hello. did you know that it is getting very cold in japan? well, it is. and this is enhanced by the facts that my house has no central heating and no insulation of any kind! so i asked my predecessor how to work the big gas heaters that are sitting in the closet. he said something about getting the blue tanks outside filled at the gas station, and then using a pump to get them into the little metal tanks in the heaters. also he said they smell when turned on, but mrs kiuchi who speaks okay english said she got used to the smell of gas heaters and now likes it. i found a kotatsu in the closet yesterday too, it is a big table with a blanket over it and a heat lamp underneath that you plug in and sit with your legs under it so it heats you up and winter is bearable. i have a half day today because i worked on sunday, so i am going to check out the gas heater situation. maybe i need to get a new pump at the hardware store. maybe i need to go to the gas station to fill up the gas tanks. also, i have karate tonight, which is good because this saturday there is a karate meeting and then we are going out for nabe, which is a big japanese soup pot with many different ingredients.
my girlfriend is coming to visit me for a few weeks in decemeber, so i have to ask the principal for those days off. maybe we will go to a hot spring. maybe we will sleep in the main room with the regular heater because the gas ones are weird. i dont know any of this yet. i do know that i am excited to eat a lot of gyoza and have some company.
i have some cool pics to show you. the first one is from the day all of us foreign teachers went to northern tokushima highschool for halloween lessons. some people dressed up, and the students were cool, but i only took one good picture, and it is of the river as i went over it in a train.
this next cool picture was taken after i heard loud yelling and carrying on outside my door one day over the weekend. i went outside and saw this, so i ran back inside and grabbed my camera to document it.
basically what you see here is a shinto procession where they carry a golden house shaped shrine box, in this case "the biggest one in tokushima" (said a guy to me) from one shrine to another. it transports a little god and they have a competition where they ram these things into eachother, or something. it was crazy. the streets were lined with little paper things as you can see here, in a picture i took as they went by.
here is what an auditorium full of japanese middle school students wearing facemasks look like, incase you were wondering what was really up in japan all of the time.
notice the extremely cool looking uniforms for the boys. these pics are from the sunday i had to work, when we went to the next town over to see a kyogen play, which is a farcical comedy type performance usually given between more serious noh plays. i didn't understand much as it went on, but it was somewhat entertaining. here is a picture from some of the action during the second act.
there you go. tomorrow there is another team teaching demonstration in the next town over, so i have to come back here to get a ride to it after teaching at the elementary school in the morning. i can't figure out what lunch is today. it says a piece of bread and milk, and also mayonnaise, ham and egg.