Tuesday, September 9, 2008

All I can do is laugh...

Recording the past 24-hour’s events is at the top of my to-do list as I’m afraid it’ll loose its hilarious glamour as my memory fades.  Nothing over-the-top exciting happened, so you’ll have to either put yourself in my position (which might be difficult), or picture this story as vividly as possible:

Work was work at Icchu Junior High.  I had a steady stream of classes and papers to grade, which kept me content and busy.  Nearing the end of the day, I got a stack of tests to grade.  This kept me longer than my exact working hours, but since I’m scheduled to be at elementary schools for the rest of the week, I wanted to finish grading them before I left.  Really, it was no big deal whatsoever.  The only problem was that I needed to get to the BOE by 5:00pm to get taxi tickets for my far-away schools.  Then, at around 4:45pm, when I had just finished with the tests, the most delicious smell of curry erupted from the sink area.  A crowd started to gather, exclaiming their Japanese “Heeeeeeeeee!!!  Waaaaaaaa!!  Sugeeeeeee!!!”  It turns out that on the one day that I really had to leave, one of the man-teachers was cooking a ginormous pot of curry!!  He said “Naomi, you can’t leave before you have some” and I had to reply “Awww man!!  I really have to go, like right now actually!!  But it smells SOOO good!!  But I REALLY have to go!!”  Him and this woman teacher came to the quick conclusion that I HAD to leave with some of this curry.  Initially they were going to put some in a disposable bowl, but then the woman teacher said something and went running.  I had no idea what was going on.  Right as I was about to say my “Osakini shitsureishimasu” (please forgive me for leaving before you) and walk out the door, she came back with a medium-sized pot!!  He definitely ladled about three-peoples’ worth of curry into it, put the lid on, and said “douzo” (here you go).  I was confused and thankful and hungry so I happily accepted, said thank you close to a billion times, and laughed on my way out.  Remember now, my mode of transportation is a basket-bike.  So with along with my purse, computer bag, and shoe bag (in an attempt to keep the schools spotless, everyone must have inside shoes to change into from their outside shoes), I had this big pot of curry to balance.  So with one hand on the curry pot to keep it from spilling, and the other on my basket bike’s handle bar, I made it to the BOE by 5:00pm.  The people there who saw the pot of curry were just as confused as I was, and all I could do was laugh out loud the whole way home.  The only tricky parts were getting on and off the bike without dropping the bike or curry.  Everything made it safely and I had a delicious, free, and comical dinner that night. 

Today was another typical day at Senami Elementary School: FANTASTICALLY AWESOME!!!  I have SO much fun doing lesson after lesson with a new bunch of excited, fun, curious, loving kids who get SO into what I’m talking about.  They cheer when I walk into the classroom, help me clean up and ask questions at the end of the period, run up to me and SCREAM “NAOMI-SENSEI!!!” between classes in the hallways, and give me high-fives on their way home.  The teachers and staff are incredibly welcoming, always bending over backwards, forwards, and side to side to make my day at Senami PERFECT!!  I mentioned that I was looking to purchase a snowboard, and one guy immediately went online to help me pick one out.  My main JTE (Hiki-sensei) is helping me get a car, making it too easy!!  She even picked me up at my apartment after school today to bring me to the Subaru dealership where I test-drove my soon-to-be car!!  (a little nerve racking, with the driver’s seat on the right and everything else opposite of what I’m used to)  She ALSO gave me 2 tickets to a ‘Toki 2008 in Murakami’ classical strings concert, which is where the next story begins…

For various reasons (mostly my invites being last minute), it was difficult to find another person to accompany me to the concert.  I ended up going stag, which was fine because I knew that I’d probably see someone I knew there, I just felt bad that one ticket was going to waste.  The Concert Hall was on the other side of town, and on the other side of the train tracks (one of the places I have had yet to explore).  Since the paperwork still needs to be completed for the car, it’s still just my bike and me.  The ride over there is not too far, but by no means close, so I had to hurry.  In hurrying, and being me, I of course got myself lost and was getting a little anxious as time was running out.  In my frantic fluster, I wasn’t paying attention to the road I was riding on, and smashed my bike, peddle, and left foot into some cement block pop-up curb thing.  When I looked down, my toes were throbbing and bloody.  It was so shocking and painful that I was sure I had broken three toes.  My mind started racing, and if I can remember correctly, my immediate thoughts were “I need to get to a hospital and take advantage of the insurance/health care system.  Oh crap, this is going to be so embarrassing, after telling all of my students in the ‘2 truths and a lie’ game that I was planning on running the Niigata half-marathon, and now I’ve broken my foot.  Where am I and where is the nearest hospital!?!”  And then I heard “Naomi-sensei!!!”  Well of course one of my students would be walking her dog with her little brother in the middle of a rice field!!!  She was so cute and telling me all about her new dog, so I tried to look composed when really I was freaking out inside.  I nicely said that I needed to be somewhere ‘see you!’ and hauled ass out of there and back onto the main road.  In my head, I was repeating ‘It’s broken, all of my toes are broken, they’re broken, they’re broken’ and then ‘hey, what’s that huge theater-lookin’ place??  I bet that’s the Center that the concert’s at.  OK, I guess I mind as well go, now that I’ve made it so close.’  I made it with 10 minutes to spare, and did actually see quite a few of my co-workers there.  Normally I would have invited myself to sit with them, but I was too embarrassed by my bloody foot that I chose to sit all alone.  When the music started to play, my body and mind started to calm a little.  My foot hurt a little less, and I came to terms that I was probably over-reacting.  It was probably just the skin on my toes that were crushed and broken.  After the intermission, this blonde girl came to sit next to me.  I looked at her, smiled and said ‘hi,’ since that’s what us foreigners do when we notice that there’s another one of us.  Of course, I ignorantly assumed that she was from the US.  As it turns out, she’s from Belgium and the girlfriend of the 1st violinist.  Apparently he’s touring Japan, playing with different musicians in different cities.  Cool.  I was a little apprehensive about riding my bike home in the dark with broken skin on my toes, and not knowing the exact way.  Thankfully, all I had to do was follow the line of cars headed back to Murakami-Proper.  In doing this, I have no idea how I got lost because it’s basically just a straight shot back to town.  I probably unconsciously decided to take a ‘random left,’ which definitely wouldn’t be a first. 

Now I’m 100% fine and laughing myself to sleep J

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