Well, start with the best news. Kitty found a new home. I had taken the liberty of printing out some desk sized photos of kitty, putting my phone number on them, and leaving them on the desk that I share with the special needs teacher at one of my schools. I get the feeling that she was mildly annoyed by this. She took it off the desk and put it in her bag. Well, somehow, one of her friends found the photo when she was visiting him. Her friend called me and offered to take care of the cat. I agreed, so on Friday, I spent my last night with kitty.
Then he came by and picked her up. His house is in the country next to a large temple and a huge forest. Heaven for cats. He already has two cats and a rabbit, and I could tell by the way he handled her that he was going to take good care of her. She is going to have a happy life, which makes me happy.
But that didn't keep me from crying for 15 minutes solid as soon as I had shut the door. You would have thought that my girlfriend of 4 years had broken up with me by the way I cried for that cat. I'm not ashamed to say it either. I only took care of her for three weeks, and I never even named her. Still, she is the first thing whose very life depended on me. As a result, the emotional connection that developed was quite strong, in spite of the allergies, the destroyed apartment, the scratch marks on my legs and the money spent on cat food and litter at I time when I am at the limit of my budget. I am starting to realize something. When you love something, one of the hardest things to do is to realize that you are not the best person for the thing that you love. This seems to be a major theme in my life recently.
This fact also plays a role in teaching. The goal of teaching is the growth of the student, not the completion of work. Thus, there are many things where I could do something for a student, but it would be meaningless. It is only meaningful if they do it for themselves. Students must try to succeed. And trying means failing sometimes. Ideally, I should only encourage them to try, then turn their failures into successes, rather than making sure that they do not fail.
Anyway, enough purple. I don't want to make this seem like the Barney home page. Speaking of Barney, though, Saturday was the Pre-school Sports Day.
Now, I skipped the major international BBC/mixer of the year to go to this Sports Day, and I can't say I regret it. If I'm playing silly games, I'd rather play them with pre-schoolers (who are into it) than adults (who are into it after 1 or 2 beers).
The pre-school Sports Day was a blast, but I really ate it during the PTA sack race and managed to remove most of the skin from both of my knees. I haven't skinned my knees so badly since I was in pre-school. After that I had a really hard time walking, but it was still fun. Look at this! It's a rocket ship! All the kids are crouching inside pretending to be going to a different planet. I was invited to ride in the rocketship too, but I was a little busy trying to stop the bleeding.
After the pre-school Sports Day finished, I met up with everybody who had gone to the BBQ for bowling. For the most part, I played like I have only been bowling 3 other times. Wait, I have only been bowling 3 other times! The saving grace of bowling with this picture, where I set the timer, pitched the ball, posed for the camera, and got a big fat strike!
Then we all went to a restaurant, as it was the blonde girl in the center (who happens to be my neighbor)'s birthday. Halfway through dinner I realized there was no cake, so I rode my bike to a bakery, picked one up and presented it as my gift. Apparently, no one even thought to do that. The night was fun...though there was some slightly embarrassing behavior by some more than drunk members of the party. How did everyone (except me and one other girl, who also doesn't drink) get soooo drunk? Well, the bill for the beer alone was $500. I'm not even joking. I was a little bit peeved at the end of the night when I discovered in Japan everyone splits the bill equally, even if they don't drink. Now that I know this, I won't be attending very many parties in the future. My budget at the moment is tighter than a toddler's T-shirt. Having one meal that winds up costing me my food budget for a week and a half when it is mostly going to pay for other people's beer is just not that much fun for me.
We went to a Karaoke place, which was really bad. I discovered later that the Karaoke was so bad because this particular place is not known for its Karaoke, but for its hostesses. Which explains all of the somewhat attractive young women that were chatting and having drinks with men twice their age. Man, was the Karaoke bad. I have had more fun singing to myself in department store elevators.
Anyway, the next day I went to Takasaki for the first time. I was trying to get to Tokyo to see Manabu and do some shopping, but I had a little bit of a cold, and I was still having trouble walking, so I only made it as far as Takasaki. Here is a cute baloon animal that some Japanese girl scouts gave me.
And here is me on the phone with AU customer service, trying to modify my phone service to include data rather than just voice. I am amazed that I was able to do it. My Japanese is not at the level were I can talk on the phone to companies yet. Still, it worked somehow. Oh, and yes, this picture was slightly posed.
And then I went and had an avocado and banana Smoothie with my balloon animal and my new internet access.
The banana avocado smoothie wasn't bad, but it sure wasn't good. Still, it's creativity has reminded me of some recipes of my own design, which I am happy to share with you.
Eggs on a Budget Eggs are delicious and good for you, but here in Japan, they are quite expensive. Tofu, on the other hand, is actually cheaper than water but is a chore to eat. Well, it tunrs out, if you crush tofu and mix it in with raw egg, then microwave the egg in a bowl, you can no longer taste the tofu! Tofu has the texture of perfectly cooked egg, and absorbs the flavor of whatever is around it. You can even use twice as much tofu as egg and it still tastes like egg! I am not sure if this recipe works on the stove, but the microwave is the best place to cook eggs in my opinion anyway. You don't need to use any butter or oil at all, and a table spoon of Soy Sauce easily replaces salt. Try it.
Microwave Mushrooms Wash mushroom. Microwave for 1-2 minutes depending on the size. Add soy sauce. Eat. For some reason, microwaves are able to cook mushrooms better than frying pans. I hate to cook with oil (bad experience with deep frying) so this is how I always cook my mushrooms. You know what goes well with microwave mushrooms? Cold Kim-chee.
Tea Sports Drink There is a drink in Japan called Aquarius. It is sort of like Gatorade, but with no flavor. Well, it turns out if you drop in a pack of green tea into the bottle, put the bottle in your backpack and then run for 10kms, urine colored liquid that is produced tastes delicious. And it is probably good for you.