Saturday, December 19, 2009

SNOW!!!! and various other tidbits

It's snowing!

In typical California transplant fashion, on the first day of snow I was delighted and frolicked and skipped about joyously finding everything prettier with a little snow on it. Then on Friday the train was delayed and it was so windy the snow was blowing horizontally directly in my face. Also, Japan has an annoying lack of interest in both insulation and central heating. Thus our apartment is the same temperature inside as it is out in the snow. It is officially warmer in our refrigerator than it is in the kitchen it sits in.

A couple of weeks ago Greg and I took the JLPT 4, which is the lowest level Japanese proficiency test. We were already at the level of the this test when we first arrived, so we're both pretty sure we passed. Most of the people in our Japanese class took the level 3, but because my listening skills are rather terrible I think I'm happy with the decision to go for the sure thing rather than the "maybe if I'm lucky." If I can get my listening (and speaking, even though that's not tested) up to snuff, I hope I can maybe skip a level next year and go to the new "2.5" test.

Friday night was my school's bonenkai, a traditional year end party, the purpose of which is to drink until you forget all the year's troubles. It was at an onsen, but I managed to avoid the whole awkwardly taking a bath with coworkers thing by having my dip just 15 minutes before the start of dinner. After dinner it was on to karaoke. I, as usual, declined to sing. I find it amusing that when I tell people I can't sing they always say "I can't sing either, it's ok," and then 10 minutes later they're on stage singing brilliantly. I have yet to meet anyone here worse at carrying a tune than me. There was a bingo game and the first three prizes were pretty nice: a flat screen TV, a bike, and a digital camera. Beyond that were mystery prizes wrapped up. Naturally I got 4th place and had to go for a mystery box which of course was filled with 30 packs of meat filled instant ramen. Sigh. I had a lot of opportunities to practice my horrible Japanese before conking out in my room. The teachers must have stayed up at least an hour later than me and drank a ton more than me and yet they were all up at 6:30 am bright eyed and genki, waking me for breakfast.

What amuses me most about enkais is that because of Japan's very strict drunk driving laws (which prohibit you from having even a sip of alcohol before getting behind the wheel) the teachers usually take the school bus. I think that as a high schooler I would have been quite amused by the idea of my teachers, drunk and rowdy, cruising down the highway in the school bus late at night.

On Wednesday we're headed for Okinawa for a hopefully warm and pleasant Christmas.

1 comment:

  1. Great photo. Looking forward for your writing about Okinawa.