Following an excellent night of sleep, I was disturbed from about halfway through my twenty minute snooze button routine while laying in my week’s bed in a sleeping bag on my bedroom floor by bomberman.
I would love it if I could step in his mind for the moments prior to walking up to my door, Virginia Woolf stream of concsciousness style to hear his thoughts.
Well my car is stuck in the snow, half in my drive way, half in the street. This sucks. This REALLY sucks. I know a few of my neighbors around here, but it would be really embarrassing to have to ask them for help. Wait a minute, Charlie lives right down the road! He hasn’t shaved in weeks he clearly has no shame, he won’t judge me.
There’s a small chance his thoughts might’ve been in Japanese, but whatever they actually were, he came to my door and told me literally to help him. I am sure if his English was better, he would’ve asked more politely, but friends don’t really need to be polite, anyway.
So I went over, and my intial attempt at simply pushing his front bumper as he reversed did nothing. I then asked if he had a shovel?
OK, so he “borrowed” one from a still asleep neighbor and I walked to my car to get mine. We removed some snow from under his car then he drove forward and backwards working the wheel both ways for a grip, before finally getting out.
He thanked me and drove off around 8:30 for the 9:00 AM teacher sports event. I went back home to lay down for ten more minutes, before taking a fifteen minute shower, then stopping at the convenience store for batteries as my camera was out.
When I showed up around 9:09, everyone was standing listening to what was clearly the day’s fourth or fifth intro speech. By everyone I mean several teaching colleagues, two of my bosses at the Board of Education and all eight of my school’s principals.
Please click the photo for a sports day slideshow.
And then the momentous event began,
The ball game’s name is, I think, a Tama Ire Race. The object is to throw as many of those little balls into the bucket up top as you can in a minute. My team finished dead, dead last out of the eight teams.
Each teacher than played one of four sports: shuffle board, badminton, soft volleyball or volleyball. Chris, the other foreigner teacher, played badminton and finished fourth. They made the badminton partners by splitting the players into good and bad groups. Unlike last year where he and his partner didn’t win a match, this year he was placed into the bad group.
Volley Ball Rotations
Volleyball was a grueling best of 5 game series. I did decently, the lowlight being losing the second game on a serve. Underhanded no less, which Chris informed me at dinner is unacceptable for a man. The highlight came on a viscous spike from a cute elementary school teacher. Timing it perfectly, I rose up and blocked it momentously right in her face.
That said, I did hit the net, so it shouldn’t of counted, but it did as the Japanese were trying to be polite to me. The next five or so times it happened, the competitiveness of the games took over, and counted against our team.
It came down to the last game. Our team was led by this man – on the left in the photo – and fueled by good all around contributions from everyone. The spirit of our squad was symbolized perfectly by a full on body horizontal jump by a high school teacher to save a ball, sacrificing his body for glory.
We won the last set 15-10. I don’t really believe in statistics, but all I’ll say is our team won every match which we began with a huddle and a motivational speech by me. Some choice, un-cliche quoutes include:
“What’s past is past.”
“Leave your heart on the line and no matter what happens we will be victorious.”And a few vague Michael Jordan references and things about him taking last second shots.
Ki-San was kind enough to invite me over to lunch where Tamoy-San whipped up some delicious pasta with homemade meat sauce. Afterwards the three of us all took naps in their living room.
Was a day full of hospitality, as my next stop was over to the Hamreus household for Thanksgiving dinner. Was a delightful evening as always, and was an honor to be their guest especially considering how I’d had my most serious case of homesickness talking about Thanksgiving to my students.
Special thanks goes out to Chris’ parents, who sent a care package including Turkey, gravy, stuffing and materials for Ayla’s delicious apple and pumpkin pies.
Please click the photo for Hamatonbetsu thanksgiving slideshow.
To close out the “let’s take care of Charlie” day, Alex helped me clean my home.
Écrit près Charles Jeffrey Danoff
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