Thursday, June 28, 2007

my day.
actually it would be more correct to say that i hit the snooze way too many times thinking that i'm somehow owed an hour of extra sleep for staying after school for 2 extra hours.
show up to work 30 minutes late. Empty school. Nearly. 1st graders are the only students in attendance. 2nd and 3rd graders are at work sites, 2nd graders have been at them since Monday, 3rd graders only today and Friday. Have a meeting with JTE for 2nd period class with 1st graders. We're entering dangerous territory--3rd person singular "s" addition to the verbs. It is the most common mistake and the more frustrating for the fact that if students don't have this down by 3rd grade, what chance do they have with past perfect construction?

So. Plan to actively pursue education of fresh minds. Recently I realized that when i took foreign language in high school the classes were every day and in the German classroom. Therefore everyday we got to see the posters with common rules on the walls. The more you see those rules, the better they sink in, i think. Since in Japanese classrooms it is the teachers that move and not the students, having permanent subject posters like that is impossible. So I asked if we could have students glue inside their files a cut out with the explanation of how the "s" gets added on to the 3rd person singular verbs. He went for it! Yipee. The inside of their file covers are going to be filled by end of school year!
Class over, I stay around and chat with a couple of the kids. Back in the teachers' office, I savor the coolness of the aircon--the only one in the school. Few minutes of kanji study are followed by a completion of a Sudoku puzzle--I've renewed my interest in these puzzles after finding a book of them under others while cleaning the shelves behind my desk.
Next, time on the internet, chat with my sister and bring Facebook up to date. Then i realize i should be going to the BOE to talk with my supervisor about my wanting to get the AC in my car looked at. I call, he's on holiday today, they say the superintendant will be back in 15 minutes. I leave school in 20, get to BOE and am told the superintendent went to lunch already. It's 11:30am. I mention that I want to go to a repair shop in Kunigami to have AC fixed. While one BOE lady looks up the phone number the other remembers that this shop will not do AC work and I have to go elsewhere. Men in the accounting division are asked and there are now 3 people trying to figure out where to send me. They map out a place near Nago, and I think i know what they mean (the subject of how maps are drawn here should be fully explored at a later date). The new concern is whether I will be able to get a loaner car from the shop. The phone call is made and it is found out that no loaners are available at that shop or another one like it in Nago. What to do? The discussions that follow are mostly beyond my comprehension. I just politely stand off to the side as the issue is hashed out. I am next told that there is a place in Tsuha (the northern most village of Ogimi-son) that I should go to. Another map is drawn, and this time I know exactly where I'm going as the car place appears to be right next to a new soba shop I've eaten at several times already. I thank everyone profusely and go back to school for lunch.
Lunch time. One of the dishes is tiny salted fish mixed in with caramelized peanuts. But we also got a watermelon today! Hurray! And it's delicious! I eat three pieces as there are extra. Yum.

After lunch, drive to the car place but warn two people at school prior to my going that the shop might be calling them if I don't understand something important. Drive to shop, thinking that I'd pay 500$ to fix the AC as opposed to the previously self-imposed limit of 300$. Limit upgrade due to the intensity of the heat during drive over. Get to the shop. One of the workers immediately points me towards Nago as soon as I say, "koolah" but I insist that I was meant to come here and he goes to ask. A minute later I step outside the comfortably air conditioned tiny office to find another man pulling up in a small white car. When he steps out he attempts to explain to me the details of the situation. I gather that I'm getting a loaner from them, but they will actually take my car to Nago to get it looked at. It dawns on me that the man back at the office arranged this with the owner of this shop who is possibly a friend if not a relation. Sooo. I have no idea when I'll see my car again, how much it'll cost me or anything else for that matter. But I do get to drive a tiny air conditioned car for a couple of days, and that's all right with me.
A year ago I would find this to be extremely frustrating and nerve wracking. I am much calmer about these situations now. Am not exactly sure why that is. Perhaps it's due to the fact that nothing really has gone wrong for me here yet. This will be the first thing, eh? Watch me shell out a grand for AC repairs next week! But if I do, it better work like new.

At school I do more sudoku, study more kanji, read a grossly entertaining book called, "Stiff" about human cadavers and their adventures in the land of research.
I can't leave.
I am waiting for the story contest students and so have to stay at school past my contract time. One of them shows up a little after 5:30pm. We have a quick practice; she is nearly ready. I call a couple of teachers and some 1st grade basketball girls to listen to her tell the story. She does it beautifully and in well under 5 minutes. I'm relieved and we both go home.

Quick, improvised dinner of stir-fried wild rice, tuna, green onion, and leafy frozen veggies. At around 7:30pm I'm at eisa practice. Tonight we get to put in orders for pants and shoes. I try on the L size baseball pants and they fit. I sometimes wish i was back in a country where I was Medium size. We go through the songs three times and at the end of the 2nd round i enthusiastically hit my thumb instead of the drum. AGAA!

After eisa practice, i watch some women from the village practice a hari boat dance inside the gym and feel a part of a community. Sort of. Still sometimes just an outsider looking in.

Have an exciting weekend coming up, starting with a carefree Friday. No students will be at the school at all, and I'm staying at home in the morning 'cause only 4 people will actually be at work. I will have to go in around 4pm to wait around for the story contest students again. But thankfully tomorrow is the last day, and Saturday we get to show off our students and stories. Goodluck to all! :)
I'll let ya all know how it goes.


5:45am. near Ogimi, looking north.

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