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Friday, January 20, 2012

At The Hop

Today is just one confusing day of bouncing emotions. I am so confused that when I wrote this diary out I never saw the incongruity. I only just saw it today in 2012.

It's Wednesday, November 20, 1991 here in Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken, Japan .
I'm at Kaneda Kita Chu Gakko (Kaneda North Junior High School) this week. Yuck. I hate these students. It's also cold outside, and that makes it really difficult to leave the warmth of my bed - but I do.
I always get out of bed to go to work.
I have three classes today of the same 'repeat after me' drivel.
Asshole students.
I eat lunch with a particular third-year class, but they completely ignore me. It's like they have zero English-language ability, and even if they do, they are all to afraid to use it. Of course, I don't really volunteer to speak any Japanese to them. I would... but they need to speak English first. God help me I've tried to talk to them in Japanese, but usually just get a grunt or a nod in response.
Get me the hell out of here!
Mr. Akazawa the young English teacher who seems like a very nice man, but is a tad wimpy in appearance really tries hard to make the students listen... but I think he is just too nice, and they take advantage of that.
He asks me if I will help the school soccer team tomorrow. He knows I was a damn fine player when I was younger and that I coached for about eight years in Toronto before arriving in Japan.
Still... I am wearing an eye-patch because of a scratched cornea. It's healing well, but not by tomorrow! I can only see in 2D!!?!! How do I play with them? Idiots!
The shogi King and my right foot.
After lunch in the teacher's office - and after being asked to help the soccer team - one of the school's bad boys drops by with a shogi board and teaches me how to play Japanese chess. Just for the record, this is the same kid I put in a headlock and attempted to choke out one day. Read that story HERE.
So... he does indeed teach me how to play. He has written out some basic instructions in English... I can tell he did it because his hand-writing is crappy - but that's not the point! He did this for me.
Hunh. I guess in order to make an impression with some students you just have to choke them with love. 
In our first game, I somehow beat him. I'm not sure how, but I think he let me. We run out of time on our second game, which lasts longer and involved both of us taking more time to make each move.
In one of the first-year classes (Grade 7 for 12 year-olds), we play a modified game of Scrabble. It's tough, but the little bastards seem to get it.
I go home thanks to a ride from nurse Gunji and hop on my bicycle to go shopping. I have no idea why, but I buy an apple pie.
Back home, Ashley stops by and gives me my birthday present (my birthday was November 8). She had forgotten. I'm pretty sure I haven't forgiven her for that, and I'm also pretty sure she knows it, too.
She gives me a sake (Japanese rice wine) pottery set of two jugs and five cups. It's spectacular (see the top photo - shhh, don't tell my wife. I still have it, and use it every once in a while).
Ash and I watch some old MacGyver videos I had been sent by my brother Ben, and when it's over, I ride my bicycle back with her in the cold and dark.
I leave her place early again even though she wants me to stay - but I can sense she is tired (repeated yawning... I mean, I'm not that boring a guy).
Back home in my Ohtawara-shi apartment I clean my aquarium, relax a bit in front of the television and read a book.
Oh yeah... a first-year student - a girl - gave me some inago (grasshopper) cooked in brown sugar and then stewed... okay... I have no idea how it is cooked. All I know is that a week a go when it was offered to me, I ate it out of being polite and to gross out people. No one was impressed or grossed out. Okay... I was grossed out and impressed that I didn't barf... still, people must have thought I liked it.
To be polite, when I got home I ate the whole plate of inago. It was very tasty and I enjoyed the perverse feeling of flicking my tongue over a hind leg of a grasshopper.

Somewhere with verbal diarrhea,
Andrew Joseph  
Today's blog title is by Danny & The Juniors:
   

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