Saturday, February 22, 2003

February 22

Well, I had the graduation party today for our students on a chilly cloudy day. We had it in our current venue of choid, C-AMBER, a somewhat incongruous restaurant of slickness and style surrounded by the usual Starbucks clones and down-and-dirty izakayas in the Ichigaya district.

Pretty much everyone showed up who was to graduate, and we had a larger-than-usual turnout of teachers to see them off. A couple of our grads came in full kimono, a common form of dress for women graduating from college or university in Japan. I had the MC duties as I've been having for the past 5 years, and we dutifully handed out the diplomas. Then came speeches from all the grads. One particularly had everyone, including this author, on the edge of their seats as the speaker, with a brilliant combination of pregnant pauses, expressions and giggling, described her very first lesson with little ol' me. Whew! Bullet averted. Then we had our musical performances from a student and teacher before we all broke up.

Of course, this being Japan, that didn't end the day's events. Of course, we had to follow up on the nijikai, or second party. So we went down the block to the neighbourhood karaoke box for a couple of hours of singing, and then there was the final stage at the izakaya. The past year's students were a good crew and there were a few misty pairs of eyes when it was finally time to say good-bye but at least some enterprising new alumni decided to keep the good times rolling by suggesting a day trip out to a local mountain next month.

Friday, February 21, 2003

February 22

The aftermath of the resignation invovled having the managers approaching me to see if I would change my mind. I would say that I could come back in a "cameo" appearance. They weren't too happy but then again, I haven't been too happy with them for the past few years. However, now that the news is slowly leaking out about my long goodbye (I had to the school 3 months' notice), some offers are starting to come in. Nice to be needed.

It wasn't an especially busy week hours-wise but Friday was pretty intense with a round of term-end level checks and then having the penultimate class with the City Hall people; half of them were giving presentations in English which were keeping them up nights in preparations. Happily, everything went well and we celebrated long into the night at a local izakaya and then a karaoke box. Parties to celebrate or to commemorate the end of something don't often stop with just one party, especially if things come off on a successful note.

I'll be repeating the same thing today as I head off to my school's graduation party; and I think it's very possible that I may find myself in three parties. Again, nice to be needed. However, the balance to all this is a 4-day Intensive at a training centre for one of the government ministries. The theme: listening. I should be quite out of my head by Thursday night.

Monday, February 17, 2003

February 17

After a weekend of relative comfort because of the rain, the hay fever came back today. The mask did help but I did need to do a bit of nose wiping from time to time.

Well, let's see....I officially resigned from my company of 5 years last Friday although I'll have to continue working until mid-May there. Not too bad since it'll give me time to get my future plans together. Hopefully, I won't have to face too much more of those late-night and early-morning classes. I gave the admin staff a rather bad shock, though.