June 17, 2000
I'm feeling: Good for a change!
Right now I'm listening
to: Rumania Montevideo
Montevideo : Hoshi
The other day was
cleaning day at Towa and I snapped these few random
They clean everything...
they even clean all that nasty muck that accumulates
in the drains
The ghastly visage
of Jeff-sensei-- As seen through the eyes of a
12 year old boy. Of special note would be the gorilla-hairy
arms and the week's worth of whiskers. I'd shaved
that morning, by the way. (Japanese men hardly
have any hair anywhere except the tops of their heads)
link is: The
Wacky World of Japan. Another JET. If you visit no
other section of his website, you simply must read the
first hand account of the
PENIS FESTIVAL! I am so not joking. Xoom.com sites
are slow-loading, these days, but this one is worth the
wait, it will crack your shit up!
of the Day:
"A strong positive mental attitude will
create more miracles than any wonder drug."
-- Patricia Neal
lot of people would consider it a dream job to get paid
as much as I do to talk about themselves constantly. Who
wouldn't love that? I try to steer clear of narcissistic
thoughts when I'm up in front of a class for the first time
telling them my life's story.
I first started teaching, I gave my self-introduction to
all the classes, all the grades. But now I only give it
to each first grade that comes into the schools I'm at.
Classes are all different. Some I have to pour energy into
to get any response back, but most of the first grade classes
are bubbling with excitement and energy. Some shout, some
try to poke me, many of them want an autograph, though I
have no idea why. I think I've signed about 100 autographs
this week. I usually won't sign my legal signature, because
there's no way they'd be able to read it. So, I've developed
this flashy kind of print-signature. They totally love it.
as I might to get them to call me 'Jeff', 'Mr. Mendoza',
or 'Mendoza-sensei', I get the hybridized 'Mr. Jeff' or
the first non-Japanese person some of them have ever met.
That thought boggles my mind. It's too much for some students.
It's very unusual, but sometimes one of them runs out of the
room in fear of me, or begins to cry if I come to close to
class I see there are certain things which they are impressed
by; my eyes and expressions. Most Japanese eyes are small
and so they always comment on how my eyes are just soooo big.
Also, Japanese people are on the conservative side when it
comes to facial expressions and body language.
the past couple years it's gone through many changes, but
these days I try to make my self-intro as interactive as possible.
Now I set it up like an interview between me and the Japanese
teacher. She asks some simple questions, we make sure the
students understand, then I answer in simple English or a
mix of English and Japanese. We go through where I'm from,
what I like (foods, hobbies, movies, music), what my family
is like, and some basic things about the States. I try to
teach them some basic grammar to break it up a bit by going
down the rows and asking the students, "Do you have a
big family?" or "What is your favorite food?"
or "Who is your favorite musician?" Then we open
it up to questions.
are some of the random questions I've gotten from students.
Do you liku... doggu?
Q: What is your favorite food?
Q: Do you like sex?
Q: What do you want to do with your life?
Q: Who was the first girl you kissed?
Q: Do you have McDonalds in America?
Q: Have you heard of (insert random Japanese character/performing
Q: How long is your ______? (Instead of a word, this question
is usually accompanied by a descriptive gesture)
Q: Why did you come to Japan?
Q: You are American, but why is your skin dark?
Q: What is the thing you like most about yourself?
Q: Do you have a gun?/Have you ever shot a gun?/Do all Americans
Q: Where do you live?
Q: Do you like Japan? (Or the more frequent, "How
Q: What has been the most important experience of your life?
(My all-time favorite question by a student)
Q: When was the first time you had sex?
Q: What surprised you the most about Japan?
Q: What is your greatest talent?
Q: How do you say, 'shit', in English?
Q: How much money do you make?
Q: What do you eat at home?
What did you want to be when you were younger?
Q: Do you know Leonardo Dicaprio?
And the #1 Question on everyone's mind....
you have a girlfriend?"
really like the self-introduction lesson... I don't think
I get tired of it like a lot of other JETs do. They're legitimately
curious and I'm the only way for nearly all of them to learn
what the 'outside world' is really like.
The Big Move
been waiting to register a domain. I've kept it quiet because
it is such an awesome domain name that someone could sell
it for thousands of dollars easily (which is what I might
have done if I'd registered it!). The company that let my
dream domain name, traveler.net,
expire, picked it up after being a month expired. Sucks. Dammit!!
Just 10 more days and Network Solutions would have released
it to the open pool of domain names.. and I would have been
waiting.... Just thinking about that nice, juicy, primo, domain
name makes my mouth wataaah... oh, yeaaaaaah... uh-huh...
registered farstrider.net with
and will be moving there shortly. Anyone who is a Robert Jordan
fan will immediately recognize the name from his "Wheel
of Time" books. A traveler and hero in Jordan's fantasy
setting, the name 'Farstrider' kind of suits me in a lot of
ways. I love to travel. I'm always overreaching. And some
people say I've got a peculiar walk... they say my strides
are just a bit too long and so it looks like I'm walking into
the wind or something like that... so farstrider.net
suits me both literally and figuratively. hehe I'm working
on some new layouts for the main page and the Japan page so
as soon as they are operational I'll make the big switch.
J-Pop is hosted on the new server, and I'm really impressed
by how much faster they are than Angelfire. Thanks, again,
Jason, for tipping me off to ezpublishing!
I've been really flaking out on writing lately. I've just
been sleeping a lot. Really. The good thing is is that even
though I seem to have a lot less time, I'm keeping up with
just about everything else (well, other than my journal,
that is). Being more coherent during the day leads to
an increase in productivity. GASP! Who would have thought?
It's been so long I'd forgotten what that was like. I am slowly
clawing my way out of the pit of insomnia.
OK. I just found out that my neighbor
who has been viewing my page for an entire year didn't know
what the Dynamic Fonts download was and never downloaded it.
She's MY FRIEND and she didn't trust the download! I couldn't
believe it. I can understand strangers' reluctance... a couple
people were even curious enough to email me and ask what it
reason I include the download in my journal is because Dynamic
Fonts are all over my page. The Bitstream Webfont Player is
the answer to the web designer's font display troubles. I
think it's pretty much a standard now, or it will be very
soon. It really is the best solution out there. I've gotten
emails from people who love the fonts and emails from those
people wondering what the heck the download is.. I don't know...
maybe I shouldn't include it at all. What do you folks think?
Is it just too 'weird' a download or too much trouble? Let
you voice be heard!