Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bounenkai: Goodbye, 2010! I hardly knew ye!

Bounenkai: a word made of the kanji 忘 to forget, 年 year, and 会 meeting. It literally is a "meeting to forget the year" and is normally celebrated by going out drinking with your co-workers/club members/fellows. Most, if not all office places have these drinking parties, and thus, the city office is not immune to this tradition.

Best quotes from the night:

"you are almighty girl" (in english)
"Old man spit hit me in the eye, and so as not to be rude, I wiped it away as he poured me a drink.... ABUNAI!" (in Japanese)
"you said "there is a pay slip in the museum" instead of "there are dinosaurs in the museum" (in Japanese)

Considering that the beginning of that bounenkai was rather awkward (as most drinking parties usually start out)... it turned out to be pretty fun. Yeah, I had to pay 7000 yen for it, but I got some detergent and some cute gloves from the prize drawing, and I got to talk to Nat-chan and a bunch of other people from the office (once they were drunk) as well as eat AMAZING food and drink disgusting amounts of Asahi beer.

Nat-chan was in charge of the main event of the evening, which was a giant jan-ken match for the top prizes. Enough prizes were bought so that everyone got something, but the top 10 prizes were actually good prizes: a bike, a bread maker, a mixer, and some expensive sports-wear to name a few. Like I said, I lost terribly and got a low-ranked prize that included gloves and some soy joy bars. One of the people who sits near me in the BOE gave me the detergent he won because it was flowery and girly scented. Luckily! It's the kind I usually buy so now I won't have to do detergent-shopping for awhile. Haha~

I also got invited to go karaoke with Ayashi guy from my office, and the temp girl Sano-san, as well as a few other people from the office. It was nice being invited to something for a change. Being one of the only two foreigners in the office, I can't help but feel like everyone somehow dislikes me... but getting invited along lessened that fear at least a little. I'm always the one who sings the most at karaoke, but it was nice to actually be wanted there, hear other people sing, and talk to people I don't usually say a word to while enjoying the songs. I know things like this don't happen often with the people in my office, but I hope little things like this will let them know that I'm not a scary foreign-monster or something. I think the mere fact that I showed up to this bounenkai gave me some serious brownie points. ALT's usually go on winter vacation by this point.



I'm very excited about getting onto that plane tomorrow and zooming off to Thailand for 10 days~ I want warm weather, beautiful scenery, and lots of cool ruins that I've NEVER SEEN BEFORE!!! When it comes to Asia, I've only been to Japan (and 4 times at that). I need to take this time to get around this half of the world! I want to go to China, Vietnam, Korea, The Philippines, Singapore... EVERYWHERE! <3

I had a good year over all. It's been the first year in awhile that hasn't left me with a bitter taste at the end. Instead, my year started off awful and slowly got waaayyyy better. :) I'm happy with my decisions this year, and I can't wait to start another year in Japan!!

Tonight is the BOE's 忘年会. I'm excited, because I actually know some of the people in this office now and thus, getting drunk and eating lots of food with them will be fun :) (特に because Nat-chan will be there). All that's left before I leave for Sea's tonight is to send off my packages and nengajo~

Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas and a Happy Uke!

My new life project, given to me by the lovely Sea at my Christmas party on Saturday night.  I was seriously shocked when I got the gift. I think that was the first time EVER that I've been given a gift that I really want, but never expected to actually receive... which was really awesome. I love my friends. <3

Starting yesterday night, I began learning how to play this lovely little creature. Once I get a little more comfortable with this cheap one (mine is a light blue version of the above pictured ones... which are total crap), I might want to upgrade and buy myself a nice one here. The little blue one will be good to learn on, but if I want to keep playing (and not have to tune every 2 seconds) then I really need a nicer ukulele. I already learned how to play "Hallelujah" and I really want to learn how to play Hoppipolla by Sigur Ross. It's such a gorgeous song, and I downloaded the tabs for it. Now I just have to buckled down and LEARN. :)

The plunger people took shots from.
Other than all that excitement, the party was great! I got to carry on my parent's tradition and play "The Game" with everyone who came to the party, as well as a rousing round of Pass the Parcel. Only in Japan will a plunger be turned into a shot glass... <3

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sawatee Kaa!

Finally getting excited about the Thailand trip next week. I think I was stressed because we didn't have a hostel booked yet, and I have NO IDEA about the country itself. I'm pathetically one-track minded and only care about Japan. haha. But this sad lack of interest in the other countries of Asia has caused me unnecessary stress about this trip.


Stress is over. I'm booking our first hostel tonight for when we arrive, and I have websites, info, maps and addresses for hostels in two other cities we plan on going to. I think I've decided FOR us where we are going.. however, I've left it open so we can also change our minds and stay in a city less/more time.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sleigh Bells Ring, Are You Listening?

Saturday and Sunday night at Aki station, there was an adorable candle festival held in the name of Iwasaki Yataro's birthday. The guy turned 176 this year, and as the most famous individual from Aki-shi, of course there was a "birthday party" complete with home-made candles, a candle processions, and lots of food stands (as well as a traveling pizza cart!!). I finally got to try a piece of cake from Cheese-ya, and I am really quite impressed. For once, a Japanese bakery knows how to make REAL New York cheese cake, and not that baked crap they call cheese-cake here. The pizza cart was also really quite good, and I'm going to have to buy some fresh mozzerella next time I make pizzas at my house. :)

Bee and me also had our first Ioki Taiko performace Sunday morning at the closing ceremony for the "Turtle Marathon." We had to wear these weird turtle socks and alien antenna on our head... but the performance went really well! And I didn't forget any part of the song. :) Also! After, we got to go to "A New Moon: Cafe Gallery" which is the little cafe above Mountain sensei's apartment. He wasn't there, but the french toast at this place was fantastic so all-in-all, it was a good venture.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Oh man. It's been awhile since I've felt willing and SUCCESSFUL at holding a fucking conversation in this language. I think I was seriously just really burnt out from that test and studying things I didn't really want to study for the last 4 months. Before tonight, I'd dread having interactions with the Japanese people I knew, because I felt like I'd stepped into this stupid hole. I couldn't understand anything, and I could hardly get anything intelligible out of my mouth. Today in general, I felt pretty decently confident and really enjoyed talking to everyone I DID interact with. I think I'm finally warming up to my friends and JTE's more... I'm not as nervous around them (coughmoutainsenseicough) and don't mind making mistakes because... DUH. I'm gonna make mistakes and I'm gonna say stupid shit so might as well try to communicate and have fun instead of being shy, learning nothing, and having a disappointing time.

Going out with Nat-chan, Ryoku-chan, Sea and Bee was really nice and I wanted to do that SOOOO much more than Taiko. Me and Nat-chan have kept on trying to make plans to hang out so I'm really glad we were able to. I seriously love that girl. She's really nice and funny and odd, and every time we hang out I feel more and more comfortable and able to make up some sort of thing to talk about. I know it'll be awhile before we can talk like me and other JETs do... but that's only because there is a language barrier I think. I'll slowly get better at Japanese, and they'll keep opening up to me until we can maybe finally talk on the same level. :) I'll keep 頑張る-ing until I can be competent.... maybe getting a かれし would help with that, but I don't see that as something that seems to be coming into my life any time soon...

Friday, December 10, 2010

MYC, not where you wanna be...

Just got done with Kochi-Ken Mid-Year Conference.  If you were to look up "waste of time" in the dictionary, you'd see MYC. Instead of terribly fun and informative, it just ended up being a huge PAIN IN THE ASS (めんどくさい one might say) and only made me irritated and exhausted.

I thought that seeing EVERYONE would 1. allow me to meet new people (in actuality oldies I haven't run into yet), 2. get to HANG OUT with those people I like and chill in the city, and 3. waste three lovely days in the city instead of going to class. But actually, I would have rather just gone to class and been on my normal schedule. I ate like shit these last three days and I feel crappy and tired. Not only that, there were TOO MANY people that I wanted to hang out with so.... it was just a giant cluster fuck in which you can't hang out with everyone at once, and at the same time , I didn't wanna hang out with anyone because I was so tired from the 8 hours of fucking workshops, lectures, and silly business we had to attend to this week. I just feel really thrown off and not on schedule any more. It felt like the week end.... but really, the weekend is coming up tomorrow. WTF. Whatever. Lesson learned. MYC is a big waste of time, and find ways to ditch it next year. :)

I guess the one nice thing about the concert was the evenings. I stayed at Jaspers so I got to rome around the city and play. We went clubbing Tuesday night, and I got to see an AWESOME international music concert on Wednesday. It was sooo what I needed. Although listening to Christmas music has made me homesick a few times now, I loved listening to the Jazz groups play their beautiful songs (as well as the Beatles). Not gonna lie, THAT was well worth it.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Punk as Fuck!


Probably the best thing to describe my weekend. Seriously <3 Kochi :) 

But really. Saturday's show was perfect. Saturday night was perfectly awesome. The show was put together by Pall Mall so Mall was there, drunk before the show even started! Which of course was hilarious, since he's the tiniest punk I've ever seen.
It was great to hear stuff that I actually like too, rather than only enjoy the live-ness of screamy hard-core punk (which is FUN, but a drag to listen to later). There was a band called Tin Soldier from Tokyo that I haven't been able to stop listening to since the show (as well as Mall's other more melodic Punk band FRAGMENTS). They sing in (terrible) English, and are just... much softer, much more about the melody and the harmony between vocals and instruments than the bands that usually play at the wonderful Chaotic Noise record store. Going to the show this weekend, I felt really good about being there. Matto's friends recognize me now, and Mall even mentioned my name in his text (that he wanted to show me a good time at the show). I'm feeling good about being here in Kochi~ 頑張ります!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Are you smarter than a first grader?

Whenever I go to A-D I always have to remind myself... there are smarter first and second graders in Japan, let alone AKI-SHI, so.... don't give up yet.

Seriously though, these children have the memory of goldfish and just... ugh. I mean, I don't know how many times I've gone over the word "eggplant" and they still just made grunting noises when they repeated it. I have schools where fucking "Frankenstein" is easy to remember, and they can't get "eggplant."

I also really can't comprehend that defense mechanism that kicks in with Japanese children. They tilt their heads to the side and just stare silently if they don't want to answer. I guess it used to be that they would just be skipped over if they were silent, or something... BUT REALLY. We all just stare at them until they answer. Clearly the defense mechanism isn't working out for them, because if they want to sit down and NOT be stared at, they should just fucking answer like all the other kids so we can move on. I seriously don't get why gets stand silent for two minutes while me and the JTE repeat "I Like... I Like... I Like..." over and over again.

Also, it's only December, and already I can see that two of my JTE's have broken.... the one 5th grade teacher at Inokuchi... it seemed like her brain broke or something. She did NOT try to contribute to the class like usual, didn't explain things in Japanese like usual... just didn't seem to fucking GET what was going on around her. She was also dressed like shit and looked like she hadn't slept in a week. These teachers need a vacay. The other teacher was the 2nd grade teacher at A-D. She rushed into the 職員室 with tears in her eyes. I wanted to ask them if ushimado sensei could just explain the lesson to the other two teachers since they seemed busy, but that fucking office assisstant (she treats me like a tard, and speaks like she got hit in the head 100 too many times. I want to kick her every time she talks to me) was like "Oooh, well... since maybe ushimado sensei knows the lesson, it is probably okay that he teaches it to them and so now that you are finished..." GUH, I mean, YEAH, so you don't want me clogging up your office, but SERIOUSLY just GET OUT OF MY FACE LADY.

Yeah, today was frusterating. And it was only two classes... I have that damn school Monday before Mid-Year Conference and I have all five classes to do... shoot me please.