Sunday, October 10, 1999: Uncharted Territory
Was working with scripts again today for a while. I thought HTML was hard... I'm really out of my league here... I'm trying to figure out if they're really that worth it for me to learn.
I was also on the net looking for penpals for the penpal club today. I went now and then to visit them last year and now there's a whole new flock of first graders. I was very surprised to hear that only two or three out of the 35 members have actual penpals! Can you believe that?? In addition they have no means of getting more of them, their supervisor teacher is not really enthusiastic about the club, it seems. I showed them how easy it was to search for them on the internet using the computers at school, but apparently they're not allowed to use them, so it's up to me to do the legwork if they're gonna have them. So that's what I was doing for a good part of the day. There's tons out there, but most are strictly email. It sucks that they want to communicate with the foreign world so badly, but they're restricted from the one medium which could open up that world to them. But hey, my mom won't even let my brothers and sisters use it so I guess I can understand their conservatism.
Monday, October 11, 1999: Simple Pleasures
Today was a national holiday, Sports Day. It's great to have all these days off, but I hear that most Japanese people go to work anyway. Go figure.
One of the things I love most about not being in University is that you have actual time to think. You're not always worried about your classes or homework even on the weekends and your free time is truly free because you have your job, your hobbies, and that's it. So today I felt like a Dr. Pepper, which ordinarily would have been very hard to find, but they started carrying them at a local store called Goto. I don't know... I just thought that was so cool that I didn't have to worry about some big essay or assignment or whatever, I could just go and spend as much time outside as I wanted to. A simple pleasure, I guess. People don't enjoy the simple things anymore.
Tuesday, October 12, 1999: Moments
Today started out really bad but ended up strangely well. I was late today (I actually don't care if I'm late anymore, teachers are late every day and nobody says "boo" about it so why should my being late be any different as long as I don't miss any classes?) So there's no sentences on my desk, the kid I talked to didn't turn them in. I'm pissed at this point. I felt so defeated and told Takaoka-sensei so. She tried to console me, but I blew it off. They act like they're directly responsible for that student, but that student has to take responsibility. There are consequences in this world. I should just accept it, but I can't help feeling so bitter. I'm trying to stop a flood.
I was supposed to drop by the Penpal Club and play some English games with them, they asked me last week if I'd do it, but I totally forgot the games I used to play with my English club!! Luckily I had my bean bags (used them for a warm-up), and I was able to drudge up out of my abysmal memory a few games which didn't require any planning. They really liked those. I told them I'd have the list for them later this week, the list of prospective penpals.
After school I got on the train to go home and had a Moment with a gal on the train (I won't write the details here, the event was too cheesy and cliche to be believable). At first I couldn't figure it out: What is it with trains? What makes them so special? But there's so many lives, so many threads, passing through the same place at the same time. Some are bound to cross, there's just too many not to get tangled up now and again. Yet it seems so special when it does happen... because it is. We try to ignore the stranger sitting next to us or standing across from us as much as we can, but we can't ignore everyone all the time, nor should we. The train is a nexus of the Tapestry; a very special place indeed.
Thursday, October 14, 1999: Attachments
There's a special ed. kid who is really attached to me. He's pretty low level and he's a nice kid, but he's way too clingy and doesn't make any effort to speak English like the other special ed. kids do. All throughout lunch he asks me the craziest questions in Japanese which poor Matsumoto-sensei has to translate. I mean, he's harmless, and quite friendly, but he hogs me all to himself (I think he does it on purpose) and none of the other students get a chance to talk to me. Today I made an effort to play ping pong with some of the other students and he seemed a little confused by it. I felt bad, but, I mean, what can I do? The reason I have lunch with the special ed. kids at this school is so that I can interact with ALL of them, not just one when everyone else is sitting all around us.
Friday, October 15, 1999: Don't Fear the Reaper
I hate my birthdays. I've accepted that I always will. I have since I was about 13 years old. I've accepted the fact that every breath I take is just one step closer to death and decay and with every second I feel go by I feel the grains of sand in the hourglass run through my fingers (just like in my recurring hourglass nightmare). Yes, I know, I'm young, no need to lecture me, but... hey, I'm a philosopher, you know? I think way too much (and death is one of my favorite subjects).
To start it off, my family called to wish me a happy birthday! I can't remember the last time they called me, so that was really cool.
Matsumoto-sensei told everyone that it was my birthday (she found out from my Biography on my webpage) so everyone was wishing me a happy birthday. Sweet kids.
For lunch with the special ed. kids, I sat at the girls' table to eat with them, they never get to talk with me and for that reason seemed a little nervous.
Today Emi (the head of the Penpal Club) gave me a CD single for a Japanese song that I like which is sung in two versions. She gave me the Japanese version and the Japanese lyrics, their translation, AND the romanized version of the lyrics so I can read the lyrics without knowing all the kanjis. WOW!! I couldn't believe it! It must have taken her forever to write and translate all that! What a great kid... I'm going to miss her when she graduates.
In the evening, I went over to my neighbors' house and hung out, ordered pizza, and watched a movie. Nothing major, but that's the way I like it. And you know what, it wasn't that bad.
Saturday, October 16, 1999: The Three "R"s
Today was a day of R,R&R (Rest, Relaxation, Reflection). I watched a little TV (on video of course, I don't have my TV connected to the antenna), rested, ate well, and meditated. It's been a long time since I've just sat down and meditated for a good couple of hours.