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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Life's Been Good

It's Thursday, November 21, 1991.
It's difficult to get up and get out of bed this morning. It's so very cold. Still... I have to get up and go to Kaneda Kita Chu Gakko (Kaneda North Junior High School) where I am an assistant English teacher with the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme.
Today I have to teach four classes, do some English club activities and then help out with the school soccer team.
The classes are all pretty basic - repeat after Andrew - which is fine, but hardly stretching my abilities.
After lunch, a third-year boy (Grade 9) comes over and asks me in English: "Teach me Scrabble, please."
So I did. He was good.
Damn! Am I going to have to change my opinion of the kids in this school?
Granted I have said repeatedly that I hate this school and its idiot students, but there are these great moments here which shine so brightly in my memories of Japan! In fact, if it wasn't for the crap I undergo here - having kids trying to stick their fingers up my ass crack, for example - I probably wouldn't even recall these moments of awesomeness as anything more than a mundane event.
But then... to bring myself back to reality - at English Club, I lose my temper at a group of boys who would rather talk amongst themselves than learn the English I am there to have them learn.
If they were in a sports club or arts club with a Japanese teacher, there is no way in hell they would have been able to slack off, so there is no way in hell I am letting them do that here in English club! 
"Shut the hell up or leave!" I scream in English. Even though they probably have no clue as to what I actually said, they understood the meaning.
After a few more glowerings, they get the picture and actually start to listen.
Afterwards, I dress in a pair of track pants and a short sleeve shirt and venture out into the cold and dark night of 5PM for soccer club.
We played in the dark.
Now... I've never been that comfortable with my vision in the dark (who really is?) and it is made worse by the fact that because of a scratch on my cornea that I am now wearing an eye-patch over an eye. I look great, but I can't see well. Two-dimensionally with no depth perception.
The team was disorganized and lacked cohesion - not working as a team and were instead working as individuals. The soccer coach is an English teacher, so when I tell him that there is no "I" in "teamwork", I am pretty sure it is lost in translation.
Still... I give it my best because I loved to play soccer and was a decent enough coach back in Toronto.
I taught the team many things about defensive positioning (my specialty) on corner kicks, man to man coverage, calling for the ball (a basic they lacked), communicating without the ball, movement of the team when they have the ball and even when they don't. I also teach them a throw-in trick, as everyone, including the coach seemed surprised to learn that you can not be off-side on a throw-in!
While my 2D vision made me look like a spaz when a ball was passed to me, every student understood why when the coach told them I lacked depth perception. Oh well... next time I see them here, I won't have the patch.
Hmm. I guess I am implying there will be a next time. Damn. Are they making me like them?
I go home at 6PM.
I was supposed to go to a party organized by the Ohtawara International Friendship Association that was being held for the Emperor's official bamboo shaper, but no one comes to pick me up. That sucks. Did they forget about me?     
By 8PM and no phone calls, I venture out into the cold and go to Nara Sports to purchase some more baseball cards, over to Books Time to rent a couple more movies and then over to Nakamura's Pet Shoppe to purchase some fish for my now bare aquarium (last week I gave all my goldfish away to the special ed. class at Wakakusa Chu Gakko (Wakakusa Junior High School) because I thought they would enjoy them.  I bought about 20 guppies... and now my tanks is aflush with movement and color!
It makes me feel good to know that they are alive and happy... unlike my depressed goldfish who just sat huddled in a dark corner and ignored me.
Despite wearing glasses in the evening when riding my bicycle around - I think I had a pretty good day.
And yet... I miss my still secret girlfriend, Junko. Maybe this weekend?

Somewhere wishing 2D was 34C,
Andrew Joseph   
Today's blog title was inspired by Joe Walsh - a pretty damn fine song about life as a rich rock and roll musician:


  1. I know, eh... it shows that I actually did do something as an AET!