Sunday, April 30, 2006

Love actually is...all around

  1. Today, I had a very good day. At about 9:50 Richard came over. He was followed by David T and his friend Koji around 10. Then a bit after 10, Popcorn arrived. We chatted here for a few then headed out. To begin the day, we went to Yoko’s “mysterious and beautiful place.” She was right about both of those things. I wish I had had a camera today. It was called Namegawa Gorge. The specific place we went there was called “The Dragon’s Stomach.” How amazing! It really might have been the single most beautiful place I’ve been in Japan. It was so green. I really felt like I was in the forest of the forest spirit like in Princess Mononoke. It was AMAZINGLY beautiful.
  2. After that, we headed to Matsuyama to see a movie. We saw V for Vendetta, which I highly recommend. I don’t think Yoko enjoyed it as much as us, because the humor doesn’t translate into Japanese. But, it was a great film! Go see it! After the movie, we did some purikura, of course!
  3. Then we went to The Dragonfly Café and got some drinks and pizza. Then, we came back to Tanbara cuz Koji and David had to be back to meet people. When they went back to Niihama, Yoko, Richard, and I hung out for a long time. We went to eat yakiniku, which was delicious as always. Then we rented movies.
  4. We watched 28 Days Later tonight, which was JUST as scary the second time around. Luckily for me, Mom called during the film, so I got to miss the scariest parts. Thank you Mom!
  5. Tonight after playing with Ocha, I’m going to watch Love Actually and go to sleep. Today was just the day I needed to help lift my spirits. They aren’t back to normal yet, but today helped keep my mind feeling good. Thank you to my wonderful friends!

Saturday, April 29, 2006

You can’t hear it, but I do.

  1. A little over a week ago, one of my best friends had a death in the family. The person who passed away was basically her father for most of her life. When I got the email telling me about it, I immediately began writing to her. But, as anyone who knows me well, knows that I am very bad with words. I am especially bad when something terrible like this happens. So, I’ve basically been writing this email for over a week, changing it every day. I wanted to say something comforting and helpful to her, but I found that I just didn’t know what to say. It’s been worrying me. I knew that I needed to send it out sooner rather than later, but I just couldn’t because I didn’t feel like what I had was big and helpful and good enough. But then, last night I had a dream about her. I met her in my dream at the funeral, and I couldn’t speak to her. In my dream, she told me that she understands, but that she needs to hear something from me and soon. When I woke up today, I immediately looked at what I had written down, changed it a little bit, and sent it away. It’s nothing huge or spectacular… but it says the important things. I love her, I am here for her (even so far away), and that I’ve been thinking of her.
  2. Today, I have mostly stayed at home. I was going to spend my time cleaning, but I’m really just not up for it right now. Instead, I went to the grocery store and picked up a few things to bake with. I am making pumpkin bread and peanut butter cups for tomorrow. I hope they will turn out to be culinary delights for me and my friends.
  3. Tomorrow, I am going out with Yoko, Richard, David T, and David T’s friend. First, we are going to visit Yoko’s “mysterious and beautiful” spot. Then, we will go see V is for Vendetta. Perhaps after that, some shopping will happen, but with so many boys in the crew, I’m not so sure on that. :o) After the way I’ve been feeling lately, I think this fun day out will be very good for me.
  4. I just tried a piece of my pumpkin bread. It’s delicious! Yay!!

Friday, April 28, 2006

April 28, 2006 (I didn't make it home in time for Friday)

  1. Today during lunch, the students played Nickelback. Ugh. Why would they do that to meeeee??? Why oh why?? I think it was Nickelback, anyway. If not them, then one of those bands like that. They all sound the same anyway. Not a good thing, but funny and surprising.
  2. My lessons today weren’t spectacular, but they weren’t bad. The students seemed to enjoy themselves pretty much, so that’s good. The 1-nensei really enjoyed playing pictionary. A lot. So, that was fun. Everyone wanted to draw on the chalkboard.
  3. Last night, I went to bed a little early, and I’m glad for it. I slept very well and feel much better today. I woke up an hour earlier than my alarm, so I had a little time to chat with my brothers before heading to school.s
  4. My hair is cute today, and I’ve had numerous compliments on it. It’s nice. Maybe I will try and look nicer sometimes, when I don’t wake up 15 minutes before I have to leave. :o)
  5. Tonight, I was only home for a little bit. Then, I met Richard and Duncan for dinner. Then I went and tried to buy a new camera… but that didn’t work as the one I wanted doesn’t have an English option… and then I went over to John’s apartment. Raul, John, Richard (for a while), and I all chatted about stuff. Raul and John got into a big debate over Supersize Me. Really, for over and hour prolly on it, just going in circles. Well, that’s what happens when two very opinionated people are put together. :o) It was cool, though. Raul drank, but wasn’t drunk, John got happy, and I got tipsy. Woot. Richard drank basically nothing. Hehe

Thursday, April 27, 2006

She wanted to be a cowboy.

  1. I feel a bit better today, I guess. I’ve been up and down. Last night I was down, and then up, and then down again. I don’t know. I feel pretty ok right now, though. Not tip top, but not so bad. Well, I am still up and down. Down now, hopefully up later.
  2. Today I had 2 3-nensei lessons. I have learned that I truly hate another of my students. I wish I was only elementary school. Some of the students here are such assholes. But, I know. They are 14 year old boys. Almost all 14 year old boys suck.
  3. I watched a “Best of Whose Line is it Anyway?” today. I couldn’t help but laugh. Hitotsuyanagi-sensei asked me if I was having a good experience. Yep. It’s good no one could see that I was watching TV. I wonder what they think I was laughing at. But anyway, it was pretty hilarious. Kinda naughty in parts, tho. I may still show it in English club. It’s rainy today, so we may watch it or a movie rather than do anything real or productive. Dunno yet.
  4. I’ve decided that today is an Aretha Day. Those days are necessary sometimes. The song The Weight is so amazing. It’s my favorite song by her. Oh, it just turned into a Lisa Loeb day.
  5. This is not a good thing, but it’s worth mentioning. I have been having cigarette cravings lately. I’ve not smoked one in ages. I don’t know why I’m craving them right now. And it’s not just a small craving. It’s a hardcore one. I don’t know why. (edit. It’s now about 12 hours later. The craving is mostly gone-ish. . . but not fully).
  6. My student, Yasuyuki(one of the ones that I like), is reading The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. I’m so impressed with him. His English is perhaps the best in the school. He’s very funny, though. Because he’s still learning and whatnot, he is VERY blunt. It’s refreshing, though. He’s very honest, all the time. “Yasuyuki, did you like that game.” “No.” Hehe or “Yasuyuki, would you like some help weeding the garden [during cleaning time]?” “No. I do it alone.” Hehe. He’s a good kid. I totally appreciate the fact that there is ONE person in this school who will always give me an honest and forthright opinion.
  7. Today’s weather cleared up, so for English Club we took a trip to a shrine nearby the school. It’s called Kumyoji Temple and it is beautiful! I wish I had my camera; I would’ve taken a ton of photos of it. After our mini ensoku, I felt lots better. I still don’t feel up to par, really. But, well, oh well. I’ll get over it.
  8. Tonight, I took a long bath. Back in September, David gave me a gift of some bath fizzies. It was this huge blue ball with lavender bits in it. Tonight, I used it. I was saving it until a day that I needed it. Today was that day. It was so nice. I loved having the billion bits of lavender floating around in the tub. Thank you, David.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I believed for a moment that my chances were approaching to be grabbed

  1. I had a dream about going to an arcade and playing Skeeball with Melo, Em, Jenna, Greg, John B, and the other members of the crew. It was amazing! I even won a prize!
  2. I watched 3 episodes of Whose Line is it Anyway? Instead of doing work this morning. I did lots of work yesterday, so I think I deserved it, ne? :oD Woo! That show is so funny! I’m going to download more tonight when I get home, I think.
  3. I had my Japanese lesson today. I wasn’t in the mood for it, but my teacher is so rad. I love her to death. I’ll put a pic of us on flickr tonight, so you can see her. She is very, very small. Bless!
  4. Tonight, I am going to go to sleep very early. I will watch a movie and then go to sleep. I’m not really feeling myself this evening, so I think it’s best for me to fall asleep early. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll wake up refreshed and much happier. Gnite.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Don’t tell your gods you no longer believe, because as soon as you say it out loud they will leave you.

  1. Whoops! I accidentally deleted my yesterday’s Daily Happy! Whoopsies! It’s ok. It was lots of me trying to make a good situation out of a bad one. I’m just a bit (a lot) unsatisfied with my job right now.) I guess it’s really just as well that you all don’t have to read all that crap. So maybe that’s a good thing for today. :o)
  2. Last night for dinner and this morning for breakfast, I hate Mac n Cheese. It was delicious both times.
  3. Last night I went to ikebana (flower arranging) with Duncan, Richard, and Kana. If I do say so, my arrangement was the best. :oD muahahaha! It was very pretty. If I hadn’t had a camera mishap, I would’ve taken a picture of it.
  4. I think I’m gonna buy the stuff to do Ikebana in my apartment. I really, really enjoy it. I am going to start going regularly. I am going next week. It’s just so calming, and the Ikebana teacher is a sweet, yet silly, old lady.
  5. Tonight I went grocery shopping and discovered that there really isn’t anything I wanted to buy, even though I don’t have any groceries hardly at all in my apartment. I did end up buying some fruit and veg and cereal. My new diet. Bananas and cereal, mostly. Hehe
  6. At work today, I planned a few lessons for the upcoming weeks. It feels good to have some stuff taken care of so I don’t have to worry about it.
  7. I did Pilates last night and tonight. 2 nights in a row, and my body says “NO!” to more squats. Hehe.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Oh no! Where do we go from here? Up up up!

  1. In my 2-nensei lesson today, we did a mix and matcher person draw. Some of the boys were drawing…inappropriate things. I don’t really care, though. They are teenage boys. I wasn’t surprised to say the least.
  2. I feel lots better today. I think I’m almost all better. Is it bad, though, that I wished I’d been sick today and tomorrow, just to miss school. There was no way I could miss Friday, as sick as I was; I had to come no matter what.
  3. I don’t understand my school. Some of the students kick ass. For example, a few of the 1-nensei girls always say hello and talk to me. But on the other hand, lots of the 2 and 3-nensei suck hardcore. I don’t get it. I absolutely don’t understand why they don’t like me so much. I know they are early teenagers, and for the most part, teenagers suck. Really, the good thing about this one is that being here makes me appreciate being home so much more. Here, I am always stared at and treated as a complete outsider. Back home, I am someone, not just a weird gaijin. I really look forward to leaving Tanbara. But, I don’t want to leave my friends here. They are such good people! Yoko is so cool. I will definitely miss her a lot.
  4. p.s. I hate my job. I can’t wait to come home. Today is gardening day. But, did anyone feel the need to tell me? Nope. So, I wore a skirt today, thinking I’d try to look nice. And now Kyoto-sensei is giving me mean looks cuz I’m not going out to garden with everyone. This is why so many ALTs hate their jobs, like I hate mine. We aren’t important at all. And we can’t read memos and whatnot, if they even give them to us. Then, when something happens, it’s apparently our fault for not being able to decipher the weekly schedule. Bah. But, if it was really all that important that I participate, they would tell me about it (possibly, not definitely not certainly) Good news: I only have 3 more months until my contract is over.
  5. Today in English Club, since Duncan isn’t coming, I think I’m going to see if the girls want to go do something, like take a walk or ride to Toyo to play. … (edit: Kasumi wasn’t there today, so it was just Ayaka and me. We played with clay and listened to music.)
  6. While everyone was out gardening, I was re-doing my resume. It looks pretty nice, if you ask me.
  7. Tonight I ate Mac n Cheese for dinner! YUM YUM YUM!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

And Mr. Bingley. Do you think he's in love?

  1. Last night was pretty good. For a while, I was worried cuz Yoko was the only Japanese person there, but then a huge pack of Japanese girls showed up. It was cool. Uhm, it was kinda a weird party. No one got really drunk. I only has 1 chu-hi. After being sick, I wasn’t in the mood to drink, really. And Yoko drove cuz it was raining, so she only had tea. After hanging at Richard’s place for a while, we went to Kana’s mom’s karaoke bar. It was really smoky. After being sick, I think I was really sensitive to the smoke, cuz I actually lost my voice while singing Sk8r Boi with Yoko. It completely went and didn’t come back until much later. I think overall it was an ok night. It was good to hang out with people and stuff, though. So that’s good. I think I would’ve had lots more fun if I wasn’t still kinda sick. Hehe. I guess that does tend to put a damper on things.
  2. Today at lunchtime, Yoko is coming over. We’re gonna eat lunch and watch Bridget Jones’ Diary and craft. I am going to work on my shawl some more. I swear one day I’m gonna finish the damn thing.
  3. I played Sims for hours and hours yesterday morning. It was so cool!
  4. Today I played with Yoko and Madoka. We went to Tsutaya (we rented the Japanese Bridget Jones’ Diary so we could have Japanese subtitles) and Marunaka to buy food for lunch. It turns out that there is a new coffee shop in Toyo that has BAGELS! Wow! Amazing! So we had wiener, tomato, and avocado bagels for lunch. Delicious! We came back, cooked, ate, watched Bridget Jones. After the movie, Yoko and I crafted while Madoka played with the spiral thingie Emily gave me. We watched Milo & Otis and Tonari no Totoro while crafting and playing. Then, Yoko and I showed The Death of Emily Ward and The Tanbara 5’Somes to Madoka. She was so scared during Emily Ward! She screamed at the end. Hehe. Bless her!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Tonari dooshi anata to atashi sakuranbo

  1. I feel lots better today. I went to sleep last night at 9:30! I woke up at just about 7am! No nap today, so tonight I’ll be super tired.
  2. My old Kyoto-sensei’s wife brought be a box of sweets today! Just because! She knocked on my door, and I was wondering who she was… But then I remembered her. It was so sweet! She told me to tell David hello for her. Hehe. Bless!
  3. I’ve almost completely learned Sakuranbo by Ai Otsuka for karaoke. Woo woo!
  4. I cleaned the apartment this morning AND went grocery shopping!
  5. I am going out to dinner with Yoko at 7, then we are heading to Richard’s party in Toyo. I don’t know how late Ill be able to be out tonight, but it’s fun to do stuff. :o)

Sorry I’m so brief tonight. I am rushing to learn this song. I don’t know if karaoke is in the plan for the night, but just in case, it’s fun to sing new songs.

Friday, April 21, 2006

As soon as you say your ideas out loud, then they can go and live on their own without you.

Even though I feel absolutely horrible today, my classes haven’t been crap. I’m surprised.

  1. Last night at just around midnight, I got a call from David! Talking to him on the phone is so rare, I was so happy! I still am super happy that I got to hear his voice. For me, at least, that 300 yen to call for just a few minutes was well-spent.
  2. In spite of the fact that today I feel even WORSE than yesterday, my 4 classes went well. I thought I was going to die during them today. Luckily, Toda-sensei is super helpful. When I told him I was ill, he said he’s take care of some of the lesson. And he did. Mostly in English, too! It was so wonderful to have the help. We worked together. For real, team teaching! Amazing!
  3. My 2-nensei class wasn’t shit today. I did the person drawing activity where you have the students draw 1 body parts and then pass the paper around. So, the pictures come out super funny and strange. It’s cool. And they weren’t shit-heads today, either! Amazing!
  4. Because I feel like such crap today, they let me go home early. Thank goodness! I am going to veg the rest of the day and attempt to get better. Wish me luck!
  5. After a brief nap and a chat online to David, I’m feeling a little bit better. I will probably go to bed very early again tonight, though. In fact, I think I will let Ocha out now so I can go to sleep soon. I doubt I will go to bed at 8 again, but most likely before 10pm.
  6. I did the dishes! Finally! And I took out the trash! All I have left to do housework-wise is a load of laundry (tomorrow) and vacuuming the apartment (also tomorrow). I can’t wait to have a clean place again.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I can see him

I had had plans today to do lots of stuff when I get home, but I doubt I will do any of it. I went to bed around 10pm last night, an slept thru till this morning, but I am still SO exhausted. I am definitely getting sick. And two very lesson-filled days are not very helpful in getting better. And I still wanna go out this weekend, too. Boo on illness!

  1. I had 4 very average lessons today. That may seem like bad news, but it’s actually good-ish. I’m happy that I didn’t have a bad one at all, today. I feel very ill today, so I’m also happy that I didn’t pass out during the lesson. I’m just glad I planned one that wasn’t very intense.
  2. I ate that extra delicious toast again for breakfast.
  3. In English Club, we decided to make a webpage. I will post a link as soon as it’s made, have no fear. Ayaka and Kasumi and 2 of the silliest grisl ever. It’s nice.

But, this is a short one today. I am exhausted and I feel like absolute hell. It’s 8pm, and I’m going to crawl into bed now. That’s how exhausted my body is. I was surprised that I didn’t pass out at some point today. Now, to rest. I will think of you, David. I am reminded of the other times I was sick and you took such good care of me. I will imagine you wrapping me up in a burrito.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Twist your head around; it's all around you

  1. Today I ate very extra delicious toast for breakfast. My maple butter is quite subtle, but delicious.
  2. I’ve planned my week’s lessons. I will start on next week’s if I have time. At 11:25, I have my first class with the 1-nensei slow-learners. We are going to chill, learning ABCs. I am lucky cuz I will also have Teroyoshi and Homare in that class to help me. Hehe. It promises to be pretty silly. It will be tough, though. I remember one of the slow kids from Tanbara Elementary. He just can’t do it, bless his heart. I may have everyone work in pairs on the ABCs puzzle I prepared.
  3. I got a package from Tataki Elementary (one of my old schools). In the package were a ton of pictures of me with the kids. Gosh, I loved that school! It was a challenge cuz I had to plan for combining different English levels into every level (since all the grades had it together, many time). But, nevertheless, I loved it. And now I have some fun pictures to hang on my wall of the kids! Woo!
  4. Today’s lesson was AMAZINGLY fun! I had the class with the 2 new slow learners (Yukia-kun and Fumie-chan). They are both super cute. Bless. And it was fun to have another class with Teroyoshi and Homare. First we learned the ABCs with my flash cards. Then I passed them out and they had to bring the letters back to me when I called the letters. Then I spread the cards out on the floor, and hey had to race to pick up the letter first. Finally we did an ABC puzzle. It was so nice!
  5. This afternoon, there was a seminar in Saijo about teaching English in elem schools. It was funny. I got to go to the front with ten people and pretend to be sausages. :oD It was silly. Afterwards I went and ate sushi with Duncan for dinner. Man, those rotating sushi bars are SO CHEAP! I am stuffed for only 600 yen (about $6)!!
  6. I feel so in love tonight. It’s funny how I can just choke up by looking at pictures of us together.

“Absense is to love what wind is to fire; it extinguishes the small, it enkindles the great.”
-Comte Debussy-Rabutin

For David

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Samson went back to bed, not much hair left on his head.

  1. I drew a bull’s-eye with syrup on my oatmeal this morning.
  2. The song Sakuranbo by Ai Otsuka is so boppy and makes me smile so much! GET IT!
  3. Today was our schools Ensoku, or school trip. Since my school is quite large, each grade went to a different place. I could go with any grade I wanted, so I decided to go with the grade that I like the LEAST, 2-nensei. Man, most of those kids suck so bad. But, I decided that if I had a good time with them, where was still hope for me. Anyway, the kids rode their bikes in a huge 80-person caravan to the big park in Toyo. I rode with a teacher in her car because I think she wanted to practice her English with me. She’s a sweet lady, Hitotsuyanagi-sensei. For lunch, we had a barbeque which was… you guessed it, YAKINIKU! Yum yum!! My fave! And I ate with the teachers, and they brought the expensive yakiniku meat. DELICIOUS! After lunch, I found 3 2-nensei friends and played Frisbee with them for a long time. Their names are Nao, Rena, and Shiho. I’m glad to know their names. Also, I had one boy tell me that my clothes look funny. Lol. I am wearing a brown velour suit, which he found hilarious, apparently. Dunno. Anyway, it was a nice day. The only bad side was on the way home, one of the boys said to me “Bye, Monster.” But, at least I got him back. I said, “Sayonara, Oni.”
  4. On my bike ride from school, Vidrar vel til loftarasa by Sigur Ros came on. It’s an amazing song that just makes the world seem beautiful.
  5. As I’m writing this post, Ocha jumped on my lap, seeking attention. He is so cute sometimes.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Where we are weak, that is where we are strong.

  1. This morning I woke up so early. I first woke up at 5:30! I went back to sleep and kept waking up. But it was weird. After waking up, I’d go back to sleep and continue my dreams the way they were. They were some strange dreams, though. Ones that I hope never come true. Although it was cool cuz I was at Japanese-style karaoke in Chicago (I think) at one point.
  2. My first two classes of today are going to suck, probably. One is the behavior disorder kids, and the other is 2-nensei. Ugh, I don’t like 2-nensei. But, it is good cz today after lunch I get to teach my special class. Hurrah! Today we will make animals out of clay. Next week, we are going to do a pet store skit with the animals. It’ll hopefully be fun. My first class was boring, but it was ok. No complaints. We did a “magazine word hunt” activity, then played Go Fish. Those kids love card games for some reason. My 2nd class was good. The 2-nensei weren’t crap for once. They actually enjoyed English Sumo, unlike the other 2-nensei class. My special class today was nice. I brought in clay and we made animal out of it, learning animal names. Next week, when the clay is dry, we will play “Pet Shop” with the animal. We’ll do a small skit about buying a pet and learn how to care for our pets. Teroyoshi, cuz of his ADD couldn’t make just one animal and leave it, so he kept making things and then turning them into something else. Hehe. Homare made a horse, a squid, and 2 beetles to sell in our pet store. Miyata-sensei made a crab, an alligator, a dog (that looked like a lion!), and a snake. I made a koala, a pig, a sea otter, a rabbit, and a bird. Next week, while playing shop, I’ll take photos.
  3. Emailing back and forth with David always makes me smile so much. What a star.
  4. Having Duncan and Richard over for dinner. I cooked avocado omelets and hash browns. They loved it! It was silly. It was cool to just hang out and chat. David, I showed them all of your movies. They loved them! Richard says he is inspired by you! He thinks they are great! And he kept saying during Emily Ward that it was so scary and tense! Kudos, Icle!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

I was staring at the sky, just looking for a star to pray on or wish on or something like that.

This journal is becoming more like a blog and less like a list of things that make me happy. But it’s ok. I will try and keep it like I originally wanted it. But, in a way, I think it may be better this way. I will let it evolve into how it evolves. I will still try to keep only my positive thoughts in here.

  1. Yesterday was an amazing day. It was just so relaxing. Yoko picked me up at 11. We went to Matsuyama and picked up Emi. Emi is a spunky little lady who is a “police assistant.” She is just as crazy and Loco Yoko. So, it was pretty funny. But even though we were all being silly, it was still so relaxed. We went and looked in accessory and handmade items shops for a few hours. Then, we had some coffee and chatted. Then off to Karaoke. We found this hole-in-the-wall place in Matsuyama that was the nicest Karaoke place! The bathrooms were so pimp, I can’t even describe it. At this Karaoke place, I sang many fun songs (Why Bother and Tired of Sex by Weezer, Baby Got Back, The Humpty Dance….). It was all so funny! After Karaoke, we headed up to the Jungle Onsen and relaxed for a long time. This time, I didn’t faint! Yay! Hurrah for not passing out naked with a bunch of strangers! Hehe After the onsen, we took Emi home. Then Yoko and I went to a really nice café on the way home (cuz she was hungry). The Dragonfly Café (name of the café) was super nice and even gave us free desserts. Apparently any time of the day, females get a free mini-dessert. It was nice. Overall, I had a very nice day yesterday. It was just what I needed. I ended up getting home about 11:30pm. Pictures will be on Flickr soon.
  2. I just read David T’s post about his teacher who passed away recently. It brought tears to my eyes and made me think. If when I die, I can affect someone as much as Professor Brawley affected David T… well, then I would count my life as a complete success. Prof. Brawley was an inspiration and a friend to David. That made me think. Each person we meet, we affect and change in some way, whether large or small. Lives are so intertwined with others. We are all dependant on others for our future. But, we are still our own beings. It’s strange to realize that although I can and do make my own decisions, many time those have been influenced by others. Maybe even by people I barely know. It’s strange to think of what a web of existence we all live in.
  3. It’s now mid-afternoon. I have been up a long time today. I awoke at around 7am. I have been unable to convince myself to go outside today so far. I’m just not in the mood. Today is a beautiful day. Windy, but very sunny. I did some laundry and hung out some of the futons to air. But really, that’s all I have done so far. I’ve been randomly searching the internet today for something interesting to look at. I finally gave up and began a knitting project. I’m not quite sure how it will turn out, though. I think I gauged it wrong and my needles were just a tad too big for the yarn. I know that doesn’t mean much to most of you, but it does make a big difference, I promise. And even though it may be a tad unhealthy to stay in and not really see the sun all day, I am enjoying it. This morning I was feeling so unsettled and frustrated with life. I do feel a bit calmer now. And anyway, I think I will go for a long walk later, just to see the sun.
  4. Pride & Prejudice is a very calming movie for me. It’s nice because I can watch it or not. Just listening to it is comforting to me. And it makes me feel relaxed. I wish I was in Apt 6 today, watching it. Having Emily, Melo, Jenna, Catie, and Alli walk in randomly and chatting to me while I am snuggled in a fleece blanket watching it. I miss that a lot. And now that I’m living alone, I miss things like that even more. It makes me appreciate the comfort that friends and loved ones give. I can’t just pounce on David and wrestle right now. It makes me sad, but it also makes me remember what fun it is. I am so happy to have my friends. Even though everyone is so far away from me physically, they still make me happy.
  5. I went on my walk. I was gone for an hour, just wandering around back roads. I wanted to see where they led. Anyway, pictures are up on flickr. Please enjoy them. :o)
  6. Getting invited to go out to dinner. Stacey invited me to Chinese tonight. I never knew there was a Chinese restaurant in Toyo! A delicious one at that!! It was good and reasonably priced. It was nice to get out, chat it up, and eat Chinese food!! Yum!

It’s thoughts like this that catch my troubled head when you’re away, when I am missing you to death.

  1. Today it’s raining, so Yoko and I can’t go to the “mysterious and beautiful place.” Instead we are going to Matsuyama to meet up with her best friend. Then we will shop it up, do some karaoke, and then go to the jungle onsen. Should be fun, fun, fun!
  2. I have just spent almost 13 hours with the wonderful Popcorn (Yoko). Today, we went to meet up with Yoko’s best friend, Emi. The three of us did purikura, ate, shopped, ate, did karaoke, went to the jungle onsen, and then drank coffee. It was a very nice day. Yoko’s friend Emi is super cool.
  3. I had a wonderful day, so I am thankful for that. I am much too tired to talk about it right now. Tomorrow, hopefully I will be much more alive. For the second night in a row, I am dead tired. I will write more than 3 things tomorrow. I promise.
  4. I miss you, David. I'm glad things are settling down for you up there. xxxx

Friday, April 14, 2006

She played and she played as loud as she pleased.

Holy Crap I am so exhausted. I am surprised I can even type I’m THAT tired. Last night was an enkai in Saijo. I was only out until around 10… but unfortunately I had had too much to drink. I didn’t really have a choice about that part. In Japan, at a big party, everyone bullies you into drinking alcohol and they refill your glass every time you have a sip. And if you don’t drink it, they ask you to so they can refill it. It’s rude to not refill people’s cups here. It’s just good manners. Unfortunately, good manners get you a bit drunk. But I wasn’t all that drunk. I was just ill from all the wine I drank. Kodama-sensei special ordered it for me since I don’t like beer. That’s why I had to drink it. So, I drank nearly the whole bottle by myself. I shared as much as possible…but people (many of whom I’ve never met!) just came and refilled my wineglass over and over and over again. Geebus. So, I went to bed with a bit of a sick stomach and I woke up more hung-over than I’ve been in a long time.

Then, today at school, I had four classes in a row. That means that I was up on my feet running around being genki from about 8:15am-1:00pm. Just running and running. The hard part is the staying genki and excited about teaching the same thing over and over again. I had my first lessons with the new 1st years. They are all great. I enjoyed all 3 of those classes. Thrown in there, I had a 2nd year class. God, they suck so much. They can take a good lesson and make it suck. And the teacher I was with knows NO English, so he was no help. Gawd. I was counting the seconds until I could leave that class. I’m not looking forward to Monday, cuz I will have the other 2nd year class, and they are just as bad, if not WORSE. Ugh.

I need to plan my lessons for next Monday, but I just can’t. I have absolutely no energy at all. I am just too tired. Duncan mentioned that he and Yuka were gonna hang out tonight and asked if I may want to join them. I’m sure I will. I’ll just be so tired.

Anyway, here’s my list for today.

  1. I am somehow still standing.
  2. We are watching a movie in English Club this afternoon, so I can hopefully ust relax then. I hope Duncan comes again today. It’s always fun when it’s the 4 of us (me, Duncan, Ayaka, and Kasumi). I think we may watch Lilo & Stitch. They love the movie and know it well (in Japanese). So, I think it’ll be easy for them to understand the English since they are so familiar with the Japanese version.
  3. I’ve allowed myself a cup of coffee today. After my classes wearing me out, I feel that I deserve that little bit of caffeine.
  4. The new 1st years are great. Even students I didn’t like when they were 6th graders, I like now. They all seem very willing and ready to study and learn English. I hope their motivation continues. And it’s nice to know a few of their names already (when I say a few, I really mean 3).
  5. Tomorrow I’m going out with Yoko to a “mysterious and beautiful place.” I’m very excited to chill with the fabulous Popcorn (her nickname, cuz she’s silly). Afterwards we are either going to her house to cook dinner and watch a movie or we are going to go to Matsuyama to shop and play and sing. Either way it’ll be lots of fun. I’m not sure if the other ladies of the crew are coming. If so, that’d be wicked. If not, well, then Loco Yoko and I will rock out anyway.
  6. In English Club today, we watched Nightmare Before Christmas. It was most excellent.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I'm glad I didn't die before I met you

  1. Today is the first day back at classes. I have one today. I think it’s silly because I am nervous about it. I guess cuz I haven’t taught in a while. Also, I’m playing jeopardy, which I’ve never played at school before. It’ll be good, I hope. We’ll see how it goes. Also, today is the first day back with English Club. Apparently it will go on until June, and then is no more. No 1st years are joining it, so it is oooover. Sadness. So I think until June, Duncan and I are just gonna let Ayaka and Kasumi (the two members) decide what they want to do. As long as it’s in English, it should be fine. When we left for spring vacation, they were learning to sing Avril Lavigne songs. It was either that or memorize The Gettysburg Address. Ugh.
  2. I fell asleep watching Persuasion (a Jane Austen flick) last night. I do love my Jane Austen movies.
  3. I just had an idea for great classroom warm-ups. Improv. I searched Improv games online and found a bunch of good ideas for warm-ups! Hurrah! No more Shiritori for a long time! (I did an activity where first they greeted each other normally. Then I said “stop” and changed it. Then they greeted each other as if they were angry. Then as if they were in love with the person they were greeting. Then as if they were samurai. It didn’t work. They resisted enjoying it and just huddled in groups trying to avoid me. Disappointing, but I will try more improve warm-ups, just so I don’t get bored.)
  4. I just remembered the time they found a little worm in someone’s school lunch bread. It was gross. And funny.
  5. I had a very nice enkai tonight. I wasn’t really looking forward to it. It was for all the Board of Education people from Saijo and all around. I thought I’d hang out with drunken old men all night (which there were PLENTY of). As it turns out, I reconnected with two friends from August (Emi and Miyuki) and met two more nice girls in their 20s. Richard (the only other foreigner who went) was jealous cuz he said I found all the cute girls in the room to talk to me and he was stuck with all the old men. Ha!
  6. The sweetest email ever from David. I am such a lucky girl. And I mean that so wholeheartedly.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Beneath the sheets of paper lies my truth

  1. Last night I rented A Good Woman (Scarlett Johannson looking more beautiful than ever before) and stayed in. I decided that I wanted a night in to myself. It is relaxing and nice to have options and to skip them, rather than not having options at all. It’s the choice.
  2. Today I have Japanese lessons. I need to remember to grab the necklace I made to show Namioka-sensei. She said she wanted to see it, so I must remember to get it from home at lunch. (edit: Japanese class is cancelled because Namioka-sensei is very sick. Booo. I hope she gets better soon.)
  3. I am finally (after about a week or so) letting myself drink a cup of coffee. Yum. It tastes delicious.
  4. I got a letter from Alli and Catie. They wrote me a letter while eating lobster. The letter is written on bar napkins. Super nice. :o)
  5. I got a lovely long email from David. He always knows what to say to me to cheer me right up.
  6. I’ve been listening to Regina Spektor for hours and hour. Top 3 songs listened to: You Honor, Samson, and Oedipus. She is so amazing.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

It's a headphone world; everyone's on their own.

Today I am ready for a smile. I’ve not been wearing enough of them lately. Maybe my Lane Bryant strategy will work. If you wear a smile, even if it’s fake, it eventually becomes real. I think I’ll try that today maybe. But it is hard to smile at people when you aren’t feeling it, ya know?

I think this journal will be good for me. I’ve been feeling so down and negatively the past few days. Loneliness, it’s a killer. But I am going to get past it. I am lucky that my friends can see my problem and I’ve received many invitations to do things with people. Keep ‘em coming. :o)

Since writing the above, I have been transformed into a pretty good mood. I think it was The Sims. Or maybe it was because Ocha didn’t pee in his food dish again (edit: it turns out that he DID pee in his food dish today). I don’t know why, but I feel pretty good right now.

Today’s List:

  1. Going to okonomiyaki with Duncan, Rich, and John last night and actually enjoying my food!!! I ate Negiyaki with cheese. Yum!
  2. After okonomiyaki, I watched Life as a House with Duncan. That movie is so great. I cry every single time I watch it. I don’t know why I don’t own it yet, but I think that I need to. Such a good movie.
  3. I’m wearing a skirt (and pantyhose!!!) to work today. Life feels different when you wear a skirt. Somehow it makes me feel more feminine and pretty. I rarely wear skirts, so it makes it that much more special. Today is the day we had the welcoming ceremony for the new 1st year students. I’m all decked out in my cheap 300 yen pink pearl necklace and my suit. It feels good to wear things that are pretty. I don’t know. I’m just rambling now, I guess. I think Kocho-sensei (my principal) knows how I feel. He is wearing a suit with tails today. Yep, that’s right, TAILS! It’s so smooth looking. Kocho-sensei gets a check for being an old-man, Japanese pimp. :o)
  4. I know it doesn’t count as a positive thought, but I want to write it here anyway. I think it is funny how in Japan people run around so much. But they don’t go much faster, really. Sometimes I’ll walk beside Nishi-sensei when she’s running. It’s just so funny. But the running makes them look busier. I guess it is positive in that it makes me smile. P.s. I just had another teacher jog/run into the room. Bless.
  5. During the welcoming ceremony, I kept noticing Homare, my autistic student. I don’t know what he was thinking about, but he had a huuuuuuge grin on his face most of the time. It was very nice and made me smile. He is such a special kid. One of my top students in the whole school. Then after the big grin came a huge nose-picking session for him. Bless his heart. The kid sitting next to him was a little freaked out. But Homare rules, nose picking or not!
  6. I gave a self-intro in front of the whole school + parents. I was shaking with nerves! But I did it! I stole the idea from John (Toyo ALT). I said “My name is Abigail Mohn. I’m from America. I am Tanbara Higashi Junior High’s ALT. I don’t understand much Japanese, but I am fluent in English. Please practice your English with me.” They actually laughed too, when I wanted them to! Woo! “Nihongo ga amari warkarimasen, demo eigo ga parapara desu.” :o)
  7. One simple message on my journal brought a smile to my face. I hope you are able to write soon or to call. Maybe in your journal once you are set up more there, you can post about the stuff you did during the day. I hope everything is going well, it seems to be doing so, which I am so happy to hear!
  8. Today, again, I drank my 8 glasses worth of water and I played The Sims. But this time, I played Sims thru a staff meeting! Sometimes, it’s not so bad to not understand them, eh? ;o)

Monday, April 10, 2006

Daily Happy

This is a new journal for me. The purpose of this journal is for me to think positively. Today I am feeling a bit down, but I need to remember that there are good things in life, too. Every day, I will write things that made me happy that particular day or things that make me happy in general. I am going to work on my positive outlook on life. I remember a day when I was a very positive person and always looked on the sunny side of life. These days, it seems that I have lost that aspect of myself. I will work to get that back. My life is full of positive things, I just don’t let myself recognize and appreciate them for what they are. This journal is to help me remember what a lucky individual I am.

Today’s list:

  1. I met a student today named Shiori. She doesn’t talk at all. I think she can, she just doesn’t. If you ask her a question, she responds so quietly that no sounds come out of her mouth. So, today I met her during cleaning time. I had her in classes last semester, but in a big class, it’s hard to meet individuals. I’m very glad I learned her name. She always has a warm smile for me each day. Today, I decorated a chalkboard for the new students with her. I asked her to please write her name down for me so I could remember it better. And I will.
  2. The flowers on my desk have finally bloomed. They are simple, small flowers. Light purple on the outside with a yellow, star-shaped inside. I’m glad they’re bloomed. Lately, I’ve felt like time is going backwards into winter. It’s been getting colder, it seems. I am happy to remember that spring is very close on its way.
  3. I’ve drank my 8 glasses of water today. My body is very hydrated and feels much better. Last night, I went to sleep with my stomach feeling very ill. I worried that I was going to vomit. And when I woke up, it still felt ill. Alas, I had to come to school no matter what because today was an important ceremony. But after drinking my water for the day, my body feels happier and more energized.
  4. I look at the smallest real-life hippo ever on my desk.
  5. Mom gave me Milo & Otis. I’ve fallen asleep to it for the past 2 nights. It is a comforting movie to fall asleep to.
  6. I played The Sims at work today. It was glorious. Time actually went by (though slowly still… but I was entertained!)
  7. I received a new Victoria’s Secret catalog. I want to go back home and shop, shop, shop. I miss it.