I came. I saw. I contributed to the Gross National Product

by Nov 10, 20010 comments

That’s right, I finally shelled out for a digital camera, kids. And I’m passing the savings on to you in the form of non-stop, action-packed, truth-revealing photos of Japan.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to point out the new title banner at the top of the page. That’s a picture of the school I teach on a pleasant fall evening as the sun was setting. To be honest the cheap appearance of Hair Flap 1.0 was kind of pissing me off, so I thought I’d make at least a passing attempt at making this thing look classy.

I’ve also taken a moment to coin a motto for this page, “Only Understanding What’s Happening 20% of the Time.” This clever epitat, in keeping with the theme of strange things from Japan has spawned from the obvious fact that I’m a stranger living in a strange land. And even though I have enough language skills to ask where the bathroom is, the simple truth is that I almost never know what’s going on around me, either at school, in the Town Office, at any given dinner function, you name it.

The funny part is when Fletcher (who has just started to study Japanese and occasionally looks to me for an explanation of what people are saying), turns to me as we’re being led out of a room to God-knows-where and asks, “What’s going on? Where are we going?” and I get to reply, “#*@% if I know.” The look on his face at times like these can only be described as complacent acceptance of impending doom.

I found a promo fleyer in my mailbox from our good friends at the Hair Flap (which appears to the right). If I’m reading this right, that’s about $108 for a “Medium Perm” or $126 for a “Large.” As usual, the words “what the hell” come to mind. I think I’d rather just pay for the small and get the free refills. (Huh???)

This promises to be a fairly beefy update to help compensate for the lack of anything happening in the past month so let’s get on with it.

Engrish has finally been updated, even though it’s only with a few photos at the moment. Believe me, now that I have a camera, you can look forward to lots more where these came from.

Fixed the spelling for “barber” on the ‘Who Am I?’ page. Bet you’re glad I told you about that, eh?

And now for the thematic coup de’ gras. I knew I said that I would be featuring the bike ride on my way to school, but I had a stroke of genius for how to structure my entries on this site at least for the next few weeks. What we’re going to do is start in small concentric circles and get wider. For example, first I’ll show you my apartment. Then we’ll go outside and do the ride to school. Then we’ll actually go in the school and look around. Then we can look around Fukuma, the town I live in. From there we can go to Fukuoka, the big city that’s a short train ride away. Etc, etc etc. And along the way I plan to sprinkle in smaller features detailing other little things about daily Japan life, like my amazing cel phone, eating at Hokka Hokka Tei, getting totally drunk and going to karaoke, blah blah blah.

So there you have it, our road map for the next month or so. That being said, let’s start off with something I had to put nearly no creative effort into. This little bit o’ funny is coming to you compliments of my Third Year students. Today was my first day to teach not one but three classes all by myself. The teacher I was scheduled to teach with had some kind of important meeting in the city so I was flying solo all day. What a rush.

Anyway, I figured I would keep it light, since this was my first time on my own and gave the kids a fun creative activity. A few days ago, I went on the net and scoped out some funny, bizarre pictures and printed them out. I had the class get into groups, passed out a different picture to each group and asked them to make a two or three sentence story describing what was happening in each picture, then they would present the picture and ‘caption’ to the rest of the class. I was expecting them to be funny, but damn this stuff was cracking me up. Submitted for your approval, I offer those pictures and the students descriptions thereof.


“He wanted to do a handstand, but his head was too heavy. He is asking others to help.” (hence the praying hands)


Human – “Help me!”

Shark – “Kill you!”

Human – “I do not die! Ultraman, come on!!”



I was realizing yesterday that I haven’t really hung out with 13-15 year olds since I was one and now here I am, going to class with them, playing volleyball after school with them and rapping in the halls with them every day. I forgot how funny they can be. These kids rule. 😀

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