Man, what a week. I’ve been pulling 10-hour days the last few days so we can cram properly for the speech contest. I’m also going in tomorrow morning for several hours.
The biggest piece of news this week, though: I CAN OFFICIALLY DRIVE! It’s terrifying, but it’s terrifyingly legal. I want to head to the city after our speech contest prep tomorrow (to finally pick up my bow–the rehairing was supposed to be done in 10 (business?) days and they were supposed to call me, but it’s been 3 weeks and I haven’t heard from them yet), and I think I’ll try to drive–why bother dropping somewhere between 2000-3000 yen on train fare when I have a car? (I have a car. Hahah! That’s going to take some getting used to.) I just hope I remember exactly where to turn once I get into the city, but I think it should be fine.
My JTE is also back from her two month research sabbatical in England! She brought me some lovely afternoon tea, and brought some really rocking British snack food as her staffroom omiyage–biscuits, tea, fudge…she also got all the female teachers small bags from Harrod’s. Ooh, sophistication. Unfortunately, she’s still really jetlagged–it’s made for some really comedic moments during our speech contest prep, though. She apparently started to doze yesterday, though I missed it until her head jerked up and she gasped an apology.
Today, though, her voice started going fuzzy and she got that heavy-lidded look I recognize all too well from way too many afternoons at my desk at the BOE. I glanced over at Chisa (our speech girl) and noticed her glancing at me–she grinned, and I tried not to laugh but couldn’t help it, and my JTE woke up immediately. The worst part, though, was that I just couldn’t keep a straight face–every time we repeated that sentence (and we did repeat it quite a bit), I started snickering, and I finally had to leave the room to compose myself, which made them crack up.
I also noticed that Chisa caught a mosquito that had been bugging us (pun intended, har-har). I noticed this on the tail end of asking my JTE if my wording on a sentence in the speech was okay, and murmured, “yokatta!” when I saw my student do the deed. My JTE looked over at me then and said, in a very encouraging and grateful voice, “Oh, you did a really good job!” I looked at her in surprise, and thanked her, and then realized that she thought I was relieved because she approved of the wording, and she must have thought I was nervous that she would rip apart my speech or something. I clarified quickly, and we all started laughing again.
I feel a lot more at ease this year–granted, I already knew Chisa to some extent before this all started, and I’ve been here for a year and am far more comfortable in my “teaching skin,” and I feel okay about interrupting my JTE to make suggestions while we’re having Chisa repeat sentences at us and stuff (she’s okay with it, too–I seriously have one of the coolest JTEs in the ken). It makes for a more relaxed atmosphere, which is cool–last year, I know Hitomi and Mizuki were both nervous around me, and it took us a while to warm up to each other, because I was new (as far as we all were concerned).
In other news…there isn’t much else, really. I finally talked to Michelle in Kagoshima for about an hour last night, and it was good to hear she’s doing well–I’ll be staying with her for 2 of my 5 nights on Kyushu. I’m doing Tatami Timeshare in Kumamoto and possibly on my last night in Fukuoka as well. I really need to start packing, and to figure out what kind of bag to take with me–a backpack seems like the best thing, but I don’t want to buy one just for this trip, you know? I have a duffel bag, but I’d rather keep the weight even on both shoulders if I can’t find a locker and have to take my stuff with me.
We have a sports day on Sunday (the fun kind, with games and stuff that the teachers can participate in), and we get Monday off in return–but I have a Monday morning elementary school, so I’m going in for that and then taking the rest of the day off. Tuesday and Wednesday are just my junior high, and I’m leaving just after lunch Wednesday to head to Kyushu. It’s just a week away! I can’t freaking wait…I’m going to be just a couple of miles away from one of Japan’s most active volcanoes by this time next week. YES.