In which I have a weird day

[Originally written on Friday, 2012 August 3rd, at 10:34PM.]

I’ve been in Japan for almost a week! I still don’t have internet access, so I’ll have to post this entry when I do. For now, though, I’ll just write it.

I’m not quite sure where to start—so much has happened this week—so I’ll just start here:

Today, I captured a cockroach.

I’ve come to invade your space and lay eggs in your tatami mats.
(image courtesy of Google images)

In my first night (Wednesday) in my new house in Tomiura, I woke up in the middle of the night to use the restroom, and as I was walking into the toilet room, I saw something out of the corner of my eye move very quickly. When I looked down, I saw a MASSIVE cockroach disappear between the crack in the door into the shower room. It was GROSS. And it was INVISIBLE. By which I mean, I couldn’t find it after that, so I went to bed feeling very, very paranoid.

As we drove to Minamiboso on Wednesday afternoon, the senior ALTs Nate and Victor told us that we would definitely see spiders and cockroaches. They said (and I knew) that the spiders were fine and ate the bad bugs, so as “scary” and gross as they are to some people (people not me), we should pretty much leave them or at least not kill them.

As for the cockroaches… Well, they said to get an electric swatter and/or bug spray.

I didn’t see the cockroach all of Thursday and Friday, so I hoped that maybe it just escaped the house however it got in.

Then, this evening, an English teacher from the Elementary School, Ms. Hanawa, stopped by my apartment to say hello! While we were talking, she was standing in the doorway with her kids, and SUDDENLY a cockroach jumped/flew past her kids’ ankles. None of them screamed, which I think is indicative of just how common they are here, and they managed to kick (literally) the cockroach out of the door behind them. I thought that was the last I’d see of a cockroach for another day or so. (XD)

AND THEN:

A few hours later, after I ate dinner, I was working on some budget stuff when SUDDENLY I saw something big and black move across the carpet.

Me: “BWAA!”

It was a weird noise. :)

View of my bedroom door from my living room couch.

The cockroach stopped right next to the sliding door to my bedroom, which was closed. I poured out a jar of pins and tried to trap the cockroach under it, but I only got it halfway, and it slipped through the crack in the door into my bedroom.

Ugh.

When I opened the door, I didn’t see the roach anywhere. I didn’t really plan on sleeping in that room anyway. (The living room is the only room that is air conditioned, and it’s bloody HOT here in Japan.)

This is from my favorite website. thefuckingweather.com

The cockroach had skittered toward the other door, so I tried to trap it again, but it slipped under my laundry basket. I moved the basket, and the roach moved again, and I dropped the laundry basket on top of it, thinking I might squish it then.

Only to remember that the laundry basket is on tatami mats, and you really don’t want to squish roaches on those. Damn it.

When I lifted the basket though, it wasn’t underneath; it had slipped away to the corner and was camouflaged against the baseboard.

And then the roach and I had an epic battle of reflexes in which I tried to put the jar over him and he—got caught right away.

Cockroaches aren’t very fast apparently. Or maybe it’s just this one.

After that, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. XD I put a piece of paper underneath the jar, and now it’s just sitting there in a corner. I really don’t know what to do with it. |D I think squishing it sounds REALLY GROSS. But I don’t want to just let it go either, like I would with a spider, because it’s a roach and it will BREED MORE ROACHES AND COME BACK IN MY HOUSE. Do not want.

So… erm… Yeah. I think I fail at cockroach-killing.

One of the other new ALTs, Jeffrey, has a different pest problem: frogs. He’s in Miyoshi, and he said that he found, like, 5 frogs in his mail box on Thursday morning. Haha! And this morning, he was quite rudely awoken by something landing on his face. He reacted automatically, grabbed whatever it was, and threw it across the room. It hit the wall, and when he sat up, he saw that it was a frog—a frog that looked very confused and quite possibly concussed.

Honestly, I think I’d much rather have a frog on my face than cockroaches, but I’m sure I’d probably think differently if my house was actually being invaded by frogs. I have (for some reason) a small cage in my house, so I asked Jeff to capture a frog for me so I could keep it. Haha!

There is A LOT to write about, but I’m looking at a very uneventful weekend, so I’m going to just write a few entries (to post later when I have internet) about a few things, but for now, I’m going to just write about today a little. (You’ll get all the entries at once anyway.)

Today, I noticed some bumps on my hands. I’m really not sure what they are, and they seem to be only on my hands. They’re just little, tiny bumps, but they sort of scare me. My skin is just not doing very well…

Speaking of my skin not doing well, the infected bug bites on my leg is looking a lot better. It has shrunk back to its original size, and the skin has healed pretty well. It’s just a bruise now, really. It’s in a sort of inconvenient place, because whenever I have to sit down on my legs, I put pressure right where the bruise is, and it hurts. I’ve been putting an ice pack on it for the last two days, but I’m not sure that’s doing anything.

I don’t really care if it’s helping or not. It’s hot here, and I’ve been left, like, sixty ice packs.

This is where they keep all the snow in the world, apparently.

After work today (I’ll write about that in another entry), I was driven home, and since it was only 3:30 PM, I decided to go find the beach. I kind of stalled a little bit, so I didn’t actually leave until 5:00 or so. Armed with a map and an English-Japanese dictionary (I inherited 3 from my predecessors), I walked down the street to the beach.

I’m literally, like, 3 blocks from the beach. Three very small blocks.

The beach is small—the shore, I mean, is very short—and the sand is grainy and dark. There is a volleyball net, and a lot of signs in Japanese that tell you not to do some things that I couldn’t read.

Something しないでください, something しないでください, something しないでください. (Means, “please do not do ~.”)

I’m pretty sure one sign said that you weren’t allowed to drive on the beach. I think.

The sun was getting low (it was around 5:30 or something), and I figured out that the sun was setting in the west—which, the way my beach is facing, means that I wasn’t facing California at all. The water crashing at my feet wasn’t the Pacific Ocean. There were signs that I couldn’t read.

But the sun was setting in the west, and it is the same sun that California will see setting in probably a few hours.

Okay.

After exploring the pier-thingy for a while (it’s just a little strip of wood and concrete jutting out into the water for fishing), I walked to the market (which is also about 3 blocks from my house) and bought some dinner. There were, like, six different kinds of rice. I went with the cheapest, since I had forgotten to bring extra money.

When Ms. Hanawa stopped by, she said that she saw me walking, so she wanted to meet me. Haha! I was wondering if anyone noticed me at all, but I guess they do. I’m the only foreigner in town, after all. Hanawa-san said that the children keeping asking when they get to meet me and that the ALTs are always very popular with the kids. I’ve never been popular before. |D I’ve always kind of liked to blend in. I can’t really stand to have people looking at me. Just something I’m going to have to get used to.

I’m going to close this entry now, because it’s 11:40 PM and… I’m tired of writing.

So how was this for a first blog entry?

Vocabulary List:

Tomuira: The small town where I’m living and teaching. It’s in a rural area, surrounded by fields, and it’s right next to the beach (on Tokyo Bay). It does not have a public swimming pool (Things That Matter).

This is a map of Chiba prefecture. My city is called Minamiboso, and it is about 15 minutes north of Tateyama.
(map courtesy of Google images)

Minamiboso: The city that employs me. It is the “contracting organization” that employs me through the JET Program. There are 7 ALTs in Minamiboso, in different little towns.

Miyoshi: Another small town in Minamiboso, where Jeff lives and teaches.

ALT: “Assistant Language Teacher.” My job. I help the English teachers teach (what else?) English. I’m mostly a guide for pronunciation and intonation and stuff like that.

Gaijin: Japanese word for “foreigner.”

Cockroach: Little fuckers who jump around and scare the living bejeezus out of me.

Ice pack: Best friend.

Cast of characters:

Enoguchi as… a really awesome guy who is chauffeuring the new ALTs around. He works for the Board of Education (BOE) and he’s been leading us around, getting stuff done. I’m friends with him on Facebook, but when I first met him, I didn’t recognize him! (I don’t really use Facebook.) I feel kind of bad. He recognized me first, haha! He was like, “Megan!” And I was like, “Yes?” |D Lame. Anyway, he’s been so helpful.

Michael as… a new ALT from New Jersey. He’s living and teaching in Chikura, taking over for Nate. He speaks Japanese in Osaka-ben (an accent/dialect from Osaka), which is really interesting.

Jeffrey as… a new ALT from Minnesota.He’s living and teaching in Miyoshi.

Nate as… an ALT in Chikura, but he’s moving back to Oregon later in August. For now, he’s staying in his old place with Michael (who is taking over for him) and helping us out as we drive (or rather, Enoguchi drives) around hunting wild cell phones and foreigner resident cards.

Victor as… an ALT from Alabama. I think he’s been in Japan as an ALT for a year. He ate lunch and dinner with us on Wednesday, but I haven’t seen him since then because he’s been sick.

Hanawa as… an English teacher from the elementary school I’ll be working at. She’s really nice—she gave me her phone number and said to call her if I ever need help with any problems.

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9 Responses to In which I have a weird day

  1. Sounds like an exciting and fun first week … from an endless battle with the Cockroach to a translative jaunt to the Dark Grain Beach. Love all the pictures, the map, and vocab … but where is are the pictures of El!!! … take some pictures of you dang it = or maybe you’re not actually there and THIS IS ALL A TRICK!

    I wanna see proof.

  2. Wow, it sounds like Japan is still super awesome! I told you that I went as a student ambassador in 2008, yeah? Anyway, it sounds like you’re having an awesome time! My home-stay sister gave me her email, but it’s not working and my other home-stay sibs from the Ohio group don’t know how to reach them either *le sad* ;_;

    But I hope you have an amazing rest of your time! You should try making your own rice balls! When we went to the elementary school on my trip, the teacher had me help make a ton and gave me the whole bag. The things were HUGE, made out of leftovers from lunch with carrots, peas, and corn in them.

    I recently got my brother into Doctor Who, and when I told my dad he swore I made an evil laugh >:) Speaking of sci-fi stuff, Lauren is getting me to do Tango with her this next year, and the guy who is going to be the head of the group is really into sci-fi. YAY NERDAGE :P

    Have a great stay! Miss you lots!

    • I didn’t know you went to Japan! Wuut. That’s too bad about not being able to reach your home stay sister. Where were you and what was her name? Maybe I can help.

      I have made onigiri before. I will definitely try it again when I am here though!

      Thanks for your comment!

  3. Kim says:

    The small cage is for cockroach capturing!
    I generally just cussed them out if they came into the bedroom. We had an agreement that as long as they stayed hidden when company is over and they stayed out of the bedroom then I would only shoo them out the door when I caught them.
    It sounds like they need a little reminder of the rules!

    Those little frogs will be EVERYWHERE near your house too… one of your students (Reina) who is in elementary lives nearby and always catches them. She is very chatty (3rd grade elementary maybe?) so I am sure you will meet her and if you ask her she can bring you some! I used to give her water for her frogs since it was so hot outside.

    • Haha! I suppose I’ll have to renew the contract with the roaches. I will try to meet Reina and ask her for a frog! I kind of want to keep one as a pet. Would that be allowed?

  4. Claire Davidson says:

    Love the blog! I’m glad things are going well. I visited thefuckingweather.com and it’s hilarious and strangely addictive :) Miss you!

    • Thanks! It’s good to hear from you. I miss you, too.

      Yeah, that website is hilarious. Sometimes I sit there clicking “Random Fucking Location” over and over just to see all the little text…

  5. Alison Mok says:

    Frogs over cockroaches any day!!!!!!!!

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