Sunday, June 6, 1999

A few of my students dropped by while I wasn't here. They had all written little notes in struggling English. I think I'll post one up sooner or later. Sigh. Why can't they always stay like that?? At the same time I wish they wouldn't just drop by unannounced... I guess it shows that they care at least, right? At least outside of class hahaha

Monday, June 7, 1999

Something which I've noticed since I've come here, is that there are some people I can usually understand regardless of what language they're speaking. The school counselor at Takatsumi speaks English exceptionally well, but half the time when we talk, she speaks in Japanese and I reply in English. We can go back and forth like that for a long time. Some students are like that too. I don't know what the heck it is, but it's pretty cool. And other people, I can't understand regardless of what language they're speaking, even English. One of life's little mysteries to ponder.

Tuesday, June 8, 1999

Two kids just would not shut up in class!! ARRGHHH!! It is so annoying sometimes that I can't really discipline them, like send them to the principal's office or something like that. I asked the teacher after class if next time that happened if I could move one of them to a different desk. She said it would be ok, but she went further and said that it would be ok for me to hit them!! And this is at my good school! I shouldn't be shocked that a teacher would say that by now, but it still caught me off guard. I could never hit a student.

Wednesday, June 9, 1999

One of the things I really like about going to Takatsumi is taking the train there. Takatsumi is about three train stops away from Wakayama's main station, I guess you could call it a suburb of Wakayama, way out in the boonies. But now it's rice planting season and all the fields are dotted with sprouts of rice stalks and covered with water. Sometimes with old men or women wading in the fields working in them. It's really something to see this as you roll by life in a train, men and women with simple lives and ambitions, working in the shiny mirrors of their fields, totally unaware of the sheer amount of lives and memories which pass them everyday on the nearby train. I wonder what that kind of life would be like. A part of me wishes for it with all its being; the palace of simplicity, a refuge for a soul seeking silence from the insane pace of life, the noise and threat which hangs over the world. But another part of me would find this palace a prison; the walls of silence keep out threat as well as ambition and horizon.

Thursday, June 10, 1999

Was thinking of going to see a doctor but scraped the idea and went to school anyway, so I got there really late. Oh well. Classes went well, but in class 3-3, they saw that I was sick and they started a little project. The lesson was "how to~" and one of the bits in the class was, "Jeff, do you know how to make a crane?" And I didn't so the teacher got all the kids to try to teach me how to make a crane. They all had the little origami paper so after class they decided to make me a tsuru. It is a set of long strings of paper cranes which is usually made for someone who is deathly ill or close enough. Now I wasn't near this mark, but they started it anyway. I saw them at lunch today and for a little while after school at the counters outside the teachers' room. I can tell it's going to be beautiful when it's done, I can't believe they're doing it.

Those kids are great.

During my second class today, however, one kid really pissed me off. He's a good kid I guess and he actually does do his work, but whenever I passed by he'd pat my butt. ARGGHH!! After the third time and a little.. persuasion, he stopped. Sometimes these kids think they can get away with murder with foreigners.

Friday, June 11, 1999

Today was my last day at Takatsumi JHS. Of course I had to make a speech. But since I didn't bother to think up anything witty, I said the same exact thing I said last time! Hehehe

Still wasn't feeling so good today. After school, a half dozen kids came to the teachers' room to present me with the tsuru they had just finished. It is so beautiful. I didn't know what to say. I had my camera so I took a couple pictures with them and hugged them and said goodbye. I love my job. Well, today I do, anyway. :)

I saw one of them at the train station when I got back to Wakayama and she said she was getting her passport because she's going to England in August!! Oh, man. I remember what was going through my head before my first traveling adventure, I wonder what's going on through hers.

Saturday, June 12, 1999

Today I worked on my web page for a little while. Went to KFC for dinner and THEN a group of us ALTs got together to set off a few fireworks down at the beach! It's been so long since I've been to the beach... since last summer, anyway. It was so peaceful... I'd forgotten that there were actually places in Wakayama like that.. the area around my apartment always has some noise. It was so dark and a little windy. Lighting the fireworks with a minitorch wasn't working out so well so we tried to get some kind of fire going, but that didn't last long. Some of the fireworks we set off were sooo cool, a couple I know you just could not get in California. Little ones that spun and flew in the air and a Roman candle.

After the fireworks, we went to a little place called Bagus Cafe. A little bar type place right up alongside the beach. It is a really weird place. Difficult to describe. Really creative setup. Reminded me of the Gypsy Den back home. We met up with some other JETs there and we talked for a while. It's too bad that that place is so far from my apartment; I think I'd go there more often. But with summer coming on, I think I will anyway.

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