Connections

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Busy schedules pop up suddenly.

Thursday night we had a going away party for Takatsu san. Yes, there was a little drinking involved. Also we went out singing afterward: several songs; loud volume. Mental note: don’t strain your voice like this if you have to teach junior high students the next day.

Friday night we went on Ramen Tour #3: Nabari (名張). We were all pressured to order the LARGE bowl (大盛) which is more than I usually want, since we also order karaage chicken and gyoza. The price of the standard bowl was 500 yen, the oomori was 700 yen; however, the dish was at least three times the size! Remember: never eat anything larger than your head. Nobody could finish there dish.

Saturday morning I tidied up and checked my brushes. My main brush is almost history, so I prepared a brush that was given to me in 1992, when I was supposed to move to Tokyo. It is a very soft brush which will be good for the cursive scripts when I adapt to its behavior.

Saturday afternoon I painted my clean copies for September in calligraphy class. August’s work came back marked 2nd kyuu again. I was not expecting to advance to 1st kyuu, so there wasn’t much surprise here. The corrective marks were very nice, so maybe I can advance with September’s works. Yasui sensei wants me to start painting all three models each month, even though I only submit two. She says it will be much better for my studying, and she made me paint a couple copies of the semi-cursive (行書) model after I finished my submissions.

Saturday evening I got an invite to the Good Doctor’s Edo Period house for a barbecue with visitors from Thailand. Yony sensei was also there, so we could chat a bit in English. One of the older Thai visitors knew a bit of Chinese, but no English or Japanese. I could recall enough Chinese to make him happy, which was fun.

Sunday was the school Culture Festival all day. Dancing around in an Okinawan kimono beating on a drum earned me a little airtime on ZTV15 for two days. Older siblings of my students came to see the festival and we chatted about Robert sensei. It is good to see that his students remember him fondly; I’m afraid most of mine will remember me as the severe teacher in between the fun teachers.

Although the culture festival lasted into the afternoon, I was able to make it to a Chinese mid-Autumn festival in Tsu. I was supposed to meet a few friends there, but the main person pushing me to show never appeared. Later I discovered that she was hospitalized by a bike accident. I called her on the phone and found the hospital had visiting hours on Monday, and I would have the day off because of working Sunday.

Slept in a little on Monday. Took a long overdue walk to the laundromat to do laundry. Most people in Japan have a washing machine but no dryer. On normal days a family member starts running the washer early in the morning and hangs the laundry out to dry. Monday, however, was a rainy day. There was a backlog of people bringing their laundry in to use the dryers. Finished reading The Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby while I was killing time doing the wash.

Rode my bike to Kawaitakaoka station to head to Tsu Shinmachi station to visit Yoshioka-san in the hospital. I bought my ticket and went to the window for cancellation. Since my station is small, we don’t have a wicket; we hand our tickets to the clerk and he hand-cancels them with a rubber stamp. I missed the train by a few minutes because I didn’t feel like running and another train was coming in 20 minutes. When I got to the window the clerk was on the phone. Normally he would put the phone down and help me, but he just kept chatting away. Still having several minutes to spare, I waited for him. When he came to the window he said I could not ride North to Tsu because of an accident. He refunded my ticket and I grabbed a chance to call mom for a short chat.

When the next train came, I decided to: hop on, ride to Nakagawa, catch a train south to Matsusaka, transfer to a JR train heading north to Tsu, and catch a bus back south to Tsu Shinmachi. A little contrived and expensive, but I wanted to visit the hospital and the latest update on the accident was: electric line down; two hours or more to repair. Arriving at Nakagawa, I got tied up helping a foreigner who just arrived in Japan and didn’t know what was going on. As I was helping her, they announced the trains would start running north: problem solved.

Visiting Yoshioka-san was very pleasant and she wants to introduce me to a juku owner, in front of the station, who may be in need of a teacher. I hope to press this situation a bit. Their customers are all school-age, so I want to pitch the idea of writing a contract that allows me to have my own classes outside of the school. If I restrict my clientele to adults I might be able to swing something. I expect my friend will grease the skids with her contact a bit, since I think she wants me to teach her friends. This would allow me some stable pay and a chance to build up clientele.

Also had time to visit Chintai Net and Mini Mini (realtors) and get them to show me properties in front of the station. One is a former bread shop in need of major remodeling (and deodorizing), another is a former cell phone shop which is a bit dingy, a third was a former travel agency. The last one was about 10 meters square and in the best shape. It is a little hidden by the other building, but not too bad. A counter was unfortunately torn out, leaving a nasty scar in the floor. I met the landlord and she seemed negotiable.

A friendly government official also gave me some more info about visa requirements for business owners. Conditions vary if you are a home business or a store front. It looks like it might be best to run a home business on a standard business before trying to open a store front.

Today I had a couple appointments in the evening, but my Japanese teacher had another family member pass away and had to cancel my class. Tonight I will be able to relax a little. Tomorrow night I have no plans, so maybe I can try sweeping a brush across a little paper at home.

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2 Responses to “Connections”

  1. kevenker Says:

    Wow. You’ve been busy!!

    Liking the posts… Keep up the good work! 🙂

  2. びっくり Says:

    Yeah, today is a breather… tomorrow kicks off the next round: secret rendevous with a Brazilian, business planning meeting, festival, shuji, mountain climbing, photo shoot, maybe a little stone seal carving, …

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