Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A lull in the world

Maybe I am growing largely accustomed to my life here in Japan, as it seems to me that over the last week nothing extremely exciting has happened…. What am I talking about? For goodness sakes of course my life is exciting, I am in Japan living my dream!! While I may be able to dismiss things with a shrug of my big, broad shoulders (hehe yeah right, broad shoulders my men’s health magazine), there is always something happening that makes me happy and content with life. In fact, now that I think about it everybody always says “oh my life is so boring, nothing is ever happening” what a load of buck shot!! Life is what we make it, and even in Australia there was always a little thing or an event to keep life interesting and happy (happy 99% of the time). Now that I have finished my philosophical rant/ editorial for the day, let me tell you my life story… of the past week.

As I said before life is always fun and school is always, well, school. I love my school, I love the people in it, but I don’t like only understanding a moderate level of the language used in class. Japanese classes are taught using a higher level of Japanese, their version of Elitist English. There are many classes where even the Japanese students have difficulty understanding the language used, no wonder they find school difficult. Ascertaining to this fact my class time is spread between self study / education of Japanese, reading obscenely thick English novels, educating myself on the affairs and state of the world (as I write this update I am also reading an issue of “the Economist”) and keeping you happy (writing updates for my site). I think if there is one fantastic acronym I have been able to teach my Japanese friends it would be TGIF “Thank God It’s Friday”. By the time Friday afternoon rolls around we mutter this to each other and laugh because in the Japanese school system Friday is not the final day of school, there is a very high likelihood that you will be attending school based activities on Saturday and Sunday. This brings me to my weekend.

Now I’m not sure about you, but I do not take a very keen fancy to having to set my alarm for 4:50am on a Saturday morning so that I can be at school by 6am. Unfortunately in Japanese school life my likes and dislikes are not part of the decision making process and setting my alarm for 4:50am is exactly what I had to do last Saturday. It was time to do battle in Kendo and as we all know, an enemy does not wait to fit in with your preferred time schedule. Arriving at school at 6am (note: in Japanese winter 6am is still dark), my fellow Kendo warriors and I packed our war kits (protective gear) and loaded our war horse (mini bus) to head 1 and a half gallops (hours) north-east to Saga-Ken to do battle with other schools for our great and glorious war lords (Kendo teachers.

We arrived in Saga by 8am, donned our gear, warmed up (this involves hitting each other with bamboo swords for 1/2 an hour) and got ready to fight…. That would be everybody except the newest member who was given video camera duty for the whole day (8am-3:30pm). In case you have not already worked it out, I am the newest member!!! AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! I GOT PULLED OUT OF BED AT 5AM TO VIDEO OTHER PEOPLES GAMES!!!!! Now that my rage is vented you have to understand that this is standard Japanese school club procedure, and I got to do plenty of Kendo study, but boy was it a cold day! The day wrapped up at 3:30pm and all the schools proceeded to pack up and head home, except my school on account of our teacher deciding we hadn’t played hard enough, so he punished us by making us do 1/2 an hour of H.I.T (High Intensity Training). When he could see that our energy reserves were thoroughly used up, he called training to a halt and we packed up and left. The time was 4pm when we finally hit the highway to get home, what’s that? You haven’t eaten lunch yet? Oh sorry… Yes that is right since 5:30am that morning not a single one of us had eaten anything, so we pulled over at a rest stop, pulled out the picnic blanket and had a nice leisurely lunch together.

How’s that for a day of training? Try getting a teacher in the U.S or Australia to pull off a training day like that and you wouldn’t be able to start counting the number of lawsuits that would be filed. Anyway it was a good mental training experience,