Monday, June 15, 2009

Heavy Petting

Well I’m still tired, but not exhausted like the last 2 Mondays. I actually got to sleep yesterday! I slept in all the way until… 9 I think. Sad, I know; but at least I felt rested, even if my arms were really sore from the workout on Friday. I finally got a membership at a local gym for $50 a month and it comes with a personal trainer. The Brazilian restaurant underneath has an amazing restaurant too with huge burgers for $5 among other goodies. It’s such a nice culture; people are always smiling, wanting to talk to you and just being friendly.

Without getting too far ahead of myself, Tuesday I went out for supper with Junko and 2 of her friends. It was the first time seeing her since January… A strange thing really, considering we were seeing each other almost every week before. People just get busy I guess. Either way it was fun eating sushi and talking about whatever. It’s a good feeling having people ask questions and actually want to talk.

I try to engage my students this way all the time, but there’s only so much you can do before they start giggling and try to escape the English questions. When I see them start to flee, I will usually throw some of my broken Japanese at them, which stops them in their tracks for some slightly prolonged awkward conversation; but at least they can understand what I’m trying to say/ask.

I couple of times during the week I met up with my former student Nanako again to either give her a test or just briefly double check her essay before she submits it. I haven’t gone out with the boys for supper in quite a while; we went out every day for a couple weeks a while back and must have burnt out. I don’t mind the change too much, but I should try and restart the Wednesday tradition sometime.

Before that though I should make a schedule for myself, maybe starting today. Give my self one hour for working out, one hour for Japanese studies and so on. I spent too much time watching a show called “the wire” last week and now kind of regret it.

I think that about covers everything up to the weekend. On Saturday I got up early again and went to Shiojiri, over an hour away. There a group of us joined a BBQ/games party. The price was really good for the whole package, and it would be a good date spot, except that the normal prices were a ripoff for what you got. For example they had go-karts. Normally for $3 (I guess $6 because you have to ride with a friend) you get to go on one short lap in a tin car that could hardly take me up the small hill.

Then the mini golf course they had was really ghetto; I think the lawn back on the farm would have been better for the putting greens. It literally was a mess of a field with grass cut shorter here and there. I won’t complain too much tough, as I guess I had fun and the price we paid could have been just for the BBQ we got alone. The petting zoo was kind of nice, although there was a rabbit in there with a broken arm which was unsettling. Oh and a goat ate this one guy’s paper book that he was carrying; it was pretty funny.

The parts I enjoyed the most was sliding down a hill in a little slider thing, some archery and a small swan-like paddle boat, where you row by riding something of a bicycle. It was so small for me though; my legs were bouncing off my stomach. I met some interesting people again, which seems to happen a lot. There was one guy from Canada that lived in Russia for a while that had some cool stories for us. It’s great running into other Canadians; they’re such nice people and most of them when they find out where I’m from will say “Go Riders!” or something :) Even if I don’t bleed green as much as they expect me to. To the Riders credit, I guess the last 2 seasons haven’t been as embarrassing as some others that finally bled out all my green.

We went home and relaxed that night which was a nice change. After sleeping in, getting some cleaning done, playing games with friends back home and cooking tasty food, I went up to Matsumoto for another BBQ party at Ashley’s place. She is moving soon but her house is amazing; it looks like the houses you see in pretty much every animation. A nice little yard, a little porch that stares out on it and all that fun stuff.

Since I drove I couldn’t drink like the others, but it was still fun. I met some new people and since I’ve been hanging out with JETs a lot more lately than I would like, I was privy to hearing that some rumors are flying around about me, where as before a lot of people simply didn’t know who I was. I guess they aren’t bad rumors, at least the ones I heard, but just a bitter reminder of the high school atmosphere many people like to carry around with them. Oh well, you shouldn’t care too much what others have to say about you anyways. Unless of course it’s constructive criticism from a friend and not petty bickering from a dolt that doesn’t deserve the time of day anyways; that jerk that shouted out “Canadian beer sucks” comes to mind.

I had to park at the castle, which wasn’t too far away, but by the time I left the parking lot closed apparently. My car was locked in with a note stuck to the window. When I paid to get out, it was over $10. To actually leave the lot, I unhooked the chain, drove in the wrong lane, and fun stuff like that. Oh and I forgot my camera somewhere; maybe at school so I don't have any pictures.

Maybe I’m more tired than I thought, I don’t normally complain like this. Half of this post was deleted as such. Everyplace has its own dirty laundry I guess. I wonder how the whole Quebec thing is playing out back home. I met a girl yesterday that had nothing to say but nice things about Quebec city, which was a happy change from the usual grim stories. Staying out of the news and talking to real people that aren’t trying to manipulate you has its advantages.

"The difference in winning and losing is most often... not quitting." -Walt Disney


1 comment:

Dryocopus said...

I am a Japanese entomologist researching the ecology and behavior of fireflies.

I have been investigating fireflies in Tatsuno Town, Nagano Prefecture, Japan.

Tatsuno is one of the most famous town in Japan for many fireflies emerging every summer, and many tourists come to watch fireflies twinkling. The Tatsuno town government stresses in its homepage or brochure that it has kept protecting fireflies for a long time, but it is not necessarily true.

About 40 years ago, Mr Katsuno got many non-native fireflies from firefliy dealers in other areas and then released them into the Matsuo-kyo area in this town. Since then, government officials instructed by Mr Katsuno have bred many non-native fireflies in the field, so native fireflies seem to have gone extinct in the Matsuo-kyo area. The town government has tended to conceal this fact.

Recently, I indicated this situation in the following academic journal:

Biodiversity and Conservation, V. 18, No. 8, pp. 2119-2126.

Title: The ecological impact of an introduced population on a native population in the firefly Luciola cruciata (Coleoptera: Lampyridae).


The ratio of non-native fireflies has also increased in another area in this town. I have often asked the town government to protect native fireflies, but they (government officials and the mayor) have ignored it. They say to me that if the number of fireflies increases, it does not matter whether they are native or non-native, because even non-native fireflies are helpful for tourism bringing money. I never agree with their opinion. I think local governments are generally required to protect biodiversity. One of the reasons is that Japan has ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity. However, the Tatsuno town government has been neglecting it. Now our research on Tatsuno fireflies is being stopped by this local government, because this government is unwilling to admit that non-native fireflies are spreading.

Now I ask foreign countries' people. "What do you think of the action of the Tatsuno town government?"