Date:
June 30, 2001

 

Right now I'm feeling: Mixed!

Right now I'm listening to: Onitsuka Chihiro

Onitsuka Chihiro -- Edge   

Yaki-Goodbyes

So today was my last day at Towa. This was the first school I came to, three years ago in September and was my first exposure to Japanese schools.

It was a good visit. English club, excited students, strange teachers, and bizarre school rules. Yoshiki Maruyama cried when I left after two weeks. Met Ms. K., my favorite English teacher at Towa. An older woman, about 37 back then, so high-strung and tense you could bounce a quarter off of her forehead and she wouldn't even know it.

The other day during class when I realized aloud that that was the last class we would ever teach together she got very sad and quiet. She's the only teacher at Towa who really talked with me and I enjoyed talking with her. I have a terrific relationship with the students at Towa. Even the ones who hated me three years ago love me now. I'll miss them a lot.

Today, a group of teachers and I went out for an "enkai lunch". Now I, nor any of my friends, have ever heard of an "enkai lunch", but that is what the teachers at Towa JHS called it. I think that they wanted to give me a good Japanese gesture of farewell without spending all the money of a full enkai. At least they didn't make me pay for it like they did at Isao. Man, that sucked. What a bunch of jerks.

So anyway, earlier in the week when they told me about it they asked me what I'd like to eat and I said I could really go for some good yaki-niku, which, I keep forgetting, is Korean, not Japanese. Hard to remember when there's yaki-niku places on every street. After I was reminded of this little fact I said any Japanese food was ok, but yaki-niku was already in the works. I asked an English teacher yesterday where we were going and she told me the name of the place and I asked her if she liked it and she said that she didn't think it was a very good restaurant. Hmmm. Well, she's entitled to her opinion, but I discovered today that some of the other teachers, perhaps all, thought the same. They didn't think much of the place. Which begs the question, why are we going to a crappy yaki-niku restaurant? It could be that they just didn't know of any good yaki-niku restaurants, or maybe because the restaurant was so close to the school (it was, just five blocks away).

After school I was saying goodbye to students and taking pictures and stuff and one of the English teachers had the nerve to try and pull me away from the rest of them because the other teachers were ready to go. I mean, come on. At least let me say a final goodbye to students, most of whom talked to me more than 90% of the teachers there ever did. I got the impression that she just wanted to get it over with, which wasn't surprising because I knew that English teacher never liked me anyway. (But I heard that she doesn't like any ALT, so I didn't feel so singled out).

At any rate, we had a pretty good time at the restaurant and I talked to a couple teachers who I'd never talked to before. I know a couple better yaki-niku restaurants around here, but it was fun. The principal and vice-principal were apparently too busy to go, which is a shame because the principal is always the ringleader at any enkai. For the school parting gift, they gave me this really wierd-looking scroll. Seriously. I wouldn't be caught dead with that on my wall. We were at the restaurant for less than an hour and a half before we went back to school.

When we got back to the school I saw the English teacher who hadn't come to the lunch enkai and he had so much trouble telling me goodbye that he had to have a car salesman (who happened to be at the school on official business, as it turned out) translate what he wanted to say. Man, oh man.

I gave some reply-letters to Ms. K to give to students I had missed seeing because we left school before I saw them, I cleared off my desk, said my final goodbyes and left. It was depressing in the extreme. I hate goodbyes like this.

Goodbyes here mirrored those I had at Isao. I will sincerely miss all the students, but I knew that I hadn't made that much effort with the teachers.

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