Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I see dead people... frequently

Ti's the season to die... if you're living in Japan. In the span of less than two weeks, I've had to attend two funerals for the fathers of the school nurse and vice principal. I do appreciate the fact that they feel I am a close member of their faculty now but it really is difficult for me to swallow the bitter 3,000 yen wake donation. I feel bad for the vice principal and school nurse loosing such a close family member at such an important time of the year for family. I now have a great respect for what Japanese have to go through for their funeral ceremonies and such. I really hope for my sake and the living's sake that I don't have to attend another funeral for many many years to come.

Now that all the gloomy stuff is aside, I've been in pretty good shape as of late. Nothing incredibly interesting or even worth mentioning, hence the reason why I've been neglecting my blog for the past few weeks or so. Yuko has a lot to do with my disappearance from the net. We spend a lot of time together and it has been really good for me because it's better to socialize with real people rather than sit on my butt and watch my beer gut expand while surfing the net.

This week at school has been really good. I click with just about every student at school, even the catatonic ones I mentioned a few posts back. I am really doing a good job keeping my popularity up on both fronts, teacher and student alike! Maybe it's my teaching style or my childish personality, who knows but whatever it is, I'm glad I have it! Holy moley run-on sentence! I'm really looking forward to starting my winter break and I am especially looking forward to receiving my mother's Christmas present being sent via my former employer FedEx Express. I may be tough on my mother but she really does come through when it matters. I know for a fact she spent more on express international postage than she did on whatever she sent me most likely. It's nice to know I got somebody out there who cares for me even though at times it really is overwhelming to the point that I often loose my cool. Thanks mom!

Next week is Christmas and I'll be spending it with Yuko as planned. We probably won't be doing anything special that day because she knows I don't have enough money to make it that fun so we'll have fun new year's eve/day instead. I'm also looking forward to seeing my good friend Enoch and his wife Sanae in Osaka. It will be nice to see a good friend from San Diego over the holidays.

So, that's about it for this post. It might be another couple weeks till I manage to squeeze another post out of my brain. Till then Merry Christmas and have a happy new year!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Good news and a funeral

Of all the things I haven't experienced in life, I didn't expect I'd attend a Japanese funeral. Let's rewind back to yesterday morning where all this started... Yesterday was a day just like any other for me, I ate breakfast, showered, and walked to work in near freezing weather. After arriving at school I sat down at my desk and noticed something wasn't quite right in the staff room. I found out quickly enough what was up when the principal called the staff office and asked for me. Apparently the Nurse's father passed away the evening before and the principal had invited me to attend the nurse's father's wake.
To my relief, I studied many aspects of Japanese society and ceremonies while attending college. Thanks to my Japanese professors, I knew just about all there was to know about the do's and don'ts of Japanese funerals. The Japanese funeral is incredibly formal and rigid in how it's carried out but it is also very well organized and goes really quick for non-family attendees. I was a little nervous about how I'd look in the ceremony but it turned out just fine. I did every thing expected of any other Japanese person and didn't stand out much in the crowd. I think the strangest aspect of the wake is that every attendee is required to give 3,000-5,000 yen in a ceremonial envelope with your name on it. One good thing that came out of this experience besides saying I've experienced a Japanese funeral is that I got some expensive tea as a parting gift.

Moving along; It's been a few weeks since I last posted on my blog. The reason behind my disappearance from the net would have to be my recent acquisition of a social life. Thanks to my newly found GIRLFRIEND Yuko, I now spend most of my time with her. We spend just about every other day with each other, going out and having dinner together. We met through one of the teachers I work with at my school and things just ended up working out between us. So now I won't be alone for Christmas. Yay.

The year is just about over and I can't believe that life in Japan has been fairly comfortable and irritation free. The only thing I wish I had more of was money, but I suppose that's just about every body's problem. I'm looking forward to meeting my friend Enoch and his wife Sanae in Osaka in a few weeks. Travel isn't cheap and it will most likely be the end of my petty cash for at least until the beginning of January. Hopefully this month's pay on the 31st will be my first saveable paycheck.

Well, that's it for now. Things are going well but there aren't many new details besides Yuko.