So the culture festival was fun! The ESS club, after all of our hard work, had just 3 people come to watch their play....!! They actually did a much better job than I thought they would, but Richard (one of 3 people that saw the play) said it was pretty bad.
The highlight of the culture festival was definitely one of the boys from ESS club in his class dance. He had been practicing the dance during the breaks of the ESS practices, and I thought he looked pretty funny. I mean, the dance was very feminine, and he is 18 years old.... with no rhythm.... anyway, on the day of the culture festival he was the centre of his dance... right in the middle of the big stage, wearing a skirt, a blonde wig, and a pink shirt padded with fake breasts. It was hilarious. I couldn't help but snort I was laughing so hard. It was the best laugh I have had all year. He danced his little heart out. Despite the silliness of his costume, he was dancing so seriously, and with such passion.... ahh... I am laughing just thinking about it.
I wish I could have controlled myself for long enough to actually record some video. All I have are some blurred photos.
Richard came to the culture festival, and just about every single student that walked past us on the day asked if he was my boyfriend!!!! As soon as I said he was my brother, they all agreed he looked just like me...... sheesh.
Last weekend was the Yukata Matsuri in Himeji. I noticed an interesting development at the festival: the fashion of the traditional costumes is changing. Also, how the costumes are worn. A load of girls had kind of slutted their Yukatas up by wearing it off the shoulder. Both shoulders down, so it showed what cleavage they had, and their (mainly clear) bra straps. They looked so incredibly tacky. Another difference was the obi (the belts on the Yukata). A whole heap of girls had lace obi, instead of the traditional thick cotton (?) ones. I don't think the lace looked too bad. I also noticed a lot more girls wearing girl (pink) versions of the men's summer outfits (jinbei). In himeji, the marijuana print jinbei are pretty popular.... although I saw them last year as well.
On Saturday I had my last adult class. I figured as I only have 4 weekends left in Japan, I shouldn't be spending it in classes! It was sad to say goodbye to the class members. They have been so great to me since I have been here. We actually had a game of tennis together. I was pretty rubbish at it. I took Catherine with me; who was actually pretty good and showed me up a bit. A few of the members are coming to Perth in January next year, which I am very happy about. I can't wait to show them around town. We have been reading "Sally's Story", by Sally Morgan, in class, which describes a lot of the area around the Swan River, so they all can't wait to get there!
I have cancelled my gym membership. It ends on the 30th of June. I am going tomorrow (last time). It is so sad that everything is wrapping up here. I HATE goodbyes!!! But I am also so excited about going home. Big mixed feelings! I guess at this stage I am most excited about getting home than sad about saying goodbye. It was my niece Holly's first birthday on Saturday, and I was pretty sad to miss that. Also it was my friend Laura's wedding party on Sunday, which I also missed. So being home I will get to celebrate these milestones!
Ahh just thinking now about all the things to do when I get home!!!! See the family, hang out with friends, meet friends' children, meet friends' new boyfriends/partners, set up a new home, START A NEW CAREER!!! I just can't wait!!
I was just reading through some of my first blog entries. I can't believe how much I have changed in the past couple of years! I had forgotten how bad school was when I first arrived; and how I just had no patience for a few of my coworkers. And what a whinger!!!
It has also come to my attention that in just about every second blog I mention drinking and getting drunk. I will resist the urge to write about EVERY time I get drunk, from now on. For the whole 6 weeks left of this blog.
I organised a BBQ at the river last night... the weather was PERFECT. The rainy season is meant to have started, but its been fine for the past couple of days.
Oh did I mention the ESS Club is doing a play in English for the upcoming Culture Festival? It's really cutting into my free time at the moment. The students wrote the script themselves... its based on The Pirates of the Caribbean. Actually, I don't understand what is going on in most of it..... I think it is going to be hilarious.
I have my ticket booked home for the 1st of August. I don't know my exact itinerary yet, but I do know I am going via Singapore! I'm hoping I get back in time to see Helen and Holly before they fly out to Thailand!
At first the thought of going home kind of scared me, if I have to be completely honest. Things like getting a new place to live and a new job feel a bit daunting.... they just add to the stress of packing everything up here. And I have managed to accumulate so much stuff. A lot of junk, but also a lot of gifts from various people and souvenires from trips etc. But now I am in full throttle pack stuff up mode... I have found a fairly cheap shipping company, and am now sorting through everything. I've thrown out 2 big bags of clothes..... slowly my house is getting less cluttered!!
And I am so excited about going home. I just feel like everything is going to be so much easier there. At first I guess its going to be difficult, but once the first couple of months are over and I'll have a job and a place... life is going to be sweet! I'll be close to my whole family. And all my friends will be there! And I won't live in a freezing cold house in Winter, or a sweat box in Summer. And when I have to speak to people on the phone, it will all be in sweet, easy English. I won't have to worry about any lanuage barriers, or cultural misunderstandings. I'll be able to go to restaurants and read the WHOLE menu... just loads of little things over here that I have grown used to the challenge of... there will be absolutely no challenge in Australia. Ahhh life is going to be easy!
I have a couple of interviews coming up for some graduate programs that I applied for, so I feel really confident that I am going to be able to get a job that I enjoy. I am pretty excited at the prospect of starting my career, finally!
Yeah, I'm excited about going home.
Recently B had a bit of a disaster turned good. He rang me up one Sunday morning (I was staying at Richards house after another all night binge drinking session in Kobe) all panicked... he had had a car accident. I thought that he had totalled both cars from the sound of his voice. He was really freaking out. He couldn't understand what the other driver was saying and really didn't know what to do. Luckily for him, we have excellent insurance. I paid a little extra on the insurance to buy it through one of my adult students. Anyway, I phoned the insurance broker (who speaks English having spent 3 years on a cruise ship going around the Greek isles etc lucky thing!) who rang B back to tell him what to do. Then my student rocked up (Sunday morning!!!) to the scene of the accident and sorted EVERYTHING out. By the time I made it to where B was, everything was done. And our hire car wasn't damaged at all. Kumeo (friend, insurance guy and member of my adult conversation class) filled out all the paper work, and told the police and the other driver that if they had any more problems to call him directly. The other day Kumeo said that the insurance claim was all finished up. The repairs on the other car cost about 90,000yen ($900) plus they hired a car for a day while their car was being repaired for about 30,000yen ($300... my car costs 10,000yen a MONTH to lease...). There was no personal injury (which Kumeo was stoked about... he rang up and was so excited on the phone) costs. Actually, the only damage B did to the other car was knock their bumper off. So so so so happy and relieved that we had such good insurance! The accident didn't cost us a single yen in the end- just our (Japanese) no claim bonus.
I had an amazing time at USJ (Universal Studios Japan). It was pretty expensive, but I think it was worth every Yenny! The gate fee was about 5500yen ($60) and then we paid extra to get express passes on the rides. The express pass was about 4000yen. I highly recommend it. Most of the rides had an estimated waiting time of about 50 minutes each; but with the express pass you get to jump the queues. It felt so good to walk past the long lines of waiting people and just hop onto the rides.
My favourite ride was the ET ride. You went around a few different scenes from the movie on a bike suspended from the air. You know that bit in ET when they fly over the city and past the moon? That was the highlight of my whole day at USJ. That and the Hollywood Rollercoaster and the Jurassic Park ride (which B and I went on twice). We also watched part of the Wicked musical. It was a bit strange in Half Japanese Half English.... and I must say from the scenes they chose to show that it looked like a big gay love affair between Glinda and Elphaba. The girl that was playing Elphaba had a really nice voice, but the Japanese Glinda made me want to tear my ears out. Some voices are just not suited to microphones and massive speakers! (demonstrated periodically by me at Karaoke).
What else has been going on in the Pan recently? I have become really really addicted to facebook. SHocking. I have become a bit of an internet stalker of friends from high school.... mwahah! It's so interesting to see what everyone has been up to. It seems that from my year at school everyone is really successful; traveling heaps and have really great jobs. So very very humbling! And boy have they reproduced...! I suppose we are actually adults. But when did that happen?
Last weekend B had a gig in Sannomiya again. The Nightfillers are getting so great to watch live. They have about 5 more gigs before we all go back to Perth. Unfortunately their drummer will be staying in Japan, so I don't know what's going to happen when we get back to Perth. They are currently trying to get a CD together- mixing it themselves which seems to be a long process as they never seem to be happy with the sound of the different mixes! It may have something to do with the amount of beer consumed during the mixing process. Rock stars! They are all the same!
So the last few weeks have been full of fun!
It was Golden Week at the beginning of May, so to celebrate B, Richard, Leighann and I went down to Shikoku for a camping beach holiday. We stayed at a place called "Toyo Town" in Kochi prefecture. It was right on the beach. It was lovely. We had beautiful weather for most of the time we were down there. It only rained on one day, and that just gave me a chance to read a book- so relaxing. I felt like it was the last weekend where I could truly relax... from now on I have to start getting all my stuff together to return back to Aus. I am currently packing all of my winter gear into boxes to send. And applying for jobs which is very time-consuming!
On the last day of our Shikoku holiday, I managed to get the worst sunburn I have had since I was about 8. In fact, I had forgotten how uncomfortable sunburn can be. My legs were so burnt that I could barely walk. I actually had to ask a teacher to cover one of my classes as it was just too painful. That was a few weeks ago now, and since my legs have almost completely peeled.
And thats not even the best burn I have had this month. No. Silly me managed to spill a bowl of very bloody hot stew on my lap... right onto my thin pants. The stew soaked straight through and immediately started burning me. In my rush to rescue myself from said hot stew, I managed to also burn my hand. B was sitting next to me when it happened, and he settled me down long enough to pull my pants off for me. I got 2nd degree burns on my legs!! I had to go to the hospital and everything. Very embarrassing given the location of the burns. Actually, the nurse thought I had burnt my legs from top to bottom as my sunburn was still in all of its pink glory. In fact, the burns were just above my sunburn line. You can imagine the state of my legs... no short shorts this year. I have a big pussy burn on my leg now... its not healing as well as it should I think. Stupid me! (although it is in a really awkward spot....)
School is going well. I have started telling all the students that I am leaving soon, and they are all acting suitably devastated. This years first year students are so sweet, and I'm actually going to be sad to leave them. The second year class has about 3 students that are interested in English, and 22 students that thought my classes last year were fun so decided to take OC again (Read: 22 students saw an opportunity to slack off and play games for 2 English classes a week). It's really hard to get them to do any work at all.
Anyway, going to pick B up from the station now!
We are taking the day off work tomorrow to go to Universal Studios.... yay! Its exam time so I have no classes... and I have 12 days of leave left to take in the next two months!!