Time for an update, Robert Stack style:
- My new computer is en route to Kofu as I write this, and will be here later this week. I got a good deal on a Toshiba laptop off of New Egg, with a warranty and free shipping to boot (sadly this offer was only good within the continental US, so my ever-gracious parents are forwarding it to me). It seemed to have decent enough specifications; though honestly I`m so far out of the loop technologically that the numbers all seemed egregiously high to me. My internet is being installed on the 8th, so in less than two weeks I`ll say goodbye to free internet cafe soft cream and return to the world of easy communication.
- After fifteen months at Kriasho Kofu, my coworker Eileen is going back to America amid a flood of tearful goodbyes from students. She`s given me a lot of good advice, especially during those first few weeks when I didn`t know a hanko from a drill card, and I am eternally grateful for that. I wish her the best of luck in her travels and future career goals, and freely acknowledge that I have some big shoes to fill.
- After six weeks of listening to the same eleven CDs over and over, I finally got my packet of Mixes from the CD Swap! There's a treasure trove of new music inside, and seeing the individual effort that friends and strangers had put into each design was a welcome breath of creativity amidst the stagnant Japanese business environment in which I work. Good God I can`t wait to listen to them all.
- I saw a yakuza on the train heading out of Shinjuku! He was dressed in all black, with long hair and an elaborate tatto running up his neck on to the right half of his face. He spent most of the ride sending text messages on his iPhone.
- After a half-hour late-night struggle to work the ticket machine at Lawson`s alongside an equally clueless clerk, I now possess two tickets to the Tokyo leg of the Rent tour! Since I am unable to accurately express my excitement in mere words, I shall leave it to the reader to imagine my frantic anticipation.
- One last anecdote: on Thursdays I teach a middle-school class of two girls who spent time in America and speak better English than most adults. Since there is no place for them in the Kriasho curriculum, we use a third-party textbook and do lots of other activities. During a particularly intense game of Picnic (˝I am going on a picnic and I am bringing apples, bananas, a cat...˝) one of the students hesitated when she was unlucky enough to get stuck with Q. She thought for a while, and, still a little unsure as to the game`s flexibility, asked: ˝Is it okay to go on a picnic with Queen?˝ (Japanese speakers often struggle with articles.) Aside from this phrase`s obvious awesomeness as a cover-band name, I would have to say that a picnic with Queen would probably be the greatest thing ever. Period.