Saturday, January 27, 2007

it's been awhile....

Sorry for the delay in updating.... I finally downloaded the pictures from the last month. I've been trying to keep busy since Paul left! (sniff, sniff)

So, to share a bit of a day in the life.....

Friday, I had the randomest day, or a day of "firsts", I suppose.

I went to the library for the first time (the nice librarian begged me
to visit during the bon enkai before Christmas). Checked out some children's storybook to practice reading my hiragana. I filled out the "library card" and she stamped the little card, and put into the pocket on the front cover- wow, what a flashback!

Then, found out the ichi-nenseis had some sort of New Years game ("Hyaku ni Ishu"?). They were supposed to have memorized 100 traditional Japanese poems- and the first 3 lines of the poems were being read, but only the last few lines of the poems were on the cards. They were sitting in groups on the gym floor and grabbing the cards as the poems were being read by teachers. I walked in and had a card shoved at me. The teachers were like- "OOOh, Rori! This will be so fun! READ THIS!!!" It was all in kanji and hiragana, and the students were so busy concentrating that they didn't know I was up next. When they heard this awful gaijin voice reading (er, struggling with) Japanese, they all bolted up an were like WTF????!!! But I think it gave the students some comfort that it is difficult for me to read Japanese, just as it is hard for them to read English...

So, after that, I got back to the staffroom and was inquiring about some information and they were like, yeah, you should have received that in your mailbox. MAILBOX???!!?? what mailbox? uh, so 6 months after I've been here, I find out that I have a mailbox in the staffroom... right, so there was stuff from last August in there- but luckily most of the stuff wasn't really important. It was frustrating- like what? could someone have mentioned that when I got there? or after it's packed and overflowing, someone could probably realize that I probably had NEVER checked my mail?

Later on, when i was in the faculty restroom all these teachers rushed in
and started taking off their stockings! They were like "Take off your
stockings and come with us! Hurry!" so i did, thinking... WTF.... ok, here goes another Japanese experience.... so we all marched into the nurse's office where there were already a bunch of teachers, men and women, barefoot in the dead of winter, all waiting in line to stick their feet into this contraption where they jellied up one foot with "conductivity jelly" and stuck it into this machine which measured our... calcium level? bone density? i think. it was pretty hilarious... and soooo random.

Then, went to dinner at my favorite izakaya with Bryn, Jannie, and Jun. Another delicious meal and then for the first time, went to the only bar in lwataki, a snack/karaoke bar. The older woman who runs the place is probably the most stylish, energetic, funky woman this side of Tokyo. She welcomed us (well, Bryn, the regular) with screams and open arms, continually filled and refilled our glasses and plates, and shoved the karaoke book/mic at us. All of the other patrons were older Japanese locals who were all singing old Japanese songs- all of which Bryn creepily knew. We decided to pull an oldie-but-goodie and give them a rendition of "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head". I must admit we livened up the place a bit. The decor of this place was mid-80s modern- plastic-y silvery gray wall panels, black ceilings, chrome accents, pink corduroy-ish velour-ish sectional sofas, and rounded black little barstools. So eerie. I was looking for a framed Patrick Nagel to complete the scene.

oh... a day in the life.

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