chris vs. the arctic

chris: 72 // the arctic: 47

★ Article: "Same-sex legislation passed"

29.6.05
Canada is now the third country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage!

(The bill has yet to be passed by the Senate, but that is going to be easy.)
CBC

★ Article: "Japan tests new bullet train"

28.6.05
I can't wait! It's so sexy. :)
CNN

Random Japan Photos Online!

27.6.05
I just posted a bunch of random photos! Enjoy!

Futon Begone!

I finally did it! Using a pair of ordinary scissors, I cut up my old futon into 3 equal pieces, and shoved them into a burnable bag! It's gone! Woo whoo! I also cut up my old blanket and an old futon cover. Gone gone! Happy happy!

Random Thought [第9]

It's time to do laundry once you've started shopping for clothes to avoid doing it.

Suggested Unnecessary Addition to Your Wardrobe: Uniqlo underwear.

Rock Star

24.6.05
You'd think I was a rock star based on how my first year students react to my presence! I'm always screamed at when I walked down the hallway, and more often than not, I get applause when I walk into the classroom. Recently, somehow, they learned the word 'handsome', and have been liberally sending the compliments my way.

This past week has seen a crescendo in excitement, and it's getting to be a bit much. I've been swarmed after every single one of my classes, with students wanting to ask me questions.

It occurred to me yesterday why there is a sudden surge of praise and chit chat: they want stickers.

As a motivational tool, I give out stickers to my students when they volunteer answers in class or speak to me in the hallways. They have to collect 24 of them to get a prize from Canada. Well, this week, without my knowledge, my supervisor started to collect the point cards for tallying. This has sent them into a panicked state. They are absolutely desperate for stickers!

I suppose I should be grateful that they want to speak English with me, but it's got to the point where I want to run back to my desk straight after class, and avoid all glances from students. I've had crowds follow me back to my desk! And sometimes, they come right to my desk. No haven!

After this week, it should all die down. I hope.

▲ List: Japan's Efforts to 'Piss Off the World'

22.6.05
1) Fighting for the resumption of commercial whaling.
2) Actively insisting on joining the UN Security Council.
3) Sanctioning textbooks that brush over war crimes by Japan.
4) Claiming islands left and right. (Including islands in Russia, South Korea, and China.)
5) Allowing the Prime Minister to continue to visit a shrine honoring war criminals.

All of these actions have no positive results for Japan and its people. In all cases, it's a matter of pride. Japan wants to be a more powerful player on the world scene, but is going the completely wrong way about it.

All the bridges to and from this island nation are quickly being burned.

"Chris doesn't know..." Update

20.6.05
My kids performed their skits for this topic today. Let me regale one particular performance:

Student A: "Chris, do you know how to use slippers?"
Student B: "No, I haven't used slippers before. I don't know how to use them. Please tell me how to do it."
A: "Okay. You just put them on."
B: "Like this?" The student then takes a pair of slippers, kneels on the floor, and puts the slippers on his hands.
A: "No. That's the wrong way to do it."
Finish.

Thanks guys. It's good to know they don't think I'm a complete dumbass. He could have put them on his elbows or something.

"Chris doesn't know..."

17.6.05
My students have a written assignment this month, and the topic is, "Chris doesn't know..." They are supposed to write about Japanese culture in English. But it's turning into one of those 'heart-warming' assignments. It's especially grand when I'm the one editing them all.

Here are some examples:

"Chris doesn't know how to use slippers."
"Chris doesn't know how to pray [written 'play']."
"Chris doesn't know how to eat natto"
"Chris doesn't know how to enter a Japanese house."
"Chris doesn't know how to bow."

Come on! I'm not a complete idiot!!

Embarrassment of the Week [2005年6月15日]

15.6.05
Okay, I seriously need to learn Japanese! The secretary just asked me how my ice cream was by saying, "how was it?" I thought she said, "delicious?" So, in Japanese, I repeated what she said, saying, "yes, how was it." (No question mark.) She laughed and I laughed. After I walked away, I realised she was laughing AT me! I would too.

Here it is in Japanese, for those who can read it:

Secretary: "どうでしたか?"
Me: "はい、どうでした。"

I should have said, "おいしかった". Dumbass.

★ Article: "US sect throw out boys so older men marry more wives"

14.6.05
Messed up!!
Guardian

The Busiest Week Ever

I am definitely well within the busiest week I've had in Japan. Today alone, I taught 3 junior high school classes, 2 elementary classes, and marked 4 stacks of papers. Tomorrow, I have 3 demonstration classes. They are basically super-prepared and exaggerated lessons that are open to the board of education to watch. I think they are absolutely ridiculous! Everyone in the school gets overly stressed out, and for what? So that a bunch of non-teachers can judge what we do? Who do they think they are? If they want to see what we do, they should just show up randomly one day. I don't have time to make posters, diagrams, maps, pictures, flashcards, speeches, and dialogues within 3 days!

In other non-complainy business, Gillian and Heather visited me in Toyama-ken! They flew up from Fukuoka-shi on Saturday morning, and left this afternoon. I took them to a good Indian restaurant, a cocktail party at Sarah's house, the big Buddha statue in Takaoka, Gokayama to see the gassho houses, and a good conveyor belt sushi joint. They also went to Kanazawa, Ishikawa-ken by themselves on Monday to check out Kenroku-en (a famous garden). Finally, they wondered around Toyama-shi and had Nepalese food today before leaving. I hope you guys had a good trip!

Time to rest before the finale of my 22 classes this week...

A New Podcaster Is Born

I've just joined the most recent digital revolution -- podcasting. I discovered today that CBC Radio 3 has a podcast. I can download 40 minutes of Canadian indie music every week for free! Love it!

Oh yeah... I used to be smart...

10.6.05
I just made a fun and depressing discovery. On my computer's hard drive, I have all my old notes and essays from university. I perused some Philosophy essays and Biochemistry notes... I can't believe I used to know all about this stuff! I seriously need to go home and read all my notes to brush up! Especially if I plan on continuing my education... It's going to be so rough shaking out the dust bunnies from my brain!

Dengue Update

9.6.05
It turns out, according to my doctor, that I in fact caught dengue fever whilst drinking Starbucks, and not after. Apparently dengue fever is usually found in urban areas (Kuala Lumpur), and not the forest (Taman Negara). Ironic!

Kanji Are Fun!

I've been obsessed with kanji lately. Kanji are the Chinese characters used in the written Japanese language. They represent ideas, as well as spoken words. The words usually have two or more meanings, but kanji only have one meaning.

For example, the word 'hashi' means: bridge, chopsticks, edge, and several others. But the kanji are different:

橋 - bridge
箸 - chopstick
端 - edge
...

It's kind of cool!

All my kids have their last names written on their name tag in kanji. So I try to learn them when I'm bored in class. My favs are:

三川 (mitsukawa) - three rivers
村石 (muraishi) - village stone
杉本 (sugimoto) - cedar book
田中 (tanaka) - in a rice field
野村 (nomura) - field village
金田 (kanada) - gold rice field
小森 (komori) - small forest
川井 (kawai) - river well
北山 (kitayama) - northern mountain

Anyway, you get the point. It's cute.

This is where I live:

大門町、射水郡、富山県 - large gate town, morphism water area, wealth mountain prefecture

Sounds exciting! (But it's not...)

The Time I Had Dengue Fever

3.6.05
Oh yeah, that was last week!

I can't believe I got dengue fever!! Who gets dengue fever after only 2 days in the rainforest??? I was literally drinking Starbucks one day, getting dengue fever the next, and then eating at the Outback the day after that!

I'm all right though. I had some fevers last week, and I had the itchiest rash a couple of days ago. Everything seems to be back to normal. But, I thoroughly freaked out my school (understandably). I probably won't be allowed to leave the country again! Damn.

My doctor is super excited about my case. He's never seen anything like it before. Which, considering the fact that there are between 0 and 2 cases a year in Japan, I can understand. Just another way to stand out!