Sunday, August 8, 2010

Taikos, Too much Talk, Tatami, and Thrills

Friday was boring at the BOE but I have come to expect that. In the afternoon I was asked to help a co-worker move some taiko drums for the weekend. I think every JET and their mother joins a taiko club at some point. I wonder if I'll become a statistic myself but I've been thinking no I won't. Anyway, I had no idea what they were asking me to help with until someone said the word for carry. Then it all made sense. But boy oh boy the guy I was helping is very deficient in character and personality. The cigarettes he smokes and the writhing sighs and grunts of pain are about the only distinguishing characteristics. I thought he died at his desk during lunch time. Anyway, we had to move six drums. The first one we carried together but I noticed they were pretty light so I proceeded to man handle the rest of the lot while he carried the little carts they were sitting on. Basically I did all the work to give him a break from the hard office work I see everyone doing every day.... I'm pretty sure the BOE office manager guy thought I was crazy for doing it by myself but he speaks intelligible Japanese at warp speed so I won't even consider what he said. He doesn't really pay attention to me in the office either. He will probably forget my name by the time I'm done here. The only redeeming factor is his witch cackle laugh. It's something.

The one other good thing about the BOE is the twice daily ice coffee they make. It's probably instant coffee but what I don't know, doesn't hurt me so much. Man that ice coffee gets me through.

Saturday was a pretty good day. Christian, the ALT from Hongawa up north, drove down and picked me up. We were originally going to go back north to a super market and do some shopping but plans changed. Christian decided to drive down and meet up with the other new ALT and take us into Kochi. Christian picked me up and then we grabbed Hyemi in Ino. Christian's favorite place to eat had closed so we ended up at the mall in Kochi to eat something for lunch. The three of us walked around the mall with nothing really in mind to do. We did look at ovens with Hyemi and Christian bought groceries. I should have bought somethings myself but I forgot. Kochi City is pretty mundane but I suppose not in a bad way. It's just a smaller Japanese city. I doubt I will spend much time there unless something special is happening. To be honest, I like being away from there.

Christian took us to the coast on the south side of the city. It looks nice. I look forward to when I have a car and I can drive the coast some more. The beach there is pebbles and not sand. But I assume there are some beaches with sand somewhere. The coast is splendid with the small mountains and the ocean together. It was good just to be with some people for the day and hang out. It helps keep us all sane.

/end kind of boring update but the next part might not be any better

So today I watched 'The OC' for most of the morning, trying to avoid the house work I have slated for myself. I don't know what to do with most of the stuff around here. What makes it even more difficult is the garbage sorting system so I can't just throw out everything. I am going to have to wait for the bigger stuff like carpets and things I want gone.

Two of the rooms here have carpet squares down in them but they are pretty nasty and old. Stains of different kinds which makes me wonder just what was going on... How do you get carpet SO DIRTY? That answer is easy. You dump stuff on it. I can't even guess the age on these pieces of carpet. I was hesitant to take them out because there are straw tatami mats underneath. In the room I sleep in they are kind of old and have paint and other marks on them. In the other room the mats are relatively new and I thought I could just move them over to the sleeping room. Too bad I didn't realize the newer ones were smaller sections and wouldn't fit. The good thing is that the nasty carpet isn't in those rooms anymore. Bad thing is that they are now out in my stairwell because I have nowhere else to put them. Pickup for big items is in December so it looks like I'm waiting for awhile.

Because it has been humid and kind of gross in general around here the carpets haven't bothered me much. Yet, I figure to make this place more like home I need to get things cleaned up and not just live in the tattered remains of previous souls. I think just having tatami in my sleeping room will be good. I may even buy new tatami mats after I make some money but the price might be too much. That would make the room feel really good. Unfortunately in the living room I still have another old piece of carpet. I plan to toss this as well and buy a new rug or piece of carpet to put down.

The kitchen area still needs work as well. Just cleaning out shelves and throwing things away. I might rearrange it but I haven't figured out where the shelves and everything should go. I don't want to put pots and pans underneath the sink. That cabinet smells stale and is dirty. However, space is limited so I'm going to have to get creative. I might lay some bamboo slats in there. That might smell better and keep things off the dirty old wood.

At this point I'm sure you are oh so thrilled to have read about my house keeping adventures. You probably fell asleep before you even got here.

I really need to go to the store and buy food. My provisions are running thin. I'm not surprised I have let this happen. It's part of my survival mindset. I like to see what I can get by with rather than trying to live with excess. This is even more true now that I'm on my own here. Now before you freak out and think I'm out of my mind. I'm still EATING and not starving, haha. I made an omelet for dinner with green onion and regular onion. Threw some cooked bacon in and had a nice meal.

The board of education this week is probably going to be another test of mental survival. On Monday I should be getting a bank account setup after I get my foreign resident card. That also means a cellphone soon. Can't say I have too many numbers for a cellphone though. From the confusing explanation my supervisor gave me, I think I'm driving back from Ino by myself or something. That will be fun. Yeah just hand those keys over to me and let me drive the BOE van. I'll tear up the 194 all the way home at the break neck speed of 50kmph. They did a good job of scaring me about getting a speeding ticket in the BOE van because people can so easily recognize what it is associated with. But it would be bad to get caught speeding even in your own car because the ticket goes to your workplace. So everyone finds out about it and then you have to apologize. Talk about brutal right? Lachlan told me the police here are like kittens so if you are polite you can usually talk your way out of things. I should really think about a crimi... I mean a respectable line of work.

And with that, I believe the Sakamoto Ryoma drama is coming on. I can't earn Kochi-cred if I don't know Ryoma. Word.

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