I feel like I have a lot to write about today, so I hope that you make it to the end of all this....
First of all, yeah, I had a long weekend, which was mostly super-duper. I spent Friday night.... yep, you guessed it, in and alone with some videos. This is beginning to get to me. Friday nights are when I feel best about going out and having fun. It's just that everyone is so crazy-busy in September that it's hard to make it happen. So yeah, more movies, and it wasn't entirely bad. Heartily recommend Fargo, that's a funny film. Yah. William H. Macy is possibly the best actor to ever live. Ever.
Saturday, I met Yuki for speech contest practice in the morning, then went to the city at night for a BBQ. The party was being held by Aussie couple Ron and Andrea in their lovely big house just North of the city. Dave and I drove up, and proceeded to eat great food, have some good chat, and run around with Josh and Hannah, Ron and Andrea's young (and very energetic) kids. Twas a good time! I stayed with Dave at his place, and we had a good time watching a really bad Steven Segal film, and chatting about life and future plans til the wee small hours.
On Sunday, I headed allll the way back West... further even than Miyoshi. Destination: Higashiiya! In my first year, Katy lived in Higashiiya, but she left, and the placement was vacant last year. Now that Nate is here, I get to go up there much more often! So a group of us trooped up on Sunday night to play poker. My first time, and I won't pretend I didn't find it all somewhat confusing. But it gets under your skin, and I'm thirsty for more! I'll be boning up on poker thoery before the next poker night, that's for sure! There's something about throwing chips on the table, and calling and raising, and bluffing and all that. I lost. It was only a Y500 buy in (about 2.50) and I lost about Y300. But it was fun. "I see your Y50, wise guy... and I raise ya Y100!". Hee hee!
On Monday, some other first year JETs came up to Iya, and we took them round to all the normal tourist sights: the Kazurabashi vine bridge, the Pee Boy statue, the best noodle shop, Senkichi, and the best onsen in Tokushima-ken, Hikyou no Yu! Being a Monday holiday, Iya was pretty packed with tourists, but it was a lovely relaxing day nevertheless, and I enjoyed hanging out with everyone.
Nate came down to mine that night, and we watched a film called 'Gothika' which we thought, and hoped, would scare us witless, but it ended up being a mildly interesting psychological thriller. Oh well. I then stole a heap of music from Nate's computer, so I'm over the moon! I've turned into such a music junkie these last few months! For those of you starved of musical choice, I heartily recommend The Postal Service, Bright Eyes and Pete Yorn.
Tuesday was the annual county speech contest, held in Ikeda. My girl, Yuki, has simply worked off her socks at her speech, and even though she didn't win, I couldn't be prouder of her. She's a star! She had the unfortunate burden of going first. She got too nervous, and spoke way too fast, as well as forgetting some of the speech. But someone had to be first. So I don't care, I think she was great!
We spent the afternoon yesterday having a meeting, and then heading to the arcade to play games and do puri-kura (in case you don't know, puri-kura is little sticker photos that you take with your friends and then decorate with all sorts of cutise mostifs. Lots of fun!). So that was four days with no school.
Finally, last night, I was teaching my eikaiwa class. As I was chatting away, I felt a really sharp, stinging pain in my hip, and let out a howl of "Aaaaaaoooooowwww"! I stood up shouting that something had bitten me, and started swatting at my shirt. Out fell a mukade. A MUKADE!!!! Mukade are pets of Satan himself. They are poisonous centipedes, common to rural parts of Japan. My first house here in Miyoshi was a horrible little affair, set low in the ground next to a swamp. So I used to get loads of mukade, and other assorted beasties, scuttling through on regular occassions. Never before though, has one of the little buggers bitten me. Until last night. The one that got me had crawled up from the floor under my shirt, I think, and had a nibble. It hurts so much because they inject poison, rather than suck blood. My assailant was a tiddler at 5cm (they regularly grow to 20cm+), but he still left visible puncture marks, and a stinging pain. Thankfully, it was my eikaiwa class, and they jumped into action, smashing the beast with a slipper, then administering the correct cream to take the sting away. Mukade are always killed in Japan. Their bites can kill small children, and the very old. Shudder!
Finally, I just wanted to write about something that has happened to me that I never even realised was happening. I have become a crusty old JET. I am jaded. And it's sad. The new folk have this wonderful enthusiasm for being here, learning the language, meeting lots of people, and all that. Whereas I have been here for two years, have a pitiful amount of Japanese to show for it, and have become entirely too settled. It's not good, and I need to shake myself up in order to make the most of my final year here. I wish I was back in first year, with all the wonder that goes with it. I don't want to be old and crusty.