This is Life

Monday, April 03, 2006


So, its been far too long since my last post, but I noticed that I apologize too often for only posting periodically, so this time I will just thank you for your patience. So, thank you for your patience. Sometimes I have things to say, but then I realize that I don't have any good pictures to support my ramblings (ramblings need pictorial support - just ask mother goose).

So, what have I been up to in the past 7 weeks since finding out that my job has been terminated and that I am being forced to move to a town that is home to the largest nuclear powerplant in the world. Well, aside from accepting that my children will probably have three eyes and only one ear, I did learn that I have a pretty darn cushy setup next year. I'll be moving into my own house, which has 6 rooms or something stupid like that and a couple of bathrooms. Oh, and all the rooms are nice, unlike my current apartment (although I am not necessarilty complaining about my current setup). The house is really for a family, so I may try to adopt one that will move in with me, but then they'd have to live with me hanging up sweaty hockey equipment, so it probably wouldn't work out. My predecessor (the guy who lives there now and will be leaving at the beginning of August when I replace him) says that this is the wealthiest town in all of Japan. Because of the powerplant, the government just pours money into the town. It is actually completely surrounded by another municipality, but it refuses to be assimilated because that means it would have to share the wealth. The best news is that they buy a new, fancy appliance every year. Last year was a giant fridge and speculation has it that this year will be a new TV. Its not needed, but they need to buy an appliance and they already have one of everything else so I guess they are thinking they might as well buy a new TV. Do you think they'd consider a car an appliance? Oh, did I mention that this house is rent free. These are all things that help soothe the bitterness I have about having to move.

And then I found out that next year there will in fact be a position at my current school after all. Ok, let me explain. I am in Japan with the JET programme. This means I was hired by the government and get paid a lot for an extremely rewarding job with pretty good benefits, lots of vacation time, and great working conditions. There are 40 high school ALT positions now, but that has been cut to 10 for next year (from August onward). I have been shifted to junior high, as well as a day per week at elementary and a day per week at nursery school. I can live with that. But the thing that bugs me is that after I was told that my position was not available for next year and I signed a contract for another school (thereby committing myself), the local government decides that they will create 13 new positions (to cover for the 30 that were cut), but that these positions will be 'private' positions and not JET programme positions. This means the government will save money because we JETs don't come cheap. Having said that, if I was offered this private position, albeit at a reduced salary of around 20% less, I would still have chosen this over the setup I will have next year, as nice as that will be. This is my home in Japan and these are my students. It is a bit frustrating to now know that there will actually be a position there. This is a perfect example of Japan's infamous bureaucracy. The inefficiency has caused so many problems and saved a lot less money than it could have otherwise. For the record, Japan is very efficient at making cars, but making decisions ... not so much.

Ok, moving on. Spring is officially here in Japan and it has reminded my about one of the things I really appreciate about this country - the changing of the seasons. All of the seasons here are really distinct. Fall is colouful and the weather is great. Winter is an adventure and not too cold to really bother you too much. Spring is green and opens along with the stunning blossoms of the cherry trees. Summer is just disgusting and they should get rid of it.

Anyway, this has motivated me to go to a couple of famous spots over the next couple of weekends to see the cherry blossoms (see the above picture). It is a really big deal here and they even have a cherry blossoms forecast that people follow religiously. There is a whole dimension to Japanese culture that is devoted to cherry blossoms and cherry blossom viewing parties so I figure I need to take it in while I can. Once they blossom they only last about a week. So, I should get some good pics out of it.

In other news, the prefectural (provincial) hockey team I play for just one the regional championship. I guess it would be the equivalent of winning a Western Canada championship. Anyway, it was a lot of fun and I think it is the first time we have ever won this championship so it feels pretty good. The final game was pretty wild too, as there were five or six lead changes, most of which came in the last period, but we pulled out a 9-7 win over the perennial favorite, Nagano. I wish I could say that this Canadian was the main reason we won, but it just wouldn't be true. I contributed (one of my goals was a particularly nice bank shot off the goalie from behind the net, of which I am particularly proud), but there are a couple of seriously talented Japanese lads on this team that we couldn't have won without. There is also a good guy from Regina who had a brilliant final shift to score the winner and an empty-netter to seal the victory in the final couple of minutes.

Oh, about the Naked Man Festival I mentioned in the last entry, well, as I said before, they weren't naked ... thankfully. It was interesting and involved a lot of sake (alcohol, that is), but I have no idea what was actually going on. I usually never do, but I am fairly certain that no one else knows what is going on either. People go for the food, the entertainment, and for the morbid curiosity of the spectacle (although no one dies, so it wouldn't really be morbid, now would it?).

Anyway, to be honest, this is kind of a filler post. The pictures at the top aren't actually mine. I will be visiting the same spots this weekend though so hopefully I get similar weather. That is your reward for actually reading the entire post. Everyone who just comes for the pics will just think I am a brilliant photographer, when indeed I am a fraud. Mind you, the rest of the pictures on my blog are mine, I just didn't have any ready this time around. Actually, I probably do, but don't really feeling like sorting through them all right now.

Ok, its bed-time for Dean, but I want to remind you to keep your head up and keep your stick on the ice. Go FLAMES !!!


At 2:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go Wings...Flames too, but go Wings. I wasn't really thinking three eyeballs, three of something else maybe...I did read your whole blog and would like to point out that you WON the championship, not ONE the championship...maybe it's spelled differently in an English accent...

June Duk

At 7:33 AM, Anonymous Christina said...

i read your whole blog too. and you're a total fraud for posting pictures that aren't yours. And here i was thinking, "Wow, those are some awesome shots. I wonder what settings he used." But it's okay, you made up for it when i laughed out loud re: getting rid of summer altogether. nice juxtaposition.
that's all i think. moving isn't so bad. you'll love it.

At 11:33 PM, Anonymous dommy said...

Well as usual about the photos Japan is amazingly Beutiful all times .

About the three eye balls thingi well look at the brighter side meaning not only physically , they will be mentally different from you .

so they would right blogs that makes some sense ans less lengthy

At 9:57 AM, Blogger Felicia Monson said...

Wow Dean! Wow. Well, I actually just read pretty much your whole blog so I can't really remember what specifically I am supposed to be commenting on from this particular blog. But it's all wonderful. You almost have me convinced to move to japan. The men are all too short for me though. So I heard a rumour flying around that you are growing a third part in a certain area. Sick! That's pretty gross Dean, you should get that taken care of soon. Peace my friend.


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