Pretty eventful week

A lot’s been going on–this has been the busiest week I’ve had in a while. Here are some general highlights:

  • I saw my third-years graduate. It was an emotional time, but I got some good photos of and with them. (All my graduation photos are up on my Flickr account, but any and all photos involving my students and schools are friends/family restricted.) I’m really going to miss them; recently I’ve realized how lucky I am to have such a good group of kids.
  • I broke it to my first-years that I’ll be gone in July, and all of them, even the quiet ones, were staring at me wide-eyed as I said it. I was just as close to them as I was to my third-years, and I’m really going to miss them as well. I have to break it to my second-years (a.k.a. the new third-years) and the incoming first-years pretty soon.
  • I attended two other elementary school graduation ceremonies. Those kids will all be my first-years at my junior high starting in April.
  • Kirsten, Genna, Gilly, and I took a roadtrip to Osaka Thursday night to see Muse in concert (9 hours roundtrip, of which I drove about 7). It was surreal–they’re one of my favorite groups and it was weird to realize that the same people rocking out on stage were the people who created this music I love so much. Matt Bellamy is an incredible multi-instrumentalist–he switched between three guitars and a piano during the night, sometimes in mid-song. It was a high-energy Japanese crowd with quite a few foreigners, and we met an ALT from Iwate-ken who hung out with us for the night.
  • One of my eikaiwa ladies brought me some homemade vegetable tenpura Friday that she’d made earlier that day, and it was the best tenpura I’ve ever had. She wants to set aside a time for her circle of eikaiwa friends (kind of like my surrogate mothers here) and me to make tenpura sometime in April.
  • The musical wrapped this weekend, at the gorgeous Odeon-za, the former kabuki theater in Wakimachi. Our last show was definitely not our strongest, but we had a lot of fun with it–we threw in a ton of really hilarious cameos and spoofs, a lot more than I remember us doing last year, and it was just a great high note on which to end. We had our traditional after-party at the Mino bungalows, though I didn’t spend the night this year, but I had a lot more fun than I did last year. Of the awards the crew gave out, I, Smitha “The Shark” Prasadh, received the “Best Transformer Master of Disguise” award (for my FOUR characters–a choir member, Asimo the robot, the Nose Extension Technician/primary Girl In Black Who Did Stuff Anonymously Onstage, and Monstroa the WhaleShark). I left at just the right time, before people started getting really drunk. It’s interesting what a big deal leaving the party was this year, and how much of a symbolic ending the party truly was–we really did become a cohesive cast, and I’ve become a lot closer to almost everyone.
  • Ellie‘s been visiting from Scotland for the past week, so she could see her third-years graduate. I finally saw her at the musical–it was very brief, but it was still great to see her again.
  • I’m trying desperately to pull something together for Golden Week that isn’t ridiculously expensive; right now I’m researching low-key culture/volcano tours in Indonesia (Merapi, either Krakatau or Bromo, and ancient Hindu temples–how can I say no to that?), which my parents aren’t happy about because it’s not the safest area for US citizens. I just want to make good use of that vacation time, but I’m really worried it’s too late.
  • However, I’m going to Okinawa next Saturday! I’ll be there for three nights, and a day after returning, Julie and I are making our way to meet (southie) Sara and her friend in South Korea for five days.

I’m really going to miss being able to dance during dusk in near-anonymity on train platforms to the music on my mp3 player, only to be stopped when the beam of the approaching train breaks through the evening’s shadow. It’s at that point that my innate self-consciousness reclaims a bit of control, though more often than not, particularly if I walk south and catch a train on the rarely-traveled local line, the conductor and the handful of passengers aren’t paying attention to me at all. It’s a small thrill I’ve come to enjoy after long walks, where I walk a long distance and then catch a train home.

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