Monday, 20 September 2010

Mamushi encounter (蝮を見ました)

Despite creepy-crawly things in Japan being very large and menacing at times, there are very few things that are really poisonous or of real potential danger, so we were all very surprised by the critter in the photo above, a Mamushi Pit Viper, one of the two most venomous snakes in Japan. He was warming himself on the road next to our cars when we headed back from a BBQ at the river in Anan. He was "gently" dispatched by our snake-wrassler Joe, who grabbed him in BBQ tongs and threw him into the bushes.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

"Cows moo everywhere"

On Friday my elementary classes were cancelled and I was told I was welcome to wander around and help organise today's Undokai (運動会; sports day). When I had a free moment I took a wander around the school Toshokan (図書館; library), reading some books and taking some pics of the ones I liked.


"Cows moo everywhere."

"The Forest Ghost."

Work this one out. The writing on the right says "Of course! The old lady died!"

"I want to go to the department store."

...Ms Fish experiences humour failure.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Sod's law & dark matter (英会話)

It's nice to be given an opportunity to teach something other than English, and my eikaiwa is always a willing arena. Today's conversations:
  • The difference between compliment and flattery;
  • What "Sod's Law" is;
  • What the STV (Single Transferable Vote) is and how it is arguably a "fairer" system when compared to the "first past the post" system with respect to democratic representation;
  • What dark matter is.
Today I also started handing out my old copies of BBC Focus to my members. I was very delighted at their eager response, despite a couple of them claiming it would take them a year to understand it. I reassured them it was very much an every day person's magazine and although the concepts within can be complex, the writings are not. I'm already eagerly awaiting their feedback.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Festival Flower Fire

The best thing about summer in Japan is the fireworks at festivals! And the food...


Festival food, oh how I love you!

For no properly explained reason...




The god of hellfire, bringing fire...

Pirates carrying illuminated chronological device.

The finale. You can clearly see the fourth flame from the right about to blow, which it did about half a second after I took this pic.

Summer sunsets

... from my bedroom window.

Taiko outfit

The happi outfit I wore for the Takagi festival performance last month.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

PTA day

Today was PTA day (parent-teacher-something), and involves parents of students coming in to watch the teachers teach them. Thankfully I was asked only to do one of these and it went rather well. At lunch all students head home for the day, but the teachers and parents get together in the gym for a game of whatever they decide. Today it was volleyball, so after lunch I headed to the gym with everyone to find out what this game was going to be. At first glance it appeared to be volleyball, as the nets were already in place.

My JTE: "We will play a kind of volleyball."
Me: "Ok... what's that?"
My JTE: "It's the volleyball."
Me: "It looks like a giant, foam pear..."
My JTE (really happy): "Yes!"
Me: "..."

So I spent a couple of hours playing this "type of volleyball", which along with the giant foam pear for a ball, had some odd, odd rules. As soon as I understood the rules properly it was really good fun... it's shame it took me most of the match to realise what they were! And of course, because of the shape of the "ball" the darn thing was bouncing all over the place!