Thursday, July 28, 2005

Welcome Frog

Welcome Frog
This little guy was waiting to greet me when I returned home from the hardware store after this evening's thunderstorm.

On a related note, today marks the one-year anniversary of my arrival in Shimane.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Just taking an informal survey. For those of you who aren't from the UK or Ireland, and who are currently residing in the country of your citizenship, do one or both of the following apply to you?
A) You know exactly how many nationals from your country were injured or killed in last week's London bombings.

B) You know exactly where to find out how many nationals from your country were injured or killed in last week's London bombings.
Post a comment, s'il vous plaƮt, regardless of your answers.

To clarify: B does not refer to a Google search or a hunt around Yahoo News, or anything like that. When I ask if you "know exactly where to find" this information, I mean you heard, read, or saw it on the radio, in an article, or on the TV in the last day or two, and have since forgotten the exact number, but one glance at that bit of news would refresh your memory.

Friday, July 08, 2005

My BoE is awesome.

Blogging from school again today. Kyoto-sensei is nodding off at his desk. I left my laptop here last night cos I knew I had a lot of work to do, getting my apartment sort of clean, and I didn't need the extra distraction. But after what transpired in London, I drove back to pick it up. Ran into Ikeda-sensei in the parking lot (not literally), and we chatted briefly; she's been to London a few times, and was particularly interested in the bombings. Kyoto-sensei was the only one left in the building. I understand that from time to time one gets tired, and a nap at one's desk is irresistible, but he often falls asleep at his desk. And then stays at school until after 10pm? I wonder if he has a family to go home to. Some teachers with families don't live with them because they've been transfered to a town far away from their home, so they live in a separate apartment during the week. Maybe that's what he does, so there's no special need for him to leave at a reasonable hour on a weekday.

I found out about the London bombings from Erica, of all people—we're more like acquaintances than friends. She called me about three hours after it had happened, looking for Mabel. Shortly afterward I set off to pick up my laptop (though I was already planning to drive to Yokota with a car-full of stuff anyway), then stopped by Mabel's afterward to watch the news while she tried to get in contact with some friends of hers in London. I think they're all okay.

I spent the better part of this morning trying to make my apartment look something close to "clean," and while I accomplished quite a lot, I'm sure my supervisors didn't notice. Actually, four people came from the BoE to help me move my stuff. So awesome. Abe-san, my proper supervisor; Tokue-san, my sort of supervisor; Hiroe-san, a woman who speaks some English; and, oh, what's his name, the guy who sits next to me at the BoE and drinks nicotine-laced energy drinks at 9am and is always taking over my desk when I'm not there. Taira-san? I think so.

The women arrived first, and Abe-san heard my birds chirping. So I brought them out and showed them to her, and she didn't freak out; good sign, considering I didn't ask if it was okay if I kept animals in the apartment. I got the birds cos I knew I probably wouldn't get anywhere by asking if I could keep a cat.

Tokue-san and Taira-san showed up shortly afterward. Tokue, the cheeky guy that he is, made no attempt to hide his amazement at the mess of my apartment, especially the bedroom where the birds were kept and which I haven't swept of feathers and millet.

But then we were quickly on our way. The washing machine, the large bureau, tables, cabinets, shelves, and a few boxes of stuff all made their way to Yokota in three cars. They brought the fridge over this afternoon while I was here at school; I don't feel the leastwise worried about leaving both apartments unlocked. I wouldn't do it routinely, and might have some reservations about doing it overnight, and definitely kick myself on those occasions when I wake up in the morning and discover that I hadn't locked the door when I came in the previous night, but yeah, I don't mind doing it for a few hours during broad daylight.

On my way to Yokota I stopped by Poplar and bought some cold drinks for everyone, and when we'd finished moving the stuff into the new apartment I gave them each a bar of Mom's soap. I made sure Tokue got the vanilla one, since he'd seemed to like that scent so much when Mom sent me a few bars back in August. Of course it's not such a big deal until I explain that my mom made it. So if you're living in Japan and your mom makes soaps, keep some handy to give as small thank you gifts.

Thanks, Mom.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


So I've found a new apartment, and I'll be moving in over the next two (or more) weeks. It's about half the size of my current apartment, and though it was a step up from the other apartments I'd seen the week prior, when I had a day to think about it I began to seriously regret saying I'd take it. It has one large room, the size of 12 tatami mats, and a proper toilet what flushes and doesn't smell, but the kitchen is really more like a stove, sink, and fridge in a hallway.

But I went through with it; I signed the papers on Monday. Over the weekend I'd thought it over and decided that I could live with it, and as long as my successor never found out where I'd been living before, they wouldn't be the wiser. Yokota is far enough away from other towns that it has some of its own nice stores, and I'd be closer to Mabel and to her successor when she arrives. So, stamp here, sign here, and done.

Abe-san had mentioned a few times trying to get me into the same building as Pannee, the Thai CIR in town. I'd never seen Pannee's place, and didn't even know where she lived, but even after we signed the papers for this small apartment, Abe said she'd let me know if there was an opening in Pannee's building. Since I hadn't actually a clue what her place was like, we went with Pannee to see it.

Oh, it's quite nice. Smaller than my current Nita apartment, but larger than the Yokota place I'll be moving into, and in the center of town. And the windows! It has so many windows, the place is full of light. I was really surprised: I'd thought this whole apartment thing was completely settled, but Abe is still willing to find me a really nice place that I can live in comfortably and feel proud to pass on to my successor. It makes my decision to move to the smaller apartment more bearable.

But still I must move, and I don't know how long it'll take to get internet in the new apartment. It won't take nearly as long as it did last year, because ISPs do exist in Yokota, but I'm not even getting water and electricity until tomorrow, when my big appliances and furniture (fridge, washing machine, bureau, tables) are being moved, so I can't give an ETA on the internet just yet. In the meantime, I'll try to suck up to Kyoto-sensei at Nita JHS and get my very own LAN cable at my desk there (like the one I've got here at Yokota JHS), so at least I'll have access next week. I might just leave my computer at the Nita apartment for a while and visit it every evening before driving back to Yokota. Strange arrangement, but it'll work until they cut the electricity/phone there.

So if I'm not online much over the next few weeks, I humbly and pre-emptively request your forgiveness.