Friday, April 23, 2010

If there were a kilter, we’d be a bit off it.

This is the new story of my life: I keep thinking I’ll do things, and then I never do them. Mostly I have good reasons for it, but it’s still lame as an overall experience.

Things have been outside of normal for, oh around a month now.. ever since graduation, mostly, things at work have been changing, and being on vacations, and having visitors (not me personally, but our ShisoJETparty-all-the-time has been lately, well, a party all the time)… and there isn’t anything wrong with a party all the time provided of course that you are not trying to have work alongside it. I got some new furniture, so my apartment is completely different than it ever was (so if I refer to my “new apartment,” I did not move, I just rearranged out of necessity to accommodate the new couch and the kotatsu, aka The Biggest Flat Surface In The House). I’m still going to write about Kyoto, Tokyo, and Okinawa, and also the Himeji bike ride I helped to captain. Or I might not, since I think the photo sets are like photojournals in a way, and the visual might be the most interesting part!

Suffice to say I’ve had a lot of stress lately.. both good stress and bad stress, unexpected incidents and things I should have anticipated but somehow miraculously failed to.. I thought I would have a whole day Wednesday at my desk (because I had one class scheduled.. ONE), and I mostly did, but it was interrupted by the fact that, oh man! I have to make elementary lesson plans! And now I make them bilingual, so it takes about four times as long. THEN I was interrupted by the destructive antics of our Most Disruptive Student, who is usually such a good-natured little delinquint, I was totally not bothered when he came raging into the staff room Wednesday after lunch (someone had spray painted his bike with pink) because he and I are cool. He doesn’t participate in my class, but he always says hello to me in the hall. For example:

Kid: Hello!

Me: Hi! What’s up?

Kid: I .. am.. CHAMPION!

Me: Of what?

Kid: eh?

Me: (in Japanese) What kind of “CHAMPION”?

Kid: …………… Champion of WORLD.

Me: hahahaha, awesome. Okay be careful, don’t climb on the roof today.

So anyway, it startled the bloody freaking hell out of me when he kicked a plastic bucket and made it explode into shards. I began to pay attention to his words, which included “important thing” and “break/ruin”… he and his circle of big male teachers orbited near my (now conveniently at the center of the room) desk and the VP and other female teachers were like, Emily, come here.

And I was like, no, man, I don’t want to leave my desk, first of all this kid should not be allowed to disrupt me (not as in ‘they should physically subdue him,’ but as in ‘I am not scared of this kid and I do not believe he would lay a hand on me and if he did, I could probably take it.’), but second of all, I couldn’t tell if he was griping about his own PERSONAL “important thing” that had been “ruined” or if he was planning to ruin some other important thing. I realized right then that NOT standing between this kid and my precious little computer, lifeline of all I do, was not what I wanted. I mournfully looked at it and considered taking it off the desk with me into the hall, but I didn’t want to be THAT GIRL so I followed the other teachers out and sulked around. It was a beautiful day, that day.

Which is a comparative RARITY which is another problem: Spring has been cancelled due to lack of hustle? There are notable exceptions. Wednesday is one. The Himeji bike ride weekend is another. On the whole, the weekdays are shitty (rainy, grey, cold… right now it’s 10C. TEN.) and the weekends are a bit warmer with more sun, which is not too bad a deal I guess.. five for two. But the overall sluggishness of spring’s arrival is really annoying.

Anyway, that was a tangent. What I am trying to talk about is how Wednesday I guess I must have gotten a lot done, but it was none of the blogging/photoworking/recon I had hoped to do. I actually did not have time. When I am at work, basically, I do work stuff.

Which is how it should be, I guess, and I am getting used to that. But it’s still an expectation shift from doing all sorts of things for myself in those brief days of spring holiday.

My new teachers are pretty cool. I have mixed feelings about Miss Piggy-sensei. She is sweet enough, but I swear she has not yet HAD a good day. Every single time I see her she is suffering from something. Trouble is, she whines and sits there while the teacher on the other side of her (Hot Band Teacher) sneezes into her handkerchief, then glares at the handkerchief like she is SO NOT OKAY with having a cold because, man, she just has SHIT TO DO. I can really identify with not having patience with colds. It’s a far better mental place to be than the moany-complainy place, anyway. But oh, MP-sensei has a cold, or oh, a sore throat, or oh, her stomach hurts.

I mean maybe she’s just having a bad… three and a half weeks, right?

Miraculously, somehow, the classes I’ve had with her (three so far) and the first years have been more or less Wonderful. I won’t ask you to identify with the thrill of standing in front of fourteen Japanese children all grunting the “short u” sound in unison, but anyone who ever tried to get their kids to say “BIRD” instead of “BAADO” will feel me here. The last two weeks we’ve had what I guess I can call “phonics Friday” where we tackled vowels, first short, today long, and wrestled them to the ground.

Seriously, today I did a listening quiz that was brutal. I gave them a handout with squares, and letter sets like “P __ N” and “N ___T” four times each. Then I had them write the vowel in while I chanted “PIN” then “PEN” then “PUN” then “PAN” at them. Meccha muzukashii, since in Japanese, the short A, short O, and short U are all just “a”.. but I’ll be darned if they weren’t volunteering to put letters in the giant squares on the board, getting it right and making mistakes and generally just being awesome all over the place.

Partly this is thanks to Miss Piggy-sensei, because she asked me if we could do phonics for the whole lesson. Somehow between her suggestions and my materials and lack of accent (see: some Americans pronounce PIN and PEN the same) and coffee induced enthusiasm, we are hot to go. Partly the kids are just awesome. The first-year group (frogs, I’ve called them) is, I think..? made up of a lot of oxen (by the Chinese zodiac system), which happens to be my animal too. The mice class is actually made up of a lot of rats/mice by that calendar, so I find that kind of fun. (But that class is starting to come out of its shell a bit under the tutelage of Sweetie-sensei, my 22-year-old team teacher)

Those are anecdotes.. there is, of course, more. Elementary with its triumphs, challenges, and changes. The BOE being more bullheaded than even me (well, we’ll see about that). The Himeji ride (along with seeing my graduated dog-class boys biking all the way to the HS in the town where I live all the way from the town where I work) has made me think seriously about biking as a mode of transportation. I am hoping to buy a decent bike very soon. My closet unit collapsed, so my clothes are everywhere (but I am getting a much cooler clothes thing from George since he is moving out this weekend)…  Making new friends, seeing old ones, seeing old ones change, seeing people get closer to you and others further away… Losing chances for shit, gaining chances for other shit. The long and short of it is I have a lot of (mostly good) stress going on!

Now we (I) am gearing up for Golden Week, too. This is a string of Japanese holidays which basically makes the first week of May vacay. I am going to Hong Kong, and I am excited about it. It’s one more, perhaps the capstone disruption to the long string of disruptions since graduation…

Sometimes I think I am wrong to imagine that there is such a thing as “normal life” here… but I know there was a time when I had a schedule and I understood it. It’s not that I don’t want to do the stuff I get to go.. just that there’s a balance. Costs to things. Lots of thoughts on that lately (good things and their costs).. I think I’ll perhaps distill a more coherent entry on that later, as well.

If I have a moment. In which to do so.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah...I would be one of those Americans that say "pin" and "pen" the same way ^_^.