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.

Fortunately, six-year-olds don’t punch very hard. As for the little guy hanging off my neck, well, they don’t weigh very much either, so I just picked him up and deposited him on the ground. Twice. Make that three times. At one point after the end of the class as I tried to make my way to the next classroom, I had a child hanging off each arm and another around my neck. The problem isn’t that they are especially strong; even someone as weak as I faces no great physical challenge. The difficulty lies in getting the little monsters off you without injuring them.

I did have a good day. Really. Apart from being physically assaulted by infants, it was otherwise pretty good. I even managed to sit down the whole way to work, which is really unusual.

I love the area where I work, so I elected to go for a walk in my lunch break. This had the additional bonus of pre-empting any attempts to occupy my free time. There’s one particular teacher who seems to think that I’m his personal English conversation partner. Having spent the entire twenty minute morning break listening to him force out three or four painfully slow sentences that turned out not to be worth the effort in the first place, I had no desire to suffer a repeat performance. I escaped down to the river and spent twenty minutes in quiet contemplation, returning mentally refreshed.

With nothing to do in the afternoon, I spent the time working on some programming, tweaking stylesheets and the code for my news feed aggregator. With my super-cheap (JPY 500) 8MB USB pendrive and a copy of the PuTTY SSH client, I can do some productive work almost anywhere there’s a computer and an internet connection.

After work, as I walked back from school to the station to get home—and bear in mind that I work in one of the most rural parts of Osaka prefecture—I passed a very old woman accompanied by a much younger woman. The old woman was making her way ponderously along the road with a kind of zimmer-frame-cum-shopping-trolley piece of apparatus. As I passed her, she suddenly stopped still and glared at me.

I was already smiling; when I saw her looking at me like that, my grin grew broader. Maybe I’m too sensitive, but I can’t help but feel that it was directly related to the fact that I look different to everyone else around. Sometimes, it bothers me to get that kind of reaction. At other times, however—like today—I get a kick out of feeling that I’ve just brought a black cloud into some bigot’s day, simply by existing.