Saturday, November 17, 2007

Random Thoughts on Japanese education, an anecdote about my students, and Christmas wishes

I didn't know what to title this blog. I haven't been talking about my feelings, because -basically- I see no place for it in my recent blog focus. Also I've been extremely busy, and I mean more than my usual 24/7 non-stop do or die pace, I've been doing the Japanese thing -you know, the insanity of overworking yourself because it's "quote/unquote" assumed of you.

Well, it's not assumed of me. I just wanted to see if I could do it for four months straight.

I really enjoy my job at the moment. My students are wonderful and their English is improving by leaps and bounds. In fact, I actually have some first year/ichi-nensei who with a little tutoring will be fluent by their third year of Junior high school. Which is better than expected. Japans English education is moving along slowly, because they want to control the teaching environment and regulate what is taught while delegating time to one teacher over another. With all the higher ups butting in telling you how to teach... it really makes you fed up. After hearing one lady's three our lecture on the perfect English class -on how it should be done, what exactly to do, etc., etc., I was tempted to have her give a demonstration of the "perfect" class she spoke of, especially considering that she didn't speak any English. It's kind of like having an illiterate try and tell you how to read -not that they could teach you in a million years. But oh-well, right?

Such a waist of time. But as long as I'm getting paid it's not exactly like I can walk out of the meeting... also since it's part of my contract to attend all 'educational' seminars. To my great relief, I can sit there and doodle funny pictures in my note book and make twenty-some-odd-bucks an hour. But I'd rather hang out with my students instead of talking to a bunch of suits discussing how best to use English. My students seem way smarter than most of the people running their school systems -but maybe it's because they are.

I've got a lot on my plate at the moment. Getting ready for the big wedding, it never seems there's enough time to get everything done. I've been doing 5 hours of sleep a night for over a month now, and it's starting to feel like college again. I'm loosing weight just from the stress and my body always feels tired and sluggish. I try and eat as regularly as I can, but then the extra hours are making meal time difficult. The major difference between the good old cramming for finals days and this is how disorganized I feel. I lack total focus, because everything is pulling my attention in, what seems to be, fifty-thousand directions. It's nerve rattling to say the least.

On top of this I'm doing my darnedest not to neglect Sayaka.

Well, that's not really informative, interesting, or at all insightful. It's not really a rant -in fact, as far as blogs go this has been an entirely mediocre look at my life (which is wholly insignificant) although slight more interesting than other's, perhaps. Maybe, I dunno.

Luckily my shipment came, and I'm hooked up with some "Scrubs" season 6 and "Prison Break" season 2. That's one of the perks of being a home-body. I have no social desire to waist my brain cells on alcohol and bad conversation, I have no inclination to sit in a noisy as hell pachinko parlor and waist away my life to disgusting cigarette smoke as I simultaneously dwindle away my life's savings to a stupid game of chance, and I'm really in no mood to put up with people who want to do yet another ridiculously expensive Enkai (business dinner/drinking party) where everyone starts making jack-asses of themselves in front of their colleagues only to walk home and act like nothing happened all over again on Monday.

No, I'm happily intent to use my saved $$ (which I amounted from declining the finer addictions of booze, cigarettes, and pin-ball madness) and have gladly purchased some entertainment which I can enjoy -and so can Sayaka. And all those who borrow movies from me. My one escape from the madness seems to get lost in a few hours of good film or television. I still read two books a month on average, but with the mental stresses the vegging seems to be more calming than the reading.

Still, I can't believe I haven't written my Christmas list to Santa yet. Normally I have a simple wish list roughed out by now... but this year I'm torn between the desire for an iPod Touch or a Nintendo Wii. Sayaka wants the Wii... and I may have to go in that direction. Cuz I wanna' play like I'm a samurai, do up some Mario Galaxy, and get down with the groove and drum to a mean beat. I only wish Santa were real, because then maybe I'd get both. But as long as we're making wishes, I also want to be rich... so I could by those above mentioned and also a house. A house so that I could own a dog, and by dog I mean two Welsh Pembroke Corgis. I'd name one Ein, not after Albert but after the Corgi from the Anime 'Cowboy Bebop' which was named so appropriately, and the other one I'd name LIA (which stands for 'Love Is Action').

I want some tapioca pudding. Flavored pudding is hard to come by in Japan. You always end up getting stuck with "poo-ring" (how they pronounce it) and it's always a slightly vanilla flavored puding with a coffee sauce. Every single time. There is nothing else... and I miss good old J-E-LL-O Jello pudding packs.

And well, this has been thirty seconds in my head. Seriously, this it what goes on in my head in thirty seconds, every moment of every day, although it takes a lot longer to jot down. Naturally.

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