Today marked my first proper forays into the world of teaching. Initial reaction: pure exhaustion. Even walking the hallways at the moment requires a rictus smile and unrestrained, continual bowing. I look like a bobble-headed doll. But - it is now four o`clock, signalling the end of my work day and the beginning of a long, hot afternoon of beer-drinking and possible (necessary) laundry-doing so I can embark upon a brief retrospective of what might rightly be called my first real day of actual-adult work. Not to imply in any terms that serving smoked fish to, picking up after, and being obsequiously charming to, the cantankerous coffee drinkers of Wellington isn`t a real job, for I will maintain to the end of my days that no one works harder and more thanklessly than the lowly waitress, but this was a genuine wake-up-at-six, commute, prepare for coming lessons type of Thursday. The fact that I actually left enough time in my morning to have breakfast might indicate to those of you who know me well (condolences) that serious mental and physical preparation was going into my day (incidentally: Japanese bread, while ostensibly the texture and taste of freshly-shorn wool, makes for fabulous french toast, owing to its sponge-like construction. Can recommend. Even when - as syrup costs the earth here - consumed with peanut-butter).
So I was on my bike by 7am - no small feat. Also to be noted is that both my tyres are now undeniably flat. I think my sweet lil Mama Cherry was not built for a mass such as mine, and each rotation brings her closer to the ground, and to the place wehre all bad bikes go - but nonetheless I continue to require her services, as even at 7am the day is hot and the roads are busy and I have no desire to make myself a crow-target by lowering my average speed. This afternoon`s task is to locate a bicycle shop and try to convey my needs. My imitation of a deflating bicycle tyre may well be worth a YouTube tribute. Will confirm later. Subway packed at that hour - Japanese people not being lie-a-bed types. My first bad decision of the day came when I opted to get off the subway at the later stop, meaning a fifteen minute walk to school rather than a five minute bus-ride. I was early and the day was clear and beautiful so it did not immediately seem like an error. It was only when I had been walking for 20 minutes without encountering any recognisable landmarks that I began to rue my desire for exercise (clearly, am not meant to be fit-type-person. Should just accept this perhaps). So I stood on the corner of a foreign intersection, looking in all directions, trying not to burst into emotional tears. I must have not be restraining my emotions as well as I thought (was on the ground, weeping like baby), as a cab pulled over and picked me up. Thank you, god of cab drivers. I will not tell you how long we had to drive in the opposite direction to that in which I had been walking to get to school. Is embarassing. Safe to say that my move to the Northern Hemisphere has not magnetically healed my directional failures. Still, definitively, failing.
So I was slightly over-wraught upon arrival (over-wraught not being an emotion that sits well with Japanese passivity) and had to spend several minutes in the squat toilet pulling self together (read: putting on more make up. Mask for the day). But, commuting calamities aside, the day turned out to be a good one. My bento box, purchased for lunch, was delicious. Ricey and fishy and filling. One student in the hallway audibly called me beautiful (am ignoring the definite possibility that this was mistranslation of `red and sweaty looking`. And my classes seemed genuinely interested in both me and and the study of English. Some of them incredibly smart, while some of them need special attention, but at the moment, in my honey-moon period of teaching, I feel like just the person for all Japaneeds. I had a moment of panic two days ago where I contemplated the idea that teaching others means sacrificing your own learning, a gesture I was not prepared to make. But I have decided that there is balance to be found, a karmic fulcrum, and while I may not be a teacher at heart, I am currently well-equipped to be a teacher in deed.
In other news: payday tomorrow. Thank goodness. Even though as yet have no idea how to access my money in the back (MORE practical failings) the idea that I will soon have resources existing tangibly in Japan is very exciting. Am anticipating unrestrained shopping trip. Internet and phone should be arriving shortly, internet in next week, iPhone in approx two, meaning that constant contact with the world at large will be restored. Though, have become so adept at thieving web connections that perhaps could avoid large Japanese bills.
Boyfriend is now gainfully employed in a gaijin bar called TK6 as a short-order cook. I ate his steak sandwich (legit) last night, and can pronouce him a solid chef. Of course, this means that I work days and he now works nights and so our relationship will once more be one of those shadow ones where it might well be any sweaty man snoring next to you, but at this point I will take what I can get.
I am feeling very feng shui and yin/yang and at peace. This may be because I have three fans (wavey ones, not adoring ones, I have THOUSANDS of those); and beer in the fridge; and friends in Japan; and wood-look sunglasses. And apparently I can function as a teacher, despite total professed selfishness. My cup runneth over. With Sapporo. So, until I get hopelessly lost in the streets of Kanjo Dori again, kampai!