It’s still Spring Break, in so far as that I am teaching no classes. This will all have changed by the time you read the next Nom, which is a fact I’m not sure if I should be stressed about or not. To be sure, actually filling my day with some kind of activity other than idly browsing the Internet, typing these articles, or reading whatever book I can get my hands on will almost certainly be an exciting and welcome change, albeit one requiring slightly more effort than total stasis. Do I even remember how to do this anymore? I can literally barely remember the last class I taught. I am pretty sure it was like the 23rd. Of February.
But anyway, think of it! A whole grade full of fresh first-year high schoolers, all mine to destroy. This time, they are mine from the beginning. I will remember their names, interests, pets, and favorite foods. (Yeah right.) The boy to girl ratio with this class is, unlike my first group’s 1:1, tipped significantly in the favor of those bearing the double X chromosome, which seemingly foreshadows a high occurrence rate of more of these kinds of student poems during our haiku lesson:
He is a big smile
His face is very smallish
His name is Branton!
The changing of the term has brought a variety of personnel changes as well, as I have mentioned before. Though I haven’t yet had to deal with many of them significantly enough to form concrete opinions, I do have a new co-teacher at my night school who is now in his first year teaching at a not-cram-school, and he greeted me today with “what’s up, man,” which I am firmly in support of. He also invited me to go out to the vending machines for coffee, which puts his “voluntarily offered to do something with me” count at 1, on parity or higher than the counts of nearly all my other co-workers. As a somewhat young fellow, he has been very forward in approaching me, which I also firmly support. Also he has a propensity to, perhaps because he spent a year living in Leeds, insert the word “fucking” seemingly at random into his speech. If you were wondering, this too is an action I support, firmly.
Another consequence of the regime change at night school is that finally, after nearly eight months, I have a power outlet via extension cord on my desk, with which to plug in my computer. The best I can figure is that this is a result of me brazenly running my netbook’s power cable across the floor to the other outlet every Wednesday for months on end, resulting in a variety of nearly broken limbs and joints. Still no Internet here, which I figure will never happen. No matter–the lack of this distraction gives me time to catch up on eating peanuts, staring listlessly into space, and talking to myself with a keyboard.
HOW STRANGE, THESE THINGS, WHICH IN A WAY SERVE TO COMPARTMENTALIZE MY CULTURAL EXPERIENCES
– Last Saturday, after the tapering off of a game of Scrabble, brought to the point where virtually no play opportunities or liquid word formations remained and turn times approached infinity, flipping through the TV channels idly and settling on oil wrestling, wherein grossly mismatched men and women threw their respective body types into each other for no more than four seconds before violently slamming into the ground all lubricated with viscous, mucus-looking snot-goop
– Serious personal consideration of a potential purchase of a specialized metal file which retails for 2100 yen and which has only one purpose: to be gently abrasive against bits of plastic left connected to larger pieces of plastic which were once connected to even larger pieces of plastic, manipulated for the sake of assembling tiny models of imaginary robots
– A smallish embroidered patch for clothing, spotted at the craft store, drawn in a juvenile fashion and intended to be placed presumably on childrens’ articles, bearing a representation of a colorful police vehicle, lights swirling, with the English text “GOING PLACES”
– Being presented with some sort of mysterious business card from a representative of what seems to be some kind of retirement consultant, “life plan advisor,” or “total life consultant,” while sitting at my desk, following a string of Japanese I could barely understand, and uttering merely in said language “thank you very much,” to which I got the “your Japanese is very good,” was assaulted with another string of impenetrable speech that may have contained the word for “three,” and then being bidden farewell to
– Met at my apartment door by two men, one tall and attractive in a dorky way, the other short and homely, and being convinced to upgrade my Internet service by way of the terms HYAKU MEGA! and SPEED UP COST DOWN, then watching the short guy beg the tall guy for a chance to use his props, which included a large magazine-sized calculator and a pop-up book with a 3D modem in it, shortly before the tall guy smacked him on the head with a folder
THAT’S ALL THERE IS TO LIVING IN JAPAN
On the home front, things are generally as usual as ever. We are cruising through anime and movies nightly at a pace I have never experienced, turning to the visual arts to both “do something together” and in some odd enough reason experience our new culture (or a sub-element of it anyway). The humor comes in when considering I initially scrounged up some other anime more Jessy-geared than Gundam, so I could get her okay with watching Gundam (my true desire). Now, though such distractions are likely no longer necessary, I have accumulated dozens of series and movies totaling hundreds of hours of video, which we move through just the same. Next into the rotation is a show called Canaan, which seems to be about some sort of foreign assassins. I am okay with that.
Last night, to accompany our viewing with nutrition and satisfaction, I boiled some chicken legs in bouillon stock with onions, garlic, and carrots, then shredded the meat and tossed it back in the broth with a bowl full of hand-dropped dumplings just like mama told me how to make. They were hyper delicious, and accompanied by a totally unsatisfying All Malt Beer, the likes of which disturbingly taste less and less shitty to me as the last memories of decent brew pass through my mind like bananas in a pasta strainer.
As though I, or the fine people of this fine country, needed any other sort of excuse, let alone a seasonal one, to drink, one has finally begun to arrive: the viewing parties which are now occuring all over the place in honor of the blooming sakura, the cherry blossoms adorning a variety of trees. To properly hanami, or engage in a party of this nature, it seems that one needs to complete a variety of tasks:
1a. Get some beer
1b. Get some liquor that is not beer
2. Get some food
2.75 (optional) Get some people
3. Go outside, by some of the cherry trees
3.5. (optional) Find “some shady”
4. Watch them
I am not sure I have yet fully grasped the nuances of the hanami, but with enough of tasks 1 and 2 I think I might grow pretty receptive to learning.
Once spring ends, it will be summer. Did you know that Japan has four seasons? It does.