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All Eyes On Me

My theory about all eyes being on me has proven to be true yet again. I donít know if it is because someone saw me or because someone told kocho-sensei (the principal) that I was going away this weekend, but he asked me if I was in Okayama this weekend when I arrived at school today. I was caught by surprise by the question but I politely said that I went to Matsue. What scared me about his question was the fact that I had to stop at the Okayama train station on my way to and from Matsue. Was there someone at the station that saw me, or was it just the kocho-sensei mistaking what he was told by someone else as to where I was going that weekend? Since I didnít want to be rude, I didnít ask him how he knew I was in Okayama, so I guess Iíll never find out. This just freaks me out a little because Iím so used to keeping a low profile and that just is not possible here in Japan. I expected to stand out and be noticed, but this is ridiculous.

Melody from the Past

I canít get away from those bells! The same bells that tortured me for the last four years of my life are back once again. The same tune that the bells at many of the universities in America play are used at my school to signal the beginning and end of each class period. Those bells bring back so many memories of college life, like sitting in class being bored half to death and knowing I only had fifteen minutes left until my torture was over. Or when I would walk out of my dorm in the morning to go to class and hear the bells ringing to signal the start of another hard day of class. However, now these bells signal a new phase in my life. Instead of being taught, I am now the teacher. I find that to be a little ironic. My ears perk and my body responds accordingly to these bells now. Now these bells tell me, ďGet up Jamal, you have another class to teach.Ē instead of ďYouíre one hour closer to that test thatís gonna kick your ass.Ē

Cleaning Time

The cleaning time at my school is quite amusing. First of all, in Japanese schools, they donít have custodians to clean so the students clean the entire school everyday. There are about 600 students in my school, so imagine having 600 tiny custodians running around and cleaning an entire school in fifteen minutes. Some of the students vacuum, others sweep, some empty the trashcans; itís cute.

There is a cassette that they play everyday during the cleaning time that always makes me laugh. I donít know if the songs are supposed to relax the students and teachers after a long day, but usually, all the songs make me want to do is go to sleep. No one seems to care too much about the music because itís such a routine, but I actually enjoy it a lot, so I decided to write about it before I start ignoring it myself. The music is actually quite nice. From what Mr. Tanaka told me, itís the music of a French pianist who used to be popular in Japan about 20 years ago. (I personally would be playing some old-school hip-hop like ďRappersí ParadiseĒ to get me in the cleaning mood) I wonder whether itís supposed to make the students feel good for cleaning the entire school. Well, I do know it makes me sleepy and after a long day of classes (I taught four classes today), I donít think I need this sedative disguised in the form of music to make me any more tired than I already am.