Thousands of Miles from Home


Those Were Some Big Flakes

Yesterday brought snow to Tamano like a madman. A true squall of a storm complete with the largest, Ritz cracker sized snowflakes I have ever seen. One flake on the tongue was enough to quench thirst for a whole afternoon! And just as fluffy as a cloud! Paul's Bunyan's ox was as big as a house!

But tall tales aside, these flakes were large. The storm began in the afternoon as a cold rain and ended with streets the consistency of a lemon slush puppy. I was scheduled to teach some high school kids English at the nearby juku but the snow scared everyone off the streets. Neil came to the evening's rescue by hosting a last minute game-night at his place featuring my favorite, Casino, and his, Yahtzee (which was played inside a frisbee, another passion of Neil's). John Davey came over for the evening and ended up letting me borrow some classic comedy videos (that means on a tape, for all you young whippersnappers) in payment for copying his dance hall reggae cd's.

All the snow melted by morning, which was surprising yet excellent because no unsightly-cinders-and-dirty-snow residue was left to catch the eye.

This week also saw the return of Jittan to China. Jittan, who studied Business Japanese at a college in Okayama, had been in Japan for about 10 months and was one of my first friends in Japan. Shoko and I took the early morning train to Okayama, where I treated her to breakfast at Starbucks (of course it's everywhere), then we met Jittan at the train station. Tears were shed on the Shinkansen platform as she waved from the window of her bullet train. And so departs another great person I've met in Japan.

In the category of future plans, I will be traveling to Tokyo with Rahul March 10-13th (!!). If anyone has any requests (I have received a few for certain cd's) for any sort of Tokyo merchandise, you can contact me at or by sending me an e-mail to a real account.

Today was technically my last day of High School as a first year student at Tamano. My class will be taking finals over the weekend and part of next week which I have opted not to attend, but I am on the edge of my seat about Graduation and "Meet the New Teachers" Day which will be held sometime in March. First day of class as a second year student will be April 7th. I remain unaware of how the students will be divded between the two classes of 40 in the "International Course." Perhaps everyone will stick with their own class, or there might be a mix and match (hopefully the former, because I just started to feel confident with everyone's name, yet meeting new people is always fun). Either way, it's a little strange being a good bit older than most everyone in my class, but now that I can think of a decent comeback to "you have very long nosehair" school has become a much better place.

Included are some pictures of Jittan's last day in Tamano (bowling and karaoke, with dinner at Jacasse) as well as some shots from around town.


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