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2005-03-15 9:51 a.m.

globs of graduations galore

Happy Ides of March! Celebrate by stabbing your dictatorial friends in the back!

It's graduation season in Japan right now. Every school, preschool through high school, has to have a graduation ceremony.

So, yesterday at the middle school they spent an hour practicing for the ceremony. Every single movement is meticulously scripted and choreographed. Besides the underclassmen being constantly berated for not applauding loud enough, I thought it went pretty well.

But that doesn't stop them (all the teachers and all the students) from spending THE ENTIRE DAY today practicing for the graduation ceremony tomorrow.

If there's one thing the Japanese are good at, it's efficient time management.

Except, well, not. Another head scratcher is the fact that said ceremony will be at 10am on a weekday, so most of the parents won't be able to come, anyway.

But mine is not to question why.

The high school graduation was about two weeks ago. (How long has it been since I updated this thing?) A graduating class of twelve, with five underclassmen supporting them. That was weird. And it only got weirder when the graduating class representing speecher giver dude (yes, that is the official Japanese terminology) cried so much he got a gushing nosebleed. Of course he just pressed right through, in classic Japanese style. It was an emotional affair. As for me, my high school graduation passed with all the emotional fanfare of a bowel movement. But it's different when there's twelve people in your graduating class and your school is in the process of being closed down, I guess.

Oh, on Friday I did a lesson on Ren and Stimpy at the high school. We watched "Stimpy's Invention" together. Am I not the coolest teacher ever?

Matchan mentioned that she wants to be married by the time she turns 27. That gives her two years. Good luck, sweetie.

MT is back on the edges of the radar. In July she's going to an international music teacher's conference. All the meetings will be in English. So she wants to work with me on her English conversation skills beforehand. As the Japanese would say, CHANSU! But as of yet no English work has been done and she has failed to show up even once for my weekly community-ed English conversation class. They do keep the teachers busy over here. Busy with pointless fuck-all, but busy all the same.

Well, how about something I LIKE about Japan? The erasers. Crappy American Pink Pet-style erasers are totally absent here, except maybe on the ends of pencils. It's all white foam erasers. They work so much better. When I go back I'll have to import some.

Would it surprise you to learn that Japan leads the world in toilet technology? Well, it shouldn't. They can't heat a building in winter, but they can wipe your ass with the best of them.

Actually, I've become inordinately fond of miso soup lately.

I sure wish I had written this. Cause it's cool.

One of my preschool kids told me she loves me, because I'm silly.

I also got called shibui. That's a landmark. I'd been told only older men can be called shibui. But I got called shibui. It's hard to explain what it means... It literally means "bitter." But when referring to a person it's a specific type of masculine cool, which I think involves connotations of austerity, aloofness, and authority. Actually, I'm not quite sure exactly what it entails myself, and when I've questioned Japanese people about just what it means, I usually get a list of what it's not. Same thing goes if I ask a Japanese person to explain, say, wabi and sabi. Anyway, from now on you can just call me "Shibu-chan."

I haven't done this in a long time, but there were some web searches leading people to my diary lately that really cracked me up. For instance, learn more about duck billed platypus, the biggest spider ever seen in the world, and want to be a middle school teacher.

Funny. The sub days are already a fading memory. Like the door to door sales gig, I learned a lot from it (though in both cases much of that learning probably consists of variations on the theme "people suck") and it was a great experience to have... in the past.

I realized what I miss most about Kami-chan. Going to karaoke. I love karaoke, dude. And I haven't been since December. Gaijin aren't always that keen on karaoke, but when you're going out with Japanese people, karaoke is always near the top of the list of possible activities.

I went to Shi-chan's island last weekend. It was lovely. I mean, I've referred to my island as a mountain rising out of the bay, but compared to hers it's a low plateau. Her island is a mountain range poking up out of the ocean. It's long and thin and steep all over. It was cool. I still like my island though. While hers is more isolated geographically and actually has a slightly lower population density, my island is more isolated socially and (in some ways) economically. I mean, everyone in the prefecture knows her island. But there are people who have lived practically next door to my island their entire lives who have never heard of it. I do love me some obscurity. Her island also has, like, stores and stuff.

Tomorrow after the graduation ceremony, I'm leaving to spend a few days in Osaka and Kyoto.

Thoughts on the trip to Southeast Asia are... pending. Still.

although my lover lives
in a place that i can't live
i kind of find i like a life this lonely

it rips and pierces me
in places i can't see
i love the rip it makes, the rip that wakes me

so i'm dissatisfied
i love dissatsfied
i love to feel there's always more that i need

love is suicide,