Well, for anyone not caught up on the life of me...
I was in Japan, but I'm home now. I was in Fukushima. The earthquake didn't hit us too hard (though the experience was more than terrifying enough), and since we were up in the mountains we weren't affected by the tsunami. Unfortunately my town was only 50km from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear reactor, which necessitated an escape to Osaka to live with my host family for a month while we waited to see which way things went.
Unfortunately things didn't really get better, so now I'm home. I'll be going back to university in August and until then I'm just doing a bit of casual work and trying to get back on my feet.
And that's the state of the Shasta.
For all the Perth-ites hanging out here -- I'm coming home for a holiday. I'll be in Perth between the 18th and the 25th (yes, of this month) and I expect to see as many of you as possible!
... so. That was more earthquake than I was entirely comfortable with.
We just had an earthquake off the coast of my prefecture. It was 4 on the Richter scale in the nearby city, but only 3 in my lil town. Still, it was scary! The earthquakes I've had up until now have been these tiny little nothing deals, just enough to make me go 'hey, is that a truck going past my house...? Nope, still going... hahaha, earthquake." But this one was "is this a truck..? nope, earthquake... still going... IT'S GETTING STRONGER GET UNDER THE DESK". So I did, and a little bit later it stopped. So it wasn't too bad really, but that brief period of not knowing if it was going to stop or get worse was not very fun at all.
I have a little book. It's full of love.
So, this morning when I got up to go to work, there was no water coming out of my hot water taps. Turns out the pipes had frozen! And then when I went to leave the house, there was ice on my doorknob. The inside of my doorknob. Ice inside my house, this is not awesome in any way.
In other news, according to Japanese tradition yesterday was the day where you throw beans to keep evil spirits out of your house/work. I thought this meant we would stand in the doorways of my school and toss beans outside or something -- but it turned out that it meant two year five boys bursting into the staffroom dressed up as demons, hollering "WE ARE DEMONS AND WE ARE VERY EVIL" (or something to that effect), and then hiding behind my chair as a bunch of other year fives burst in the other door yelling "WE HAVE COME TO DEFEAT THE DEMONS!" and hurling unshelled peanuts at the demons. I mean seriously hurling. I had to evacuate my chair to hide over by the sofa. They ran all around the staffroom and then the demons surrendered, and I was finding peanuts in odd places for the rest of the day. I got some photos, but photos of six or seven year fives running around the staffroom hurling peanuts mostly comes out as blurs.
It was awesome.
Hey dudes and dudettes, I'm off to Takarazuka for three glorious weeks with the host family. This means no Internet for a while! I can still check my email (thanks to the wonder of iPhone, did I mention I got an iPhone? It's awesome), but I will also be updating my brand-new Twitter if anyone wants to keep an eye on that. My username is JamieinJapan, for reasons which will (hopefully) be explained in full later, but of people would like to keep up with me on there, that would be totally super-awesome.
(Also, I wrote this entire post using my iPhone. Did I mention how awesome my iPhone is? Because it is.)
Hey guys, so.
It turns out that if baking powder gets shaken up a lot at some point, when you open it for the first time it kind of explodes.
... I have washed my face but I still have baking powder in my eyebrow.
IT'S SNOWING YOU GUYS.
Okay, so it's really nothing to write home about -- it's just sorta drifting down, hitting the ground and melting, and because it's dark out it looks pretty much identical to rain, but I went and stood in it and I got covered in little bits of snow, so it is DEFINITELY SNOWING. SNOWING, YOU GUYS. However, it is now (obviously) also ridiculously cold. I am camped out in my loungeroom with the heater turned to full and my knees are still cold...
And on other, also awesome news -- I have been recontracted for next year! My schools want to keep me on, so once I sign on the dotted line (and I will), it's set and I am definitely in Japan until August 2011.
(Also, I just realized that I misspelled my "JET Program" tag -- it said "JET Progaram". All better now.)
Edit: I lied. The snow is sticking. The broken down house across the road has a charming white coat of snow, as does the car directly outside my window. Awesome.
My town has loudspeakers located all over it. These are to allow the morning 'wake up!' announcement, the lunchtime bells, the 4:30 "go home children" announcement, the 5:00 "go home everyone else" bells, and the 8:30 "good night" announcement. My town is quite small, did I mention this?
About five minutes ago (it's 9:20 at night) there was an alarm sound, then a long announcement I couldn't understand but sounded like it had people's names in it. Now the local fire trucks (all two of them) are doing laps of the town with their sirens going. They don't seem to be going anywhere (they've gone past my apartment twice now), they're just... lapping the town. With their sirens going.
I'm not concerned about anything being wrong because 1) this has happened before, and 2) if anything was up, my boss who lives literally right over the road would come and tell me what was going on. So I think mostly the moral of this story is 'my town is odd'.