Sunday, February 26, 2006

I will not get sick!

I'm one of those guys who gets sick easily whether it be a common cold, stomach problems, or the flu. I'm also an elementary school teacher so I have to be extra careful as kids aren't the cleanest specimens on this earth. Which brings me to my current dilemma. I'm currently training for a Strongman triathlon so my body is more tired than usual. I can't afford to get sick as the triathlon is less than 2 months away. I'm trying to be careful about my sleep, what i eat, stress, anything that can hurt my training. Well, I teach at 2 schools on Mondays and when i got to my afternoon school today I learned that out of 111 students, 23 are absent with the flu. Now when I hear that 1/5 of the students are sick alarms go off in my head telling me to run away. Not only are 23 kids sick but out of my 5th period class of 19 students, 9 are absent. That scares the crap out of me. Yes, maybe it's my fault but today I am more tired than usual after running a race and playing a soccer tourney in the rain yesterday. So I did what any normal person would do and postponed the class. Now, maybe if I wasn't so worried about getting sick I would have taught but it also turned out that my lesson for today's class includes many stickers being given away. Would it be fair if next week the sick kids came back to school and found that they had missed out on the funnest class of the year? I think not, so that is why we will all be able to enjoy playing a wonderful game in 2 weeks with lots of prizes and English. Unless of course, I'm sick with the flu. Well, hope everyone stays healthy and full of vigor. Remember to wash your hands, dry them on your pants, gargle green tea, and wear gloves and a mask.
Where did the weekend go???
It feels like I went to sleep on Friday night and woke up on Monday morning. That's not to say I did nothing but sleep all weekend, actually quite the opposite. Friday night was my usual footsal (indoor soccer) practice followed by grabbing a bite to eat with my teammates. Practice ends at 10 but we usually don't get to a restaurant until about 11 since most of my teammates drop off cars so they can have beer, awamori, alcohol. Called Friday a night at around 2 in the morning and went to sleep hoping it would stop raining by 8 which is when I wanted to go for a bike ride. I awoke Saturday with plans to exercise, exercise, and exercise but it was not meant to be. Rain kept coming down. So I decided to go for a swim but it was crowded and I couldn't get into any rhythm at all. Next I ventured down to my relative's house to help get ready for a get together which included a pig roast, a full sized pig cooked in a huge barrel. I helped out for a little bit and then headed off to Kadena air base to see a presentation about the trip to India myself and other teachers took over break. Reyhan gave a wonderful presentation where Elina, Chris, Yasemin, and I were "given" (Reyhan would just give one of us the mic and tell us to talk) a chance to talk about our experiences. Sunday brought much of the same as Saturday; Rain. The day started out early since Pat was running the marathon and I was doing a 10 km road race. Pat ended up finishing around 4 hours 30 min. ( a personal best) and I took 19th place with a time of 39 min. 56 sec. Almost time to go teach a class so here goes the summary. After the race I went to a soccer tournament. I played in 3 games (8 on 8, 30 minutes straight). Lost in the finals 3-2, sad, should have won. Now it's monday morning and my body is sore. Have a great week!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Last weekend there was a Valentines day party at a bar in Naha. It was a fundraiser for a local film being made by a local English teacher. Check out some pics from the festivities.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Nago Half marathon

On February 12, A group of JETs took part in the Nago half marathon and 10km road race. Here are some pictures.



Jon and Isla


Perry and Anna






Otsukare everybody

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Not something to be proud of...
I recently got my score back from the Level 1 Japanese Proficiency test I took back in December. I hadn't studied much and needless to say, I Failed! Now I went into the test thinking I was going to fail but now that I've gotten the official results, it really hit home how lazy I was about preparing for this test. After much thought and consideration I have come to the conclusion that there were 4 main distractions that kept me from studying. The 1st would be my job and there's nothing I can do about that. The 2nd would have to be the time I put towards exercising. Not gonna be stopping that anytime soon. The 3rd would be reading and actually that has taken a backseat to my 4th reason. The internet and the fact that I have my own laptop which I can take anywhere with me. From here on out, I will be restricting my time on my computer. Whenever I am at home or work, I always have my computer with me and like many of you people out there I check my email, read the news, chat...whenever I have a free moment. Not to say I have a lot of free time but during those moments where I have 10 or 20 minutes I will try and focus on studying Japanese or catching up on reading. This year if I am still in Japan in December, I will be passing that test! Maybe I shouldn't write it down but hey I like to be held accountable. Would everybody be training hard for triathlons if they didn't cost an arm and a leg to enter? I think not. Well, maybe a few of us. Overall we need goals, to be held accountable, and support. Rah! Rah! Rah!
Well, back to studying Japanese. My quota for internet usage in a day is up and I've got things to do.
Hardest thing EVER! Reading a Japanese paper

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Again the Japanese show that they excel at marketing. For tomorrow is February 14! Unlike in America where couples give each other gifts, usually a man to a woman, Japan has turned it into a day where women give men chocolates. However, rather than being a voluntary thing this act of giving has become such that women feel obligated to give chocolate to their male co-workers, lovers, friends, pretty much any man or boy they know. The chocolates given out of obligation are called giri-choco (義理チョコ) but chocolates given to a significant other are called honmei-choco (本命チョコ). To take the "holiday" to the next level, there is March 14, "White Day", where men are supposed to return the favor by giving chocolates to women from whom they received a month prior. But for anybody who knows anything about a typical Japanese man, these chocolates are usually only given to girlfriends and not to women who they received chocolates from. Originally the chocolates were supposed to be white chocolates or marshmallows, hence the name. But apparently men have taken the meaning in the form of white lingerie (all hearsay as I've never had a girlfriend on March 14. Or February 14 for that matter.) That brings me to the original reason for my publishing of this blog besides increasing your knowledge about Japanese culture; Valentine's Day aka Singles' awareness day is coming soon and I would like to say Happy Valentines Day! I've never been a fan of this holiday except maybe in 4th grade when I was a big winner in the amount of cards I received, but I shall not digress anymore. Valentines Day: Just another day to Johnny B.
P.S. another little story:
Last year, I received a box of awamori chocolates (alcohol chocolates) and the person asked me yesterday if I would like some more this year. I said don’t worry, at which point she asked me if I wanted socks. I said don’t worry about it but I think her sense of obligation will prevail over my saying no and I will have a new pair of socks in a day or 2.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I write down things on post-its so I'll remember what to do and when. Now all I have to do is remember where I leave those stupid little notes. Current ditty in my head is the "days of the week" song. It's driving me nuts. Leave a comment to let me know you were here. I'll write a note so I can remember to thank you ;)

Monday, February 06, 2006

Josh, Stacey, and John at the Hokubu high school teachers' ekiden (relay race)

That's me

Josh on his way to 2nd place in his relay

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Good Morning!!! It's Sunday and I'm at work. Today 2 of my schools are having class presentations for parents and people from the village. Each class will do either a dance, play, song, something. I do get tomorrow off which I'm all ready looking forward to. But I'm getting ahead of myself. This blog is to let you know what I did Friday and Saturday. So here's the deal; Elvira's, my Mexican Hermana, parents are in Okinawa for a week and she decided to invite some peeps over for a dinner. Not just any dinner but a true, straight up I was back in Mexico, Dinner! It was delicious and we all had a great time but unfortunately I had to head out early so that I could wake up at 5:45 on Sat. morn. I had agreed to help my uncle cut branches on a tree that runs along the street my family lives on. We have to do it on weekend mornings because that's when there is least amount of traffic. So I cut branches, cleaned the area up and it was time to head up north for an ekiden (a running relay race where each person runs between 1 and 3.3 km.) I was invited to run with Ginoza high school teachers team in the Northern high school ekiden. It was a chilly day (perfect for running) but with wind that made it hard to breathe. I was the 5th person to run on a 9 person team. My distance was 3.3 km. My goal was to run it in under 11 min. but I also thought it was only 3 km. I finished in 11:13, good enough for 1st place in my "part" and 2nd overall. Now if you're wondering why my writing is quite mediocre this morning, I Have a Headache! Naturally when Japanese gather and do something together there is always a drinking party afterward. I went, I had a couple of drinks, I went to sleep. Now I am at work and trying to get this post done before the show. Here are some pics of Friday night. Saturday's pics will come later. Sayonara for now.
Everybody having a good time

Elvira and her mom cooking!

Chris, Boss Hogg, Madole.