Monday, October 23, 2006

An Unusually Busy Weekend

As usual for a Friday night, I was surrounded by beautiful ladies.

I attended my first Toyama University party and was pleasantly surprised to find many of the Japanese students could speak English. Of course, like any good foreigner in Japan, I spent most of the night speaking to other foreigners anyway.

It was a great night, and being so far away from my mountain side home, a kind caring generous friend kindly offered me floor space for the night and some of the morning. And if you're reading this, thanks, and I can't wait to come again.

The morning after, I was to be a Mongolian. For some stupid reason I volunteered for an ethnic fashion show. It must have appealed to my vanity. Spending a day dressed like a tit is not the best cure for a hangover. And the bloody show even had two real Mongolians! I was just a spare. Still, they marched me round in front of everyone and I did my wave and bow like a good little sheep herder. Here's a picture of me and my brothers. I really wish I was looking more miserable in this photo, so you got the true sense of how I was feeling. By the way, I'm the one in the middle. I know, it's amazing, we could have been separated at birth.

The night out afterwards was a lovely Indian dinner and a punk rockabilly show in Takaoka. Take a look at the picture. What do you think? No, it wasn't really my cup of tea either. So I had an early, sober night.

Sunday morning was 2 hours of Bujinkan, which is a new martial art I'm thinking of learning. The instructor, Andrew, threw a sword at me 3 times to bring out my spirit. If my spirit lives in my bowels, he succeeded in bringing a bit of it out.

After sword play I was invited to a Japanese friend's house for food. For the 8 of us that were eating, there was food for at least 20 more. It was the Japanese equivalent of a Sunday lunch, with noodles instead of sprouts. We ate til we could eat no more, then sat and chatted, and when just enough food had been digested to move, we ate more.

As a matter of fact, I haven't really needed to eat since.

Runner's World

On a sunny morning not two weeks ago, several hundred people decided to meet up and run in circles around two buildings, for several hours. I was one of these people. The event was the Toyama Team Marathon, and as part of a 6-man strong team, I ran.

I say 6-man strong team, but we were neither all men nor particularly strong, and were in fact not only beaten by the other two competing JET teams, we were beaten by the blind team, the disabled team and most embarrassingly, by the Elementary school team.

Not embarrassing because they are only about 2 years old, but because it was as I was finishing the final lap of our group's race, that the young'uns all decided to out pace me. There was a lovely moment at the end as I crossed the finish line surrounded by toddlers. Really put a shine on my achievement. Thanks to Darcy and Helen for capturing this rare moment on film.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Oh God.

After realising what a failure I was last month, I have had to look else where for inspiration. Oh Lord, if the Hoff can get to number 3 in the UK singles charts with that cheesy Jump In My Car song I posted below, then surely I can achieve something too.

And low, the Lord did cometh to me and gaveth me the strength to beat all the other non-Japanese people in the Namirikawa 10km run that I did last sunday, most especially Jake, who, although he regularly posts comments on my blog, is actually the Devil. And He did helpeth me finish reading two more books this week, and He gaveth me the power to finally post my first item for sale on ebay (if you want some Japanese Pocky chocolate biscuits, I know where you can pick up an absolute bargain). So this week the Lord is a good guy, let's all give religion a chance shall we? Anyway, what problems has having a God ever caused? None, that's for sure.

Ever seen the look on a Japanese quadriplegic's face when you try to teach the song 'heads shoulders, knee and toes'? The Lord certainly teaches English in mysterious ways.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Snakes and Potters

It's like someone turned off the lights on Japan. As of yesterday, it's cool, dark and raining. Happy October. At least I can console myself with the fact that I did so well on my September goals.

Exercise at least 3 times a week? No, but I did injure myself trying to make up for missed sessions.
Sell something on ebay? No, but I did buy some rubbish to sell and it's sitting in my cupboard.
Finish a book? Yep! but I did start it in July.

Goals for October:
Get involved with my community.
Started this yesterday. I was invited by an old local man to come round and do pottery at his workshop. Here he is making a lovely pot.

This chap, (that's chap, not Jap... well apparently these two words sounds the same to Japanese people, and I don't want to offend anyone. Again.) is 73 years old and hasn't used English for 55 years, and yet we some how managed to communicate mostly in that language and he even taught me how to make this...

Now I know what your thinking.. Richard Richard Richard, you quite obviously didn't make that, the old man did. Where's the photo of you behind the spinny thing with your hands caked in clay? Oh you cynical people, let me just say it's quite hard to take photos when your up to your eyeballs in mud. And to answer the other question on the tip of your tongue: Yeah, it was just like 'Ghost'.

Anyway forget that. I did something much cooler. I caught a bloody wild snake with my bare hands in the corridor to the lunch room at my school, single handedly saving school from possibly minutes of screaming girls. He looked a bit like my old pet snake 'Fang' and from then, it was love. I've found my calling. I don't want to be a teacher. I want to bond with reptiles.

Now if only there was an opening somewhere for some sort of reptile hunter.