January 28, 2005

Even More Sore

Yesterday was an absolutely great day. Though I am paying for it today in many ways, let me tell you why it was so wonderful and why today has been so difficult.

In the morning, my school--Koyo High School (see links)--had its annual マラソン大会 or "Marason (Marathon) Competition." They use the word "marathon" in Japanese for a variety of long distance running. The girls ran a 5km route and the boys ran 9km. This race was held in Kada Park, on the north side of the Kinokawa, quite close to the sea and to an enormous steel mill (what a mixture of good and bad air). I decided to join in, which was a first for ALTs at this school. After being stared at by the entire school after this startling and uncomfortable announcement, I got ready to run. It is very cold here in Wakayama (for any readers not living around here), and even colder by the sea. I could not feel my feet at all. After about 15 minutes, the blood in my feet started to circulate fast enough to warm me up, and I ran the entire 9km course with a student of mine--Mr. Kenta Nakanishi. After the race, I talked with students, fooled around, took the train home. One of my best students, Midori, asked me when I was going home to Berkeley. I told her about my difficult predicament and she was saddened that I might go back in August. After a series of long emails with my dad, I realize that my decision is my own (he has helped me realize this), though my decision will have very drastic effects--for better or worse--on my family. Well, after the race, I walked to the train station while talking to a student by the name of Sae. She is another wonderful student whose English is stellar (though she says "yes" compulsively, which can be bad when she starts answering yes to questions she cannot understand). I declined an invitation to hang out with her and her friend for I had no bike, but that doesn't really bother me. In the evening I went to the gym, to the onsen, and then ate some yaki tori at a local spot. Soon I had way too many oyuuwaris (a blend of shotchu and hot water), and the next thing I know, I was at The Bomb Shotchu House--a bar in Wakayama that serves only shotchu. It was only me and another customer, so after a few more shotchus there, I was coerced into hanging out with this guy at a very clean, nice, and empty snack bar in Arochi--all his treat. I felt bad, but he wouldn't let me refuse. At the snack bar, I practiced speaking Japanese to a beautiful girl named Sachi. I was glad that it was an empty bar--quite a calm experience, almost like it was a regular bar. After more shotchu there, I ended up finally able to bike myself home, only to find myself waking up in the morning hungover with legs that feel like they have been beaten with a baseball bat. What a ridiculous end to an absolutely beautiful day of talking with students, feeling good, communicating through deeds and not words. Well, maybe that was steam I had to blow, but now I'm pooped and it's Friday night. I'll probably just take a dip in an onsen again, and then dip into a Doraemon comic. Maybe, since it's Friday, I can even watch Doraemon on my TV that gets poor reception. He's on at 7:00. Hooray for Doraemon!!!


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