Thousands of Miles from Home


Teaching for Dummies

This week I was asked to be the “special guest” teacher for Hachihama Elementary School’s “Meet A Foreigner” Day, where I would get 2 hours of time to twist and distort children’s minds in any way I please. Granted they get some English out of it. It was specifically requested I sing songs with the students, so I brought the guitar along for some “old timey” fun and games. We danced, I played some music off the new Decemberists album (surprisingly well received), and then some teachers pulled out foam sticks so all the children could run around beating each other and me over the head. Good times all around.

After the “lesson,” I had a BBQ at my house which Neil attended after his big birthday party in the city. It was at the aforementioned BBQ that I was formally introduced to “The Ramen Man.” Most of you are probably familiar with “The Ice Cream Man,” revered by children and even adults worldwide. In Japan, especially in my slightly “middle of nowhere” location, “The Ramen Man,” “The Bread Man,” and “The General Foodstuffs Man” make frequent appearances. Each has a slightly different method of travel (truck, minibus, van, etc), as well as an annoying sound bite to let you know The Ramen Man is in the neighborhood.

Having actually purchased goods from both the Bread and Ramen Man, I can impart first-hand knowledge that food eaten out of the back of a truck not only tastes better but feels more authentic, for what it’s worth. Sure, anyone can make ramen in their homes, but how often do you get the chance to eat delicious noodles out of the back of a pickup?

Today at school was “The Volleyball Tournament,” planned for weeks and held under the powerful noonday sun. If nothing else has been gained in Japan, I can now deliver I mean running-start overhand serve to make the kiddies flee for cover. More pictures to come after I apply generous amount of aloe to my battle scars.


  • I met Shochu Man on a pottery trail in Aichi-ken. He travels on foot, although his first words to me were "I am Shochu Man, faster than speeding bullet!" So watch out.

    By Anonymous, at 2:57 AM  

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