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2005-10-24 5:29 p.m.

The General Is a Master Shot, We the Telling Bullets

Last night I really wanted to explode into a flock of carrier pigeons. I didn’t, though.

Today I showed up to school to find that the Hawk was sick and that it was up to me to do all the lessons. I would have thought this would be a huge pain, but actually I quite enjoyed it. The second years (8th graders) I particularly enjoyed. My philosophy of foreign language education, which is highly influenced by what I’ve been taught at national and prefectural training meetings, in addition to my own experiences in learning second languages, is that a class where the students are up and moving around, talking loudly in the “target language” is a good class, whereas a class where the students are sitting with glazed eyes while the teacher drones on in Japanese is “less effective.” For the first years I had all of three minutes to plan the lesson, and the third years have a specific project they’re working on (which they made astoundingly little progress on), so those weren’t quite as noteworthy, but I did a kickass lesson, relatively, with the second years. It gave me a hint of what my experience here would have been like if I had more input in lesson planning at the middle school. It’d be a lot better.

It also reminded me of another of my personality traits- namely, that I kind of hate teamwork. Whenever I’m working on a joint project with other people, my immediate impulse is to either do it all myself or else do absolutely nothing. Though theoretically I should be working in a “team teaching” situation pretty much all the time, traditionally I’ve pretty much done everything at the preschool, the elementary school, and the high school, and nothing at the middle school (where I spend approximately half of my time). Actually, I suppose the setup I had with the high school teacher who got transferred away in March was relatively close to actual team teaching. We worked together well. But her replacement is pretty dedicated to doing nothing. I think I actually like having a good Japanese teacher to work with, at least in secondary schools, but better one who has me do everything than one who doesn’t want me to do anything.

Which is not to say that the do-nothing situation doesn’t have its advantages. It means I get paid a cushy salary in order to read wikipedia all day. I ain’t complainin’.

We had fugu for school lunch today, if you can believe that. I wouldn’t say that’s normal in Japan, but fugu is one of the main products of The Rock, and around here eating it is normal and unexciting.

I’m realizing that WTF has a lot of personality traits that are familiar from numerous women I’ve dated in the past. I can’t decide if that’s a good thing or bad thing. Is this a case where I need to just accept that I’m attracted to a certain type of woman (and a certain type of woman is attracted to me), or is it a “keep doing what you’ve always done and you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got” thing? Things are going well, though, really.

Q: How many Japanese middle school teachers does it take for me to take a tape player to the music room?

A: Four. The one in charge of the tape players, the one in charge of the music room, the micromanaging head teacher, and… the social studies teacher?

Anyway, I went to North Korea and came back again. It’s definitely the most unique place I’ve yet traveled to. The Mass Games will likely go down as one of the most astounding sights of my entire life. The North Koreans are, after all, quite a… umm… devoted bunch. The full story of my life and times (all three days of it) in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea will be revealed in a special email-only edition of this diary at some point in the foreseeable future. If you would like to receive it and you’re not on our (and by “our” I mean “my”) mailing list, let us (and by “us” I mean “me”) know.

I hope to hit up South Korea next May.

live by the word and die by the song,