Friday, January 19, 2007

Lovely Kumano

So, I live here now. If there was some confusion on that last post, let me clarify. In April, I have the opportunity to switch schools and then maybe it would be easier to commute to Kumano from Hiroshima city, but as it turns out, it really won't be. Well, it would require catching the 7:30 as opposed to the 8:48 (or riding my bike) bus. I think I'll settle in Kumano for the time being. Sitting in the coffee shop in hiroshima. Downtown hiroshima is a cool 45 min. 620 yen bus ride, so i can come everyweekend, drink my self silly, and crash at a friends' or wait for the morning train/bus. Not so bad.

hustling bustling kumano on Vimeo
Kumano is a little busier than that video makes it seem, I just thought it was a cute little location. I bought a memory card for my amazing cell phone, so I can liberally take pictures (up to 2048 x 1536 resolution), videos like you see above, and listen to mp3s. I forgot to upload the pics i took with the camera onto my PC so you can't see them now, but they look pretty good.there's a low res pic i took of my school lunch. Eating Japanese style again, I think I've almost lost that 10 lbs i put on stateside. Yeah, in like 8 days. That pink package of stuff is natto.
So I've only just begun, but working at the elementary school is SO awesome. Basically, at amity, I hated work with all of my being, but at the school it's actually FUN. Yeah, you heard me, fun. The kids worship me like a superhero, and follow me in lines. It's not all stressful because it's the home-room teachers class, not yours, so you just go in and do a presentation, and I only have the same class maybe twice a month so it's not like I'm all responsible for their english greatly excelling. All in all, I work half as much, for half as long, and it's infinately more fun, and a quarter as stressful. Also, I've spoken more japanese in the last 3 days than I did in 2 months last year.
Here's a picture of my school -- i've yet to work at the other one (though i've seen it).
my school
and here's some of the town.

Basically, I'm pretty sure I am the only foreigner living in town. Actually, I am very sure. So I mentioned earlier, or in the video or something, that 80 percent of brushes made in japan come from here. Wierd, I know, but wierder yet is that they are just releasing a set of brushes made for writing english. Err, roman characters anyways. So, when i met the board of education they explain this to me, then that the japanese national broadcasting system (NHK, like imagine if there was only NBC in america. I don't reallly understand how their broadcasting works, but everyone gets and watches NHK and it's always them filming lame stuff. like...reality news basically, or else cooking shows) is doing a thing on it. So...they want me to come and use them for the camera and give my impressions. Okay. I get there, in between classes on my 1st day living in this town, and there's this circle of tables, and all of the brushmakers of the city in chairs around it. I come in and just have enough time to snap this picture

Then, I walk in the door while they film me, shake hands with all of these dudes while they give me their business cards and stuff, like I'm some professional brush tester, then I sit down and they're like "okay, write something and give us your impressions" And they're hovering this camera alternating from 3 inches from my face and my paper. I start to write my name in you know.. normal letters. Shit, I don't know how to write, and i told them that. I figured they're film me writing for a few seconds (not the paper) and then use it as background footage for their thing. But, they're like interviewing me, and then they ask me to, you know, WRITE my name. I haven't written cursive since like 3rd grade so i give it my dumb signature, and i wasn't used to this paper, or the brush, or how slow to go, or how much water and how much color to use (you have to work a bit to get a feel for that stuff, you know)
Anyways. Then they want me to draw a picture. I can't do it under the pressure, i color a circle, color around it, make some stupid lines, the whole time going "oh wow, I can hold it like a pencil. We're not used to writing with brushes in the west, so this is a big step" and "this is great how i can taper a line with the same brush, that kind of control is really impressive" in DEAD SILENCE. it was hell. The result is this stupid thing that looks like a yellow comet with brown streaks (i was going to draw a sunflower before i freaked....) and they had me freaking SIGN it, and it's going to be on national television. I almost asked them to stop the camera so i could jump out the window. To finish it off they asked me how they could SELL it in america. Shit. I don't know? I said some junk like "it's really important that these are actually made in this little town in Japan, not some big factory in china or something. It's like going back in time." that's right. It's like going back in time. Then all the brush dudes had some meeting and i had to sit there and put on a serious face and listen to them and nod and stuff. I couldn't handle it and started laughing, and gave the camera a thumbs up.

Anyways, that's over, and it airs the day after tomorrow, i'll try to film the TV with my camera.

Then, i went for a few needed beers after work, met a girl, got her number and when i tried to meet up with her last night, she was there with her MOM. so, they're like playing host to me. That was wierd, too.

Wierd little town is freaking me out. Also, I am going to run in a town relay race thingy in a week or two. I'm learning a thing or two here about nerves, if not japanese.

well, this post has gotten long. I'm gonna order another coffee, then maybe consider a recap of my stay in reno, which i miss sorely living alone in the mountains.


At 8:07 PM, Anonymous Janelle said...

What a great posting! I laughed out loud at your stories!! It looks like such a nice friendly town. I can't wait to come visit!

At 8:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

how nice to hear from you again. keep us informed. Heloise

At 11:08 PM, Blogger Vernon said...

Hi Dan,
That's an awesome test video. Just one question: did you tilt your head sideways when you filmed it too?

Great to hear you are in the low stress mode of teaching Engrish to the kids. That's what it's all about!

I have moved on from the part-time role I had in Hiroshima to more academic geared teaching with some sort or responsibility... ?!? I want to go back in time though, to exactly where I was in Japan... Hmm.

Dan, you are a super hero. Wow, that must be so cool to be the only gaijin in town. Imagine it, you can be a time-traveller, Jamie Oliver, Bill Murray, Roger Moore, Picasso and every other foreign fascination all barrelled into one super teacher! Not to mention the token green card option for the local girls. Hey dude, sell your art on eBay!

At 11:39 PM, Anonymous 6969JesusFan420 said...

You can use that new fancy cell phone to video tape clips from HBO's upcoming song of ice and fire series. ;-)

--C Money

At 11:18 AM, Blogger Maresa said...

Dood, I loved this post. You should considering doing it again, but with different words!! I haven't heard from you in a while. Mom's forwarded me the pictures of tako, tempura-style, and brain-style.


At 11:28 PM, Blogger Katie K said...

hello! i found your blog looking for info on kumano, i am trying to visit this summer (my family is from kumano) - any advice?


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