Updating you on my silly life

Before I begin, please note that the two entries below this one are the promised entries on Ekiden and Sports Day.  View for fun culture notes, pictures, and occasional sarcastic bits.  I try my best.  Don’t always succeed.  🙂

So, what’s going on with me?

Well, I’ve succeeded in making several batches of cookies so far.  Though my “oven” (Microwave/Oven combo) is small, I can cook about six drop/ball cookies at a time.  Takes about two or three hours to do a batch of cookies.  Breads, like zucchini and pumpkin, work very well.  Just made Oatmeal Carmelitas and it went… okay.  The center collapsed, but they taste pretty good.  Didn’t have enough caramel, so next time I want to make them I’ll have to buy THREE packages instead of just two.  That’s ok.  The other ALTs think I’m crazy for buying so much baking supplies, but it’s seriously keeping me sane.

Related to this first point, I went shopping in Fukuoka.  Freaking awesome.  The dream where I can spend as much as I want in a day actually came true!  I bought shortening (yay!), poppyseeds (yay!  will be getting Hershey Kisses soon), a nicely sized bag of pecans, cream of tartar, cayenne pepper… it was very good.  Then I found a good pair of crocs with some fuzzy lining in them I will use for indoor shoes.  Overall, a very productive day–if by productive I mean I spent about three-hundred dollars in one day.  (Friggin’ AWESOME.)

I taught my third-year students at muchuu the Cha-cha slide.  These are the kids that are giving me the most trouble.  Raging hormones, stress over entrance exams for high school, preparing for the myriad of school activities that occur in the fall, and a disinterest in English (for maybe a fourth of them) all combine to make disruptive students who don’t want anything to do with my plans.  So, I decided to make things very active and give ’em a bit of American culture.  I think they had a good time (I hope they had a good time), and it was great to dance instead of teach.

I started learning shodo!  Shodo is Japanese calligraphy, and really ridiculously hard.  Like all things Japanese, it is very methodical, deliberate, and refined.  My hand shook like a bitch, I didn’t know how to measure how long to make a line, and my brush kept going crazy on me.  I’m practicing with the first years at Naka, so it’s nice to see that they’re not eons ahead of me in terms of their brushstrokes.  I look forward to trying again next week.

I also began Taiko Club!  This just happened this evening, actually.  Taiko is Japanese drumming; very stylistic, intense, and clever.  It’s also a surprisingly good workout.  The teacher moves a little quickly, but we don’t have any sort of performance until June or July or something, and I’m not that worried about making a fool of myself in front of the other ALTs. 

I have to say, its great to be getting into some cultural activities.  Taiko is fun and active, while in shodo I get to interact with my students more and study my Japanese kanji.  It’s also great to not waste away in the staff room doing nothing.  (I usually finish planning my lessons for the next day long before I have to leave.) 

Lets see…

As for writing, got a few more rejections (as expected).  Wrote a new query letter, but I haven’t decided which one I like more, and also expanded my original synopsis from one-page double-spaced, to two.  Don’t ask me how I condensed 95,000 words to one-double-spaced page, because I honestly have no idea.  Will probably enter RWA’s Golden Heart contest, but not expecting anything big from it.  I’ll just keep plugging along.

Untitled Regency is at nearly 20,000 words (a fifth done!).  Only took me two months to get there.  NaNoRiMo is in my future, though.  I’m doing it unofficially since, technically, you’re supposed to start with a brand new project.  But I’m still going to do it.  Fifty-thousand words or the end of the book, whichever comes first. 

I think that’s about it.  Any specific questions you might have?  My life isn’t all that interesting, but it has its moments.  I’m really, really enjoying myself.

Still have some PotW to do, but really, I just barraged you with photos below, so maybe I’ll hold off for another week.  Wait for some more leaves to change–it’s still just the beginning of fall here.  Though it gets a bit chilly at night, I’m moderately comfortable in a tank top for most of the day.  Pretty awesome.  Of course, winter will be difficult.  And yet, I’m still hoping for at least an inch of snow one day (preferably a weekend) for the picture opportunities. 

🙂  Yes, I am a photo geek.