Archive for October, 2015
After a very busy month of parties and after work beverages, I am taking a break and let my liver and bank account recover. With that in mind, I decided not to attend last night’s Halloween party.
I usually don’t work Sunday, but thanks to a shift swap I was at work with a bunch of very sore looking English teachers. It sounds like a missed a really good party, but I am still glad I took the night off.
Today was my second time working in Fujinomiya. You can read more about the first time here.
The Nova branch is in the middle of a mall. It serves both as an English school, and cheap babysitting so you can get your shopping done uninterrupted. Instead of telling you about my day, I present some haiku inspired by the Fujinomiya teaching experience.
Foreign teachers watch your kids
You can shop in peace
You can sing the alphabet
20 times a shift
Long train ride from Numazu
But the food court’s great
The front of the branch is
Open so everyone can
See how bad you teach
What am i doing
This isn’t my usual
School – no more shift swaps
Today was one of those days filled with minor annoyances that all added up to make me grumpy.
Recently some of the teachers learned that the City of Mishima was offering free Japanese lessons to foreign residents, with signup at city hall. I got up in the morning to meet a group of teachers so we could all go sign up together. It took me about 15 minutes to find my belt, and then when I got outside, I found that my bike tire was flat again. I ended up being late to meet the other teachers at Numazu station.
Finding Mishima City Hall was a bit challenging. There were no English signs (not entirely surprising considering we were in Japan), but we had no idea where to go once we got into the building. Since I was voted to have the best Japanese skills, I went to ask the man at the information desk. He didn’t really understand what I was asking about, so he decided to call the one person who speaks English on staff. He told the person on the other end of the line that there was a group of gaijins asking about Japanese lessons. Upon hearing the word “gaijin” we all laughed, while he seemed legitimately surprised that we were familiar with the word.
The word gaijin literally means “outside person”, and is used when referring to foreigners. The word itself is not inherently offensive, depending on how it is used.
Realizing we could understand a bit more Japanese that he expected, the information desk man referred to our group as “gaikoku no kata” the next time. This literally translates to “foreign country person”, and is a much more polite / politically correct way to refer to a foreigner. The suddenly much more polite man directed us to another building across the street, where an English speaking city worker helped us sign up for Japanese lessons.
After the adventure in signing up for lessons, I rushed home, got changed, and hurried to work. I was not supposed to have any group kids classes on my schedule, but things changed and I had to teach 2.
In the evening I talked to The Penpal. We had been planning to go to Canada for Christmas together, but it sounds like she will not be able to get the time off anymore. Our trip is not looking very likely at this point.
Today was a very productive day off. I fixed my flat bike tire, paid my property taxes (yes, you have to pay property taxes if you live in an apartment), and checked plane ticket prices for a trip home around Christmas.
After the penpal finished work we went to a big electronics store called Kojima where I used only Japanese to request repairs to my digital camera, which had been missing it’s button since I dropped it at Numazu summer festival. The penpal expertly coached me on how to say “I dropped my camera and lost the button, can you please repair it?”. The clerk at Kojima seemed impressed. It feels great to get something done in my second language!
Afterwards the Penpal and I ate sushi, hung out, and played Super Mario Brothers. Yes, I have the coolest girlfriend. It was a good day!
Today was a total geek day. There was yet another teacher party in the evening, but I declined and decided to spend the evening in. Super Dave came over after finishing work and brought his portable hard drive. We traded some movies and TV shows while watching Mystery Science Theater 3000 presenting “The Crawling Eye”. Hanging out and watching robots make fun of terrible sci-fi was a lot of fun and a nice break from another night out at the izakaya.
Warning: Do not attempt to watch The Crawling Eye (or any other MST3K) without ample beer on hand. It will break your brain.
Hurting…. badly…. hangover… drinking = bad. There have been way too many parties lately, and I have been enjoying them far too much. I am officially taking a break from parties for a few weeks to recover.
One of my roommates also enjoyed himself a little too much last night, causing him to sleep through his alarm and several phone calls attempting to wake him up. After several attempts to contact Azeroth directly, the NOVA staff called me to ask if he was still at home. It took me a few minutes of loud knocking on his door to get him to wake up. I told him that it was 10:20 and he was late for work. He literally jumped out of his bed.
If you have never seen someone jump out of bed from a deep sleep before, it is actually pretty entertaining. It’s more impressive considering he was sleeping on a futon on the floor. I did feel badly for him (and the student whose lesson was cancelled), but at the same time I could appreciate the humour in his reaction.
I spent the rest of the day recovering and looking forward to a few weeks with no beer.
Happy birthday to my roommate Palmer!
To celebrate, we went out for “a few drinks” at the garlic themed restaurant Ninnikuya which literally translates to “garlic shop”. Almost everything on the menu features garlic, and you can find the restaurant by smell alone. There was a short lived restaurant in Winnipeg called Gilroy’s with a similar theme.
In addition to a garlic heavy menu, Ninnikuya also featured a 90 minute all you can drink offer. After a long day of work, English teachers are known to take full advantage of such offers. Tomorrow is going to hurt.
This year I was planning on taking one trip back to Canada to be home for Christmas. However, my sister ended up getting sick, so I made a sudden trip back. Even though I just traveled recently, I would still like to get home for Christmas, depending on the price of plane tickets.
In addition, I have invited The Penpal (my girlfriend for those not following along) to come to Canada with me for Christmas. She has never been to Canada before, never seen giant piles of snow, and has never eaten turkey. She even seems a bit excited about seeing how cold Winnipeg can be in December.
Hopefully the plane tickets and work schedules will cooperate!