Chasing Cherry Blossoms
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Thursday, September 29, 2011

I think I'm ready for my close-up.

So there's been a strange trend to the past two days... the trend of having students DRAW MY FACE.

First of all, after school on Wednesday, I decided to pop along to art club to see what was going down... and ended up getting my portrait painted by one of the students! I felt kind of self-conscious sitting there as she sketched and painted away (rigidly watching the kids play baseball outside the window to avoid awkward eye contact) ... but the end result was awesome, so it was all worth it!

Then, today, my smallest elementary school (Sozu, which has just 16 students in total) threw me a belated welcome-ceremony. After the obligatory introductory speeches which I smiled cluelessly through, the students and teachers got together to do their best sketches of my face. An interesting choice of game to welcome me with! What's more, if you thought having one student study your face was unsettling enough, try having 20 people all stare at you and sketch away for 10 minutes solid. Jokes.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Useful phrases for the gaijin in Japan.

Okay, so while my Japanese ability is still floundering somewhere in the realms of the non-existent, just living here has allowed me to pick up a few phrases that have proved invaluable in getting by. Presenting, my Gaijin's Guide to useful everyday phrases! 
  • Hisashiburi: I don't remember meeting you, but you sure as hell seem to know me, so hey!
  • Gomennasai: I fucked up. Don’t hate me.
  • Summimasen: a catch-all phrase that, in a restaurant, can mean “Oit! Waitress! Gerrover here!” and, everywhere else can mean both “Sorry” and “Thank you”. If you have no idea what to say (i.e. my life 90% of the time), say this and chances are, it’ll be alright.  
  • Wakarimasen: I literally have no idea what you’re saying to me. Please stop talking.
  • Wakarimashita: I get it. Now shut up before you confuse me.
  • Sugoi: siiiiiick.
  • Chotto mate kudasai: bitch wait.
  • Mo ichi do onegai shimasu: I have no idea what you said but I’m going to kid myself that getting you to repeat it will make things better.
  • Nommimasho!: Let’s get so drunk we can’t BREATHE.
  • Ikemasho!: This place blows. Let’s get out before I cut somebody.
  • Dokko?: I have no idea where that is... you’re going to have to drive me.
So there you have it... if you're ever in Japan, this won't help you understand what's going on, but it might make you look like less of a twat while you try to pay for your car parking ticket with a scratch card.
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Monday, September 26, 2011

15 (more) minutes of fame and a whole lot less hair.

All aboard the Anpanman Express!

So it's the weekend again, and that means another chance to get jubbly again! Tom was coming to visit for the weekend (this time armed with two friends: Andria, an ALT from California, and Hiro, a local Japanese guy he met in Hiroshima), and after the success of last week, we booked ourselves up at Erika’s guesthouse in advance. Making my way there by bus, I somehow managed to miss one of my connections... that being so,  and me being far too impatient to wait for the next one, I instead hopped on the Anpanman Express from Uwajima! For the uninitiated, Anpanman is a Japanese cartoon character who, being made out of bread, FEEDS HIS FACE to people in need. That's a story with a moral for sure. On board, the conductor's voice was replaced with Anpanman's. I didn't have a clue what he was saying, but I loved every minute of it. The track weaved through some absolutely stunning scenery: shooting through the mountains, I was overwhelmed to see kids waiting in their rice fields to wave at Anpanman as the train went past. Adorable.

Stepping off the cutest train ride of my life, I arrived in Matsuyama. There, we, by day, destroyed our wage packets shopping for clothes on Gintengai and Okkaido, and, by night, assaulted each other’s ear-drums with some late night karaoke. (The discovery that they have Disney songs was enough to send drunken me into a degrading, singing frenzy).

Somehow, waking up the next morning at Matsuyama Guesthouse, I found myself roped into helping Erika (employed as a chef) prepare a Mexican feast for a lunch party whilst a random journalist buzzed around taking photos and attempting to stage a confused English-Japanese interview with the chef herself. Still hanging from the night before, it wasn’t the ideal start to the day, but hey, I got a free lunch out of it!

Chef Erika serves up a Mexcian feast!

Shamelessly doing my best to get in on Erica's fame.

Then, on Saturday evening, it was time to hit karaoke AGAIN, this time with a new bunch of friends in Uwajima.

Uwajima, baby!

Tom having gone back to Hiroshima by this point, Erika decided to come along for the ride. And at karaoke it was she who was responsible for the performance of the night... resulting in the destruction of every single glass in the room. Not because her singing was so bad, but because, after a few too many chu-hais, maintaining balance wasn’t particularly high on her to-do list. Cue a horizontal table roll and a flurry of panicked Japanese faces as the karaoke stuff rush in to the sound of glass after glass smashing to the floor. Needless to say, we thought it best to make a quick getaway.

How somebody this sober managed to obliterate the room is beyond me.

In Uwajima, we stayed at my friend Sam's place... this is the view from her balcony. Awwwesome.

I also figured that, after almost two months in Japan, it was time to brave my first haircut. Realising the control I had over the outcome was going to be limited wherever I ventured, I just set off down the street near my house and plucked for the first hairdresser’s I came across. Well, I’ve never had such an indulgent haircut in my LIFE. For two-and-a-half-hours my hair was washed, cut, washed again, dried, cut again and styled... in my mind, the price counter was ticking away at a worrying rate, but when it came to pay, I was charged a modest 3,500 Yen. Deal. Admittedly the outcome was quite a bit shorter than I’d usually go for, but it wasn’t the out-and-out disaster I was anticipating. Arriving at school this morning, I’ve been greeted with some classic one-liners from my kids. One ran up to me and just said “Image change!”, another whipped out a “This hair is very nice” and one more asked “Haircut? Where-cut?” Hahahaha. Genius.

In the meantime, having accepted the inevitability that if I want an easy social life, I’m going to need a car, I’ve also been sorting out the paperwork to convert my English driving license to a Japanese one. In other news, it turns out there’s another Sports Festival going down in Ainan this weekend which I’m expected to be at – I’d been planning to go party with some other JETs in Niihama, but looks like I’m gonna have to stay local for the weekend. Not ideal, perhaps, but I soon got over it when I was fed the delicious news that there’s going to be another teachers’ enkai on Saturday night. Of my two so far, these have included passing out with my JTE in the middle of the room, getting groped by middle-aged Japanese mothers and watching my school’s manly sports teacher single-handedly out-gay me at karaoke. BRING. IT. ON.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Matsuyam-aaaaaah, let's get trollied!

Because you can never have too much puri-kura, baby.

Another weekend, another opportunity to escape to the big city! It’d been a while since I’d seen Tom from Hiroshima, so we’d planned a weekend in Matsuyama together: a chance for Tom to see Shikoku for the first time, and for me to reacquaint myself with city living (and puri-kura!).
I was woken up on Saturday morning by a terrifyingly-close sounding crack of thunder. Looking out of my window, it was clear to see the Weather Gods were smiling down on Ainan once more...(PSYCH). Still, I didn’t let it deter me from the mission at hand: hood and umbrella up, I hopped on a bus to Matsuyama!
By the time I arrived, it was getting dark; and with Tom’s ferry not due for a few more hours, the mission of finding somewhere to stay for the night was mine. I’d arrived with no reservations and figured I’d be able to make something happen... sometime later, having been turned away from four fully-booked hotels, and one available hotel wanting to charge £130 for a night (no wonder it was bloody available!), I started to wonder whether I’d been too impulsive. That is, until I stumbled upon a quaint little backstreet guesthouse! Figuring I had nothing left to lose, I ventured in. But before I could even get up the stairs, I bumped into a super-genki California gurrrrl called Erika. Speaking to her, I learned that she’d only arrived in Japan the night before and was here working at the guesthouse as a cookery teacher. That being so, she was more than happy to fix me up with the last remaining room! And at just £13 a night, it was cheaper than even the local Capsule Hotel (and a LOT more comfortable!). ...looks like they’ve found themselves a brand new regular customer!

Lunch with Erika... oiiishiiiiiiii!

 Erika having been in Japan for little over 24 hours, I agreed I’d show her some of my favourite local drinking haunts – I don’t really know the city that well, but having stayed there for almost three weeks last month, I certainly remember a few good places to quench your first! So off we trotted to a 300 Yen bar to begin the night’s festivities... not realising at that point that we wouldn’t be back home until 6AM. I don’t know how we managed eight hours straight drinking... all I know is that, by the end of it, I was SHATTERED. We’d asked the owner of the 300 Yen bar if he knew where the closest place offering nomihodai (all-you-can-drink) was, and in typical Japanese fashion, he not only knew a place, but personally took us to his favourite spot. What a hero. And when you rock up to a bar and the first thing you see is a local emerge, take one step and fall flat on his face, full-on taking a billboard down with him, you know it’s a place you wanna be. So that’s where we stayed. Until sunlight. With a short break in-between for puri-kura, of course.

Erika and Tom!

Yup, that’s the beauty of Japan right there: I woke up in the countryside not knowing where, or with whom, I was going to spend the night, and I ended up drinking in the city until the sun rose with a brand new Californian friend. Awesome.

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Through the Keyhole!

So, here it is: your very own tour of my place! Recorded in all its low-quality beauty. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fatal Attraction 2.0

Now, if you've got me on Facebook, much of this post is probably going to be surplus to requirements. But frankly, I don't give a shit: I could tell the story of Fatal Attraction 2.0 a million times and it wouldn't get old.

Before that, however, there's the small issue of Johen's undokai (Sports Day) to deal with.

So, on Sunday, after literal weeks of training, the Big Day had finally rolled around. I'd been forced to give up my weekend to help prepare (i.e. stand around, clueless and sweaty, looking just the right level of engaged, yet clueless enough so nobody asks me to do anything), so I was expecting to be repaid with a show. And that's exactly what I got. Dance routines performed en masse, wheelbarrows, kids climbing poles, even sumo wrestling. All performed to a soundtrack of Kylie Minogue, Queen and The Beatles. I didn't have a clue what was going on, but for six hours I watched, amazed at the organised chaos that was unfolding around me. Having been told that the relay I was running in was the last event (aka THE EXHIBITION EVENT. FML.), I decided I had six hours to unwind and not think about my impending humiliation. So instead, I kicked back, relaxed and watched the kids enact theirs.

Of course, this is Japan we're talking about... it's like an EastEnders wedding. You kid yourself that, this time, things might pan out differently. The script might change. But, deep down, you know some form of fuck-uppery is an inevitability. So, there I am, smugly laughing at the kids from the safety of my shaded tent, ice-coffee and chilled face-towel in hand... next, every face in the crowd - parent, teacher and student alike - is turned towards me, frantically pointing and gesturing "Go! Go! Go!". Then, before I know it, a ten-year old Japanese girl has run over to me, tied her leg to mine and I'm thrust into the spotlight, getting pity-claps as we inevitably finish last place in an impulse three-legged race. How? Turns out the kids were running in some kind of novelty relay, and when they got to a certain point, they had to turn over cards. On these cards were written instructions telling them what to do next. Seemingly, one little girl's card told her to run over to me (it had to be me), yank me out of the crowd, tie her leg to mine and finish the race as a pair. So that's what she did.  Was it a real sport? Fuck no. Did I get my just desserts for being such a smug shit beforehand? Fuck. YES.

Shedding my forcibly-attached third leg, the teachers' relay was a walk-in-the-park in comparison. Of course, the team I was on once came in last place, but this time I don't have to resort to the oh-so-chilvarous act of blaming a 10-year-old girl for my failure (though, let's be honest, it was blates her fault)... nah, I can just blame the fact that I was the only one on the teachers' team under the age of 35. Not my fault. At all. Now, who says I'm not a good team player?

My undokai peformance would've earned me one of those "you're-actually-shit-but-we-don't-want-you-to-grow-up-jaded" rosettes at home.

The debacle that is undokai over for another year, it was time (somewhat ironically) to celebrate with a big old piss-up, Japanese style. Now, I like to think that, whilst I'm here in Japan, I'm not only teaching, but I'm learning too. Really taking in the culture and everything Ainan has to offer, y'know? Well, for my second enkai, I certainly learnt something... the important lesson of how to acquire your very own stalker. And not just any old stalker, no no. A stalker who happens to be married. With kids. Who you teach. Wow.

So, there I am, it's the post-undokai enkai and I find myself in the familiar position of sitting in a Japanese bar, understanding approximately 0% of what's being said to me, and deciding I'll combat it by getting trashed. Then, to my initial delight, a woman with near-fluent (i.e. suspiciously good) English throws herself down next to me and strikes up conversation. HALLELUJAH, I thought. An escape route from this Japanese mindfuck. Except, little did I know, this escape route was one probably best avoided. She introduces herself as the parent of one of my students (whose name I pretend I recognise from the pool of about 500 kids I teach), and tells me that she wants to practice her English, since everything she's learnt so far she's picked up from Western films. Well, that was the sober explanation. Two hours of unlimited booze later, the story changes slightly. Turns out the fountain of this seemingly-sweet little Japanese housewife's English knowledge wasn't a stack of Harry Potter DVDs but, rather, some bloke from New Zealand called Harry who she'd been cheating on her husband with for the past two years. Ho ho ho.

At first, I thought it was hilarious. Then, as her hands wandered in places they shouldn't be wandering, and as she started to text me glittery hearts from across the table (I naively traded numbers with her when her psychopathic colours were less clear to see), I started to change my mind. It was clear she'd let me be the next Ron to her Hermione. Except that Hermione's a teenager. This woman's in her mid-forties, has got a husband, and a kid (WHO I TEACH), and is squealing and acting like a dosed-up schoolgirl trying to impress this clearly-unimpressed gaijin. All I know is that if my mum went to a PTA event, got trashed and acted like that with my teachers, I'd be fucking ashamed. Ironically, I ended up taking refuge back with those whose English was as good as my Japanese. Sure, we didn't understand each other, but I'll take confusion over perversion any day.

Luckily, I got out before she went all chopstick-psycho on my ass.

Fortunately, the kids themselves acted with a lot more grace at Sports Day itself. Even the kids who came in last place were laughing and smiling. And the post-undokai enkai allowed me to (AT LAST!) find a karaoke place that offers Nancy Sinatra. Zoe Deschanel eat your heart out. For three minutes at least, I was Summer in (500) Days of Summer. Now, where's Joseph Gordon-Levitt when you need him?

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Friday, September 9, 2011

Typhoons, mud soccer and a mid-lesson chunder.

So before I start this blog post, I thought I’d best warn you, not much has happened here in Ainan this past week, so I might struggle for material... LOL JK it’s been the busiest week OF MY LIFE.

Before I get into the banal, light-hearted shit, there’s an altogether more serious matter to discuss. On Friday, Typhoon Talas hit. Luckily for me where I am in Ainan, the damage was more collateral – the epicentre was some ways away. Nevertheless, the winds were still strong and the rain heavy. Even though I was in relative safety where I was, it was still an interesting experience – the kids all got sent home early from school as the storm clouds loomed overhead, and forecasts were warning that it was going to be “a big one”. Coming from neutral England with its neutral weather, it was a sense of foreboding I’ve never really experienced before.  

The next day on Saturday, the winds having settled, I went for a barbeque in Sunokawa Park with Elayna and the Ehime gang. It pre-empted the next day’s Mud Soccer festival in Sasayama. Sadly for me, I was relegated to the role of mere photographer, as my status of newbie-in-town meant I hadn’t had time enough to fix up a team of my own. (There are currently provisional plans for me and Tom to field a team next year under the classy name of “Serving Fish”. Watch this space). Either way, this newbie-in-town had his own fair share of fun taking it all in. The Ehime JETs fielded three teams this year. Having come decked out in their best fancy-dress and woke up at the crack of dawn to make the drive to Sasayma, their efforts were all rewarded with a triple first-round knockout. Elayna’s team – the welcomingly-named “Lady Killers” – had their hopes dashed when a second-half hand-ball by goalie Emma resulted in a penalty which they conceded. Bummerrrr. Not that the swathes of unknown paparazzi cared whether they won or lost. They were girls. And they were covered in mud. And they were foreign. All of that taken together means photographic frenzy in Japan... whether the photographers know you or not.

Yo Japanese Bitch, I'm really happy for you and I'mma let you finish... but take a faceful of mud, suckerrrr.

                                             Team Lady Killers... got killed. Awkward.

                                  I really wasn't lying when I said there was a papparazzi scrum.

With every last drop of mud washed off (I managed to pick up a surprising amount considering I wasn’t actually playing), it was time to catch an early night’s sleep ahead of my first few days as an Elementary School teacher. And holy SHIT did I need it. Whenever I tell my co-workers in Japan my age, they're all awed at how young I am. Well, these hyperactive kids certainly did a good job of making me feel like an old man. Fuck karate, if you want to stay fit, just become an Elementary School teacher. Within five minutes of walking through the door, you go from Ordinary Human Being to Human Climbing Frame. You’ll be grabbed from all over, your clothes will be lifted up... they won’t hold back. But they’re fucking CUTE AS so they can get away with it all. Not to mention playtime, running around in the insane heat. Just thank fuck I’m not fat. Apparently all the first-graders at one of my schools ate their lunch at top-speed so they could hurry outdoors and play with me, all the while saying “Jim-sensei, Jim-sensei” over and over again. Literally criminal cuteness. And their Sports Day practices put Johen to shame. From Sozu, my school tucked up in the mountains which has just FOURTEEN students in total, I wasn’t expecting much of a dramatic performance. Well, I was wrong. What I got was a bunch of six-year-olds putting on a show on unicycles to AKB48. Since when did I live in a place where I could say that sentence and not be lying? SO GOOD. 

It being an elementary school with small cubicles,
I had to adopt something resembling
this position to fully fit in the cubicle whilst
lying down.
Of course, these kids are hard to keep up with even when you’re on top form. But when you’ve had your Welcome Enkai the night before (at which you may have awkwardly taken the “all-you-can-drink” offer too far and passed out at the table), it can be torturous. You think I would’ve learnt by now, but it seems I packed my mantra of “tomorrow’s another day” when I left from home. So that was me, last night. Full on KO’d at my own welcome party. It’s all good though, when I eventually came round, it was to the sight of my Japanese Teacher of English in a similarly unconscious state next to me. Lad. If he can do it, so can this gaijin. Unsurprisingly then, the first thing I did when I arrived at school this morning was find the cold, loving bathroom floor and lie down on it for ten minutes solid. Splayed out on the floor in my little cubicle, surrounded by mountains and the sea outside, I, even through my pain, couldn’t help but laugh at it all. Things got a little less (i.e. a lot more) funny from thereon in. Put simply, if you make me play “What’s the time, Mr. Jim?” with a group of 50 dosed-up six year olds, I’m going to have to leave your lesson halfway through to chunder. Just saying.

On top of all that, I’ve somehow found myself running in the 200m Teachers’ Relay at Sports Day on Sunday. FUCKING GREAT. Time to show them all how manly and good at sport I am. LOL. Literally, having to conform to the "I'm-a-man-therefore-I-fucking-love-sport" stereotype is killing me. Nobody at home would even entertain for a second putting my name and "sport" in the same paragraph, let alone sentence. Still, when I can get paid to sit around and watch kids on unicycles all day, I'm over it.

Oh, and check out the poster I made for Johen's English Room. I'm not even going to be modest. It's fucking mint:

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011


At least, that's what these advertisements in the local, and school, newspapers could say about me for all I know.

Last time I was on the news (well, on TV) was when Mr. Blobby came to my school. Now it's in a Japanese newspaper next to an advert for bowles. How times change.

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Friday, September 2, 2011

Autumn Term Days #1 + 2: “wait, is this a school or a military camp?”

What do Angelina Jolie, eggs, Harry Potter, Dragonball Z and cutting people have in common? You're gonna have to read this post to find out...
Pinch, punch, first day of the month – and, with it, my first day of teaching! (Yeah I know, I forgot I was here to actually work too...) With the exception of my two-week stint in Matsuyama, I’ve been at work at Johen Junior High every day since I’ve been here, but up until now “work” has just consisted of sitting at my desk in the teachers’ office churning out lesson ideas which will probably never get used. Well, now that the summer holidays are over, things are getting a little more exciting...!
To start with this morning, there was “cleaning time” at school. This is something which just wouldn’t happen in England. There I was, sitting at my desk, when suddenly a chirpy 80s-gameshow-style theme tune was blasted throughout the school. I thought it was just another hilarious Japanese quirk (like the similarly odd fanfare played to welcome in trains as they arrive at the station), but to everyone else – teachers and students alike – it was the cue to grab a mop and sponge and clean everything in sight! Hilarious. Obviously I wasn’t just going to be The Useless Gaijin sitting there doing nothing, so I hopped up out my desk, grabbed my own cleaning gear and got my cleaning on!

                                                                I have no idea.
With every inch of the school now sparkling (except the few windows which were designated as my area...), the kids lined the pristine corridors and I was paraded to the hall. Walking past hundreds of giggling, waving students, the odd one daring a “Hello!” or “Good morning!”, I felt like some sort of celebrity...something like Britney in the “Everytime” video (yes I did just make that reference): luckily for me, I didn’t get whacked on the head with a camera, bleed to death in the bath and be reincarnated as a baby. (Except in the PG version where I’d, in fact, wake up in the bath at the end, lolling away). Instead, I was lead to the school hall where, once all 200+ students had piled in, I was taken up on stage to give my introductory speech (in Japanese) to the whole school. Knowing how nice all the kids are, and having already given this exact same speech approximately twenty times, I wasn’t really that nervous: I just didn’t want to screw it up by doing something characteristically stupid like fall over or forget to turn the microphone on. Luckily it all went swimmingly and I descended the stage to a thunderous applause. Score.

                                                 Luckily, I managed to avoid this fate.

Next, it was off to class for my first shot at teaching. My first two lessons were a pretty nice way of easing me into life as an ALT at Johen: simply me introducing myself and my home country to the students with a bunch of photographs and a “How well do you know Jim-sensei quiz?”.  The kids were all super genki and up-for-a-laugh. At the end, when it was time for them to ask me questions, I got some pretty interesting results. First, there was the obvious “Do you have a girlfriend?” (JOOOKES), then the slightly more intense, “Are you married?” (LOL), and finally the downright weird, “What is your favourite egg food?”.  I also got asked to “explain” English tea (whatever that means), whether I’d ever met any of the cast of Harry Potter and whether I “like” Angelina Jolie. Dubious. Obviously there’s the odd kid who’s too cool for school, but when you walk into another class to a spontaneous round of applause and find yourself performing a kamehameha from Dragonball Z at the front of the class with a kid, I’d say that makes it all worth it! (The answer should be obvious by now!)

Class over, it was time for lunch. Now, if the choice were between giving a speech in front of 200+ students or eating a plate full of fish, I’d choose the former every time. Needless to say, you can probably guess what I was served up for my first school lunch. Yep. A plate full of fish. It wouldn’t be so bad if the Japanese custom at school wasn’t to clear your ENTIRE PLATE. The kids are expected to eat every scrap, so the teachers are meant to lead by example and do the same. This meant that I couldn’t realistically leave the table until every last fish flake was gone. Great. Lunchtime will from here-on-in by the bane of my day. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, there’s the kid who inexplicably comes up to you whilst you’re cleaning your dinner plate, roars in your face and casually strolls off. Hahahaha. Oh dear, this is going to be interesting...

Having somehow cleared my lunch plate (and, even more surprisingly, somehow managed to keep it all down), and survived my first encounter with The Roarer, I was treated to an experience unlike any other I’ve seen before: watching the kids prepare for Sports Day. At home, Sports Day was never really that big a deal – I just liked it because it meant we got the afternoon off (since obviously I was never involved in actually competing haha). All I can say about Sports Day here is that if any of the schools down the road are looking to start a war with Johen, they should probably back off. The preparations were literally carried out like the kids were at an army training camp. Military-style music blast out through the school speakers whilst all the kids marched on the spot and completed their drills like soldiers. Not a foot out of line. It was so surreal seeing all 200+ kids stand to attention and march so uniformly. At school. One of the teachers told me not to worry, since the Japanese Constitution prevents the formation of private armies. The fact he had to say that is reason to worry in itself. Of course, that ignores the fact that it's all just fucking hilarious. Taking it all in, I wasn’t entirely surprised to hear that Johen is the school of the second-best kendo competitor in the whole of Japan. Bitches be crazy.

Restricted in the pictures I can take at school, I trawled Google Image for something representative of Johen Sports Day prep. This is the outcome.

For all the seriousness of the practice for the opening ceremony, the actual "sports" the kids take part in are like something from a kids version of Takeshi's Castle. My favourite was "Catch and Release": two kids strap washing-up baskets to their backs whilst another puts a football on a plank of wood; the last kid then stamps on the plank to launch the ball into the air, leaving the other two to scurry around trying to catch it in the basket on their back. Genius.
So that’s it: my first Big Day at work complete! It’s nice just to finally get the ball rolling! In other news, there’s a typhoon set to hit Ehime this weekend so the forecast is looking roughhhhh. As long as it doesn’t interfere with me getting internet, I’m not worried!

Okay, after my second day at Johen, there’s unquestionably a new winner of the weirdest (and most downright-fucked-up) question. It started pretty innocuous (but still pretty weird): “Jim-sensei, what’s your favourite sound?” ...strange, but nothing to worry about. It was what came next that was really golden. “Mine’s the sound of cutting people”. Literally, WHAT? Cutting. People. Wow. Luckily it wasn’t followed up by a “Where do you live?” like I’ve been asked in other classes. Either way, someone remind me never to give that kid a bad mark. there you have it, they're all things that my students asked me about within my first two days of being at Johen. Who says kids lack imagination?
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