Friday, February 27, 2009

I was lucky and the birthday surprise didn't happen till Wednesday!!!

The third teacher (I'm really bad with names) doesn't seem too pleased that his chocolate character has bunny ears. I thought it was cute (^_-)v

Today, Friday, I have off because I am required to be in school on both Saturday and Sunday for graduation ceremony. I'll be bored out of my mind except for the 2 hours that is graduation :P

It's raining outside and I've done mostly nothing all day. It's not so much boring as it is making me lethargic. I need to move around. So despite the weather, I went out for a walk. It was nice and I found a really cute shrine that had airsoft gun bbs all over the ground. Some kids must have been having a blast.

I am content (-^^-)


Thursday, February 26, 2009

It's not polite to blow your nose in public. I do it anyway. I don't care.

Right now is "hay fever" season. So most people are pretty congested. Face masks abound. Well, the woman next to me in the teachers office has been sniffling every 4 seconds. (I'm using my stop watch from the interview tests)

Would it be very rude if I handed her a tissue?

I suppose she could just retort with "Alright, Nina, who's the bigger jackass? The one who sniffles annoyingly? Or the one who times the other with a stopwatch?"

Updates through pictures

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Recently married father of a beautiful 7 month old son and his baby sister showing me how to brush your teeth the Japanese way.

The day before implementing my 5000yen a week budget, I went to an all you can eat Strawberry farm. I had 50 strawberries and felt kinda sick afterwards, but it was so worth it ;)

I didn't have to teach any classes on Monday but I still went to my mountain school for the soul purpose of baking cookies for the students. Wednesday is the last day of classes. This year, they'll be spending their Nina dollars on cookies and personalised CDs. I finally found something that works, and hey! the school pays for it too. Totally win/win!!

While in the kitchen, I was told that it was three teachers birthdays (there are only about 10 teachers left now so this was kind of a big deal). For the cake, the home ec. teacher made some chocolate faces of the birthday people. I was very impressed. Too bad I left before they cut the cake. I told another teacher to get pictures for me. These things really look like them!!!

Last night my Japanese teacher invited me way up into the mountain where she (and one of my students) lived. They have a large rice farm up there. But instead of spraying pesticides all over them, they use ducks to keep the bugs under control. Every winter and spring they have a big duck feast and then get new ducklings in the summer. This was my first time trying duck Shabu Shabu. Shabu shabu is basically raw meat that is swished around in a thin soup for about 3 seconds. Shabu shabu is the sound it makes while you swirl it around in the soup. It was really good!

And finally, tonight's dinner. Pasta with chicken, steamed broccoli and carrots, squash and garlic bread. How's THAT for healthy bitches!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

In one month I'll be going to Sendai to touch base with the host family and look at/apply to the school of my choice. Today is the last day to buy one month in advance discount tickets with the airlines here in Japan (there are only two domestic airlines fyi)

It's gonna cost be about $500 round trip (-.-;) So much for saving money.

If I didn't live on an island I dare say it would be about half as expensive! I'll be thankful to not have to deal with that once I'm gone from Kochi...problem is, after I leave, I'll probably only be traveling to and from Kochi for visits. HA

And for anyone who cares, once you get to a certain price range, all modes of transportation are about the same price. Bus, train or airlines. It doesn't matter once you break the $100-$200 bracket. Now it just is a decision of convenience...


Saturday, February 21, 2009

The interview tests have been going faster than expected. When I first started giving tests two year ago, students were taking so much time that I was having to stay after school with them to finish up. Eventually I started putting a time limit on them. 2 minutes per student. If they finish quickly, they get bonus questions for extra points. If they don't finish then that means they didn't study and I don't have to waste my time waiting for them to hmmm and ssssss about it.

This time around, the students are finishing the test in about 1 minute flat and that includes the bonus questions. I'm surprised! Maybe I made the test too easy....I really don't think so...but it is possible.

Anyway, so I gave the test to three classes yesterday. At the end of the last one, I had a whole 15 minutes left of class to just goof around with the students! So I decided to pull out this "killer wink" game I'd never played before.

Basically, everyone gets a card and stands in a circle. The person who gets a card with a K in it (one person) is now the killer. They have to make eye contact with someone in the circle and wink to kill them. The person can then sit down quietly or make a big scene of their death.

Basically, no one wants to look into anyone else's eyes otherwise they might be killed but the only way to find the killer is to look at who's blinking.

It was a fun game even though it didn't use any English. I don't care.

The problem arose when I realized that not only can most of my students not wink but at least two of the 15 students had eye twitches. So no one could really tell who was winking and who just had a nervous tick! We played the game two times. Both times the killer(both girls) couldn't wink. They could only subtly blink both eyes. I think they attempted killing 5 or 6 people before anyone noticed they were supposed to be dead. On top of that, two boys kept scrunching up their eyes nervously or just, well, twitching!

In the end, not such a good game.

Final thought, my students twitch too much. It happens far more often than I think appropriate. Someone should look into that.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I have been beating my brain trying to think of more things to post about. But life right now is really boring! I don't do anything these days! I go to work then I go home to study Japanese and spend as little money as possible.

School in October is going to cost a fortune and I'd really like to not leave the experience in debt. Which means I've put myself on a 5000yen (little more than $50) a week budget. Do you know how hard that is to stick to?! I've only been doing it since Monday, I've got about 2000yen left to survive the weekend on. I might not make it...

I can't afford Mos burger either! (ToT) Mos Burger is the Japanese McDonald's. I didn't like it at first, but since I've sworn off McD's forever, I find myself more and more addicted to Mos everyday. Thing is, even though it's kinda cheap, it takes around 900yen ($8.50) to satisfy me. And that's IF I don't get myself dessert!

The winter weight is back on, btw, for anyone who cares.

Other than that, my life has been a continuous loop of school, food, study, TV, book, bed. With little to no variation. It's getting depressing actually. I think I officially hate February now. The past three years, February has taken the cake as the worst month of the 12. This years isn't nearly as bad as last years, so that's a plus. But February is the worst and I'll be happy when it's over. And for the record, I think I hate it because of the weather, not because of Vday. Who decided the day of love should be put in such a wretched month?

So, let's see if I can find anything interesting about school to talk about. As of yesterday, I just began interview tests. They will continue every day until the end of next week. If given the choice between interview tests and sitting at my desk bored out of my mind....I think I'd pick the latter. Interview tests are that bad.

200 times to say "What would you like to be in the future?" assuming, of course, that a student doesn't need me to repeat myself.

But to tell the truth, this years students have proved to be much brighter than last years.

Here are two quotes from my more advanced class. They were playing scategories (of sorts) and needed to describe the following words:

Rome - "It's a country in London"
Soap - "It's an item in the bathroom. It's a rock."

Personally, I'm proud of these kids for being able to use any of these vocabulary words! This is a very bright class. Still, they're good for a chuckle.

And that's all for the life of Nina. If I think of something more interesting to write about, I'll be sure to post asap. You may have to wait until I recover from February though.

Monday, February 9, 2009

I went to a Thai party two nights ago. We were required to wear a tie in honor of the "Thai/tie" theme.

I won "worst fashion tie". Which is kinda crap cuz I was looking for something that was going to match my yellow dress that I bought in Thailand. But then Jacob (the host) put it a good way. "Nina, would you ever wear that tie out in public?" No, I guess I wouldn't. And I might just make fun of anyone who did.

My good pal Steven got the award for "most punniest tie". Needless to say, that's a tai snapper he printed out on the school printer ;)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The truth is that I've been thinking about writing a blog entry since I came back from Thailand in early January. But I just can't bring myself to write about it. I just don't want to.

So I won't! Instead, I'm going to write about whatever else I feel like. Hopefully, I'll be writing more now that I've gotten that out of the way :)

(If you wanna know about the Thailand trip, learn how to be a good stalker on Facebook. This'll be good practice.)

Now, what's new? Not much. I've decided not to recontract. The paperwork was sent in Friday. Which means I'll be leaving JET in late July.

My next goal is to enroll in a language school in Sendai. I have a friend who is from there and her family has agreed to let me live with them. I plan to study for about a year and a half. By then, maybe I'll be able to get a job using my Japanese. But I'll wait to cross that bridge when I get there. Right now, I just want to study. And I don't want to teach English...

...Which I think is going to be inevitable. The English teaching business pays well enough here in Japan and since my Japanese isn't really good enough for me to get a job at a cafe or some place cool like that, I might have to get a part time job as an English tutor. *sigh* whatever pays the bills :P

That's all for now. Will write more later...maybe.

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