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October 2003 - First Impressions of Tottori

I dig this town.  Way different from LA.  People are really nice, but they still stare at me (I guess I kinda stand out).  I stare at other foreigners too thinkin', "What the hell are YOU doing here?!  This is MY town!"  The bar scene is kinda funny cuz everyone just kinda clears out around midnight.  You gotta rush over there by around 9 or else you're gonna miss everything.  I see people trashed outta their minds stumbling back home around 10:30 or so.  The scary part is that the foreigners in Tottori are high-profile, so everyone seems to know what I did over the weekend.  This town is small, so everyone seems to know someone that I know.  For example, the bartender at a bar I frequent told me that his mother-in-law is a student at my school.  150,000 people in the town and 300 or so go to my school.  I guess I'd better behave myself, eh?

I also dig this English teachin' gig.  My coworkers and I  are always crackin' jokes and having a good time.  Sometimes it's difficult coming up with some jackass way to present the lesson so that the students remember and enjoy it, but otherwise, the lessons usually go pretty smoothly.  Some of the students are way behind in the class, so I just smack them around a
bit.  I always have things I wish I did after a class, but it's really hard to completely train-wreck a lesson.  We just had our annual Halloween Party on Saturday, and it was a blast.  We ate tons of food, played limbo, and voted for the best costumes.  I went as Bon Zombie (a play on Bon Jovi).  I even performed a song I wrote in Japanese.  It was funny singing to a roomful of students in a language I don't really know.  I also sang an "Ode to Hotcakes and Honey."

My DSL finally got turned on, so I'm REALLY happy.  The nice woman at the computer store knows me pretty well cuz she talked to me for long periods of time using really slow Japanese.  Fortunately, it all worked out.  I did confuse the word for "envelope" with the word for "person" during one important conversation.  I kept telling her that I didn't need an engineer to come out and help me.  Then she explained that a letter is going to help me.  Hahaha.  A piece of paper!  Whooops!

As for my Japanese, it's very slowly progressing.  I have a private Japanese lesson with a volunteer at the Tottori International Center each week, and I try to practice whenever I get a chance.  Right now I'm looking for a new electronic dictionary cuz the one I have has like 5 words in it.  The ones here are awesome, but they use tons of kanji that I don't know yet.  I'll keep looking...

Side note: I ended up buying a Seiko electronic dictionary because they have a "jump" feature that allows furigana lookup of any kanji.  This feature really comes in handy for those studying Japanese.

2 of my coworkers invited me out for drinks after work last week.  We met up with 3 other students.  I was the only foreigner, so the conversation was predominantly in Japanese.  I followed along the best I could and interjected a stupid joke in Japanese once in a while.  Everyone seems to get a really big laugh outta my Japanese.  I don't know exactly why it's so freakin' funny, but I just keep doing it.  One student kept joking about how the other student took his law clients out the day before and bought a bottle of Dom Peri.  So the dude actually bought a bottle for us!  We all took pictures with our cell phones.

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