Archive for March, 2015
Today I repaid a shift swap by working at Fuji school. It seems that all the Canadians in the area work in Fuji school, except me.
Since moving to Numazu, I have rented a lot of movies from the giant Tsutaya store north of the train station. It turns out there was a closer video rental shop just down the street from my apartment. Palmer and Azeroth just found out about it, and learned that it was going out of business. They were selling off their entire stock of movies, so the three of us walked down the street to check out the selection.
Unlike Tsutaya, the video rental shop down the street was completely automatic. The entire store was filled with banks of glass walled vending machines displaying a selection of movies. Renting a movie was similar to buying a snack; you enter the letter and number combination of your selection and then swipe a credit card. This prompts a robotic arm to reach out and retrieve your selection. It is pretty cool to watch. The store was open 24 hours a day, and only had a staff member working during the daytime.
Imagine if you will, a video rental store open 24 hours a day where you don’t have to actually talk to any employees. Now imagine what kind of clientele that type of store would cater to, and what kind of movies they would stock.
Yep, lots o porn.
To be fair, the front of the store contained the standard recent Hollywood releases. Most of these had already been sold out, except for a few awful Stallone movies. The rest of the store was filled with a huge variety of porn ranging from conventional to funny to outright disturbing. “Black guys and Japanese obaasans (grandmothers)” was a title that caught our attention and had us laughing out loud.
Japanese porn can be a huge culture shock to people from North America. The censorship rules are very strange; they are not allowed to show genitals, but they can show almost anything else. Some of the cover art alone would have been illegal in North America. I am not going to go into details as I am still trying to repress memories of some of the horrible things I saw, but I can fully understand why these titles would be available in a place where you never have to interact with another human.
Strangely enough, despite the cavalcade of “this can’t be legal back home” porn, we didn’t notice any gay porn at all. I am not sure if the selection had already sold out, or if the owner of the video shop decided that gay porn offended them, but crying tied up actresses dressed as schoolgirls was okay.
In the end, I didn’t end up buying anything (not even Stallone movies), and I am perfectly happy to stick to Tsutaya for my movie needs in the future.
Another 2 empty lessons today. I am the empty lesson KING!
I tied a personal record today with 4 empty lessons. Not only that, but they were all in a row! Thankfully NOVA pays us even when there are no students.
This morning I woke up feeling tired, and kept feeling tired all day. Thanks to the miracle of caffeine I was able to survive the day. Now I am trying to stay awake so I can go to sleep at my usual time and hopefully reset my schedule.
Today I had a day off due to a shift swap with another teacher. Since it was a Saturday, I got to spend some quality time with The Penpal. We went mountain climbing and watched a movie.
For those who have been reading a while and noticed that most of my leisure activities involve sitting, singing, drinking, or all of the above at the same time, you may think that mountain climbing is a bit out of character. You would be correct. The “mountain” we climbed has a peak about 400 meters above sea level, and has a hiking trail up the side.
Mt. Kanuki is famous for a large pagoda on the top. It is also famous as a home of wild boars. Fortunately we didn’t encounter any on our hike. I didn’t get a picture of the pagoda, but I did get a great picture of Mt. Fuji from the top of Mt. Kanuki.
We ate lunch at the top of Mt. Kanuki and spent some time enjoying the view and hanging out. After that, we started the walk back down to the bottom and returned to my apartment. We watched Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away. It was my first time to see the movie, and it was fantastic. The movie is a story about a spoiled little girl who has her family taken away and her name stolen, and she has to fight to get them back. Highly recommended!
Teaching English to kids has always been the most challenging part of my job at NOVA. In talking with my supervisors today, they suggested that I am probably expecting too much from the really young kids in the class.
We are given set lesson plans for each kids class, and are supposed to get through the vocabulary and written homework each class. I have been trying to follow this to the letter, which doesn’t work very well for the young kids.
I now have the green light to let the kids play around and have fun, while exposing them to the lesson English. I will now focus on more games and much less formal “teaching”.
I tested out the new strategy today, and have already seen improvements. Hopefully this will work for some of my other classes as well.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Living in Japan, I did not have much opportunity or reason to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in any way. Compared to usual St. Patrick’s Day activities, my liver was probably better off this year.