My first snow accident

28 01 2010

Today on the way home from visiting two of my elementary schools, I came upon a bend in the road. I started coughing one of those annoying coughs that you just can’t stop. I realized mid cough that I was going too fast and reacted . . . by slamming on the break. I knew it was the wrong thing, but in the midst of the cough, I couldn’t think to do the right thing – shift to second or pump the break. So I slid into the bank of snow (thankfully not the lake, on the other side!).

The car got stuck. Then one Japanese man showed up to help. He tried backing out – with no luck. I pulled out my handy-dandy (and much larger than at home) ice scraper and brush to start digging – I have no shovel in this car. wasn’t able to get it out either.

The second was someone who works in the City Hall. Then another car with two more Japanese men showed up. One started asking about a rope to pull my car out of the snow with. As they were figuring all of this out, two more cars with two more Japanese men arrived. Not one car in this middle of nowhere place in Japan failed to stop and help me get the car out of the snow! It was incredible.

We got my car out of the snow and I “arigato gozaimashita”-ed everyone (Thank you). And I drove along. Unfortunately after that scare barely keeping the speed limit – and two of these poor guys had to drive behind me (guess they’ll blame the fact that I’m a gaijin!).

The result? My Boss (the head of the BOE) along with two other men from the BOE came to the high school afterward to check on me. Luckily I had just finished telling the music teacher what happened and between dictionary, English, Japanese and gesture, I was able to communicate to her what happened. She passed it on to the BOE people.

So, after all of that, I’m ok and the BOE car is ok. If I had to have a snow accident, I definitely was hoping it would be one like this and not anything serious.

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A wonderful day

27 01 2010

I apologize to all of my faithful blog readers for my long absence from posting anything. The weeks before Christmas were filled with Christmas parties (at church), some training, a couple of trips, a Bonenkai (forget the year party), packing and actually getting home.

The time at home was a whirlwind of friends and family. I loved every minute of it. My parents asked me several times, what do you want to do? Every time (except when I needed to shop for some things before coming back to Japan), the answer was similar, it didn’t really matter. As long as I got to spend the time with family and friends, the activity was irrelevant.

Anyways, I’ve now returned and I’ve been back for almost two weeks exactly. Was it hard to come back? Yes and no. It was insanely hard to leave home. Japan still isn’t really home yet. Yet, when I saw the familiar faces of my friends Liz (who lives in Wakkanai) and Bea (a missionary who goes to my church) after arriving in Tokyo, I felt a bit more excited to be back. But I still wasn’t overjoyed. But when I met my supervisor at the train station and got back into my town, I had a peace about being back.

Anyways, the last few weeks weren’t super eventful. The first week I managed to get myself hooked on caffeine (black and green teas) trying to stay awake. This week I had to get myself unhooked. Really, the first day or two was the hardest. I increased my water intake and it helped a bunch. Between not drinking caffeine this week (at all) and drinking more water, I’ve had a ton more energy.

Also since coming back, I had two sets of ski lessons, my first ever. I had a blast. The second time I even managed to get off the ski lift all by myself. (I’m a big kid now!)  It was fun and I hope to get out skiing again before I forget what I learned and have to start over.

Some highlights from today. I actually had stuff to do all day at work (it makes 8 hours go by so much faster!). I needed to work on planning for my eikaiwa (adult conversation class). So I went looking for some ideas, I still don’t have a ton, but I have more than I did. I studied Japanese for a bit, which I quit the CLAIR course and am working on the Genki books again. They are much more at a level where I’ll be able to USE what I’m learning, which is so much more important.

Another funny moment today was when we were working on the “vocabulary” for the “What do you use a ___ for?” unit. The blank was PC and the last vocabulary point was “buy ______.” The last time we met, I tried to give them something funny by saying I’d buy the internet. My joke went right over their heads. So today’s answer? I use it to buy the school. I got a good giggle out of most of the students with that one.

Had a lesson with the 5th graders at my big school today which was observed by parents. The English teacher at that school did a great job and the lesson was fun for all (I think).

The last bit of the day I spent studying Japanese and I made up for the fact that I ended up missing studying on Monday because I was busy planning for my eikaiwa class that night.

In searching for ideas for teaching eikaiwa this next month (we’re doing restaurants), I found a really yummy looking banana cake recipe on line. I decided to try it. It’s made in the rice cooker and it turned out amazing! Who knew that you could bake a cake in a rice cooker?

The day ended with my mini-volleyball club. It’s a bunch of random adults from an eighteen-year-old all the way up to a woman who is probably in her 60’s (which probably makes her 80 the way my ability to guess Japanese people’s age works). I probably spent the majority of the games laughing. Which is a wonderful way to spend an evening.

After this wonderful day, it’s bedtime!