Thinking Backwards

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It took a little bit of backwards thinking to realize how ridiculous some of the things I see every day are. Things that you would just NEVER see in America but yet I see everyday here in Japan.

A student from the mountain school got in a small bit of trouble today. I wouldn't say so much "trouble" as really just getting made fun of by the teachers.

Apparently, in art class, he took a nice big chunk of molding clay and fashioned himself a penis. I don't know what he did with it in class, but it ended up on one of the teachers desks. When I asked one of them what everyone was laughing at, she couldn't actually put it into words. She told me to just go over and look for myself. I thought it was kind of funny really. And so did all the other teachers. They made jokes about how the poor art teacher must feel like he's been sexually harassed! In the end, no one saw it as more than a joke and they told him not to do it again and sent him on his way.

Then I got to thinking, what would the teachers do in America? It's hard to say. No one I knew in high school ever did anything like that, lest they be called a raging pervert who needed therapy. And in fact, I think that's what they would do! I think if an American student molded a penis out of clay like my Japanese student did, the teacher would send him straight to the counselors office!

I mean really, for a Japanese student to do something like this is not a big deal. But it's just not a part of American culture. There's probably something very wrong with you if you do something like that!

Which then got me thinking, what else is in Japanese culture that is so common but would put you right into a straight jacket back home.

Well, let's see, most of my students will doodle on their worksheets and I'd say about 65% are of anime characters, 10% are notes to their friends and the, 5% is random and the other 20% is of pooh! And not the Disney character! Think about it! That's more pooh doodles than notes to their friends!

Just search for "unchi" or rather "うんち" and you'll see what I'm talking about.

But that's not all, they have whole products devoted to pooh. Pooh hats, pooh necklaces, pooh dish bowls, pooh WHATEVER!

Next we have Marimokkori man. Marimo is a green ball of algae. Mokkori means crotch. Put those two together and you get the ever popular Marimokkori Man!!!

I don't see this behavior as being wrong. I just finally realized how DIFFERENT it is from American culture. An American doctor would have a field day with the Japanese....especially one who is a fan of Freud's work ;)

Not ME!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

So I finally got a recording of my dance!!!

...because I wasn't in it (ToT)

After the Yosakoi festival, the teams generally continue to dance a couple a times a year at special events. I was pretty burned out by the end of it so I didn't sign up for any of these extra dances but I'm really regretting that now!!!

Anyway, this past weekend was the Kokadai festival so got a chance to see how we actually looked from the audience point of view.

Please keep in mind that the remaining team members (less than half of the original count) only practiced once before the performance. As apposed to practicing for 2 months before the big day. Also, try to watch the main leader of the group. He's a little hard to spot at first but after they really get into the dance he's very easy to see. He's in the front row of adult dancers and he's holding lanterns, not naruko (clackers) He's very dramatic and cool looking (^^)v

To Korea! Hiroshima! THE DENTIST!!!

Friday, October 17, 2008

I haven't been busy. I have been close to bored...but not quite there yet. It's exactly where I want to be!
(Happy Nina on her couch in front of the TV)
These days I spend my weeks "teaching" and studying Japanese. I go to Japanese class twice a week and I LOVE IT! My teacher is awesome and we joke around and have a great time. The lessons are supposed to last an hour but always go over. I'm just having too much fun speaking in Japanese! Things are FINALLY clicking...and it only took....years (O.o;)

SO, other than being relaxed on my couch, this past month I have been all over the place.

FIRST, I went to Korea! I took a four day weekend, spend two of them traveling :P and spent the other two in Seoul where I ate tons of Kimchi and met some super friendly Korean men ;) It makes me bitter that Japanese men aren't as at outgoing (T.T)

NEXT, last weekend I went to Hiroshima...yet again. Hiroshima isn't exactly that close to where I am and it's not the best city in all of Japan either. But for some reason I've been there three times and two of those times were in the last 4 months :P Go figure. The reason I went to Hiroshima was for the yummy Sake Festival! They had sake from all over Japan and for $20 I bought myself a commemorative sake cup and drank to my hearts content!

I decided that before drinking though, I'd see if there wasn't a way to prevent a horrible hang over. Sake is HORRIBLE for hang overs :P

The Japanese have this little ginger drink in a tiny gold bottle that can be found at any convenience store. I was told it would help so I drank one before going into the sake pool. I didn't end up getting home until 4 in the morning! But by 8am I was awake and ready to conquer the day. Granted, I went to bed the next night around 9pm...still, I think I'll be drinking much more of that gold ginger magic in the future :D

FINALLY, today I had a holiday from work because I worked on a Saturday a couple of weeks ago. So I took this time to finally go to the dentist. I've had this problem with my teeth from brushing too much, the wrong way and with the wrong tooth brush :P I was afraid that the dentists here would pull the teeth or do something crazy! I've heard of too many horror stories about dentists both in Japan AND America!!!

So I bit the bullet and went in with my supervisor in tow. The dentist looked at my teeth and said "huh, you've been brushing the wrong way". 5 minutes into his examination of my teeth I realized that he wasn't examining them at all! He was putting some sort of SOMETHING all over them!!!

And that was it. My supervisor didn't really do much. The dentist didn't do much. My teeth feel great and I'm only 710yen the poorer...that's about $7. I lurv Japan!

In conclusion, I have heard far too many horror doctor stories to feel comfortable about going to one here in Japan. However, of all my doctor visits, which have been many, they have all been amazingly productive and pleasant. I highly recommend getting sick in Japan. They take good care of you (^^)v

Oh, and my garden has grown...

And so has that bean...

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