Published: February 1st 2007February 1st 2007
Robin, Sophie, Spencer and Curtis on our 12km walk in Nagashima.
After a week of inexplicable depression, my mood, like the weather has improved greatly today. As the weekend draws near this week keeps getting more exciting. My weekends are always fun and this one will not be an exception. After several active weekends in various cities in the prefecture (including a 30km walk in Ibusuki - see photos), my friends and I have decided to relax in the city for this one. Even though it involves a few hours of travel for me, once I get to Kagoshima we’ll be eating out, watching movies and sleeping in…and maybe going for a jog or two.
Today, being the first of the month, it is also moving day for me! As I was packing up my belongings during my lunch breaks and free periods this week, I vaguely thought that it would be so much easier just to stay in my old house. It seems to be rat-free now, although I haven’t spent more than 2 hours there in the last 2 weeks; but I’m sure that come spring the spiders and geckoes will resume their residency and I don’t want to be there for that. As I mentioned before, my new
As seen from the road we walked in Nagashima.
place is so nice (despite being smaller than my old house) and better located, I’m sure it will be worth all the effort it is taking to get myself moved up there. I will post photos as soon as I get set up.
This month is actually bringing lots of change. Aside from my living quarters, my schedule is also changing at school. Unlike Canada where our school year finishes in June and starts in September, these guys move up to the next grade in April. My third year students are all getting ready to go to university now, acquiring drivers’ licenses and studying for entrance exams, and they have stopped having classes. Since I have been assigned to the 2nd and 3rd year writing classes I now have about half the course-load I had before.
This is bittersweet for me - the extra time will allow me to focus on making my 2nd year classes more fun but I can’t deny that the 3rd year students are my favourites. Maybe this is true of any grade 12 class, but it seems to me that every student in that grade is respectful and attentive, even if they don’t
Starting the Nanohana Walk at 7:30am
really like English class. They are obviously ready to take on the world. This is hardly true for my second years (who are in grade 11) some of whom are regularly disruptive, rude and sometimes even mean in class. I wonder if the two week spring break they have between the end of this semester in March and the beginning of the next one in April will make them any more like the current 3rd years. I can only hope so for the next ALT’s sake.
I would like to leave this entry on that happy note, but I want to mention something that has scandalized Japanese women in the last couple of days. I wonder if this made world news (did you hear about it in Canada?) or whether it was only in Japanese headlines. Hakuo Yanagisawa, the Japanese minister of health, labour and welfare recently made a speech in which he described women as “birth-giving machines.” Can you believe that?! It will be important for women here to have more children if they want to keep the population from dropping, but I hardly think that was an apt descriptor for their roles in the future of Japan.
Rows of cabbage along our walking route.
Female members of three opposing parties asked for the minister’s resignation but while the prime minister says he disagrees with the comments he won’t fire Yanagisawa. I know, “we all make mistakes,” and maybe, as this guy claims, the statement wasn’t a reflection of his true feelings. But I still think that this could be a good opportunity for the prime minister to show that his party is forward-thinking and will not tolerate derogatory comments from its members. It will be very disappointing if this is just swept under the rug.
Just a little food for thought…I can’t complain about my own situation anymore since my coworker’s change in attitude seems permanent, but I can’t ignore that gender inequality is still an issue here either.
PS It's too late for me to figure out how to incorporate this into the main body: All my belongings were moved in one trip from my old house to my new apartment thanks to a team effort by the English Department at school (really, EVERYONE was involved). This included all my furniture, clothing, random junk and appliances, including my fridge and washing machine. I was so touched by their help,
I'd throw them a party if my place weren't so small. Looks like I'll be doing some baking this weekend too!
There are more photos below