Happy Thanksgiving to all those in the country that celebrates it. What did I have for Thanksgiving. A cold and some yellow Thai curry. It was good, but I would have preferred some turkey and mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, that sort of thing. By the time next Thanksgiving comes around, I'll be famished for that sort of food, I imagine.
Had a cold/fever thing going on on Wednesday, so I didn't go to school. Had to teach at an elementary school on Thursday, but all my materials were at the junior high because I hadn't gone in on Wednesday, so I had to drive to the junior high first, then run over to the elementary. I was in a rush and pressed for time, and when I ran into the copy room Fujita sensei and Kyoto sensei (vice-principal) were making copies at two of the machines. Fujita sensei asked me if something was wrong, and I quickly said back in Japanese that I'd forgotten my things, and Kyoto sensei whirled around with a suprised look on his face and said, "Chris san, daijyobu desu ka?" (Are you okay? Is everything all right? etc/). I told him it was, but it was sort of funny. The last time he tried to speak to me (he can't speak English) I could barely understand him. All the teachers had gone to a different school for a meeting at the end of the day. I still had an hour to go before I could leave, but he had said something to me and all I'd been able to catch was shigoto (work/job) and accident and (ki o tsukette). It was raining out and all I could figure was that he was saying work was over and I could go home, but to be careful not to get into an accident since the roads were bad. This is of course what I *wanted* to hear as well, and I figured if it wasn't what he was actually saying I could just play dumb gaijin. I *was* right and he had been telling me that, but I know I'd looked like I didn't understand that day and just said, "honto?" really? and "doomo" thanks, as an answer. Which is my standard issue response for when I don't understand anything. But on Thursday he was so funny when he heard me make a few actual sentences. Then yesterday one of the ninth graders stopped me by a door Kyoto sensei was fixing and said he heard I was sick, and I told him Yoku narimashita (I got better) and Kyoto sensei did another doubletake. The unfortunate thing in all of this is that he's probably going to assume I can hold a conversation with him and attempt to do so again at some point in the near future, where I'll blink a lot and say "honto" and "doomo" whenever it *feels* appropriate. hehe.
Seriously, though, my Japanese is getting better by leaps and bounds sometimes, and other days it feels like I can't understand a thing. I've decided some of it relates to what mood I'm in, and some of it depends on who's speaking to me. Some people are very clear and I understand them easily. Some speak too fast and mash their words together, so I can't get definite beginning and ends to what they're saying. I often will understand the beginning and end of some people's sentences, but won't get any of the middle. Little kids are hard to understand because it's like they have a seperate language. They use kid slang and cut out the formal articles and endings to verbs I'm learning, and generally have these voices that are sort of well, you know, little kid voices, blah blah blah blahing, and everything runs together. I think little kids are the hardest speakers for me to understand.
In any case, I have a few more pictures from my trip to Hakone and Kamakura with my friends. The trip was a lot of fun. I saw some new things and new scenery.
This is a kuro tamago (black egg) which we ate in Hell, a place in the mountains where they boil the eggs in natural hotsprings which turn them black. I think because of the high sulfur content in the water maybe? Anyway, if you eat one of the black eggs of Hell they are supposed to grant you an extra seven years of life.
So I ate two.
Here's the color version of the picture Kevin touched up of me in front of the koi pond.
And a picture of me bathing the Buddha at the top of the mountains.
Oh, and a pic from the beginning of the month on the day after the election. My contribution to the writers with drinks movement.