December 14th 2009.
14.12.2009 - 14.12.2009 2 °C
Im back, for another installment of my less than mediocre, blog-tarded pieces of writing! Blogging has become something of a struggle, due to the fact, that im not a fish out of water anymore, and I've been routinely busy, which means theres not a lot of material, to merit a blog entry.
It's strange how true it is, that time flies when your having fun, and draggggs when your not. Its all relative i suppose and dependant on the situation. So many things in the past seem both like they happened ages ago and at the same time...i remember them like they happened yesterday. It's also strange how some insignificant moments in life, you remember so clearly for no apparent reason.
My Japanese working-holiday has flown by so fast! It seems like yesterday I was waiting to be collected and taken into the mix, jet-lagged in Narita airport. At the same time, it also feels like so long ago. It also feels like yesterday I was happily playing as a 5year old in the sandpit with ice-cream covering my face and front....ok maybe not quite yesterday, but the point is, your a child one day, not really having a clue whats what and before you know it, the 'sand' is time slipping away and the 'pit' is the hustle and bustle of adult life that you cant escape from....the ice-cream? thats probably your money, that you try and nurse by 'licking' round the edges of the bank you keep it nestled in, whilst it drips and fritters away, on useless supposeded neccessities and pointless pleasures! Time is definetely a perspective of each individual.It's amazing how much time I've spent standing, sitting or sleeping on trains since I've been here. I barely spent anytime back home on trains, so it seems im making up for lost train time now! Tokyoites must spend half their lives on trains! Luckily it doesnt bother me as much as i thought it might!
I've listened to people refer to a year or 3 years when talking about future plans like there seconds, "Oh ill go here and do this for a few years then go and do that for a year or so".
A year is a long period of time in my opinion, a month also seems like a long time away, but to other people its like tomorrow. Even though these periods of time, I class as a long time, when you are enjoying things and/or keeping busy, days seem like minutes and months seem like days.
Is life too short?? Maybe....I dont know. Its a great question. Sometimes I get frustrated because I suddenly have a strong desire to start something new. Do a sport, see a new Country, generally be somewhere im not and doing something else. I've come to the realisation, I cant do everything. Some people go through life not really knowing what to do or what they think they should be doing. Some people do the same thing time after time year in and out. There should be an in between, but its difficult to secure. I still dont know what im doing, what i should be doing, or what i will be doing, or why?!...but I try not to let it slow me down, after all NOW is the best the one and only point in time to change direction if you feel thats the way to go. It's a gift...thats why they call it the present!
So...how have i been keeping busy? In a routine, thats how, a routine Im enjoying for the time being. I recently had my appraisal, which is a meeting you have with your boss after 7/8months of being with the company. It was standard chit chat about this and that. I realise now how people can hang around in Japan with the company for a long time and not realise. Teaching English in Japan, is an extremely well paid job now I think about it! Although if the World was a School, Japan would be a desceptively friendly bully who, you like, but beats you up and takes your money every now and then. I dont think in pounds anymore, it doesnt do anyone any good converting currencies, im Yen yen yen now.
Time goes so fast, they just get on with it, and before you know it your a resident....well not quite. Who knows, before i know it, i could be more sushi than man and writing blogs in にほんご!
Japanese people claim not to be big into holiday celebrations which the Western world is all over, however they go all out for decorations thats for sure! In October, everywhere was littered with ghosts and ghouls and pumpkins for Halloween. Now since Mid-November...Christmas decorations are taking up every shopping centre and street corner.As for Halloween, they might not go trick or treating, but they they take the gold medal for decorations. I went out to a club for Halloween, which was extremely well attended and obviously well expensive! I went dressed as Gizmo the Gremlin, which was a pyjama type suit i bought, so no DIY done on the costume there. I met my 2 mates Shaun and Mike, in Tokyo before we went to the club.
They met me dressed as the Grim Reaper and a 'gay Pirate'.....ok just a Pirate. Now i've said before about gaijin's sticking out like sore thumbs...but when 3 gaijins traverse the Tokyo subway system, dressed as a Gremlin, the Grim Reaper and a Pirate....the stares from passing Tokyoites, were so intense they nearly burned through my fur! On the other hand i was loving the brief celebrity esq. status. I wish I had brought my camera that night, the club was packed out with some insanely good costumes. I took a few photo's of me posing as a Gremlin yesterday, see picture below.
Since last blogging, I've also moved apartment. I now live a mear 10 minutes walk from my Shane apartment, and I now have flatmates, who are my Halloween accomplices. I thought I'd miss my wee box/prison apartment which was seriously rent-diculous!!....but im happy to say i dont! Now with lower rent, an Xbox and flatmates, I cant complain.
In Japan, you know what season it is. In Scotland, its really hard to tell what season it is, because it snows in March, the sun rarely shines and it rains damn near everyday. In Japan, as time goes by each season slightly overlaps then takes over quite nicely. It just feels like yesterday, I was in the midst of Summer, sweating my way to work, and dreaming about a land full of airconditioners and Ice-cream. Now i sit here, wrapped up in my Gremlin pyjama's praying to the Heater god, to gently roast me like a leg of lamb. I also wake up to my wailing alarm, telling me its time to wake up from my cocoon/womb of warmth as im curled up in the foetal position, and take on the day! Still, home is more than likely colder.
So december...every december, I wonder...where did the year go, (not in a "I wasted that one" kinda way), it always just seems like yesterday, I was waking up on January 1st very hungover, to the start of a New Year, and in the blink of an eye im looking forward to making the upcoming New Years Eve a messy entrance into the next year!
Shane has end of year Christmas parties for most of its Schools. These parties are for Teachers, Students and Receptionists to have a social Evening together. It's a great idea especially for students to speak English in a social environment where they're not paying to speak it! On the other hand its harder to understand a Teacher speaking English when he's drunkenly abusing it with, slang and slur!
My 1st Christmas party was at Tsurukawa School, a school which I've been moved to from my Previous Thursday School; Kyodo, due to the fact that i wasnt getting enough hours at that school. The Tsurukawa party was well attended, with food and drink a plenty, and only one of my students there so, I was free to make a tit of myself which i usually do whether intentional or not!
My Next party is next week, at Tama Plaza school, my Saturday school, should be a good one. Then after that....16 days no SHANE. Which despite enjoying the job, has been greatly antisipated!
I mentioned my routine, which has been as such for last 2 months. Im not usually not a person who likes routine, but my current routine leading up to the Christmas holiay has been a comfortable enjoyable one. It consists of work, work, learning Japanese, socialising locally, playing Xbox and doing my new MMA class.
I've been over my Japanese lessons at the community centre before. Which are extremely cheap and good value, but I suppose, what else do retired old Japanese people have to do with themselves??...ok some of them are climbing Mountains, so...they ones that dont then. I think, I've progressed slightly, I used to look over my notes and do some revision, but i've been so busy lately, that has been pushed to the sidelines, which isnt a big problem as im only studying casually...for the time being. Im also using whatever Japanese I learn whenever I can, in a constant effort to prove to the locals and Japanese people i know (and my students) that im giving their language a shot and making an effort. I think some people I know who have been studying Japanese, are going down the same path as Japanese people do with English in Japanese school...which is perfecting the writing and reading, as their confidence with speaking is lacking.
Teaching is still going smoothly, sometimes schedules and schools change, but I just adapt and keep up how im doing things because it seems to be working. I still dont call myself a ''Teacher'', however I think im giving my students both adults and kids both an entertaining and educational, challenging lesson, for the most part.
My MMA class, which i found, unfortunately is a private class. Which before I started sounded a bit strange, to have a one to one Martial Arts lesson. However its been great, especially because I've missed exercising and punching some pads etc. Its quite a train journey away from where I live, and its (when I do the conversion) a lot more expensive than I thought I would be willing to pay, but fuck it, Im in Japan. My instructor, is a current fighter, who's actually fought some big names in MMA, he fortunately speaks pretty good english. Here's his profile and credentials ; http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Kiuma-Kunioku-864 .
So, I dont actually have any set in stone plans for the Holidays other than to get intoxicated in variously locations. Im sure it'll be a good one and i'll do what I can to make sure of that. From January my days off will change from monday/tuesday to the popular sunday/monday combo, which is great. However I was looking forward to escaping my six, 5 year old kids i teach on a sunday. However the kicker is that, im being moved to a kindergarten school on tuesday to teach a whole bunch more little bastards....I mean tykes....no I dont i mean bastards.
At my appraisal, there was discussion of my contract and its possible renual. Which at the moment, im not definite on but pretty sure of at the same time.I thought I was passed my indecisiveness, until this little nugget of a decision. Crunch time isnt 'til the end of February, which seems like a long time away, but before i know it it'll feel like yesterday! So I gotta think through my Plan A,B....and C, and work out a future game plan!
I'll let this blog lie now, and let it gather dust as I sign out for 2009. I hope everyone who reads this, has a fantastic Christmas and an even better New Year. I dont have any resolutions, because theres no point! Lets hope 2010 brings new exciting things, after all...in some films in the 80's depicting the world nowadays, we should now be getting around in hovercars, having a Robot serve us beer and having sex with hollograms...