Monday, October 31, 2005

October is the month in which:

in which I turn twenty-freakin-five and can no longer say I am in my "early twenties"

in which I do a whole lot of thinking out loud

in which I feel crushing culture shock and a sense of homelessness, but pull through with a stronger sense of where I am and where I'm going

in which my neighborhood becomes my home

in which I make a wicked list of things I'm scared of

in which, for the first time, take a new teacher under my wing

in which I wax philosophic about drunkeness, culture, religion, childlessness

in which earthquakes become more routine

in which I spend the bonus I get for working at two school on a blue guitar and take some pretty pictures of my apartment

spreading my wings--a story of an almost routine saturday

that almost is for you, babe. you know who you are.

so, I'm getting my act together. I'm more and more prepared for my classes and prep time is getting fast and faster. technically I'm allowed less than 10 minute of prep/clean up/set up time for each class. but in actuality it's still more like 30 min/ class. but getting faster. I've moved classes to different textbooks to make the planning easier too. but all in all, I'm still working way too much. but the bossman knows this and says he'll help.

but what this all works out to is that I didn't get up until almost 9:30am on Saturday and didn't make it in until 11:20ish. Kevin uses my room from 11-11:50 on Saturday morning for his kids' class and so I go into his room, I have some more breakfast, put on my make up, change into my professional clothes and shoes. take a deep breath. take a deep breath again.

11:50 he's out and I'm in. I set up my next classes in as much order as possible.

12-1245 "talking about abilities"
1245-130 "giving compliments"
135-225 kids class, Halloween lesson "Are you a princess? No, I'm a fairy"
230-330 Private lesson, we talk about how kids learn language and (as usual) don't touch the material I prepared, I don't mind much, though.
400-445 "guessing words from context" both students are absent. bossman-M shows up and we get icecream. I also grab some lunch. I'm freakin starving.
450-600 I finish preparing for the evening classes
600-650 Private lesson on all sorts of ways to say, "I don't understand"
700-900 Group lesson on Halloween, trick or treaters, costume parties, extreme gardenting
900-920 approach one of my group lesson students to renew his contract. he signs on the dotted line.
920-930 finish my paperwork and change into sneakers
930-midnight have dinner and drinks with students and teachers, about 20 of us. a student asks what we mean when we put words in quote with our hands. we have a dinner impromptu lesson. my explanation is that we mean something completely different or even the opposite. ie my apartment is really "nice" This is bossman-M is my friend and "bossman" They're amused. I feel like a teacher. I have another beer for good measure.
midnight-2ish, singing and more drinking with Kevin, Yoshi, two students we refer to as "the ganga boys" and a new teacher at a neighboring school, Sara

(so karaoke has many English songs. as they know we have money and like to sing too. also, many american/english songs are popular with Japanese people. so to help them out there is a katakana "translation" of the pronunciation above the English words. and then the "MTV" bits that accompany the songs are enough to reduce me to giggling tears some nights. god knows what this pic has to do with U2 or the other 2 dozen songs it can be found in. )

(Sara took a long time to pick her first song, as most of us do. I explained, and then demonstrated with Kevin, this game is not about talent. it's all about off key passion. and it really is.)

2ish Sara, Kevin and I get a cab back to his place, because its closest, watch the first episode of LOST and fall asleep.
940am, alarm goes off and I help Sara get to the train station so that she can do her new teacher things and I catch a series of trains home.
welcome sunday morning, and that's my saturday.

but back to the "almost" part.

I've been here two months, I tell Sara. 8 days she says nodding her head vigorously. and I felt compelled to step up and take her under my (still fledging, in many ways) wing. make sure feels comfortable to sing. make sure she can get back to the train station. ect. if felt funny, but natural. it's my turn to step up and help take care of the new one. Come April it will definitely be my turn because a lot of teachers, both the NETs at KM, and the NET in my building here are being replaced. but it felt good to take someone just a little under my wing.

twenty freakin five

the day was a bit uneventful but contemplative. Akemi emailed me to wish me Happy Birthday. unfortunately, tomorrow I'll have to lie and not tell her what I was actually up to today.

I got most of my Halloween urges out of my system after the kids party with 25 kids under 9 trying to break open a pinata after I painted faces and supervised coloring.

but I was still inspired, and taught Halloween lessons to some of my adults too. they were shy as to what they would dress up as but really opened up when I suggested that they could pick costumes for people who weren't there.

I had dinner with a friend in hte neighborhood last night, went to bed relatively early (anytime before 1am qualifies) and went to my secret job today. my secret, non-Eikaiwa biotech editing job. it is an obvious affront to my Ye Ol' Eikaiwa contract but it isn't affecting my work or students, so they shouldn't technically care... still it means that I've started lying more than I'd like to.

But other than the lying, it's going to be a lot of fun. and they implied that they'd like to give me a real full time job when I leave Ye Ol' Eikaiwa. wow. the world is freakin busy busy busy. they like my qualifications, I welcome the challenge of learning new science.

I'm considering it. if I can have a flexible schedule (like my current arrangement with them) that also allows for real holidays ect. it could be the perfect opprotunity. i'm kinda blown away by it all.

"I'm on my way, I don't know where I'm going
I'm taking my time, but I don't know where"
ah, ryhmin simon

Friday, October 28, 2005

drunken Friday nights (not me)

(this poor man was passed the freak out on the train, last Friday. I kept watching to see if he was still breathing. he was completely unaware of the train starting and stopping, people streaming by or his briefcase slipping away from his hand. the rest of us watched him breathe and snickered superiourly to ourselves. when the train arrived at Tokyo station we all kinda looked ackwardly at each other... should someone wake him up? but no one did. as my friend would say, "that's not the Japanese way.")

Sure, sure, you may think that binge drinking is socially acceptable in America but frat boys got nothin' on the masses of Japanese salary men. The problem is that Japanese are a remarkably reserved people. They pride themselves in resisting dramatic shows of emotion. They are not inclined to outward dramatics. If there was ever a place for an over paid psychologist to lecture about sharing feelings, this is the place.

so what do they do?? They drink. a lot.

In training we were asked what we would do if a businessman repeatedly came to class drunk. our answers ranged from kicking him out, suggesting a private lesson instead, ect.... but we were told we had it all wrong. we were/are supposed to continue as normal. this poor man (most likely a man) was probably semi-required to go out drinking with his coworkers and boss. its not his fault he's drunk. or so Ye Ol' Eikaiwa says.

this culture embraces the idea of, "he was drunk. he didn't mean what he said."

on one hand, I think this attitude is bullshit. it encourages alcoholism and gives people an excuse not to be responsible for their actions.

on the other hand, for all of us who aren't Catholic and don't have a priest to absolve us of our sins, how nice an idea to have a space, physical or chemical, where we can say whatever we want and not be harshly judged. how nice to have a place to feel safe expressing your true self.

of course, if you could do this without extreme inebriation that would be great but I am reminded of one of my favorite plays, "Three Viewings"

There should be a kind of safety net for these moments. A magic "shroud" you could use. You go up to the woman, you say:
"I've been meaning to tell you: I love you."
If she says, "I love you, too,"
great, fantastic, everybody goes to the prom. If she gets red in the face, takes your hand, and says:
"That's so flatterring, you're such a friend,"
then you say, "Excure me, but I have to lower the magic shroud now."
And she forgets everything said to her in the last thirty seconds.

not that we get *that* drunk, ever. but that's kinda the idea of drunkenness in this strange land I'm traveling through.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

today's post brought to you by Bokonon

Bokonon, the religious leader in Vonnegut's "Cat's Cradle" says we should whisper

busy, busy, busy

when we are struck by the unpredictable and complicated machinery of life. I had a startling small world moment today and was inspired to whisper to myself, "busy busy busy."

so I take the train into work. each train is usually 10-15 cars long and a new one comes every ten minutes or sooner. the ones into Tokyo are really busy so probably 30-50 people per car. so even if I have the same commute, I don't really recognize anyone day after day because there are just so many freakin people in this city. over 5 million people commute everyday in Tokyo, most by trains and subways.

despite the staggering odds, two stops after I got on, three stops more before Tokyo station, my friend and bossman-M get on right in front of me. he claimed he was on that particular train because he messed some previous connection. he wasn't even supposed to be there. so we chatted a little and then caught out separate trains at Tokyo station. but kinda weird small world thing. it was nice to see a familiar face. one that is promising to help bail me out of my heavy teaching load. one who really was a call away when, two weeks ago, I got a little too stressed and started crying at school.

it was a 'busy, busy, busy' moment. and a welcome one.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

sending packages

too tired and busy to write much these days. having a good time but not a lot of down time that I have left to sit at my computer. (prefer to wander around and get lost, anyway).

but here is the address that you can send packages to, if you are so inclined:

Kori Beyer
[now out of date--please email if you want to know]

I hope to find time to write more about it but until then, picture a Halloween party. 25 japanese youngsters, under 8. face painting, bingo, bobbing for apples. and.... by some miracle no one died.... a pinata shaped like a jack-o-lantern.

Monday, October 24, 2005

one, two, three, check

Thank you Meimi and Bapa for you birthday wishes, card, and present!!! You are so sweet and wonderful! Just for that I will attempt to talk to the post office people again (last time they told me not to come back unless I brought a friend that spoke some Japanese) so I can send you a card. And thank you for calling me Kori. It makes me feel like you love me as an adult, too.

however.... I think it is extremely unlikely that I'll be able to cash your check.

and this is a warning to anyone else considering sending me a check. 1) Japan does not use checks. they simply don't exsist here. either you get paid in cash or the money goes right into your bank account. all bills are either deducted from your bank account or have a bar code on them. you take the bill to a quickymart, they scan it and you pay them. people at the bank probably wouldn't know what to do with a check.
2) so I googled cashing a check in Japan and it may be possible if I go to Disneyland with a passport. ... but the check is to Kori and not Corinna (on my passport) so that' also unlikely.

so, what to do? here are some ideas:
1) give certificate to iTunes (they have books on 'tape' and all sorts of stuff that I want)
2) gift certificate to
3) deposit in my US Bank account, I can withdraw it here or use it to buy stuff online (please don't put anything in the little Bellingham bank, I won't be able to get it out)

sorry for all the confusion. Figured it would be best to post all this, rather than write it down and send it slowly. hope that's ok...

Love you all.

Friday, October 21, 2005

culture shocked

(my apartment building)

two months down and culture shock officially hit. it seems to have peaked last week when I ended up barely sleeping for days and then breaking down in tears at work (last Thur). but I talked to my friend and now boss "bossman-M" for a while and that helped. Saturday I went out with coworkers and had a long talk with Yoshi, who was very supportive. and quite protective, saying that my coworkers at my other school should be nicer ect.

this week the new contracts start, which was one of the things that was causing me stress. the new contract say that I can't work more than 29.5 hours a week, but I still want to give good classes, right? So I was worried about my private flex students getting screwed (which they are). ect. but I'm kind of excited actually.

I feel immensely justified for being so stressed now that I know that I'm working more than either teacher at Shnnme and one at KM. Kevin and I are working about the same amount. but they all have their classes prepared because they taught them before. so I have more classes and I spend every day inventing the wheel. Marco has promised me that things will get better.

It also looks like there is a possibility that I could teach full time at KM because they need another teacher and don't have another classroom. also Shnnme wants to give me more classes but can't, so they need a different teacher too. this would be really good for me, so I'm pushing little by little. I'm telling my students to call head office and complain. This is war to me.

I signed up to be a good teacher and I think its bullshit for them to tell me that I can't spend more than 10 min prepping class (that's the allowed time). In actuality, I spend more like 20-30 min prepping class. I have 15-17 different classes a week. Total 30-32 classes a week.

what do my students call me?
one 3 year old yells "Senseeeeeeeeei! Senseeeeei!" until I pay attention
one 7 year old calls out "korikorikorikorikorikorikorikori" until I come over
some of my other 7-9 year olds call me "teacher"
the mothers call me "kori sensei"

the adults generally don't call me anything because
1) you usually omit the subject in a japanese sentence, especially if it is a name, so they do the same in English
2) they aren't really comfortable calling me "kori." they'd probably prefer "kori-san," "ms kori," or "miss kori" but I don't encourage any of that nonsense.
but when it comes down to it, they'll just call me Kori

I call some of them by there first name and some by Mr. blahblah. I followed the model of the previous teacher. I'd rather call them all by their first name but it just feels weird at this point. if they are much older it's generally Mr.... but same ish age or younger is just their first name.

(my neighborhood)

so, as I struggled through all this busyness and culture shock, I've really appreciated all of you who have made your presence known. thank you for commenting on my blog or sending me something separately. knowing that I'm still connected to my friends and family really helped my feelings of being so far away and homeless (as in no real ground base to call home). So THANK YOU!!! I love you all.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

the earth was shakin'

apparently October is earthquake season. there was 5.0 quake on Sunday with the epicenter practically right under my neighborhood. there was a 6.5 quake tonight north of tokyo.

Kevin tells me that you know you've adjusted when you don't even stop class for an earth quake. you just steady yourself as you write on the board.

the Japanese are remarkably nonplussed about earthquakes. so it's a measure of how native you've gone by how little you care that the whole world is shaking and about to fall down on top of you. by this respect I'm slipping into my Japanese skin well. as long as nothing is breaking I have faith in Japanese archintechure to keep the buildings from falling down on me.

I add a new website if you want for info or updates:

Monday, October 17, 2005

let it rain, I've got jesus

I don't know who the statue is, but it could be jesus. could be the statue of some crazy guy who doesn't know that its pouring in Tokyo. could be both.

to compliment the minor exsitential crisis raging in my brain, I've been getting lost a lot. in the rain. on purpose. and even though I'm getting lost on purpose, I still find it comoforting and empowering to find my way home.

one of my discoveries yesterday was a skinny little park that follows a little random creek to the river. the park goes on for miles but isn't on any of my maps.

it's pretty when it rains. brings mixed emotions because it feels like home when it rains but I also kinda hate the rain... more than rain and wet shoes, I hate umbrellas. so i don't bring mine, whenever I can help it. just my narc hat. and I start walking. or jump a train and walk from there.

ended up in shinjuku park tonight. and I'm kinda suprised to be relieved to see Tokyo's army of homeless. there are surprisingly few but I stumbled apon a bread line of sorts in this park. maybe fifty people waited under umbrellas and trees as the skyscrapers of affluent shinjuku faded into the clouds above (shinjuku is known as one of the financial/shopping/entertainment district of the city. apts go for thousands a month here) . the dedraggled men left with plastic bags filled with some sort of food or supply. some looked very homeless, some just looked more normal but with an aire of desperation.

two official looking people in raincoats and with flashlights circled the park and I followed them, wishing I had found it earlier in the day (its dark by 5 here, when it rains). I followed their official coattails past a tent village made of bright blue tarps strung between trees. somehow, I always found it strange that I had only seen one or two homeless peole since I got here. it made me nervous not to see the side of the city that had to exist. I feel vaugely better knowing where to find the tent city.

so I got myself lost, found something new, and took the train home. I had dinner at a cheap resturaunt that is equivalent to japanese fast food. you buy a ticket in a machine with pictures of the food. you hand the ticket to someone and sit at a counter. they come back shortly with your hot food. yet another place where I don't need any Japanese. 500 yen for more curry and miso soup than I should eat in one sitting.

I returned happy to change into dry pajamas. I am struggling to make this a home and figure out what I want of my life here. but today was good. each day is getting better.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Obvious child, part I: what will become of homogenous xenophobic society that doesn’t want kids?

I have become a spy. I take pictures with my phone while pretending to send emails. I time the noisy trains so that people don't notice the shutter noise. I have been a spy to present you with snapshots from the train and my busy life.

I’d say on average, I listen to Paul Simon’s “Obvious Child” once a day.
“why deny the obvious child?” he calls. I peer to my left or right, as I have no room in the crowded train to actually turn my body, and watch the child passed out in its mother arms. Disney logos gratuitously cover their belongings. the child 100% zonked, existing on a plane of existence a million miles away. I doubt this little person knows how rare a creature they are. I doubt they are aware of the huge burden that is confidently being placed on their little shoulders.

the mother and father are in a growing minority in Japan. the parents will be the rare saviors of Japanese society, which is quickly growing thin as an egg shell, as the birth rate plummets. there are rumors that the Japanese government will give new mothers/families the equivalent to 10 grand for each kid. Japanese society is that scared of the falling birth rate. but my students say that the bribe won’t help the problem. money isn’t the problem.

the problem is equal rights.

Japan is fighting through a time where women realize the discrimination they are up against. some bow to it, happy to become housewives as soon as possible. many are putting off marriage because the wedding vow in Japan also symbolizes an acquiescence to the patriarchal society. saying ‘I do’ means both to commit to love and obey but also serve a society run by men. it means that society will look down on you if you continue to work full time, god forbid try and seek some leadership in your job, ie have a career (your new job is supporting your husband, after all). support you husband a get some kids out. obviously.

so while more and more women are entering the work force, they often only work full time until they are married. the career women don’t get married. they don’t have kids. they have to choose. and since my students (ambassadors for their culture, as much as I am for mine) practically laughed at me when I suggested that the father could contribute time to the child rearing process. for Japanese women, choosing to have a child is choosing to be a good docile wife too. choosing to have a child is choosing to uphold the values of patriarchal japan. choosing to care for a little life is a serious matter here. and fewer women/families are thinking that it’s a good idea. more an more women are choosing to keep their independence, even at the steep price of not having children.

but in the mean time, the rest of Japan is aging. people are dying and new ones aren’t filling their spots. Japan cannot continue if there are not more youngsters. There won’t be more youngsters until Japan reforms its views on daycare, working mothers, and women’s rights.

lets just say I’m not holding my breath.

but I look at me students, eager to please and full of youthful spunk. I see them laugh and rough house until I give them a fatally withering look and tell them to sit down. they set to fill an amazingly powerful role in shaping the future of Japan. this generation will need to decide what to do about a country that is killing its own culture by not letting it reflect the international movement for civil rights. they will need to tackle the dichotomy of japan’s ethnic purity and its need to bring in more workers. they will given the weighty task of keeping Japan alive and well with loosing its soul and unique identity. I do not envy them. this crisis is not trivial.

so in class today we practice ABCs. dance the hockey pokey and talk about the vegetables we don’t like. because coming to English class is more than learning English, its also about understanding that foreigners are real people and having fun. it’s a children’s class. as it should be.

here’s some other opinions on Japan’s childless crisis: a bbc article about a year ago
anyone remember my friend Mark that was an exchanger in Beppu with me? here’s his site. he’s still awesome (and maybe reading this so I’ll also add that the world needs more tall quirky Canadians who refer to my home country as ‘merica, otherwise known as the land south of Canada.)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

There are so many things to be scared of

like ending sentences with the wrong parts of speech and spiders. illustrated above and below. but that doesn’t stop me. because there are things I’m more scared of.

the last person I fell in love with once called me ‘a great listed of things.’ here’s a list of things that frighten me:

spiders, especially when they have skinny legs. and its amazing to me that something like a spider scares me. just have a rational look at relative mass. or a rational look at potential for physical harm. even with the most poisonous or gigantic spiders, I can still fuck up their day more than they can mine. not that this stopped me from being totally freaked out when I visited Meiji shrine this weekend. they had these gigantic webs above the road and their body was striped and creased and the size of a nickel. their legs were stripped and extend a few inches. my heart started racing but I tried to hide my irrational paranoia because I didn’t want my friend Jon to mistake it for flirting. and while the thought of these striped monsters falling from above freaked me out, I’ll return to Meiji shrine in maybe a month, when the leave start to turn color.

because being stuck in a city with out a quiet—albeit spider filled—place of leaves and beauty, scares me more

the dark, I got home at 6 on monday, after visiting Harajuku, Meiji Shrine, and Shibuya. It was raining and very dark. I walk home, scared less of the rumors that it is dark and this part of Tokyo is controlled my Korean mafia than that it is only the beginning of October and it will get darker for months.

and I’m scared of being talentless

of being plain or boring or imposing upon others

of loosing my balance—this is of course the 5 katrillion dollar question, THE dilemma

of sleep and sleeplessness

of going on vacation by myself and getting food poisoning

of not being a good enough teacher

of students suffering through my classes only because they are nice.

of being condemned to tell half truths and pour out innocuous smiles that don’t mean anything. Today I taught my class what a ‘little white lie’ was. It was supposed to be just a vocab booster but turned into a 30 minute discussion. The example my student gave was complimenting a friend’s baby. We laughed for half an hour because it is so easy to fill the day with words that mean nothing.

and I’m afraid of loosing my edge

of being content and mediocre

of being homeless and of being tied down. I’ve been reading travel journals online at night recently and over and over the quote, “Traveling is the saddest of pleasures” (Paul Theroux) finds its way into my sight and rattles around in my head. the urge to move, the urge to settle, the urge to be challenged, the urge to touch people lives, the desire to feel safe, the desire to seek excitement all swirl around in my head. and I’m trying to sort it out but can’t find anyone good to talk to. I’m doing interviews of a sort… but no luck yet.

and of course I’m scared of being so lost that I don’t have anyone to say, “uh, hey… little over my head here. a little help please?”

of thinking too much but doing too little

of never growing out of this feeling like I need to ‘come of age’ over and over again

or arriving on the other side and realizing that I have no one to talk to

and I fear that I have ruined the possibility of graduate school
not because I ‘put a black mark on my CV,’ as Bea said, but because I’m afraid I’ll never be able to relate to all the people who go to grad school.

I fear that I can’t go back, even if I’m not sure if I ever want to.

…. all that to add to a fear of spiders.

Monday, October 10, 2005

by request: wish list

since both my birthday, and in the distance christmas, is coming up AND some of y'all fans asking about what I want: here's a wish list. but don't send anything yet. I want to confirm the school address that you should send stuff to.

big stuff, to be done together and as combined bday/xmas:
my bike. I miss it. I would ride around on weekends along the endless river paths if I had it.
why this is a big thing to ask--for one, the shipping is probably expensive
two--it needs to be properly packaged, there are boxes for bikes
three- it needs to be fixed first. the brakes are close to useless and one of the spokes needs to be fixed. so, if anyone is interested in helping with this project, I would suggest taking it to a nice bike shop and asking their advice about tune up, fixing the spoke, and in'tl shipping. I can pick it up at the Narita airport if necessary.

smaller stuff:
books. cheap fast read books. they are really expensive here but really good train enterainment.
specific requests:
guide books like "Lonely Planet" "Lets GO" and anything else intended for the young, broke, and dirty about SE asia. maybe elena can offer some suggestions.
Bonnie Raitt "luck of the draw" music book. specifically I want to learn "papa come quick" but they are all good songs and there aren't any good tabs online
html coding for dummies, or me. that's right, no that I'm not dating a computer geek I pass my own time learning to code. how do you think my web site ended up weird colors?
Tom Robbins: "Jitterbug Perfume" I can't find it here. or "another roadside attractions" I can find some of his either books but I want JP....

also, if you send personal statements about what americans think of japan, how americans think about time, why people are vegetarian/vegan, american school system, K-12 or college, american families, values, country life, social work ect ect I might use them in class. so think simple and provocative. send some pictures of yourself too.

also postcards, espicially of oregon. but all over, too.

did I leave my Gotan Project cd? could someone send it? it would compliment my zen commuting project.

any suggestions for websites with news in easy english?

vitamins (I've got my fair share of vitamine C but nothing else)

happy brave thoughts. always send lots of those.

I love you all. thanks.


to say the least, I've been busy. so busy, in fact that I'm teaching over 25 hours a week and if this keeps up I will be in violation of the new contracts. Kevin has the same problem. the school is going bonkers. the new contracts were, in part, created because the NOVA teaching union raised a fuss and now, if foriegn workers are full time, we must pay into the pension program. now no one is happy about that (except the NOVA union, I suppose) so I am now technically only working part time. not supposed to work more that 29.5 hours a week. not supposed to teach for more than 25. its all bullshit and causing a lot of problems. I currently getting to school at least an hour early and staying at least an hour late so that I can prepare for all these classes and do all the paperwork.

the best that could come of all this would be that head office could realize that KM needs me full time. and I could work just one place. that would be lovely... but I'm not holding my breath. I've been thinking more and more about what I want to do next and no longer feel so caught up in the details of the current situation. more thoughts will come in following posts. but I'm not currently feeling like I need stay. I'm feeling like I should keep moving. I'm feeling and thinking a lot recently.

things are going well, but damn busy. so the gray spots are classes I teach at KM, the yellow is a teachers meeting, and the pink are classes I teach at Shnnme. I tried to add some info to the spots but I think it's too fuzzy to see. sorry.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

this post is brought to you by douglas adams

perhaps it's time for some real skewed snapshots. thanks to my little phone I can be totally sly about taking pictures of my commute. this partiular guy amused me with his 15 intent yet subtle nose pick, examine, repeat routine. in combination with high water pants hemmed with saftey pins, I was amused for a good half of my commute.

it took so long before I sat down and bought and read 'hitchhikers guide to the galaxy' but I read it way too fast. over in a week and now I sit watching strange men in high water pants pick their nose.

but what is the answer, you foolishly ask, "42."
but what is the question then, you foolishly ponder.
"how many roads must a man walk down" you gaullibly consider.

Monday, October 03, 2005

martha freakin stewart--and an insite in everythign else on my troubled mind

yep. that's me. martha freakin stewart on a tight budget in the outskirts of one of the biggest metropolis's in the world.
this is how I've martha-ized my apartment (and if that isn't a verb, it damn well should be and as my visa officially states I am a "specialist in human./int. serv" I deem it a new word)

pretty yellow curtain that was supposed to be but never was back in America. postcards. blue guitar. that's my new apt.

and yet, I'm deciding whether or not to try to move again.

the pros:
the prospective apartment would be a little cheaper and about 3 min walking to KM school. still at least an hour to shinnme, but closer than now. bigger, but without a loft. only a few minutes from the train station.

the cons:
Ye Ol' Eikaiwa thinks I'm being ungrateful by wanting to move.
it is a manager's apt (but currently vacant) so if they want to put someone else in, I'd have to move again. and since they think I'm ungrateful... they won't give me any idea how likely that is. I'd have to pay for relocation. I don't know if they'd help me find a new place if I had to leave that one.

but these are all just details. really it comes down to if I should make the best of the situation for the sake of settling a little and feeling settled or should I keep pushing for better greener pastures.

it would be a pain in the ass to move. and just thinking about it is kinda stressful... but that's like 7 more hours a week that I'm not on a train somewhere. That's time I could spend exercising. That's time I could spend sleeping. That's a lot of time.

I read all of Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy in one week of commuting. I'm becoming zen with my commute, but another few hours of sleep every week wouldn't be so bad either.

as many of my past roommates and/or exs could tell anyone, I'm remarkably bad divorcing my decisions from one another. so the question is, should I push to get this apartment, even if I only get it for a little while.

this is tied to:
can I try to find a way to work at KM five days a week? how do I do that?
if I do that should I mentally commit myself to staying with Ye Ol' Eikaiwa for more that a year?
should I try to connect people so much that I'll be good and grounded for years to come?
should I really lay down roots like that or should I stick with one of my plans of moving somewhere else after a year to see more of the world... like Thailand or something?
do I want to stick with this teaching thing and see the world? it seems like a good ticket but I miss my friends... and their oddities are not likely to be found quickly anywhere I go. people don't share those types of oddities freely. I'm pretty good at making fast friends... but deep friends I really really miss.
so does that mean I should settle somewhere, at least mentally for a little?
but that lingering ripping sound that still echoes through me when I think of leaving Japan last time scares the hell out of me.
and if I ever want to go back to science I need to take that seriously too.
do I want go back to science?
I feel the question nagging at me. I feel like I still can but my time will run out if I'm not careful. I feel like I have to choose something somehow. and I think about grad school. and I think about traveling the world. and both seem like they could be full of lonely prospects. or not. but that neither guarantee any sort of social stability.
and the pursuit of a question. I think it was a med student who introduced "mental masturbation" into my working vocabulary (and I know my pooor shocked grandparents may be reading this) but that is one reason why science draws me. it often a puzzle for the sake of an awesome puzzle. sure, we may cure cancer or not... but we have a blast thinking about the puzzle in a mean time. and I miss that. teaching isn't like that. I like being a student, a researcher....

but living abroad is like that. and thats why I wanted to come back and try this crazy traveling thing again...

and yet, I feel like this is a temporary gig. I feel fairly sure of that. so... what does that mean? I don't even know.

my fellow american teacher answers, "perfect." every time someone asks, "hows it going" but will leave the day his contract is up. he doesn't have anything in particular in mind to follow this adventure. it is just that. an isolated chapter in life. to be embraced and reveled in. but isolated and ended.

I don't know what I want. I don't have a plan.

and deciding whether or not to move somehow encompasses all these swirling thoughts. so I strum my guitar and read and try to sleep. I go to work and drink too much coffee. I squirm while I'm teaching my classes because I have to pee. but I drink more coffee anyway, focus on the conversation in class and dont' think about all of this until I get on the bus or train home. and I think or I listen to my little blaring iPod as I dash through tokyo station (you know over 5 million people travel to work every working day in the Tokyo area, that means my thoughts compromise at least .00002 % of the commuting collective thought)

an since all my closest friends are boys, I'm writing rambling entries rather than talking out loud.

feel free to comment. I could use some dialog.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

I'm riiiiiiich... well sorta

yes, it is the end of the month and I finally got payed. and before I open a bank account and turn my small fortune in to digital dots, I thought I'd play with all the pretty paper first.

here was my first paycheck, after rent and such was taken out. 923 yen or about a little more than eight american dollars.

luckily, I usually get more than that. heres what my normal paycheck looks like after all the rent and stuff is taken out. its 187,600 yen or about 1,660 american dollars. not too bad after rent.

my apartment, when it's clean

sometimes my apartment is clean. this is critical because 14 sq meters isn't a lot of space to leave stuff laying about. haphazardly. here's a funky merged pic

one beautiful blue guitar

yep. no impulse control. I was loking for a bookstore but... I used the small bonus I get for being a split teacher to buy myself a purdy git-box. the brand is sepia crue, I don't know if that's good or bad but when I held it in my arms it was my instant baby. I'm learning some Dar William, Indigo Girls 'nd stuff. I'd like to learn some Paul Simon and Joni Mitchel... but they're hard.

anyways here's pics