June 17, 2000
11:51 pm
Right now I'm feeling: Good for a change!

Right now I'm listening to: Rumania Montevideo

Rumania Montevideo : Hoshi

School Cleaning

The other day was cleaning day at Towa and I snapped these few random shots.

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)

Today's cool 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. sites are slow-loading, these days, but this one is worth the wait, it will crack your shit up!

  Quote of the Day:
"A strong positive mental attitude will create more miracles than any wonder drug."
-- Patricia Neal


A 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.

When 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.

Try as I might to get them to call me 'Jeff', 'Mr. Mendoza', or 'Mendoza-sensei', I get the hybridized 'Mr. Jeff' or 'Jeffu-sensei'.

I'm 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 them.

Every 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.

Over 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.

Here are some of the random questions I've gotten from students.

Q: 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 artist here)?
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 have guns?
Q: Where do you live?
Q: Do you like Japan? (Or the more frequent, "How about Japan?")
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?

Q: What did you want to be when you were younger?
Q: Do you know Leonardo Dicaprio?
And the #1 Question on everyone's mind....

"Do you have a girlfriend?"

I 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

I've 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,, 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...


I've registered 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 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.

Today's 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.

Dynamic Doubts

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 was.

The 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!

Dynamic Fonts Poll
Should I include Dynamic Fonts
in my website?

Nah, lose 'em, J.
Sure, why not!?!
What are 'Dynamic Fonts'?!?


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