Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A long hiatus and a brief update

I've not written in over a month due to lack of inspiration, but that doesn't mean nothing has happened. In the past month I have done some traveling, saw my third year students graduate, signed on for a major musical project, and am in the process of enjoying the ephemeral cherry blossoms characteristic of springtime in Japan.

Places Visited

A few weeks ago I went to Tokyo to meet a bunch of friends from the Internet, as you do. Did the usual drinking, clubbing, singing and all that. Had dinner at an Uzbek/Turkish restaurant with belly dancers and hookahs one night. One interesting new experience I had in Tokyo, aside from those which are not fit to write about on a public blog, was going to a cat cafe. It is exactly what it sounds like - you pay a fee of roughly ¥1000 to sit in this big pink salon style room where there are a dozen or so cats sitting around that you can pet and play with, and the staff serves hot beverages to go with your cat. Very quaint, but the sort of suffocating quaint where it's just so sweet that you feel miserably depressed.

I also went to Nagasaki with Walter for a long weekend. I was unpleasantly surprised to see that the city itself was kind of drab and run-down, with only its natural geography and of course the irresistible allure of the atomic bomb memorial museum and Peace Park to draw in tourists. I don't know what I expected from Nagasaki but I felt a little disappointed; perhaps I expected it would be more sunny and California-esque the way Sasebo is. Did the obligatory visit to the atomic bomb museum; it was quite well done and lacked any sort of intrusive political agenda aside from (somewhat obviously) being pro-nuclear disarmament. I met an old woman in the Peace Park near the epicenter of the bombing who was a survivor, she was five years old when Nagasaki was bombed and remembered that there used to be a cherry tomato patch where it fell.

Graduation and Staff Changes

Not much to report here. The third years graduated, which was pretty bittersweet since they were my favorite year of students. I hope they do well for themselves and don't all end up working at the Trial (fake Wal-Mart) in Tagawa. A couple of them email me sometimes but it's really a fool's hope to think I can really keep in touch with anyone for that long.

As mandated by the stupid Troglodyte Council of Retards (prefectural Board of Education), the carnival lottery system has spoken and we are undergoing major staff changes from April 1. This year the principal and BOTH vice principals are changing, as well as three English teachers and a whole bunch of other teachers. The entire office staff downstairs are changing too. While I welcome new coworkers who are possibly better than their predecessors, it's pretty awful that my favorite English teacher is being transferred. I will never understand this crap-chute system of moving employees around.

Musical Endeavors

I signed on to play violin at a charity concert in June. It's being held at the Fukuoka Christian Center for the sake of decent acoustics and performance hall space. Apparently I am collaborating with someone else, who knew. My ideas for what to play are as follows, and definitely still a work in progress....

-Sonata for Violin and Piano in A, Cesar Franck, Mvmts III and/or IV - solo violin
-Arirang (Korean folk song) - solo violin
-Sea Chantey/Metallica medley - violin and guitar
-Cover of "Clovenhoof" by Tiamat - violin and guitar

Aside from the charity concert I am also thinking of shattering the glass walls preventing me and Walter from playing music together. We're both better than terrible at what we do, and could probably be a formidable for-fun stage act. Miho is organizing a party with local musicians for the end of May and I'd like to offer my goods and services to that.


It is fucking cold this year. Today the high is supposed to be 12 and the low a pathetic 2. I wore my heavy wool trenchcoat to work today and was still stupidly cold on the walk this morning. Cut the bullshit please, I don't want to sit around looking at cherry blossoms wrapped in fifteen blankets and shivering. I did go to a lovely nighttime event in Kumamoto this past weekend, something of a festival of cherry blossoms and 8,000 lit candles in a temple on a hill.

Fucking badasses.

Oh I totally forgot to mention Sunday was the Bota Rock 2010 rock festival in Tagawa. As a musical event it was spectacularly good, and possibly even better for straight up people watching. Toothless old men with missing fingers, aging bar hostesses without panties, junior high school kids in uniform, and all varieties of rockabillies and pompadour-sporting greasers flung themselves around to 7 bands ranging from Celine Dion-esque diva solo singers to a junior high school band covering the Ventures and a working-class doo-wop/boogie outfit who actually went the distance and wrote a catchy song about the local private train line. Unforgettably fun time, reminded me that rock and roll is not dead. And I will be updating this post with photos.