Sunday, July 4, 1999: Kyoto Revisited

Today I saw Kyoto with other ALTs. Saw a couple of temples and other stuff. We walked through the Gion district, which is famous for Japanese geishas, unfortunately we didn't see any of them, but Gion was really interesting anyway. It was surprisingly modern, though... that I wasn't expecting. In fact, I thought that Gion would be one of the parts of Kyoto which truly maintained its... culture? Roots? Something like that.

When we got back it was a little late and we were really tired. So we weren't in the mood for fireworks or the normal kind of 4th of July festivities. My first fourth of July which went by unobserved. Miss those great BBQs and fireworks displays... sigh. Maybe I'm a tad homesick.

Wednesday, July 7, 1999: "Flubber?"

Today was movie day at Seiwa junior high school. As told to me by a student, as a break from the routine and reward for surviving the term tests, today they went to the prefectural auditorium to watch... "Flubber". Yes, that's right, "Flubber". Now why, you ask, this particular movie? I have no idea. Just to be fun, I suppose. Too bad it was all dubbed in Japanese.

But it was an interesting change of pace, I must admit. AND they had opening and closing ceremonies!! Everything must have an opening and closing ceremony in Japan and even something that is meant to be fun, like this movie, is no exception.

After the closing ceremony, everyone just went home. Good day.

Thursday, July 8, 1999: Don't Squeeze the Foreigner to Unconsciousness, Please

The morning meeting in the teachers' room today was exceptionally long and classes started about a half an hour late. The principal made several lengthy announcements over the loudspeaker and there was so much activity it took about an hour to get a teacher to tell me what was going on.

Apparently, it is a fad at Seiwa now to imitate a certain move in judo (resembling a bear hug) by which the opponent is rendered unconscious. Mr. Kawakami, in trying to explain this, attempted to show me by demonstrating this move on myself. Whoa, there! Thanks, but no thanks.

Students try this on fellow classmates and there have been one or two alarming situations where the student had passed out! Teachers were really starting to punish students for it, but they kept doing it. But maybe now they'll stop because it looks like the admin here is starting to take it very seriously.

Saturday, July 10, 1999: " The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax." --Albert Einstein

Today was a day of massive cleaning and catching up. It seems I can't do the little things day to day which would prevent a day like this! But finally I'm filing my taxes. God knows it's good to get that out of the way. Packed up and sent a few things for the kids back home. A present or two that's overdue. Picked up some good stuff in Kyoto which makes for good presents.

Met a JET who's leaving for coffee with some other JETs. It's weird to think that I'll never see some of these people again. I hope to keep in touch with them, but you never know what'll happen.

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