Friday, September 30, 2005

Ghosts

Rense.com (see the link on the right) is running a halloween competition calling for true ghost stories. So I wrote about what happened in Adams Terrace and then had to slash it down brutally to 1000 or so words. Here it is in it's un-edited form, because I wrote it today and want to get some more milage for the effort.

Reflections that concern various incidents pertaining to my current belief in supernatural phenomena.

Dear reader,

Let me humbly set forth before you a brief record of the true events that transpired during my years as a Student at Victoria University which led me to question, nay change, my beliefs in matters paranormal.

It started with the house.

I had to live in this house. I was recently unencumbered of a young lass I had been living with. In a very short space of time I had to acquire new lodgings for my self and my personal affects. My friend of old times, Leif, fortunately had room in his house.

The house.

The dwelling in particular was numbered as 13a on Adams terrace and was situated in Aro Valley. The valley itself was the first placed where European settlers built significant homes some 140 odd years before. All of it’s houses are aged, some decrepit, some protected. Many are dear reader, I can assure you, haunted.

Adams terrace rose up from the street into the steep gully separating two small hills. It was bordered by ridgelines topped with ominous pine trees and was the abode of many a film student such as I myself was. Backyards were scrub and thick, knee high under bush leading into forest.

13a was set into the left hand side of the gully, set deep back away from the road by a good twenty five to thirty meters of stairs. Our house, as it was when I moved in, never saw the light of the sun. It was eternally in shadow throughout the year. To say it was damp would be approximate to saying that there is a little bit of rice in Japan. 13a was a house damp to the point of decay. Myself and my housemates would, on a regular basis, find exceedingly large, dead spiders scattered around the house. Spiders would crawl inside our cold abode to end their days, it was their graveyard.

As the days progressed after my arrival I became aware of a background sense of uneasiness within myself. I labeled the feeling as a symptom of my recently terminated relationship, yet when I was outside of the house I felt in no way perturbed by the same vague and somewhat unpleasant feelings I had while in the house. I did however notice the same behaviors in my housemates. The mood was often hushed inside. People were quiet, withdrawn, on edge. Then I started noticing the regular and constant footfall noises coming from below our house, as if walking up stairs, for the house was split into two levels.

Winter set in. It grew bitterly cold in our mildew pit within the pine trees. One spot in the hallway was abnormally cold to say the least. One day, being on edge while sitting in the lounge I once again heard the heavy footsteps of our neighbor below, tramping up and down on his stairway.

“Why does he have to be so loud when he’s walking up and down those stairs?” I commented aloud, greatly vexed by the number of times he felt inclined to walk up them of a day, like some insane bee plagued with a wasting mental deficiency. My friend looked at me from across the sitting room,

“There are no stairs down there my dear fellow. They were demolished years ago when the house was split in two.”

“Good gracious man, what do you mean?”

“I mean no one knows who is walking up and down those stairs that don’t exist anymore.”

A chill came over me as the tale of a previous house mate who had been more than a little too interested in study of the occult was related. While too long to relate here in this brief passage it led to his eventual mental breakdown and subsequent departure from the flat, leaving behind him only a mutilated copy of the King James Bible.

Time wore on and I grew accustomed to the noises from the stairwell that didn’t exist, though it brings chills to remember the noise now. Winter descended like a hellish roller coaster into what can only be described as uberwinter.

I was seated on my own in the lounge, not one of my housemates was at home of the evening. I was reading a book. The footsteps in the hall started again, they walked up, down, then up again. A small knock at the door disturbed me. I glanced out towards the smoke glass doorway through the hall. No one was illuminated in the porch light. I rested myself back against the wall, noticing the sudden plume of steam from my breath. Then down one end of the hallway, near the door

BANG!

A huge sound, as if a fist was being slammed into the wall. Every hair on my body stood on end!

BANG! BANG BANG!

Coming down the hallway to me faster and faster. I sat paralyzed with a horrible crawling fear! What was happening?

BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!

Behind my very head I could feel the impacts on the wall. The paralysis snapped as I fled in terror though the hallway, daring not look, into my bedroom, slammed the door and played music at an extremely loud volume. The noises stopped or were drowned out by the music.

Sometime later my friend returned home and found me in my chambers still in a perturbed state. He took one look in my eyes, leant back on the doorframe, and, raising his head slightly from where he had rested it on his chest asked me quite plainly,

“Banging on the walls?”

I nodded furiously in ascension, relieved he had obviously experienced the same. I felt myself clawing my way back to sanity as he related the story of his experience, similar to mine. It did not end there however. This spirit was not adverse to manifesting in front of groups of people.

Dear reader, and I ask this question with all sincerity,

Have you ever heard the sound of phantom breathing?

After a night of playing records in our lounge I was in the process of retiring to my quarters of an evening. I had performed my regular evening ablutions and was walking down the cold, dark hallway when I heard my friend call my harshly name from under his breath, almost like a whisper he said

“Adam! Get in here now!”

I joined him and his lady companion who were sitting on the couch. They both looked pale and shaken.

“What’s happening?” I asked.

“Quiet, listen!”

Then I heard it.

That awful, yet amazing sound that shredded what was left of my remaining skepticism concerning paranormal activity forever.

From directly in front of our faces, not from the ceiling, not from the floorboards and certainly not from any outside source, came the sound of heavy, distinct, dreadfully cold, breathing. It sounded like how the breeze blowing out from a jarred mortuary door might. It was sound a person might make as they breathed their last. It was an eerie, disjointed sound, un-natural and uniquely disturbing, near impossible to describe to those who have not heard the same. We gazed at each other in pure disbelief, a look that mingled both terror and sheer amazement at what was manifesting before our very eyes and ears. Whatever it was, it was definitely intended for us to hear it. We could feel the tangible presence of something inhabiting the space just in front of our faces.

Something, that was…..

……looking back at us.

It continued manifesting for maybe a minute, then faded away. We all retired back to our rooms immediately, leaving all the lights on, not trusting our senses in the dark and jumping at the shadows in the corners of the room lest they hold some spiritual vision of unchained malice. For this was the feeling that all these events held, malice. We were unwanted, extremely unwanted.

The months progressed and during the daytimess and in the bar’s of the city we would make light of our haunted house. Then the moments would return in the late evenings. When you were afraid to glance in the mirror for fear of glancing something over your shoulder. When you were surprised by a cat moving through the house. When you heard those echoing footsteps in the hallway again.

Other events happened that were not experienced by me. A friend sleeping in our lounge overnight told us how he felt a presence move through the room, disturbing glasses and cups on the coffee table, walk up to him and tug on the bone pendant hung around his neck. He refused to stay with us in 13a ever again following that incident.

We eventually moved out from 13a in the early spring, we were all of us desperately ill with complaints relating to the overwhelming dampness of the house. One night we returned, Leif and myself, to clean the empty house for the new tenants before their arrival. The house stood empty and dead, in a way I’m sure it was happy to be. We entered the dark structure and turned on all the lights. Without our familiar furniture and belongings around, the menace of the house increased one hundred fold. Five minutes cleaning separate rooms was enough to convince both of us that we should stick together. We felt continually watched by the presence we knew existed in the empty rooms of the spider’s death chamber. Eyes watched us from behind the walls, regarding us with an intent that was palpably hostile. We finished our cleaning, moved backwards through the shell, turning off lights one by one, until only the porch light remained. We turned it off, locked the door and moved with haste down to the road below. Forever sealing off the chamber from all but our memories. We never ever have returned to 13a Adams terrace.

That is the end of the stories I have to tell of 13a Adams terrace. Maybe others have more, maybe they don’t, but the details as I have related them to you, reader, did occur. For the more skeptical I would like to impress upon you the point that when these events happened to me I was of a mindset similar to yours when I experienced these phenomena. I am today, asking only for an open mind and a willingness to if not accept, then at least not to dismiss what I have set down here as whimsy or fanciful tall tales.

These events did happen. One day they might happen to you too.

new benchmark again

by decree, all future blog postings concerning swimming will be in large green type. Because I liked the way it looked last time.

Today - 2k - 36 minutes.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Electronic Performing Sports Aid

Last night I decided to push myself a little at the swimming pool. The 17 minute one kilometer swim has now been surpassed as a benchmark of fitness.

I have now entered the dawning era of trying to break the 37 minute two kilometer swim.

When I got to my final 100 meters, just after touching at 900 I decided that instead of sprinting I would just try and see how long I could keep going. I hit 1100 and 1200 okay. It was about this time that the song ‘Electronic Performers’ by Air came into my head, as its rhythm and pace were similar to that I was keeping in the pool.

So I kept on going.

Out to 1450 and 1500.

By the time I had reached 1700 meters there was no way I was stopping until I hit 2k. I still had some lungs left for a small sprint at the end. Did another 150 meters to warm down and got out, having completed my longest and farthest period of continuous swimming ever. 37 minutes, all tumble turns, no breaks. Excellent. A few people commented on the “goodo swimmingu” when I finally stopped.

When I got out I felt fine, not even thirsty like I normally do, or even nauseous how sometimes I am after extreme swims. Liking the long distance at the moment, so I will probably keep trying to push the distances further and the times lower. I don’t even really feel I get into any decent rhythm until I hit the 550 to 600 meter mark.

Aside from that the first full length working week of the year rolls on. We have hit the Wednesday afternoon mid point now, and the rest is downhill from here. Tonight I have devoted to the pursuit of total sloth, seeing as over the weekend I plan to clean my house, squirrel some cash away and not go anywhere in particular.

Except the swimming pool.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Hoops

Thinking about education is weird. I have been trying to design a listening activity for students who have only just started learning English and I just can’t focus on it right now. One of those moments where you sit there, examining the syllabus, that concrete wall, trying to craft together a concept that will highlight the main point of the lesson, yet give you some room to teach something a bit more original or interesting. I just keep wandering off topic this morning having read too much news when I arrived at work this morning.

Bits of the weekend keep on slipping into my mind, images and sounds. A teacher comes over to me and jokes about using my mouth as the pencil-sharpening machine. I tell him I’m not hungry right now. Try to concentrate on the lesson plan again and within a few minutes find myself wondering if my sub average game on the BF2 servers last night will radically effect my slowly increasing score per minute statistic of 1.12.

Focus back on the lesson and start laying down ideas, find myself wandering all over the book, looking at various bits of Japanese and realizing I know a little bit more than I did a few weeks ago. Some of the Kanji even look familiar. I’m trying to express a sentiment concerning the dotting of an I and the crossing of a t, yet I can’t for the life of me remember how to turn of auto-correct on a Japanese language machine to express a simple lower case I, the machine capitalizes them.

Sometimes it’s still strange when after years of jumping through hoops in the tiny wide broad small world of educational institutions, someone turns around and lets you hold the hoop for a while. It’s the ring master who I’m concerned about however.

Shelve lesson planning for this afternoon. Eat a mandarin.

Monday, September 26, 2005

In a word, Hiroshima

As predicted I traveled to Hiroshima and had a very active weekend in the city.

I finally saw the gap between Kyushu and Honshu. I am fairly sure that the path is an underwater tunnel if traveling by Shinkansen, as by Bus you traverse the channel via a suspension bridge of prodigious size.

Hiroshima sprawls around the base of several hills that break up the overall layout of the city. It has a nicely functional and easy to use tram system that also has the benefit of being relatively cheap.

Many of the same comparisons that I drew when describing my trip to Nagasaki are sufficient to describe Hiroshima. The same serenity exists, backlit by the appalling reality of what took place there.

Friday afternoon was the time of our arrival. We found our hotel, a small, cleanish place just next to the peace park. The owner had a tank with a small turtle and crab combo, another with a fish, and another with a very large beetle. We slept two or three to a room, depending on who needed somewhere to sleep.

Friday afternoon and the early evening were taken up by the obvious tours of the nuclear sites and museums. Hiroshima Peace Park seems to be twice the size of the Nagasaki peace park due to the geographic layout of the city and as it also incorporates the cities museum on the subject. The Peace Park itself takes up the majority of the delta island in the centre of the city. The large bridge intersection at the top of the island being the bombardiers target. The resulting devastation sweeping a large area of this delta clean, and the river banks providing natural borderlines for the park.

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Grim reminders preserved in the museum. The original orders and process of the U.S. military’s decision to subject Hiroshima to atomic bombing enlarged, the relevant passage highlighted in blood red. Keloid scars preserved in acrylic resin. Enlarged photo’s of children disfigured with burns that would prove fatal within a day. Japanese paintings in the classical style depicting the suffering of the day. A toddlers tricycle, hideously melted and deformed, bears testament to the damage inflicted on its riders young body. A litany of horrors in hall after hall.

Emergence from the museum into evening sunlight feels like a slice of Eden compared to the cocoon of remembered hell incorporated into the carapace of the museum. I film some young buskers sitting under one of the main bridges, using its architecture as an amplifier. People exchange cameras and snap photos. I ring the peace bell.

The Atomic Bomb dome, forever preserved and reinforced to allow it to look exactly as it has done since the day the light of a thousand suns exploded into existence 600 metres above and just slightly to the left of it, broods behind its fences. A sarcophagus, trapped within its bars and presenting incontrovertible evidence for all to see.

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We stay out that evening until about 4:30 in the morning, exploring Hiroshima’s nightlife and running into Dave Ashby of all people.

Electronic dartboards are fun.

We travel as a group out to Miyajima Island, of the coast of the mainland and accessible via a ten minute ferry ride. Miyajima is an idyllic coastal island. It really is every bit as nice as this photo makes out

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Tame deer roam over the streets of the Island. You have to be careful if you have paper packages as they go for paper and t-shirts, but it’s very nice as you get to play with bambi.

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High mountains run over its back and its mainland facing coast is home to a very large and rather famous series of temples. The temples are themselves built on piers that just out over the beach. Puffer fish swoop around under the floorboards, providing game for the Herons. An infinitely old pagoda looms over the surrounds.

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Miyajima Island is home to this exceptionally famous piece of Japanese scenery.
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The famous floating Tori of Miyajima Island was built around 600 A.D. and is one of the top three most photographed landmarks in all of Japan. If you queue up for a little while, you can even get your picture taken like this.

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That is probably one of my most classic, “I’ve been there photo’s”, so I hope you appreciated the chance to gaze in awe and wonder upon my remarkable visage once again. I’ll give you a few minutes to regain your composure after being subjected to my fabulous appearance.

The morning, and yes, it was the morning for despite staying out until 4:30 am we had left the hotel again by 9:30, wore on and we decided to enhance our understanding of Miyajima by taking one of the famous climbing tracks up into the hills. Not one of us fully understood the scale of this Endeavour as we set out on our trek with four hours sleep, having breakfasted on McDonalds, little or no water and our food supplies consisting of four Oreo cookies and one third of a bag of honey covered nuts for five people. Connor was wearing Jeans. Jon, Jayne and Sarah were all in sand shoes. We went up into the hills and the pace was really nice and easy going. Enormous spider webs littered the path, providing amateur entomologists with plenty of eye candy. Very nice.

We had been moving upwards steadily for around half to three quarters of an hour when we arrived at a steep incline, steps carved into the rock in places. We ran into someone and inquired how far to the top, thinking it maybe only a few more minutes.

“Oh it’s at least another hour”

Straight up. Remember those sheer Asian style mountains I described this time last week? Impossibly steep looking? Yeah. To put it in context for those in the know, this was like scaling up into the Rimutaka ranges from sea level, yet only covering a distance of two kilometers total.

We push onwards and upwards, climbing higher and higher above Hiroshima as the afternoon wears on. We pass wild deer grazing on the mountainside, me and Connor both think we catch glimpses of monkeys back in the undergrowth fleeing from our path. Mt. Misen, as it turns out we were scaling, has a final height of around 520 metres above sea level.

Eventually we break out of the forest onto the mountains ridge line. The view of the islands is worth every step. We make our way out onto the edge and are able to catch a full view of Hiroshima below us. This spot is a sub-summit of the mountain range. Just slightly to the left and out of frame is the summit of the mountain, another 100 metres down into a ravine and then another 130 metres up again.

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We keep on going, determined to get to the summit. Scenic temples dot the landscape. Eventually we reach the summit observation platform. It gets cold at this point, the wind picks up. We catch the ropeway car down an improbably steep incline, dine in Miyajima and head back to the hotel, sleep and then venture out into the nightlife of Hiroshima again. A more risqué area tonight, finding clubs through the forests of hostess bars. Girls in dresses hand out flyers as Yakuza pimps with earpieces and microphones find prospective clients and direct their girls. The next day we make a journey to the mall and eventually make it back to little old Kashima by about 7ish. Great weekend and to cap it off for now here’s a photo taken from the summit of Mt. Misen looking down at one of the small towns near Hiroshima.

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Thursday, September 22, 2005

According to some sources I have been kidnapped by the U.S. Secret Service

http://sagaalt.blogspot.com/2005/09/another-typical-day-in-japan-my.html

Deep in an underground bunker beneath Tara-Cho

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Mr.T, Phd: Fool! Whatcho tryna do to Bush?


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Me: I just wanted him to autograph my jar of magic pickles! It could be the most useful and effective thing he has ever done in his tenure as President!

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Mr.T, Phd: Fool! Don’t give me no sassafras! You gonna fry now once secret service Jesus is through with you.

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Me: Who the fuck is….

-= CLAP OF THUNDER=-

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SSJ: I AM SECRET SERVICE JESUS!

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Me: Christ!

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SSJ: EXACTLY!

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Me: Where did you come from?

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SSJ: YOUR CULTURES COLLECTIVE SUB-CONSCIOUS FEAR OF DEATH! I AM ITS CURRENT MANIFESTATION! WHERE ELSE DO DEITIES COME FROM?

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Me: Do you always shout?

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SSJ: OF COURSE I ALWAYS BLOODY SHOUT! I ‘M BLOODY SECRET SERVICE JESUS AREN’T I?!

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Mr.T, Phd: D’you want some toast Jesus?

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SSJ: YES! HEAVENLY TOAST WITH SHRIMP BITS PLEASE!

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Me: Why you working for the man secret service Jesus? I thought you were supposed to be all, you know, for the poor and downtrodden? You know? I thought you were a bit more liberal?

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Secret Service Samuel L. Jackson: Motherfucker motherfucker motherfucker motherfucker!

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SSJ: JOHN KERRY AND HILLARY CLINTON PUT ME OFF THE WHOLE THING! 2005 YEARS OF HARD WORK SHOT TO HELL! I’LL ASK THE QUESTIONS HERE MATEY POTATEY! NOW, WHO PUT YOU UP TO THIS STUNT?


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Me: The Volcano God, Kahl-Zamesh….WHOSE PRESENCE I SUMMON NOW TO AID ME IN MY TIME OF SHOUTY PERIL!

-=Explosion of fire and brimstone with sulphur reek=-

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Kahl-Zamesh: ROOOOOOAAAARR! WHAT PERILS DO YOU FACE WORTHY ACOLITE?

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Me: Kahl-Zamesh! Worthy Volcano God and protector of all things red! Jesus has turned to the dark side! He is working for the man, every night and day! I am bound here and face torture and imminent death!

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Kahl-Zamesh: RRRROOOOOAAAARRRRR! DAMN THE MAN! THEY SHALL FEEL MY WRATH! SHELTER IN THE PROTECTIVE MANNER OF MONG WORTHY ACOLITE!

Adam Shelters in the protective manner of mong by putting one hand over his nose and the other between his legs as prescribed in the unholy books of the Volcano God.

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Me: You get ‘em Volcano God!

Kahl-Zamesh lunges towards secret service Jesus

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Kahl-Zamesh: ROOOOOOAAAAARRR!

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Mr.T, Phd: I say old bean, you look rather like the Balrog from Lord of The Rings don’t you Mr. Volcano God sir?

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Kahl-Zamesh: ROOOOOOOAAAARRRR! I WILL SEND MY DISCIPLE TO DEAL WITH YOU WORTHLESS PEON!

Kahl-Zamesh coughs up none other than

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Disciple Terry Gilliam: You fuck-sock! Die secret service scum!

Gilliam stabs Mr.T Phd with his painfully over budget film, inflicting 3000 points of damage. Mr.T, Phd dies, painfully

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Mr.T, Phd: Urgh……

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SSJ: I’M OUTIES MOTHERFUCKERS!

Secret service Jesus flees into the underground chambers buried deep beneath Tara Cho. Gilliam, Kahl-Zamesh and Adam pursue.

Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion….









Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Ralph

One of my students has learned the phrase “Shut up you” and regaled me with his skill this morning. I placed him in a decent headlock.

My much anticipated lunch out yesterday afternoon bought the ill wind of dodgy curry my way. I turned green in the late afternoon and spent most of the evening recuperating after a fairly vigorous post school stomach evacuation.

Rats.

Today is well sticky hot. The kids are dead in the water. Its like trying to mold honey into shape getting any response out of them. Busy morning though with back to backs all the way through to lunch, then some planning for tomorrow. Tempted to slipp away and have a kip in the tatami room for a while.
I’ve been dead on my feet the past couple of days. One more day of work and then I leave for Hiroshima on Friday morning. Expect many grand photos.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Kumamoto - Oita rally

I covered a large amount of southern Japan over the long weekend with my French Canadian friend.

Riding shotgun in the red biscuit, Carol, the weekend path led from Saga through Fukuoka and into Kumamoto, up to Mt. Aso via an hour long traffic jam, then overland across the island to Beppu in Oita Ken on the eastern coast. Highlights included;

Visiting the Mt. Aso volcanic Plateau, the largest active volcanic caldera in the world at something like 140 odd kilometers wide. The plateau levels off about 1000 meters above sea level and as a major bonus it is blessedly cool, especially after the sweaty hell of the traffic jam earlier. It’s like being instantly transported to the English moors described by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in The Hound of The Baskervilles. Mist and cloud cling to the bleak, scrubby hills. Black rocks jut up from the ground at jaunty angles. The sun is reduced to a small speck behind the columns of steam and sulphur spewed from the active volcano’s. Large swathes of land are laid bare, swamped by fields of volcanic ash. Bright blue sulphur lakes hiss as wind runs over them, fanning plumes of gas up towards the blue vault of sky. The area is well developed, like most of Japan. Serious amounts of seismic instruments litter the landscape. The museum on the northern edge of the Plateau looks more like a re-enforced war fighting base rather than a geological museum. It gives more than a subtle hint to the degree of activity that the buildings planners foresaw the museum surviving through. Helicopters rattle overhead. Red warning lights flash over multi language signs warning people with asthma to avoid going to the crater due to the amount of gas in the air. Damn the man. Catch the ropeway gondola up to the crater rim. A two kilometer or so wide crater with a large lake at the bottom. The strata of the bare rock of the crater walls exposed, ripped apart and blown upwards during the craters creation. Apt evidence to the power of the forces maintained below our feet. Rugged looking men sell yellow sulphur cake blocks. Drunk businessmen play silly buggers on the craters lip. Took a very long walk out to the edges of the crater area and was rewarded with a stunning view down into the valley below. Spent so long exploring that the ropeway is shut down for the evening. Walk back down through the rock and the scrub along the edge of the road. It begins to get darker, mist starts to descend from the hills. It’s all very Led Zepplin. You can almost imagine a group of skinny English men, high on drugs, wandering about the place posing on rocks, singing about time and indulging in five minute long drum solo’s.

Pull over by a large crater lake. Long overgrown with grass, a herd of horses makes their home in this landscape straight from a Roger Dean painting. We walk down into the field and play with the horses, who stand, munching on grass and letting themselves be patted. Large docile, gentle animals. The light fails totally. The horses move off across the lakeshore into a mist advancing out at the same speed as their withdrawal. The cold mist clings to the ground as we drive off the edge of the plateau. Driving through thick clouds for a few minutes as we drop altitude. Holding breath that we don’t run out of fuel at this comparatively remote part of Japan we emerge down into Aso town and break for dinner.

Decide to drive to Beppu, a resort town on the eastern coast. Fill up on gas, crank the music and follow the road into the night. A huge full moon rises. The Aso plain is flat for a while, then a massive black hill ridge appears, silhouetted in the gloom by the moonlight. We make our way up, and up and up into the mountain ranges of central Kyushu.

This is true Revenge of Shinobi country.

We drive into clouds. It is remote. Sheer, tree lined mountains stretch up into the clouds. Round, curving improbably surreal looking Asian mountains. They are drenched in a light that is close to day. It gets really remote. We think we live along way away from civilization in Saga, but that’s just peanuts compared to this. Plumes of steam from hydrothermal vents creep up into the sky. The mountains keep on rising up higher and higher. This is all still national park. Isolated Spa towns nestle in valleys. A mechanical breakdown out here would be, to say the least, a major buzzkill. Army vehicles roll dangerously close to us as they drive past on the narrow mountain roads. They are towing 105mm howitzer cannons. Out of nowhere a town emerges with a large amusement park. The park and its lights fit in and kind of amplify the natural beauty of the surrounds. Hours later we emerge into Beppu, the town where I got remarkably drunk last year. Beppu is in full swing on a Sunday night as Monday is a national holiday. It takes us an hour to find a hotel room. We crash, exhausted from a full day on the road and volcanic exploration.

Spent a very nice morning at Beppu’s Umitamago aquarium. Went to pieces over sea otters, who are one of the most endearing animals ever created. Stroke stingrays, pick up sharks, get erked by crowds of swarming Japanese old ladies and children. Visit the monkey sanctuary, but most of the monkey’s are up in the hills. A few are wandering around. When they get into a fight one flees, screaming straight for Jayne’s legs and dodges around them at the last minute. Monkeys are cool.

Browse though some shops in the afternoon, grab some lunch and then hit the express ways back to Saga.

When I get home a receive a phone call from Tim in Dublin.

Here is a photo that expresses how good the weekend was. I was at the time imploring the Volcano God, Kahl-Zamesh, atop the ceremonial sacrificial drinking and chess playing rock, for assistance in vanquishing the armies of man. I was screaming at him to release his unearthly army to my control so that I could spread a wave of darkness across the globe in glory of his name.

Received no response, gave up evil sorcerer ambitions.

For now.

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Previous weeks writing

This is all the previous weeks writings from Sagablog which I wanted to archive here just for recording purposes. Clink the link in the last post to see the writings on sagablog, properly formated with pictures etc...

Friday, September 16, 2005

Satan Babies
AN IMPORTANT NOTICEIf you wish to give birth to the Son of Satan on the 6\6\6 next year this weekend is your last chance to concieve.
*hums the theme to The Omen and drinks another beer
posted by Adam at 10:35 PM 1 comments

Rag Doll
From wikipedia
In computer game engines, ragdoll physics are a replacement for traditional static death animations. Early computer games, going as far back as computer graphics themselves, used hand-created death sequences for characters. This had the advantage of low CPU usage as all a dying character had to do was choose from a pre-set finite number of animations.
As computers increased in power, it became possible to do limited real-time physical simulations. A ragdoll is therefore a collection of multiple rigid bodies (each of which is ordinarily tied to a bone in the graphics engine's skeletal animation system) tied together by a system of constraints that restrict how the bones may move relative to each other.
The term ragdoll comes from the fact that the articulated systems, due to the limits of the solvers used, tend to have little or zero joint/skeletal muscle stiffness, leading to a character collapsing much like a paper ragdoll.
See a basic demonstration of ragdolling here. Hours of fun. Especially if you’re drunk. Grab the model mid flight and you can make him dance too.
http://www.planetdan.net/pics/misc/georgie.htm
posted by Adam at 4:36 PM 0 comments

'Nuva day 'nuva dollar
Yesterday was hard work returning to my apartment to find it littered with puppy raising objects yet to have no puppy to utilize them.
Today has been the first time I have ever had a senior student at a junior high break into tears during a warm up game. I was playing the criss cross game, again (chiefly because I don’t need to explain it anymore). It was one of those retardedly shy quiet girls who, through no fault of my own as I hadn’t been manipulating the game, was left as the last one standing. Now what I believe made her cry was the fact that the class was laughing at the last few people standing, regardless of who they were. I served her up an easy “Do you like Ice Cream?” question and she burst into tears and sat down.
Now initially I felt bad about this, as most people would, but as the class progressed I realized it had very little to do with me, or the game, which has worked hundreds of times before without producing this result. It was the classmates laughing at her and her own, totally intractable shyness that produced her outburst. She had picked up to her normal, quiet, eyes down and hide from the foreigner at all costs, mannerisms.
Sometimes I get tired of trying to coax the tinniest amount of English language out of the most introverted of Japanese teenagers. I discussed the matter with my Irish colleague on return to my desk and she expressed the following opinions which seem to be true and made me feel better also.
All she had to do was blurt out three, not four, not five, god forbid six or seven, but three, very basic, words of a language she had been studying for 3 years. You can’t constantly keep these kids wrapped up in the little ball of protective cotton wool that allows them to maintain a totally introverted set of behaviors. Eventually, you have to take some kind of stand and find your own voice. You have to be presented with the opportunities at some stage and take a swing otherwise some of these kids will spend their whole lives as quiet, mouse like, recluses.
It’s not like I was asking for an opinion on analyzing whether or not consideration has been provided to each party in a dispute over an issue of contract law, I just asked her if she liked ice cream. I wasn’t asking her to strip in front of the class was I?
It reminded me of an incident last year when I encountered a whole class room of fifteen year olds who were still so depressed and upset by one of their class mates moving to a different school the week before you’d have thought he’d died rather than moved house. I spent a whole period giving every once of goodness I possessed and got no response, at all, ever. So as we are leaving my team teacher explained to me about the student having left and its resulting class room apathy. The halls resounded with my cry of
‘THAT’S ABSOLUTLEY PATHETIC!” as by this stage I was quite frustrated. The teacher was shocked.
“Why do you say that?” she implored. I explained to her my opinion that these were fifteen year olds. They weren’t young kids anymore. I told her that at this stage they should be given a boot up the arse to get them moving again. They need to start to grow up now. Your friend moved away, boo hoo, life’s not fair have a cry when it happens then get the fuck over it. These kids were about to burst into tears a week later. It was ridiculous. Stop molly coddling them and present them with a few facts about the world outside school without covering it in cartoon animals and pastel backgrounds. The JTE of course did not disagree with me or offer much in the way of a counter opinion.
I also had a unique teaching experience yesterday when I went to my elementary school classes. I had a classroom of 20 or so 7 to 8 year olds in front of me. The class was one of those blessed events where the homeroom teacher blatantly refuses to help in any way, shape, or form in the running of the class. He marked some papers at the back of the classroom. He cleaned the fish tank. He left the room on occasions to go and do something else. This made it mostly impossible for me to explain any activity at all.
These days when I find myself in a situation where a classroom of children is getting rapidly out on control I just take the ‘fuck it’ approach and let the kids do what they want. It’s a lot less stressful than trying to take control of the situation and convince kids to do a game that you can’t fully explain in their own language. I mean, English in this class went out the window completely. Not just learning it, but exposing the kids to English in general as I had to pull all my Japanese out the bag just to get by. We played the punch Adam in the nuts game, the hide in the closet game, the jump on the foreigner game and the dangle children by their legs out the window game. I’m not kidding, one kid ass jabbed me hard so I whipped him up off his feet and dangled him head first out the window. He loved it.
Tomorrow there will be a general election in New Zealand. The race is looking tight. The main centre right wing party in New Zealand, National, has over the past few years cannibalized the smaller, even more right wing parties that used to support it, absorbing their popular support and rallying behind a new, stronger, more confident leadership. Don Brash, the man at the helm who is running for the title of Prime Minister, is an ex central banker with an eye for Yankees. His is strongly in favor of ditching New Zealand’s long held and nationally defining stance against nuclear powered vessels and nuclear weapons in general. A National led coalition government will possibly try and drop New Zealand’s anti-nuclear stance in favor of strengthened defensive ties and trading privileges with the United States. In short he may sell our nation out to the Neo-Conservative imperialist war machine quicker than a fox fucks a rabbit if he commands a majority coalition in Parliament.
It is direction time again in Aotearoa. Personally I don’t want my country to throw the towel in and start taking advice from a foreign administration ostensibly headed by the chimp that let 3000 of his own citizens get murdered on his watch, played the guitar while thousands more drowned and is unable to string a coherent sentence together to save his life.
If you are a New Zealand citizen and you haven’t voted yet you have until 4pm Japan time tomorrow to fax your vote in.
It’s important. People in some parts of the world, are prepared to die, have died and are dying to try and obtain the right to vote in a free and fair election. So many of those who are in possession of the ability to vote choose to ignore and neglect that most basic of civil duties that allows you for the briefest of times to make stand and clearly state which direction you think your own country should head in. New Zealand has a voting population of less than four million people; in a demographic of that size the only vote wasted is that which isn’t cast.
Fingers crossed for tomorrow.
posted by Adam at 3:51 PM 0 comments
Thursday, September 15, 2005

Puppies are very nice indeed
I decided that feeding HomeStarRunner would require some utensils. The family mart was bereft of baby supplies. I was considering purchasing a small genki drink, ripping the top of a rubber glove and fashioning a bottle from the two when I glanced over the toy section. Thank you Sanrio Corporation. A Hello Kitty nurse play set, with an eyedropper and a squeeze bottle. Was there ever a more Japanese puppy?
HomeStarRunner settled down after being fed again at about 10:30. She then slept all the way through until about 3 am, when it was time for some more food, then again at 5, and then again at 6. The 6am feeding required another bath. The bath this time was great. She calmed down and relaxed as I placed her into the water. She stretched her legs out, had a big yawn and was asleep soundly again before I had finished toweling her down. Which is a delicate task when you’re dealing with a small puppy.
This morning I had to employ my old jellybean jar to transport her to school. I cut a hole in the top for some airflow, put her little blue blanket in the jar and dropped her in the top. She curled up into her blanket and snoozed during the bike ride to school, which was painstakingly slow. Picture a gaijin, with huge white knees poking out of his shorts, wearing aviator glasses, sporting horrible sunburn and clutching a plastic jar with a small snoring puppy biking through the rice fields of Saga.
Our story ended happily just a few minutes ago. My Kyoto Sensei has just taken all 6, now rather frisky, puppies out to his friend in Takeo, who is a dog breeder and definitely will have the experience and facilities to give these pups a better start in life than just being discarded on a rubbish heap.
Puppies rule.
I miss HomeStarRunner
posted by Adam at 9:18 AM 0 comments
Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Puppies love listening to Isan
The person from Takeo was unable to make a pick up tonight, so I decided to play the puppies cute card to their own benefit and take them into the staff room. Kyoto sensei has agreed to take them to Takeo tomorrow, requiring them to be looked after for one night.
The other teachers fawned all over them and they were split up into groups and taken home to be cared for overnight by various teachers. I have one with me now. I will call her HomeStarRunner and she is now resting nicely after having her first bath. She did not enjoy her first bath and protested mightily, however, she is much cleaner now. I did find her in a garbage pit after all. She has been fed three times this evening and when she makes a noise now I just stroke her back and she quiets down as she doesn’t appear interested in any more milk for now. I feed her by dipping my finger in milk. Then for her part she tries to inhale my finger. Then she burps a bit and goes back to sleep. I expect I will spend a good portion of this evening comforting a scared puppy who misses her littermates and cries a lot.
That’s okay though, she had a pretty rough start.
posted by Adam at 8:14 PM 0 comments

I FOUND PUPPIES!
I decided to bike out around the coast and get some photos this afternoon for something to do instead of just sitting here doing nothing. I biked out and took some nice photo’s.
As I was heading back to school I was pushing my bike up a steep river embankment. Now all around here there are farms, and the farmers have piles of rubbish they collect as they go about their days in the fields. Every so often they burn these piles of rubbish. As I head over the edge I see one of these big piles of crap.
There is a tiny little squeak coming out of the pile. I park up and head over. Looking into the pile of old Styrofoam containers, empty sake bottles and half eaten lunches I find six, new born, abandoned puppies. They’re so young they still have umbilical cords and their eyes haven’t opened. A couple weren’t moving and I didn’t know how long they had been there.
I raced back to school and grabbed some plastic bags, raced back to the pit and pulled them out of the garbage one by one. I had to wade in through spiders and bush to get the last little one that was making the noise that led me to his brothers and sisters. Three male, three female. They cried in my backpack all the way back to school.
They are now sitting in the office, where, apparently, someone from an animal shelter in Takeo will come to get them. I am sticking around until I find out for sure they are safe.
I SAVED PUPPIES!
posted by Adam at 4:03 PM 1 comments

The Doldrums
Ancient mariners spoke of cursed regions of the seas. These were places where no winds blew. Where heat rose from the very ocean and where ships could drift for months at a time, the crew slowly dying of thirst and starvation while their ship drifted aimlessly like graduate student searching for research funding.
The doldrums are an equatorial belt of calms, slightly north of the equator. At this point on the earths surface large amounts of solar radiation cause the land and ocean ro become intensely hot. This heating results in the rising of warm, moist air; low air pressure; cloudiness; high humidity; light, variable winds; and various forms of severe weather, such as thunderstorms and squalls. Hurricanes originate in this region.
The doldrums are also noted for calms, periods when the winds disappear, trapping sailing vessels for days or weeks. Time would slip past slowly, like a mildly disabled bear that has just raided a large supply of rum.
The doldrums, oh my friends and relations, is where you find me this morning. My arms are sticking to my desk as I try to type. I am watching the clock tick by. Teachers are moving out to supervise yet another round of tests. I am sitting at my station, sweltering in the heat. It won’t be long now until we move into the cooler part of autumn. Soon it will begin to be cooler in the evenings, then by the time the balloon festival rolls around a jacket will be a compulsory piece of evening attire.
My cell phone just received an email.
This provoked a wave of laughter around the staff room. What the fuck is so amusing about my phone in particular? This room is permeated every day with about 50 different annoying, cute ring tones. We get everything from obscure Japanese opera to Numa Numa. What is so absofuckingloutely incredible about my phone receiving an email?!
Jesus wept! Look at that foreigner! He must be able to work a piece of Japanese technology! I thought they just used hollow drums made of sticks, feces smearing and smoke signals to communicate in New Zealand! Do Maori people live with everyone else in New Zealand? Do you have schools and bridges too? How strange that a stylized cartoon bee is a symbol of New Zealand!
This coming from the people who live in the land where the cartoon animal is the king of advertising.
Sometimes, when it’s hot and I have no real work to do all day, I get so fed up of being constantly novel out here in the inaka. You’d think after a year it would wear off wouldn’t you? It’s the days like this where people become amazed at the fact I eat a small salad for lunch everyday that get to me a little bit and provoke outbursts like the one above. Sometimes the comparative anonymity that living in a large Japanese city would provide sounds nice.
Oh well, it's part of the job isn't it? Deep breath and focus on something else.
You don't think our paychecks are just merely remuneration for the services we provide in our working hours do you? Whats your thoughts on the matter? Where does your professional employment end in this country and your personal life begin in terms of the dictates it places on your everyday behaviours?
Personally, I consider that there is a certain percentage of my wage that is devoted to compensating for the kind of frustration that can build up when you live in a society as traditional, for lack of a better word, as society in Saga can be. There certainly is a gap between pay thresh hold and actual job responsibility that I fear will vastly skew my perception of any employment contracts I glance over in the future. Imagine glancing over a contract and looking at a large list of position responsibilities and saying something like,
What do you mean I won't have days where I am paid to sit around and read about UFO's on the internet all day?
crazy world huh? I suppose that in a society where teachers occupy a certain social status its to be expected that you have to alter you lifestyle to match in with what is viewed as being socially normal behavior for a teacher to exhibit.
Thats not to say you have to meet those expectations.
And that is where the fun lies.
I have been pretending to be busy experimenting with DVD backup software this morning. Moving my region 4 DVD of The Wall by Pink Floyd over onto a new region free DVD using the software I posted a link to on sagaJET the other week. It’s really working well. It has taken a couple of hours to analyze the DVD and encode it again, but I have it on the highest quality settings and it hasn’t been sucking down too many system resources, so my laptop has been running along nicely while it’s been working in the background.
Yes, maybe after lunch something interesting will happen, but for now, the bat has descended and test time inactivity has commenced. Yesterday was really busy, and I felt I had a good productive day, I was useful and won a few minor victories. I need to hang on to that today, as this posting fits exactly into the description emblazoned at the top of the website like a stamp of confirmation that some aspects of this system of employment we are involved in need a bit of change. Time to motivate and make some English posters or an English board or something to do with English.
Oh, that software works well, just put my new DVD in the drive and it runs perfectly. The world is mine.....
posted by Adam at 11:15 AM 0 comments
Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Pointless Celebrity
I've just been reading on Xinhua that apparently Victoria and David Beckham have been voted the U.K.'s first and second most pointless celebrities respectivley. But can anyone inform me who Jordan and Abi Titmuss are?http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2005-09/13/content_3482366.htmTitmuss.......I just want to giggle like a school girl. This article begs a personal response, so allow me to present my own personal list of top ten pointless celebrities.1. Princess Diana...........shes dead.2. Kelly Osborne............her father should have bitten her head off and raised the bat as his own. Then she would be dead.3. Ice Cube.....................worst screen acting ever in XXX 2. Gangsta is dead.4. Paul W. Anderson......for killing many promising movie franchises dead.5. Paris Hilton............. ..If she was dead, would her personality suffer?6. John Paul II...............dead popes society.7. Pat Tillman............. ..Suckered in by media machine and dead in Iraq. Stupid Jock.8. Starscream..................Killed dead by Galvatron.9. XZhibit......................He will be dead and can't spell his own name.10. Courneay Love.............Dead soon. Don't worry. Gave Gen-X their Nancy.
posted by Adam at 12:10 PM 0 comments

Wandering tribes of puppy eating bats
Tuesday morning has no animal associated with it at all. It is simply Tuesday morning, reliable, regular and calm. There is no post weekend euphoria that is slowly worn away in a school were kids are disciplined for sometimes what I consider to be the most retarded and unnecessary misdemeanors. It’s just a Tuesday.I thought last weeks typhoon was distinctly disappointing. Although majestically slow, Nabi just failed to impress me as much as Songda did last year. True, Songda did rip a tree behind my apartment in half and this year that tree is, well, just not there to be ripped in half again, but Nabi just seemed to be a bit of a let down. I was looking forward to a good storm. I like storms. They’re dramatic. Like me, I’m often dramatic. I can’t help it. It’s the way I’ve always been. It can be particularly hard to switch off at times. It’s what makes me a decent (and decently impoverished at times) actor.So far I’ve worked my way through a large pile of marking today. Oh the sense of raw and unexaggerated accomplishment that flowed through my veins as I placed the last cross on the stack of worksheets in front of me. It was tantamount to the feeling I’m sure Moses may have had if he did indeed part the red sea. Except with less fish and Hebrew pilgrims.I left my Hebrew pilgrims at home this morning. What do you do with your lost tribes when you’re at school?I still don’t consider myself to be a teacher in the fullest sense of the word. I have no formal training to teach young people, I can’t read or write the majority of the language so working can often be slightly limited because of this. However, I think more points should be awarded in grading to students who display more creative and interesting answers. I think it highlights that not only do they grasp the concepts they are practicing; they are comfortable to manipulate them in more abstract terms than the exercise allows for. Today for example I was marking a worksheet. On the worksheet are two cartoon pictures of a city. One is fifty years in the past and the other is in the present. Using the patterns of there is and there was, along with the associated correct grammar and syntax, the students have to create 10 statements about the town, such asThere was a school in this town fifty years ago.One girl in particular drew little brackets linking two of her statements together. In the first statement she observed that,There were some trees in this town fifty years ago.With the second cartoon displaying a distinct lack of trees in the city, instead focusing more on convenience stores and tall buildings she then observed that,There aren’t any rainbows in this town now.I wanted to give her more than two marks for these sentences. It was just a good observation and comment not only on the worksheet, the grim realities of the distinct lack of rainbows in the day’s English routine, but also on encroaching urbanization and the degradation of the environment.I have stood accused in the past of being able to read too much into things.The rest of the day after this will be taken up with back to back classes until the late afternoon. I prefer to be busy during the school day if at all possible. Tomorrow there are tests running all day, no classes, nothing to do. The day looms over the horizon like a fat bloated bat, gorged on the flesh of dead puppies. Or any other kind of creature that, if feasted upon, by a horrible bat, would provide you, dear reader, with an appropriately visceral response to the description of my anticipation of approaching uselessness.Also trying to publish this post from a Japanese computer is hard as all the buttons are in fucking heathen squiggle language.
posted by Adam at 10:21 AM 3 comments
Monday, September 12, 2005

Rhinocerotidae execting child and not feeling chuffed about it either
Good morning my fellow lackeys of his Imperial Majesty. Being this is the Monday of the 12th of September 2005 I suppose I am now in control of the literary direction of this page for the next week.
Monday sneakily crept into my consciousness this morning, heavy, hot and grey. Like an angry pregnant Rhinoceros. The Rhino battered gently on the wall of my house, as gently as any expectant Rhino is able to accomplish, which is to say, not really very gently at all, especially as this Rhino tends to sound like all of my wonderful neighbors starting their cars and departing for work on the gravel outside the window behind which I rest my often weary head. I have considered moving my sleeping attire away from the window, however, a part of me suspects my neighbors will only just start their engines at a greater volume and drive away more aggressively.
However, this morning I was able to ward off this vicious, obscene denizen of the working week by setting off my flare of self righteousness. You see, yesterday, I attended the traditional outdoor enforcement of rigorous and painful group orientated activities that comprise the layout of a Sports Day Festival, or Undokai, at one of my Junior High Schools. This gave unto me a coveted day off this morning and that rarest and sweetest of gifts, the self righteous Monday morning sleep in. I set off the flare, placed my Qantas airways blindfold over my eyes and listened to the sound of the Rhinoceros bellowing angrily as she scampered away over the plains to give birth to her cumbersome workload upon some other poor teacher like a heaving mess of warm red meat. I drifted off to sleep, content. Did the Rhinoceros visit you this morning? It was my fault. I am not sorry.
This sleep in lasted only until about 9:30 when I peered out from behind my blindfold, surveyed my apartment and decided that the heaving garbage bags, the quite tastefully flung clothes, compact disks and the odd collection of dishes were distorting the perfect balance of my slumber like little demons that lurk on the edge of consciousness, poking at you with offensively dirty little forks. I arose, triumphant and manly, veritably shining with vigor, like a beam of hope for the nations, from my three extra hours of sleeping to be reminded of one very obvious physical reality.
Yesterday I fell into the trap of ‘It’s overcast so I don’t need to put any sunscreen on’. This was distinctly unwise and resulted in the band of nearly purple skin that runs around my neck like the kind of markings Amazonian poison frogs have to warn other animals of their toxin. I feel secure in the fact that if I choose to bask on some rock or leaf during the course of the day, the only creatures that will bother me will want to carefully rub their arrows over my skin to collect venom to kill monkeys with. Monkeys are today’s evil creature, so I am happy to oblige if anyone needs any neurotoxin. You will have to come to me though, because, horrible monkeys aside, it only took three minutes outdoors in the early morning heat, moving my heaving garbage bags and their dubiously potent contents, to convince myself and my newly acquired tropical markings that today will be spent exclusively in doors sheltering from the vengeful wrath of the sun god.
Sports festivals. Jesus God almighty and his magical pixies I wish they would think up some other chant of encouragement rather than just “Ganbarre!” repeated over and over again to the point at which it losses all relativity and meaning. One of the highlights of the day was Aine Flynn’s example of the total failure of the Japanese national to grasp the concept of sarcasm. Aine arrives, dressed completely in Blue, to support the blue team.
Non-descript Japanese Teacher Slave Drone: What team are you supporting today Aine?
Aine: Red.
Three hours pass like frozen treacle through an eye dropper
A: Ganbarre blue! Ganbarre blue!
N-dJTSD: Aine! Why are you cheering for blue?
Sports festivals. At least the majority of the kids have a good time, which is the main thing. Sometimes I wonder though, is it actually possible for anyone to enjoy traditional Japanese marching? I was told at one sports festival it was very important not to make the students smile during the formal marching as it was not allowed.
One aspect of Saga I often find cloying are the vast amounts of rules and customs that must be adhered to. I suppose its part of the continuing process of cultural adjustment that you experience when you move from one culture that is predominantly focused on individuality, like the kind I lived in previously in Wellington, to one where the concept of the group is more primary to the social fabric that you find yourself tangled in. I have been trying to incorporate the ideals of Japanese society into my own life a bit more, but this often meets with limited success. Why I like living in Japan is that it removes me from my own societal rules or customs, and places me in a society where to a certain extent I am always viewed as an outsider, and not really expected or sometimes even not allowed to take part in cultural practices to the same level as most members of the society. This is extremely liberating. Sometimes. Sometimes it’s a pain in the arse.
Sports festivals. There are lots of things I enjoy about Japan. Soccer games, beer vending machines, the acceptance of geek lifestyle, okonomiyaki. Many many things there are that I enjoy about Japan. It just so happens that my first posting to this page is the day after one of the things I am really not so much a fan of.
Sports Festivals. May is a good time to have them. I had one in May. It’s not 30 degrees in the shade in May. It was fun. I spent most of the day either playing soccer with my students and their younger siblings or narrating the races over the P.A. system in an Australian horse racing commentary voice. I was also given one of the school cameras and charged with taking photographs, some of which were actually used in official school publications. I was expected to eat lunch with the staff and was told of the enkai two weeks in advance. I had jobs to do and felt like a useful member of staff. Yesterday I had all the responsibility of, to pinch a phrase from Tim Cooke, ‘A dyslexic kitten’.
This stems from the vast differences I encounter between the two Junior High schools I work at. At the smaller high school I have a lot more responsibility and a lot more interaction with the students. The other teachers all talk to me. I am at this school three and a half days a week, so this makes sense. The other school I am at for only a day and a half, and because the majority of public holidays fall on Mondays and Fridays, along with any other interruptions that piss around with the all important schedule, I am much less of a regular face there. Sometimes I even have to press teachers to get them to teach with me. I often feel, well, weird, at the larger school and have never really settled in at all. I can’t even use the bathroom at the large school. There are no western style commodes. I have a nice torso, but my legs are shot. Not flexible at all. Japanese style bathroom facilities are all but useless to me. Bathrooms aside, there is just something about the larger school that often doesn’t sit right with me. This is doubtless a combination of actual influence from the school and also my own personality. Maybe it will get better this year.
The point is that my working week starts with Monday morning’s at the larger, not so cool, school. I am now 25, and I still have to get up on Monday morning and go to school, and we’ll talk about institutionalization later on in the week maybe, but not only is it school, it is also work. We all have work and school, together, on a Monday morning. Piss biscuits.
Which is why I was so happy to get rid of that Rhino this morning. Stupid animal. It’s lunch time now. Hotdogs and Beer!
posted by Adam at 12:00 PM 0 comments

Monday, September 12, 2005

Hey You!

Click on this link here

http://sagaalt.blogspot.com/

All the goodness you have come to expect will be posted here for the next week as I am the guest writer for Saga blog this week.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

I M weasel

Telling off kids for plucking eyebrows is the same kind of bad decision that could be made if your house was being approached by a pack of marauding weasels.

If you let the weasels pass through on their way, provided you hid your chickens, then everything would be okay. If however you decided to catch and shave all of the weasels it would take up too much time, be detrimental to the weasels, who are only being weasels and doing what weasels rightly do and in fact could be the most non-productive way of dealing with the weasel situation in general.

Sometimes, some teachers just need to hide their chickens and stand back.

I browse

Today was very busy, which was nice. Full day of classes and lesson planning that gave me exactly ten minutes to break and eat one meal during an 8 hour day. Then I did the bike swim thing and came in at a low 17 minutes again. After that I ate a chicken dinner and was then called away to teach an adult class I had forgotten about completely. I just finished doing my washing now.

At my school the biggest discipline scandal of the moment is a group of senior girls who, and get ready because this is a bad one….

THEY PLUCKED THEIR EYEBROWS.

For fucks sake.

I mean really, come one, disciplining 15 year old girls for trimming their eyebrows? How are these young people ever supposed to mature if they are cajoled and browbeaten (HA!) over the tiniest thing? I actually took a step back from the conversation I was involved in when I found this out.

A few hours later while talking to one of the male teachers I work with I found out he

a.) thinks it unnecessary to discipline them over it and

b.) couldn’t give two shits if the girls plucked their eyebrows out.

Between the two of us we believe that it is only being raised as an issue because all the female teachers weren’t allowed to pluck their eyebrows when they were in school. Or no one told them that you could actually do it anyway. The reasoning behind it?

“If the girls spend time at home plucking their eyebrows they will not be spending time studying.”

Come on Japan, give it a rest. The amount of usable study time they spent disciplining these kids is the more than they amount of time lost if they had plucked their eyebrows. You know why this country has a high suicide rate? Rampant unnecessary indoctrination type practices in the schooling system for one thing, a system where if you are even the tinniest bit different from everybody else it can be picked on. So if you really don’t feel like you fit in you have one big problem.

Another main event of the day was the revelation that after spending a year and a half dodging any kind of broader official duty, the Saga Prefecture Board of Education has decreed that I and Hiroshi Nakata must present a seminar on team teaching at the mid year conference / excuse for a drink with the lads. I then spent a few minutes reassuring Hiroshi, who is already nervous about it. If I had to help present a seminar and speak only in Japanese I would be too, however, little or no Japanese will be required of me. I will be doing the lion’s share of the presenting though, and this is fine with Hiroshi.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Update no. 6

At about 4pm the front wall of the storm passed over us. Everything went still as the walls of purple grey cloud swirled around.

I made some hotdogs for dinner.

Then about an hour and a half ago the wind picked up again. The eye of the storm took over four hours to pass over.

Its back to howling winds now and the house is shaking a lot more. It sounds like there’s animals outside who want to get it in.

Cool.

I expect it will be like this for the next few hours and then it will be back to business as usual. School included. I’m going to hit bed early tonight, after brining the bike indoors for the second night running. If anything dramatic happens during the night I will post, but I doubt it.