Chasing Cherry Blossoms
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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Cutting a rug in Ainan.

Sunday morning in Ainan. Clearing up my house after another party. After dinner at my favourite local izakaya, Ramante, we came back to mine to carry the night on. (Somehow mine always ends up as the venue for the after party). We cleared my living room floor – moved out all the rugs and my coffee table – and turned it into a dancefloor! It was so much fun!

Cutting a rug at Chez Moi.

We like to partyyyyy.

Walking my friend Emma back to the bus stop this morning, we decided to take a detour via my base school. Even though it was a Sunday, the kids were all there doing their club activities. And, well, you can imagine their faces when Jim-sensei rocks up with a white, blonde girl in tow (“YOU ARE CUTE. GIRLFRIEND?”). Me explaining that Emma’s just a “friend” obviously carried no currency. When a guy and a girl are together in Japan, they have to be dating. I’m used to that by now, so it was no sweat. Plus, let’s be honest, I kind of love the attention. It’ll certainly give them something new to talk to me about tomorrow!

Speaking of my kids, I feel like I’ve come to a place where I’m really happy with my relationship with them. When you first come on JET, all of the pre-departure material you’re exposed to shows you these Super JETs who effortlessly command the adoration and respect of all their kids. Then you get here, walk into your first classroom and find not present-bearing angels, but, in some cases, indifferent little devils. “Is it just me?”, you think. “WHY AM I NOT COOL”. For a few months, I became kind of disillusioned with the whole thing. Now, I see that all it took was time. And more realistic expectations. Now that I’ve been here almost a year, I’ve been able to build the kind of relationships with some of my students that I’d written off as advertising propaganda. I mean, part of my reconciliation has been realising that, with a lot of kids, that’s just never going to happen. Universal deification is impossible, whatever walk of life you’re in. That’s okay. For me it’s been about finding the Good Ones and doing my best to get closer to them, which has been so, so rewarding. Now I’ve got a strong bunch of really good kids who I absolutely adore.  Kids who run up to me when the lesson is over and in response to me saying “See you!”, say “NO SEE YOU” and block the door so they can chat to me; kids who corner me in the corridor and chant “SING. SING. SING” after our lesson on John Lennon, then themselves launch into a confused verse of “Imagine”; kids who grab my necktie and say “NICE. HOW MUCH?” and that one kid who, whenever he sees me, says “Jim-Sensei, have a nice day, you too!” Perfect.

Also, BIG NEWS from back home! On Saturday morning I woke up to the news that my older brother, Matt, had just become a dad for the first time! It'll be a little while before I get to meet the New One in the flesh, but here she is! Faye Elisabeth!

Got a busy few weeks coming up, actually! Taken the day off work on Wednesday to go watch a baseball game with my friends in the ctiy, then I'm off camping on an island near Matsuyama this weekend, visiting Kochi City with Rebecca and Heather the weekend after, then it's my birthday, then I'm off to Tokyo for two weeks, where I'll meet Ainan's new arrivals! Phew! Busy busy busy!

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