I just had a really, really great workout, which consisted of walking around Ikeda for 2-3 hours. Specifically, I walked west on the 192, across the Yoshinogawa (River–redundancy #1; kawa/gawa = “river”) via the Ikeda Ohashi (Bridge–redundancy #2; hashi/bashi = “bridge”), past my junior high school, back across the Yoshinogawa via the Miyoshi Bashi (Bridge–redundancy #3), and back. I’ve been sitting so often lately (sitting at my desk at the community center, or at my desk at the junior high, or at a random desk in the teachers’ room or principal’s office of any of my elementary schools, or on the bus or train, or on cushions on my floor) that I just had to get out and walk around, and the weather’s still unseasonably warm, which lent itself really well to my spending time outside. The leaves are finally beginning to change colors, so I snapped quite a few photos of the surrounding mountains. I wanted to take photos of the town, but that can happen another day.

Right as I started my trip, I happened to pass in front of a kimono store owned by 2 of my eikaiwa students–the husband is in my beginners class and the wife is in my intermediate class. They invited me inside to look around, and the wife brought me upstairs to show me their kimono show/storeroom, which was quite stunning. (Mom and Dad–she asked me to bring you by the store when you come, so she can show you different garments as well.) It turns out this store is over 80 years old, and was started by the husband’s grandfather. When I came downstairs, they presented me with a gift: a drawstring purse made out of indigo-dyed cloth (denim?), with a butterfly on the front. It’s really beautiful, and it was completely unexpected and very generous of them to do so.

So now I’m back, and just resting for a bit before I figure out what to do for dinner, and whether or not I have to hike down to the video store to return stuff today, or whether they’re due tomorrow.

Lindsay did all my dishes last night, apparently in return for my helping her move a trundle bed up and down 3 flights of stairs (her mom was here and needed to use it), and apparently because she just likes doing other people’s dishes on occasion.

This weekend I’m here alone. There’s a camping trip in Iya, which I was going to go on, but I backed out a few days ago because of my head cold. Lindsay’s there, though, and Hannah’s in Osaka, so it’s just a quiet evening on my own. I’m watching Contact (hahaha, “Viva Las Vega”…and why does Michael Kitz keep staring unblinkingly at Ellie?…and Hadden went to Georgia Tech! “Once upon a time, I was a hell of an engineer”–so great), which is one of my favorite movies of all time–I rented it last weekend and have to return it today, but hadn’t watched it before now. (I also rented Return of the Jedi this week–the 1995 pre-Special Edition version, of course, because I don’t consider anything after that to be canon :P–and watched it a couple of times, on my own and with Lindsay. This was my first post-ROTS viewing, and now that the story has been completed, this film is a lot more powerful and there are so many subtle elements that have a completely new meaning or dimension to them. And the ending…just…wow. I do have to admit, though, I almost was craving an older version of Hayden Christensen instead of Sebastian Shaw, to give it more closure–an older version, not the smirking version on the DVD. But anyway. I could write a long essay on ROTJ alone, or an even longer one on characterizations throughout the 6-film saga (haha, masters thesis topic! I wish…), but neither of those would fit the scope of this journal, so I’ll hold off.

All right, that’s all for now…I’m most likely taking the GRE in Osaka next weekend (whew–3 hours on a bus to take a 4-hour test, only to take another 3-hour bus back). I also have a lot of lesson planning to do–West Mountain Shougakkou would like me to do double-length lessons for all the classes I teach there in November, except that I’m doing four classes at West Mountain in November (as opposed to every other week, to make up for having no classes there in October or December), meaning I’m going to have to plan ahead by at least 4 lessons. I also definitely need to catch up on uploading all my photos, because I have a lot to edit and put up, as well as creating sets of the images that are already there.

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