PORT of the Future

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Enkai: Episode II……….

So I am taking a small break from my Vacation Recap to bring you another memorable moment from a Kasahara Chu Gakko Enkai. Saturday was our Sports Festival, which is a story in and of itself, but that is for another time. But basically Sports Festival is where all the classes compete against each other in silly games (tug of war, three legged race, relay races, etc., but again there is much more to it). Afterwards, all the students go home and all the teachers go to a hotel and have an Enkai. We met at the Mito Plaza hotel, this is the hotel that the Emperor stays at if he is ever in Mito…. he is never in Mito. I, of course, was 15 minutes late to the party, so I got the esteemed privilege of sitting at the head table with the administration. This is the only table in the room with 0 English speakers and the Principal and Vice Principal. Right away 5 plates of food were set in front of me and the Principal was like “eat” but I noticed that no one else in the room was eating yet, but he kept urging for me to eat. Now it is my assumption that the people I work with think that I am constantly hungry in this country, so they feel the need to always encourage me to eat…..always. Like whenever Nurse asked me “Do Japanese restaurants fill you up? They have much less food than American restaurants.” But never the less, I started nibbling on the Chinese cuisine. One of the teachers was on stage rambling on about something; I never really know what is being said. Then the MC for the night started calling teachers up and they started mimicking the students from the Sports Festival, again I had no idea what they were saying, but I knew what they were doing, and it made me laugh pretty hard. Here we were, 50 tipsy Japanese people at a hotel making fun of our students, which is my kind of party! I kept on eating, trying to make some sort of conversation with the people around me; we were the only 3 not drinking that night. When the MC came over to my table and informed the lady next to me that I would be giving the next speech! I was like, “excuse me” and she was like “yes, you will be going up next”. Well, I had nothing to say, I mean how could I, but they did let me know that it could be in English, What a relief? So I got up on stage and one of the administration men (drunk of course) came up with me and he informed me that he would be translating for me this evening, now he speaks alright English, but I knew this was going to be interesting. So I thought it would be funny to start out in Japanese, which was fun, he translated it into English, and we all laughed and then I rambled on about stuff for a few minutes and then I thanked them and wanted to sit down, but Kochousensei. (Principal) raises his hand (he is drunk too, but speaks no English) and was like “question” and I was like “ok” and he was like “2 Americans” and I was like “uhhhhh” and he was like “2 Americans” and I was like “I don’t know” but they let me know that he wanted to know about the 2 Americans that were with me earlier that day (Derekelsey) so I informed them they were my friends and fellow AET’s and then I went to sit down when he shot up his hand again “question” and I was like “ok” and he said “friend” and I was like “yes” and then he stood up and yelled “girlfriend” (very 4th grade like) and everyone started laughing and such and I was like “uhhhh, no, she has a husband” and I again went to sit down and he shot up his hand again, and I said “WHAT?” (I didn’t really scream it, I just thought it that way) and he said “car?” and I said “yes, I do drive LJ’s car now” and again everyone laughed and was like “OHHHH LJ” (previous AET at Kasahara, they think we look alike, we both are large men). So I finally got to sit down. I ate a little more and I heard my name again and they wanted me to stand up again. It is Japanese tradition to give furei’s at this sort of parties and they wanted me (the American) to give one of the other teachers a furei. I had seen a few that night and at my last Enkai, but I had no idea how to do one or what to say, but I winged it and it was quite a fun experience. Not too many people can say they got to give one in their lives. Then we all got in a circle around the room and one of the gym teachers was at the back of the room taking his shirt and pants off (he was wearing something under the pants) and he came running up to stage, now I had no idea what this was about, but they told me it was going to be some traditional college cheer or something, I don’t know. So he stood on stage, wearing not a whole lot, and started screaming and doing all these motions, I could hardly contain my laughter, this was really happening. But then we ended the night gathering in a circle, real close like and singing the school song. And I was again reminded that I do LOVE coming to these parties, and I do LOVE my school.


(We will get back to my Vacation in my next post, which will be sooner I do promise, unless something else fun comes up)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Southeast Asia Tour Part 1……

So as most of you know I recently went on a 2 week vacation around Southeast Asia. I traveled to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Cambodia. As you probably can guess, I have many stories from this trip, so the next few posts will be stories from my trip. While we were in Vietnam, we had the chance to go to white sand dunes. I had no idea what I had agreed to, but they said lets go sledding on white sand dunes, and I said “ok”. We traveled by Jeeps, I might add that they were the slowest Jeeps I had ever been in, I was not sure if we were ever going to actually make it to the sand dunes, but they proved me wrong. We arrived at the dunes and were greeted by numerous excited Vietnamese kids, and when I said kids, I mean mostly teenagers, but they looked like they should be about 8. I still had no idea what sledding on the sand dunes would actually entail, but I found out pretty quickly when one of the only adults around told me that I was “too fat” and that I would need to boys. They grabbed my backpack, my shoes and a sled and then one grabbed one hand and the other grabbed the other and we were off. We walked up to the sand dunes and that was no easy task, but I had my boys pulling me all the way. On the way we made small talk, they spoke English as if it were their native language, I was very impressed. They were both 13 years old; Sun and Man were their names. We got to the top of the dune and they told me that I could either just go once or I could pay and go multiple times, I chose the latter. So they laid the sled down (when I say sled, I mean a piece of flat plastic) and I thought it would be best to go stomach first. When I was in position, they pushed real hard and down the dune I went, sand going everywhere, surprisingly enough, me being the biggest person there, I went the fastest and the furthest, so the fat worked in my advantage for once! Sun and Man came running down the hill behind me screaming and laughing and jumped on top of me and quickly pulled me to my feet and began running me back up the hill. I got to the top and thought I was going to die and they said again, and I was like “Crap” but I got back on and down I went again, and again and again. This went on a few times, sometimes with the boys on my back as if I were the sled myself. When we were all finished and exhausted, we headed back and we came upon a drink stand and all of the boys begged for cokes, so we bought them all cokes and then they all begged for tips, they were all so adorable, we couldn’t resist (you know you couldn’t resist either!) We got back to the Jeeps and said our goodbyes, Tears welled up on our eyes as we waved goodbye to each other……ok so that part didn’t happen, and I thought I would add it for effect! This was definitely one of the highlights of my trip! Next post……..The role of the “motorbike” on my trip!

Friday, July 21, 2006

rain, rain go away.......

The biggest news of the week is that I have finished the first term here in Japan. Yesterday was the closing ceremony and today was the first official day of Summer Vacation. Two interesting things about Summer Vacation here in Japan, first, you still have to go to work everyday, which I knew upfront, not a big deal. What I do at work, well that is still to be determined. Second, the students are still here! Now I have no idea about this one. They are supposed to be on vacation and there are tons of them here, I guess they just like it that much. Some things I have realized I will never understand and I am ok with that. My other big news of the week (not so big really) is that I am now apart of the Facebook community, I was against it for so long and now I am an active member of it. I will not talk about it much since you, my readers, are also my friends on Facebook. I will be leaving for my vacation in 1 week. I am very excited about it and you will all be hearing about my adventures, hopefully, for weeks. Now I do have some bad news for some of you, I chose not to go to my Enkai next week. I know I got a lot of positive feedback on the last one, but I could not justify going to a party where the only purpose was to get drunk. I couldn’t justify spending that much money on food I wouldn’t eat and drinks I wouldn’t drink. So in its stead, I will figure out something else to do Monday night that is equally or even more thrilling and write about it. What that is you may ask, I have no clue, but I have 3 days to figure that out! The picture is of my school's playing field after three days of rain!

Wishing you were here and I was there (kidding),



Wednesday, July 12, 2006

As Promised......

So I will be frank, I have the biggest boobs at Kasahara Junior High School (that is where I teach for those of you who do not know) and I think this fact has some of my students quite confused. Big breasts are just not as common here and so it is no surprise that my “boys”, if you will, have caused quite the stir. I have a few boys specifically who are very intrigued by them and have made that quite clear by constantly trying to “cop a feel”. I have tried to explain to them that it is not appropriate to touch other people, especially in certain areas, but that gets me no where, they must be in a daze. I feel like a piece of meat. J But I guess they are at that age and they do have lots of questions about their changing bodies and such. Let’s just hope that this stage moves by quickly.
So, I was just informed of my school’s next Enkai, drinking party for those of you who can’t remember, and this one is an over nighter. We are going to be staying in a hotel and partying through the night. Now of course I will not be participating in the over night escapades, but I want to know from you whether or not I should go for the evening to celebrate the end of the term with my fellow workers, leave be feedback.
So this week all three of my grades are having special assemblies targeted at smoking, or rather not smoking. I do feel like this is a very noble cause with the amount of people who smoke in this country, I am glad to see that they are trying to sway the younger ones against it, BUT I do find it rather ironic that all of the administrators here and a few of the teachers do smoke and they are the one’s leading the assemblies, wouldn’t it be best to lead by example? Now of course I know it’s easier said than done, I mean it would be like me leading a campaign to stay skinny. Just something to think about. I was going to tell you a rousing story about fruit but I feel like I have left with you enough to digest for one reading. So until next time……

Can we see Suri yet Tom?



Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A little bit of this and a little bit of that….

After the overwhelming response of my last entry, I found it very hard to think of an entry topic that could be on par with such an amazing story. That is the reason that I have not posted in quite a while, but I realized that I may never live another moment quite like that one, so I am going to post anyway. The big news of the week is that I have bought a car and I receive my car on Friday night!!!!! Her name is Lucy Lou and I bought her from former AET’s here in Mito. This is huge news for me because I will no longer have to rely on ole Powder, that is my bike or even Dori (named my Derek), that is my scooter (which I love both, but lets face it, in the pouring rain, neither are suitable). I met with the insurance man last night and that turned into quite an experience as well. After purchasing my insurance policy, he invited us out with him to a bar for drinks and dinner, we agreed because who turns down a meal. All I can say is that it was my most favorite time ever spent with an insurance man. I, of course, refrained from drinking anything other than orange juice and water, but it still made for a great night and he already has planned our next outing. It’s turning out that my best moments in Japan come whenever I am with drunk Japanese people!
This weekend I will also be making a trip south to a naval base somewhere south of Yokohama with my dear friends Derekelsey, Derek, Courtney, and Jonathan. We are going to go see our friend Aaron Wells, who is stationed on the base, we are all very excited and I am sure that you will all be hearing about that trip next week!
And I am also preparing to take a trip in August once school is out with a few other AET’s to Malaysia, Vietnam, and Cambodia. I am SUPER excited about this trip, so as I find out more about this trip, I will let you know! That is all for now, it was kind of a hodge-podge entry, but they can’t all be jewels!

Remember to match your shoes, belts, socks, and accessories!



Note: remind me to tell you about eating raw chicken and not getting the bird flu! (this was of course against my own will). I have also found out recently that they have opened a few Cold Stone Creamery stores in Tokyo and this news has made me the happiest person in Japan, that means I get my Birthday Cake ice cream!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

It's my life and it's now or never......

This song was a very huge hit for the band Bon Jovi and one night in Mito changed the song for me forever. Here’s the story, as you know the school year in Japan starts at the beginning of April. So during the first week of school, the staff always has a welcome party, an Enkai roughly translated drinking party. So of course me being one of the new staff members, I was in attendance. So we walked into the hotel where the party was to be held, Enkai’s are usually very fancy and they told me to wait downstairs with the other new teachers of which none of them spoke English, of course. I did not know what was going on; I felt like I was awaiting my initiation into a fraternity. Finally they came down and asked us to follow them and when we got to the room, they opened the doors and everyone started screaming and yelling and waving their arms and we sort of ran in, it felt like a football game when the team was running on the field. We all had assigned seats and everyone, EVERYONE who was on staff at the school was there. I saw with the 1st grade teachers because that is where my desk is, which is a good thing because it also was the table with the highest number of English speakers. It was at this time that I was informed that I would have to give a short speech to all of the teachers, which made me a bit nervous at first and even more nervous when the teachers before me were giving like 5-10 minute speeches. I thought to myself, “they couldn’t, wouldn’t expect me to give a 5-10 minute speech to a bunch of people who wouldn’t understand me”, and then as I was having this thought I noticed that when the teacher speaking was finished, they started asking them questions. Now I had no idea of course what was being said but again I passed it off as something they wouldn’t do for me because they couldn’t ask me questions in English and I couldn’t answer questions in Japanese, so I continued thinking about what I was going to say until it was my turn, now I was the last of 7 teachers, at 5 minutes a piece, that was about 35 minutes later, now what I haven’t told you yet was this was indeed a drinking party, and when I say drinking party, I mean they drink beer after beer after beer. It is a custom to go around the room and fill your fellow workers cups up and if it doesn’t need filling up, then you get them another cup and fill it up, so after 35 minutes of drinking, a lot of the teachers were getting….lets use the word sloshed. So it was my turn and I got up and one of the English teachers got up with me and translated for me, I didn’t say much because I didn’t have a lot to say and everyone laughed and clapped, which was interesting because nothing I said was funny, so I assumed that the drunk English teacher was making up what I was saying and translating it however he saw fit. And then it happened, question time, they were actually going to ask me questions, a man stood up, he didn’t speak much English at all and he asked and I quote, “what kind of boobs do you like?” I was of course speechless and I stood there, I had nothing clever to say, in fact, I had nothing to say at all. I simply smiled while everyone else was of course rolling on the ground, mainly because they were drunk and lost their balance. This was my cue to find my seat and get out of the way as quick as possible. I had decided that I was not going to drink at this party, which disappointed many of my fellow workers, so they decided to bring me other drinks instead and so I got cups and cups of tea, water and coke, like maybe 15 cups sitting in front of me, now imagine if that was indeed alcohol, I cant imagine how think my blood would have been then. Dinner came and it was all raw and not good, so I gave it to the drunk guy next to me and everyone was having a great time, stumbling around and cheering. The three mot drunk guys at the party were the principal, the VP and the head administration guy……I have personally never seen people so drunk in my life, they tied their coats around their heads and were yelling and screaming and just falling everywhere. Apparently alcohol makes you speak English better, because I have never been able to understand them more than that night when they were plastered. Then they cheered each of us (which is another story in of itself, and one better shown then read) and it was over. I looked around the room and I was one of 4 people not noticeably drunk. So we had been warned that after the first Enkai, there is usually a second Enkai. So when the second Enkai was mentioned, I of course asked, “What are we doing?” To which they replied we are going to a karaoke place. I quickly agreed to go, what could be better than a second Enkai at a karaoke place with my drunken co-workers. So one of the 3rd grade teachers grabbed my hand and walked me over to the bus that was headed for karaoke. On the bus ride I was informed that I would be the first to sing, to which I told them that I couldn’t go until like the 4th person and after much persuading, they agreed. We get to the place and get assigned to our room and it usually fits about 4 people in the room, well there was 13 in our room and then 13 next door. So what they did next was of course call in the waitress and start ordering more alcohol, why wouldn’t they? So they start singing their Japanese songs and I notice that they all have incredible voices and that every single one of them can sing, so it came to my turn and the guy next to me asked if I knew Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life” and I said of course and he asked me to sing it and I said only if you sing it with me, and so we did a duet of “It’s My Life” and I think we would have made Jon Bon Jovi proud. The night went on and I sang a few more times, a little Kelly and a little Beach Boys and finally my ride asked if I was ready and I said that I was ready and I told all of my new Japanese friends good-bye and I left. I thought that things would be totally different on Monday when we went back to school because we all had this experience together, but it turns out that most of them were to drunk that night to remember anything and they all suffered major hangovers at school that day. All in all, I would say that it was definitely my best night in Japan and in the top 5 best nights of my entire life. I was very excited to hear that there are many Enkais through out the year and I am awaiting the next one! So there you have it, in all of its shame, or glory and length!

Be Elegant,

PORT (the sober one)

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

No They Didn't

I figured if I was going to do a Blog, I needed to do it right, so for your enjoyment, you get two posts in two days. Now the truth is I have some extra time on my hands these days, so I am able to write a post more often, consider yourselves the lucky ones! Today I find it necessary to tell you about a major faux pas here in Japan. Now of course you all know about how here in Japan you don’t wear the same shoes indoors and outdoors, which does make sense, it does keep the floor cleaner, but what no one ever tells you is the horror that is known as the indoor shoe. Now this mainly applies to the men in this country, girls still have some sort of style and sense to them. But all of the men of course wear their suits everyday to work, very dapper and business like, and when they are out and about their shoes are very appropriate for the outfit, but as soon as they walk in that door and slip their shoes off, what do they grab……..yeah, you wont guess it, sneakers, (GASP) YES!!!! They wear sneakers with their business best and it is very common and very accepted. This is just something I can not accept, nor could I participate in, I mean I would be going against all of the rules that my dear Stacey and Clinton (stars of my favorite show, What Not To Wear) have taught me over the years. I need to write them a letter and see if they know the fashion mistake going on around the world. I have decided to make my entries shorted and then I can post more often. Entries soon to come will cover such topics as: Port buys a Japanese cell phone, Port goes to the Japanese beach (this will be posted only after it stops raining and I am able to go to the beach), and Port goes to the public bath (this will be posted only after I get up the courage to go to a public bath….middle aged, naked Japanese men scare me, but I feel like this is an experience I need to have and you need to hear about). If there are any experiences you would like me to try, please let me know and I will do them and them write an entry letting you know about me experience. This of course will only be possible if you, my fans, will give me ideas.

Stay classy,