Embarrassing myself in front of the entire school

The musical was fantastic this weekend–even though there were quite a few blunders during the (taped for cable TV) Ishii performance on Saturday night, the 400+ playbills we’d printed last week ran out very quickly over the course of the two days, and the whole performance became a lot more cohesive, and I think we’re all feeling the same closeness that naturally happens when you spend weekends with the same group of people all the time. (And some of the stress, too–there were a few tense moments, just due to the nature of what we were doing, but on the whole, I know I for one feel a lot closer to quite a few people in the cast.)

I had Sri Lankan for dinner last night on my way back, and stopped at the BookOff in Kamojima to pick up a few more discounted CDs–essentially, my 2-hour drive became a 3-hour one instead (did I also mention that I’d driven about 160 miles this weekend, with commuting to and from the venues both days?), so I was pretty tired last night. I set my alarm for my usual Monday time when I went to sleep, and went about my usual Monday routine, leaving my apartment at 8:45 due to my schedule being modified because of my early-morning elementary school class.

The only problem? That class finished last week, which essentially made me over 30 minutes late in coming to my junior high school.

And there was another problem: there was an awards ceremony this morning that I didn’t know about. I’m only at my junior high from Mondays through Wednesdays, and I didn’t check the schedule and my (quite busy) JTE forgot to tell me about it. I got to school, only to find only the secretary and groundskeeper lady in the teacher’s room, which could only mean one thing. I trekked out to the gym, silently muttering “oh crap oh crap oh crap,” and faced the Walk Of Shame–all the teachers (in suits and nice clothes) and a bunch of the students staring as I (in a fleece and plain shirt, my usual not-super-formal-but-enough-for-class slacks, and my brightly-colored striped socks) walked into the freezing gym ridiculously late. They also evidently hadn’t planned on my being there, or overlooked that I would be coming, because the teacher’s row only had enough chairs for the teachers present; one of the teachers immediately stood up and gave me his seat, which made me feel even more embarrassed.

All the teachers are attending the rehearsal now for tomorrow’s graduation ceremony–my JTE told me I could stay in here if I had work to do, but I think I’m going to head in there in a little bit to watch (as the kids file in, file out, sing, stand up, bow, and sit down, over and over again) and freeze myself in the unheated gym to share in the solidarity of the student body and faculty. I also just found out we have the post-graduation enkai tomorrow night that the third-year students’ parents are throwing for the teachers–but it’s at a yakiniku restaurant. (Yakiniku means “grilled meat.” Joy.) My JTE forgot to tell me about that until today, too, so now she’s having a teacher call the parents organizing it to have them try to arrange some vegetarian food for me.

This all makes me feel really lucky that I have such an understanding faculty at this school, though–I can just imagine some of my friends being in the same situation and having JTEs and other teachers treat them like crap for being late and not accepting any excuses or refuse to help them in any way. They’ve never once questioned my vegetarianism and they always remember to order me a completely vegetarian meal, though they do ask me about it curiously at enkais and lunchtime sometimes, and what kinds of foods I like to eat and stuff. My principal is also an extremely sweet man, and laughed when I explained what happened. That helped to take some of the edge off the burn of humiliation. Despite the awkwardness of not being able to be “one of the gang” and just not understanding what’s going on, I really have lucked out in many ways, and I’m going to go now to show my gratefulness by freezing my poor toes off in the gym.

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