Thursday, February 28, 2008
It's been a long time since the '90s, can you tell someone to eat a dick and give them the gas face at the same time? Do those two things Osaka Board of Education. Good thing I am losing my job two weeks before graduation, with no hope of getting it back for three months. Great for the teachers, great for the kids. These are my last classes. Mikuni is all tests tomorrow.
Monday, February 25, 2008
A decade is a very short time. Friday afternoon my Alabama/Gaidai homegirl, Tomoko mailed me to say she was in Kansai. I caught up with her and other fabulous alum, Hiroko. We agreed that 10 years was nothin'. I got a chance to bust out one of my favorite Alabama stories: Hiroko and Ryoko drunk in front of the library and the end of exams, drinking out of a paper bag. It was great to see them again.
Jennifer, both asked about you and I am sending them your 連絡先。
Apparenlty Aki is married- to Atsushi- and teaching high school in Osaka, but no one can get a hold of her.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Friday, February 22, 2008
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
The pressure being put on these teachers is absurd and has nothing to do with their jobs. But, like in most societies, it is easier to stick everything on the teachers since they have to deal with everything else all day and take the low money with a smile and maybe a chair with their name on the back of it.
(edit: if Naimisha Mehta should search her name on the internet; your comment is dumb to the extreme.)
MMA Europe website (from Portuguese)
Are you ready for your last fight?
I am very optimistic that it’ll happen this year... perhaps it will really be the last fight. In my heart, I have nothing to prove to anyone. I confess that the biggest motivation is to bring a comfort for my children, until today I do not have conditions.
No? Don’t you have a considerable bank account?
People cannot think thus. The conquests of the past don’t matter. If you have the chance to kill an enormous buffalo... I feel a hunter, a supplier for my family. I could not refuse a possibility of these.
Then it will be a lot of cash…
It will... I will put my “donkey in the shade”
Sunday, February 17, 2008
I went downtown and tried to park my bike at Loft. I often park there because they actually have a parking lot and because I like to go to Loft. Here is my actual conversation with the attendant:
Hello, my bike doesn't have a stand so I am going to move this bike over a little and set my bike against this cone.
Actually, bikes without stands are not allowed here.
Yes, you will cause damage.
To the cone.
To the traffic cone?
It is plastic. How do I damage it?
It will mess it up.
It's plastic. Are you serious?
Yes. You can't park here.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
I worry that someone I don't know will read these and think that I am virulently anti-military. I am not. If you grow up around the military you see the people in it for what they are, people. It is silly to say that all of them are bad or good or heroic or low. If the service people at bases in Japan can't control themselves then they shouldn't be here. If the base commanders can't get a handle on these things, then they should be out. Would we tolerate this in an American city?
Friday, February 15, 2008
Dear Wesley Cheek.
Unfortunately, we have a limited number of teaching positions and we are not able to find the
possibilities to make use of your services.
I'm so sorry for telling that late.
Thank you very much for your time and I hope your further success in future.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
A few things about the Japanese education system that I have been meaning to mention.
I have been playing this game(that I mentioned before) with almost every class: I have words written on the back of cards. They are 1,2,3,5 and 10 points. The kids make two teams. They come up one by one and pick a card and then have to make a sentence out of the word. I made the game for 1st years but I have used with with 2nd and 3rd years as well. If it were up to me I would play this game once a month because it really exposes the flaws in kid's games, linguistically speaking. For example, so many 2nd year kids said, "I like dog." When I said, "You are forgetting something." They would say, "I like a dog? I like two dog?" They should know this a few months into their 1st year. Why the teachers aren't checking this, I don't know.
In any case, every class has had a lot of fun playing this game. My nemesis, 2-4, even enjoyed it. The nemesis within my nemesis, Okada, even got it together to make a sentence. But, one class, 2-3, whose homeroom teacher is the English teacher had the oddest reaction. I actually never saw it coming. They were crap at it, the mood turned really sour and they got offended and acted persecuted. I don't like to stereotype teenagers, as I hated those stereotypes when I was a teenager. I would like to think of actual reasons for it. They were being absurd. "Why are you making us do this? We can't do this! We don't know English. Why? Why? How can you do this to us?" It was seriously like that for 50 minutes. That English teacher is very odd to work with. What an odd reaction. His explanation was, "Well, their English level is low." And? The game was made for 1st years.
Which brings me to:
It has taken me a while to pin this down, but I finally did. Junior high school students in Japan can fail every test they take within a year and still advance a grade with no repercussions. I was in class when 1st year's English tests were handed back. Some did well. Some kids had 0s and 14s and were laughing about it. I remember junior high. I would have been cringing had I done so bad. Not only out of pride, but for fear of what would happen. For fear of being a 7th grader again. I asked the teacher after class, "What happens if they don't get better?" "Nothing. What happens in America?" "They don't advance." "Really? I can't believe it?" He seemed hurt for the children. This says a lot about why the kids act like they do and react like they do. They have nothing to lose at all. There is a lot I like about Japanese schools. There is a lot I don't believe. There are some things that I just sit back and watch.
This river is so dirty it defies your ability to comprehend the terms "dirty" and "river." This river challenges the whole Chomsky notions about the internal structure of a universal knowledge of what the term "river" means that can defy its chemical recomposition. Kanzaki Gawa by the way.
Friday was the marathon taikai at Mikuni. In Japan, a "marathon" is any middle distance race. The boys ran 4k and the girls 3k. Some people fell down. The 3rd years didn't run as Saturday is the test to get into private high schools in Osaka. I am also waiting to hear from a private high school in Osaka, which would be a rad job because they are rich and I would have a full-time teacher's contract.
Sorry I haven't posted since Tuesday. My cold/flu resurged and took my brain and joints and bones. Both Natsuki and Ed found their way to Kansai (not together) so I have been indisposed. It snowed a lot on Saturday. It was rather lovely. I have found that taking pictures in the snow is hard because your camera will tend to focus on the bits of snow.
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Attorney General- John Edwards
Vice President- Jim Webb
With McCain as the nominee, a scary nominee, the Democrats will have to turn to Webb. That's okay, I dig him.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Wednesday I was teaching at Shin-Ikuno, the school that is largely Zainichi Korean. The second years are taking their school trip to Okinawa this year. Before they go on their trip they had a man come in to speak to them about Okinawa. One of the office ladies gave me a newspaper article on him and asked me to come. I was happy to be included, I was also happy that she assumed I could read the newspaper article. I could, for the most part. Apparently Mr. Oshiro was an elementary school student during the American invasion of Okinawa. He was injured in the fighting and a famous photograph was taken of him looking hopeless and covered in blood.
I snuck in late to the speech. Oshiro-san speaks through one of those electronic voice-boxes that replace your vocal chords. There has to be a technical name for those. He was very hard to understand as everything was a monotone. I think that has parents and many of his friends were killed in the battle. I am not sure but it seemed that he was saying that he was hiding with his friends because the Japanese soldiers were telling them to attack the Americans with bamboo poles and they didn't want to. I believe his friend died in this process but I am not sure how. He told the kids that they were lucky today and that they should be happy to have parents and brothers and sisters. The kids took it like teenagers. One row of boys were tearing up pieces of paper and putting them in each other's hair. Or turning around and staring at me. I haven't been at that school long enough to do anything. If it was Mikuni I would have dragged them outside already.
One of the amazing things about living in Japan is you get to hear the people who are still alive form that era tell their stories. In America we get that to some extent, but I don't think we realize how devastating the war was here. Like the one student I had who told me, laughing, that they would try and get fish to eat but the Americans would shoot anybody they saw at the river. And my other student who told me that the first dead bodies he saw were his classmates when the Americans bombed his elementary school. Fuzoku-sho in Miyazaki, if you were wondering.
As I was walking back to the office I ran into Oshiro-san. I was hoping to sneak by, but he shook my hand and said in English, "Thank you. Thank you. Okinawa. America. We're friends. Do you understand." I said to him in Japanese, "Thank you for your speech." And he said, "Thank you for listening." That is all pretty simple and generic but I feel pretty good about my job when I get to do stuff like that as a normal part of my day.
Marquardt vs. Horn- Two consummate pros. I think this is Horn's 900th fight. I don't see Marquardt getting submitted. Therefor, Marquardt by decision.
Emerson vs. Nakamura- I will never pull for Rob Emerson. Nakamura by decision.
Eastman vs. Martin- Martin is explosive. Eastman takes a lot of punishment. Martin by KO in the 2nd.
Heath vs. Drwal- I don't really care. Heath by sub in the 2nd.
Griffin vs. Tibau- Exciting fighters, exciting fight. Griffin swears he is going for the KO. He gets it in the 2nd.
Silvia vs. Nogueira- I am not alone in my dislike for Silvia. He is a hard guy to beat however. Nog can take a beating like no other with his catcher's mitt face. Nog's boxing is very good. His submissions are the best. I predict him hanging in with Tim and capitalizing on a mistake in the 4th. Although I would like to see him go for a rolling kneebar.
Mir vs. Lesnar- Here it is. What we don't know about Lesnar is huge. Sure, he was a great college wrestler. He spent the next decade being a pro-wrestler. I think that must have taken a lot out of his body He is big and strong. So is Frank Mir. How much of his strength is applicable? We don't know. The sub game is tricky and takes years to master. Mir is excellent at it. Lesnar is a big question mark. I have Mir by sub in the 1st. If it goes past that I don't know that Mir has the gas tank. I think Lesnar's short range punches good be brutal and take their toll.
There you have it. Tank it to the water cooler. Fax it in Arash Markazi.
Oh, Super Bowl. I haven't seen football in 2 years. Patriots 18 Giants 7
Friday, February 1, 2008
Apparently my old home boys Action Patrol had a reunion show last month. Like they used to say on the old UFCs, "Pain Hurts." You remember that Star Trek movie where Malcolm Macdowell was doing everything he could to get shot back into the Nexus? Yeah. That. Pretty much. They are covering an Avail song if you didn't notice. I believe that is Tim who jumps up on stage. I rather miss that life.
attempting to silence the voices in my head.