Sunday, November 27, 2005

Samstag und Sonntag

(I think the German is correct...)

Yesterday, Starfish High, in a glorious fit of desperation, held another Open School. Our turnout for the previous two Open Schools did not achieve anywhere near the number of prospective students that we needed. While Saturday was originally planned to be an parent-teacher discussion day concerning prospective applicants, the higher-ups adapted it to be one more Open School Day.

We have about fifty third-year students this year, and if we can't cover the number of departing students with an equal or greater number of new students next year, old Starfish High is in danger of going under. We're the smallest high school in all of Hokkaido anyway. We can't afford to get any smaller. Plus, the majority of high school students still want to go to public schools. Private schools like Starfish High don't have the greatest appeal to ninth graders.

But we've done all we can. Now, we sit back and wait...

How many applications will come in, I wonder?

After Open School Day finished up, I piled into my car with Judy (a JHS English teacher) and Miller (a SHS English teacher) and headed for Tomakomai. Judy wanted to buy a digital camera, and she wanted my help in finding a good one. I know jack and crap about digital cameras, and unfortunately jack left town a couple of days ago looking for a better gig on the stand-up circuit. But I do speak Japanese, which tends to qualify me for a lot of things that otherwise I would have no business talking about.

Like the time I was asked to speak on a panel about river water usage, water conservation efforts, and community interaction with waterways. National government official, representative of the local fisheries union, and the white guy who speaks Japanese. I got 300 bucks for it, so I'm not complaining, but I felt like I was kind of ripping them off. I researched as much as I could about the subject matter, but I was way out of my league.

So anyway, we went to a nice electronics shop in Tomakomai, but the cameras they had there were a bit out of Judy's price range, so...

Back to Wasabi-kun and over to Seattle's Best Coffee! This is becoming a wonderful tradition!

Following some caffeinated goodness, we headed to...the mall.

This is actually a big deal. When I lived in Shimane, we didn't have anything that compared to "The Mall" back home. This may be because Shimane is the Japanese equivalent of the "boonies". Any shopping centers were more like all-purpose supermarkets than malls. The first time I headed out to the Tomakomai Aeon, it was like the sky opened up and the light from heaven shone down around me. The angel choirs sang "Halleluiah!" The Lord saw it, and it was good. Then my wallet saw it, and screamed in agony. For there is a Tower Records in the Tomakomai Aeon Mall.

The original plan had been to catch the new Harry Potter flick, but as one of our troop wasn't feeling up to it, Judy and I went and saw "The Brothers Grimm" instead.

"I... I do believe I've soiled myself."
"Oh, good... I thought it was me."

Those are probably the best two lines of dialogue in the film. I still laugh about it. Overall, there were quite a few nice subtle nods to the fairy tales we all know and love, and they were woven together into the story quite well. Dark, disturbing, yet ultimately an enjoyable movie.

But it really makes you hate the French. That poor, poor kitten.

On the way back to Muroran, I asked Judy if the British and the French really do hate each other, or if it's more something that gets played for laughs. Without a second of hesitation, "We do. Ohhhh, yeah, we do."

That cleared that one up.

Sunday, I went with the gang to an International Potluck Lunch at the Muroran International Center. Good eatins were had by all. Curry from Sri Lanka, Chinese pancakes, Japanese oden soup, Malaysian noodles...yum. It was a rather eclectic crowd, featuring several exchange students who attend the Muroran Institute of Technology (Hey! MIT!) and a few of us English teachers. Plans were made to catch Harry Potter that evening, and then we all went our separate ways.

I met up with Miyano, a fellow teacher at Starfish High, and we headed out to the pool. Finally...The Rock...has come BACK! the poooooooooooooooooooooooool.

The messed up, weird sick, taking drugs for my stomach week was followed by two really busy/tiring weeks, so I hadn't been to the pool in quite some time. I managed to get in my 500 meters, but I was really tired by the end of my workout. The old body tends to revert back to its slovenly form without CONSTANT VIGILANCE!!!!!


So much for C.V. After the pool, Miyano and I went and grabbed dinner with Sugihara (another S.H. coworker) at Steak 1. I had fried chicken, soup, and salad, and left feeling quite full.

Funny thing about Steak 1. They have a poster for the Pendleton Round-Up on the wall. Being that my hometown is only about 50 minutes from Pendleton, it was a little bizarre seeing that up on the wall. I'd ask, "What're the odds?", but after six years of living in Japan, these kind of bizarre connections don't surprise me anymore. As the narrator said in "Magnolia", "These strange things happen all the time."

Then it was off to the movies! "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire". WOW. Wow. wow.

There were at least twenty times during the course of this movie where I said, "That is SO cool." The director did a wonderful job of bringing the exciting moments of the fourth installation in the HP series to the screen. The introduction to the Quidditch World Cup. The interior of the magic tent looking just like a regular house. The dragons! The merpeople! The hedge maze! Voldemort!

This continues from the previous film, "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" in making the series darker and bringing more emotional impact to the goings on at Hogwarts. Nicely done.

My only complaint was the subtitles. Voldemort's reappearance, which is the climax of the story and is set in a graveyard, was filmed as a very dark scene. It's supposed to be poorly lit and shrouded in a doom-and-gloom atmosphere. Then you have these BRIGHT WHITE subtitles at the bottom of the screen that blind out the entire area around them and really ruin the planned effect. Not so great.

But otherwise a good film, and a great way to cap off the weekend.


Blogger Sizzlean said...

I'm going to go ahead and go public with this and be the first person to state on the Web that Valdermort looks like Morph from the X-men: Age of Apocalypse Series. It was of course immediately noted as well from everyone's most stylish Boy Scout, my brother.

For verification cut paste

morph age of apocalypse


Wednesday, November 30, 2005 12:19:00 AM  
Blogger Havok said...

Ah do decleah!

Mon ami, dis is ze big news.

Zem folks makin' de 'arry Potter films be rippin' off Morph.

And I am a geek.

I must admit that it's an honor to have such big news break first on the 'Net here!

Tell The Stylish One hello for me.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 1:06:00 AM  

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