this young gentleman who teaches rokunensei (first sixth grade teacher I've seen that was under 30). We were chatting and he asked me what I studied in university. I told him, the answer being 'psychology' for those of you who are unaware.

He looked at me, looked at my doodles and back at me. Then gestured to the doodles and said "psychology. I see".

It...is strange. There were four doodles. One I gave away to someone, and I'll admit it was a little strange. A giant heart-shaped monster smashing a village while a woman tried to propose to it to calm it down. But I don't see how it was worthy of making my major understandable.

The other three were these:

A giant horsedragon thing proving I cannot do depth

a two-headed bird talking to a praying mantis

The dress monster

I don't understand how they make my major seem logical. It distresses me that it apparently does.
theatre - androgyny

One of these things is not like the other...

So, in the back of The Eigo Noto 2 there is a random page about legends around the world, with stories/literary examples of all of them. One of them really seems a bit out of place.

See, here's the list (links go to Wiki articles):

Japan - Taketori Monogatari a story about a girl found in a stalk of bamboo who says she is from the moon. It is a folktale.

America - Tom Sawyer. Story about a boy living it up and having far too many interesting adventures for a boy his age. This is made up of, at the most, 1000 pages, and that's if you include all the books mention the boy. If you just include the two main ones (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, that's about 500 pages. Sort of a legend.

England - Peter Pan ...I don't have to explain this one, right? 300 pages. Legend, adventure tale, etc.

Italy - Pinocchio. Like Peter Pan it is a piece of literature that reached folk tale status.

Canada - Anne of Green Gables This seems a bit out of place, but there's been both literature and fantasy tales on the list so far, so it makes enough sense that I didn't get too perplexed. It's also pretty popular in schools, it seems, as I've spotted it under its Japanese name "赤毛のアン"/Akage no An ("Ann of the Red Hair") in several of my schools.

Then we get to China. What do they go with?

China - . Romance of the Three Kingdoms This boggles my brain. Romance of the Three Kingdoms, while a totally confusing fascinating read, consists of 800,000 words, and is a historical novel about China when it was divided into three, well, kingdoms after the Han Dynasty ended. It covers more than 100 years in those 800,000 words. So, basically, this list is full of folktales and legends and then....an 800,000 word fictionalize account of Chinese history. Yes, it's a novel, I just don't quite understand how it fits on the list. If they wanted to go with one China's "Four Great Classical Novels", they could have at least gone with Journey to the West which is also hugely long and therefore one of my many books getting the axe and making the librarian in me scream in agony, or Water Margin (which, as a point of interest to the gamers on my flist, is why the Suikoden series has 108 characters). At least they've got a legend aspect to them instead of being about HISTORY. And while Water Margin is much less well-known overseas, Journey to the West is pretty much popular all over the world.

Seriously. Nothing against Romance of the Three Kingdoms. I got totally confused reading it, but that's not the book's fault. I imagine people who know about Chinese history are much less confused. It just doesn't seem right for this list. o.O

(all I can think of is that they were using it because of the movie Red Cliff, which was rather popular in Japan, being related to that period of history. Except it wasn't BASED on RotTK. It was based on the non-novel version. So...yeah. Still confused)
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