Sunday, March 19, 2000
Today I met a friend from Kyoto in Osaka and saw Sixth Sense. Wow. What a great movie. Of course, all of my friends had already seen it, but thankfully no one would tell me anything about the movie. I don't go to the movies too often here on account of how expensive they are (almost $20, even during the daytime) so when I go it's a real treat.
Osaka is too big of a city, though. Too much activity. I had a pounding headache by the time I got back, but after half an hour and a couple of tylenol I was fine. Tomorrow is a holiday so I get to sleep in!!

Tuesday, March 21, 2000
Y'know what's interesting about Towa JHS is that even the bad kids who have really short skirts or dyed hair aren't that bad. At the other schools I go to, if they look like those kids, dyed hair, really short skirt and/or pierced ears, they're usually a bad kid. Now that all of the 3rd graders have graduated, these kids are pretty good. My opinion of this school has totally changed. It's so strange how the personality of the school can change so dramatically within only a year or less.

Today I saw an ALT who lives across the city for the first time in forever. Why is it that sometimes we hardly see people who are our friends, who we think about occasionally and really get along with. It was good to see her.

Wednesday, March 22, 2000
I discovered something today. I thought that the reason why things were going so well at this school was because all the really bad kids had graduated, but that's not exactly correct. It's just that the bad kids in second and first grades just haven't been coming to school! I guess they started spring break a little early. Like two weeks early.

The rest of my food came today. Foreign foods. As in the stuff you just can't get in Japan. I got an entire box full of Pop Tarts, a box of 3-Musketeers, hot dogs, hamburgers and some other miscellaneous goodies.. you know, only the essentials. Man cannot live on bread alone... He's got to have his junkfood, too!
I spent the afternoon with an ALT and some of her recent grads. She teaches at a upper-level high school and her kids were as sharp as tacks. Really smart. Spoke excellent English. Better than many of the teachers I teach with at JHS. Her students all have big plans and they have a lot of opportunities open to them because their English is so good. It was great just kicking back and hanging out with some students whose first impulse is not to stand up and throw a chair at me. hehe Yes, I exaggerate, but hey! I'm allowed, you know what I mean?
A good day.

Thursday, March 23, 2000: The Zen of the Big Mac
Isn't it amazing how nothing seems to get done when you have so much to do and so much time to do it in? I was faced with this phenomenon today with the prospect of having no classes whatsoever and no real responsibilities. I know people say that if you need something done, give it to someone who is very busy, but that's not true for everyone, it's certainly not true for me. It's like your brain says, "Wow! Look at all the spare time I have! It's vacation time!" Then it goes out to lunch. Of course, when you have a lot to do, it's just the opposite: you'll take any opportunity to take a break. During these times your brain says, "Ah, man. I got so much to do! How's about a break? Just a short one, and then I'm back on the horse! I swear!" And, of course, you are more than willing to oblige. It's surprising that humans ever get anything done at all. So today, while I was looking less than busy, the same Japanese teacher who tried to steal my change kept coming up to me and insisting on talking to me (in Japanese), after all, I've got nothing else better to do, right? He's an older guy, not exactly nasty, but not too pleasant either. He tries to be friendly, I suppose, but I think most people find him annoying. I just kept saying that I didn't understand, but at one point he sat down at the desk next to mine and put his tea cup on my desk! I hate that. Mind you, he's still chattering away. OK, now at this point I can usually get the jist of what someone is trying to say to me in Japanese. Some people I can understand completely even though they use no English. But this guy, I couldn't read at all. He's so wierd. It was interesting, though. I called out to the English teacher at the next row of desks, "Mrs. Miyamoto, I don't have any idea what this guy is saying!" She just said, "Good luck!" haha After he came by the third time and left 10 minutes later, I couldn't take it anymore and went to McD's. Ahhh, the solace of the Big Mac. The Big Mac is kind of a zen thing for me. When you eat a nice, greasy Big Mac, you kind of have to concentrate on it, you know what I mean? Those patties are kind of slippery and if you don't pay attention it can squirm out the other end and get cheese on your pinky and your ring fingers. When your concentrating on eating it and feel those sesame seeds under your fingers and taste that good, wholesome American cheese you can't really think about the day-to-day things that frustrate you. Gives you a chance to refocus, to re-center yourself. A brief moment of living in the now.

Or maybe that's just me.

Friday, March 24, 2000: Game Therapy
Someday the medical/psychiatric community will realize how valuable violent video games are to the human psyche. Today I played a fighting game on the famed Sega Dreamcast and it was great! I'm not a violent person, mind you, but I just love opening up a good can of whup-ass out on someone. I think those guys got it right when they let the gangs loose in the fields with paintball guns. After it was all over, they stood up and shook eachothers' hands.
Mark my words, folks. Someday, one of you will see a shrink about your anxiety problem, or work-related stress, or some other damn thing and after listening to you complain for an hour the shrink will just lean forward in his leather chair and say,
"Have you ever heard of a game called Soulcaliber?

Today was the closing ceremony, the last day of school. I really don't think it has sunk in yet. It never does right away. I have two weeks!! Aahh..... When I try to think about it, it just feels soooo good! I love that about this job. If I was back in the rat-race, there's no way I'd just get two weeks to do whatever I wanted. I'd better start thinking of what I want to do... there's nothin worse than waking up on the last day of vacation and realizing you haven't done Jack!!

A Japanese friend of mine came over and we talked for a few hours and gave eachother massages. I even pulled her hair. Anyone ever do that?? It's great. As good, if not better than a shoulder massage. I can't figure out why I'm so tense all the time.

My neighbors got a new computer today. They are sooooo excited! The wife's as giddy as a schoolgirl. I love techno-toys myself and, much to my displeasure, am considering buying a digital camera. Do I need one? of course not. But they're just so coooool. And expensive. DOH!! My Canadian neighbor told me to buy one a year ago and I should've listened to her (though don't ever tell her that... i hate telling people they were right and I was wrong!!) I just hate getting film developed all the time... maybe I'm just getting lazier! haha Is that even possible?!?

Saturday, March 25, 2000: Sweet Tooth
I have a box of 3-Musketeers candy bars, and one significant problem. Having them is not the problem. The fact that I have not had three Musketeers in so long is. I have a bad case of sweet tooth. Not only do I crave them, but once I bite into that creamy milk chocolate and that soft chewy nougat, I inevitably experience a sensation which makes me close my right eye halfway and leaves a vague ache in a few of my teeth. Back home I'd only get this sensation when biting into something insanely sweet, like those cakes that are gorgeous to look at, but no one actually expects a human being to consume. Now I get it from biting into a candy bar. I'm being weaned off of sweets!! I can't believe it. How will I handle going back to the States now, where real candy bars are everywhere? Pop Tarts in every grocery store? Sigh. Perhaps, just perhaps, mind you, I'll achieve a healthier diet while here in Japan. GASP!

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