Friday, January 29, 2010


Today was my first visit to a junior high school on one of my islands. Yes, it is the end of January, and I just did a first visit. Just in time, too...I'll be seeing the 3rd year students at the high school before you can blink! So, maybe today was more like a high school preview! :-)

Anyway, I had typical first visit jitters - what will the students be like? what will the teachers be like? what do I wear? and so on. Added to the normal first visit jitters was the will I make it to the ferry on time jitter. If you miss the ferry, there's not exactly another one coming by anytime soon!

Thankfully, I woke up on time this morning! My next challenge was selecting an outfit. My experience with junior high schools so far has been that the staff members tend to dress casually. I put on a pair of nice black pants, a grey sweater, and to make it slightly more casual, a grey hooded cardigan. As a whim, I tossed my black blazer into my backpack. It's always nice to cover one's bases!

Well, I made it to the ferry with plenty of time to spare. That would be the last good thing to happen until I arrived at the island. Let's just say that I'm not cut out to be a sea captain!

My driver took me to school once we escaped the Ferry of Doom. Imagine my surprise when all the teachers were wearing...yup, suits! I think perhaps the whim may have been from God!

While I was in the staff room before class, the vice-principal handed this to me:

First, I thought, "Well, not quite outer space...just America!" Just kidding! Turns out, after some explanation, this is an anime thing. All morning, the picture just made me want to giggle.

After classes in the 3rd and 4th period, I was supposed to pick up my lunch from the staff room and take it to have lunch with the 3rd year students. Imagine my surprise when I found that I had customized decorations! There was a placemat with those characters, and a chopstick holder and a spoon holder! That really made my day! It was so cute!

It also turned out that this same character was on the banner in the 3rd year classroom. so, we had our class photo taken under it!
Overall, I would have to say it was a pretty good day!

BTW, you may have noticed there was no post yesterday. This was basically due to a revolt on the part of my electronic devices. They are now under threat of replacement and doing much better. They don't have a union, so I can do that.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A year

So, the USA JET Interview list was published today, which made me reminisce about last year at this time. I never would have guessed that one year later, I would be an ALT in Japan's northernmost city, let alone planning to go on a snowshoeing expedition!

It's amazing what can happen in a year!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Clap if you believe in computers

If my memory serves me correctly, in the movie Peter Pan, you were supposed to clap if you believed in fairies. This brought Tinkerbell back from the brink of something. Anyway, may I ask you all to clap if you believe in computers? Mine is still giving me fits. I am going to attempt to post this and quit while I'm ahead!

'Night, all!

Monday, January 25, 2010

This is going to be another completely random post, as I again have writer's block. :-)

Overall, it was a good day around here. I did not fall down, burn myself, or injure myself in any way. Hey, that almost qualifies as a great day in and of itself! I actually almost ate ice in the middle of one of the main roads, but I managed to make a last minute save.

Oh, I think I have finally learned an important winter lesson that perhaps some of you can benefit from, especially if MS continues to get Arctic blasts. The lesson is fairly simple. Winter accessories are not accessories in the fashion sense. Taking off without your coat or boots is generally a bad idea, and leaving without gloves isn't far behind! I learned the coat part of the lesson early on, the glove part within the past week or so, and today was the lesson on boots. Stepping in piled snow in flats is generally an unpleasant experience!

Well, hopefully I will think of something to write about tomorrow! Good night!

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Here are the results of yesterday's cooking adventures. Well, it's a start, anyway! This first thing, er, dish, was a result of careful study and contemplation. Actually, I just got the idea from and ran with it. The original recipe was called Cold Sesame Noodles with Chicken and Cucumbers. It sounded yummy, but I didn't want to bother with all the ingredients, so I just modified it for me. I think the main difference was in the sauce. I made udon noodles, cut up some leftover chicken and something that remotely looked like a cucumber. For my first sauce, I put some vinegar (I think) and honey together, but it was absolutely horrendous. So, I tried something one of my friends made as a sort-of teriyaki sauce - vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar. I used a different vinegar, too. That sauce was much better! I put a little mayo in with the noodles (they do that in a really yummy noodle salad at 7-11s here) and added my dressing. It was pretty tasty!
Oh, and just in case anyone wanted to know, it is quite possible to make pasta in a skillet. Sometimes, you have to make do with what you have.

For my Saturday brunch, I had ham, eggs, and TOAST. The word toast is capitalized...not because it was delicious, but because it was of epic proportions. I don't know how in the world (or why) they make such honkin' pieces of bread here. Texas toast pales in comparison to this TOAST.

By the way, I made this egg without a spatula. I flipped it onto a plate, then flipped it back into the skillet. I had much better success using this method than I normally do with a spatula!
And, here is the infamous oil I wound up purchasing from the store. As best as I can tell, the second and third line read, "bejifurutsu oiru." There is also something on the label about "bitamin E" (aka Vitamin E) and "tokotorienoru." I haven't got a clue what that last word means!

My basic powers of deduction told me a few things about this bottle of oil. 1) it was cheap. 2) there was something about vegetables. 3) the pictures looked reassuring.

I'll let you know how things go.