Sunday, July 29, 2007

Random images from the past two weeks

I’ve been out every single night for the last two weeks and I’ll be out every single night for the next two weeks. I haven’t been this exhausted since I had mono.

I’m supposed to be getting ready to leave Japan but I’ve been roped into teaching summer school and supervising track practice. After work, it’s been one farewell party after another.

All of this has left me without a lot of time to update my blog. So I’m going to take the easy way out and post some pictures instead.

The first picture is of my friend Tomoko. We went down to the ocean to stand in the water and look out into nothingness for a while. Tomoko is a teacher at my school. She's a lot of fun. She’s also the one person who I can count on to fill me in on the really important things at school, like which kid got busted for shoplifting hair spray from the grocery school and which kid got suspended for biting a teacher.

But Tomoko is sick of teaching and sick of Japan. So she’s decided to move to Vancouver and work in a sushi restaurant next year. We stood in the Pacific Ocean and screamed, “Hello, Vancouver!” for a while.

Anyway, here we are teaching together for the last time. This is what I do during the day and this is what a typical Japanese classroom looks like.

Nice tan lines. The sexy white stripes down my back are from swimming with the students during PE class. Just in case you were fooled into believing that I actually work for a living out here. I spend more time in the pool than I do in the classroom.

Of course, I can’t talk about school without talking about the track team. These are my favourite kids in the whole school.

The two kids in the photo below are brothers. The older brother (Punchie) is the fastest kid on the track team and competes at a national level. He plans on competing at the 2012 Olympics and I won’t be surprised if he actually makes it there. He’s a smart kid and very serious. The younger brother (Mayonnaise) is a little brat, but I mean that in the most affectionate way possible. Together, they are the sweetest, most lovable kids I’ve ever met. These kids make me want to have kids. But only if they turn out like Punchie and Mayonaise.

Last week, the track coach surprised me with a special farewell ceremony that the kids put together. One of the kids gave a speech entirely in English (I was so touched to think how long and how hard he must have worked on it). And the entire track team presented me with several giant cards with handwritten messages.

I think out of everyone I’ve met here, I will miss the kids from the track team the most. Here they are after a track meet last weekend after we convinced the bus driver to pull over for popsicles.

Of course, another person I will miss terribly is the vice-principal. I took this picture of him pretending to be stern and serious.

And then another picture of him as he really is. Slightly crazy and a lot of fun. Here he is posing with a giant bottle of sake he had sitting under his desk.

Swarmed by some random kids. These are some of the more aggressive seventh graders. They’d usually run up to me after class and ask me inappropriate (not to mention grammatically incorrect) questions such as, “Do you play sex?”

I’ll miss walking past these rice fields on my daily commute.

Some of my favourite teachers at school. This was the first of many goodbye parties.

And what would a party be in Japan without karaoke? Here is the track coach singing “We Are The World” just for me. Sigh.

The next goodbye party was with my volleyball team. I am the filling in a Monica and Sachi sandwich. Two great girls and I’ll miss them both.

And what would a party be in Japan without fireworks? I’m sure my neighbours loved me after this.

That’s all for now. More later when I have time . . .

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