July 10, 2001


Right now I'm feeling: Buzzay!

I love Kyoto temples
In a temple garden in Kyoto
Under an aqueduct in Kyoto
Seiwa JTEs at the best okonomiyaki
restaurant in Wakayama
ALT get-together with Tsuyama-sensei and his family
I forget the story behind this picture, but it was so funny I almost laughed myself to tears
Last big ALT get-together at Cappriccosia's
The girls relax after singing their duet at karaoke


I've only got a month or so left in Japan. I can hardly believe it. I feel now like I did just before I left college. A chapter of my life is coming to a close. I can feel the chiming of a grandfather clock when it hits midnight when I close my eyes. Things are happening so fast... where to begin?

Ive been getting together with some teachers of mine who want to have one last hurrah before I go off back to America to make my way into "the real world". I went out with the Seiwa English teachers a few days ago. I really like them. I probably have the best relationship with the English teachers at Seiwa. They think I'm super-cho-genki ALT and they don't want a new one. These teachers are soooo nice to me and are sooo easy to work with. I wish I could say how much I'm going to miss working with them, but I can't!!

They took me to the best okonomiyaki restaurant in Wakayama. It's near the house of that person who poisoned all those people with curry last year. We went by and saw the house.. it is totally graffittied. Totally! I thought about taking a picture, but I think my fellow senseis would have thought it rude. They gave me a bunch of really cool gifts like a Wakayama ball, a yukata, some Japanese handkerchiefs, and Kawakami-sensei made me this origami butterfly that was very cool.


One of my students called me up last week and asked me out to dinner. Well, she was an old student. Now 18, she's off to university next year and heard that I was leaving the country. Rika is one of the most intelligent, interested and interesting students I've taught here. Even when I first met her, she never needed a dictionary when we talked. We went out to this little variety restaurant where we were able to catch up. She has been busy!! She's got school, college application stuff, and English/International extracurricular stuff going on, and she's got a new boyfriend, too! He's a chef at a restaurant in town. He's 25. I was a little surprised and blurted out that I was 25. Then she said, "Yes, that's like you and I dating!", I got really embarrassed, which was her goal, and she laughed. A lot! So confident and sure of herself. This was the same girl who three years ago, the first day we met, asked me in virtual whispers a slew of inappropriate questions such as how old was I when I first had sex (she was prompted by her friends, who were giggling and hiding behind her), while blushing a dark beet-red color! Rika has almost no shame now. Very rare to see in a Japanese girl. But I'm glad she's doing so well, and I know she's going to do fantastic at university and after that, too.


Five of us city ALTs decided to go to Kyoto the other day for one last stomp in one of the most historic and culturally rich cities in the world before we got into the mean task of packing to go home. K and O-chan hadn't been to Kyoto nearly as much as I had, but there were some temples we all wanted to see and they were ones I hadn't seen yet. We didn't get around to half of what we wanted to see, mostly because everyone wanted to take their sweet time, which I have no real objection to. hehe But we did see some cool temples and some cool gardens, rock gardens and this really cool statue that is supposed to be magical or something. The story goes that the statue originally stood looking straight ahead and there was a monk who was dancing behind him and the statue turned around, the monk stopped and the statue told him to keep dancing. Another version is that the monk was lax in his meditation and the statue turned around to chastise him. Either way, the statue is now permanently turned around.

Another reason that we didn't get to see everything we wanted to was because the six city ALTs had a dinner get-together with Tsuyama-sensei, our old supervisor. His two daughters came along. Both are studying English and doing very well. It was great to see him again. Our current supervisor is nice, but not as warm as Tsuyama-sensei. He was great.


I don't have too many days of teaching left. I love these kids. I will miss these kids. My kids. Today I had a totally engrossing superficial discussion about one of my favorite Japanese groups, Do As Infinity, with a student. We were critiquing their latest single using botched English and Japanese. It was great. I'm going to miss these hodgepodge conversations.


One of the city ALTs left the fold today.. A, my neighbor, left for England. We had one last dinner and movie night last night. Watched The Big Hit (I highly recommend it), and ate too- expensive pizza. I'm such a movie freak, but the girls are terrible people to watch movies with. I love 'em, but they fell asleep even during Mission Impossible II which is one of the loudest and most action intensive movies to come out last year.

A-kun is actually coming back to Japan, but not until after all of us leave. I may actually still be here, depending on when I get back from Tokyo early next month. I still have to make final arrangments for my plane ticket and my shipping crate. My family has been bugging me about the final dates and I keep telling them that I don't know, but I hope I find out about Mariko in Tokyo soon so I can buy my ticket. Hopefully I can get a good deal on a one-way ticket.

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