Time, she's still flying! I'm quite enjoying myself still and am looking forward to starting work.

Saturday I did some housework in the morning (I figured out the washing machine!) and went to the hardware/walmart-type store to buy a phone for my VoIP line. I looked all over and bought some random things, but no luck. I decided to continue down the main street (rt. 20) in hopes of seeing something that looked like a store that sold phones. Perhaps it wasn't the brightest idea, but it actually worked.
I came across the store that Kagami sensei had taken Mark and I when he got his cell phone. I parked my bike and managed to find a phone for about $20.

In the evening I went out with my supervisor, Shimizu sensei, and another JTE (Japanese English Teacher), Sasaki Sensei, to dinner and a movie. At dinner we happened to run into Shimizu sensei’s extended family! We saw War of the Worlds, which was not my type of movie, but I enjoyed it for what was good in it, like special effects, and ignored which was bad, like the story and character development.

Hm, I haven’t done any random observations in a while. I’ll need to think about that, but I noted a few things about movie theaters that I found interesting. First, on a discounted night (late Saturday – who would have guessed?) it was $12 (normal price being $18)! Nearly everyone stayed to the bitter end, even past the end of the credits, at which point the lights went on and a man came in and started saying a bunch of stuff. This is where I had my first real “Lost in Translation” moment. After the man spoke for some time at some length (with many niceties) I asked Shimizu sensei what he said. It was this “please exit this way.” Only in Japan!

Sunday morning was great since I was up early from loud noises (not so great) and had lots of time to myself to read the Bible, listen (and sing along) to hymns and search for an online Bible study course. If anyone knows of one they like, let me know!

After a small mix-up I met Sasaki sensei and we went to school so I could help Hero (my spelling) with his speech. I very much enjoyed working with him and if I can make teaching in the classroom anything like teaching one on one I will be a very happy person.

Sasaki sensei dropped me off at Kofu station and I met with other JETs and we took the train to Ichikawadaimon (about 1 hours south of Kofu) for the fireworks festival. It was so crowded Disney World looks deserted in comparison. Before boarding the train I introduced myself to the JETs who had come over in group B and ended up standing next to someone on the train who I’d spoken to on the online forum (Big Daikon) and we discovered that we both went to the U. of Rochester! He was a political science guy with interests and courses in just about everything I didn’t have, and vice versa! I have to admit, it was a test of my social skills (opponents of homeschooling take note) to keep a pleasant conversation going for one hour with someone I’d just met as by necessity we stood closer and closer together. I’d never seen a train so packed. The festival is famous and everybody and his monkey were there (so said another JET, though I do not mean offense to the monkey community).

At the festival we met up with many other JETs and I enjoyed some okonomiyaki during the nearly two hour show. I wish I could tell you what was in it, but I’m afraid I can spell it was well as I can describe it. It had cabbage, noodles, egg, meat, fish, cheese, something dark and leafy, more other stuff, something hard, some fresh ginger, other stuff and a soy based sauce. I quite enjoyed it, though I couldn’t see it because it was dark . . .

The fireworks were so long because each segment was sponsored by some company and there were short breaks between them. It was quite a grand show and I enjoyed myself very much. We left before the end in hopes of avoiding the rush back to the train. We managed to get quite far, but we still had to wait in one massive group for a good while to get to the train. Rudy, Adam, Mark and I were together (it was impossible to stay in a larger group) and while we were waiting Rudy and I noticed some Japanese teens playing some sort of rock, paper scissors game. We couldn’t figure it out, but soon we were noticed (gaijin are easily noticed . . .) and one boy started randomly shouting some English. I took this as a friendly sign and said hello and asked them to show me the game they were playing. Ah, now this is how to learn a language! With a bit of broken English, some gestures, an example or two and a good deal of laughter I caught on to the idea and we had a rousing game with five Japanese teens and two gaijin. For the curious, it goes like this:

The players hold their hands in a loose fist, palms facing, in front of them. One player shouts, in rhythm “Se sa ___,” where the ___ is any number from 1 to the number of available thumbs. At the same time the player shouts the number the other players choose to stick both, one, or no thumbs up in the air. The raised thumbs are counted and if the number matches the one shouted then the player who shouted gets to pull one hand out of the game and continues to play with one hand. The play goes around in a circle, with everyone getting one chance whether he is “correct” or not. Play ends when a player wins twice and thus has no hands in play. It’s quite simple, but we had a rousing game of it, aided no doubt by the excitement of interacting with people from a world away.

Lest you think I was done mixing with the locals, on the train ride home I managed to wiggle some English out of the girls sitting near us and had them teaching me some Japanese words. This interaction was quite giggly since the girls were in Jr. HS, but we had a great time and it seemed to entertain the other passengers as well. Happily, the ride back was not quite as crowded because people kept getting off.

We made our connection, and of course I am now safely back in my apartment and it’s 1am, but I did not want to get too far behind.

Posted by harp on Sunday, August 7, 2005 at 5:29 pm | Edit
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It amazes me how you keep finding fellow UR/Eastman folks in Japan!

Posted by SursumCorda on Sunday, August 07, 2005 at 6:30 pm
Enjoy reading your updates. Didn't make the okinomiyaki for you but have done it myself. I was popular during the war when rice was scarce. I think it means, "cleaned refrigerator"

Posted by Helen on Monday, August 08, 2005 at 1:49 pm
So happy that you are having fun. I think I knew you would, you are so adaptable.August 7th had a little family party for Uncle John's 81st BD Weather was just right - today we are back with the heat. Love, Aunt Ellie

Posted by Aunt Ellie on Monday, August 08, 2005 at 9:52 pm
For study aids, check out http://www.desiringgod.org/library/study_desk/index.html as well as the several Piper books available for free at desiringgod.org. Another site I find helpful simply for accessing multiple translations is www.bible.com. I'm not sure I trust the bible studies they have listed there, though.

Posted by Andy Bonner on Tuesday, August 09, 2005 at 7:21 am
While doing research on why my kids were singing Yankee Doodle with Japanese words I found this bit of information. Maybe it was so loud that night that I couldn't hear what they were saying, or maybe they have a different version, but here is what one website says you say during the hand game: The leader calls out, 'Isse no se!' (Ready, go!), but instead of 'se,' that person says a number.

Posted by Harp on Thursday, November 10, 2005 at 6:16 am
Hey girl, Went surfing to find out when the Ichikawa Fireworks were this year, and ran into you. Thanks for sharing the pictures. Chelsea

Posted by Chelsea on Monday, May 08, 2006 at 9:23 am
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