September 13th, 2004

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Visit school hell...

This is from last tuesday...

I've just about written off Kanuma nogyo students, I know I shouldn't stereotype them but today was terrible. They seem very active in comparison with Kanuma koko students but that's not really a good thing in this case. This tuesday was my first time going to a visit school and, just my luck, it was my lowest level school. I have to get to this school by bike and since I'd only ever been there by car, I gave myself 50 minutes to do a 25 min ride. It was a good thing I did because it took me almost 40 minutes to get there. I misidentified landmarks, turned far too early and promptly got myself lost. I came up the hill on the wrong side of the tree belt and had to ask directions twice before I found the place. When I got there I was met by some teachers at the gate so I went and changed and was introduced to the teachers by the principal at the morning meeting and was taken off to the english/math teachers room (there are only 2 english teachers). There I learned one of the bright points of my day...I have internet access at my desk! The rest of the day went downhill. I taught 4 classes in blocks of two. The students couldn't have cared less about learning. While I was doing my card activity I only got attention from the pair of students I was actively questioning at any point in time. The rest of the class was off doing their own thing: reading manga, talking (on cells or with other students), sleeping, looking out the window...everything except paying attention. The japanese teacher didn't do anything to stop it (which I gather is the norm for japanese teachers). On top ov everything else, I don't think hapf of them really understood what I was saying, and it was all in simple english. I don't think the teacher knew what was going on at times. I think I'll play games with them for the rest of the year, they'll be games with english merit but I'm not going through another day like tuesday if I can help it. On the plus side, I get to go home when school is done, whever that is, I don't have to hang around unless I want to.
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The party...

From saturday the 4th...

This saturday Leigh Ann and I threw a belated birthday party for each other. We invited all the Kanuma girls of course, as well as some of her friends from around Tochigi (both JETs and Japanese). Well, Jacq couldn't come but the other two did and three of Leigh Ann's Japanese friends came (one high school aged, the other two older). We went out to eat at an okonomiyaki place. The center of the table is a large flat griddle and you order a mix of things that come to you in a large bowl, uncooked. Mix that up and pour it on the griddle and it makes a pancake with all the stuff you ordered inside (I had something with prawns, squid and octopus in it)you're supposed to eat it with this black sauce but I don't like the sauce. While we were in the restaurant (really cool design with sunken spaces under the tables for your feet so sitting on the floor isn't bad) it started to pour. This wasn't just rain either, it was thunder and lightning and wind,rain coming down in sheets. Fortunatly by the time we finished in the restaurant the rain had started to slacken and it was only rain. From dinner we went to a Lawsons (like a 7-11) and bought drinks to take into the Shidax Karaoke place (drinks bought inside are very expensive). We were at karaoke for 3 hours, it was a blast! Instead of one big room for all the patrons, japanese karaoke is in little rooms that just your group goes into, rented by the hour. The room has a table or two, seats, a karaoke machine and 2 mics. You pick the songs out of the books there, plug them into the machine and enjoy. I could have stayed longer (most of us could have) but it was getting late so we called it a night.
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Tokyo Disneyland!

This last saturday (11th), a group of us wen't to Tokyo Disneyland. It was great fun. The group was: Me, Jessica, Jacq, Tara, Dave (from England, another JET) and Anita (from Australia). We (those of us from Kanuma) started out on the 7:14 train and met the other two along the way. We got to the park about 9:30 or so. Inside it's really alot like Disneyland in California, very commercial, lines everywhere but it was still alot of fun. One different thing about Tokyo Disneyland is this system called "Fastpass" that they have for the most popular rides. You put you ticket into a machine at the head of the rides line and it gives you a ticket for a time in the future (you have an hour of time to use the ticket once it becomes valid)with this ticket you can get into a fast lane and get on the ride without spending hours in line. I think every ammusement park should adopt the system, it works really well. So we did the basic wander and rides and buying frivolous things and had a grat time. It was a really long day, we didn't get back until around 9:30 or 10. So I was really tired and then had to get up early again to go to soccer practice so this weekend has been really full without much downtime. (Not that I didn't enjoy it ^_^)
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