Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Well, holy shit. This will be the last post from the Land of the Rising Sun. Jennifer and I are off to China to see Alf, and of course all of the wonderful things that the Middle Kingdom has to offer. We head by bus tonight to Osaka, and then from Osaka tomorrow we will go by seafaring ship to Shanghai to meet up with Alfie. We still have a fair bit of cleaning to do today and unfortunately, I decided to take it upon myself to clean out the liquor cabinet last night. It's just a shame to see good gin go to waste isn't it? Now it's just a shanme that I'm a useless hungover idiot on my last day in Nagano, EVER!

Since China blocks Blogger, I may not be able to post anything until I get back to the US. I suppose a name change for this blog is in order, "aaronsinjapan" will probably not seem so suitable when at last aaronsnotinjapan.

Thanks Japan, it's been and interesting two years, but I can't say I'm all that I'm not ready to leave. It's been real.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Here are some nice ones. Unfortunately, I really can't put faces to names, I never made that effort, plus there were 90 of them, and I met them once a week. Oh well, the plaid one is from probably the best English speaker in the class.
This is the only student I ever have wanted to throw out the window. Stupid and annoying, but hey, her favorite band is called "Bump of Chicken".
This is one of my favorites. When I finally figured out what she was trying to say, I got a little misty eyed.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

I got some pretty good thank you notes from the girl's highschool students at Nagano Jyoshi-ko. You can see how much of an influence I was on them.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Sorry about the scarcity of my posts recently. I've been waaaay to busy listening to Le Tour by using the power of the internet. My biggest gripe about this year is that Lance is a goddam juggernaut when it comes to this race. He doesn't focus on anything else, and while that is the same approach favored by so many other riderss, he swats them all down like flies. My main hope is in Ivan Basso, the youngish Italian who really showed up to race this year. Basso is the only guy to really stick with Lance in the mountains, that, plus Basso also raced in the Giro, where he was the odds on favorite until he suffered from stomach flu and lost 44 minutes on a single stage. My bet is that next year, Basso is going to be the guy to beat, but the race will be much more interesting without Big Tex in the mix.

Friday, July 15, 2005

I am almost through with the week from hell, but hey it was great while it lasted. I've begun to bid farewell to my classes, students and friends, a sad process but one that is easily accepted in light of my impending return to the world of the unemployed and homeward bound. Jennifer is due back on Sunday, which means that a good scrubbing is in order, primarily for me, and the apartment could do with a bit of tidying as well. My days of batchelordom are nearing an end, to my delight. With luck customs won't bust out the sniffing dogs to confiscate the kangaroo jerkey that I requested upon Jennifer's return.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

This week coming up is my last full week of teaching. I've got a pretty whopping schedule coming up but I guess I'll just deal with it, as it's the LAST ONE I'LL EVER HAVE TO DO! I'm working from about 10 to 9 for four out of the five days this week and in addition, I'll be teaching 5 kids classes this week. You can imagine how excited I am for that. Loving the kids classes, loving them. Jennifer's still in Australia, cruising the outback or something, chucking shrimp and the barbie and kicking it Southern Hemisphere style. The apartment is in a current state of "not so clean" because without anyone to see it, is it really messy? By anyone in this case, I mean Jennifer, she tends to not like it when I leave the kitchen covered with dough and crumbs.
In other news I spent about 24 of the past 48 hours rock climbing, a pretty stellar ratio if you ask me, and one that has caused me to feel pretty sweet about myself. I am now officially a 5.11 climber after completing not just one but two climbs of the 5.11a grade. If you know what I'm talking about, you'll understand why I'm happy, but if not, consider it in the way you'd think of a 5:30 mile or winning a Cat. 4 criterium. Many people can do it, but it takes a lot of work. Yay me.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

I've been trying to think of ways to get my digs in at the "System" while I'm still in Japan. I think that as an outsider, I have a better vantage point from which to see the terrible morass which is the Japanese Way. Why for example, is it necessary to have jump suited men at standing in places where a simple traffic cone would do the job? When I ask this question to my students, I can't seem to make it sound like anything other than an attack on a ridiculous waste of time and energy (which it is). While I want to let rip at the nightmare of futility and wasted energy which is the Japanese education system, I can't bring myself to do so for fear of alienating all of the people who grew up with the system and knew no other way. When your student is the owner of your company, you can't exactly bitch about the manager he hired, even if the guy spends his time mastering solitaire and watching us work. I guess that's where the ol blog comes in handy, letting off steam so that I don't flip out on the co-workers.

Monday, July 04, 2005

So, Jennifer's in Australia and I've got like 2 weeks of work left. What am I thinking about most? You guessed right! The Tour de France!!! I dreamt last night that I was riding in the peloton and Lance Armstrong was bitching at me because I was punching the tempo up some alpine pass. So I told him, "Listen, you're not my team captain, I don't have to do what you say." How cool was that! Usually my dreams involve me failing at something, or more commonly trying to kill something that just will not die. Approximately every week in my dreams I'm trying to fend off attackers, zombies or aliens and the damn things just won't die. I am forever hacking at necks and cutting off arms that just won't sever from the bodies of my assailants. So, this confrontation with Lance was a welcome change of pace, afterall, I was making him sweat, not trying to hack him to pieces.