Saturday, 22 November 2008

At Last, A Heater

Thursday was pretty normal, save for the fact that I was asked to stay longer after school finished, so didn't get back to the office until late. Late = dark. Dark = cold. Cold = ... cold. >.>

So yeah, it has been cold these last few evenings and mornings. I suspect that Winter is worse.

Friday's classes at Kitanokawa shougakkou were really good. The kids enjoyed them and I enjoyed them -- and, I suspect, the respective teachers enjoyed them too. ;)

Today, Michael and I went into Kochi city. I bought some new clothes -- a jacket and a long-sleeved top for Winter. I also got a couple of new pairs of thick socks.

After shopping at the mall, we drove over to Yamada Denki and I bought a little heater. I've got it on now, heating up my lounge. I guess it's only a matter of time before I see whether it is effective or not.

We stopped at the supermarket on the way home and I bought another bath towel, hand towel and a bath mat. Having three sets of such items will be handy in the long run.

So now I am at home, waiting for my wee heater to heat this place up. Tomorrow is the Shouwa junior high cultural festival -- like a gala, of sorts, replete with speeches in the afternoon, in good Japanese style.

Go little heater, pour your welcome heat into this icy tomb and thaw these numb extremities. :o


Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Winter is Coming, Friends

The dentist left a hole in the back of my poorly constructed crown, after drilling out the temporary filler they had put in last week. I was also prescribed some antibiotics for a two day period. I think the infection has all but cleared up now. At least whatever was causing the pain has gone.

Next visit, they will finish digging to the limit of my incisor's root, then it's just a matter of removing this old crown and replacing it with a new resin crown. In future I hope to get ceramic or porcelain crowns that sit over a permanent screw, but for now these resin fillers will do.

Straightened teeth would be nice too, and I hope that after I get my wisdom teeth (finally) removed, this will also become a reality -- eventually.

The meeting on Monday went well. Appropriately, it was at 2.30. XD It was very casual and I was able to just talk about my teaching experience and living experience so far. No problems. But I would like to get a car pretty soon. Can't rely on Michael all the time. ;)

My folks have been talking to me on Skype every two or three days. They are in the middle of making a huge decision regarding my dad's current high school teaching position. So recently I've been praying about more than just my own health and wellbeing here in Japan. :p

Last night we had our fortnightly prayer and Bible study meeting on Skype. Good for spiritual nourishment and personal encouragement, especially since I am currently not plugged into a church here -- a fact that I hope will change in the near future.

We -- Laurel, Candice and I -- had kindergarten this morning. Always a good time there. The kids have fun singing and dancing and getting involved with whatever activities are provided for them. Candice talked about Thanksgiving and the kids made hand-turkeys (trace your hand and draw and colour in a turkey). We also sang Silent Night and Jingle Bells (jingeru beru :p), as a warm-up for Christmas and practice for the Christmas party that we have happening next month.

It's very cold today. Yesterday was pretty cold but today it was also raining. It is good to be inside. When I went home for lunch, I was breathing frost into the cool air in my apartment. I'm wearing two pairs of socks and have had to wear a fourth layer -- my jacket -- outside. Am I looking forward to Winter? Not for the temperature, that's for sure. Time to get a heater. ><>.>

On the WoW front, well... read my Wowbrief blog if you're interested. I know I am. :p

S'all y'all. :o


ps. Been sneezing and sniffing all day. Quite unpleasant, but Kiwis don't give in to little sniffles. Man up and power through it, imo. ;)

Monday, 17 November 2008

Toothache, Lich King, Meeting

On Thursday afternoon, Towa (Shouwa and Tokawa) had their inter-schools music festival. I attended it and stayed for most of the time, seeing the elementary and junior high levels both present songs in choir and conduct instrumental performances.

Earlier that day I had practised kanji. Along with the Japanese lessons I am working through is the opportunity to learn kanji. I think that if I practise enough, I will be able to remember a few.

I was at 窪川小学校 (K-town shougakkou) on Friday. I took two large classes of fifth year kids. Half of each class was spent in the classroom going over numbers and months, and then the other half was outside, where I played games with them (involving numbers).

My weekend was spent in agony, as I had a toothache. I am going to go see the dentist this morning. Hopefully he will put me on antibiotics, as I think I contracted an infection of some sort in my gum -- possibly from my previous visit, which was last Wednesday, after work.

I also spent most of my weekend playing World of Warcraft -- Wrath of the Lich King was released a few days ago. I have been taking it pretty easy, slowly levelling my mage in the new continent and just taking in everything that has been added. I played my warrior a lot, too, getting her to level 60 and venturing into Outland, the last expansion's added area. More at my blog.

Aside from the dentist, I don't have much to do this morning, save for my last Japanese study instalment. I will do this first book's test at some point this week, too, and send that in for assessment.

This afternoon, we have individual meetings with our prefectural advisor (PA) over in K-town. Mine is at 2.30pm. It's a chance to have any questions answered and to give feedback on our time spent here so far. These meetings are annual.

That's all for now. I hope never again to have to go through the excruciating pain that I experienced these past two days. And I hope that my visit to the dentist will remedy what my last visit invoked.


Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Musical Scores

Yesterday saw me teaching only two of the three regular classes at Tokawa Chuugakkou. This gave me the afternoon free to come back to the office and do what I do whilst sitting at my computer here.

Last night, my high-backed pneumatic swivel chair arrived. It is very comfortable and will make spending time at my laptop and watching my beautiful LCD TV that much better, not to mention encouraging correct posture both in terms of my back and my hands upon the keys.

As World of Warcraft is still such a big part of my personal life (up until the day that I find a woman -- or she finds me -- or happenstance dictates that we both find each other at the same time, heralding trumpet calls, shooting stars and planetary realignments that alter the cosmos as we know it), I must take this time to post a link to my latest Wowbrief blog entry.

The latest instalment for this MMO that boasts 11 million subscribers worldwide will be active in less than two days. WoW-players, hold onto your hats because the Blizzard is getting stronger!


Today, I am once again without Shougakkou classes. What this means is that my entire day is spent here in the office. Most of that time has been spent online, reading forums and leaving my comments and opinions on various themes scattered across a small part of the Internet. Some of my time will be spent studying Japanese and preparing for Friday's lessons.

This morning, Michael and I attended about 40 mins of a musical festival at Tanono Shougakkou. Schools -- both junior high and elementary -- have many students participating in this bonanza. Both choirs and orchestral proceedings flowed forth from the mouths and instruments of these well-practised kids. Nice desu.

Onward, towards lunch time; and a peaceful Wednesday afternoon spent sitting at my desk in the Taisho kominkan. :)


Monday, 10 November 2008

Chobitto Film Festival 2008

On Saturday, Michael and I went into Kochi city. We stopped in at Yamada Denki, where I picked up a 3m audio cable.

We headed out to Akaoka in the afternoon and arrived at the venue for the Chobitto Film Festival quite early. Not to worry, as a whole lot of JETs arrived by train, also early (a few had volunteered to help for the evening).

Eventually, we were able to go inside and choose a place to sit. It was held in a small -- very cool, Japanese-style -- theatre. There must have been around 200 people who attended.

We saw 15 films, 14 of which were eligible to be voted for. There were three intermissions, the last during which we were given the opportunity to vote for our favourite movies, allocating any number of points from a maximum of five to up to five movies.

I voted for four movies, assigning two points to the movie that ended up winning overall. It was called Rollin' and was both amusing and thematic, in that it showcased parts of Kochi. It didn't exactly capture the cultural essence of Kochi, but it sure did a good job of combining humour with sights.

All in all, it was a good evening. At the end, the top three filmmakers were awarded golden statuettes as prizes, and everyone that submitted a film was allowed to stand up on the stage and receive both a small gift and, of course, our applause.

The Filmmakers plus Banana Man (left)

It's a shame that we couldn't submit a movie this year, but seeing what people contributed gave us a better idea of what is appropriate and what appeals to such a broad audience.

Yesterday, I hooked up my speakers to my sub. Now I have an awesome setup, with a gorgeous screen and great sound. If I get a couch and two more speakers to place at the back of the room... :o

Booya. ;)

In the office today. Got a bit of a sniffle so maybe it's a good thing that I haven't been assigned to a school today. I have Tokawa shougakkou on Wednesday. I will plan the lesson this afternoon when I get back from lunch. :)


Friday, 7 November 2008


My TV arrived today. They came a little earlier than I had been told, so it was lucky that I stopped in at my place 40 mins before the scheduled delivery time. It is a Sony Bravia 26" HD LCD TV. Very nice, and it fits perfectly on my desk. XD

Today, I was teaching at Wakaigawa Elementary school. This was my third visit there. It is a small school and I like the kids and the teachers there. I ate lunch with them today before playing with some of the kids before leaving.

I have been stretching my Japanese both at school and a little bit in the office. Going through my CLAIR textbook is good. I am able to practise what I learn, even if not all of it sticks.

Slow progress is better than no progress!

I may watch a movie tonight on my new TV. However, I couldn't set the speakers up that I got, as the audio cable I got is too short. :(


Wednesday, 5 November 2008

A New Month

At least one person filmed Friday's speeches, so at some point I will have the opportunity to see the students from both Shouwa and Tokawa who were involved.

My weekend isn't really worth mentioning, as nothing of note happened.

Yesterday, I went to Tokawa chu as usual. I only had two classes so was able to come back out to the office for the rest of the afternoon.

Today, Michael and I were both at the same school: a small place in Shiwa, which is about half an hour from K-town. We were both driven out and brought back.

The classes themselves were very small -- one had three students and the other, four. Our third lesson, after lunch, was just comprised of games in the gym with the seven kids.

Nothing else to report for the rest of this week. My new TV will arrive on Friday. I also bought an adjustable swivel chair today to use at my desk. It will be delivered on the 11th.