Well, that would have been a long time between posts.
Woah, almost two weeks.
Right, quite frankly that won’t do.
If you all want the excuse, basically I’ve been a combination of ill and busy. Not a fine combination, you need to do stuff, you don’t want to do stuff, you end up doing none of the stuff you either need nor want to do. Certainly blogging gets left out in the rain.
But excuses are for whiners and the past. Honest guys from this point on I try harder.
So anyway what have I been up to.
Well mostly a lot of very dull work related nonsense, which accounts for the busy part of the combination of busy and sick. The sick part is the result of a recent visit to a Japanese Elementary School, also known as FACTORIES OF DISEASE!!!
Honestly, the kids at Elementary Schools are ridiculously cute, painfully cute, so cute there should be laws against it but they are also filthy little bastards crawling with deadly viruses.
And every time I go there I walk away feeling like crap.
I do love going to Elementary Schools though. You remember how fun it was to be a kid? Being around that level of super-excited children is the closest thing to experiencing that fun again, without resorting to strange hypnotic pursuits.
And the kids are always unbelievably excited to see me. They just don’t ever get the chance to interact with foreigners at all, especially not white foreigners. One girl was so excited she was literally shaking when trying to ask me a question.
And they were very, very excited at lunch when I opted to eat with them. Not that I got to eat much, I spent most of my lunch break signing a piece of paper for VERY STUDENT IN THE BLOODY GRADE.
It took a while.
When I did finally get to eating the teacher expressed surprise at how well I used chopsticks.
I explained that I have lived in Japan for 3 months now. I can use chopsticks.
Well actually I made up some bull about learning to use them at home. But I wanted to say something like “I’m not an idiot, I can learn to manipulate sticks that I use to eat with at nearly every meal woman.”
Honestly there is nothing more patronising than when someone goes to get you a knife and fork in a Japanese restaurant. Admittedly some things I can’t eat with chopsticks but still. Grrrr.
So other than going to an Elementary school, what else?
Well my school has been busy with 2 things recently. Bunkasai (Culture Day) and a singing contest they insisted on referring to as a “school contest” despite the fact that it took part on a Wednesday afternoon.
School events have a weird effect on my work. Theoretically they cut down on my work hours because I have cancelled classes. In reality they seem to create more work because my schedule is so messed up that I have extra classes I wasn’t expecting. Bunkasai also had the added joy of taking place on a Saturday, meaning at one point I had a 6 day working week in addition to extra classes and some illness.
But the actual events themselves are usually worth all the effort. I thoroughly enjoyed the singing contest (and more on that later in the week) and Bunkasai was, well it was okay.
Basically it came in 2 parts. The day before the students decorated their rooms with lots of their work from the previous year, some of which was from normal classes and some of which had been made especially for Bunkasai. In the morning the students got to walk around these rooms and admire their and each others handiwork.
For all of 20 minutes.
Which is a stupidly short length of time for all that effort. And I know I’m right because Kosuga-Sensei was loudly moaning about it, and Japanese people never, ever moan so if they start complaining you know it’s a problem.
The 2nd part of the day was a long (3 hours, 3 HOURS!) presentation by the teachers and students with a wide range of topics.
It started with a slide presentation all about the school because coincidentally this is the 30th anniversary of the school. Needless to say I didn’t understand this but I squeezed some interest from the pictures.
After that there were a lot of speeches (dull) some singing (quite good) a play (strange) the band playing (not as good as the singing) more speeches (dull and only midly diverting in that both my Kocho and Chotto-sensei were wearing coats with really, really long tails. I wonder what that is all about?) and finally more singing and band playing and….well 3 hours of sod all basically.
The absolute highlight was a chorus of ichinensei (Year 7) singing some kind of choral version of the canon in D. Whch was both conceptually interesting and quite well done, although apparently nicked from the film “Mononoke Hime” which I’ve seen but don’t remember having that song in it.
The other memorable moment was the play. Specifically one of the actors, who seemed to be dressed as some sort of psychedelic chef. He had a tall chef’s hat, an enormous moustache and dozens of differently coloured pockets on the front. In fact here’s a picture of him.
Later on when someone said “Koi-San” I twigged. He was meant to be a Koi Carp. His chef’s hat had eyes and a mouth on it and the pockets were scales. Moreso he was a talking carp, and a time travelling carp because the plot of the play somehow involved time travel through the history of the school.
Other than that the plot of the play escapes me. And I think it is highly illuminating into the Japanese culture that the only thing I understood was that there was a magic talking time travelling koi carp.
Regardless I survived.
Then comes the truly horrible bit.
They do the whole thing again for the parents of the older children.
That is the whole thing again.
THE WHOLE THREE HOURS OF IT AGAIN!
WITH NO CHANGES WHATSOEVER.
I have never before wished for death quite so fervolently.
Well no, melodrama aside, I at first just struggled to stay awake and then made my excuses and escaped to go look at the rooms.
Wherein I saw something that made the whole day worthwhile.