Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Catching up - August in a nutshell

August 2nd - August 23rd

I realize that I'm fast forgetting details of the past three weeks, and instead of recapping all the time, I'd like to be posting about my current and daily situation, so this post will condense the past three weeks in one easy to digest caplet.

Work - I haven't been doing much. This may sound like a half-hearted complaint, but I really have been pretty bored some days. I literally plop down at my desk by 8:30am, listen to the morning announcements from the head of the BoE (which I can't understand) and then sit and surf the net or study Japanese until lunch at Noon. Then from 1pm to 4:15pm, it's more of the same. It's one of those "I can't believe they're paying me for this" type of deals, but I can't even make it more enjoyable, since I can't talk to anyone beyond "Good Morning" and "How are you." So I sit in silence until Utani-san needs me for some paperwork or something JET related.

I did have brief spurts of activity over the past three weeks. I had to help make flag banners for the Kendo Festival and then help put them up along the road. And after the Soutai (Sports Festival) ended I got to help move about 1000+ flower pots into trucks. Other than the odd bit of physical labor like that, I haven't had to do anything but be at my desk.

School - I did get to interact with potential students a few times so far. One afternoon I attended the choral practice of the Jr High girls, who are singing an English song at an upcoming competition and the choir director asked if I could read the lyrics out loud and offer pointers on proper pronunciation. The girls were great and that was fun.
I also got to attend a Kendo practice of the Jr High boys team, which was cool. But I still don't know where or how often I'll be teaching and the meeting we were to have this week to discuss such matters was postponed until September 8th, even though the 2nd term of school starts Friday, August 27th.

Free Time - I've had some fun going to surrounding cities and meeting up with other JETs. As previously mentioned, I met Tim in Matsue and we saw "Spider-Man 2" at the local theatre. Cost of bus and train to get to Matsue = about $10. Cost of movie ticket = $18. So just getting there and back and buying a ticket costs me almost $40. That's a lot of schekels just to see a flick, so I might be renting more than I'd like.
I did have McDonald's for the first time since being here and it was pretty good. Big Mac and Fries, and it tasted about the same, so that was a welcome change from my rice heavy diet.

Last Sunday, I met a new JET named Rusty, who lives in Izumo, the next closet town, and we hung out and walked to the local bookstore/DVD store/movie rental place. I didn't buy anything, as the prices are pretty high here for CDs and DVDs (CDs are about $20 and DVDs are about $35), but I did sign up for a rental card. I'll have to wait till I get my scooter till I can start renting, but they do have a good deal of renting 5 older titles for 1000¥ which you get to keep for 7 days. Rusty and I were going to hit MOS Burger, which is the Japanese version of McDonald's, but he already found a lady friend, a German student on holiday in Japan, and she didn't want to eat there, so we ended up cooking noodles and chicken and Japanese dumplings. Good stuff, but I had to catch the bus back before it got too dark so I left at around 6:45.

Incidentally, just as I got back to my hometown station, and got on my bike to pedal home, it started to rain cats and dogs. Luckily I had a hat in my bag and a light on the front of my bike, but needless to say I was soaked to the bone by the time I arrived at my apartment 10 minutes later.

So, to sum up, the last three weeks have been long stretches of boredom punctuated by moments of activity. I've spent most of my evenings watching Japanese coverage of the Olympics or watching DVDs on my laptop. I haven't gotten internet access at home yet, but I should have it soon.

I should post a few times detailing trips on the trains, shopping at the local grocery store, etc. I go to get my first haircut here today after work, so that should be interesting. I did get paid and I managed to send some of my money home, but I sent the first, larger batch to the wrong account. So that was frustrating, but I'll manage.

I miss talking with many of you, so I hope that a few at least are reading these posts. Please leave a comment anonymously if you have time to let me know you stopped by.

I'm off the next three days to our prefectural orientation in the capital of Shimane. So I'll be offline until next Monday the 30th. Hope all is good in your part of the world.



Anonymous said...

Where's your lady friend??????

Anonymous said...

Hey Jason, this is Pat. I just heard about the earthquakes and I wanted to find out if they effected you at all. I think I'll go ahead and write you a regular email from my Yahoo account...