Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Dumb Bugs

I lay on my couch, listening to the blood thud through my veins.  It's hard to move after spending too long in a tub of water that was too hot.  

I look up at the light on the ceiling and wonder how dumb bugs are that they stay so long next to a light that they die of the heat.

Monday, October 20, 2008

What I Want for Christmas

There are really two things I want for Christmas this year.  One is a cool wireless book reader.  Since it sucks to have to pay to ship books, and they're heavy etc.

The second is this:

Dee has one.  It is a portable oven.  She says it works better than many ovens in the US.  It is made in the US and they don't ship to Japan.  But it is large enough to cook a turkey or a cake.  I'd probably be making chocolate chip cookies for my students.  And neighbors.  And self.  Can't forget self.  Or I.  Can't forget I. Or me either.

Bring the Funny!

Alright, so here's a funny story for those of you who take life too seriously.

Today we had our Culture Festival at Nankan Junior High School.  After, the students were really excited.  They were hanging out in the hallways waiting to go home.  I was wandering around, talking to them.

Two girls started to talk to me.  They pointed to a boy in their class and said, "Katharine, he is crazy boy."  I politely responded, "Oh really?"  The boy in question overheard and came over and said, "Please Katharine do not believe this person."

Now it started to get interesting.  Knowing that they were getting to him, the girls started to dig their heels in.  They insisted that he was a "crazy boy" and adamantly refused to take it back.  

I don't really think that he was worried that I thought it was true.  But he wouldn't let it go.  So the girls moved on to new territory.  Next stop was, "He's a lie doctor." after learning the word 'lie' from me.  Then when he reacted by speaking in very loud and extremely fast and slurred Japanese, we reached, "High tension".  

I guess that "high tension" is an adjective in Japanese, because that's how they were using it.  The boy kept getting louder.  Then he tried to get some of his friends on his side.  I knew something about his friends.  Two of them come up to me several times a week and point to themselves and say, "We are crazy boys!" with looks of pure pleasure on their faces.  He was screwed.  They were as amused by his reaction as the girls, so they started to support the girls' theory.  

But they didn't move onto anything else, they just strung those three together.  So the "Crazy boy, lie doctor, high tension" boy and his classmates continued until they had to sit down for homeroom and dismissal.

I turned to Yoshida-sensei, the English teacher for the third years, who had walked up near the end of the discussion, and said, "Well, at least they were using English."

Sunday, October 19, 2008

To Osaka!

On October 9th I hopped the train and rode it all the way to Osaka. I met up with my old friend Dee who I met at Kansai Gaidai. She is currently working as a kindergarten teacher in Osaka and was willing to take me around a bit. Dee also let me crash at her place, which was fabulous.

I went to my old school - Kansai Gaidai. I was surprised. It was the same. And yet it had moved on without me. I guess part of me always thought of Kansai Gaidai as it was when I was there. My image was static. So when I saw it full of life, with new students making their way, I was surprised.

As I walked around I remembered, but most importantly I just let it go. This place isn't only mine. It is everyones. So I went and picked up the piece of myself I'd left there. At least part of me wouldn't ever have to leave. But I took it back, and I also took Kansai with me. The buildings could all fall down, and it would still be there for me. There's more to this world than we can see; and Kansai will always be with me.

So onto business. I only spent about an hour wandering in my memory. After that I went over to Kyomizu-dera. A temple in Kyoto with the best view of the city.

  Don't you agree?

I'm reminded of Dave Matthews' "Ants Marching".

Here is one happy climber.  Even with my knee I did pretty well.  It usually takes about 30-45 minutes to climb to the top.  Mostly because there are a lot of shops on the narrow roads up to the top and there are tons of people.  Luckily, lost of people meant someone to take my picture!

But really, this is one of the prettiest temples to visit.  Lots of stuff to buy, and a good work out too.  Does it get any better?  I think not.

Next up:  Pastry!

Ah yes.  The beautiful french pastry shops with a Japanese twist.  They make all different kinds of pastry.  And each one is a work of art.  You wouldn't believe how happy everyone was that I wanted their picture.  I told them I would put it on my website and you'd think it was the coolest thing ever.

Look and drool.

So in this picture on the right you can make out the word "トトロ".  Yes.  They made a pastry shaped like the head of Totoro, from the Miyazaki Hayao film.  Things like this are a regular occurrence in Japanese pastry shops.  There everywhere!  I went by two or three just in the train stations!

The really amazing thing is that this is a pastry shop.  The cake shops are just as elaborate and just as much fun to eat at.  If I was living in Osaka, I would not have lost the last five pounds that I have.  Nothing can give you an appetite than passing by these shops all day long.  

Sitting in Style

My living room currently.

Well, I took the plunge and bought a couch.  I just couldn't stand the black "couch"  It was about eight inches off the ground and it put my knee at a really bad angle.  So my plan is to buy a new TV stand that is about the same height as the couch, that runs the length of the wall.  I will get rid of the book case and simplify the room.  There should be plenty of storage for the electronics.  Of course, I'll get a new TV too.  Thanks for sending my Playstation Mom and Dad!