Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Wednesday, April 20th, 1988

Note:  This is a series of journal entries from my two years living in Himeji, Japan (1988-1990).  I'm archiving them electronically through my blog.  Last names have been deleted and replaced with first initial only.  For details on this series of blog entries, see this post.

Today has been just awful!  Last night when I went to bed I immediately had a headache, then the queasiness set in, the chills, intermittent sweating spells, sore joints, weakness- the whole enchilada.

Today I had to go to school for chapel, and was yet again introduced to the students, faculty, etc. as the new teacher- hopefully that will be the last time.

I was supposed to have a "student affairs" meeting, but asked to go home, and try to get over this.

I also missed the "friendly club" meeting tonight.  I didn't really want to go anyway, but sitting here in my apartment is getting kind of claustrophobic!!

I slept 4 hours this afternoon, and when I got up, took a walk.  The walk almost made me sicker, but it was good to get out.

Being sick always makes me homesick.  It's not very bad right now, but I do miss everyone back home.  I'm reminded of the wonderful time we had the Saturday before I left. (I also want to write about it so that it's saved for posterity).

Playing Scrabble all day was great fun, and many people were there:  Peggy & I were partners, Edna and Robin, and Mike and Stephanie.  In the first game I think Robin and Edna won. (Edna brought me a magnet and plaque, and mint chocolates, and we coaxed her into staying for spaghetti casserole).

In the 2nd game Stephanie just beat me by 5 points- ugh!  We all ate dinner, and Bud and Virginia stopped by for dessert (cherry pie, yum!).  Bud and Virginia left after dessert, and the rest of us watched "Outrageous Fortune", then parted...what a fun day!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Tuesday, April 19th, 1988

Note:  This is a series of journal entries from my two years living in Himeji, Japan (1988-1990).  I'm archiving them electronically through my blog.  Last names have been deleted and replaced with first initial only.  For details on this series of blog entries, see this post.

Today was the opening of English classes.  Today was also my busiest teaching day- 3- 90 minute classes.  It doesn't sound hard, but when you consider that it was my first day of solo teaching ever, in a foreign country, with materials and concepts I've only glanced at, to students who only understand bits and pieces of what I'm saying- and that I have to make them understand- it was quite a day!

I ate lunch with Mike B., Chinatsu, and about 7 other misc. girls.  It was fun, and all the girls at lunch came to my office after school, causing me to miss the train I wanted to take home, and causing photo blindness from the over abundance of picture taking with the "gaijin" that htey did.  Mr. I. drove by and gave me a ride home, so it worked out okay.

 NOT the actual train I wanted to take...

I got 3 of my boxes today- so they, and I for that matter, are all here now...a scary feeling...now I can start worrying about how to get it all home!!

I put up the E.S.S. poster today, and think I'll have a fairly good turn out for the introductory meeting Thursday.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Monday, April 18th, 1988

Note:  This is a series of journal entries from my two years living in Himeji, Japan (1988-1990).  I'm archiving them electronically through my blog.  Last names have been deleted and replaced with first initial only.  For details on this series of blog entries, see this post.

Today was very uneventful.  I went to school to take care of my electric bill, and to talk to Mr. M.  I couldn't get ahold of either person that I need to , so was basically a wasted trip.

It's poured all day.  My shoes and pants are soaked upon returning to the apartment.  (My briefcase too).

Went to Coop and bought bread and cheese, and got more kerosene today- no freezing this evening!

Wrote letters, listened to tapes.  Have started listening to "Les Miserables" tape to be familiar with the music when we go see it in May.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Sunday, April 17th, 1988

Note:  This is a series of journal entries from my two years living in Himeji, Japan (1988-1990).  I'm archiving them electronically through my blog.  Last names have been deleted and replaced with first initial only.  For details on this series of blog entries, see this post.

Today was very tiring, but fun.  I went to Hinomoto Church, stayed for a short English lesson afterwards, and then sprinted back to the apartment to change and meet Mieko Y. for lunch.  We went to good old McDonald's, and got caught up on the past four years.  We shopped for most of the afternoon, and I met a friend that she works with who I think is going to become my English pupil.



We went to the castle and I took more pictures.  We walked all over the castle grounds, visited a shrine nearby, and walked all the way around the castle for the first time (for me anyway, Mieko used to run around it in Jr. High School for track practice).







After I left Mieko I went home and got a call from Linda Lee to come over and watch the ballet "Giselle".  It was good, but would have been better live.

After that I went home and got a call from mom and dad.  They said that Stephanie had been over for dinner the night before.  I was really glad.  I love that they are getting closer...just wish I was there too!  Mom and dad leave for Vienna next Tuesday...lucky dogs!

Mom didn't know what ever happened with Robin and St. Louis, but guess I will find out in a coming letter.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Saturday, April 16th, 1988

Note:  This is a series of journal entries from my two years living in Himeji, Japan (1988-1990).  I'm archiving them electronically through my blog.  Last names have been deleted and replaced with first initial only.  For details on this series of blog entries, see this post.

Today was a nice day, Linda Lee and I went to the post office, she got money (and thusly did I) and she taught me to use the postal savings machine- difficult!  After that we went to Miyuki Dori to shop and had lunch at Conserve.  After shopping we went to Himeji Castle and saw the cherry blossoms.  I think I took about 30 pictures.  Japanese drummers were playing on the field and it was very crowded!






After that Nao picked me up and I went to N's for a barbeque.  It was a lot of fun.  Masano's cousin and her husband were visiting, one of Moto's friends was there, and Masano's English student was there.  We had all kinds of interesting things on the grill...fish, potatoes, beef, clams, squid, peppers, etc.

I ate beef and potatoes!!  We did karaoke inside after dark, and sang group songs- (yes we did bugaloo and the duck song).  Nao made a strawberry short cake, and it was a great time!








The real downer, however, was when I came home and got my first overseas phone bill...19,000 yen (approximately $190.00) for 3 short calls.  Oy vey!

I got a depressing letter from Robin saying that she was going to St. Louis to get Jennifer C. into counseling for bulimia.  Yuk. (Jennifer didn't know she was coming and that Robin, Jen's aunt, and parents were going to surprise her).

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Friday, April 15th, 1988

Note:  This is a series of journal entries from my two years living in Himeji, Japan (1988-1990).  I'm archiving them electronically through my blog.  Last names have been deleted and replaced with first initial only.  For details on this series of blog entries, see this post.

Today was equally as thrilling  I came in with K's at 9:00.  Karl was in one of his nasty moods, so he hasn't been a real joy.  We had a meeting with M about the class breakdown.  I will be teaching the advanced English I class.  I'm glad- they'll be able to understand me maybe?!

M. also told us that Jenny had decided, tentatively, to take the job here.  That means that 5 teachers would be teaching 27 students, as opposed to 4 teachers teaching 36 students.  We met Jenny in a meeting yesterday consisting of Karl, Mr. O., and I.  She's very nice, and speaks Japanese well.

There were many conflicts with her schedule at the Y.M.C.A., where she teaches English to get free Japanese lessons, but she called and said it would all be worked out.

I worked on the 1st days lesson plan, and further worked on my office.  It's looking nice, and Karl liked the way I had it set up.


 the view from my office (without staring girls)

At this point I'm trying to keep busy until K's are ready to go home (they said it would be an hour, 2 1/2 hours ago).

Right now 8 or 10 of the girls are staring at me through the window from the driveway below.  It's so strange being stared at and talked about all the time, but I supposed I'll get used to it...as Linda Lee says...me and Liz Taylor. (oh brother)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Friday, April 15th, 1988

Note:  This is a series of journal entries from my two years living in Himeji, Japan (1988-1990).  I'm archiving them electronically through my blog.  Last names have been deleted and replaced with first initial only.  For details on this series of blog entries, see this post.

I'm going to have to start calling this my every other day journal, as I'm not getting to it as often as planned.

Yesterday I rode in to school with Karl and set up my office.  It's still a bit sparce, but is on the right track.  Anyway, I brought a plant from home and some wall hangings, now I just need a rug and a few more chairs.


We asked at the office for 4 "comfy" chairs and a conference table, but they said that I had all I was entitled to, and would have to bring whatever else I needed from home...well, excuuuuuuse me!

The train took me back to Kyoguchi at about 3:05, along with many other Hinomoto people, and that was the extent of my day.

At the apartment I read a book, cleaned up the place, and called Masano.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Wednesday, April 13th, 1988

Note:  This is a series of journal entries from my two years living in Himeji, Japan (1988-1990).  I'm archiving them electronically through my blog.  Last names have been deleted and replaced with first initial only.  For details on this series of blog entries, see this post.

Today was the closing ceremony for the retreat.  Several people talked (for long periods of time) in Japanese.  We had a miniature photo session before disembarking and I was pulled in many directions to be posed with by giggling teenagers.

The retreat was fun.  I played keyboard and sang with "Joyful Noise".  Today they made an official invitation for me to join.  The group is a mix of marimba, guitars, bass, drums, keyboard, harmonica, rhythm instruments, and accordion- very "unusual" sound!

Last night was a teachers snack time after the last meeting (and checking of placement English tests).  Snacks ranged from sushi to chocolate, but I managed to pick out enough stuff to ebb my hunger.  All of the meals were disgusting (of the sushi (sashimi), fishy variety) except for Spanish rice yesterday, and toast & eggs this morning.  Breakfast yesterday was fish, and soup-yuk!

Anyway, at the teachers meeting Mr. S. said that my song was very good- and I understood what he said, even though it was in Japanese! (Okay, its not a Nobel prize, but its a start).

Upon arrival home, I picked up much overdue mail, and cleaned the apartment.  Made big "Western" meal for dinner (spaghetti, salad, toast, fresh strawberries).

*Stephanie wrote that she loved me for the first time...great letter dated "2 Apr. 88" (reference info).

Monday, May 23, 2016

Wednesday, April 13th, 1988

Note:  This is a series of journal entries from my two years living in Himeji, Japan (1988-1990).  I'm archiving them electronically through my blog.  Last names have been deleted and replaced with first initial only.  For details on this series of blog entries, see this post.

I'm not doing very well at this every day writing business.  Yesterday we had various long lectures and activities.  It poured all day so outside activities were limited to a walk/jog on part of the trail I walked the day before, before the rain started.


M.- sensei and I played as a team in a ping pong tournament and won 4 out of 4 games.  (It was mainly M's doing.  I was awful.).  Then the sensei's challenged the 1st round winner in volleyball on the hierarchy at our end of the chart, and worked our way to the top team of nine.  I had a good serving streak involved in 6 of our points in the last game- my wrist still hurts.

Took my first community bath (ofuro!).  It was nice, but Barrett and one other Japanese teacher were the only ones in there at the time.  Who knows what I'd be writing now if there were 25 strange Japanese men there?!

I gave my lecture/Bible study.  It went fairly well.  I sang "Ell Shaddai".  Everyone liked it.

The only really bizarre thing on that day was after Barrett and I had gone to bed.  At about 11:30 I heard a soft knock on our door then heard it opening.  A group of about 10 girls wanted us to take a picture with them, and just walked in to ask.  Next time, I'll check all locks when around them!!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Monday, April 11th, 1988

Note:  This is a series of journal entries from my two years living in Himeji, Japan (1988-1990).  I'm archiving them electronically through my blog.  Last names have been deleted and replaced with first initial only.  For details on this series of blog entries, see this post.

I'll write now (or start), in case I don't have the chance later.  We are at a mountain resort about 2 hours from Himeji.  I rode from tendai with Nobuo I.  I met him when I was here with Iasota '84.  He's very nice, but very Americanized (he lived in California for 10 years).  The trip up was very nice!

Mineyama Resort
At the retreat we had opening ceremonies, then went to the gymnasium for games.  We (gaizin) did our "car won't start" skit, and started to get to know the kids and vice versa.  During free time, I played ping pong with some of the girls, and walked up a mountain road that the resort paved for bicycles and walkers.  It was very nice.  It's dinner time now, so perhaps more later.

Dinner was a little stressful- I sat amongst the girls and tried to make conversation, but they were too shy to speak to me, and too limited in English to keep up any kind of dialogue.

We had a meeting after dinner.  Pres. Sakai spoke for ever.  Linda Lee gave a talk on Joni Erikson.  It was inspiring.

I talked with to of the girls after the meeting:  Chinatsu U., and Michiyo F.  They were very outgoing (U. that is).  Now it's time to sleep- to get up at 6:30 and start again.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Monday, April 11th, 1988

Note:  This is a series of journal entries from my two years living in Himeji, Japan (1988-1990).  I'm archiving them electronically through my blog.  Last names have been deleted and replaced with first initial only.  For details on this series of blog entries, see this post.

I'm again writing today for yesterday, as I didn't have time last night.  Yesterday I went to Hinomoto Church.   Karl, Linda Lee, Barrett, and I all happened to be there on the same Sunday.

Linda Lee and I left early to catch the train to Kobe for a JALT meeting (Japan Association of Language Teachers).  It was an okay meeting.  The ratio was about even (Caucasian/Japanese) and there were about 20 people there.  The meeting was on the use of video in the classroom, and was quite informative.

Linda Lee and I ate at a coffee shop upon returning to Himeji, and that about caps Sunday.  I called Masano to order tickets to "Les Miserables", Mieko called, and mom and dad called.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Saturday, April 9th, 1988

Note:  This is a series of journal entries from my two years living in Himeji, Japan (1988-1990).  I'm archiving them electronically through my blog.  Last names have been deleted and replaced with first initial only.  For details on this series of blog entries, see this post.

I find myself becoming more and more discouraged by what people tell me of the situation at Hinomoto.  The other day Karl told me that some of the teachers are resentful that my apartment is being paid for by the school.  That makes me feel good...  They say the students are unmotivated, and shy and withdrawn...not a good sign to a theater type like me.

Today I learned that my status is just above that of school janitor.  Karl wouldn't even tell me what my title was until I begged.  My ideas are constantly being criticized as too complicated or not in line with the Japanese way of educating.

Karl said that my main "face" will be in E.S.S. (English Speaking Society) club.  He's building up that I'll have some fabulous extra curricular club that'll be a signature item at Hinomoto.  I don't even know what I'm doing in English class, let alone what my after school activity is going to be.

I'm getting constant negative feedback in regards to my job, and how to do it, what to expect from people, and "how the Japanese are".  It's going to be a long 2 years.

Otherwise, today was okay.  I spent all day working on retreat stuff- games, testimony, panel discussions, etc.

Sachiko stopped by with snacks.  I about died.  She was here for an hour, and I had to keep thinking of things to say.  Finally I made a pretense of having to meet someone and ushered her to the door.

I went to K's for a wonderful, complete turkey dinner, and we discussed the retreat. (They were very reassuring of my before mentioned negativity).   Barret was invited too, so I started to get to know him tonight.  He's not very open, but I just met him, so...  He came back to my apartment, and we chatted a little more.

Let's just say that at this point my outlook isn't very positive.  I miss young people who are alive and outgoing (theater types).  I miss children who don't stare at me like I have a disease.  I miss having a status (granted, that of 1st year teacher, but with advancement each year).  I miss working in a field I've studied (el. ed.), with people who'll listen to my ideas, and not look down at me because of my tender years, I miss being informed and being able to understand all aspects of life and my job that I care to understand, I miss my family, Stephanie, friends and familiar places.  I also miss mail, because today is the third day I haven't received any...I'm afraid someone is taking it- great another thing to worry about.

Oh well...tomorrow is another day...

After note:  I also miss my independence, because at this point I really can't do anything on my own.  I feel so helpless and childlike.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

We Interrupt 1988 for this Post from the Present!

This past weekend mom and dad came up for a visit.  As always, it was great fun! 

They arrived on Thursday, and I went to Robin and Davey's after school for dinner and to see them.  Friday, Duane and I already had plans for the evening (although they got cancelled because Duane was feeling "punky"), so didn't see them again until Saturday morning.

Saturday morning, I met dad, Davey, Emilie, and Abigail, and we went to the Minneapolis Farmer's Market (my first time this season!).  Robin couldn't go because she's still in a knee brace from her surgery four weeks ago, and mom stayed home with her.   Duane was still not feeling well, so he didn't go either.  Even so, it was great fun, and, although REALLY COLD, we got some fun photos...











After the farmer's market we hung out at Robin and Davey's until it was time for Abigail to get ready for her junior formal.  She looked AMAZING!



After photos, and her delivery to the rendezvous point with her friends, Robin, Davey, mom and dad, Emilie, and I had dinner (pastitsio that I made the night before...since our plans were canceled and I had time to do so), then I went home, and went to bed...it had been a long day!

They headed home Sunday morning, and I spent the day catching up on bills, cleaning, doing laundry, and getting ready for the week ahead.

Here's hoping YOU had fun with family recently too!!!