Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Too funny not to share...

So I woke up this morning, breathing and alive. Good start to the day. Thanks to those who sent birthday wishes via email - much appreciated. I also got a number of funny e-cards. But the "Best. Card. Ever." prize is awarded to Erin in Nagasaki, who sent me this (make sure your speakers are on). It's too funny. I had to watch it twice. Then again.

My supervisor came running up to me in a panic midway through lunchtime today. When she saw I was still eating (egg sandwich - what can I say? I like to live on the wild side), she started to back off, but I insisted I could finish the sandwich later and what was up? She told me to come to the physics staff room. We literally ran there, and it turned out that some of the teachers had gotten me a cake! There weren't any candles (they found one later, though), so one of the physics teachers found one of those moving fibre optic lamps (with the poufy, long strands you can run your fingers through), and we turned off all the lights and pretended that was candles.

Tonight we are going out for fancy French dinner. I am just waiting for Randal to arrive (probably in about an hour or so).

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Photoblog #2

This past Saturday, Randal and I went to Gifu Nourin, the local agricultural high school in Kitagata-cho, to see their school festival.

Gifu Nourin Agricultural High School Festival

The taiko drummers were happy enough.


That's because they didn't see the giant katamari rolling its way into their lives.

i (heart) katamari!

We fled through this auspicious-looking archway.


But while taking shelter, I accidentally touched the dial on this machine.

what's that flashing???

Randal shrank.

honey, i shrank the randal!

And I became a duck.


All in all, it was a strange day.

Last day ever

Tomorrow is my birthday. And as Randal was sweet enough to point out yesterday, today is the last day of my twenties. Always full of reassuring words, that man.

It was fairly un-noteworthy. The only interesting things:

At the end of the day, as I was walking down the stairs to the parking lot at school, one of my first-years (I think) whizzed by on his bicycle. He always seems somewhat interested in class, but has never said boo to me. Today, he called out, "Bye!" Then, "See you!" Then, "I love you!" (I think. He was a little far off at that point.) I have apparently taught these kids all they need to know. :)

Then, about a half-hour ago, I stepped out onto my balcony to hang the laundry I had just finished doing, and as I went to clip a sock to the laundry hanger, I almost jumped off the balcony in fright as my balcony gecko had come back to visit and was stuck silently to the wall. Upon realizing it was a gecko and not Godzilla, I ran back in the room to get my digital camera, but by the time I got back out, he was gone. It made me think of the geckos in Thailand - they were everywhere, including probably 5 or 6 on the ceiling of the hotel room I stayed in in Chiang Mai. Freaked my roommate out, but I thought they were kinda cool.

Anyway, I plan to enjoy the rest of my last day ever by cleaning my apartment (Randal is coming over tomorrow - we're going out for dinner but then back here, so it should look somewhat presentable), eating instant noodles, and if I'm really lucky, playing some Rollercoaster Tycoon. A fitting tribute to the last decade that was. I'm sure I'll be dead of old age by the morning...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

for the bookworms in the crowd

I may not have updated this blog properly in the past little while, but in my own brand of cross-procrastination, I just spent the last two hours or so writing no less than 9 book reviews for your reading pleasure. You have to scroll down to see them underneath the booklist, since they're all books I read before coming to Japan. Japan books will follow soon! Uh, maybe.

And now, I am off to do what I should have done two hours ago: dinner and studying some Japanese.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Blogosphere + 1

You didn't hear it from me, but there is a new kid on the block. I think he's funny, but I'm a little biased, 'tis true.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

heh heh...

So I was just passing by my site here, with no intention of posting tonight (it's been a freakin busy week and weekend, so proper posts will just have to wait), when I noticed on the Ottawa webcam that there seems to be traces of SNOW on Parliament Hill. SNOW! Then I remembered that it is, after all, almost mid-November. Just because it is plus-10 degrees Celsius in the evenings in some parts of the world, doesn't mean it's going to be balmy everywhere, I guess.*

Anyway, I'm on my way to bed in my new-and-improved futon (extra futons brought over from Randal's place...and I desperately needed them!) after spending the evening puttering about and fussing over the placement of my new couch. (Yay! An item desperately needed even more than the futons, I might add.)

* Actually, to be fair, I saw a temperature reading around 7:45 p.m. today that said it was +10, but let me be honest when I say that it felt much, much colder than that. There was a wicked cold wind.

Monday, November 06, 2006

This surreal moment brought to you by ...

So I'm bicycling home like a madwoman, trying to dodge the massive drops of rain that have started to fall, full-on in a thunder-and-lightning storm. (This is after bolting out of school after I heard a crack of thunder so loud and prolonged I had to ask two teachers if it had been, in fact, thunder.)

I get to where I park my bike at the foot of the staircase to my building, and there's a Japanese kid there, maybe 11 years old, parking and locking his bike. (I've never seen anyone else actually locking their bikes there; in fact, the same 3 or 4 seem to be usually there all the time, wasting away, unused, but too nice to be abandoned bikes.) I wait in the rain for him to move out of the way. He looks at me quizzically. I gesture toward the parking. He looks at me quizzically again. I say, "Can I park my bike here?" and make bike-parking motions. He says, "Oh, yes!" I realize this is strange, but move forward and start locking my bike.

Then he asks me: "Do you live here?"

Not: "You rive here?" or "Koko sunde imasu ka?"

No. "Do you live here?" The kid looks Japanese, but he sure don't sound it.

"Yes," I answer. "Uh, do you live here?"


I swear, I am not making this up. I've just been answered "yup" by an 11-year-old Japanese boy, who then climbs up and jumps over the half-wall out to the regular parking and starts up the stairs.

A little weirded-out, I start up the stairs myself. He is standing on the second-floor front balcony, and I see he has rung someone's doorbell. The person answers the bell (for the uninitiated, you answer your doorbell through a phone and there is a speaker outside so you can check who it is). I don't remember if the phone was answered in English or Japanese, but the boy responded, "Mama."

As I turned the corner, he saw me and I said, "Have a good night." This one always freaks out my high-level academic senior high school students, even the ones who like English, and I figured it was a sure-fire way to test his level of English. Without missing a beat, he answered, "Good night."

Japan never ceases to surprise me.

Anyways, I am going to perhaps post again here later - the Homies were here over the weekend! - but for now, my stomach is yelling at me and my laundry - out on an ever-dampening balcony - also beckons.