Day in the Life of the White Giant

Due to Christine and Janny’s wittiness and my uncreativity, I have decided to hop on the bandwagon with my own Day in the Life…

6 am: Half-awake to the daily Shichinohe morning melody blaring from speakers strategically located within hearing range of every sleeping Shichinohen. Three tunes are played throughout the day: 6 am (wake-up), 12 pm (lunch time), and 6 pm (dinner time. This also happens to be my favorite of the three; it has a sweet two-part harmony section). Big Brother-esqe if you ask me. Promptly fall back asleep.

7 am: Alarm goes off. Spend 5 minutes willing myself to desert my warm blanket cocoon and face my refrigerator of an apartment. Why does it resemble a fridge, you ask? 1) Shich is on the cusp of winter; snow should be arriving any day now, 2) Japan does not believe in central heating, and 3) it wasn’t until very recently that I discovered my A/C unit can reverse itself and act as a heater. WIth the knowledge of a working heating device, though, I still wake up to a frigid apartment because I have yet to convince myself to run the A/C through the night. Sometimes, I think I am too frugal for my own good.

7:40 am: After downing breakfast (the only meal I’ve stubbornly kept American: cereal and banana or toast and yogurt), I throw on a jacket and gloves and head off for school on the Road Warrior.

7:42 am: Realize I forgot my indoor shoes…again.

7:50 am: Arrive at school amid various cries of “Oooooh, Brandon-sensei! Dekai!” (Huge!)

8 am: The school bell rings. Teachers rise in unison, bow to each other with “Ohayo gozaimasu” (Good morning). Everyone sits down and I enjoy my warm cup of green tea as the teachers meeting commences (none of which I understand).

8:30 am: Walk into my first class. 5th graders. Receive the usual giggles as I exaggeratedly duck beneath the doorway so as not to bump my head. Today’s lesson: Fast Food. Go over vocabulary (hamburger, drink, fries, etc) and phrases (“Can I take your order?”, “What would you like to drink?”, “For here or to go?”). When they have the pronunciation down, I don my cashier’s cap and students practice placing their orders. They give me imaginary yen and I give them their imaginary meal. Then they usually pour their imaginary drinks on one of their classmates’ heads.

9:30 am: 3rd graders next. ABC’s. The teacher pops in the CD. All the students sing in unison as I point to each letter. My finger goes rapidly over LMNOP in accordance with the song I’m singing in my head. The students, however, all pause on N. They look confused; the teacher peers dubiously at me. I kick myself for forgetting the Japanese unrhyming version of the song.

(Quick detour into the Day in the Life of my Vice Principal)

11 am : What’s for lunch today? There is 55,897 yen in the PTA account. The red ten goes on the black jack…I am never going to get this done. Looks like I’ll be putting in another 13 hour day. Darn! Ah, why don’t I try out the new hip slang word one of the English teachers taught me. Brandon’ll be so impressed!

(Back to me)
11 am: At my desk studying the days of the week in Japanese. Suddenly, silence is interrupted by the vice principal’s voice ringing loudly and clearly. “Hey Brandon-sensei! You’re hot!” The Japanese-English teachers burst out laughing. My vice principal looks proud of himself. “Umm, right back at ya!”

11:10 am: 1st grade. We play one of my favorite games – Fruit Basket. Each student has taped to their shirts a picture of a piece of fruit (or whichever vocabulary topic I’m teaching that day). They put all of their chairs in a circle. I stand in the middle and say, “I like…” and shout out the name of a fruit. Kids wearing that fruit get up and quickly run to another chair.  The last student standing is the new person in the middle. Kind of like a cross between Musical Chairs and Monkey in the Middle. Except when the person in the middle shouts “Fruit Basket!”, everyone runs into the circle, colliding heads, forming a 7 year old mosh pit, and resulting in several trampled students. It is quite fun.

12 pm: Lunchtime with the 5th graders. As usual, they are amazed at my ability to use chopsticks. And how much rice is in my bowl.

1 pm: Bike ride to one of my favorite places in Japan: Shichinohe Kindergarten.

1:10 pm: Spend the next hour performing the JET Workout Plan a.k.a. lifting up squealing kindergardeners over and over again. These kids are seriously the cutest things on Earth. I know some of you are thinking, “No way can they be cuter than puppies!” But trust me, they are.

2:30 pm: Kindergarten lets out. Barely pull myself away from the gleeful youngsters. Head to the yakuba (town office). Spend the remaining hours of my work day sipping tea, eating cookies, and use a mixture of English, Japanese, and hand gestures with my supervisor to converse about the weather, school life, and how I need to get winter tires for my car.

4 pm: Head home. Struggle up the massive hill that separates the yakuba from my apartment. Hear a cheerful “Konnichiwa!” as grandmothers pass me on their electric scooters.

4:30 pm: Halo with Taka. Get whooped, as usual.

5:30 pm: Reheat some rice and curry I made the night before. Sadly, the pumpkin centerpiece from the dining room has been sacrificed for an experimental new curry flavor. It is…interesting.

6:30 pm: Pick up Courtney and head to taiko practice. Spend the next two hours banging on massive drums until our arms give out. Oh yeah, and the average age of the taiko class is around 12. Nothing like banging some beats with elementary schoolers.

9 pm: Check e-mail, Facebook stalk, maybe watch an episode of 30 Rock. Truthfully, I am pretty much doing this all day anyway.

10 pm: Turn on the water heater.

10:05 pm: Check the water. This is usually when I must make the most formidable decision of my day: Whether or not I’m willing to take a shower in luke-warm water. Chances are about 50-50. (For those of you suffering from automysophobia, just kidding. It’s more like 60-40)

10:30 pm: A few pages of light reading, then lights (and A/C) out.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Ko-te-ni on November 19, 2008 at 9:58 am

    You should have made special note about your awesome and painful-looking taiko blisters. That’s definitely worth mentioning.


  2. Does your A/C – heater unit not have a timer function so you can set it to turn on in the morning?


  3. Posted by Uncle Rob on December 3, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    Just thought since you are taking drumming lessons, that near the end of March, I will be taking some friends to DC to watch the Kodo Drummers live. If you have not seen them, you should. I do have a DVD of them also.


  4. […] January 4, 2009 Filed under: Uncategorized — jannyd1028 @ 3:14 am Brandon, it is absolutely okay, since you are almost always infinitely more creative and definitely funnier […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: