Thursday, October 29, 2009

Working for the Weekend

These small stories are to be taken as humorous:

One of my principals seems a bit... off. By off, I mean he might be a dirty old man. Have you ever been in a conversation about sickness and national health insurance and had someone throw in the comment of "you are very beautiful" randomly a few times? Yeaaaahhhh.

One of my smaller schools has rice fields out back for studying. They specifically have mochi rice growing (mochi is a dessert made of glutinous rice flour. Here's a link for more info on that) that they ceremoniously pound during the new year to make mochi. Anyway, so I came on harvest day! The entire school went out in regular clothing (non-uniforms) and galoshes to harvest. At first I thought I'd only be watching, since I was dressed nice, but someone handed me a hand scythe and gloves. The rice grows alot like wheat: they grow it in bunches and it's about knee/thigh high in thin stalks. You cut it from the bottom in the bunches and feed it into a machine to separate the rice from the plant. It was a fun experience, and the kids seemed to like it too. In 2 months they'll be making yummy mochi out of the rice in a ceremony called mochitsuki. There were local farmers from the area helping. A couple of the males kept trying to get my attention and said I was "cute." I talked to a woman farmer who was friendly. I'm sure everyone was getting a kick out of seeing a foreigner cut rice plants in nice clothes. I hope maybe I'll receive some of the pictures the teachers were taking.

I'm used to being stared at. I'm a foreigner, for crying out loud. I'm like a polka-dotted hippo. People are gonna check me out, see what I'm doing. Kids stare, whisper to their parents, and get them staring. This dude at the train station kinda went far. I was on the phone with Casey on the train platform, and this old dude got off the train I was going to get on. He stopped 2 feet away from me, stared at me for 10 seconds, started walking by, turned his head, stared for another 5 seconds, took a few more steps, cranked his head again for one more 5 second gawk. This dude didn't hide his blatant looks directed at me. I could tell it was for me, since he was so freaking close that I felt uncomfortable and thought he would be also. I guess not all Japanese avoid eye contact.

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