Monday, 21 November 2005


I have just been up at a fruit farm in the hills picking oranges with the yochien kids. I’ve never done orange picking before – I picked over 150 oranges! The weather was superb, and from the orange farm we could see all the way back down to 吉富, and even over the sea as far as 姫島, and 山口県. Also, the altitude gave us an interesting different view of 八面山.
I would be extremely happy if I had an orange tree. Or lived near a public one. Most of the trees we were picking from today had at least 100 oranges on – and they’d already been picked from. So a single largish orange tree would probably supply most of my personal yearly orange supply. Cool!
Incidentally, I wonder why we don’t have public fruit trees. Trees that aren’t owned by anyone, but you can just take whatever fruit you want as and when it appears. It would be like a vending machine, perhaps with a box for donations towards upkeep. There could be whole orchards of such trees, to provide a selection of fruits all year round!

Saturday, 19 November 2005

expression repression

5pmish 19/11/05 Have just been banned from playing my recorder on a train. (I started whistling straight after, as the tunes coming into my mind had to be expressed, but...) This is abominable! Music is the language of the soul! How can the soul be limited by a train conductor?! What kind of repressed country is this?! Presumably if I were to ask why, the answer would be 「他のお客様に迷惑なのです。」 At which I would ask the other passengers, if it was, indeed, 迷惑. And if any of them actually admitted to being annoyed by my recorder playing, I would feel sad for a country where people are repressed to the extent that they can’t even ask someone nicely if they’ll play a little quieter or in a different carriage (or not at all). Ideally, everyone else in the carriage would join in, and we could have a multiple soulful expression session!
Am I being culturally intolerant? Or are they being culturally intolerant?

(ok, so I’m probably going thru a slight “annoyed with Japan” phase. Which doesn’t mean I’m not enjoying myself.)

Tuesday, 15 November 2005

tree update

The leaves on the tree outside the toilet are golden orangey yellow in the sun...

... and rustic deep red in the shade.

the sky is blue
the sun is shining
(all this may seem like a cliché, but it's actually true so why not write it?)
the clouds are big and impressive (on the rare occasions i get to see them reflected in the windows of another part of the building)

and in spite of having 101 things to remember and 51 things to do and at least 21 distractions, (and in spite of wanting to go for a walk instead of sitting here glued to this screen) i am content and peaceful.

there is an origami rendition of santa claus staring down at me from the door of a metal cupboard.
kkinda scary
also, there is a large family of green magnets on the door next to him (13 green, 3 blue ones).

why aren't there forests everywhere?
and why don't kids like raisins?
(i've had to compromise on the christmas cake for the kids' Christmas party because apparently kids don't like raisins so we're doing chocolate cake instead... / but this doesn't mean i can't make my own christmas cake! and it doesn't stop me from making brownies tonight!)

i am sort of sleepy, but also feeling like i'm in several different moods at once. which is kind of nice......
i wanna paint and dance and fly and float around ....

people keep asking me to do stuff (or more accurately reminding me that there is stuff i have to do for them)

and i have just been handed a fish-paste sausage type thing to eat with noodles.

this morning I did a spontaneous chalkboard maze game at the yochien. It turned out to be a 4-dimensional maze (technically 3 dimensions, 'cos there was no in or out) due to walls appearing and disappearing randomly to give the blue team a chance to catch up with the pink team and the green team. As for the yellow team, they went down a cul-de sac all the way to the end, before going back and being rescued by the other teams, who by that time had gorged themselves silly on ice cream.
It worked well and most of the kids got the hang of the direction thing.

At the end of the lesson, i started removing the magnets from the board, and casually remarked "aisu curiimu tabeyouya" - and was suddenly overwhelmed by an unexpected wave of kids who came to wipe the chalk off the board. This job can be awesome!

Sunday, 13 November 2005

at the weekend i ... (Sunday)

went paragliding!
At 塚原!
Actually it was parawaiting, 'cos the wind was in the wrong direction for that particular hill.
(in Wales, we'd just go to another hill, but we didn't do that here...)
so i climbed a tree, slept outside on someone else's rollmat (the people 糸長さん had arranged a lift for me with), and managed to get a bit of ground handling in before going back to 糸長さん's place for spaghetti!

i was going to cook brownies in the evening, but ended up drawing instead.

Creativity is bursting thru me muchly.
Which is a good thing! or so i believe.

and at some point i finished reading the Silmarillion.

Saturday, 12 November 2005

at the weekend i ... (Saturday)

had a lie-in.

I was then late for kids club (due to having thought it was at 1:30 instead of 1:00) which consisted of juggling and storytelling - the kids tried to make the stories as scary as possible (and there were 2 kids who didn't say a word the whole time - how do you get kids to be spontaneous? Especially when they're already a good few years into the Japanese schooling system? those two are, however, the best jugglers in the group, so silence does have its perks...)

After that a bunch of other kids who i teach came to my door wanting to play, and i was just going out rollerblading. So they came into my (totally untidy) appartment, said it was dirty and smelled (of pizza - not sure why - maybe the olives and italian herbs?) and i fed them peanuts nd chewing gum to encourage them to leave, and we all went cycling (me rollerblading) along the riverbank. And they said where are you going? and i said "here! the riverbank! to rollerblade!"
I sat and watched the sunset (while they unsuccessfully tried to persuade me to continue twice the distance to a shopping centre) before rolling back.
And they came with me to the supermarket when i went shopping (still on rollerblades) and managed to persuade me to buy them drinks. I was looking for brownie ingredients (decent chocolate for cooking is rare and expensive here) and the kids snuck some sweets into my shopping basket when i wasn't looking... (i kinda thought they would do that) ... the joys of life, eh?
In the evening, i phoned 糸長さん which led on to the events of Sunday.