Thursday, 20 May 2010

Mushi mushi

It has begun. The trademark uncomfortable humidity of Japanese summer is upon us.

I have such strong physical associations with spring and summer in Japan - much stronger than any I have back home where the weather is fairly mild all year round. When spring comes here, the air smells different. It feels different, especially when the humidity rises, and you're dressed in shorts and t-shirt (in sharp contrast to most of the Japanese) and freeze when you step into a convenience store or an ATM vestibule because of the aircon. Every summer I'm reminded so strongly of what it felt like to have just arrived here - not knowing where any other JETs lived, not knowing how to get anywhere other than school and the supermarket, not knowing quite what to do with myself. And then hot summer nights, where you never feel cold and you need the aircon on just to get to sleep, and I'm reminded of night-time matsuri (festivals), and dancing Awa Odori for the first time. The physical sensation of summer is so strongly entwined with the memory of it that I'm made to look back without really intending to, and now, on the verge of the end of my time here, so it's a little sad.

But I've said goodbye to so many friends already, that it only makes sense to graduate from this weird JET/ALT world.

But before I do, let's look at a few more snapshots from my life.
This is Kagikou, my Wednesday-Thursday school. Forgive the dreary sky in this shot compared with the pictures I took of the other schools. It only partially conveys how I feel about working here...
Peeking through to the school's archery range - friggin' ARCHERY, Ishizu! If they'd had this at my school maybe I would have been interested in extra-curricular activities. Now, this isn't to be confused with kyuudou, which is Japanese archery and uses a longer and straighter (I believe) bow than western archery.
And this...THIS is from the English textbook they use with with Kagikou first years. I think it serves both as a grammar and an OC (Oral Communication) textbook. You see what I'm up against? Who wrote this thing? Who the hell says, "Well, I'll do so." in response to anything? I don't believe for one second that a native English speaker was anywhere in the vicinity when this dialogue was conceived. It sounds like a couple of robots talking. (Now imagining Tom as Glados from Portal).

Exams started at Kagikou yesterday, so there was no chance of me having anything to do. Today was similar, and faced with hours of emptiness I actually looked forward to be able to leave and go for an appointment with my tattoo artist:
It says something about the level of boredom when you would rather spend two hours being stabbed in the back by a motorised needle. Still, worth it. The art is almost complete.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I say I'll do so, and I'm English (so it's probably wrong).