Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Today I didn't even have to use my AK....

gotta say it was a good day! Aww yeah, Ice Cube in the hizouse dropping it old school. ;P

So yeah, today was pretty good for various asundry reasons which I shall attempt to expound upon shortly, but first a quick comment: I think I fixed it so you don't have to sign up to comment anymore, so you can post under anonymous. I'd love to hear from people... whether through this site or skype.

And so, continuing on...

1) Weird as it may seem, today was the first Wednesday since I arrived here more than a month ago (week 7 by my count) that it did not rain. I didn't realize the streak was running until a fellow JET pointed it out to me the other week, but it's true! So yeah, beautiful day today, which is good since I've been riding a bike to work for the past 2 weeks or so. Riding a bike uphill carrying an umbrella = not fun.

2) Today was the first time I did a school visit, which was oodles of fun. From now on I'll go to the local elementary schools in rotation once a week to teach cultural understanding classes. I think it's a great idea since not only do kids get used to the fact that Japanese nationals aren't the only ones that speak Japanese and get to interact with a foreigner (that's me!), but it also shows them that learning English and international exchange are two seperate things. Sure, learning English is a step towards interacting with many people outside Japan, but it's only part of the big picture. Cultural awareness is something that's useful even to those that don't have a desire to travel abroad since it helps them get a broader perspective on the world and helps to break down some of the stereotypes that people hold onto around here. Some of the teachers fall into that mindset (international exchange = learning English), so it's good to get to show them a different perspective. That, and if I'm talking culture I can teach them a lot more in a shorter period in their language.

This time around was more of a self intro type thing with a little Maryland talk spackled in there, next time around they want me to talk about Halloween. I have some other ideas that I'll toss their way later, like greeting customs from around the world and what it's like to be a foreigner in Japan and stuff. Must... warp... fragile little minds! In a good way, of course - I love making people think outside the box.

3) Not only did I sort out another piece of the puzzle in getting mobile, but I also got to go shopping for whiskey. For work. I bought 10 bottles and need to get about 15 more before all is said and done, but today I was only buying the ones that were cheaper than the prices I saw online... every 20th of the month is 5% off day at the discount liquor store! I'm holding off on the car story until it's all done... shouldn't be too much longer now. More on the liquor once the time is right as well. Oh hey, and props to Rob Fairbairn for his wiki-like omniscience on the topic of scotch - my boss was very impressed and wishes you could be here as my guest speaker. ;P

4) I got to meet up with my Japanese tutor again who absolutely rules. He's this old retired guy who is doing it for fun, but he's quick to correct me if I say something wrong and I adore him for it. Today he busted out print outs of all our emails and pointed out all the areas that weren't natural sounding, then walked me through a slew of handouts on all the different sections of the test I'm studying for so he could guage my weak points. He says that I'm the first non-Chinese person he's taught, which was actually about his only worry when being introduced to me as a student since he can speak Chinese but is very rusty with English, which means he doesn't speak it at all. He actually told me that I'm at a higher level then his previous students as well, which I found surprising. Most of the Chinese exchange students I used to run into were way above my level, and I know that the Japanese ability standards for Chinese doing my job are higher than they are for Westerners - I don't believe I would have made the cut if I were Chinese.

So yeah, I think we're mutually amused by each other. He loves the fact that I want to not only pass this test I've been studying for (JLPT level 1, same one I barely failed last year), but also that I have aspirations of trudging on to even loftier goals, which he has said he'll be more than glad to help me achieve.

5) Finally, I heard some guy named Abe got named the new something or other today... oh yeah - Prime Minister, that's it! I guess that's a big deal or something, but the guy he's replacing had cool hair and did Elvis impressions on his last Presidential visit, so that's a tough act to follow. Maybe he could trying dressing up like "the Fonz" or something. Ladies love the Fonz.

1 comment:

george said...

I'd really prefer to read the word "spackled" less often in your compositions. Hmmm how can I put this delicately.... It evokes unpleasant imagery of poorly maintained public toilets.