Sunday, December 5, 1999
I am going mad with this editing software stuff. I give up. Hopefully one of the neighbors will be able to figure it out. I went over to Numata Mansion to hang out and watch Matrix. That is such a good movie. Y'know, I was really surprised by the fact that it actually had a story behind it. If you haven't: seen it, you should. It has some great action sequences, kickass special effects and illustrates age-old philosophical problems (I'm totally serious). I hadn't seen the Numata gals in forever. Finally returned Kylie's Koya-san pictures taken from when we all went together about a month ago. I can't wait to finally write the pages so I can put them up on my website! I feel so bad when I borrow something then return it months later. Ugh.
Monday, December 6, 1999
At work today I stole some cool fonts from their computer. Strange, but the computers (configured in Japanese) have much better fonts (in English) than my own computer. I took about 20 or so fonts and filled up two floppy disks.
I spent most of my time today researching how to get my fonts to display on other computers. There's two options: I can go with Internet Explorer's solution of embedded fonts (but only works for IE, not Netscape), or Netscape's solution and buy the $100 pass key which would allow me to write the data packages which are included with each page to display the fonts (that works for both IE and Netscape). I finally decided on embedded fonts even though they won't show up on Netscape. I'm just too cheap to fork out that $100.
Tuesday, December 7, 1999: 1,001 Ways to Peel a Mikan
I was so bored at my desk today I peeled a mikan (Japanese orange) to make it look like the supermassive star Eta Carinae and the clouds of dust it ejects in two huge spheres at its poles. When a teacher asked me what I was doing, I explained and got a couple strange looks... I wonder why? I had one class today. I want to start writing my friends and family more postcards but I forgot my stack at home today. I cruised on over to a small Lawson's (a chain of convenience stores) that's near my school to buy lunch. In that small local convenience store, I counted a total of eight security cameras! For a country where there is hardly any crime, they certainly seem to be overdoing it, don't you think?
I discovered the school supplies today. Up till now I'd been buying all my own glue, pens, and what not I used during class and in preparation for class. But today I went looking for a pen and in the office I found a whole cabinet stocked full of pens, correcting pens, glue, and a bunch of other goodies. Man, why didn't I go looking for this last year? I'll never have to buy another ballpoint pen while I'm in Japan! (Don't worry; I won't to clean them out!)
A small group of girls came by my desk and claimed that one of the girls was fluent in Korean. She rattled off some Korean (in what sounded like a perfect accent!) and admitted that she only knew that one phrase. I taught them a few words in Spanish. Cute kids. Pronunciation is not so bad, neither.
I finally figured out dynamic fonts today. I downloaded the demo program and found a key code on a less-than-reputable website and now I'm DynamicFontsMan! I made a new page called Did You Know..? It lists some of the wackier things about Japan that most people in the West probably don't know. I also modified a few of the other pages to include dynamic fonts. Dynamic fonts are definitely the way to go.
Wednesday, December 8, 1999: Silence is Golden
I bailed out early and went to KFC for lunch. I added a bunch of stuff to my Did you know...? page thanks to Lesa and Glen. We came up with a lot more weird Japanese stuff. This school's classes are really loud. I've been trying the silent approach to get them to be quiet (when I want them to shut up instead of yelling for them to be quiet I just close my mouth and lean on the podium and look at the loud ones until they shut up). It's had limited success, sometimes the kids don't even care if I'm quiet or not, but many times some of their classmates will shush them. I was pleasantly surprised. But talking always resumes and I have to stop talking again and it eats up a lot of class time.
Thursday, December 9, 1999
A couple of girls greeted me in Spanish today! I couldn't believe it! The other day, I wrote down a few Spanish phrases for that girl who knew the Korean phrase and her friend, but didn't really expect them to remember it. They were waiting for me in the stairwell and gave me a big HOLA! They're so adorable! That was the highlight of my day.
In the teacher's room one of the students came up behind me and started massaging my shoulders. Anyone else in a Western country find that strange? Sometimes the kids give the teachers massages. Being the tightly strung individual that I am, she really got into it, but I got her to stop.
I worked on Christmas cards today and dropped off some pictures to get developed. They don't do Christmas cards here but they send postcards wishing each other a happy new year's. They all thought it was so cute that I was doing Christmas cards. I just hope they get to their destinations in time!
Friday, December 10, 1999
Today I felt a little guilty because I went to Izumiya (local department/grocery store), my apartment, the post office, Ninomiya (electronics store), and the photo shop all during school hours. I didn't have many classes and many of the teachers run errands during class time, but I was gone for two hours.
Did the Christmas card thing today again. I've been thinking a lot about old friends that I lost touch with who I want to send Christmas cards to. Hmm. A few in particular. Is part of growing older necessarily mean we have to lose touch with people or is just a symptom of laziness or change? All of the above? Who knows.
For dinner we took out our supervisor to the new "Mexican" restaurant in Wakayama city. The enchiladas weren't really enchiladas, the nachos weren't tortilla chips (only plain tortillas and they got soggy!), but it was close to Mexican. Haven't had anything Mexican in a while and even though I don't really like Mexican food to begin with I ate a lot and it was good. Then as we were about to pay, he insisted on paying and while I was distracted he went to pay at the register and came back before I even knew what he was doing! ARRGHH! That's the Japanese for you. They'll never let you pay when you go out with them. We even expected him to do something like that so we were ready, but he did it anyway.
Saturday, December 11, 1999
I was supposed to go to Kyoto today, but my friend Hiroko seems to have flaked out. She didn't call me back and I get no answer at her place. Doesn't really matter because I stayed up half the night watching stocks and I was too tired to go anywhere this morning. So I watched a movie instead. Relaxing day.