Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Orienting in the Orient

To make up for my promises of a new post you will get an abbreviated version of the past several days. So in reality that is not really making up for anything. Just sit tight and you will be happy I'm sure.

Thursday afternoon I drove down to Ino and met up with Hyemi at the BOE there. I was there for awhile and had a measly lunch from the grocery store. Lately I've been on a very frugal budget. When I say frugal I mean it. Last night, for example, I ate potatoes and cabbage boiled in a pot. Nothing too fancy. The real reason is that I wasn't able to get money yesterday so I couldn't really buy anything.

Anyway back to what I was saying. Some Ino BOE guy took us over to Kochi City which is about 15 minutes away by car. He dropped us off at our orientation venue and said good bye. Orientation was good because all of the new people were together. They covered things like this huge earth quake that is supposed to happen sometime soon. Well the chances aren't as good right now BUT it could happen so we have to be ready just in case. This may sound morbid but I kind of would like for the earth quake to happen. Just like the the quake in Southern Illinois we could make t-shirts and celebrate our lives (if we have them at that point). I shouldn't really wish for such a thing because my home could be wiped out by giant falling boulders and landslides. I should keep that all in perspective.

Orientation is orientation. I can't really remember what else they told me on Thursday that was too pertinent. I think they went over life in middle schools and elementary schools. Yet, that will all vary most likely. I was glad though when the evening rolled around because I was ready to relax. Maybe relax isn't the right word though.

We marched off to our hotel and put our stuff down and then marched on some more to a hotel where they have a beer garden and buffet up at the top. If it hadn't been hot enough all day, it was still hot up there at night. The only consolation was probably the food and company. Some might say the beer and alcohol but I'm not so into that anyway. I met a lot of nice people, some characters for sure, and enjoyed talking to all the other JETs. They have pretty nifty beer pouring dispensers that automatically tilt the glass and top the head off. Cool. No pictures because I wasn't going to lug my camera around for that event. Imagine please. Drinking is fine and all but sometimes I wonder if that is all the JET people care about. My liver has already thanked me about 7 years of my life and it would like to continue that trend. After the dinner people strolled over to Hirome which is just a huge food stall and beer place with lots of tables for socializing. It is a pretty lively place and there seems to be a lot of interesting things there. I had myself some ice cream and then called it a night. Many went on to soothe their drunkenness with more alcohol at karaoke. The next morning there were some people like they had gone to the brink of death, if not surpassed it, and then came back again. Others who had probably forgotten the previous night somehow managed to look like nothing had happened.

On Friday everyone was trudging around in a haze of disillusionment and bleary eyes. I was kind of smug knowing I had persevered through the vile temptation of Japanese karaoke. I like karaoke, I just didn't want to spend more money on alcohol or anything silly like that in one night. So we had a scavenger hunt at 1pm around Kochi City. Not too many were happy about this. First, its the hottest time of the day. Second, people are going to complain when you send them off to walk around the city on a blazing hot day. I just went with the flow and enjoyed the scavenger hunt for the most part. Our team somehow by diving intervention or the likes won. I think it was mostly for the extra points we secured with a bribe to one of the prefectural assistants helping with the hunt. We got awesome (I'll never use in public) cat towels. After that orientation ended and Hyemi and I walked back to the train station to catch a ride to Ino.

The train line here is on the honor system. You could not buy a ticket and still ride it. But I won't be one of THOSE foreigners.

On the way back to my home there was a pretty gnarly accident that slowed traffic down for quite some time. A good reminder while driving in Japan to be extra careful. I almost hit a monkey as it skipped across the road. Monkeys are all over the forests but are so secretive its hard to catch a glimpse. If I had hit that monkey it would have been a grave tragedy that none would have ever forgiven me for. But a monkey road kill? Is that good for eating?

Later... katsuo tataki making.

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