The Witless Clunkery of a Third-Rate Mind

Saturday, September 20, 2008

No News Is Good News

Not much has been going on, but I promised to try and update this thing more frequently. Let's see if I can remember what I've been doing this past week:

Working in the office has been nice. It requires a long commute, and it's kind of boring, but the highlight of every day is surely when we (the 3 or 4 other foreigners working in the office and myself) go out to one of the local restaurants for lunch. Every conceivable cuisine is represented within a 4-block radius, so before lunch we always sit around and discuss our options: "Basement Italian? Thai? Cheap Japanese? How about the Good-curry-but-bad-salad Indian?"

That will all come to an end when I go back to teaching next week, as the university has 2 very mediocre cafeterias. Our only choices are dingy-but-uncrowded cafeteria, or nice-but-crowded cafeteria. So I'll enjoy the food around the office while I can.

We had a small training session for 25 of the new teachers this week. I was supposed to deliver a short presentation during the first part of the session. Well, as it turned out, the trains were severely delayed that morning. We got on a train at 8 a.m., and didn't get off the train until 2 and a half hours later. That was a horrible ride; probably the worst congestion (compaction, really) I've ever experienced on a train. When the train gets that crowded, most people don't have a strap or rail to hang onto. Furthermore, nobody has enough floor-space to stand with their feet wide apart. So, you put your feet right together like a soldier at attention. It makes it almost impossible to keep your balance when the train starts or stops moving. People who have no strap to hang onto just end up leaning onto the person beside them. No big deal, as you are jammed cheek-by-jowl with the next person, but the effect gets transmitted to the people at the end of the train car. If you are at the end of the car, you literally have the weight of a hundred people leaning against you. You can't fight against it; I've seen people trying to, and it just doesn't work. Your hands will get pried off the bar, no matter how strong you are. You just have to try to get a breath when you can, and then hopefully not have your ribs broken. It's awesome!

Anyway, two and a half hours of misery, and I managed to get to the conference room halfway through my own speech. A co-worker was bravely trying to do it, but when I arrived, he just handed the mic over to me and I had to pick up from where he was. It was kind of confusing, to say the least, especially since I was shell-shocked from the train ride.

Other than working, I haven't been doing very much. I was planning on driving to Kyoto this weekend with my friend Mori, but a typhoon was coming, and I had visions of Hurricane Ike - roads washed out, or at the very least, tourist sites closed due to torrential rain. So, I decided to stay in Tokyo this weekend. As it turned out, the weather hasn't been too bad; the typhoon seems to have changed course, but I can still go back to Kyoto next month. Maybe the leaves will be turning by then. Ahhh... Kyoto in the fall. If I go, I'll have some pictures for this thing.


At 5:11 PM, Blogger ted said...

The leaves will change in Kyoto In Nov. actually. If you head this way, do get in touch...


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