Wow, what a weekday..
It is officially fall and the weather is finally reaching that comfortable crisp coolness. About half the students have switched from their ugly pale blue uniforms (see photo below) to their gothy all black and dark blue outfits. Boys even get to wear a cool black jacket with a stand-up collar and girls look, well, less terrible than before:
this week at work, students are submersed in midterm tests; a microcosm of the "examination hell" (an actual term) that they will be subjected to at the end of the year. This leaves me with blissful free time to fill by making lesson plans and thinking about my trip home for the winter holidays, not a single class to teach till Friday.
Today i overheard some conversations percolating about a visiting Canadian teacher and later, sure enough, i saw a little Caucasian man in a blue blazer being shown around the school by the principal, sitting down for a meeting and being offered the tea that is so indicative of courtesy by a female teacher. Turns out he is not a teacher, but a kendo society instructor in Canada, and has ties to Japan, so he came for a lecture by a kendo master that occurred this afternoon at my school.
I was told by my supervisor that "ALTs never go" so i could stay in the teacher's room while everyone else went to listen, but i told her i wanted to attend, and decided to look at it as a free Japanese lesson.
After the lecture i got to meet Mr. Gabriel Weitzner, who had a strange mash-up of Canadian and Eastern European accents and a poorly maintained beard. He recommended Japanesepod101.com, which has now come up several times for independant Japanese study. I will really have to look into it.
After school i met up with Nobu, the 28 year-old brother of one of my students. He has a penchant for meeting and talking to English speakers, and so he asked his younger brother to ask me to get in touch with him. We decided to go downtown, despite the unarguable "tuesdayness" of the day, and we wound up at Morris Pub, a british style bar with a wonderfully wide (even by US standards) selection of beers including Old Speckled Hen, Guinness, Anchor, Newcastle, Strongbow, and hoegarten.
I bought us a second round and he bought us pizza topped, true to japanese tastes, with broccoli, potato and mayo. I have to say it was completely delicious. It turns out Nobu is really into Economics, Politics, Linguistics and Neuroscience. All stuff i am really excited about. We had some good conversation and it was good language practice for both of us (admittedly mostly him).
It also turned out that the bar maid is a really nice British girl who happens to be a second-year ALT herself (with a non-JET company). Crazy thing is, last year she worked in Amagi. We talked about different ways to get downtown to Tenjin, and the multitude of fun things that there actually are to do in Amagi. She even asked if i have a girlfriend, and if i "fancy" japanese girls. Whatever the situation, i am totally loving the special attention that i can enjoy as a male ex-pat in Japan. So nice.
Japanese lesson of the day
lit. "two days drunk"