Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A little more of my vacation, plus some

Ok, more picture time!! Are you ready kids?!

So the pictures are all out of order. I mean, they're in order within the posts, mostly, but you're seeing pictures from the same day in separate posts. Not that you care, I'm sure.

Anyways, this is the outside of Tsukiji, the fish market. We couldn't go inside because you have to get there at about 4 or 5 AM to do that, plus it's not a place that they really want tourists to be. Tourists get in the way a lot. We didn't want to inconvenience them. Plus, that's early. Here are a couple of links in case you're curious to see how awesomely massive and amazing this place is (I didn't see myself, but I have heard lots of facts and trivia about it over the years so I'm in awe anyways): Wikipedia and the homepage. So, according to Wikipedia, over 2000 metric tons of seafood passes through every day, which is...4,409,245.24 pounds. Wow.

It looks pretty tame here, but there were little pushcarts almost knocking you over all the time, and stalls selling everything (and each stall was tiny tiny), and there were about three long city streets of this, and that is just the entrance, where the layman is allowed. And this is at the beginning of one of the streets. Plus it's boring looking because at the interesting parts that are really active you're too busy not getting run over or getting in peoples' way and pissing them off to take a picture. Funny, that seems to happen an awful lot in this country.

And here I am! Yay!

This is a picture of....Shibuya? Or Shinjuku? I think it's Shinjuku. I don't remember. I always get them mixed up. Anyways, lots of neon.

The view from Masaki's place at night.

This was some weird totem pole thing that was at a train station. I have no idea why.

Ever heard of Hachiko? It's that famous Japanese story about a dog who would walk his master to the station every day, and then the human got old and died, and the dog still went to the station and was really confused all the time as to where the master was but never broke his habit for years. Then the dog died too. Now Japanese people get all weepy about it with loyalty and stuff, and they have a statue. It's where all the teenagers meet before they go get donuts or hamburgers or new dresses or whatever. Man, I wish I could have a dog. *whine*

This was the hallway at the restaraunt where we ate the last night, the one that served whole squid and snail-y looking things. It was pretty swank. Sucks if you're in a wheelchair.

Here we are!

And then at the bar later.

(Back: James, Kozue, Masaki, Machiko, Tetsuya, Kirby
Front: Kana, Rylan)

Machiko and Kana at the club. Pretty colors.

I went to the Tokyo National Museum too, where they have lots of works of art on display from hundreds (and thousands) of years of Japanese history. I'll put those in a seperate post so everything isn't all mishmashed.


So today was the first day of real school after the summer break (which is only three weeks long). Today I met all the kids for real for the first time, not just the three I had been working with on their speeches or the loud kids in the hallways who were super excited to see a white person all the time.

First, I did a self-introduction in the teachers' room, even though I think I had met them all before already. Then there was an opening ceremony for the start of school again, and I had to go up on stage in front of the whole school and do another introduction. I was really nervous but I reminded myself that they wouldn't understand me at all anyways. So, I kept my cool about speaking in front of about 700 people, until I was walking up to the stage and my shoes fell off on the stairs.
Both of them. I was wearing slipper type shoes, and stockings, not socks, and both of my shoes fell off as I went up the stairs. So, I went down a couple of steps, put them back on, and continued. At the beginning of my speech, I made a funny remark about the shoes or something, and nobody laughed because to them I was speaking gibberish. Which I expected. But then the English teacher translated everything and everyone laughed so it was all good.

Theeen, I had to go to three English classes today. First I did two 8th grade classes, and both of them I did a longer self introduction: "My...name...is...Kim...I...come...from...America..." And then they had to ask me questions about myself in English. I brought pictures of everyone to class because they had told me that I should talk about my family, and I went over every picture and talked about all of you. The English teacher said Daddy looked like an actor, and everyone oohed and aahed over Jennifer and Elizabeth. Then someone asked me how old I was and they thought I would be much older. That's because Japanese people all look like children. After that, I played Simon Says with them. The first class was a little rocky because I didn't have a feel for their English level yet, but the second class I did was ok. Then I went to the 7th grade class and did role play with the teacher, and talked a lot about myself again. But this time it was "My.....name.......is.......Kim........" I drew on the board and waved my hands around a lot. It was fun.

After classes, I had to help with the speeches. The girls' pronounciations are getting really good, but the English teacher is crazy picky, and corrects things I wouldn't notice, and bypasses other really obvious ones. But a lot of the mistakes they make are things they would need speech therapy with because English has such different sounds than what they've been using for their 12-15 years of their life. So I don't say anything, but I drew some pictures showing them where to put the tongue to make the vowel+r sound.

I was sooooo tired by this point, I almost fell asleep listening to them practice. But that would be really bad form.

After school, I was going to go to the home goods store to buy some stuff like dish racks, laundry bags, etc. but it was closed today for some reason that was described in funny looking squiggly lines. So I went to the "dollar" store instead. Only today it was raining so hard ALL DAY except for when I was in school! Ugh!! So I got soaked twice, because I had to ride my bike. Then I left my umbrella at the cheapo store so I'm going to have to run through the rain and get another one in the morning. Ugh!!! I hate rain!! It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have to ride my bike or wear fancy shoes. But at least I take the bus part of the way.

After dinner (which I made by myself again!!!!!!!!) I went to the girl's house that I bought all my furniture from, because we hadn't actually met yet. She picked me up in a car, which was impressive, and took me to her and her husband's place. She was really nice, not geeky at all like a lot of the teaching-English-in-Japan people are, just very soft spoken and normal. I like her a lot, I wish she wasn't going back. She and her husband told me a little bit about how they were in Afghanistan in the Peace Corps when September 11 happened. All the Afghanis were shocked and sympathetic but they still had to be evacuated home.

Umm, that's all for now. I'm gonna go to bed because tomorrow is even busier, with four classes, and meeting the 9th graders, and then helping with speech contests again, and then I'm going out with my teachers for a welcome party. I can't wait until I get settled down and have time to clean my room or do anything.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

that is all great and I love how you describe everything. Very good!! So you ride a bike (where it you get it?) and then take the bus. Where does the bike go, on the bus? Keep up the posts!!!! The Landmark group wanted me to post your blog so you may be getting some more readers. Hope you have a great weekend - you're probably sleeping right now :)