I’ll set the scene. I arrive at the station after work, and nod to one of my pupils as I pass. (No surprise there; as I teach at three of the four elementary schools in the municipality, there’s a good chance that anyone between the age of six and twelve is one of mine.) Walking further along, I’m accosted by a drunk woman swigging from a can of Asahi Super Dry. Obviously a well-off alcoholic; otherwise, she’d by drinking happōshu—it’s cheaper and stronger.
It’s unusual that N——’s and my days off coincide. I get normal weekends, but she has a six day schedule that changes every week. However, we both had Saturday and Sunday off, and decided to travel to Shikoku for the weekend on the basis that neither of us had ever been there, and it wasn’t too far away—important for a two day excursion.
It seems like I’m in the wrong line of work. I spotted an advertisement at the station for the M_____ Skin Clinic in Takatsuki. Opening hours are from 10am to 12pm and 5pm to 7pm. However, they shut on Sundays, and Wednesdays, and public holidays. And they are closed in the afternoon on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
“Makkuro iyaya.” ("I hate black hair.") As said by one brown-haired junior high school girl to another on the platform at Awaji station this afternoon. There’s a permanent teacher-pupil war over the right to dye one’s hair a colour other than black, as I found out when I worked at a junior high school (funny name, by the way, but that’s the official English translation). I wonder whether teachers would try to exert such control in a country which doesn’t claim ethnic homogeneity. In the interests of stirring up the debate, I asked the teachers what they would do if a blond-haired caucasian student were to dye her hair black. They didn’t have an answer.
As I was enveloped in a cloud of smoke on my walk back from the station—the business-suited offender in front of me had evidently had a hard time surviving his subway ride home from work without the benefit of nicotine—my mind turned to thinking about tobacco. I don’t actually have any moral objection to people smoking, but since they cannot be trusted to do so without blowing it in others’ faces, littering even the most isolated natural beauty spots, and waving their flaming sticks around like offensive weapons, extreme measures are required.
Japanese rice is a lot like napalm.
When I was little, I resented visits to relatives. They generally involved a long trip in the car (throughout which I would want to vomit and/or urinate), followed by food. Although food usually meant something more elaborate and interesting than everyday fare, it didn’t compensate for what inevitably followed.
I walked past a parked car this afternoon from which a thumping Eurobeat soundtrack was emanating. The guy in the driver’s seat was practising his para-para moves over the top of the steering wheel.
And I don’t mean that in a negative way. I sometimes think that teaching is a lot like comedy, particularly in a big class. There’s a definite performance atmosphere; no matter how tired, sick or depressed you feel, you still have to go on stage (metaphorically) and perform.
Tempus maximae frequentiae. That’s how you say rush hour in Latin, according to the new Vatican dictionary of Latin expressions for modern concepts. Evidently the ancient Romans didn’t have rush hour. Lucky bastards!
It was raining today, and the trains were practically deserted. I’m not sure if there was a connection, but I had four seats to myself this morning when I rarely have one.
When I woke up this morning, going to work was absolutely the last thing I wanted to do. All I wanted to do was sleep. However, it all went very well. That is, provided that you don’t mind being throttled and punched in the gonads by six-year-olds.
I barely slept on Monday night; I woke up from a nightmare. Twice. In the morning, I was exhausted and drenched in sweat—even less refreshed than usual.
I have to go back to work tomorrow. After three days off (today being a holiday) it seems so unappealing.
The weather forecast predicted a hot, sunny day, so I took my camera and went out on a walk at lunchtime. The natural beauty of the area where I work is definitely a perk of my job.