Sunday, April 29, 2012

Week 18

A short "blog week" and a short work week both flew by.

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were all busy days at work but I hardly seemed to notice with the lure of a vacation on the horizon. Saturday night I went to a going-away-party of a friend of mine and enjoyed the chance to stay out late for once. The party was so much fun even I got out on the dance floor (something I haven't done in, maybe, seven years.)

Sunday (yesterday) was the first full day of "Golden Week" (a loose amalgamation of four different holidays that conspire to give most of Japan a full week off work in the spring.) As per my plans I had a full day of nothing to do, which I promptly and eagerly did.

Looking forward: I've got today and my usual "weekend" off but then I'm back doing overtime for the last three days of vacation. It should be easy work and I'll still have the evenings to hang out this everyone who's still on vacation. Now, what to do today...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Week 17

This was a pretty busy week, especially at work, but also a fairly sleepless one thanks in no part to some noisy neighbors who don't seem to realize or, perhaps, care how thin the walls of my apartment are.

[...and just like that Monday and 'the weekend' got away from me. Well, here's what I was going to type on Monday plus all of this weekend's stuff...]

Last Tuesday (the 18th) I got some work done around the house in the morning and headed out mid-day to enjoy the fine spring weather with a long bike ride. My first stop was my favorite hat store where I picked up a snappy new flat-cap as my spring hat. I then headed over towards the port area. I was just wandering around when I stumbled upon one of a system of water taxis that ferry people and bicycles across Osaka's many canals... for free! Seeing a map of all the crossings I planned out a route that took me across as many as I could in a big loop. Towards the end some big rain clouds rolled in and I was fairly soaked by the time I got home.

Wednesday I rested up for the work week, did some more housework, and played some video games. It was pretty rainy so I didn't feel too bad about not getting out of the house.

Thursday was terribly busy at work and I didn't have two free seconds to rub together. On the plus side it made the day go by quick.

Friday was the first shift at my high-school this year. Classes went well, with one new and one returning student in the morning and one student from one of my other schools who's now attending this high school in the afternoon (-evidently- he didn't show up and then I had a bunch of free time.) Friday night my favorite band (the 50 Kaitenz) played at Namba Hatch (a large concert hall down the street.) In addition to the usual crew of fans one of my other friends came along to see what all the fuss was about. As with all their concerts, everyone had a really good time.

Saturday morning was an early one and another busy day. I passed on all offers of social interaction after work and went straight home and took a long nap. Three hours of kids classes at 10 on a Saturday morning is torture.

Sunday was busy at web-school but nowhere near as taxing as Saturday's shift. In the evening I had a bunch of  friends over for a game night. We had a bigger than usual turnout which allowed us to play some of the fun games we usually don't get to because they requite a certain number of players.

Of course Monday morning the new board game I'd ordered the week before in the hopes of playing it at the games night showed up before work.

Yesterday (Tuesday the 24th) I went to the hardware store in the morning to get some parts to hook up my washing machine and did a test run of white shirts (which stayed white and maybe even got clean.) In the afternoon two friends came over to try out the belated board game that had arrived the previous day. We ended up playing games for most of the afternoon and into the evening again.

Today's weather was pretty nice again (though a bit overcast) so I took my bike back to the port area and rode the few ferries I didn't ride the previous week. I came home physically exerted and took a nice long nap in the afternoon. After a light dinner I'm now trying to catch up on all the stuff I've been putting off while having a good time this part week.

Next Sunday is the start of Golden Week here in Japan. While I have no solid plans I'm really looking forward to a few days off work.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Week 16

Since my last post was "post-poned" until Wednesday this one will be fairly short. This week was the first week of kids and group classes at work and was therefore incredibly busy.

Thursday I had to go to the annual "block meeting". The block meeting is a two day corporate event where, each day, half of the employees in the Kansai area go into headquarters and hear speeches from the big-wigs and get some last-minute information about the new school year. It's a two hour event that's supposed to be part of a six hour work day so I got to go in early to one of the local schools, sit around for two hours, take a two hour paid lunch break (an extreme rarity) and then head over to the meeting. As usual there wan't anything particularly useful said at the meeting though it was a nice chance to see all those teachers who I generally see once a year at the block meeting. Since my day ended early I decided to stop in Nipponbashi on the way home and price out computer parts.

Friday's shift was earlier than I had expected it to be and was really easy (I ended up teaching two out of a possible seven classes.) I used my free time at work to prepare a little for Saturday's kids classes (a great thing in retrospect.) On the way home Friday night I went back to Nipponbashi and picked up the parts I was looking at the day before and spent the rest of the evening putting together and trying to start my new PC.

I got up earlier than a human should have to on Saturday morning (7:45am!)  I arrived with a little lead time before my first class but was still struggling to get things in order when my day started and I had to teach three kids classes in a row (luckily, in ascending age and descending need for energy on my part.) The lone upside to a no-break schedule like mine on Saturday is that the day really zips by. The obvious down side is that it drains every last bit of energy from you. A nap was more than required when I got home.

Sunday's web shift was pretty run-of-the-mill and in the evening I went to the going away party for a couple I worked on that shift with last contract. Almost 20 people came to the Hard Rock Cafe to wish these two people a fond farewell and good luck with moving back to the States. I got my usual (the ribs) and stunned  some of the Japanese attendees by not only finishing off a full rack but going in on half of a brownie sundae too. It was really good but I was incredibly full afterwords.

Nothing much on the docket for this 'weekend' but next Friday morning I start my high-school shift again and in the evening my favorite band is playing a concert just down the road. Oh, and Sunday night I've invited a bunch of people over for another 'game night'. I can't wait.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Week 15

Last Tuesday (the 3rd) I ran some errands in the morning but cut my outing short in the afternoon as the forecast called for heavy rain. I was really glad I happened to make it home before a massive storm rolled in and dropped several inches of water in just over an hour. Luckily the weather cleared in the early  evening and I could go out and meet with some friends.

Wednesday morning I finished up Tuesday's errands before going over to another friend's house to have a second go at the new pirate-themed board game we started playing recently (I didn't do as well this time but still had a lot of fun.)

Thursday I went to the first new school of my new contract. Things went well, I like the staff as well as the other teacher that's there on Thursday. The school's out in the middle of nowhere but on the bright side I have a lot of time to read/study on the train now.

Friday I got sent back out in the direction of my Thursday school (not quite as far, but close) for a sub-shift. Luckily I ended up working with the same other teacher as I did the day before. Because Friday's schedule was a lot emptier that Thursday's I actually had a chance to sit and talk with my new co-worker which was nice.

Saturday I got up at the crack of dawn to go back out to Thursday's school which happens to be Saturday's school as well. My co-worker on Saturday is a guy I worked with a few years ago at another school. I think it'll be nice working with him again this year. I met a friend on the train back home in the evening and was invited to a hanami (cherry blossom viewing party) that night. I passed in the end as temps ended up dipping into the upper 30's and it was way to cold to sit outside and look at flowers in the dark.

Sunday I was back to my usual Sunday gig. Also as usual I met with the guys in the evening and we made some progress on beating the video game we're playing through.

Monday I got up and phoned home as usual but instead of writing this post afterwords I got on my bike and rode around Osaka taking pictures of the blossoming cherry trees. I made it home with a bit of time to relax before going to work in the evening.

Tuesday (the 10th) I got up early again and went out for a "luxurious" (read: expensive) breakfast a the local bagel shop before riding around the other half of Osaka I didn't hit up the day before taking more pictures. In the evening my video game playing friends came over and we took out portable systems out to the park and sat under the cherry trees, drank beer, played video games, and were generally very nerdy. (I called the event "Mon-Hanami", a combination of the game's title and the Japanese for a flower viewing party... well, it was clever in Japanese anyways...)

Today (Wednesday the 11th) I lounged around most of the morning as heavy rain precluded doing much else. I did manage to get out of the house for lunch and an afternoon karaoke secession. After pizza and a hollywood block-buster on video I had some free time in the evening and decided to crank out this post before it got any more behind schedule.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Week 14

Nothing particularly interesting to write home about this week. No big adventures anyways.

Last Tuesday I did a little shopping in Nipponbashi in the morning - I'm doing the photography for a friend's wedding in June and realized that I should probably have a real flash for my camera before then. In the evening I did my new weekly routine of meeting up with a friend for a few hours and working through the game we're playing.

Wednesday I helped a friend who's moving back to Australia clean out her apartment and take some boxes to the post office. The latter part took a lot longer than it needed to. When we arrived we were told to fill out labels for the 8 boxes (3 big, 5 small) this was expected. Then we were advised that the 5 small boxes need to be re-packaged because you evidently can't ship boxes with text on them to Australia. Once all this was sorted out and we got to the counter it turned out the small boxes were going to be outlandishly expensive as, though they only had books in then, they didn't count for document rates because of the type of box we had just re-packaged them into. Writing those off we moved onto the big boxes which turned out to be both too big as well as being too heavy. So aside from schlepping 100kilos of stuff to and from the post office we wasted 3 hours of our time. (My friend got a UPS like service to come collect the boxes from her apartment the next day, solving that problem.) After the post office my friend helped me move some things I inherited from her place to mine. I now have a washing machine, a vacuum, and a small oven. In the evening I went over to another friend's house to play a new pirate themed board game that he bought recently. It was a lot of fun (mostly because I found that I'm quite good at it.)

Without kids classes Thursday's shift went a little slower than usual. Friday was taken up with  training session instead of a regular shift.

Saturday was both the last day at one of my schools as well as the last day of the 2011-2012 contract. In the evening I headed out to a birthday party at the local watering hole followed by a farewell party for another friend uptown. I somehow managed to get home and in bed by midnight and was out like a light.

Sunday morning saw the first shift of the new contract year which, for me, was the same shift as last year. There was a different assortment of other teachers there which made for a fun day and helped pass the time. In the evening I met up with the usual Sunday evening guys for yet another gaming session.

There's blessedly little on my schedule for this week which means I might actually be able to go out and take some pictures, ride my bike, study, or generally relax and enjoy myself.