Some hate how the days get shorter this time of year but I like how everything falls into solace much earlier. People scurry back into their homes and wait for morning to descend once again.
I had to prepare some activities for the first and second year students on Friday. The problem was that my teacher told the first year kids we were playing a game when in fact I did not make a game. They weren't the slightest bit happy about this development. I don't even know if the teacher was pleased. I created a dialogue with blanks they had to fill in with the intention of the students performing it after they finished. I used several words the students know so that didn't help my cause but I wanted to make a conversation that wasn't so bland and dry as the textbook. Whoever wrote that book probably drank a couple liters of cheap sake, ate some alphabet soup, threw it up on the sidewalk, and then scraped it up to create the book. In the end the students actually behaved fairly well and tried to complete the worksheet which was surprising given their track record. I was worried they wouldn't even touch it. I'm very curious to see them act their dialogues out. They will probably do this with more heart than the worksheets they love so much.
The teacher up north of me was gracious to invite me to go shopping in the city on Saturday. I almost declined because I wanted to go hiking. However, the weather looked to be unimpressive. It ended up being a cloudy and gloomy day which would have left me feeling depressed had I spent the day hiking. We picked up another teacher in the city and she came shopping with us. I wanted to get at least one other piece of warm clothing so that is the main reason I decided to go. I've been telling my coworkers how I only have one sweatshirt that is basically my entire winter wardrobe. Their responses are mostly of bewilderment and then they offer advice where I should purchase warm clothes. I bought a black hooded sweatshirt and called it at that. I couldn't bring myself to buy or spend any more money on clothes no matter how hard I tried. My wallet told me that I should see how far I can get with just this extra sweatshirt.
We spent the better half of the day wandering around looking at shops. My mind spent the better half of the day in a blender of foam and fluff. Shopping and I don't get along so well on a psychological level and this was confounded by the visual stimulation of bizarre Japanese fashion and human consumerism. I loathe watching masses of people buy things and shop. There are lots of interesting people to look at though. It seems that there is a current fashion trend where girls clip faux raccoon or fox tails on their purses. Really? Yes really. It might not be that widespread but I like to think it is. Young Japanese girls, elementary school age, sometimes wear rather inappropriate clothing. This is mostly in the vein of miniskirts that are too short. It is unsettling that parents allow this to happen. It is so untasteful. The last thing society needs to be doing is reinforcing the sexualization of young women from such an early age. I see nothing good coming out of that. There isn't much to mediate this problem but maybe nobody sees it as one. This is all the better for businesses who will prey upon girls as they grow up and exploit their need to look pretty and be better than everyone else. It is okay for a girl to be modest because her true beauty will shine through that if given the chance. Unfortunately everything in the world says the opposite. Nothing new.
My latest pizza creation made me aware of two things. I won't trust Japanese mozzarella cheese until I taste it and I'm going to have to cook my pizza for an hour in the ridiculous microwave convection oven I have. Pizza was decent but way undercooked in the crust. I better get things squared away before I have to make one for Yoko's family. I think they have an oven though so I'm good there. I'm going to start my pizza blog back up soon seeing as I've been making more pizzas lately. I like charting success and failure. It is enjoyable to see where I've come from. However, I don't even know if I've really come that far. It might just be the limitations I'm working with that don't give me the results I'm used to.
Today, Sunday, I worked at the local maple leaf festival. It takes place up in the hills at a local park. There is a wide open amphitheater type place with a stage. I told my supervisor a month ago I would work at the event because I was probably going to attend anyway. The benefit is that I can take a day off at another time in exchange for "working". I was assigned to help carry taiko drums for the ensemble that was performing. My job was a complete farce because there were so many people already around to help. I didn't touch the drums. Another ALT was supposed to be there but he was sick. I don't prefer working at these events because it is hard to talk to people. Nobody told me what i should be doing either. On the upside of things, I've been following a local blog a guy writes about the area I live in and places to visit. He found me today and introduced himself. Seems like a pretty solid guy. Not too much older than me which is a blessing in these parts. He works for the Ino town office making sightseeing maps and such. He said we should go hiking together sometime. He only lives about 5 or 6km down the road from me as well. I hope we can meet up sometime and hang out. I said I made pizza last night and he immediately said we should have a pizza party. Hah well my pizza isn't ready for that unfortunately. I like the offer though so I'll try to work towards that. I was so glad when the festival ended. I just wanted to go home and sleep. Funny thing is that no matter how tired I am or how much I think about sleeping, whenever I get home I never take a nap or sleep.
I think that my writing is getting too lifey lifey. Might have to tone that down a bit. But I write more for those of you who read than myself. Therefore, I like to convey what life is like from that perspective. I can always drift back into snow storms of prose.