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Monday, August 18, 2008

Olympics in Japan

Yes I know the olympics is in China, but I am in Japan, which means I have the Japanese perspective on the Olympics. At home in Barbados, we get our Olympic coverage from a US or Canadian network and we always laugh about how streamlined the coverage is toward their own country's athletes. Generally coverage is of track, swimming, or gymnastics. If none of these is on, they just pick a random sport or somethign. Here in Japan, I have been seeing the stragnest sports. For the first time in my life, I have seen Olympic Soccer, Olympic Baseball, Olympic Field Hockey, Women's Archery, Judo, Freesytle Wrestling and Greco-Roman wrestling. AND I discovered that Trampoline is an Olympic Sport (funnily translated into Japanese as "jumping").

SO I have all sorts of new revelations. For one, all the top women's archers are Asian. Secondly, Freestlye wrestling is cool beans. Trampoline is harder than it look. I blight a woman. After about 4 participants I wondered aloud what was so hard about trampoline. The woman promptly land on her mouth. I laughed at the way Japan got beat in baseball by Korea (the national sport here is Baseball) and then beat Canada. Japan is apparently really good in Woman's Softball. They beat Canada, but were defeated by USA. Soccer has been fun too, Japan got beat in every single one of their men's matches, even by Holland, who only managed to draw against the USA and and Nigeria. The Japan women's team is really good too. They beat everybody but the US on their way onto the semifinals. Then they had to play the US in the semifinal. They lost 4-2. Well, at least I think they should beat Germany. In the other semifinal which I watched Brazil rinse out Germany. 4-1. Funnily enough both of the losing teams scored first. Women's soccer is funny. But there are occasionally some women who are great. The funniest thing of it all is the Japanese woman with an afro! She and her hairdresser deserve a Nobel Hair Prize or something.

School- It's why we're here

Sometimes I think my town is really small, then something happens to remind me that it isn't, like when Janine comes through and goes "Blimey, you've got a mall!" at the half a shopping centre. (Smaller than Dacosta's Mall.) Yesterday we went out into the Netherworld of Ichinohe. See, I live in Central Ichinohe, where all the life of Ichinohe is (lol). The "mall" is here, the fire station, the police station is here, most of the shops are here. So we went out Okunakayama, which is like 30 minutes drive away from where we work to visit two of Alex's schools and get introduced to the Principal and staff, then we went to Ichinohe Minami, another of Alex's schools which is here in town at the edge. Then we went up to Chokkain Elementary, in the valley up the mountain I started to run up the other day. (Imagine that there is life up there.) And the village there has literally nothing to do. Except for joining the Self Defence Force which is Japan's version of an army. Apparently after World War 2, America wrote Japan a Constitution which does not allow them a standing army. Sound familiar. 50 plus years later nothing has changed. Anyhow, after Chokkai we went to Torigoe, (Tori-go-ey) which is one of my schools. It's a bit far and I am supposed to catch the bus but it'll only be like 10 minuttes.I think it's only about a 40-50 minute walk, and I think the bus is expensive although I haven't checked, but I am seriously considering hoofing it. One thing that was common throughout, the kids seem really nice (but then they always do). In case you're wondering why the kids are even at school, it appears that the Japanese hyperactive, overworking attitude starts from young and in the summer the kids go to their clubs at school.

We just got back from more school tours. We went back up to Chokkai for Dan's Junior High, then we came down to my two Ichinohe Schools. My schools are big as hell!!! They're the biggest of all the schools we've seen, but then they're the down town schools. The Ichinohe schools will be my main schools 4 days a week, every other week. I am only at Torigoe twice a month. After we went to Kozuya to Dan's 2 remaining schools, one of which is under construction. It seems nobody speaks English at Kozuya Sho-gakko- (elementary) so Dan is a bit worried. No one speaks English at Torigoe either, but I am not at all worried. My Japanese is coming along slowly. I actually understood all of what my Supervisor was saying in our introductions today!!! For some strange reason there is an English teacher at Ichinohe Elementary (normally there are only English teachers from Junior High and up) and my other school is Junior High so I only really need to worrry about Japanese twice a month anyhow.
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