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Don’t Cry Out Loud July 10, 2008

Posted by Mitch in General.

Today is my last day at my favourite school, Kuga Chuo Elementary. Looking back over the past year, I can’t recall a lesson at this school where I’ve despised every moment. Sure, I’m not about to wax lyrical saying that it’s a perfect school – there are actually quite a few special needs kids here and so classes can be nightmares. But on the whole, it’s been my saving grace each month. There are more teachers here that can speak English (ish) than any other school (kind of including Junior High, as there are only 3 English teachers and most of the rest can just about utter a few words). They’ve always been friendly and welcoming and in fact helpful with my piss poor attempts to butcher their language. The librarian often sits and chats with me – she is one of the best travelled Japanese people I’ve met. She was telling me today about her trip to the UK, which included London, the Cotswolds, the Lake District and the Military Tattoo in Edinburgh. She lived in Iran with her husband for a year too (when she first told me this, I thought she said ‘Ealing’ and so told her that that is where my brother lives. Confusion ensued).

Unlike the other elementary school, the classes here have presented me with books of letters at the end of each class, saying thank you and goodbye to me. Of course they’re in Japanese, but I would much rather have that that stilted, incorrect English. All in all, it will be sad when 3pm rolls round and I have to bid farewell.

I’ve written out goodbye cards and I got a Japanese friend of mine to write some short sentiments down that I have faithfully copied out – therefore they’re going to think I’ve been lying about my inability to speak Japanese, but at least this way they will know what I’m on about.

Yesterday, I strolled around the school, taking random photos. I then wandered over to the pool where the 5th and 6th graders were having a swimming class. They all wanted me to join in but 1) I didn’t have anything to swim in and 2) the kids really weren’t ready for what’s underneath these clothes. As I’ve mentioned in numerous entries before, Japan has not been kind to my waistline. I’m not too bothered about it now – in a few weeks I’ll be on a beach in Okinawa, tanning my flab and let’s face it – tanned fat looks so much better than pasty white!

I’ve been trying to focus on the negatives recently (my Junior High has been helping, unawares) because I know that I will be sad to leave Japan. I know that once I get back home, living with my parents with no real income, it’s going to hit me how cushty this life was. But I know in my heart of hearts that I do need to come back – another year here, doing as little as I do would be catastrophic, both for my mental health and my weight!

Anyway – I just thought I’d let you know that it’s not all hate hate hate here and that I do enjoy certain aspects about the job. It’s just that, as of today, those aspects have been ended and I’m feeling a little sad.

Still, I’ve got the Leavers’ Party to look forward to and then the arrival of my parents. The last 4 weeks (for I have just under that left here) will be unforgettable as I bid Japan a farewell it’s not likely to forget.

Till next time!



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