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A day in the life O'me.        Jan. 21, 2001

Okay, I know you are all dying for an update.  I also know you are all dying to know
what I do here all day.  So I will tell you what I do in a typical day here.  At least a 
typical day for winter. 

7:21 A.M.  I wake up to the infamous drumming of my caveman alarm clock. 
   (which by the way, has had the same batteries for four years. Still in sync, 
   if a little slow.)  I turn it off and go back sleep for ten minutes under my cocoon 
   of warmth.  One blanket under me, three on top plus my eskimo comforter.  
   There is no central heating, so I set my kerosene heater to start up at 7:00.  
    So its really not too cold when I get out of bed. 

7:31 A.M.  I actually wake up, suddenly afraid that I have overslept.  (yes, everyday!)  
    Unfortunately, only my living room/bedroom is heated.  The trek to the bathroom
   is a little chilly, but I wear fleece pants and long sleeves to bed for just such 
   an occasion.  I usually manage to eat some yogurt or an english muffin before 
   I head out.  The last 5 minutes I spend bundling up.  A scarf covering half my face, 
   earmuffs, and my fuzzy mittens.  

8:00 A.M.  I head out on my bike to work.  Its about a 10 minute bike ride.  
   Or, a 10 minute obstacle course.  There is ice packed along the shoulder of 
   the roads, which were too narrow to begin with, leaving just enough room to 
   scratch the paint on the cars as I ride by.  I  occasionally have to run over
   some slow high school girls who walk two by two.    If I leave late, there's 
   actually people who think they can walk in the wrong direction and get in my way.

8:15 A.M.  This is when my work day officially starts.  The bell rings and everyone
    stands up to say good morning to the bosses up front.  I usually only have 3 or 4 
    classes a day.  There are six periods, plus 10 minutes between and lunch.  
   So most of my time is spent looking busy in the break room near my desk.  
   Its not really a room, its just sectioned off.  It is at the opposite end from the
   vice-principle, so its rather convenient for hiding.   But since the heater is in 
   the break room, and my desk is by the door, its really a matter of survival.  
   Every trip to the bathroom requires a good 10 minutes at the heater.  
   But there are often other teachers to keep me company.  Plus Rumiko, the 
   secretary who is the same age as me.  Of course, this is only at my third junior
   high school, at my other school I actually waste time by talking to the vice-
   principle.  I usually manage to get a good two hours in of studying Japanese 
   a day.  I think I am supposed to be making lesson plans or something, though.  

12:30 P.M.  We all have lunch at the same time, the kids eat in their classrooms.  
    I eat with other teachers  in the break room.  Us womens get to sit at the 
    table while the menfolk sit on the soft couches.  At my Second School, 
   (they really are called the Second and Third Junior High School) I eat at my desk, 
   along with only a few other teachers.  My second school is not quite as relaxed, 
   but there are mostly male teachers as compared with the other.  

4:00 P.M.  I finally get to go home.  Me and Rumiko leave at the same time, while 
    the real teachers leave at some later, unknown hour.  The ride home is pretty 
    chilly, so when I get home I hop right under my kotatsu to warm up.  My computer 
    is conveniently located here, so I usually check my email.  It gets dark around 
    5:00, so there is really not much for me to do.  On Mondays and Wednesdays
    I go to Shorinji Kempo.  The class is held in a really nice, unheated school gym.  
    This also requires several layers of clothes, as there is no kerosene heater.  
    My toes are mostly numb and my hands are blue after an hour.  Unfortunately, 
    its a two hour class.  I walk over there, but my sensei gives me a ride home.  
    At which point I promptly jump back under my kotatsu.  I usually eat some sort 
    of stir fry or kim chee and rice for dinner.  And I occasionally get so motivated 
    as to soak in a really hot tub for an hour.   If I am feeling really adventurous, 
    sometimes on the weekends I hop a train to Sendai, or someplace scenic.

I get to bed around 10:30, serenaded to sleep by the Japanese neighbor's porno, 
and a certain unmentioned someone's singing.  Occasionally the cat across the street 
joins in.  All in all its good fun. And then I start over the next day!  



  Hey! What time is it in Japan?

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