Monday, September 10, 2007

Ahh It's been too long...

Nope I'm not dead. Yet. Really, I'm just fantastically lazy. This job is not the most straining, and it's easy to let the days slide by, one into the next without accomplishing much of anything. Nonetheless, I have been doing things...I've finally started studying Japanese regularly, I've made a ton of progress on my next video, (only a month after I filmed it at this point,) and of course, I've been partying it up.

So let's talk about my weekends first, as I know everyone is dying to know what I'm up to in my free time. Basically, it has been more of the same, with a party in Urahoro at Gwendolyn's house last weekend, and the Tokachi International Educators Circle welcome party at Iwanai gorge this past weekend.

Urahoro is a semi-industrial town in eastern Tokachi. I can't claim that it is the most pituresque of places, but on Saturday we did drive down to the beach and I had the chance to swim in the North Pacific while everyone else huddled around the fire claiming the water was too cold. (Must be because they are American!) The beach was sandy, and had a pretty gradual incline, but the waves were huge, which was both a lot of fun and a little scary. There were a couple Japanese surfers in wetsuits a little ways down the beach, so I decided to do a little bodysurfing and had a great time. Once it was dark we made our way back to Urahoro, and went out for dinner at Torisei, which seems to be an omnipresent chain of Izakayas (bars with food) in the Tokachi area. Torisei specializes in fried chicken, and it hands down beats out any fried chicken in Canada or the US. Of course, I think the Torisei in Shikaoi is nicer, and I should know, as I've been there once or twice a week since I got here! Sunday I recovered, had a little MickeyD's in Obihiro on my way home, and mostly spent the afternoon vowing never to drink again, or let my picture be taken again! Unfortunately, my students occasionally make their way to this blog, so you will be unable to see the pictures from that night...let's just say it was interesting.

The week went by quickly, but predictably, with more drinking. Tuesday was my "official enkai" or welcome party, making it my 5th (?) welcome party since I got here. It was held in the town hall, with most of the town's VIP's (such as the mayor present.) I had to give a 5 minute speech in Japanese which I was understandably nervous about! I think it went well, and afterwards I got a catered dinner with such specialities as raw sea urchin liver. Actually, it's not as bad as it sounds, it's just like fishy, orange butter. sort of. After that party was the inevitable nikai (second party) where I proceeded to drink too much and stumble home at 2 am.

Wednesday I was understandably a mess for most of the day, mostly because I had forgot to set my alarm, so I had to race out of the house to get to school. This made teaching 15 year olds all the more interesting, but it went fine. I was REALLY embarrassed to show up to work in that state, and do not want to repeat it. Wednesday, I drove to Chris' house to watch some BSG, and it eat Thai curry, which was amazingly good. Thursday, I had another office party at Torisei (detecting a pattern yet?) but only stayed out till 11:30. Friday I was supposed to be teaching at the High School, but the students are doing their end of term tests, so instead I got to administer the 1st year Canada Studies test, which was an interview type test. Actually, it was a little shocking how badly most of the students did on the test, and I am definitely looking forward to talking to my teacher about it. I did however manage to have a quiet night at home, which I sorely needed.

Saturday was the welcome party, and it was a tremendous amount of fun. It was situated at a lodge to the Southwest of me, right next to a beautiful river and gorge. After a short meeting and a hike, we started the night off with yakiniku (outdoor barbecue) and ate a tremendous, unbelievable amount of beef, (and beer.) Everyone got good and drunk, so that we could blow stuff up with fireworks, start a huge bonfire, and shoot each other with airsoft guns. Good times were had by all, but I drank too much, leading to a hangover that was made worse because we were all woken up at 6:30 AM by the bear warning (to scare them away) which was a 200 decibel Air Raid siren. I spent Sunday recovering, sleeping most of the afternoon away at home. (Surely the pattern of my life here so far MUST be obvious by now!)

Today, the students are continuing their tests, so I have been at the BOE office, doing a little studying, a little work, and far too much internet surfing! I've finally figured out how to get the memory card from my cell phone playing nice with my laptop so enjoy the photos in lieu of a proper video. (And thanks to Adam Cook for his photos as well! They are the nice ones!)

(Oh and next time I'll be less lazy and remember to rotate my cellphone pics before I upload them! doh!)

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