25 Things

Well, I keep getting this chain mail on Facebook to list 25 things about yourself, whether it be information, goals, funny/ interesting things. I am not such a big fan of chain mail, but the idea of the list itself intrigued me. So, in my own form of compromise, I have decided to put my list on my blog, where it doesnt feel so conformist.

1. Even after more than a year, I am still gripped by moments of disbelief and wonderment that I actually live in Japan. I wonder if I will ever fully grasp that concept.

2. I am addicted to music. You will never see me without my iPod, and I always seem to be humming or singing under my breath. But my taste in music seems to change monthly.

3. I absolutely hate the cold, winter, and all the horrible weather concerning it. How did I manage the majority of my life in NE Ohio? But strangely enough, I love winter accessories and hot beverages.

4. I am planning my eventual move back to the states by matter of seasonal activity. I can never again live anywhere that is colder than Japan, so I will have to be a southern girl.

5. Sometimes I forget how to speak proper English. I can hear things coming out of my mouth that are more suited to Japanese understanding than native speaker understanding. I know I sound strange and sometimes slightly stupid, but I just cannot help myself.

6. I love to quote movies in regular conversation without people realizing it. Its my secret pleasure, but I really love it when people can figure out what Im quoting.

7. I tend to lean on the side of apathy rather than passion. Very rarely do I get worked up about anything, even when its something worth getting worked up for.

8. My room is covered in photographs, but very rarely do I actually take photos. I depend on the kindness of others more than I should in that respect.

9. I am addicted to watching asian dramas and I feel very fortunate that I have found people who dont think this is strange at all, and actually are just as addicted to them as I am. We make recommendations to each other now.

10. I strive every day to live as a strong woman of God. I tend to fall on my face more often than not.

11. Reading is such a huge part of my life, and recently I have discovered the awesomeness of audio books. They really make my commutes fly by.

12. Hanging out in coffee shops, either with friends or by myself, really makes me feel like a grown-up, but I have absolutely no idea why.

13. Someday I want to get my Masters. In what, I am not entirely sure, maybe Linguistics, TESL, or some language.

14. I never expected that I would love teaching as much as I do. I am constantly amazed by my students, especially my kids. I love the laughter, hugs, games, and intelligence of my kids.

15. I like to think of my life as chapters in a book. Sometimes when we finish a chapter, we leave behind stories and characters that we will never return to. But even though the chapter is finished, its memory and impact remains in the remainder of the book.

16. Touch is my love language and I love to touch people. I generally tend to forget a persons gender and touch all people equally. Sometimes it gets me in trouble though.

17. I have a secret desire to be a spy. I sate that desire by reading all kinds of spy novels. I especially like the ones where you have to be knowledgeable about history. Check out Matthew Reilly. His books are great!

18. I have a tendency to overuse exclamation points. Its not that I am always super excited about things. I just cant stop once I get started. I often have to edit my emails so that I seem less jolly.

19. I think there is something exquisetly beautiful about dancing. I love to watch all kinds of dance, and I never tire of it. I would really love to learn hip hop or contemporary.

20. I love animals. I can never choose a favorite, but I tend to favor the predators. This is a bit ironic because I cant really handle the sight of killing or even the thought of killing. I mean, I have to avert my eyes when I watch the Animal Channel, movies, or even when reading books, I will skip over the killing scenes.

21. I could spend hours at the aquarium just watching the fish. There is just something so calming and beautiful about ocean life.

22. I have a lot of acquaintances and few real friends. Its not that I dont like my acquaintances enough to be considered my friends. I just think that the qualifications for real relationships shouldnt be loosely regarded. I would rather have five people that I feel that I could count on no matter what happened than fifty people that I could have fun with.

23. I think my grandma makes the best coffee in the world. I cant figure out whats so great about it, but whenever Im home, I consume pots of it.

24. Sometimes it is a complete mystery to me how Jen and I are such great friends. She is my complete opposite in every way imaginable, and if she were any other person, she would drive me absolutely crazy. But she just gets me and I get her and it works out beautifully.

25. I love watching movies, and my newest recommendation is My Blueberry Nights. The cinematography is stunning.

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Oh, the Things You See

I have been seeing some really random things lately and here they are.

~Yesterday on the subway, I stood next to a man in his late fifties, early sixties wearing a business suit. Nothing unusual about that. But he was also wearing a black biker rag on his head. And the best part was the design. It was a combination of skulls and cutesy cute butterflies.

~This morning while on the bus, I saw an old woman walking her dog. The dog was pooping, and since they were on the sidewalk, she was holding paper for the dog to poop on. How humiliating for the dog and the woman.

~There was an old woman on the bus today wearing neon purple nike running shoes. They didnt match her outfit at all.

Safety

Japan really is a safe place. I never really thought about it much before because it just seems normal here. But here are some examples.

I never have to zip my purse shut or worry about it opening when Im shopping or walking around town. If someone bumps into me in a busy place, I dont panic and check the contents of my purse. I know everything is still in there and the brushing was just an accident. Likewise, men often have large wallets sticking out of their back pockets. It would be so easy to take them if someone were so inclined, but it just doesnt happen.

Last week, my Japanese teacher went to Mt. Fuji with her husband. Afterward, they went to a restaurant for dinner. When it was time to leave, she and her husband both realized that neither of them had the car keys. They walked out to the car and discovered that they had left the car unlocked and the keys in the ignition. After an hour in that restaurant, no one had taken their car.

Last week, my friend Deanna left her keys in her bike all day. And her bike was sitting in a public place. But no one bothered her bike at all, even though it would have been all too easy to just ride off with it. Likewise, both Jen and I have left our bike keys in our bike for long periods of time in various places, and they have never been stolen.

The Flu Epidemic

Everyone in Japan is getting the flu this month. I think the root of the problem is that the weather keeps changing daily. It goes from freezing and snowing to rainy and windy at the flick of the wrist. And from that, everyone is out getting their flu shots to protect themselves from the weather. But I find that the flu shot has about an equal chance of keeping you from getting sick as it does of getting you sick.

Yesterday, I had an entire kids class canceled because my students were out with the flu. I know several ECC employees who have been out of work because of it. And the way I figure it, it is only a matter of time until I get the flu myself. Good thing I have some paid holiday days left. Oh man, I am not excited at the prospect of getting the flu. But if half my kids have it, there seems a strong probability that I will get something from all the encounters. Just the price you pay when you teach.

Jewelry and Pets

Today at work I wore one of the new cute necklaces that I had bought when I was home. Its a pendant and quite lovely, and I was happy to have a chance to wear it. Well, in my kids class, my students were quick to notice my necklace as well. But I didnt get the same comments that I had expected. Of course, half of their comments were in English, half were in Japanese, and the rest were in a mixture of Japanese-English. But the one that stuck out the most and unified the minds of all my kids was that I was wearing a dogs necklace.

It was all I had in my not to laugh and reveal my Japanese understanding. Trust my ornery kids to make that association with a necklace that really looks nothing at all like a dog collar. But, I dont know, I am not so familiar with canine accessories in Japan, being that I dont have a dog. But I will say that if Japanese dogs are wearing these kinds of accessories, I would have to be shocked and slightly outraged. In any event, it makes for a good anecdote.

Back to School

I finally went back to work today. Okay, okay, officially I have been back to work since the 6th of the month, but this is my first Monday back to work. Last Monday was a public holiday. And I tell you what, it was weird to go back. I was so out of the habit of going that I had to keep checking and double checking to make sure I was right about my schedule.

But my kids were all great and I was happy to see them all. We had a grand old time in class and even my most difficult class turned out beautifully. I think we all just needed a well-deserved break from one another so that we could fully appreciate each other once again.

In other news, it continues to be really cold here, but I cant complain at all because it rained a little bit this afternoon, so I know that it is definitely not as cold as the midwest. But I am such a big sissy and I am about freezing all the time!

Strange Song

I woke up this morning with the song Do your Ears Hang Low stuck in my head. I have absolutely no reason why this is. Sometimes I do wake up with songs stuck in my head, but usually they are a bit more normal. This one is completely random and off the wall, especially considering my dream before waking was about being a flight attendant. Not so much related at all. I have a weird mind.