Strange stuff

Yesterday was the big Thanksgiving feast in Kawashima–a lot of fun, and it was great getting to see people from the east and south that we Westies so rarely meet up with. There was plenty of vegetarian fare–the stuffing was divine.

I took a train in with Julie and Ellie yesterday, and a couple of stops before ours, a guy came by to punch our tickets. I’d stowed my bag on the shelf overhead, so I stood up to get it, and as I was pulling it down (I was at that point where I knew I wasn’t completely balanced), the train pitched to one side, and I let out a slight, “Oh,” and went toppling backwards and crashed to the floor. Everyone was staring, and the ticket guy was simultaneously flustered/concerned/trying hard not to laugh…thankfully, the only thing hurt was my pride. It made for a good laugh all around, at least.

We also had a carousing game of charades, where I ended up with some random movie I’d never heard of, and Katie (scorekeeper) let me know it was a p.orn movie, and I blurted, “I am NOT acting that out!” And completely randomly, despite my doing nothing but standing there and looking flustered, Elliot just lazily dashed off the name (Debbie Does Dallas, maybe?), out of absolutely nowhere. So it worked out in the end, at least.

The weird thing about the day was that it was a midweek holiday, so we had to duck out to catch a 9:40 train that put us back out west around an hour later, so we could get to sleep early enough and make it into work. I was really tired and out of it for no good reason today, though, despite getting to sleep in a bit because I didn’t have to be anywhere till 9 AM. I actually drank 3 cups of coffee in the afternoon before finally coming out of it a little bit…it was crazy.

Another weird thing about today…I get to Horse Street Elementary nearly an hour before my class due to the bus schedule. This is the school with the principal I have a really good relationship with and who’s regularly invited me to bring my violin in and play for everyone. For a while I’d just go sit in her office and hang out there until I could go to class, but since there have been special visitors to the school, she’s had me sit at her desk in the teachers’ room instead, so I’ve just been doing that lately and chatting with the other teachers. For whatever reason, though, today we hung out in her office and talked for a bit, before she actually invited me to go back to the teachers’ room and chat with the other teachers. In essence, she was kicking me out of her office. It was just sort of strange all around…if she had guests coming, she could have just asked me to sit in the teachers’ room to begin with. But on top of that, she also followed me into the teachers’ room and hovered over the teachers and actually asked them to talk with me. I don’t know if I was acting strangely or something…I ended up chatting with the vice principal, who came in after the principal finished hovering, and I’m pretty sure the principal asked her to chat with me while they were in the hall.

There’s also another teacher who sits on the end of that row–well, I think she’s a teacher, or maybe she’s the school secretary (actually, she probably is, come to think of it); she’s just 3 years older than me and we chat every time I come to that school, so I do look forward to seeing her every week. It’s cute–we have the same cellphone, and she has a Toy Story desktop wallpaper, and I have a cellphone charm of one of the green 3-eyed aliens from Toy Story (yay, ¥100 store!), so that was pretty cool. She also checks out my Flickr account regularly now and is really interested in looking at my photos, and she shows them to the other teachers–the principal was asking me about a couple of them today.

And actually, even more weirdness…about 20 minutes before my class, suddenly we heard this rumbling, and the windows above the sliding doors leading to the rest of the school started to shake. Everyone looked around at each other in alarm and wondered if it was an earthquake (which would make it my first)–I looked outside, though, and the kids were still playing in the yard, plus I hadn’t actually felt a vibration in the ground…but it wasn’t a helicopter that caused it, because we would’ve heard it.

I really should get to sleep…I have my final 2 eikaiwa classes of the year (all the Miyoshi-gun ALTs are canceling our classes so we can go Christmas caroling at our junior highs and the Hashikura special needs school, and I’ll be in India after that, and then it’s one holiday after another), as well as my 5th and final class for the semester at Three Ropes Elementary (this class is so behind, poor things–I have other classes that have met 10 or 11 times!)…the last class I had there was a Halloween party, so I’m torn between planning something fulfilling or just having them have fun with English and western culture. I’m pretty sure the latter will win out. And right after work, I have to run home, get changed, grab my violin, and run to the train station so I can meet Andy and carpool with him into the city for Open Mic Night at Bell’s Bar, where there’s a grand total of four acts. Great! I’ll probably go first, since people will have a higher tolerance for non-rock music when they’re sober. I’ll be bringing my camera and having friends take photos of me playing, so hopefully a few of them will come out okay enough for me to post them somewhere…I’ve actually been wanting to bug one of my photographer friends to photograph me with my violin for a while now.

Oh, and today…well, now yesterday, since it’s past midnight, was my 4-month anniversary of arriving in Japan. One-third of the way there! Recontracting is sounding a little less daunting, now that I realize how quickly the time’s going to go…plus, it means 20 more vacation days next year, which I can use to properly go volcano-watching as well as do more international travel, maybe back to the US. Anyway, we’ll see–still almost 2 1/2 months till I have to decide either way.

(Ethan–30-35 minutes. ;o))

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