Sunday, March 19, 2017

Monday, February 12th, 1989

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.

Saturday morning I got up at 6:30, got ready, and caught the train to Rokko (actually Mikage).  I went to Kimberly's and we talked and she made french toast.  She gave me a valentine.  We had a nice chat.

At 12:30 I went to Ashiya-gawa to help Dave get ready for the super bowl party.  We had a really great talk and got to know each other a little better.  What a great guy!

People arrived around 3:30 and we watched a couple of videos.  We ordered pizza, and never got around to watching the super bowl.  There were a lot of people there and it was great!

We left around 11, and I stayed over with Kimberly.

Sunday I got up and around and went to morning church in Rokko.  Paula was on a trip, so I substitute music directed.  It went all right, but I've never worked with Ben (the pianist) before, so the starts of a few songs were a little rough, but it went okay.

After church I went with Sandy to Sannomiya to meet Erin.  We had a great chat on the way to Sannomiya.  Sandy is great!

For lunch we went to Gaylord's, an Indian restaurant.  The food was expensive, but really good.  Erin is a stitch.  After lunch, and a leer from the owner (when Erin said that the fur hanging on the coat rack must be hers), we went downtown.

We went to a game room and "soft gambled" as Erin put it.  We played slot machines, and rolled coins down a chute to try to push other coins off a ledge to increase our tokens.  I was sad to find out that they couldn't be turned in at the end of the time for cash...Erin forgot to mention that.  As we left we played the crane booths out front (claw a prize).

We went to Tokyu Hands for a little while, but it was really crowded, due to the holiday weekend.  Before I forget...the train was really crowded on Saturday, but I happened to get on at the door that Hiroko was standing by.  She was on her way to Kobe to see some school friends, so we rode to Sannomiya together.

Sunday I met Kimberly and we went to a coffee shop, then back to Rokko (after looking in a few yarn shops). It was the first choir practice.  I was nervous, but it went well.  They're a good group and pick things up easily.  Rehearsals are really short though...too short!

I music led at church.  It went fine.  Erin and I sang "There Will Never Be Another".  I thought it went well, but Erin was convinced it was terrible.  Guess that's how I used to be...bummer.

I caught the train back to Himeji, and spent most of the walk to my apartment trying to get rid of an old man who kept striking up conversation with me.  Criminy, I couldn't ditch the guy. He tried to get me to go to his house for coffee, and I had to say no thanks about 10 times.  He seemed nice, though, and lives right in my very own neighborhood :-(.  So, I'm sure we'll meet

Today I got up and cleaned, washed, etc.  Mike came at 1:00, and we went to school to turn in our grades.  After that we stopped in Nozato at the Italian Pizza Company for take out pizza.  It's really good, and I'm sure I'll be calling them again soon!

I went to A-Coop and bought a few things.

Kayo came at 5.  When she left, she gave me a chocolate necklace for Valentine's.  She's such a sweetie!

Tonight I watched "V: The Final Battle". 

I went out to take my trash to the curb and discovered that some of the little brats that live in the building opened all the mailboxes and removed all of the name plates.  I think all Japanese under the age of 12 should be deported to Antarctica until they reach 17, then brought back then.  The little brats!

Anyway...Kimberly called today.  She said she broke up with Jimmy because of an incident involving tobacco for Nobu, and Jimmy's questioning her about Gary and if he smokes a pipe and whether some of the tobacco was for him too.  Sounds really insecure.

So, I guess she really can be my Valentine now.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Friday, February 10th, 1989

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.

Wednesday night I waited at school until 6:30, and rode with Koji to Akira's apartment.  We had a good time, as usual.  Next week we're going to go downtown to the entertainment district for dinner.  Should be a great time.  Koji took me home afterwards.

Thursday I came to school and rewrote the script for Shirotopia, and typed it up.  After lunch we had E.S.S. practice.  Michiyo "forgot" we had rehearsal...again.  I'm ready to drop her from the show if she doesn't shape up soon.

Last night I went home, ate dinner, watched videos (Pop Betty House), news, and Tunnels.  I also got my videos labeled.

Today, I've been here for 20 minutes and Karl had bothered me twice.  He wants me to monitor his Bible Test. The absolute gall of this insensitive boor amazes me!  God, is June still 4 months away?!

Caught 4 girls cheating.  Rather severe consequences...flunk the class, have to take next year, and thusly may not have enough credits to graduate on time.

Taught at Megumi.  They gave me a big box of chocolates for Valentine's nice!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Wednesday, February 8th, 1989

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.

Yesterday I came to school and we gave our 1st year final exams.  No major happenings.  During the 2nd year exam, however, several girls were caught cheating.  One was mine.  Another had to be frisked by Linda Lee to get the notes out of her sleeve.  So, after that pencil boxes were checked, sleeves were rolled up, and I offered to secure the perimeter with barbed wire, but no one took me up on it.  They were reprimanded by Mr. S. & talked to- big whoop.

After this we (the gaizin staff) went to the Herb Garden for lunch.  Mike somehow managed to leave his briefcase sitting in the Hinomoto parking lot, and called later and I got it & took it to my apartment.

The afternoon was spent grading papers.  After school, I taught my class at Mizoguchi (one of those when will this class end?! nights).  I went home and jumped in the shower before Mike, who was supposed to come around 9:30 or 10:00, came.  Well, he was early & I had the wonderful privilege of answering the door in a towel.  He came to get is briefcase.  Went to bed at 10.

Today I came to school, and went home, and came back to school, and soon will leave again for the day.  Karl tried to call me this morning, but my phone was unplugged, for just such a reason.  Anyway he's having problems with M's visas & wanted my visa number.  So, of course I had to go home and get my passport.  It's funny how the old fart doesn't do diddly shit for me, but my life is continually inconvenienced and annoying-ful because of what I'm forced to do for him.  That absolute bloody jerk!!  June can't be too near for me.  grrrrrrr.  I can truly say that I've never been so continually annoyed by someone in my entire life.

Anyway, I don't think he really needed it after I went to all the trouble.  If he would just wait, be patient, and talk to the people he needs to talk to, before bothering others with his problems, he'd (and we'd) get along a lot better.  So far he's been in my office 3 times giving me updates, and I don't give a shit!!

Spent the rest of my short time at school correcting papers giving final grades, writing letters, reading, etc.

This is the 1st day of "water week".  I'm trying to cut down on sugar & caffeine to see if that's what's making my stomach queasy so often.  It's rainy outside today, so what better time to begin "water week"??!!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Monday, February 6th, 1989

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.

Friday evening was Megumi class.  No big thrill.  Came home w/K's, then came home & went to bed.  Got up Saturday at 9-ish-cleaned, watched "V" on video, filled my kerosene tank/and overflowed it on my balcony, hands, pajamas, etc.  Stayed in my pajamas until 1:30. (I was waiting for a call from home and didn't want it to come while I was in the shower).

Went downtown and bought stuff, then met Mike at 4.  We returned videos he's borrowed, stopped at Mos Burger, then went to his place.  Kimberly was supposed to come, but cancelled to study (she called during the evening & was sad).

We watched "Planes, Train, and Automobiles".  How realistic!  Then Mike & I  went & got another video- "Troll".  Mike's parents called to tell them that Tom & his wife aren't coming back, so that kind of ended the evening.

Yesterday I slept in, got up, & went to Sannomiya.  The great spice rack quest is now at an end.  Spice rack discovered and purchased at Tokyu Hands...yay!  I met Paula at 2, and we went over music for singles fellowship.  After that I hung around CLI until Kim came at 4.  We walked around the temple grounds in Rokko, then came back to CLI.  I went to the student center to practice "There Will Never Be Another" with Erin.  She was 35 minutes late.

Church was fine.  My directing went well.  The announcement about choir rehearsal starting next week was in the bulletin...ack!

There were a lot of people at singles.  Our "Praise" in music theme worked well.  Paula did most of it, but I gave a little talk on praise and meaning what we sing when we sing and not just singing without thinking.  I got lots of laughs, which I was going for, so I guess they enjoyed it. (Everyone also laughed when I was the only one who said "Hey World" in "Pass It On", which wasn't so great)(but it was a fun evening).

I got to I's at 11:45.  Talked to Carol & watched some Renaissance musicians on NHK until 1:00.

I got up at 8, and talked to Carol about choir music and directing.

This afternoon, I moved spices into my new spice rack, went shopping, did laundry, etc.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Friday, February 3rd, 1989

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.

Last night Akira and Hiroko came for dinner.  Koji couldn't make it.  We had tater tot casserole, salad, baked potatoes, croissants, and corn.  It was fun.  Next week we're going to Hiroko's house.

They brought me some beans for today, which is "Setsubun".  This is where you throw a handful out of your house and say "oni w soto, fuku wa uchi" (Devil is out, luck is in).  I did it at home at at work.  (I'll take all the luck I can get!).  We also talked about their upcoming wedding, things to do during spring vacation, etc.

I called home to wish mom a happy birthday.  She wasn't there the first time I called (at 7:00 a.m.  She was out picking up a birthday cake to take to school!).

Went to sleep at 10:30, but got an idea for a story so stayed up until 11:15 writing that.  At the end of this entry I'm going to write it here.

Today I recopied my story which I may use if I have to give testimony at KIBC.  I copied some music for choir, and copied a section from "Medea" in Japanese for my English Drama class.

I need to work on my book and units for English Drama, so it could be a busy day, but my hand is getting tired from all this writing.

Anyway, here's the story I wrote last night:

The Negativites of Negativonia

Once upon a time there was a land called Negativonia. No one was happy there.  The adults were negative, the children were negative, and even the dogs and cats were negative.  Nothing good ever happened, because when it did people only looked for, and saw, the bad points.

If there was a good harvest, the people would point out that the harvest twelve years ago was better or that they probably wouldn't get much rain now, so next years crop would be planted in very dry soil and not grow well, and that they'd feast this year, but starve next year.

If it was someone's birthday, they didn't have parties and celebrate.  They pointed out that they were a year older, and that it had been a difficult year, and the next would probably be even more difficult.

Nothing was ever built, or repaired in Negativonia, because people didn't think it would be worth the effort, because a tornado could come and blow it down, or a fire could destroy all their work, and then they'd have to do it all over again.  So, you can imagine what their town must have looked like!

As children grew up in Negativonia, they became more and more negative.  They started out like boys and girls from any other town, but the influence of all the other people gradually made them like their friends, family, and neighbors.   They started out by complaining about playing, then, as they grew older, school, then dating, then their jobs, and the negativity increased year by year.

Old people were so negative, that a stranger passing through town would in no way be able to convince them that it was a nice day, even it it was, and they weren't just making "small talk".

People who moved to town, and left after a short time were generally unaffected, but not totally.  They came in positive and full of hope and expectation, but got burdened down by all the negativity around them, and started to act the same way.  However, whether through realizing that they didn't like being that way, or because Negativonia didn't offer what they wanted, they moved away and the effects of their stay vanished with time.

Negativity was easy for the people of Negativonia, because they used it all the time, for everything.  Things built upon themselves here.

If the person was a teacher, first the days would be too long, then the work too time consuming, then the students unmotivated, then the administration ineffective and unsympathetic, then the school system in need of reform...and on and on.

If the person worked in one of the village businesses it started with lunch hours being too short, then work hours too long, then inconsiderate coworkers, then unfeeling bosses, and it went on and on, too.

Anyway, the Negativites, as they were called, had a custom, handed down from generation to generation, and, as with most customs, the Negativites had no idea why they did it, or what it really meant, but of course, they always did it each year, because it was, after all, tradition.

On the 3rd Sunday in March of each year, just after the close of their school year (in which the older Negativites were sure the children would forget everything they learned during that term, and the children were sure they would be bored the entire break), they participated in something called "Positive Thing Day".

They all gathered in the village square in a circle, and each person said something positive.  It didn't matter what, but they just had to say something positive.  Some people thought of things in a fairly short time (and were scowled at by the older, and more negative people around the circle), but most took many minutes to think of something to say that was positive.

The problem was, you see, that since they had no idea where this custom originated, or why they were doing it, it didn't mean anything.  Year after year they got into the circle on the 3rd Sunday in March, after the close of the school year, and said something they didn't truly feel.  Some people even wrote something on a piece of paper at some point during the year to "get through it quicker" on that special day.

It happened one year, however, that a stranger was passing through town on "Positive Thing Day", and after listening for awhile, unnoticed, asked what they were doing.  They replied in their usual bored, negative way that it was "Positive Thing Day", and that this was a town tradition.

The stranger asked what "Positive Thing Day" was, and why they held it , and one of the more optimistic townsmen, explained what they did this each year on the 3rd Sunday of March after the close of their school year, but was stumped when asked again, "why"?  And because it was a tradition, and like most traditions no one knew why it was done or what it meant, no one in the circle could come up with an explanation.

The stranger, seeing several people holding pieces of paper in their hands then asked what they were.  An old Negativite replied sourly that at some point during the year people wrote something down to say that sounded positive for the 3rd Sunday in March, after the close of the school year just to "speed the darned thing up".

The stranger frowned, and asked if he might be allowed to say something positive, even though he was "just passing through".  Several people voted "no", because he was a stranger, but this particular year there were many younger Negativites who hadn't been pounded by negativity long enough to be truly sour.  They voted, "I suppose".

The stranger began to speak, but was interrupted by the Negativonian mayor (who had voted no, and was looking for a way to stop this interruption).  The mayor pulled out a dusty copy of the town constitution and read "a strangers comments, when submitted on 'Positive Thing Day' must be written out, and read by a native Negativite".  It could not be read by a non-Negativite, you see.  The mayor continued, "Furthermore, the writer can not be present when his comments are read". (Traditions always have little twists, or unusual by-laws that "pop up" when convenient).

So, the stranger shrugged his shoulders, and continued on his way.  After he left, one of the younger Negativites, who was 20- the age of allowance into the circle on "Positive Thing Day", opened the note and read the following:

"Positivity is not just a few words scrawled on a piece of paper, or blankly thrown from a person's mouth.  It's a feeling, it is being alive, and not restricted to a wheelchair or a sick bed.

It's being able to walk, unrestricted, to places you want to go, and not forced to march to places you don't.  It's taking time to notice the world around you and how many wonderful things are in it.  It's rejoicing in family and friends.

Positivity is believing in God, and knowing that he is there for you any time that you need him, and will watch over you even when you think you don't need him to.

Positivity is life itself...watched over by God, sought out by you, and shared with others."

From that point on the people of Negativonia started trying to mean what they said on the 3rd Sunday of March, after the close of the school year, in the circle, on "Positive Thing Day".

It would be unrealistic to say that they changed overnight, but from that point on people began to realize why they got together on "Positive Thing Day", and, maybe, why their forefathers had a "Positive Thing Day' to begin with.

The end.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Wednesday, February 1st, 1989

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.

Yesterday was pretty uneventful.  I came to school, wrote a good news article for the newsletter in Fairfield, and wrote a letter home.  Chapel was really dull, but I looked through my Thompson Chain Reference- it's got some neat stuff in the book.

I left chapel early to eat lunch, because I had a student affairs meeting at 12:15.  Who knows what it was about?!  I caught bits and pieces. Somehow the student senate lost 500,000 yen somewhere, so they talked about that for quite awhile.  We didn't have a faculty meeting as I though we were going to, so it was a good day in that respect!

After school E.S.S. practiced "Postman" for a few hours.

I then went home and tried chuhai and dark beer (2 of each...enough said!).  I went to bed at 8:30.

Today I got up at 5:30, cleaned up a bit, and made the casserole for tonight's dinner/conversation time (in case I had a meeting today that no one bothered to tell me about again.).  I gave my oral tests in E.C. I...didn't have enough time so did the last four at lunch.

Practiced with my E.S.S. backup singers at lunch.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Tuesday, January 31st, 1989

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 pretty basic.  I went to school and in 1st year we reviewed for the exam.  2nd & 3rd periods were oral exams for E.C. II.  The girls did pretty good.

Kaori G. came to me & said she hadn't done any of the homework during the year (which I knew) and asked to be given an extra assignment to make up for it.  Grrr!  So, I'm making her do all the back homework, by next Tuesday...

Lunch was in my office with Mike.  Linda Lee came and ate too.  Rah.

After classes I went to the office to order a book for my English Drama class next year.  It wouldn't have been a problem, except that the office lady called & I said I wasn't ordering any books, and then changed my mind.  I'm still not sure I want the book I ordered, but I guess I'll use it.  NO one understood me in the office, but luckily Akira was there nearby to help.

So I got that taken care of, but noticed when they were looking at next year's schedule (to try to figure out what I was saying?!) that my name and class aren't listed in the special course slot.  So now I have to jump yet another brick wall to get that straightened out tomorrow...

Taught my Mizoguchi class tonight.  It went pretty well.  I still have no idea what Mrs. T. says to me between my class and her class?!

Barrett stopped by my office today.