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6th-Jan-2007 10:07 am - It's been a while
I haven’t posted to this journal in a long time. It was because of a combination of things, but it boiled down to not wanting to come off as a loathsome, whiny little bitch. What right did I have to complain when other people would see my circumstances as good fortune?

I came to Japan with three background intentions. I wanted to travel, learn some Japanese, and write a book. I say background intentions because what really had me on the plane here, just over a year ago, was an attempt to run away from my troubles. What were my troubles? They were pretty much what kept me from writing in this journal. I didn’t want to wallow in my issues. I didn’t want to deal with cleaning up my life, which required owning up to a few years of bad choices and self-denial. It was easier to take a handout due to unemployment, have my ex pay for my flight, than to do the dirty work of introspection and make the necessary changes in my lifestyle.

So I ran to Japan and those background reasons for being here became louder. That is, they became what I told people when they asked why I came here.

Saving face has essentially screwed up my life. I don’t blame my mother for still pushing such a way of living. I blame myself for not having the courage to be honest with myself about my limitations and desires. I stopped living when my desire to please others and the fear of them losing faith in me became supreme. It is an odd situation for me to admit to since, and I have been told this, that I come off as an assertive, but mostly kind, straight-shooter…but what’s on the inside…is a disorganized, jumpy, wannabe people-pleaser.

I don’t want to end this entry on a bad note. I’m not sitting here mentally lambasting myself because of my past idiotic decisions. I’m just admitting some things with the hope of feeling lighter.
27th-May-2006 01:44 pm - Back in the cafe
They said during the training that you're supposed make your student(s) the star(s) of the classroom. The thing is...you're really the circus freaking jumping around, flailing, and vocalizing to try to keep them entertained while sneaking in tidbits of knowledge. Ahh, but there was more that they failed to mention. I wasn't told about the man in the dark suit who would be sent to watch me teach, a higher-up who shows up, without warning, to spy on teachers and write reports on them.

On Monday, he watched all of my classes. The door to the classroom I work in has a large window in it. So, as he was sneaking about, you could catch this dark figure moving in your peripheral vision. The kids were a handful already...now add him as a distraction. Then add the fact that I had to chat him up between classes. The invasive way in which he spoke and moved creeped me out. Seriously, they should have outfitted in him with a black hood and a scythe. I'd feel much better if I could attribute the chills he gave me with the cold hand of death. Anyhow, I went home that night pretty certain that I would be sacked. I'm still waiting for the ax to fall.

Now, onto the outside of work business. I finally have my alien registration card. I have a secondhand bike...It rattles and occasionally causes me to veer into traffic...but since I didn't pay any money for it...I can't really complain...right? I'll have a land line on Monday, which means the fight for Internet access in the apartment can finally begin in earnest. It was great to find the cafe but it is still a little inconvenient.

The trains run once an hour and I almost got stuck here last week, which meant I almost missed arriving at school in time to prepare...There were a few minutes of frenzied running in the drizzle to try to catch my train...let me add that my laptop was in my backpack being jostled around by my desperate sprint...and then I arrived at the station unable to find my way to the opposite platform...we're old school down in the butt of Chiba. There was no under or overpass. I had to run back the way I came to spot a train crossing...^_^' I'm quite sure the old men on the opposite platform had a good laugh at me.

I didn't get everything I needed to get done on the last trip here. And it has taken me over a week to make my way back here...~coughs delicately~ I was broke and couldn't make the trip... Heh, fun stuff. But that fact and the other crap that went down this week has reinforced how disorganized I am...can't seem to get my act together. Hopefully, I'll make the change soon. Because time is precious.

 Hmmm...I need to start writing cheery entries...
19th-May-2006 10:53 am - Finally...Internet Access
I`ve been in Tateyama for almost three weeks and have had a full working schedule for two. I spend about 7 hours a day teaching, which would be fine except for the fact that the majority of that time I`m trying to keep the kiddies from eating me alive. These parents don`t realize that their children are Satan`s minions in training. Other than that, teaching is ok. I still don`t know the text books, and the lesson plans are taking much longer that I would like, but those things will come with time.

Tateyama is...well...there`s a beach nearby...The town isn`t particularly exciting, which is fine for now. I`m too tired to go anywhere. What has been cramping my style is the lack of Internet access. My first week here I asked one of my Japanese coworkers where an Internet cafe was...he flat out laughed in my face...a very bad sign given that he was still at the stage of pretending to be nice and put together... The question broke him (he`s not from Tateyama...). Now...one of my fellow foreigner coworkers mentioned seeing a sign for an Internet cafe from a train. It was on one stop away from Tateyama. That tidbit came yesterday, and now on Friday morning, instead of doing lesson plans, I`m here... I am in too much shock to actually be happy... heh

In terms of all the things foreigners need to get done to start living comfortably here...I`m not finished with the red tape. You can barely get anything done without an Alien Registration card. I`m still waiting for mine. Instead of taking a week, it`s taking two. Without the card, no cell phone, no phone line, no bike, no memberships...you name it.

I have been fortunate though. Another coworker of mine got a phone for me under her name. So, last week I was able to call my mother around Mother`s Day to tell her that the Japanese mob haven`t taken any of my fingers...yet. It`s good not to feel so isolated. My phone is love.
30th-Apr-2006 12:43 pm - Better Luck
fan laugh
Well, it looks like I’m not up shit creek without a paddle. My work eligibility papers came in. I’ll be heading to immigration tomorrow to deal with the next step: applying for the actual work visa. Hopefully, after a week, I’ll have a nice stamp in my passport that says that I’m a displaced West-Indian American posing as a teacher in Japan. Yowser. ~wriggles around~

With the great news, I am happy and taxed…a little more taxed than I like to admit. But, given that I spent the last two months torturing myself by imagining everything that could possibly go wrong, I really shouldn’t be surprised. Hell, I should feel nostalgic. I’ve got brain fart syndrome and am intermittently jumpy…Essentially, I have this fried college student air about me…

Didn’t think I could enjoy that feeling.

Mwhahaha (← my happiness takes the form of diabolical laughter)
19th-Apr-2006 01:19 am - Short bitter rant
~sigh~ For once, I'd like pictures to display the way they should, well...at least by the third time. Gallery fixed. Cherry Blossoms galore. http://pics.livejournal.com/zingoring/

Take that, technology. Feel my righteous anger...and need to sleep.

[EDIT] I spoke too soon. Still not workng.
[EDIT] Success at 1:40 a.m. 57 out of 57 pics viewable as opposed to 1 out of 57. Bedtime
18th-Apr-2006 11:38 pm - Tateyama and Blossoms
I haven’t updated in a while since things were--- Well, they were exactly the same as they were for the past two months. I’ve spent my time biting my nails and sweating and worrying about the state of my employment and where I’m going to end up living. My work papers are still not in, but I will finally get to see what the company provided apartment looks like. Tomorrow I’ll be heading down to Tateyama, at the very base of Chiba. I will arrive, waddle, and drag my bags around with me until I find the school. Then, after securing the keys, I will get to see what manner of cell I will be locked in. I am excited. ^_^ Tateyama…here I come.

~scratches nose~

I added some photos to the gallery. Pictures from my trip to Hong Kong are up, but not labeled as they should be…Sarah and John, I’ve mentioned this before…notice how nothing has changed… -_-‘ ~coughs~ I’ve also put up pictures of this year’s cherry blossoms. Two weeks ago, I went to Ueno Park to get an eyeful. I expected affectionate couples and families…elegant, pastel picnic blankets and jolly sake drinking…I got swelling, sweaty crowds, blue tarpaulin, and a guy who was able to hock 8 loogies in a row. Good show.

30th-Mar-2006 11:11 am - Endeavor me this
Too often, for the last few weeks, I’ve been beating myself up over creative endeavors. Mostly, it has been about this book, or rather trio of books, that I want to sit down and write. I think the hardest part is the planning. I’ve spent about 5 years or so, off and on, writing fanfiction. I enjoyed trying to stay true to ready-made characters. And, now, having to sit down and decide each character’s personality, history, speech pattern, and appearance is fun and daunting at the same. I think what’s really hanging over me is the location and culture creation. I’m striving for a multicultural set of characters and it’s becoming overwhelming to try to fashion distinct regional existences. Clothes, dialects, food, songs, weaponry, norms, etc. It’s a bitch. And, yet, these are things I very much need to do, for personal reasons.

This is not so much about story prep as it is about my own behavioral makeover. I’m absentminded and impatient. I start projects, get somewhat obsessive while working on them, and then just lose interest. Maybe I’m hoping that, with a project that requires so much imaginative thinking and research into a multitude of things, I’ll stay interested. But I consider this all to be a battle. I want to conquer my disorganization, feed my ambition, and be able to look back and smirk at the things I’ve accomplished.
26th-Mar-2006 02:14 pm - The Bee from my Bonnet
When the six days of teacher training were over, I realized that I actually missed the people that I'd cursed and belittled on those nights back from cramming the school’s ideals, regulations, and practices. I have come to the conclusion that my sensibilities have been warped. ~nods~ Indeed. But in all seriousness (if that is possible), I learned a lot. In fact, I walked away with a life lesson that I hope to still remember next week.

It was clear from the first day of training that my fellow trainees (2 others) and I were going to be prepped to be entertainers who endeavor to slide in actual teaching where possible. We were schooled to think that we exist to make sure that the “students feel good about themselves and have fun while learning”… Now, practicing lauding individuals who have yet to do anything to deserve any praise was a frigging drag. (Oh, look! That’s such a pretty pen you have! Great Job!) WTF, I was pissed off to say the least, and I probably looked more annoyed after I had achieved true spazzhood (my term for unnecessary elation) and then was told to do more praising of our “students” (the trainers who, in their portrayal of tots, were at times vying for Academy Awards.)

But everyone got pulled into pretend timeCollapse )
10th-Mar-2006 03:48 pm - Reality…how I loathe thee…
After some frightening moments in front of the mirror, it has become clear to me that I have to consistently wear make-up. Now, I’ve had incidents in the past where this realization should have settled in. For instance, when you go barefaced and people look at you as though you are some living dead thing that has clawed its way out of soil mixed with the remains of creepy crawlies, it is a sure sign that you need to wear make-up…everyday…in layers.

Sure, I am being hard on myself, but there is one thing I can state without embellishment. Time is no longer on my side. I no longer have that fresh-faced look of disgruntlement. I just appear disgruntled with no vestige of youthful angst… I no longer appear pouty. I now scare children.

That was my ego-stroking realization for today.
8th-Mar-2006 12:22 pm - Lazy...
pissed off
I’m…noticing a general trend. Well, I’ve noticed it for some time. I take pictures, tons of them at times, and then do nothing with them.

~adopts the voice of a crusty old woman…a voice that pretty much sounds the way I do early in the morning…and throughout the day...and prepares to state the glaringly obvious~

Yes, back when digital cameras were not as widespread…way back when in the time where we used…film (such a dirty word), I’d take rolls and rolls of pictures and then never develop up the film. There’s not too much effort involved. You take the rolls to whatever photos center you use, write on an envelope, put film in it, hand it off to the people who do the actual work, come back, pay and take your stuff with you for viewing. (Actually, as I type this out, it does seem like a lot of work.)

Now, there’s resizing pictures to make sure they’re a reasonable file size, renaming them if you believe you have to, uploading the bastards, and labeling what each picture is about (if you feel inclined). All of this is hanging over me as a deterrent. And it should. The last gallery I had to deal with was a pain in the ass. For some reason, Photoshop made the pictures look better than they actually were. I lowered the resolution so the file size would be smaller. Everything looked fine until I viewed the photos in a browser. Now…this was after I resized and changed the resolution of 32 photos. Needlessness to say, I was pissed off. And then there was the other trial: the gallery format in LiveJournal. I pushed myself to add descriptions to each picture and then what I added threw off the display. And this was after searching and searching for the right gallery format. So, in effect, there is a good reason for my current laziness when it comes to photos. Actually, it’s more like fear. I don’t want to go through hell again just to share memories. Hmmm…sharing memories…it’s more like “Look where I’ve been”. -_-‘
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