I was at my second school – it’s smaller, and I think the kids are more shy.  I didn’t have a hugely long ceremony to stand through this time – they also did that Friday – they had a special celebration for JUST ME.

It was like 3 minutes long.  Everybody else lined up, I walked in, stood at the side, everybody bowed to the flag.  The principal got up and I walked onstage.  He said… stuff.  Then he said some identifiable stuff – y’know, my name, and “Illinois” and “France-go” (which means French, and omg.  I guess I said on my resume that I had beginner level French, but I didn’t expect them to, y’know, pay attention to that or anything) and then I got up in front of the podium.  And again, spoke for about 30 seconds (maybe 45 – I was speaking slowly so that they were more likely to understand) and then got off the stage.  The End.

Also, somewhere between … October, and now, I think I lost some weight.  Or re-arranged some flesh.  I say this because I can now button up that double-breasted red coat without straining.  (Okay, after lunch, it was less comfy.  But there’s only one western style toilet in the school and it’s in one of the student’s bathrooms, and the nicer, cleaner bathrooms only have the squatty potties.  If I hadn’t had panty-hose on, or if I’d had to go a little more badly, I’d have bothered, but as it was… I just took off the coat and put on the sweater I had, because I was sitting down anyway.)

And that was, probably, TMI.

Other than that, I spent the day preparing for my first lesson, which is a longer self introduction, and exploring my desk, and testing pens.  Somehow, I didn’t really bring any useful stuff – like pictures, or maps, or whatever – so I ended up drawing pictures to use as flashcards.  I’ve got an ice cream sundae and an apple pie as food that I like, and I’ve got a great big mushroom (that’s going to be red with white spots as soon as I get some crayons) for food I don’t like.  I’ve got a painstakingly drawn ball of yarn with knitting needles stuck through it.

But I think I’m most proud, artistically, of the last three – I wanted places I’d been, because I’m going to talk about liking to travel. So I got on the internet and found reference photos, and then drew Stonehenge, the Eiffel Tower, and the Colosseum.

They’re such iconic images I don’t even have to be that talented. Even the Colosseum – just make it four stories, and give it an obscene number of tall arches with columns in between – and make sure that on each floor, the archways are directly on top of each other and not staggered at all. I’m really impressed at how well they came out.

Okay, I was impressed this afternoon. I haven’t looked at them since, I might discover that they SUCK A LOT between now and Wednesday. But I hope not.

I go to Takaoka tomorrow, to pick up my Gaijin card. And then to explore!

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