First, a thought from the office I used to work at (emphasis on *used* to work at, thank goodness). There’s no lying about it, we've all had more then our share of evil elementary teachers. For me that teachers name was Mrs. Anderson you can imagine how easy it would be to pick on a foreign kid disguised in white skin who couldn't read the word "cat" while all his classmates were reading Pilgrims Progress in old English. And to make matters worse, I was going to a Christian school. But that is not what I am trying to talk about--it has plagued me for many a year as to how these evil teachers become evil. Surely at some point they were normal. And in the rare case that your evil teacher has found a suitable mate--she must have been human enough to feel some kind of emotion and look attractive enough at some point in life. Well I have now seen how these teachers happen and now that I think about it, it makes perfect sense--office ladies. Office ladies are anal about small things, have favorites, suck up to their bosses, expect everyone to be wrong except for themselves, and I’ve noticed they have a particular aversion to people. When I was talking to one of these type of office ladies about future ambitions I vomited a small amount in the back of my throat as she told me she was studying elementary education and wanted to become a teacher. Suddenly I was standing in front of Mrs. Andersen II talking to her pre-teacher self. May those children’s souls rest in peace.
I am excited to announce that I have officially made it to Japan. The way you can tell a stand-by passenger from a normal one is by looking around during the safety demonstration; the only people who have their heads held high and are beaming like they've just won the lottery are probably them. In light of its cheap price I tend to forget the high price one pays for a stand-by ticket. In a grueling battle of attrition between me and the airplane, 3 precious days of transportation were lost to what I now call, "limbo"--Greek god of grayness. His chariot? the most notable invention of the 20th century--the air plane. In a moment enlightenment I realized that the pressure of an airplane, the complete compressed enclosure of its doors seems to parallel the complete vacuum of time it represents. You simply sleep when you want and the meals are given out at amazingly random times, i.e. why are you serving me lunch at 2 in the bloody morning? I don't care if its lunch time in Siberia! I need my sleep!
In any case, I was a bit apprehensive when disembarking the plane. I had a slight feeling of guilt in my stomach; similar to the kind of guilt I would imagine would be felt by someone who was committing adultery. For you see, I had given up my long lost proven friend for a cheap fling out in the Americas--a fling which I thought would complete my being and solve my problems, but which I have found to be as empty as Americans answers to geography questions. With this odd comparison in mind, I timidly exited the long vacuum-cleaner-hose walkway back to the country that I have dreamt of returning to for so long. In order to complete my happiness, I moved Japan time from the secondary time on my watch to primary, and American time to secondary. After inhaling a long, humid, hot breath I knew that I was really back. Although self-admittedly I am somewhat apprehensive. I knew a Japan really well when I lived here, but I have changed and many of the people who made Japan for me are now gone. In the back of my mind I wonder if Japan and I are still going to be friends. Its the way I wonder about old friends when we go out to coffee, are we still friends even though we've both changed in so many ways? Can the same friendship still be had, because chances are that there's not enough time to build a new one.
Now that I have arrived at the Northstar campus near Shin-ShimaShima (ya, the name of a station. Try saying it, its fun) in Nagoya I realize that Japan is home to fantastical natural beauty. I haven't seen such a beautiful place since Austria--and that’s just what it looks like too, flowery fields surrounded by foothills while off in the distance rises the Japan alps all snowy an jagged like. I've always suspected Japan might be home to natural beauty but this is more than what I expected. So to all of you out there who think Japan is nothing but city, tell all your friends that its not, it is your obligation to spread this rare truth.
As far as Northstar is concerned, I am super excited and super privileged to be able to do what I am doing here. Due to Japans dire need for outdoors people who know what they're doing, it seems my area of study, and therefore, I, am some kind of rare specimen around these parts. My duty is to develop, standardize, and lead 4 day backpacking trips around this area. What I am most excited about is Northstar’s desire for excellence and professionalism in the activities they do--apparently it is this that separates Northstar from the few other camps around Japan. All told, good vibes so far.