I have a lot to update you on, my loyal readers and only friends, so this is my fairly standard casserole entry.
Last Saturday, Sunday, and Monday was the annual Osaka Mexican Festival. It is held under the “Floating Garden” between the two twoers of the Umeda Sky Building which is a great forum for anything. This year it was a little rainy so the turnout was not as good, but the Mexican food was super delicious, as was the company. Dan, Brian and I went every day (Monday was a national holiday – Respect for the Aged Day). On the first night most of Daito turned out as well as Cathy. The second night was rainy and a little cold, but the salsa kept me warm. While we were there we saw a guy get so drunk he was just lying on a bench. It started to rain hard suddenly and his girlfriend (why she would date an idiot like this is beyond me) tried to help him to a less rainy part. This guy was so drunk that he fell off the bench and landed directly on his face. His senses were so screwed up that he didn’t even put his hands up to block the impact, directly to his face. It was hilarious! I’m not big on the “suffering of others” as a humor source, unless they have done it to themselves, and this idiot did it to himself. He couldn’t even walk. A nice guy helped drag his face planted drunken self to shelter, where he porptly threw up all over himself. What an idiot. How does one get that drunk? I would think there is a point that your motor functions no longer respond and you then have to stop drinking simply because you can no longer raise the glass. Not this guy. Somehow he managed to drink passed that, don’t ask me how. Man did he fall right on his face. HAHAHA. It is fun to be sober. Though how he ended up with such an attractive girlfriend I fear I will never know. Maybe when not falling directly on his face, or vomiting on himself, he has a “really great personality”. Anyway, Mexican festival = super triple delicious.
Competition from the other side
One of my students competed in the 41st Annual English recitation contest in neighboring Neyagawa city. I have been helping to train her for the last few months. She did great. It should be noted that one of my primary goals in Japan is to introduce the kind of blind school spirit that you see at say an OSU or any other big college football school. I do this by yelling at students from other schools that Tanigawa is number 1! They usually don’t get it, so I throw in some broken Japanese. So, I realize I am not necessarily unbiased in my assessment here. Needless to say, my girl was way better than the girl that came in 2nd, I mean leaps and bounds better. My student was not as theatrical, but her pronunciation was far superior. I am not saying she should have gotten second place, but I think she deserved 3rd. The second place girl was only a first grader (6th grade U.S.). I think the judges took that into account. She had amazing pronunciation for a first grader, but not for a junior high schooler. Because this was a mixed grade event, her grade should not have played a factor. She was also, like I said, much more theatrical than some of the other students. If the judges graded theatircs heavier than pronunciation, my girl was sank. As it turned out, she was in the second grouping. Japanese competitions tend to have first, second, and third places and then a few groupings: think of them like the “with honors” and “with high honors” of diplomas. Of the 15 students 6 were in the “Commendable” category, 6 were in the “Highly Recommended” category (including my student), and then there were 1-3rd places.
I really think she should have come in third. I was going to take her out to icecream afterwards, American tradition for coaches to do that you know, but her aunt died the die before so she had to catch a train. She gave me the sweetest thank you note. You could tell she worked very hard on it by herself. I am going to have to swing through the station and find out how much a triple cone of ice cream costs and just give her that amount of money to buy herself some ice cream, because she earned it!
I can honestly say that being the coach is about a billion times more stressful than being the contestant. I have competed in many speech competitions and academic challenge competitions and I loved that nervous feeling building. When you were sitting in the audience watching the others you could just feed of their strengths. That tension built bigger and bigger until it is your turn to speech and you can tare the house down. But as a coach, all that nervousness is there, but you know that there is no way to turn it around. You can’t funnel it into the firestorm of your performance. The nervousness eats you because you have no way to release it. You can only sit, and fear that she will say a ス instead of “th”, or will fub the title, or say the characters name as カフ instead of Kahu. You can only stew and fear. It is horrible!
Sports Day Looms
That yearly pain in the butt, sports day is right around the corner. The first year it was fascinating, the next was interesting but too long, this year I am dreading it. I would rather have my weekend off, but instead I have to work. For missing a weekend I get compensated by two random days off (a Thursday and the following Monday) to which I say, what? I give up to consecutive days off for two useless days off? Baaaaa! The lamest part of the whole equation is that we practice sports day ad nausem. No day in September is a normal school day because we HAVE TO PRACTICE FOR SPORT DAY. It is the exact same every year. What new thing is there to practice for? What has changed? What does this have to do with anything?!?