Saturday, November 04, 2006

21 Grams

I've had an infatuation with Sean Penn lately. I won't go into the reasons why...but I've been renting a lot of his movies. The latest is called
'21 Grams'.


Like most of his films, it's intense, a bit raw and fabulously written, cut and cast.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Bedside Book

I'm currently reading "Larry's Party" by Carol Shields, a Canadian author from Chicago.

I'm thouroghly enjoying it and am looking foward to reading more of her books when I'm finished with this one.

I started reading Jack Kerouac's "On the Road", but put it down after two attempts. I just can't get into it. Disappointing.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

my head space at the moment

A few weeks ago I had the privlege of attending the debut reading of my friend's first soon to be published novel. A wonderful experience in itself, but also the impetus for the following ramble.

After listening to Matt read from the final pages of his book, the 3 Canadians in the room- me, Matt and Owen- merged in a corner and started talking about our future plans. It started with the whole idea of what it takes to write a full novel from beginning to end. It was during this conversation that I came upon the stark realization that for the first time in probably my whole life, I don't have any long term goals.

There is not a single thing that I am striving towards at the moment (again, I'm talking long term). I'm not sure how or why this has happened. I know that in coming to Japan I have learned to live more in the present. No, let me rephrase that. I have learned to live in the present. I had never done that before. But now I feel like maybe I've swung to the opposite end of the spectrum and I live too much in the short term, immediacy of my existance.

I haven't decided yet if this is cause for concern. I'm leaning towards 'no'. I seem to be doing fine, causing no harm to myself or others this way. I don't feel like I'm spinning my wheels by staying here in Japan year after year like many people do. I find it funny when individuals come here and stay one one or two years and then insist they have to get back to "the real world".

Why can't the real world be where ever you happen to be at the time. Why does Canada have to be the real world; why does teaching here under the title of "ALT" have to be less legitimate than being in a classroom at home?

I used to make most of my decisions based on what I thought others wanted me to do, or thought I should do. I've learned to make decisions now according to what 'feels' right to me. I still stumble and make mistakes, but for the most part I'm much happier with my life now than I was in the past.

Ok, I'm straying from the topic...

Why don't I have any long term goals?

While talking to Matt and Owen one of them asked, "Well, don't you want to be in a relationship and have a family?"

I answered honestly and openly that yes, I do want those things. But I can't make that a 'goal'. I used to think that way. It used to be a 'goal' - until I realized that I have no control over who will fall in love with me and want to have children with me -and whether it will be mutual. It's a want or a desire, or even a dream, but it's not something I can take aim at.

Sure, I have lots of wants. I want to travel more, I want to be better at Japanese, I want to teach, I want to get my Masters degree, I want to have children, I want a vintage VW collection, I want to be thin...

But unlike in times past, I don't have anything marked on my life calendar. There's no "Save X amount of dollars to fix up my Thing." or "Start my Masters by 2008." I haven't a clue if I'll ever own my own house, have a 'career' - or even when my next trip abroad will be.

Part of me thinks that it's just a temporary inability to commit. Another part of me thinks that I'm just being lazy, for lack of a better word...

Yet I don't feel guilty. I don't feel bad. Rather I'm feeling a slight sense of awe about the whole thing. Where once there was a perception of linear progress to my future, I find the current view to be vacantly chaotic -or chaotically vacant, take your pick.

Wants, desires and dreams sitting just ahead of today, but nothing in any particular order or place.

Wants, desires and dreams waiting for me to cement them down to a time - to a latitude and longitude - to a single point which one day will be 'now'.

Where once this activity of choosing and putting things into their appropriate slots along my life's continuum -getting my driver's licence, graduating from high school, graduating from university - was effortless, fun, and if not somewhat predetermined, I find that at the moment I have neither the desire nor the energy needed to seek out and persue new badges to sew on my sash.

And what baffles me even further about my present state of mind is that I'm not concerned about what other people may think about this! Ha! There seems to be low levels of stress involved in this state of being. Perhaps that's just it. Without goals, there is no stress or worry of acheiving.

-Or more pointedly: failing.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Can you handle more pumpkin?

When I brought my internet-ordered pumpkin to my little school (Maezawa) last Wednesday everyone went crazy over it. I had carved a simple face on it (see previous posts), but I guess when you've never seen a Jack-o-lantern before it's a pretty cool thing. Much more effective than showing a picture or flashcard.

Well, my principal was also interested. And when he found out I got it from the internet and had paid around $20CDN for it, he looked at me and said, "You know that Nyuzen is becoming famous for pumpkins, right?"

I did know that, but when there's a language barrier (and a cultural one), it's not so easy to go knocking on people's doors asking for pumpkins. Besides, the pumpkins grown here are NOT the same as the pumpkins we use at home for Jack-o-lanterns. Their skin is much paler and the rind (rind?) is much thicker. They kind of remind me of the little gourds or 'fancy' pumpkins you can see at home, just on a bigger scale. They don't have that vibrant orange color, nor do they seem all that pumkin-like to me.

Back to the principal...he told me he knew a guy who knew a guy - and before I knew it, he was one the phone with 'the guy'. Half way through the conversation, he cups his hand over the receiver, and in perfect English leans towards me and asks, "How many?" I paused, made a quick calculation: 3 schools = 3 pumpkins. "Three," I answered, hesitantly, not really knowing what the right answer was.

He took his hand away from the receiver and told the guy, "Five."

Within the hour, a little white truck rolled up to Maezawa Elementary School and 2 guys jumped out and unloaded 5 pumpkins. They told us, somewhat apologetically, that these were the smallest they had:

So now I had two extra pumpkins...and I couldn't even lift the first 3 myself!! This is where my two favoritest neighbors came into play!! It helped that they both work at elementary and jr. high schools too, so I knew they were also teaching halloween lessons. Whew. I would have looked pretty ungrateful had I not been able to take all 5 of them. I'm not sure what Johnny did with his, but I know Sista K managed to carve one up for her school festival last weekend.

Yay for pumkins!!

p.s. I lit the little guy and put him on my balcony all night. When I got up this morning he was still burning bright!

Sumo: me through K's camera

This is Tochinonada. A fun
Maegashira to watch.

Here's me and Aminishiki, one of my faves. He's quiet, and reserved in the ring, a real gentleman.

The last of the Halloween photos

...until I teach this lesson 3 more times next Monday!

Make it stop. Halloween's not one of those lingering holidays, like Christmas or New Years. The build up is great, but once it's November 1, the ghosts and goblins get put away for another year. Make it stop!!!

Here's some of my students from the past week's lessons.

click here to see a video

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Jack-O-Lantern #2

The big day is just two sleeps away.

I've got more classes to teach and this little guy will be tagging along.

Ain't he cute?

Thanks to Mom, Marilyn and Karla for sending me stickers and other goodies. The kids love them! As do I.

I'm updating!

no really, i am.

please be patient.