The Witless Clunkery of a Third-Rate Mind

Friday, March 31, 2006

Tokyo in Bloom

I'm staying at my hotel in Tokyo now. The great thing is that it's very central and that the rooms have internet! So, without further ado, a few photos.

This one is from Manmanji temple in Matsudo city. This guy is one of the "Nio" or two kings; in Buddhism, he is commonly a guardian of temples. This particular example is 700 years old or so, and is a national treasure.

The cherry blossoms are in bloom in Tokyo now, so everyone is going crazy. I suppose they are very beautiful; they create an effect of a light-pink cloud floating over your head when there are enough of them. Japanese people like to sit under the blossoms and drink with friends.

While everyone is looking at the cherry blossoms, the azaleas (like these ones) are also in bloom, but strangely, everyone ignores them. I'm not sure why. When I questioned the single-minded obsession with cherry blossoms, my Japanese friend made a remark to the effect that I just don't understand the Japanese mindset. This is a standard response when the person in question doesn't understand the significance of something themselves, and it irritates me a bit. But anyway, the flowers are nice.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Quick Update

Hey! I'm currently homeless (again) having moved out of my place in Nihonmatsu. I'm spending about a week in Kashiwa and Tokyo for training, before shipping out to my next assignment which is in Oita (on Kyushu, where I lived for the first couple years in Japan). It's nice to be back in and around Kashiwa; I've been able to catch up with a few friends already and should have a couple more reunions over the next two or three days. After that, my company is going to put me up in a hotel in downtown Tokyo. That should be fun! The first time I was in Japan, with the JET program, we were all put up in a very fancy hotel, the Keio Plaza Hotel, which is located right in the heart of Tokyo on some very prime real estate. That opportunity was mostly wasted on me, however, because I was exhausted from jet lag and also because I was frankly intimidated by the scale of Tokyo and the prospect of getting lost in the megalopolis somehow. When you don't speak Japanese, it can be really unnerving wandering around with no clue of where you're going or where you've been. (Has everyone seen "Lost in Translation" yet? I watched that again a couple weeks ago -- what a great movie.)

So anyhow, I just got paid and I'm getting 4 days in Tokyo courtesy of my new employer, so it should be fun. I'm going to be in Oita on April 4th, so I will post my finalized address and stuff for anybody who wants it. Wish me luck!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

A Few Photos of Me and Students

It's been so busy here that I haven't had much chance to update my Blog. I have a computer and the internet at school, but I literally don't usually have 5 spare minutes in the day, so it's impossible to do anything at work, and I don't have the internet at home. Poor me.

Here's a photo from a few weeks back. The students in the Math and Science Program (they will go to Africa and teach these subjects in schools there) got together for a party. It was quite fun, except that it was a "sit on the floor" party, which I find physically uncomfortable and don't like much. Before this picture was taken, my feet had completely fallen asleep and I had to stagger and limp my way over behind the table to pose for the picture.

Then, a couple weeks ago, my Home class (consisting of 4 students) had a field trip. It didn't serve much purpose except to let the trainees leave the center for a while. Here we are, pretty tired but hiding it well, upon our triumphant return to Nihonmatsu station.

From Left: some guy, Chika, Hiroya, Ai, Fumiko