Wednesday, September 9, 2009

First Week of Classes

JOHNNY DEPP. JOHNNY DEPP. JOHNNY DEPP. There. I had to make sure that if he ever idly googled himself he might stumble across this page, whereupon he might find me winsome enough to make contact, and I can woo him into a steamy bang session. It’s crass, but at least I have my bases covered.

So classes have begun for me. The first morning was allocated for formal speeches and a welcome ceremony, where I had to give a speech. It was only 2 minutes long, but it took me ages to write since the Japanese had to be perfect. It took me ages to memorize, too, since all the teachers in the office who saw me trying to memorize it just had to come over and see. My furrowed brow and tappy fingers may have given me away. At any rate, I would show it to them with a HAY LOOK WHUT I MADE grin, but they would take it from me, kindly tell me that I fail, and begin to make big red X’s everywhere, regardless of whether the speech was my final draft. Each time the speech was changed, I re-made it since I wanted to have a final copy to practice with. I would presume each revised copy was my last and memorize it all over again. I’m just too much of a pussy to say no.

My classes are impossible to predict; sometimes the students will be completely silent and unresponsive while at other times they’re impossible to control. So far, I’ve found no reliable way to gauge how rowdy my class will be. The students in my first ever class were completely disengaged, and some were even sleeping. (Sleeping is more or less acceptable in Japanese classrooms, by the way) At any rate, I spend most classes talking to myself. Or throwing things at the students to get them to shut up. I suppose things will be easier when I get the hang of this teaching thing and settle into a routine. Or maybe I’ll quit and be free to concentrate on my new career as a mail order bride.

My apartment has a ton of leftover stuff that I’ve been using to settle in with. For example, I’m using my predecessor’s lunch box to pack my lunches in. Her name is Lesley and she’s one part bunny rabbit, one part cotton candy, and one part bubbles. So it stands to reason that I’m now in possession of the most adorable lunch ever:

I spend Tuesdays and Fridays at my visit school, Takakoh ‘Le Monstre’ Kogyo. So that you may understand what this school is like: I was told by the teachers that the students were “monsters in a zoo.” I was advised to buy a double bike lock, as it was likely my bike would be stolen otherwise. It’s a technical school and English is low on their priority list, so it’s not the students’ strong point. I went in assuming I would be teaching a bunch of these:

As it turns out, it’s mostly a bunch of hormone-saturated teenage boys who all credit themselves as the epitome of virile manliness. One boy actually claimed that his shirt fell off through no fault of his own, and had taken that new found opportunity to flex, no doubt his attempt to invite me to some manner of gun show etc etc. My JTE had to ask him to keep his clothes on while in school.

I have all the classes do a paper airplane self-introductions on the first day, which means they have to write their names and something they like on a sheet of paper, fly it across the room, and have someone else introduce them. I gather all the papers at the end of class. One cheeky scamp wrote this:

That last bit can either mean that he loves me because I’m young, or he thought it fitting to divulge his love for Angus Young. Or both. I’m commonly mistaken for that guy in AC/DC.

So I found a new apartment. It’s all hardwood except for one of the rooms, which has a tatami floor. It’s 2 rooms plus a kitchen/dining area; well-lit; near both my schools and Takasaki station; it’s the corner unit of the apartment complex so I only have to worry about neighbours on one side; and it’s CHEAPER than my other place. Also, it comes with a free stove and 2 air conditioners. I’m looking forward to moving out of this confounded excuse for a solitary confinement cell and I won’t be looking back, lest I turn into a pillar of salt and other such colourful metaphors which are either from Greek Mythology or the Bible; I can’t quite recall as I am uneducated.

In other news, check out this awesome moustache mug I bought! Complete with jaunty top hat! SEE?


Also, please enjoy this video I took of the accordion lady who hangs out in Takasaki Station on weekends. She makes me want to wear a stripy shirt! And eat baguettes and smoke at the same time! And get drunk on cheap wine and curse at everything! And other fun qualities that all stereotypical Frenchman have!



  1. HAHAHAHAHA HAHA HA HA HA. (To all of it.)

  2. Super cute bento, and nice mug. I plan on etching some pint glasses so they look like this...

    But I'm lazy... so it'll get done... eventually...