Sunday, May 30, 1999

Today was major cleaning day with the stuff I picked up last night. Unfortunately, one of the things I used gave me hives last night... and not knowing which one it was, I wore gloves today.

My kids dropped by again today. Only a couple of them this time. Conversation was a little difficult; they're first grade and still haven't gotten completely used to roma-ji yet, but we managed. We hung out for about half an hour and then they left. Sayaka had this weird mini-camera which hooked up to her Game-boy and displayed the pictures on the screen. I couldn't believe it.

Monday, May 31, 1999

Today was my first day at Takatsumi. Of course, I had to make a speech. I covered up my lack of preparation with my extravagant usage of the few Japanese words I knew! That and the fact that I brought back chocolate from Kobe for everyone, that's always good.

It's called "omiyage". Anytime one of your coworkers comes back from anywhere, they are expected to bring back gifts. If you don't bring back omiyage people look askance at you and wonder what's wrong upstairs. They'll even go so far as to tell you what they want before you leave. For example, before I for Kobe, teachers at Towa JHS would say, "Oh! Kobe! Very good chocolate!" {wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more} Unfortunately for them I changed schools so they didn't get any of their precious chocolates.

To many it might seem that the system of omiyage is only to bribe others to keep liking you. And in a way, it is. But the Japanese say it is to promote harmony and good will in the workplace. Yeah, it does, I guess. Everyone is nicer after you give omiyage.

The new teachers there are really cool. Takaoka-sensei is the only teacher I know to have a Harley. That's right. She has a Harley. Both her and her husband have heavy-duty motorcycles. Her dream, she told me, is to Harley across America. She is soooooo cool. Matsumoto-sensei is the most attractive teacher at any of my schools. But she's TALL! Japanese women are getting taller these days, but she is TALL.

Tuesday, June 1, 1999

Today Miss Matsumoto invited me to eat lunch with her and the special ed. class. They're really nice. Always genki.

It makes me wonder, if we're so much better off for not being mentally challenged, then why are they happier than 99% of the people I know? They take such joy out of the simple things their lives present them. In a way it makes me envious, but I know that I wouldn't trade my life for anything.

Thursday, June 3, 1999

Today was the school field trip to Shirahama and Tanabe. The same expo place I went to with the Towa JHS students on the 21st, but we went to someplace called "Energyland". All in all, the trip wasn't as interesting as the trip to pick ume with Towa, but just hanging out with the kids was great. Miss Matsumoto asked me to walk with her around the shops and stuff, which raised quite a few eyebrows among the teachers and sent waves of giggles through the students!

Friday, June 4, 1999

Today we finally finished off the movie "Shogun". It was really good but the ending left me wanting... it didn't have the climax I wanted it to. Hopefully I'll get a hold of the book soon; I hear that's even better. It's hard to believe that Angie and Helen will be leaving soon. Only a month and a half left. I wonder what their successors will be like.

Saturday, June 5, 1999

Finally talked with some of my folks today. Got online and there was my sister! I still can't believe that she's about to graduate. And I won't be there to see it!! AHH!!! That's the nature of the beast, I guess... can't have everything we want. But if I did, I suppose I wouldn't be happy, would I?

It's weird how my own life seems to be on standstill over here, yet life continues back home!! Things aren't changing so much, but things are still happening. She must be freaking out. I think I was back then... getting ready to move out and go to college. Reminds me I gots to mail her her present soon.

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