Thursday, October 26, 2006

Watashi wa ...

I had such a weird day today. Really up and down.

It started off badly. I got in to school early because I had stayed over at Randal's last night, and because of the bus schedule (I don't usually bike there anymore), I am always early when I do that (for some reason, there is a bus from his place twice an hour every hour EXCEPT between 8:00 and 9:00, where there is just one bus at 8:00, so I have to take that one, otherwise I will be late for work). I was in a bad mood - general discontent with Japan, etc. etc., kind of thing. Thursdays are also my busiest day; I have three periods in a row, a short lunch, and then a fourth, and I wasn't feeling totally up to it.

Partway through my first class, I remembered that today the entire school was going to see a play in the afternoon. So there would be no class that afternoon.

Partway through my second class, the teacher who I was teaching with took advantage of a lull when the students were completing an activity to write down the schedule for departures for the play on the board(students were either bicycling or walking over, as the prefectural Arts Centre isn't far away), and I realized the departure times started partway through my next class. Which I then realized meant that I had no next class.


The depressing lunch (tiny salad and egg salad sandwich) I had bought on my way to school this morning turned out to be quite tasty.

It was really surreal seeing how this kind of school trip was organized - every single student went, plus most of the teachers; the theatre was booked entirely for us; the students, as I mentioned, made their own way over either on foot or on bike, without constant teacher supervision (though apparently the teachers did do roll call for each of the homerooms upon arival). They all parked their bikes in one of three temple yards near the theatre, with the teachers directing traffic so everyone parked in the same yard as the rest of their year. Like most things in Japan, crazy weird.

The play was quite good. Of course, I didn't understand a word, but I got the gist of it. It was about a famous wood-carver in the first part of the century who lived up in Aomori prefecture (northern tip of the main island, just south of Hokkaido) - his trials and tribulations, etc. It was a musical! In one of the main songs, where the woodcarver gets together with the woman who later becomes his wife, they sing a song that repeated over and over "Watashi wa" ("I am"), hence the title of this post. It was colourful and bright; it was fun - did I mention it was a musical?

Went back to school for about 20 minutes (we got back at 4:00 and I am supposed to work till 4:10) and then decided to go shopping at UniQlo, the place where all foreigners shop because it's the only place that sells clothes that fit us. (They are all across Japan and are kind of like The Gap but not quite as pricey.) Though my day had improved, I was still kind of in a residual bad mood. In Canada, the sure-fire way to improve my day was to shop for pyjamas (god bless Old Navy!), so I decided to do the same here (I wanted some warm ones for the upcoming winter anyway).

I bought two pairs of XL warm pyjamas and a pair of sweatpants. But Japan really needs to start making XXL size. XXL! Since when am I... Heh, welcome to Japan. Anyway, thankfully pyjamas and sweatpants are home-alone clothing anyway, because there's no WAY I will ever be seen in public in the clothes I just bought. (Too bad too - the PJs are really cute - one is a fuzzy dark red plaid pants with a pink long-sleeved fuzzy top, and the other is aqua pants and blue top. The sweatpants are just boring pale grey.)

Then I headed, on a whim, to the shoe store near UniQlo. I had been telling my supervisor just today that I really need some new shoes, since for some reason I only thought to pack one pair (of non-sandals or non-heels) for the ENTIRE year. I also had been telling her that whenever I go into a shoe store and ask the salesperson to see ANY shoe they might have in "ni-ju-go-han or ni-ju-roku" (25.5 or 26 - that's centimetres, btw), they usually laugh and then tell me "something-nai" (we don't have any).

Well, this store did. I tried on two pairs of knee-high boots - one slightly stylish but terribly practical pair and one pair that was much girlier though cool enough to be a biker chick in, though just a bit snug at the toes. I will leave it to your imaginations which one I bought. Trinity never had such good boots :) . I also bought a pair of black loafers - they have a bit of a heel but not a girly heel, so I can wear them with skirts (my current shoes look stupid with skirts) AND wear them when I'm bicycling (which I do a lot).

Then somehow I managed to get this all home on my bike. Not quite sure how I made it (I only have a front basket, and I didn't have my backpack with me today), but here I am, at home and in one piece.

I got home and there was REAL mail for me! At least, it was mail in an envelope with the address written by hand. But it had been mailed from within Japan and, as far as I could make out in the return address, also from Gifu. Well, I opened it and I am still slightly mystified - it seems to have something to do with the bills I paid at the convenience store the other day - there is a printout of the POS and then a lengthy handwritten note with a number of things circled, highlighted and underlined. Thank goodness my supervisor knows Japanese.

And that brings you up to date on my day.

Tomorrow night, I am attempting to establish a bit of a social life - I have been invited to a fondue party at the house of a girl I know. It will be me and a bunch of crazy party-loving Brazilians. Somehow yes, this is very Japanese.

That is all.*

* Till I think of something else.

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