Wednesday, March 24, 2004

A fun time was had by all last night at the English department annual enkai (party). I arrived there with my schools equivalent of Gilbert and George, namely Terayama sensei and Kudou sensei, the ichinensei teachers. These two guys make me laugh and while they don't physically look like Gilbert and George, they dress just like them and act like two semi-eccentric peas in a pod. Right now the schools in this prefecture are trading teachers for the upcoming academic year, and two English teachers are on their way out

There is Tohoru sensei who is moving to the position of kyoto sensei (vice-principal) at Kuroishi koko next academic year. His special moment from last night was announcing, in English, that he would soon become 'chief of sexual harassment' - then, all of a sudden, he forgot what he was going to say and how he could express himself in English and just left it at that, hoping I would understand what he meant. I did understand what he meant, of course, which was that he would be given the job of tackling sexual harassment in the workplace at his new school. Look out Shelby is all I can say!! I told him that the ALT at his new school is a tall, blonde Canadian and he started licking his lips and rubbing his hands together. Somebody must have given him a nudge under the table because after a few imagination-led moments he jolted upright and continued the conversation about his new job. He's going to be sorely missed in this place though because he's been here for fifteen years now and is a bit like a piece of the furniture.

Of course, how could I forget about the coming departure of Mori sensei, my dear friend with whom I have taught so many enjoyable classes. Not really, he's the one who hits kids in the face while they're already crying their eyes out. He's a nasty piece of work and I can't wait to see the back of him. He smells like toilets as well.

And the new teachers will be.... I know one of the replacement teachers coming next month, and I'm happy about it because he's a really nice guy. The other, well, who cares. If I don't like them I won't go to their classes. They'll soon get the picture.

All in all, last night was a really good enkai, my favourite moment of which was when I told Kudou sensei about my first encounter with wasabe (Japanese mustard) at my welcome enkai in 2002. I had never eaten it before so I just took a big (2cm.sq.) lump of it and plopped it on top of a piece of raw fish and stuck it straight in my mouth. When I told Kudou sensei this he laughed so hard he started making noises and tears came out of his eyes. I've never seen the guy laugh so hard, he's usually very quiet. He told me how he was very suprised by the behaviour of local people while on a transfer programme in England. He went to a CAMRA real ale festival in Norwhich where people put their pint glasses down on the floor next to the urinal while they peed. "We Japanese find this kind of behaviour very strange" was what he said. Then I started making noises and tears came out of my eyes. He also expressed unease regarding the soapy taste of all his meals cooked by his host family in England, who never rinsed the dishes after washing them in thick detergent and leaving them on the side to dry. "You get used to soapy potatoes after a while lad", I explained.

Another day in the office with bugger all to do. I'll probably go for a kip in the tatami room this afternoon to kill a bit of time though.