Thursday. My day started at around 4:00, when my kitten started to pee. This wouldn't normally be a problem, except for the fact that her favorite place to sleep is on my shoulder. I run jump out of bed and run her to her litter box. For the rest of the morning she is too excited to sleep and spends the next 2 hours attacking a plastic bag on the floor.
5:30 My phone begins to play Celtic dance music to wake me up. Soothing change from the plastic bag. I fall asleep.
6:00 My second alarm goes off. I get in the shower.
6:15 I begin to watch the Japanese news and get dressed. I try to eat with one hand and keep the curious one from eating my food with the other. She finally just decides to sit on my shoulder for the next hour.
7:10 I begin my commute to work, which is in a different town. I walk to the station. It is raining, and I have begun to realize the downside of the 100 yen umbrella is that it is the size of a hat and only keeps one arm dry. At the station I sit down 2 seats away from a highschool girl. Her friends tease her for the next few minutes because she is closer to me than they are. They try to get her to talk to me in English. She is way to embarrassed.
7:35 The train arrives, at the same time as Brick, the ALT that used to work in my school. He is a nice guy, and we chat for the duration of the 4 minute train ride.
7:47 I arrive at school. On my way in I walk passed the Wolverine sized, nameless rooster who has spurs that look like dinosaur teeth. The earliest kids are starting to arrive. I say "hello" or "good morning" to everyone I pass.
7:50 After changing my shoes, I enter the staff room, wish everyone "ohayo gozaimasu" and proceed to show them kitten pictures in the hopes of sparking some interest.
8:15 Sports Day practice begins, I decide to go and help the green team today. They are learning their song. While they practice, I straighten up the pile of shoes at the door.
8:50 At the Vice principal request, I change into my "sports wear" (a horrible Aloha shirt, pajama pants, and borrowed bath slippers) and proceed to go and practice the 2nd grade dance for Sports Day in the Gym. I have no idea what is going on. Dancing is hard because my back still hurts from giving too many horse rides at the pre-school on Monday. And being kidnapped by the 4th graders on Tuesday. And being mobbed by the 3rd graders asking for signatures on Wednesday. At one point during the dance I am told "you are a lobster". It is heaps of fun, even though I haven't got a clue what I am doing. In the middle the Principal shows up with a guest and watches our dance. 100 Japanese 2nd graders in P.E. uniforms and one adult foreigner wearing the gaudiest clothes he owns. Plus bathroom slippers.
10:20 After dancing with the first graders as well, I go back to the staff room and reply to a fax asking me to be a judge for a speech contest.
10:30 Everyone is getting ready for Sports Day, so there is no English class. I sneak around the school looking for someway to help but trying not to be seen and cause a commotion.
10:40 No luck. I go back to the staff room and plan my next lesson.
12:20 Lunch. I help serve lunch in the staff room. I portion the rice so perfectly that there is no rice left after I have filled the last bowl. The other teachers make fun of me for the rest of lunch for giving them way to much rice. It turns out I am not supposed to fill the bowls to the brim. Also, I forgot my chopsticks box, so I borrow a spoon and put my name on "the List" of kids who forgot their chopsticks nd had to borrow a spoon. I am the only teacher on "the List", and not because the other teachers always remember their chopsticks.
12:40 After lunch I spend the next half-hour in the library talking to kids and reading out loud with them.
1:20 Cleaning time. Students are expected to clean the school, not teachers. I go to a 5th grade class room and offer my services anyway. With my years of experience cleaning the Art building at HPA, I have the class room clean in record time, which amazes the students. We spend the rest of cleaning time playing hockey with the brooms and a crumpled piece of paper (my idea).
1:35 I go back to the library and stay there till 3 talking to students, taping pages back into books, chatting with the librarian and showing kids pictures of my kitten.
3:10 I return to the staff room for a meeting. 10 minutes in, I realize that I am not supposed to be at the meeting, it is just taking place at my desk because my desk is closest to the coffee and the fridge. I make a silent exit and wander the halls some more, talking to more students.
4:00 I walk up stairs and hear a brass band. I walk into the band room to see what is going on, and everyone stops playing and looks at me. I apologize and start to leave, but one of the girls in the back gets her friends to start playing a song. Before I know it. The entire brass band is playing me "Bridge on the River Kwai".
4:30 Three songs later, I thank the brass band for the private show and head home.
5:00 I stop by Saty to buy some half-off sushi. And some Fabreeze. Kitty farts smell really bad.
5:15 I get home, and am greeted by a really cute kitten. She really wants my half-off sushi.
8:00 After finally finally getting the kitten tired, I begin to answer my e-mail.
9:00 I watch the Goldfish Scooping Championships on TV. Amazing. Scooping live Unagi with tennis rackets strung with rice paper! This sport has it all! Fish, skill, attractive announcers, tears, rivals, Buddhist temples, theme songs, action replays of when a goldfish breaks the paper! It is really exciting. I'm serious.
And then I started this blog entry.
Yeah, that is a fairly normal day.