Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Miyajima (After Some Blather)

I started teaching on Monday, and it definitely makes the work days go by faster when I'm busy. That said, I think I'm experiencing some of the first real waves of culture shock. It's funny how it's less of a shock than the name would imply and is often so much more subtle. I'm still thrilled to be here, but as some of the newness and non-stop-go of it all fades, missing home - Tom, the kitties, the way I'm used to things being done, easy communication with the native language advantage, Mexican food, etc. - creeps in more easily and stays a little closer to the surface. That, or it could be PMS. Or both. The good news is that I am fully aware that this is all normal and will pass (even if it comes and goes several times over the next year).

Once in awhile the PA system at school randomly starts playing It's a Small World (no, really) or a handful of Carpenter's songs and other musical delights. I'm sure it's not random if you know what the hell is going on. Most of the time I do not even kind of know. At least some of the time it signals cleaning time (students clean the schools here, with mixed results), but it doesn't always mean that (unless folks are cleaning secretly someplace where I cannot see them). On a related note, if I unwrap a small treat that someone brought back from their summer travels (omiyage is so very Japan), I can't put the wrapper in the garbage can unless I first wrap that wrapper in something that is not a food wrapper. (huh? do what now?) I found this out today. Once in awhile the curiosity kills me enough to ask why. So I did. Since the students empty the wastebaskets in the teacher's room, and they are not allowed to bring snacks, I need to wrap any food wrappers in something that is not a food wrapper. I kind of get it. Kind of. I'm still not sure about the music thing, but from now on it will be my signal to double-check that I've rewrapped my wrappers in case it's cleaning time. (?)

I joined the taiko drum group tonight and had a lot of fun. It also helped with the little bit of the above funk going on because it required such concentration but also provided the immediate gratification of really loud noises. I'd love to become good at it because I've always been mesmerized watching taiko drummers (here's a sample if you've never heard it). I'll be practicing with chopsticks between Wednesdays and see what happens.

Anyway, what I'm really here to post is more pictures from my travels. After visiting beautiful Hiroshima, we went to nearby Miyajima (technically called Itsukushima), a place you've probably seen in pictures at some point because of the famous floating torii gate that appears often on Japan related items. Apparently it's one of the top 3 views in all of Japan, and I understand why. I'd also heard there were deer, but I didn't really give it a second thought until we got there...
Miyajima
August 28, 2009
Wow, Um, Hello Deer Just Chilling at the Entrance Like it's No Big Thing
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Fuzzy Antlers
I had no idea. Did you?
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The One I Wanted to Fold Up Small and Put in My Pocket Forever
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Coming Toward Me. Probably to Eat My Map.
Yes, they can be a little bit pushy and forward. One really did eat half my map. I tried getting it back from him at first until I realized I'd lose and wasn't sure how sharp his teeth were. Considering the map was free, there was no reason to continue the fight. I saw others go through the same situation and thought process.
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My Wow Shot
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Pretty Miyajima
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Overcast Miyajima
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Miyajima Restaurants and Shops
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Stay tuned for the Pirate Festival pictures next time.

10 comments:

  1. Miyajima is so beautiful and your wow photo is really wow! Perfect elements all in one photograph. That is something you'll want to keep for a long, long time.

    I missed my days at Miyajima looking at the torii and the beautiful but paper-eating deers! :-)

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  2. I'm not sure how I'd handle the random music *lol* I can't imagine... but by the time your year is over you'll be so accustomed to it that living in the states will probably be odd!

    I love your "wow" shot!! I can't believe you got that up close and personal!!

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  3. ALL those shots are just beautiful. Mmm.

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  4. I can imagine the culture shock it must be from time to time. I have a feeling you wouldn't trade the experiences your having now for anything despite them.

    All of your pictures have been simply amazing dear friend. I've missed coming here to catch up on you. (Hugs)Indigo

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  5. I think those deer have been hanging out there a while! Why is it that I never get tired of pictures of deer?!

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  6. I'm catching up here, I really really enjoyed the Hiroshima pictures and thgis deer looks like such a sweetie! And about being homesick a little, who could blame you? You've been there, and you've done it before, you know you'll survive. Must be weird though, such a strnge country,and their different ways of thinking sometimes?

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  7. These are so gorgeous. I'm amazed with the deer! That is so neat it allowed you so close and sat still :)
    Hope this bout of homesick fades for you soon.

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  8. Bizzare about the treats wrappers. A bit like don't do as I do, do as I say, don't you think? Not your doing, I know. But it seems since students can't have treats, it's looking like the teachers are trying to hide the fact that they do. Hmmm......

    Fuzzy antlers = new growth. It’s even more comical to see a full grown buck with fuzzy antlers.

    Wise choice in giving up the map – teeth wouldn’t be an issue, but by golly, they could pound you to death with those little cloven hooves.

    I'm SO enjoying your pics Maggie! Keep 'em coming!

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