Friday, July 14, 2006

I want to be a Whale Shark when I grow up


It has been sometime since the last entry in these journals of adventure.

The pace of events has picked up dramatically here of late. I have ventured far down into southern Kyushu in search of illusive mysteries, sand baths, shochu and giant sharks. I found them and was sated.

I compiled together a 25 minute long photo slideshow that was presented at the grand and luxurious leaving ceremony in the Capital city last weekend. It worked flawlessly, which is to say that opposed to last year’s slideshow failure it was flawless, flawless also in the technical facilities of the hotel. It seemed to be well received. When the final credit rolled up the screen I was inebriated, due to a tall English man constantly pouring me beer which in turn was well received, enough to allow a Mortal Kombat style ‘flawless victory’ chant to run through my head.

I was able to take part in the second annual Tafuse regatta. This involved purchasing a pirates costume of sorts, and inflatable raft, some beer, and paddling down the main river in Saga with an armada of assorted miscreants, much to the bewilderment, amusement or delight of some of the natives. I’ve never had so many spiders crawling on me as when we were swept into reeds time and time again by the current. The water pistol came in handy for dealing with the eight legged Klingons. Much pirate talk was used ruthlessly.

Drove through the misty hills of Saga that evening. The deep ravines and river beds spewing clouds of gas into the suspiciously empty looking countryside. I admit to specifically directing us towards the slightly longer route through the hills because I thought they would be suitably moody with the near full moon and current atmospheric conditions. Rewards followed with vast, ominous, visual backdrops that would make Holmes himself pull his cap down over his eyes, raise the collars on his jacket and take larger pulls on his tobacco.

Met a variety of Japanese people at another party on Karatsu beach. The swimming was naked. I was the only male. Phosphorescent plankton, mating on the high tide and by the light of the moon surrounded us, it was like swimming in a sea of neon green electric sparks.

Managed to get a base tan the next day on the same beach. Last weekend was so good in fact it’s kept me buoyant all the way through this final full working week of working weeks. I now sit here, with all but one final class to complete at this, the largest of my schools. Monday coming is a bank holiday, and the students finish on Thursday.

Many things have been organized. Items have been boxed, two years of bills and paperwork has been sorted. Air craft ticketing has been purchased, flight paths planned, dates confirmed, as have concert tickets and credit cards have been renewed and are being couriered across the oceans in case of emergency excess in baggage weight. In fourteen days I will no longer be a resident of Kashima. Incidentally, Google earth has recently added high resolution satellite photo’s of the city to its virtual globe service. I present to you a link to my house as viewed from space.Mine is the large rectangular apartment block with the single white car in the center of the frame. Zoom out and you can get an idea of the place that has been home for the past two years.

It’s been an emotional process, the endless saying goodbye’s and final classes are leaving me a bit drained. Of course, we are now entering into high summer as well, which compounds the sense of weariness. It’s topped thirty degrees before eight thirty a.m., which turns the morning bike ride to school into a struggle into the baking breeze of what seems to be the world’s largest, moistest, hair dryer. As was pointed out to me yesterday it’s a bad time to be leaving, to have so many things to organize and to do, so many people to see. Manners in interpersonal relationships have to be a bit stricter as fraying nerves can send tempers soaring at the drop of a hat. This is accomplished, inversely so, by drinking.

Finally, here is the footage I shot at Kagoshima aquarium recently, cut together, with the group of ‘special education’ adults who were trying to talk to me and Kamil in especially bad English (and completely ignored, I mean, you know? We were on holiday, we’re not English practice robots) edited out of the soundtrack. This clip is the prized center piece of my fish video collection.

I want to be a Whale Shark when I grow up.


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