Wednesday, October 19, 2005

An exercise in distraction

Last night started one of those bad dizzy spells I get, this one being the worst I've had in Japan. I had to "call in" to school today (read: I e-mailed my JTE at 5am and asked her to tell the vice principal and the other JTE that I wouldn't be in). It sucks, cos yesterday I had no classes, and today I would have had four, and maybe five if Beckham had been able to trade periods with another teacher. I took some Dramamine early this morning (which tastes terrible, and might not even be as effective as Bonine in my case), and managed to hold onto the contents of my stomach, so that was nice. Of course the medicine made me sleepy, and I slept off and on until about 3pm. It's weird, cos there I am, sitting up in bed (propped up on one of my folding chairs so I could sleep upright), and I feel fine. Perfectly fine. Fine enough to feel guilty about calling in to school. And then I try to move my head to make myself more comfortable, or get up to use the bathroom, and it's, Ahh, yes, that's why I called in.

For the curious, I suspect my vertigo is of the benign paroxysmal positional variety.
For the nosy, I've always taken the wait and see method of treatment. Every time I've had a bad dizzy spell, I've only been hard-core dizzy for about two or three days, and then less dizzy and more just lightheaded for about a week afterward. So it really doesn't make sense for me to try to treat it with head positioning exercises as described on that site, cos my symptoms go away too quickly.

So I'm in a weird funk. I've been stuck inside my apartment all day. I didn't go to school, I cancelled my English conversation class tonight, and I e-mailed the couple that I teach English to on Thursdays to warn them that I might not be able to have them over tomorrow. I'll decide in the morning if I'm okay for school. If I go, I'll leave early and take the train. I probably would have told my JTE by now that I won't be well enough tomorrow, but the second-years have interview tests, and if I don't get to them now, they'll have to wait two more weeks. I feel kind of cut-off from the world, even though I've been e-mailing and text messaging a bit this evening. I watched Fahrenheit 911 tonight. Boy, is that a bad movie to watch when you're sick. Well, for me it was. The woman that he interviews several times throughout the movie, she reminded me too much of Mom, and that made me really sad. And for anyone who cares about American politics, one way or the other it's gonna get you riled. I turned on the lights, which woke the birds up, so they've been keeping me company. My apartment is a mess (which is part of the reason why I'm reluctant to have the couple over), but I can't bend over to pick anything up. I've got my kotatsu blanket and rug in a pile in the front hallway, because there's nowhere in my apartment to store them while I wait to recover enough to put them into place. Yes, it's getting cold enough that I brought the kotatsu stuff from the Nita apartment. And I still feel like crap, of course. I can eat, but not much. So all of this has converged to put me in a somewhat depressed state. I'd go to bed now, if I could be assured that I'd sleep straight through the night; it's awfully hard to get a good night's sleep when you're sleeping upright. At least I don't have to move my head to use the computer, and the keyboard is kind of warm.

So! Enough of this pity party. Let me recount for you, in reverse chronological order, a summary of the last two weeks' events.

Sunday, Janelle and Orasa (the two other JETs in Okuizumo) and I went to a festival in Mizawa (a village in Okuizumo) with the Japanese class. There's an old castle that used to be in Mizawa, and it may even have been famous for something. This festival was to mark the 700th anniversary of the year the castle was built. We met the students at Mizawa Elementary (which I had previously not visited, so now that's 10 down, and Kamedake Elementary to go). There was a "warrior procession" of people dressed up like samurai and re-enacting what I believe was the introduction of the rifle to Japan, a re-enactment that involved many impressive bangs and pops, and a couple of misfires, too. I got sunburned. !! I keep forgetting that I'm not in Syracuse anymore.
After the festival, the three of us drove to Matsue to do some shopping at Uniqlo for warmer clothes—poor Orasa, from Thailand, thinks it's winter already. We picked up Mabel on our way into town, who had broken her foot the Sunday before. After Uniqlo we had dinner at an Italian restaurant next to Matsue Station. Not the one with the crazy clock, the other one.

Saturday, Janelle, Himene, and I drove to Matsue for lunch and to look for shoes (cos it's hard to find shoes my size in Okuizumo), and met up with Signe, Trevor, and Matt at Shoes AiLand. From there we went to the Friendship House in Izumo for a big games night. I played poker, and came away with an extra 1,700 yen (~16USD) in my wallet. Signe really cleaned up, though. We're going to have to watch her more carefully in the future.

Last Wednesday I explained the US Electoral College to my English conversation class. Whew!

Sometime last week Toothpaste Maniac told me how she thought it was strange that the Shimane JETs had held a fundraiser last February to raise money for UNICEF to help the areas affected by the big tsunami, but that we weren't doing anything to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. I wasn't so certain myself, but I said, "When I ask for money for people in my own country, maybe it feels like I'm asking for money for myself."
"No," she protested, "nobody thinks that. Besides, there are other ALTs in Shimane from other places in the world. And the CIR in Okuizumo is from Thailand...."
"Very true. But maybe the Thai government doesn't have enough money to help all of the victims of the tsunami. The US government has a lot of money."
"But they aren't helping enough."
"Well," I chuckled, "that's separate issue, isn't it?" She agreed with a laugh.

Two weekends ago was the welcome party for all the new JETs at Mt. Sanbe. We had way too much food to barbeque, and not enough coal to cook everything that was brought. I, for one, managed to escape gastrointestinal illness. The cabins we stayed in were really nice; I want a house like that. I played games with some friends, then went to sleep and left Sunday morning. I ended up getting lost on the way back home. Not really lost; just I somehow got it into my head that Kawamoto was between Sanbe and Unnan. Nope, Kawamoto's clear on the other side of Sanbe. So I drove half an hour west before I realized my mistake and turned around. But the weather was beautiful.

The Friday before that was an enkai with the BoE folks. It was my first BoE enkai since the towns merged. It was an interesting night. I'm only at the BoE every Monday, and usually I visit elementary schools or kindergartens, so I don't actually spend a lot of time there (except for the summer, but everyone else is too busy to talk), so there were a lot of people at this enkai who were still very curious about me. One guy insisted that I visit Hiroshima City and Kyoto, then go back to New York and tell everyone I know about Hiroshima and Kyoto. This same fellow thought that Anchorage was in eastern Canada. "A-nkora-ji," he said. "What, Anchorage?" I asked, "in Alaska?" No, no, that wasn't right. So I spent the next couple of minutes trying to figure out what he was really saying before getting out my Japanese-English dictionary, looking up Anchorage, and showing him that it was, indeed, in Alaska.
But what really took the cake was my conversation with Mr. BoE Boss Man. He asked me how many boyfriends I had. "Oh, five or six," I said dismissively. "I can never keep track."
"Oh, I see," he said. "So, you have... travel friends... and, uh... eating friends... sex friends... and... taiko friends... how many friends do you have?"
I turned to my supervisor, who was sitting next to me, and gave her my best WTF?! expression. She laughed nervously. "I think... he drink too much." Yeah.

Edit Oct. 21, 2005: Actually, now that I think about it, it was Mr. BoE Deputy Boss Man who asked me about sex friends. Mr. BoE Boss Man talked to me, too, but his choice of conversation was much more respectable.


K said...

Hope you're feeling better soon. That really sucks. It was nice to see you at Sanbe.

louise said...

Just was looking for a blog about BPV and ran across yours. I hope you are feeling better. I had to come home from work (school) because of the same dizziness. I was wrtiting on the board when it hit me. I thought I was going to fall.
I have a call into the balance clinic. Sometimes they can help and sometimes I come home with more questions than answers. If you want to e-mail me I am Louisenlondon