Sunday, October 22, 2006

Catching Up...Again

Yeah...so I've been slacking off quite a bit still.

Here's a recap of what's been going on.

October 7th through the 9th was a three-day weekend here, but I had to do work stuff most of the weekend.

Saturday Jack and I helped judge a junior high school English recitation contest in Shiraoi. It's impressive to see the students' expressive abilities develop. Fun stuff, but lousy weather. Although the lousy weather made for some awesome wave activity along the coast. A log even washed up over the protective barrier and onto the highway, blocking traffic until a cleaning crew could get it off the road.

Sunday. Jack and I headed out to a quail farm in the hills north of Muroran with some students from the Starfish High Music Club to perform some songs as part of the UNESCO World Music Day event planned out there.

Yeah. It didn't make much sense to me either. But we were asked to play, so we went.

The first year girls played Kaera Kimura's "Rirura Riruha".


Jack, SH's guitar god, and I did our cover of Mr. Big's "To Be With You".

And then, to close out the show, we added a drummer, a violinist, and a keyboardist, lost the guitar, and tried our hand at Gnarls.

Gnarls Barkley, "Crazy".

I saw the video out at Jack's place a few days later, and...we sounded gooooooooood. I guess it helps to have professionals working the mixer and setting up the amps.

So that was it. Three songs. That's all we had. I told everyone "Thank you." But then, something weird happened.

"Encore."

"Encore!"

"ENCORE! ENCORE! ENCORE!"

Ummmm...

"Sorry folks, we only have the three songs. We certainly didn't expect this. Thank you, but we don't have anything else."

"Do Mr. Big again!"

I looked at Jack and GG. We all shrugged. "Okay, Mr. Big it is."

And we played it one more time.

Weird.

Afterwards, we took part in an after-event party, and then I headed out to Marukoma Hot Springs near Lake Shikotsu to meet up with some friends from around the country who had come up to Hokkaido to meet and talk about Ichinomiya shrine stuff.

A conference at a hot spring.

The outdoor bath there kicks ass, because it's depth changes with the depth of the lake. You stand and soak in that pool.

Monday. There was actually a school event planned this day, but I bailed because I refuse to give up ALL THREE DAYS of a three-day weekend for work-related stuff.

So my friends and I went up to Sapporo, had some food, and then I saw everyone off and headed home.

The following days (10/10-10/15) were taken up with preparations for our Open School on the 15th. I carved pumpkins with students again. Good times.

The Open School went off without a hitch, and was a lot easier to deal with this year because I had half a clue about what I was doing. Unlike last year.

I sang again this year, too. Jet, "Are You Gonna Be My Girl". The crowd ate it up. I even got compliments from some of the teachers.

10/16, Monday, was a day off, so I headed out to Mukawa to eat some shishamo sushi. The original plan was to make it a Debuwagon Repeat of last year, but Eisaku had to bail at the last minute. So I drove out there by myself.

The sushi was good, but it was a little sad, eating all by myself.

From there, I headed out to Biratori to check out some Ainu museums. There are two museums in the same area, so I spent the afternoon looking at the exhibits and trying to pick up some new information. I've come to the conclusion that one reason I have ended up here in Hokkaido is so that I can learn about the Ainu culture, so I want to take every opportunity I can to find out new information.

I caught "16 Blocks" that evening in Tomakomai. Decent flick with good action, but a too-tidy ending. Mos Def does an excellent job.

The next few days were preparatory lead-up to the second Open School on the 21st. More pumpkins were carved, and hopefully I can post some of those pictures soon. The second Open School also went off without any problems. I sang again, and this time we were even better than the first Open School.

That night, we had a welcome party for a new secretary. It was fun, but I split off before everyone went to the third party to go drink at a cool little bar called "Pivo", which according to Jack, is Polish for "beer". Trez appropos. There are beers there from all around the world. Good beers.

Today, I cruised out to the Niseko area with a fellow teacher (not Eisaku) to get a burger (which was good) and hit a hot spring (which was better). I'm still warm now. The big shock of the day was that it snowed.

Yep. Snow.

Fall is officially over.

And there you have it. All caught up.

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