Long weekend

I got three “gaikokujin da!”-type comments, all from little kids, in the space of 3 days–one on Wednesday, when leaving my elementary school, and two on Saturday, one at the Kawashima Community Center and one at the Ishii McDonald’s. I’d never gotten a single one before, and then out of the blue, three! And the second one–whew. Bessie and I had arrived at the Community Center for musical practice, where Joe and Jordan came down to meet us, and as we went up the stairs, we passed these kids who were leaving with their mothers. One boy was talking to Joe–evidently about his hat–but then he looked at me, I smiled and said hello, and he SHRIEKED, and started screaming, “Gaikokujin no hito! Gaikokujin da!”

We think it was my hair. I hadn’t gotten a chance to blow-dry it that morning, so it was pretty frizzy and poofy, and it gave me away, in this land of petite, flat-haired young women.

So it’s been a busy 4 days–on Wednesday night I headed into the city to crash at Tracy’s place, where I met her friend Mari. Thursday and Friday were the Tokushima Mid-Year Conference, and every single JET ALT in the ken was there, so I finally was able to put more names to faces and meet some new people. Julie and Bessie came to also stay at Tracy’s place Thursday night, and we all ended up staying overnight Friday as well. I was going to go home Friday evening and freshen up and get my stuff together before the musical rehearsal and Burns’ Supper, but it would’ve been too much hassle, and we were out really late on Friday night anyway, having a night on the town. (I finally went to Ingrid’s new karaoke place, which is seriously much nicer than her old one was–it’s amazing how good she is with names, because I’ve barely ever talked to her but she’s so awesome to me whenever we do talk.)

The musical…it was my first rehearsal, and it was a blast. We’re doing Peter Pan this year. I, like many others, have a bit part, as the Anime Otaku Lost Kid, so I get to throw around fun anime references and probably do silly stuff on stage. At the read/walk-through in Kawashima, not everyone was there, so I got to read for Captain Hook, and that was a lot of fun. I was trying to channel a bit of Bloth because I’m a dork.

And Burns’ Supper was a lot of fun, too–good poetry, good company, good food (Christine, Kirsten, Noam, and I all went in on makings for sandwiches…there was also pasta, mashed potatoes, and a good spread of veg-friendly food, including vegetarian haggis!)…we introduced everyone to the wonders of Duck Missile, and the Miyoshi-gun folks made our own Scottish contribution by singing “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles).” I read a Shel Silverstein poem. We stayed up pretty late, just hanging out.

And I came back today and conked out for 3 hours under my kotatsu. I’m still exhausted.

It was good, though–I got to see a lot of people I usually don’t hang out with…Tracy, Bessie, Christine, Kirsten, Rob, Christian (briefly), Noam, Andrew D., Brittany, Ben and Julia, Kelly, Diane, Jeff, and a bunch of others.

I also think that I’ve decided to stay a second year. I think. Not 100% there, and I have under 2 weeks left to decide, but…yeah. We’ll see. A lot of people are leaving, and it’ll be so strange when summer comes around and those of us staying will be left to act as “the knowledgeable ones”–I’ll be the only veteran ALT in Ikeda, so I’ll be assuming Lindsay’s “big sister” position, too. But maybe it’ll make us realize that we know more than we think, and since the beginning of this year was just too hectic to get all my stuff together to start applying for grad programs, if I start early, I’ll be right on track for fall of 2007. I’m meeting Louise in Tokyo for a weekend next month so we can both take the GRE–I’ve got a lot of hard-core vocab-cramming to do for that, but it’ll give me something to keep my mind sharp.

All right, I should go do chores and eat something and drag myself through the laziness into a semi-functional state now…

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