Archive for October, 2014

October 31, 2004 – Packing all night on Halloween

Zoe, me, and Okonomi at Halloween. My costume was "English teacher"

Zoe, me, and Okonomi at Halloween. My costume was “English teacher”

Today is Halloween! It was also my last day living and working in Kawasaki. After work I went out for a final beer at Kiosk with Anzac. I thanked him for all the good advice he gave me as a teacher and wished him the best. It was good to have one last Kiosk beer, but it only served to start my packing later.

Every time I move I realize just how much crap a person can accumulate. I spent a few hours packing by myself, then Okonomi joined me. We packed and worked on a bottle of shuchu. In retrospect, the shochu probably didn’t help productivity very much. The end result of packing was:

  • 2 large suitcases
  • 8 moving boxes
  • a computer
  • one futon mattress
  • a TV
  • my awesome floor couch

I also made some donations to the dozo table of things I just had no room or reason to bring with me. By the end I got two and a half hours of sleep. I hate packing!

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October 29, 2004 – Demo lessons

Today I had 3 demo lessons. A demo lesson is a free sample English lesson provided to prospective students. The lessons are half the usual length, and the idea is to show the students what a NOVA lesson would be like.

Since the demo lesson is a sales tool, the teacher has an important role in giving a fun, successful demonstration. This makes the sales staff’s job easier when they try to get the student to sign up for an expensive, long term lesson plan. Not all teachers are chosen to give demos. The fact that I got three in the same day is a bit of a compliment to my skills. In addition to the compliment, which is always appreciated, demo lessons have less preperation and paperwork which makes for an easier day for me. What’s not to like?

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October 28, 2004 – Farewell karaoke

Tonight was my final Thursday night karaoke before I move to Shizuoka. Since my work farewell party didn’t really happen due to poor planning (on my part) and the horrible cold that was going around, tonight was my official NOVA farewell party.

We met at Big Echo in Yokohama at 9:30 like usual and got a room for 9 people. More people started coming in, and at our peak we had 15 people jammed into a room built for 9. It was a lot of fun and a great final night to hang out with my Kawasaki NOVA coworkers.

I love karaoke!

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October 27, 2004 – One last night with the good kids

Most of the teachers at Kawasaki NOVA are sick, so the schedule keeps changing. I ended up getting one more lesson with my former Wednesday kids class. They were all surprised to see me. It was a nice surprise for everyone.

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Matty was in the same fraternity as I was. He always wanted to be treated like one of the guys, not as someone with a disease. Physically he was small, but his heart and sense of humour were larger than life. Rest in peace Matty – we are all going to miss you.


MATTYPhoto by: Chris Hearn

Public speaking is scary for some, painful for others, but for Matthew Rygiel(Matty), a little stage fright is nothing he can’t handle. Matty walks up to the Toastmasters podium to compete in the 2013 Club Humorous Speech Contest. For him, the rush that comes along with speaking in front of a crowd is the best painkiller he’s ever known.

“Fellow toastmasters, most welcome guests, judges, Madame contest chair: today I am going to share with you the short man’s three laws of attraction,” says Matty with a sparkle in his eyes. “And when I say short man, I use that as a term of ‘dis-endearment’: the short man is not sought after, okay? It is settled upon.”

The crowd breaks into a fit of giggles as Matty lists the rules in his personalized dating guide. Accept your flaws. Know what you like. Research and adapt. Smart…

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October 26, 2004 – Packing

With less than a week to go before my move, I finally started packing.

I hate packing.

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October 25, 2004 – My farewell party

Tonight was my Hello House farewell party. It was a lot more subdued than the previous evening’s activities, but was still a lot of fun. Yes, more beer and karaoke 🙂

(2014 Update) One of the residents of Hello House at the time was Dan Bailey, who was an English teacher at the time. Dan has now gone on to fame and success as one half of Tokyo Dandy, a pair of influential fashion party blogger guys. Dan was good friends with Lux, but I always got the impression that he didn’t like me. It turns out that I was wrong, and Dan did a lot make sure I had a well organized and fun farewell party. Thanks Dan!

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