Thursday, December 07, 2006

Coffee Enema & Crazy Kid Meltdown

Today I was sitting at my desk drinking a cup of hot Twinings Earl Gray Tea when Mrs. F plops down at her desk across from me. Today she got to chatting with me right off the bat. Usually she'll sit down and wait a few minutes before the customary "Ahemmm..." or "biiiigggg Boooooggeerrr sensei...." (in a totally nasal tone)... But this time she just directly started talking to me without any hesitation.

She said, "I am eating rhubarb these days." And I gave her a look like "Where do you come up with these intro-sentences?" I mean, we weren't discussing anything, I wasn't even looking her way but the first thing she said to me was this bit about "Rhubarb" so I was totally not prepared for it.
So I said to her, "Why are you eating rhubarb?" And she goes on to tell me some story about a friend giving it to her and so on. And then she gets to the juicy bits and let's slip that she's constipated and she takes the rhubarb to fix her constipation. In Japanese the word constipation is 便秘 (べんぴ)bempi. So I we got to talking about constipation, which lead to poop talk and some other bodily function talk which proved to be a very strange conversation once it was all said and done.
Then later on that day, we get to what I dub "The Crazy Kid Meltdown." It was just after lunch and I was at my desk reading the Asahi Shinbun on the internet when all of a sudden I hear this animal-like screaming ripping down from the hallway and into the teacher's room. The door was closed but it sounded like some monster had been turned loose in the hallway and was eating students alive.

So the book salesman who was standing nearby looked right at me in horror/amazement/shock, and I look back at him in much the same way. I decide it must have been a fluke so I ignore it and go back to my news during lunch. Less than a split second later, that same jungle-roar bellowed out again, and this time I heard some screaming and shouting. I decided to go take a look just in case someone was hurt or something.

So I opened the door to the teachers room and peered right. Nothing. No one was in the hallway and nothing was happening there. So I jeered back toward the left and that's when I saw where that wild noise was coming from. At the foot of the staircase, there I saw two male teachers and a male third grade student in what looked to be like some sort of pro wrestling hold. In between the two was an old ragged umbrella that all three were trying to hold on to.
I walked closer and noticed that a whole gang of 3rd grade students had gathered at the top to watch the action. Well, I guess this had been going on for a few minutes because there were about 20-30 kids watching these two teachers try to wrestle that umbrella away from the boy. So I casually walked over, looked at one of the struggling teachers, gave him my best "can I give you hand" gestures, and he nodded. I grabbed that umbrella and jerked it right out of all three of their hands. It snapped right in the middle and the boy just started wailing like some caged up raccoon that's been taunted for weeks.

I acknowledge the teachers, helped the one who nodded to me to pick up the shattered pieces of the umbrella, and let them still holding the student down on the ground. I walked back into the teacher's room and continued to drink my tea and read the news. Well about 2 minutes later I hear a scuffling noise and that boy starts screaming and running down the hallway. I figured he'd broken free and was making a dash for it. Within seconds, "Crazy Meltdown Kid" was at the school entrance, and had bolted for the door. In doing so, he slammed the door open so quickly and then it bounced back with such force that it shattered. We all heard the tell-tale sounds of shattering glass all the way down the hall in the teacher's room.
So I walked toward the 玄関 genkan (entrance way)and made a visual inspection of the broken glass. Rapidly about 10 teachers started cleaning the mess and taping up the dangerous shards still stuck in the door frame. Soon a man would come and replace the glass and everything went back pretty much to normal. It was eerily quiet for the rest of the lunch period, but not long after it was as if "Crazy Meltdown Kid" didn't even exist.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Head Skin Eater In Japanese Special Education Class

I teach a special education class in the Japanese junior high school that I am at now. In fact I teach 2 special education classes and 2 special needs classes. I love it. I love the kids, I love the activities and think highly of the program to introduce English to these wonderful children.

Today I had a class with two of the severely disabled students. They have severe mental impairment and I have grown accustomed to their little quirks that make them unique. One boy, let's call him K-kun, he as atopic dermatitis called アトピー (atopy) here in Japan. Well he constantly wants you to scratch him. He will walk over to you and produce an arm, leg, neck or head and ask you to scratch it for him. I have gotten used this and sometimes I'll rub his head or something but usually I don't do it. I feel sorry for him because atopic dermatitis is hellish for children, especially one with a mental impairment.

Well the other student, let's call him R-kun, he is a nice little boy who is a tad bit more capable than K-kun when it comes to talking and communicating. He can respond and can pronounce words and so on. K-kun tries but he just doesn't have the ability but he gets a huge A for effort.
Anyway R-kun had band-aids covering all of his finger tips because he likes to chew the skin on his fingers. He will chew them until they bleed and it creates a huge mess not to mention makes his fingers look like they've been through a meat grinder. Lucky for us, today he was not in the finger chewing mood.

Instead, while we were trying to teach the two boys the song "Jingle Bells" R-kun kept scratching his scalp with his band-aid covered fingers. He was digging at his head (which is nearly bald due to a close scalp shaving) at a ferocious pace. As soon as you told him "ダメ” he'd stop, but in the next instant he'd be back at it.

I watched him closely for a few minutes and figured out what it was that was causing him to scratch his head so vigorously. He was trying to harvest scalp skin so he could eat it. I guess he had some dandruff or something like that, and he was scratching like a cat in a washing machine at his head. As soon as he got some skin, he'd quickly pop it into his mouth, band-aid fingers and all and start munching on it. It shocked the crap out of me. I mean I had seen some pretty strange things happening in that class, but this topped the cake.

Eventually we got R-kun to stop by putting in "Back to the Future II" so he could watch it. He loves movies so we typically spend half the class watching English movies. We finished Back to the Future II in that class, and so we started part III. We'll finish it and hopefully we'll get to watch "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" the animated series for our next week's class.

R-kun and K-kun are two of the greatest kids but they sure take the energy out of you. And their homeroom teacher looks like a pale ghost of a woman. She's constantly got to be with them and the only time she gets a break is when the English or Math teachers come to teach a lesson. I feel sorry for her.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Fondling Students

Today I was sitting in the teacher's room typing up some documents and coloring some pages to put up in the English room when Mrs. F, one of the teachers walks in. She's the same teacher that talked to me about her daughter becoming a flight attendant.

Well she looks over at me and says, "hmmm hmmm.... (I pretend not to notice)... hmmm hmmm... Big Booger-sensei..." and I start looking all around the room like I have no idea who said it. Eventually I steer my attention to Mrs. F and she tells me soon, "I'm not finished grading papers." And I look over at her with a look that says "Why the hell are you tell me this?"

She continues on, "I was supervising the tests today but I could grade my papers and get my work done." So I was like, "Why the hell not?" And she tells me, "Two boys were being naughty during the tests." Curious I took her bait and asked "Were they cheating?" To which she replied, "No, but they were noisy and I had to fondle them."

Right there I stopped, my jaw dropped and I just stared at her like she was some leper with feces on her face. I didn't know how to reply to a teacher blatantly admitting to fondling students, especially out in the open so everyone could hear. It took me a few seconds but I eventually mustered up the courage to seek more details about her fondling.

So I asked her, "You did what to the students?" And then she looked a little consternated and her eyes went into deep thinking mode, and she came out with another word, though very similar. She said, "I caressed them." When she said this I just busted out laughing. I couldn't believe Mrs. F would sit here and tell me she was fondling and caressing students during a test. I turned red from laughter, and Mrs. F I suppose got embarrassed and asked me what was so funny.

By this time I had realized what she meant as I had seen her do it before. She hadn't fondled students, or caressed them. What she meant was not sexual in any way shape or form, but her just saying it made me go to tears.

What she meant to say was that she had petted or patted the students on the head to get them to simmer down and be quiet. But what she said had had a completely different meaning. I soon schooled her on the meanings of the two terms she had used. After that she understood why I was laughing so hard, and she herself laughed a bit.

Soon after she was spreading what had happened around the room to her co-workers and they all got a good chuckle from it. Hopefully in the future she won't be fondling any more students.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Bless You

Today I was walking around the hallways going to help some students with cleaning time at the school when one of the teachers saw me and said "Wait just a minute Booger Sensei!" And then one of the special education girls came right behind the teacher and he asked me to sneeze.

I looked at him like he had been smoking too much crack or something. He said again for me to sneeze. So I decided to play along with this and I mustered up a fake sneeze. Well not two seconds after my overly ambitious sneeze than this student said "Bless you." Well, I was totally awestruck. This student is a high level mentally disabled student. She can talk a little and write a little, but her memory is not so good. And she has some speech troubles as well. In the classroom she just writes words over and over and over and gets very little practical English time. But after I sneezed she said "Bless you" in very clear and precise English.

The teacher was glowing. He told me he had practiced with her for 1 hour that simple phrase and for her to produce it meant he must be doing something right. I made a couple of more fake sneezes and that student produced the obligatory "Bless you" each time. It was very funny and cute. I might try to sneeze again in front of her tomorrow to see if she has retained what she learned today.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

No 糞, "FUN" in Japanese Parks Please

The other day I had to go to the 市役所 shiyakusho, or the town office, for a meeting to discuss the upcoming November(トライやるウィーク) Try-Yaru Week activities. The six foreign teachers, AETs, met with the director of foreign teachers on the 8th floor of the town office building. We were discussing our plans for the upcoming activity in November for Try-Yaru Week, the period when junior high school students of the second grade (8th graders in America) go to work for a week to learn how the real world operates.

Well I found out that we had a new foreign teacher join our ranks. One of the Interac teachers had to quit in the middle of his contract due to his grandmother passing away. So that left the school without an AET. They found another teacher from Canada to take his place. So we did our introductions and all of that.

Then we had our meeting which took about 50 minutes. One of the teachers was 10 minutes late to the meeting while the rest of us sat and jibber jabbered while waiting for her. When the meeting got going, I had already decided beforehand to agree to everything. I wanted it to hurry up and finish so I could go home and rest before my night class.

After I left the meeting I was walking back to where I parked my car when I noticed a sign at the edge of the park. Most parks in Japan have signs like these, but this one really grabbed my attention. It was a sign warning pet owners about leaving their pet poo on the park grounds. Normally you'd see some steamy hot poo coming out of a dog's butt with a big あかん、"AKAN" or red X through it. But this one took a more environmental approach.

It displayed a dog laying down a fresh pile of ウンチ, "unchi", or ,"FUN" -- pronounced like (Who - n) which means poop in English. The dog was hunched over giving it a good go and a nice steamy hot pile of poo was nearby. But right next to the poo was a flower with a bucket and a shovel. The flower was holding the bucket and shovel with one hand and holding its' nose with the other. Right next to the big flower was a smaller one with an X across the face and it was slumped over like the flower was dead. It made for a very comical sign.

And in the warning bubble, it says "keep the manners" or "preserve the manners". It was so funny I had to take a picture of it and wanted to post it on this site. So check out the No "FUN" in Japanese Parks sign below:

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

End of Undokai (Sports Day)

Well Saturday was the day we did undokai. The weather report had been calling for a 70% chance of rain and I was totally expecting to come to work in a torrential downpour due to the oncoming hurricane #13, dubbed Shanshan in Korea. Japan uses a numerical system to denote typhoon nomenclature.
Tropical Storm Shanshan headed for Japan's northern island of Hokkaido after weakening from a typhoon overnight. The storm killed nine people and injured more than 300 when it hit southern Japan, Kyodo News reported.

Shanshan, with maximum sustained winds of 92 kilometers an hour (58 miles an hour), was located 260 kilometers west of the island of Okushiri off south Hokkaido at 11 a.m. today Japan time, the Japan Meteorological Agency said on its Web site.

Shanshan, the 14th-named storm of the Pacific cyclone season, is moving northeast at 11 kilometers an hour across the Sea of Japan and is forecast to be close to south Hokkaido at about 6 p.m. today. Shanshan is expected to cross Hokkaido's northern coast by tonight or tomorrow morning.

We had no rain all day long on Saturday. It was sunny, hot and windy. It couldn't have been a more perfect day for an outdoor sports event like sports day. We began promptly at 8:40am and did finish until nearly 4pm. The events went smoothly without any major incident. No children were seriously injured and overall it was a pretty good sports day.

The teachers all got obentos from the local yakiniku restaurant. It was awesome and I was starved because we didn't get to eat until nearly 1:00pm. Many parents ate lunch with their children as most of them had camped out on the school grounds.

And Habatan made a special appearance during some of the activities. Habatan is basically a chicken-like creature in Japan. It's really a phoenix, but it looks more like a giant yellow chicken to me. One of the teachers had rented a habatan costume and went around cheering children and acting silly. It was very exciting and funny.  Habatan was selected as the Hyogo Sports character for 2006.

There were several activities planned, like the mukade (kids tie a rope around their ankles and run in sync with 5 other members) race, F1 (tire rolling race) race, Tug-of-war, Kibasen (calvary game like "chicken fighting" , and so on along with traditional events like the 400 meter relay, 800 meter relay, and an obstacle course activity.

When we finished with the undokai, the winner was announced. Each grade level competes against the other and they win points during the entire event. So ichinensei had 3 classes 1-1, 1-2, and 1-3. The winner was 1-2 for the first graders. (In America ichinensei would be 7th grade students). The big winner was 3-3. When they won and were presented the trophy, they went crazy. It was as if they'd won the Olympics.

Other than that the only other thing worth noting was the parents. Some of them looked rather sleezy. One mother was wearing high heels, a short mini-skirt, a puffy fur jacket (it as about 30 degrees celsius) and a big cowboy hat. My jaws dropped when I saw this woman. I couldn't believe she'd show up to a Sports festival wearing what looked to me to be "hooker clothing".

Some other parents were smoking on the school grounds despite the fact that smoking was banned from all schools in Japan back in April. They have no manners and set poor examples for their children to follow.

After work, all the teachers went to Himeji for a party. I was unable to attend due to a previous engagement. But I am sure they got drunk and had a great time. Perhaps next year I will be able to go.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

(UndouKai) Sports DayTraining

Well, I am back to school now. We started on September 1st, so it's been a while since I last wrote in this blog.

For two weeks from the first of September we're going to be doing training for Undokai 運動会), or Sports Day. We started training actually from the 5th, because we had tests to cover on the 1st and 4th. Japanese schools are mainly organized in three semesters, called gakki(学期). So 1st semester is ichigaki, and second semester is nigaki, and third is sangakki. Well during second semester students have undokai.

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week it rained all day long so the training and preparation for undokai was held in the (体育館) taiikukan, or the gymnasium, and in the (武道場)budoujou, the room for Japanese traditional martial arts. Boys trained in the budoujou and girls were in the taiikukan.

Boys are training for a pyramid building and gymnastics routine while the girls are rehearsing a choreographed dance. Of the two, the boys definitely have it worse off. They have to jump, flip, balance, and all kinds of other students. It's definitely more dangerous. And the grand finale ends up with three huge pyramids stacked with about 30 students each. The boys' activites are called マスゲーム, (mass games) and are modeled after the North Korean events to symbolize group dynamics rather than individual thinking:

Mass games or mass gymnastics are a form of gymnastics in which large numbers of performers take part in a highly regimented performance that emphasizes group dynamics rather than individual prowess. Because of the vast scale of the performance, with often tens of thousands of performers, mass games are performed in stadiums, often accompanied by a background of card-turners occupying the seats on the opposite side from the viewers. Mass games are typically used to emphasize themes of political propaganda. They developed alongside 19th century nationalist movements, particularly the Czech Sokol movement, as they embodied youth, strength, militarism, and unity.
On Friday, Sept. 8th we did marching drills for about 2 hours out on the (運動場)undoujou, or sports ground. Ours is made of sand like the image above. Students and teachers went outside and practiced repeatedly how to stand up in unison, how to march in step, how to yell when the whistle blows, and so on. Every step of the process was rehearsed over and over and over. It got to be a little too much. I, not knowing that we were going to the ground forgot to bring a hat, so I went out and got a bad sunburn. Though I did bring my sunglasses, so now I look like a red raccoon kind of like the guy in the picture below:

I should have some images from the undokai soon. It should prove to be a rather comical and fun experience.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Awa Odori

I and my wife met one of her friends in Tokushima for a chance to watch the Awa Odori, a special dance held during the bon season of Japan. Awaodori consists of a group of dancers clad in bright colored kimono, yukata, or happi, who dance to very spirited music in a way that would remind you of someone who is drunk or possessed by some demon.We took a train and bus from Akashi to Tokushima where we met my wife's friend. Then we took a taxi from Tokushima station to the concert hall to watch the Awa Odori performance. When we arrived there was a line of people that wrapped all the way around the side of the building and halfway down the street. And it was hotter than a witch's tit there. The taxi guy was kind enough to give us some uchiwa (fans) so we could cool down.Once we entered the concert hall and the Awa Odori performance began I was totally at awe. I had seen many obon odori in my time here in Japan. But the Awa Odori is very different. The dance is different based on the group doing it and the footwork, body rhythm as well as the music are totally different compared to other dances. The feet move in a snake-like rhythm while the body slithers around. The hands are used in a twirling motion sometimes with uchiwa to help accent the movements.

Even children joined into the festivities. There were several performances by children not more than 5 or 6 years old. They danced in sync with the group and did a very entertaining job. It was very impressive to see several generations of people from the same village putting on the Awa Odori. My wife and her friend made several "How cute" comments during the dances.

What wikipedia says about the Awa Odori:
Awa Dance Festival (阿波踊り Awa Odori?) is held every year in the time of Bon Odori (Bon festival) in the area of Tokushima city (徳島市; -shi), the capital city of Tokushima Prefecture on Shikoku island of Japan. It follows an accompaniment such as Shamisen, Drum, Brass, and Flute, and dancers dance and walk. Dancers wear regional costumes and often sing while dancing. Men and Women follow separate dance steps and wear different costumes, although most professional Awa Odori troupes will tightly choreograph the movements of their male and female members together.
If you get a chance to see the Awa Odori in Tokushima you will have seen something that Japan and Japanese have to be proud of. It's a cultural asset that should be preserved for generations to come. And it looks funky too!

Monday, August 07, 2006


This weekend my wife and I headed out to a small town in the southern part of Okayama. The village, Ushimado (牛窓町), is located on the southeastern part of Okayama Prefecture, about 40 minutes from Okayama city. Ushimado, which literally means "Cow Window". Though originally, the second part "Mado" came from marobi, (転), which means to fall down.

To see a map of the Ushimado area, click here.

The name derives from a legend. The legend states that the wife of Emperor Chuai went on an expedition to Korea, when suddenly a huge eight-headed cow came and tried to damage her ship in present day Ushimado. The cow was split by the bow of the ship and the different parts of the cow made the islands in the area.So we decided to head to Ushimado by car. We drove west on the Sanyo Expressway all the way to the Oku Interchange and then about 40 more minutes to the villa where we stayed. We checked in at the town office and received information as well as our key. From there we drove around the small town and then up the mountain to the Ushimado International Villa.

The villa was rustic and located on a very steep mountainside. Luckily for us no one had booked the place on Sunday so we had the entire villa all to ourselves. It was heavenly, peaceful and serene. As soon as we exited the car the fresh salt water hit our nostrils like taking body shots of tequila off of some Mexican stripper.

Nearby were several shops and stores including an excellent gelato shop. We visited the shop shortly after stowing our luggage in our room. We drove up to the shop, went inside, and were treated to a luscious frozen dessert called gelato.

What's Gelato?
Gelato is an Italian frozen dessert made from milk (or also soy milk) and sugar, combined with other flavourings. The gelato ingredients (after an optional pasteurization) are super-cooled while stirring to break up ice crystals as they form. Like high end ice cream, gelato generally has less than 35% air - resulting in a dense and extremely flavoursome product.
The Copio, Ushimado Gelato Factory, had several gelato flavors to choose from, including olive, watermelon, milk, cocoa, and peach among others. I was tempted to go for olive but instead I chose a double watermelon-peach combo. My wife went with the watermelon too. It was awesome.

About 5 minutes up the mountain was the Ushimado Olive Garden. The Olive Garden was rather un-olivey... and un-garden like. There was a building with lots of omiyage (souvenirs) and it had a very nice lookout spot about 10 stories up. But it had a very nice view and we enjoyed visiting the un-olivey ungarden spot.

In the evening we went down to the pier where there was a ferry service and did a little dock fishing. I and my wife fished for a few hours and we caught some interesting creatures. I nabbed a small crab, and my wife wheeled in a tiny octopus. It was the first time for either of us to catch these kinds of sea life.

The next day we went to the Ushimado beach and swam for a few hours. During our time on the beach we decided to go "Kurage Hunting" or Jellyfish Hunting. We had seen several while swimming and had decided to remove them from the water because it's rather painful to be "venomized" by one. So we got some sticks and took out about 5 or 6 large jellyfish. It became like sport for us.

Later in the evening we went to a very nice yakiniku (barbecue) place in Ushimado and had a good time. The meat was the best we had had at any time since living in Japan. Even my wife complimented the great taste and quality of the beef we were served. It was mouthwatering. All the meat and vegetables were fresh and of good quality. And their kimchee was awesome too.

All in all our trip to Ushimado, staying at the Ushimado International Villa, and enjoying the sites and sounds of the area made for a very relaxing and entertaining trip.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Hashimaki (chopstick roll) & Matsuri (festival)

Saturday night there was a small festival in our neighborhood. That morning we were woken up by the sound of taiko (drums) beating in the nearby park. Up until that time, there had been no mention of any festival, but the moment we heard the practice we knew it was coming.

By noon they had set up the entire matsuri and were practicing drumming. In case you don't know what a mattsuri is, check out the following link:

We decided to visit the matsuri and check out the action. It was a very small festival compared to some of the festivals we've been to in Japan. I think it was just for the people in our neighborhood.
We had hiyashiame, ひやしあめ, (cold candy), which is a drink sold where the vendor shaves ice on what looks like hand planer into a cup and then adds a sweet liquid that tastes a bit like sweet black tea with ginger in it. It was pretty good. The most interesting part was watching the guy shave the ice to make the hiyashiame. If you ever get a chance to try something original and not westernized, hiyashiame is the thing to try.

While there, we sampled all the snacks and such from the booths where they sell everything from shaved ice (kakigori) to octopus dumplings (takoyaki). And then I stumbled upon one item I hadn't had in a while, chopstick rolls (hashimaki).

Hashimaki looks like a pancake, wrapped around a pair of chopsticks, then covered in a sweet soy sauce called okonomiyaki sauce, topped with mayonnaise, seaweed flakes (nori) and fish flakes (katsuo). You eat it much like you'd eat a corndog, only it's a bit messier.

View the video below for more detail:

And so we enjoyed the sites and sounds of the little masturi in our village. The most enjoyable time was watching the children do the children's dance. Quite a few children would gather around the drum tower (yagura) once a certain song was played. And then they'd go around and around the drum tower doing a type of line dance. It was very cute.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Himeji Aquarium

On Friday my wife and I decided to head over to the Himeji Municipal Aquarium located in the heart of Himeji City just down from the ever famous Himeji Castle. We were debating going to the beach but we decided on going to the aquarium because we both had to work later in the evening. I am so glad we did because it was interesting, fun and cheap.

We left rather late in the morning, I believe it was 10:45 or so, and go to the parking area nearest the aquarium at 11:15. We parked, which was unbelieveably cheap, at 200yen per day. But little did I know that the aquarium rests on top of a small mountain. So once we parked we had to climb for about 10 minutes up to the aquarium. It was good to get some exercise in while we were entertaining ourselves.

More about the Aquarium location:
Tegarayama Central Park

This is an Oasis-like park which is situated close to the central area of Himeji. Covering an area of approximately 116 acres the park makes use of natural features such as two hills, north and south, which are connected by a bridge. From the observation platform there are panoramic views of the Inland Sea, Seiban Hills and downtown Himeji.

Within the park there are a wide-range of facilities; these include an amusement park, an aquarium, a conservatory, a swimming pool, an athletics stadium, a science museum and a library.

At the top of the Northern hill there is a War Memorial in commemoration of all those who died during air raids throughout Japan.

So we pay our fee to enter the Himeji Aquarium. I was thinking it'd be at least 1500 yen each, but it turned out to only be 200yen each. It was unbelieveably cheap, that said the aquarium is rather small, and most of the fish are from Japan. There were about 10 outdoor exhibits, a touching pool for kids, 4 or 5 indoor exhibitions, and so on. There was even an area that taught you how to setup your own aquarium, maintain it, and enjoy nature in your home.

One of the more interesting exhibits was the giant salamander's they had. It must have been 20-30 centimeters long, and looked like a mix between a lizard and a human baby. The salamander hardly moved, looked stuffed, but was very much alive. Despite the fact, it was very exciting to see that creature.

There were countless other animals on display like penguins, manta rays, sea turtles, frogs, sea snakes, eels, giant carp, catfish, jellyfish, very strange looking turtles and so on. It was a very nice time to spend for very little money. If you are ever in the Himeji area and are looking for something else to do other than seeing Himeji Castle, why not stop by the Himeji Municipal Aquarium and feast your eyes on some of nature's wonders.

The funniest thing that happened was seeing two crabs going at it like a couple of lovesick teenyboppers. It cracked me up. Crab sex is not something you get to see on a daily basis, and seeing it nearly brought tears of laughter to me.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Unagi fishing at Kakogawa Ozeki

On Friday my wife, her sister and her father and myself all went fishing at the Kako River in Kakogawa City. This was only the 7th or 8th time I had been fishing in Japan. Before we went, I had a check on my fishing poles that I store in the trunk of my car. Well, two were broken so I had to go buy some new ones at the bait and tackle shop down the street. Most Japanese tackle shops have tons and tons of goods available. I counted about 70 different reel models and countless numbers of rods to choose from.

I and the father-in-law went and purchased 2 new rods and reels, some hooks, and some sinkers. We spent around $35.00 each on some cheapies... hell we were going to be fishing on the side of the bank so why go all out on nice stuff.

Well we had big dreams of catching some うなぎ (unagi) or eel. We had purchased the right hooks, gotten the right bait, and were arriving at the right time to catch the eel. However, when we arrived some old farts were already sitting in the prime spots. So we go stuck in a rather bad area for catching unagi.

Before we went to the river I had mentioned that we should probably set the rods up with line and tackle. However the father-in-law said we could do it at the river. At the time I mentioned this it was still daylight out and I knew by the time we went to the river it would be dark. So we didn't set it up. Instead we waited until we got to the river.

That was a big mistake, at least for me, as I was the one chosen to step up to the plate and fix all the rods and reels. We had 4. I had to set them all up. It took me about 40 minutes to get it sorted out because it was dark, and I couldn't see a thing. Next time we'll do it my way.

Luckily for me we were at the Kakogawa Ozeki, a dam that spans the length of the Kako River. Lucky I say because there were plenty of lights all around the damn and we could see a bit, but it was still too dark to try to thread fishing line through hooks and so on.

So eventually we all were set and started fishing. My wife and her sister were the first two to catch any fish. They had the smallest poles and neither of them had much fishing experience. They caught some bass, a carp and a ギギなまず(gigi Namazu; A type of catfish).  Gigi is the onomatopoeia of the sound that the fish makes. The Gigi Namazu has three horns that stick you when it wiggles so it is very difficult to remove from the hook without gloves or pliers.

I personally wound up catching 3 of these gigi namazu. The first one I caught was about 18 centimeters. It was the largest fish anyone would catch all night in our group. The second two were tiny gigi namazu.

Unfortunately my father-in-law didn't catch a thing so he was the first to mention that we go home. He packed his things in a flash and was ready to leave. He must've been really disappointed, because this fishing trip was his idea.

None of us came home with any Unagi, despite the fact that Sunday was Doyoo Ushino Hi (Eel Day) in Japan. On Eel Day people in Japan eat Unagi (eel) for stamina due to the hot weather. I unfortunately didn't eat Unagi. I ate meatloaf instead.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Katsumeshi (Cutlet and Special Sauce with Rice)

On Thursday I had my final day at the new school. I officially survived the 1st quarter of classes at the two schools that I teach. Japanese education, at least for junior high, splits the year up into 3 quarters, called "Gaki" in Japanese.

Now I have summer vacation for nearly a month and a half. Hopefully I don't piss it off like I did last year sleeping all day and staying up late at night. We'll see how it goes.

But on the last day, the kocho-sensei (principal) comes up to me and says, "Have you had lunch?" I was a taken a bit back by his question because up until this point he's only spoken to me twice. I told him no, and he then said "Meet me around the front of the school, I will take you to lunch." He then b-lined it for his office, and I sat there being stared at by all the other teachers.

There is some kind of funky anti-"wa" shit going on at that particular junior high.
Wa (和) is a Japanese term which has become a cultural concept of its own. Imported from Chinese, "Wa" originally meant harmony, peace, balance.

The Japanese teachers are kind of strange, quite nice, but indeed strange. There is a bad element mucking about in the school. I don't know where it stems from, but it's there and you can just feel it slithering about from the taikukan to the budojo festering its way into every nook and cranny. It's always present, and when the Kocho-sensei invited me out to lunch, well, that evil "Wa" just sprang up like a Pit Viper on Crystal Meth.

So I just jumped up, ran to get my outdoor shoes, and met him at the entrance to our school. We drove about 10 minutes from our school to this nice little restaurant that I had driven by countless numbers of times but had never stopped in for a bite. I should kick myself in the ass for that. We went in and I soon discovered the fare was right up my alley. It was a Katsu Meshi restaurant. Some of you might not have a clue what katsu meshi is, but allow me to fill you in.

Katsumeshi (かつめし)is basically a cutlet of meat, breaded in huge bread crumbs, deep fried, then placed on a generous portion of rice, topped with a special sauce and served with a side of cooked cabbage. It's actually my cities' special dish as katsumeshi originated in Kakogawa city. The restaurant is called パラーディオ, Palla-Dio, and looks much like some Italian bistro you'd see in Milan.And then it struck me why I never went, because the name was Italian and yet the store was all Japan. It seemed odd to have an Italian name for a cutlet and rice restaurant. But Palla-Dio was kick ass! I recommend it to anyone in the Kakogawa area.

So we went in and gorged on the katsumeshi which was superb. We chat it up about education, about the Touching Toilets policy he is trying to bring to the school, and so on. And then the principal tells me that the owner of the shop we are eating in is his former student. He goes on to tell me all about the guy, like what a naughty little boy he was, how he played kendo, that he is married with three children and so on... and minutes later the owner appears and is chatting it up with us.

I had a good time with the kocho-sensei that day. And the katsumeshi was divine! The kocho sensei drove me back to the school and then the kyoto-sensei tells me I can piss of the rest of the day at home if I want. Well, as soon as he blinked, I had my desk cleared and headed home.

By the way, if you are ever in Japan, be sure to check out the many shops that serve katsumeshi.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Jishin (Eartquake) Drills & Gomi Monkeys

In school today we had our Jishin drills, or earthquake drills. We had them at the end of third period today. What's so special about that you might be asking? Well it had to do with our "safety zone" as F-sensei called it. It seems that in the event of an earthquake students run out of the building onto the school grounds.

There were three rules for the procedure.
  1. No talking.
  2. No running.
  3. No Pushing
And sure enough, when he alarm rang, *which sounded like something out of a Star Trek convention, the kocho-sensei and all the other teachers ran to their designated stations throughout the school. And the kids followed the three rules as if they had been controlled by some hidden remote control inside the vice-principals underwear. All the teachers were yelling "Hashiri! Hayaku!!! etc..." It was comical. And the students filed in like little mute pokemon characters.. two by two in utter silence and without incident.

But did they go to our "safety zone" out on the sand coated field where students play their sports? Oh no, that would be too simple. Instead, because it was raining and the field was a bit wet, they all decided that the taikukan (gymnasium) would be a much better place. So I asked F-sensei, what happens if a real earthquake happens while it's raining. And she replied that of course we'd go out on the field.

And so there we were standing in the gym, each grade got their times "1 nensei, 3:10; 2 nensei, 3:40, and 3 nensei 4:20." Then the head of the discipline committee charges up, takes the mic and starts railing on the students for a poor performance.
And shortly thereafter, the kocho-sensei (principal) going off on a totally unrelated tangent, starts giving a speech to students about not littering. He even compares the students to monkeys. He said, "Monkey's don't know any better than to litter, but you humans should." That nearly cracked me the fuck up. I didn't mean to laugh because he was serious, and litter (gomi) has become a problem at our school. But him comparing the kids to monkeys was a bit too much for me... why not pigs... or dogs.... or something, anything besides a (saru).

Which reminded me of the video below:

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Asahi Super Dry & bicycling drunk

On Friday I went out with some of my adult students from a night class I teach. They are all Japanese learners of English that I teach for 2 hours a week on Fridays. Well last Friday we all went to トリドール(toridoru, Chicken Doll). It's a 焼き鳥 (yakitori) restaurant near where I teach.
We were having a welcome party for two new members that recently joined the class. And so we started chowing down on yakitori, and drinking 飲み放題 nomihoudai (all you can drink) beer, for several hours. Ever since moving to Japan, some 5 years ago, I have fell in love with Asahi Super Dry beer and nomihoudai!

Well on Friday, I drank 11 glasses of the 800ml beers in less than 2 hours. Needless to say when I left that restaurant I was stumbling, drooling and slurring. Luckily I rode my bicycle, and didn't put anyone in harms way. Except that is for myself. I nearly drove off the side of this concrete bank about a mile from my house. Had I fell down that bank, I would have wound up 20 meters down in the river. Thank god I didn't crash cause no one would have found me for days. I also kept dropping things out of my pockets... and I would have to turn my bike around and pick them up.. I did this several times that night.

One very kind student however caught up with me and made sure I got home. She drove her car and looked after me peddling my bike like the drunken bastard that I was. The next day I woke up with an Asahi hangover from hell!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Touching Toilets

Today I heard about some strange training that all the teachers at my school will participate in. It seems some company president will give a speech and then a demonstration later on in the day about how to clean toilets without using gloves or brushes.

He teaches a direct contact approach to cleaning toilets, urinals, and bathrooms. Now I normally would have just laughed this off as a joke, but when I tried doing that one of the teachers started showing me the document they received from our principal.

The president of some famous Japanese company will come and give a speech and then he will take everyone to a lavatory at our school, and demonstrate the process. They really don't use rubber gloves, nor any brushes to clean the toilet. From what I understand he actually touches the toilet surfaces with his bare hands. This has got to be a Japanese original.

I personally think this is very unsanitary and disgusting. I mentioned it to several teachers in the teachers room about contracting STDs like AIDS and herpes or HPV from direct contact with toilets. I also mentioned bacteria, germs and viruses that you might get from the surface of a toilet or urinal. Most of the teachers seemed to agree with me, but they said they had to attend the meeting as it was required. Although one teacher said she was abstaining from the demonstration portion of the training.

What is going on with these people? Who the hell advocates touching toilet surfaces with your bare hands? This goes against all common sense regardless of culture. This is a question of sanitation, not mores or norms of a society.

I was very shocked and somewhat baffled as to why they would do this.... I am still scratching my head.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Japanese Flipper: It's Swimming Time

Today I swam for an hour in our school pool. Every day for the last few weeks, since the pool opened I noticed that no one was using after school. So I decided one day last week to break that trend, dawn my trunks and hop in.

I loved every minute. There I was in this Olympic-sized school pool swimming my heart out in Japan. I never dreamed that I would have a job where I would get paid to swim around in a pool, but that is just what I did. And so, on Monday and Tuesday of this week, I did it again. In the afternoon, I got my gear ready, grabbed the pool house key, and ran for it.

I enjoyed it so much, that I decided to try to invite other teachers to join me. I asked the science teacher, the special education teacher, the math teacher, and several others in the ichinensei grade level (7th grade), but none of them were brave enough to do go with me.

So I decided to ask the Kyoto-sensei (vice principal) if he'd like to go. He laughed and told me to run a long and have fun. And so I did. I spent a full 1.5 hours swimming away, back strokes, butterfly strokes, underwater swimming, you name it, I tried it.

And the whole while students were doing their bukatsu (club activities). Several boys from the Yakyubu (baseball club) hollered over to me. And I hollered back. Some of them I could tell wanted to jump in, because the temperature was near 30, and the water was great. But I am not their club advisor so I couldn't give them permission to jump in.

I love swimming at school. I'll probably do it again tomorrow as well, if the weather permits!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Tuna Fish Heads in the Japanese Supermarket

The other day I and my wife went to the supermarket to get some ingredients for dinner. We normally go to the ghetto grocery called "MaxValu" which I really hate. It reminds me of Wal-mart, too big, too cheap, and too many scumbags shopping there. Not to say that all people who shop at discount centers are scumbags, but when you've had a chance to visit these deep discounters often enough and you start looking around, you'll notice a certain type of people who visit there.

I hate MaxValu. I hate everything it represents, even though their prices might seem lower, I don't think so always. I mean, they can buy in bulk and shave a few yen off their prices. But overall the quality of their food sucks. It's bought in bulk and is geared at the lowest price possible.. even if that means cutting in on food quality. Their produce is awful too, but these post isn't about bashing MaxValu... at least not today.

Anyway we'd decided to go to a smaller store about 5 minutes from our house. The place was called Yamada, and it's quite a bit more refined than the communist feeling Max. So we go into this place, which reminds you of some Italian or French market. The produce is placed in wicker baskets with hay inside, the store music is soft and mellow instead of the traditional J-pop crap from other stores, as well as products that are new, fresh and of high quality than a discount chain.

So we walk around the place, from the bakery in the front, to the produce section, until we finally reach the seafood department. And I tell you, they had one hell of a spread of seafood. Red Snapper, Blue Fin Tuna, shark, salmon, salmon eggs, kingfish, yellowtail, they had it all... and it was all fresh. And then we edged around the counter to a display that nearly chocked me... I got sick just looking at it... and instead of describing it to you, I will just show you a picture, because it forced me to whip out my camera and snap one off.
As you can tell, it still had the eyeballs in it. The carcass was just sitting there in that aluminum pan... It looked like someone had pulled a "Freddy Kruger" on that fish and then set up some altar to appeal to the dead fish's soul. I am not the queasy type either, but when I was ready to eat, out shopping for my food, and then I saw this nasty display of tuna carcass sitting on the counter, it made me sick.

And I guess what really got me was the eyes. They looked glazed over like some 10 hour old donut from Mr. Donuts. The poor fish looked to be in agony despite obviously having been slaughtered earlier that day. I hate looking at the eyeballs of something that I'd eat, it gives me the willies just thinking about it.

And so we floated on by until we came to the sushi. Now I just said I was sickened by the display of that poor dead tuna fish, but that didn't stop my fancy of the hypocritical.. I decided to get some scrumptious sushi, so I picked up a fresh box of premade sushi that was sitting not more than 10 feet from that tuna fish head of doom.

It looked so good. Even the tuna made my stomach do a somersault. So I took it home along with a can of beer that I had to purchase on the way home because Yamada didn't sell beer. And I gobbeled it up like a anteater in the Amazon. It was awesome, and even the tuna melted in my mouth so much so that I forgot about the terror that the tuna head had given me only minutes earlier.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Japanese Humidity: 93% My balls are sweaty

It's roasting here.. the temperature hugged 80 today, which some might say is not too bad. I tend to agree if the humidity were say at 20-30% but when it's reached 93% at 12 noon, and was still climbing, it makes it feel like a popcorn bag fresh out of the microwave. You know when you first rip it open and all that hot steam comes tearing out. That's the way it feels today. And I haven't done anything all day long except straighten up our computer room, and sort through some DVD problems.

I hate the hot and humid weather. In Japan they call it 蒸し暑い, "mushi-atsui".. I call it sweaty balls time. Every inch of your body gets covered in a millimeter of sweaty film that grimes up your whole system. Even with a fan on, it still hot and humid.

So you might be asking why don't you just turn on the central air in your home? I say that concept is only enjoyed in the extremes of Hokkaido.

Just in case you have no clue as to where Hokkaido is, and admittedly, before coming to Japan, I had absolutely no idea as well, I shall provide an image below.
Hokkaido is as close to Siberia as I ever want to get, but as it's as hot as it is now, I probably wouldn't mind streaking buck naked in Siberia. Anything to get away from the heat and humidity of Japan. And it's 7:00pm on Father's day here so you'd think that awful furnace we call a sun would be half way around the world by now, but no, it's still day light out and we have a few more minutes of sunshine left to absorb. God I feel for those people who are out in the elements slaving away at their daily toils all soaking up UVs that surely must be adding to their cancerous savings accounts.

Last week I talked intensively we my co-worker. Let's just call her Mrs. F for the sake of not pointing any fingers or toes at anyone who might be reading. Mrs. F. is a very nice lady who loves to chit chat and chew the fat. Well let's just say she likes to "practice" her English with a foreigner. So in all actuality she doesn't like talking to me because she likes me, oh that would be too honorable I think. Instead I think she sees me as a means to a end, as a way to beef up her Eiken scores and to improve her position at Nova.

What's Eiken? Well, it's a standard test that many Japanese take to measure up their English skills to other like-minded individuals. It's actually called the "Step Eiken" and consists of 7 levels. 1-5 with 2 pre tests at 2 and 1. The pre-tests are there so that the jump from 3 to level 1 doesn't seem so daunting.

More about the Eiken Tests

Now I am all for helping some one prepare for a test in English, after all that's basically my job in essence. However with this co-worker I feel like she's some leech that's sucked on to me like Dracula in some 1950s horror flick. She's always got something to talk about, usually though the conversation drifts into her daughter, her daughters future, or something related to her daughter.

For example, her daughter is only 8 years old but her mother has already planned and plotted out her future. Mrs. F has stated in a very blasé-like way that her daughter will graduate from elementary school, be sent to a private junior high school, finish there, go on to a private high school, attend Tokyo University (a very presitigious Japanese University (some might question if these exist in Japan or not) and then her daughter and herself will move to Canada where her daughter will attend flight attendant school and thus become a flight attendant.

All of this has been pre-decided she tells me. So I ask if her daughter wants to do all that, and without a moments hestitation she tells me "Of course." All the while I am thinking, poor kid... her life has already been chosen for her. What a shitty way to live.

"Above: The Future Mrs. F's Daughter"

And so my conversations continue with this woman. I like her and will continue to think positively of her despite the feeling that I get that I am a free lesson for her.

On an entirely different note, I have been installing Windows Vista recently on a spare computer. Now I know this blog is about Japan, but I think it'd be utterly boring to keep all about Japan, so I will from time to time branch out into other areas like Vista.

In case you have lived in a cave or not been on the net lately, Microsoft is soon releasing (I say soon but who the hell really knows when they'll release it) a new operating system as the successor to Windows XP. Well, they recently released a Beta version to the public, that nearly crashed the internet, and I mean the entire internet.

Lucky for me, I got it before they removed it. At nearly 4GB, it was a monster file. Thank god for NTT B-Flets Fiber! I've just gotta have my fiber. At 100mbits bidirectional, it makes downloading monster files a breeze. I think I downloaded that 4GB file in 45 minutes-1 hour. I know a few people spent 15 hours or more on it. God bless them.

But I should have Vista up and running in a few minutes. I see the install screen going full bang now. It's taken nearly an hour to get it installed. I hope this works on my test machine.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

New School Days

I've recently changed to a new school (I teach at two on a 6 month rotation). I went to the new school on Monday and have been there for nearly a week. It was strange visiting the new school. My previous school wasn't that bad, it was old but clean and they were remodeling the building.

The new place looks like some shit hole third world bordello. The walls are peeling and cracked, the titles are grimey and funky, there are cobwebs all over the place, the school ground looks awful, and the teachers room is probably the worst.

There are only two buildings at the new school and they both are 4 stories with 2 crosswalks on each ends of the builds that connect the two buildings. There is a gym with a wooden floor that's all scuffed to hell, with not a single line showing full color... most of it has been scrapped or warn off from age.

The students look different too at this new school. They are slouchy and look like utter pisswads. There faces look gloomy and smug. But it's not just the students that look terrible, the teachers too look like they've been smacked in the face with a sack full of potatoes. They walk around all hunched over like that whack job from Notre Dame. It is very depressing to have to go from a school that was full on spirit to one that's ready for the graveyard.

The strangest thing about the school is the turf field in the school courtyard that lies between the two. It looks like a real grassy area, but as soon as you get within pissing distance to it, you can tell it's fake. This area, is the place where I gave my introduction to the students, along with some student teachers who would be there for the next few weeks.

The turf is a place for kids to wrestle around, hang out, and sit on during lunch. I have been offered the same opportunity but I think I will pass on it... something about sitting on plastic fibered turf in the middle of July when it hits 80-90 degrees (28-32C) just doesn't appeal to me.

The school's a real dive, but I think I'll like it well enough. If you're given a shit sandwich and your starving, I think you'll do one of two things, grin and bare it, or die. I am not the type to die, so we'll see how it goes. Besides I had been warned about this school long before I came by the teacher that taught there before me. We actually switched schools and I was filled in quite well about all the elements at play in that school. Had it not been for that, I would have been really fucked.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Lesbian Confessions of a Japanese Teacher

This is sort of a retro post, I should have posted it in the beginning of the week but I was too busy and tired to do so. So here it is Saturday but I am referring to many things that happened to me this week.

Monday, I had very few classes so I decided to work on some トライやる (Try Yaru {yaru=to do/give}) Week for my students. Every year we do 2 トライやる・ウィーク activities a year. We do one typically in June and on in November. Try Yaru Week is basically a chance for students to get experience in the work force. They work at companies and get experience that should show them a little what life is like to work in the real world.

Well as an English teacher for a public school district we are asked to create an international experience for students using English, activities, and culture. We have to put on a program much like an English camp. They call it a ミニー国際交流(mini international exchange). We have between 30-40 students who come and want to learn about foreign cultures, English, the west etc...

Wikipedia: トライやるウィーク

So anyway I am sitting at one of the workstations at work getting materials ready for トライやるウィークand one of the teachers approaches me. She's always been a very nice lady and I have enjoyed talking to her in the past. She likes learning English but she is not an English teacher.

On that day she had a mischievious look about her. I was wondering what was going on so I asked her, "How are you". Normally I'd get the ingrained reply "I'm fine thank you and you." But this time it went awry, instead of the typical reply I get, "I'm a lesbian". At first I wasn't sure that she'd said what she'd said, so I asked, "What did you say?" To which she said in both English and Japanese "I'm a lesbian."

I sat there for what seemed like days wondering how to respond. It's not every day you are confronted with homosexuality jumping out of the skeleton closet so quickly and without any kind of motivation or prodding. It's like going to meet a friend at a beach that turns out to be nude-only. So I did what I do in most situations where I feel uncomfortable, I embraced it with fierce passion. I gave her a high five and taught her the phrase "Right on." To which she continued to use throughout the day. She's worse than a parrot on steroids.

So you'd expect that conversation to end, with the high-five and all... but no, it went on. She discussed or at least attempted to discuss in her best English why she became a lesbian, who her girlfriend is, and the whole 411. And then, abruptly she slams on the brakes and stares deep into my eyes and says "But I like men too. I really like men." She really stressed "really" to the point of cracking her voice. I don't know what she was hinting at but she knows I am happily married and have no desire whatsoever to shack up with her.

So then I told her that maybe she was not a lesbian, and in fact she might be a bi-sexual. To which she seemed to agree, but then she told me her lover (from Osaka) is a strict lesbian. And then she popped the zit of knowledge all over the place as to why she and her friend/lover *she said both words to describe the person* were lesbians. They both are in their mid-30s and had been married with children. Both of their husbands left them. My co-worker's ex-husband had split on the family to join one of the infamous cult groups in Japan, and I didn't even bother to ask about lover-friend's situation. But it turns out they became lesbian (is this possible?... I always thought it was an all or nothing ordeal) but she says they became lesbians after their divorces.

I would never have thought in a million years that some teacher would approach me with their sexual preferences, ever. And yet she certainly did. I was surprised and have added it down as one of those more than memorable days to keep in the active memory department.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Rainy Days

Man it feels like the clouds have swelled like a bull kicked in the balls. We've been pummeled by rain for about 4 days now. It's gloomy and depressing, but it does cool it down a bit.

The downside to rain in Japan is that schools close the windows. What's the problem with this you might be thinking. Well, most schools here have no air conditioning/heating/central air so when they clamp down the windows with 30+ sweatly little monsters, it gets hot and humid in minutes. I hate it, so I usually make them open the windows even if rain drips in a bit. I just can't stand humidity and sweaty funky smells.

Today I taught 3 classes, 2 nensei. In the morning I was down as I am still sick. But after a few cups of green tea, some cough drops and cough medicine I was slowly building myself back up to speed. By 5th period today, I was strumming along with the JTE. We had it down and the lesson went smoothly.

Today I was asked what I have learned about Japanese culture. Normally I'd say something about Kabuki, Sumo, Jpop or something like that. But today I decided to break down and share some interesting Japanese vocabulary I had learned. I talked about botton benjo.
Botton benjo (plop toilet)
Japanese-style toilet of the primitive sort which is underlain by a huge empty box.

I think it might have confused some kids as they didn't know what a botton benjo is. Basically botton benjo is a rather old style toliet. Botton is a word that describes the sound of "plopping". I thought it was worth noting.

In the US, there are similar toilets:

A typical outhouse is nothing more than a botton benjo without the box underneath. Typically a hole would be dug underneath the toilet portion of a outhouse and then the outhouse would be moved when the hole fills.

Other than the botton benjo my day has been pretty much the same. I did cancel my night class due to being sick. I need time to recuperate from being sick.

Now I am watching a great podcast called GEEKDROME:

Geekdrome Episode 25 - May 15, 2006

Exclusive E3 EPISODE; REVIEWS: "Mission Impossible 3" Silent Hill" "Stick It"; TRAILERS: "12 and Holding" "Lady in Water"; NEWS: "Knight Rider", "Beverly Hills Cop 4", "Enders Game", "Red Sonja"; COMICS: "Infinite Crisis", "Marvel Civil War"; COMICS FOR PEOPLE WHO DON'T LIKE COMICS: "Fire"; VIDEO GAMES: E3!!!!!

Watching that episode now.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Feel like shit today

Well let's just say today's one of those day's you'd rather keep hidden under the flab of skin between your A-hole and your sack. I am sick, have a hacking cough that just won't go away, my voice box feels like some three toed sloth dug deep down into it. I had to teach 4 classes today as was struggling to get through it. Some days you just want to die, and well, today's not one for me but it's nearly like that.

So on the way home from work I loaded up on some "Styx" Renegade style.

Styx - Renegade Lyrics
(Tommy Shaw)

Oh Mama, I'm in fear for my life from the long arm of the law

Law man has put an end to my running and I'm so far from my

The jig is up, the news is out

They finally found me

The renegade who had it made

Retrieved for a bounty

Never more to go astray

This'll be the end today

Of the wanted man

Oh Mama, I've been years on the lam and had a high price on my

Lawman said 'Get him dead or alive' and it's for sure he'll see
me dead

Dear Mama I can hear you cryin', you're so scared and all

Hangman is comin' down from the gallows and I don't have very

The jig is up, the news is out

They finally found me

The renegade who had it made

Retrieved for a bounty

Never more to go astray

The judge'll have revenge today

On the wanted man

Oh Mama, I'm in fear for my life from the long arm of the law

Law man has put an end to my running and I'm so far from my

The jig is up, the news is out

They finally found me

The renegade who had it made

Retrieved for a bounty

Never more to go astray

This'll be the end today

Of the wanted man
That seemed to make things a bit better.

Word to the wise, if you teach, stay away from the slobbering blobbering boogers that flip and flap, and hack and bark. Because they're likely to get you sick and down and out. I love the little fart smackers but I hate their diseases.