June 21 2001

Subject: The sun is close and the air is thick with moisture.

Date: Thursday, June 21, 2001 9:06 PM

I have to share this, as I think you guys think I occasionally BS you on things.

Got a half inch stack of important paperwork this morning. One of the ladies from downstairs walked it up to me. I dropped it on my bosses desk (to the left of mine). He saw it, then placed it in an outstretched hand while I was otherwise engaged.

I put it somewhere.

Later I looked for the paperwork.

Couldn’t find it.

Looked for it.

Looked some.

The boss looked for it.

The other teacher sitting to my right looked for it.

I looked for it on the bosses desk. Then the floor, then the trash, then my bag, then every nook and cranny on my desk.

Went to lunch.

Spent lunch trying to figure out where it was.

Finished lunch early and came back to look for it.

Cleaned my desk and couldn’t find it.

Getting pissed.

My boss told me not to worry, as it will turn up.

Still upset.

One hour later, the secretary walks by my bosses desk and drops, guess what? on his desk.

Seems she saw it, and since it didn’t have the official received by stamp on it, she took it to make it official.

Crap. Just glad to have it back.

It was Wednesday night and I was suffering thru Japanese class. Suffering is a good word. Very good word.

The teachers speak Japanese most of the time, so if you miss one of the finer grammar points, there goes the lesson. Plus it doesn’t help that when language smarts were passed out, I was in the “how to change a bike tube line”.

It’s not that I don’t like Japanese class, it’s just that well, after working a busy nine hour day, I’m not in the mood. If I can swing it, I go to class early and sleep before it starts. Thus the instructors know that I’m not going to be the best student in the class but they still try, they call on me often, I think to be mean and besides, I make them laugh. One night I thought I said that I rode a bicycle on another island and the teacher asked if it was hard to ride a bicycle underwater to another island.

Anyway, Wednesday night. The teacher was talking about “fruit baskets”, and I was lost. I couldn’t figure out what fruit baskets had to do with anything. Do the Japanese even give fruit baskets to people? With an apple costing $3.00, that’s got to be damned expensive.

Fruit basket in Japanese is “Furuto Basuketo”, so that’s the only reason I could understand her. I looked around, and everyone else in the class looked similarly confused, which was rare, as I am by far the most Japanese inept. Several of the class members are married to Japanese, and the rest have been her for a long time. There are two other ALTs in the class, and they actually have time to study and learn at their school. Naaah, me bitter and angry?? Naaa…….I’ve mastered the skill of sucking in my breath to convey any one of a 1000 different meanings. That’s a skill to put on the resume.

Then the teacher started handing out pieces of paper with adjectives on them. You could get one of four cards (handsome, poor, pretty, and something else {see, I forgot already!}).

Heeeyyyy, now she’s talking about sports, and fruit basket, and these stupid cards. Naa, you don’t think…

I raised my hand.

“Ano…..”, I started my sentence with (ano is a polite way to warn everyone you are going to say something, very similar to ‘so’), “ano, fruto basuketo wa (have to have some some sort of particle after the noun, I always end up guessing) at which point I simply stand up, wave my hands in the air, make strange Chris noises, and run and sit in a different empty chair.

The sensei smiles at me and starts nodding her head. Then she starts explaining again, and the rest of the class can’t figure out why what I just did was good.

Fruit Basket. The game where you run around and steal chairs from you opponents. Son of a bitch! Who would have figured that working with kids for 40 years would come in handy sitting in a Japanese class???

We started to play. And I must say, ABUNAI! (That would be Japanese for ‘this is stupid dangerous’). When we played it at the park, we used folding chairs and usually did it out on the grass.

Not tonight. Chairs with those desk arm things that make it impossible to get out of the chair from the front. Slippery floor, old frail people that speak Chinese,  Hawaiian guy on a diet (Mitches friend), annoying  person, plump Canadian, slightly demented Sensei (she makes punching motions at the bad students), and of course, ME!!

You all would be proud, I only caused one accident, and of course, it was completely an accident. Me steal a chair out from under the annoying person and causing him to fall on his kiester on the hard floor? I wouldn’t ever do that. 🙂 (Who says that Ati Tolu wasn’t good practice for something?)

I’m at work. This has been typed while I’ve looked around at some paper work on my desk. Occasionally I stop typing and turn a page and make one of those sucking in my breath noises, makes it look important.

The computer at home is still broken. I’ve been working (great, there goes the office boss, pretty high up in the department of Education, PICKING his nose! NASTY! sorry, had to share) a bit, like weekends and nights and mornings and what not. The Hawaii group is in town till Saturday, at which point they will leave, and the sensei that is running that program and I will catch up on much needed rest. The Hawaiians had a local politician chaperone with them. I spent an hour at the airport waiting for him to come back from his side trip abroad the other night. Finally got out of customs at 8pm. When he first arrive in Okinawa Saturday before last, he had two boxes of gifts that must have weighed 45 pounds apiece. Plus his heavy assed luggage. I’m not voting for him, not that I could, but still.

Did go to Tokyo last weekend and saw the largest Elephant I’ve ever seen in my life. Maybe 3 meters (9~10ft) tall. Just huge. And pandas and penguins and pissed off gorillas (Hey Yumiko, look the gorilla is charging the Plexiglas window. I hope it’s strong enough). And paintings and sculptures and an excellent Italian restaurant in the Roppangi district of Tokyo.

Work. Got all the new ALTs coming in August and a lot leaving next month, so it’s been a little busy. I haven’t yelled at anyone, so I consider that a small miracle. For some of the ALTs leaving, I will personally escort them to the airport and close the door behind them. If their fingers are in the way, tough.

The bike is calling to me.  I have Michelin bike socks and they have the Michelin Man (Bib, his name is Bib) on them. And the bottom of the sock says “Bib says ride”. Is it a bad thing that I do what my cartoon socks tell me to do?


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