Hello everyone. It was a week ago since I wrote my last for-real-describing-my-life-in-Japan post. The last two have been to drum up support so that you all would visit my friend’s blog to see my spot as a guest blogger. Each week she’s featuring a guest blogger with the theme being “Lent.” At the end of Lent she’ll see which guest blogger had the most views during his/her week, and that person will win a book. Please feed my competitive nature, and help me win!!
Anyway, not a whole lot has happened in the last week, but don’t you worry! I still have plenty to tell. I think I said it last week, but I am SO JEALOUS of you back at home who are having nice eighty degree days! I LONG for summer. Here it seems like old man winter is digging his nails down in an attempt to hang on. The days are getting warmer, but the highs are probably only in the lower sixties. Factor in a little mountain breeze, and it’s still not quite short sleeve weather. Soon, very soon! Everyone keeps talking about how it’s almost time for the sakura (cherry blossoms) to bloom. I cannot wait for that because it is supposed to be extremely pretty. Families, couples, and friends will take a Saturday or Sunday and picnic the whole day under the pale pink blossoms. It’s a pretty big deal over here!
Last Friday, as you probably noticed, I had no classes and was very bored at work. Therefore, I wrote three whole blogs. I do enjoy getting paid to go to work and pretend to be busy all day! I was thinking about my teaching situation here compared to my teaching situation at home. This job is a million times better than the three combined jobs I was working at home. In the States, I taught about thirteen hours of freshmen composition at Murray State and WKCTC and waitressed at The Parlor. My combined salary from those three jobs was about a third of what I’m currently making. I make more in one month here than I would teaching two FULL semester courses at home. In addition, I have FEWER responsibilities here. At the JHS, where I spend most of my time, I rarely have to prepare anything for class. Teaching at home meant lesson planning everyday, grading essays, updating the grade book, emailing students, making copies of worksheets, and constantly have something to do. It was a never ending cycle that I always felt behind in. However, none of that matters here. The closest thing that resembles my teaching job at home is that occasionally I will have to grade a sentence quiz.
I’m not sure why, but there were a couple of young men in the teacher’s room the other day. It was as if they were visiting the JHS for some reason. They were lounging around and talking to a couple of the teachers. Other people or townsfolk come to the school as well, but it’s usually for business, and you can tell by the way they’re dressed. The two guys were not there at all for business. Both had on very eccentric clothes. One guy was even wearing parachute pants. I’m not lying! Oh Japan and your crazy fashions!
Last Friday evening Ian picked me up from school, and we drove to Hitoyoshi because I had to go to the gyno. Several of you already know the whole story, and since this is posted to the internet, I won’t go into all the details. The most basic story is that I’ve been having a very irregular cycle, and I was a bit concerned that I was pregnant. When I heard the doctor say “ninshin nei” (not pregnant), I sighed relief. (I want children eventually…..just not NOW.) Mary went with me to translate. She wasn’t exactly sure what he was saying when it came to the medical terminology, so I’m not sure if he explained what was wrong, but they gave me a shot and bitter powder medicine that I had to eat before each meal. After that fiasco, Ian wanted to stop at Nafco, which is a Lowe’s type store. I stayed in the car because I nearly passed out after the shot, (Yes, I am a grown woman, and yes, I do almost pass out every time I get a shot or blood taken.) and I was still feeling a little woozy. Ian came back a little while later grinning and telling me about Japan’s law mower options. He was just strolling down the aisle and saw the three options. The first was more like a weed-eater, the second a Flintstone-type lawn mower (with blades, just no engine), and the third was a flame thrower. At first he thought that maybe that’s not what it was, but he said that there was a picture on it to fully demonstrating its uses. He said that the cheapest option WAS the flame thrower. HAHAHAHA! Oh, Japan!
Saturday morning I woke up at 7:40. My one morning to sleep in, and I’m up when my normal alarm would go off…it figures! I woke up remembering a pretty funny dream, though. I was at home and behind Wal-Mart. The Wal-Mart there has a little hill behind it. I remember very specifically in my dream that it was a twelve foot hill. Anyway, I was fighting with someone, and this person literally lifted me off of my feet, above his/her head, and threw me off of the hill. The next scene was in the hospital, and I was waking up from a coma. My arm was broken. I got discharged later that day, and then I got into another fight. Even though I was down to one arm, I won that fight. I love remembering crazy dreams! Since I woke up so early, I had plenty of time to clean the kitchen and make breakfast before Skype time.
Sunday morning we went to Mass. It had been a while since we last went to Mass, so we needed to go. I was thinking during Mass that I’ve been really bad about giving up sweets this Lent, so from here on out, I’m going to do it. No sugary snack, chocolate, or sweet drinks, yet Japan has a way of making me not fulfill this promise. More on that later…. After Mass, we planned to meet up for lunch with Melissa and Justine. We went to Everest Kitchen, a really delicious Indian restaurant in Hitoyoshi. The restaurant is beside a bowling alley and overlooks that parking lot. There was a big event there, and we were having a really good time watching the crazy Japanese drivers try to park their cars. They were making up parking spots, blocking other drivers in, nearly hitting cars as they backed in, and so much more! Oh, Japan!
Sunday afternoon we came home and took a nap. I’m not sure if it was the rainy weather, full bellies, waking up early to go to Mass or what exactly, but we were sleepy. Ian slept longer than me, so I went for a bike ride. I headed up the main road, the 219, and took it out of town. I quickly realized that it’s pretty much straight up into the mountains right outside of town. It was a tough bike UP, but it ROCKED on the way into town. My pedals were spinning so fast that I couldn’t even use them! I felt like a little kid again!! Whenever I got home, I parked my bike in a little plot of land beside my front door that is big enough to be a flower bed (bottom left). I said last year that as soon as the weather warmed up, I want to plant flowers there, so I dug my trough out of a box and got busy. I quickly found out that I HATE weeding. It took me about an hour to weed about half of it. Plus, the ground there is very rocky. I’m pretty sure that a previous tenant put down gravel to avoid weeding, but the weeds grew through anyway. I might be over my head, but I’m going to try this! After I threw my hands up in disgust, I started dinner. I made a noodle dish (bottom right), but I asked Ian, “Why is it that everything I make looks like vomit??” It was good even if it didn’t look the best.
I’ll stop here and finish up the rest of the week in the next blog.