I remembered, firsthand, exactly how potent friendly guilt trips as delivered by cheery, merry, jolly elderly Japanese men (namely, my landlord) are. Ouch.
So, in regards to that last post…I’m not so down anymore. I still am seriously considering going home, though, unless I happen upon a really good travel deal elsewhere and a willing travelmate. My plans to go to Sydney, Australia for Golden Week with Louise have fallen through for sure (we’ll spend a few days hanging out here and going around Shikoku, and we may go up to Tokyo for a weekend after that), so right now I have nothing going on this summer before the new ALTs come in and my duties as one of the AJET officers kick in.
So today at work, I got bored and starting writing up a summary of the last 7 days…
Thursday: shougakkou graduation #2, my Monday-morning school, with 4 graduates; I knew 3 of them quite well but the 4th was the Phantom 12th Student who never, ever showed up to school/class, so I’d never seen him before
– rode back with the new kyouikuiinkai kacho–had never talked to him before, outside of introducing myself when he first started working here a few weeks ago, but he’s a nice guy and knows quite a bit about Atlanta–besides Braves/Olympics/Gone With The Wind, he knows Jimmy Carter/Ray Charles/Augusta golf masters!
Friday: the kacho left today’s graduation (the first of my two Thursday-morning elementary schools) before I could get a ride, so another BOE staffer I’d never talked to before (though he’s been working there since before I came to Japan) picked me up…got a teacher’s corsage and ROSES at this ceremony! And one of those numerous baskets of violets they have everywhere as ceremony decoration
Saturday: Wakimachi show (final of our 5 musical shows)–met up with Julie, lunch at La Tavola, caught a train and Christine picked us up from Anabuki Station and we were among the first to arrive–really gorgeous traditional hall, put up a bunch of my photos
– messing with spotlight–Jordan dancing around to intermission music in multicolored light–Saori doing her intro during our runthrough and either Rory or Elliott trying to sneak out from behind the curtain and ending up right in the light–Rory trying to creep down the ramp, but they had the light follow him
– flying–Jordan & co. taking out the window curtains!
– meeting Claire’s newborn daughter Sofie!
– FORGOT to put on my glasses, which were resting on top of my head, when I got onstage–remembered after a few minutes, but then they kept falling off!
– everyone really hamming it up for the final show (I feel guilty that I didn’t have 100% focus/give it my all that time)
– very awesome and receptive audience, packed theater, laughing at ALL the right times instead of just some–even the constantly-tanking “performance anxiety” line got a few laughs! (probably from the numerous ALTs present.)
– the caravan of 15 cars from Wakimachi all the way to the Mino bungalows for the after-party was fun–loved the look of fear on the Sunkus cashiers’ faces–loved being able to screw with the minds of some Japanese guys who were chuckling (in Japanese), “Whoa, check out the Americans, huh-huh-huh…they were born in a foreign country, huh-huh-huh…California…” as if it was the funniest thing, so I went (in Japanese), “Actually, we aren’t from California,” and they just froze and stared, and I went, “You did say California, right?” and they just kept staring and I grinned, and Elliott and I kind of gloated about how we can totally understand even when they think we can’t
– really let exhaustion/burnout get to me, and though this is completely out of character for me and I feel kind of ashamed for acting/feeling this way, I honestly was really hurt that I only got a bare minimum of recognition for the playbill when the thank-yous were being said at the after-party and Jamie got a ton of applause for the poster (thank you for thinking of me, Julia)…I’m okay now, but I wasn’t so okay that night…didn’t really enjoy the party, was one of the first to go to sleep (at 2:30 AM)
Sunday: was going to ride with Kirsten to the closest train station, but she was really tired and I got the sense that she just wanted to go home and not drive me…ended up riding with Christian, who kindly took me to Anabuki station–it hit me that we’ve never hung out solo, and it would be cool to hang out with him again, particularly back in the US when he’s in far more comfortable environs than these
– went home (a train came in 15 minutes after he dropped me off, conveniently enough), called Hamza and talked for a long time–first time in MONTHS!! got really homesick/miserable
– totally forgot about choir practice for the Beethoven (in June our town’s putting on the Ode to Joy with the Tokyo Philharmonic–they’re not letting people play with the orchestra, unfortunately, but the choir is made up of townspeople and I’ve wanted to get involved; my JTE is singing in it and my junior high music teacher’s helping with organization/conducting)
Monday: my JTE asked why I couldn’t come, oops–she and the music teacher told me the next rehearsal’s the following MONDAY, so I’ll totally go
– was social!
– found out that our farewell enkai for teachers who are being transferred to different schools is this Friday night
– looked around online, found deals for Australia, messaged Louise, who asked if she could maybe come see me this weekend–I told her yes immediately and messaged Mat to cancel on LOTR
– later I kept feeling uneasy, the more I thought about how much effort Mat had put into ensuring veg food would be available…left Louise a msg asking if she could come in several weeks, e-mailed Mat to apologize
Tuesday: Day Of Slack–caught 8:28 express to Tokushima–wanted to find the bagel place Jenna and I had gone to but couldn’t, so had a super-expensive breakfast at Cha-Cha (cinnamon french toast–with vanilla ice cream!–and iced cafe mocha), then went to Uniqlo, found Mod’s Hair, hung out at TOPIA and read some Calvin/Hobbes till I had to go, went for my haircut (the scalp massage was niiice) but didn’t get the discount the other JETs have gotten, had lunch at Masala (veg curry with aloo naan), went to Muji and ran into Claire and Sofie, we went to the Sogo basement together, then she showed me around a bit and walked with me out to the smaller Rica-Oh (surprisingly little there), then we parted ways and I headed back to get a snack (Willie Winkie’s) and catch my train to meet Ben and Julia–the concert was AWESOME, the best I’ve seen in quite some time! (improv/jazz cello by Kikkawa Yoshihiro; absolutely stunning)–then, back to Minami Komatsushima Station…next train not for an hour, so they decided to take me to the city! had dinner at Big Brothers, then headed back to Ikeda on the last train–Julia and Ben are so wonderful.
Uniqlo: 3 pairs of toe socks, tanktop, “cardigan,” fleece
Muji: 2 bowls, 2 plates, shoulder bag (big enough to hold my Japanese textbook and some binders, but not as mammoth as my khaki bag), planner
Sogo basement: Campbell’s soup–tomato and cream of mushroom, and 6 bagels! 2 plain, 2 cranberry, 2 cinnamon raisin
Rica-oh: white cheddar cheese
Wednesday: back to work–Louise messaged me saying that she finally snapped after talking to her ex, and was booking a last-minute trip home! So that, + “well, she can’t afford to travel for Golden Week now, so…” + wanting to nail down how I’m getting to Mat’s and coordinating the enkai + lack of internet at work = STIRCRAZY. still no word from Mat. talked to Louise on the phone for about an hour (she’s going home ON FRIDAY). but we’re just touring Shikoku for GW now, maybe up to Hiroshima for a day. bummed about no AU and no volcanoes, but I have 1 more year!
today: studied Japanese for much of the day. ducked out after lunch to “go to the bank” (e.g., buy my train tickets for the weekend in case I wouldn’t have time to use my Young Weekender Card Friday, and run to the ¥100 store and buy notecards (and ran into a bunch of my Monday-morning kids there! They were all thrilled to see me–it was so sweet. The vice-principal was sort of teaching them the principles of shopping, I think)) and spent the afternoon making cards out of half the kanji in my textbook. Naoko dropped off photos from Lindsay’s farewell enkai. Chatted a bit with the preschool teacher who comes in occasionally, who I’m pretty sure is my age. I picked up my new sleeping bag from Daiki Home Center. Confirmed weekend details with Mat, and talked a bit more about Golden Week with Louise. Had burritos for dinner…mmm, burritos. (Laura will understand.)
And speaking of weekend details…straight after work tomorrow, I have to run home, and my JTE’s (very kindly going out of her way and) picking me up at 5 for our 5:30 farewell enkai, which I can only stay at for under an hour. Just before 6:30 I’m catching a bus to get me back to Ikeda, and with any luck I’ll have time to run home, change into jeans, grab my overnight stuff, and run for my 7:30 train, since this weekend is the Lord of the Rings marathon and subsequent Kamikatsu sightseeing day with Mat and company.
This was rambling and disjointed and all over the place–just wanted to have some documentation of what’s been going on, though! I most likely won’t get to write again for a few days, so I’ll be back in several days.