Monday, March 29, 2010

More on Japanese Students

Motto came home today with a 12 pack of pink toilet paper.

It's his last week of work teaching, and he brought on a few students to a yaki niku buffet for a goodbye lunch. Motto told me he spent 3,000¥ on lunch and then when he came back to the office later there was a 12 pack of pink toilet paper waiting for him. The office lady must have said who it was from.

When I pressed Motto for more details about why they would buy him a 12 pack of pink toilet paper, or what he thought it meant, he just shrugged and said he felt lucky, because we could really use the toilet paper.

"Why are you writing about my story?" Motto just asked me, "It's normal."

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Welcome to the Dollhouse

Today, a room of 3 and 4 year-olds sat in a circle around me screaming as many mean Japanese words combined with "sensei" as they could. It was like something from a nightmare, where you're totally surrounded and just being mocked. By babies. They were dying with laughter and couldn't be controlled. They would get real close to my face if they thought they had a good one. I just sat there at one point, not trying to stop them, because it felt so surreal.

I'll give you the highlights in English:


I can't remember all of them, and there were probably a few I couldnt understand.

(sensei means teacher, they usually call me Jeannetto-sensei)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Hey Kids!

Minnie has a delicious treat for you! Yum fun!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Well, ladies, my blog posts are about to get a lot shorter. You see, nerds all around the internets are cracking their backs and rubbing their bellies and choosing not to trade a master knowledge of memes for unhealthiness anymore. I first heard about this trend from my friend Frederik and soon Krijali was joining in. If the two most otaku people I know are doing it, surely I want in.

Yes, I am talking about the stand-up desk. Or SUD, as I am now calling it (coin!).

So yesterday (actually three days ago, I'm writing this post in 5 minute intervals*) I transported everything out of my big Japanese closet and plopped it in my tatami room (Motto is thrilled), leaving me space for my very own SUD! So far, so good.

I'm not sure how long image editing projects or the total overhaul of my website (in hand coded CSS) will go, but I'll wait a while before I get into that and give my muscles time to adjust. If muscles have memories, they need only remember 3 years ago when I stood at a cash register 8 hours a day. Drawing on receipt tape and brown bags.

Unexpected results: tweets (@jeannetto) are instantly more unbearable; I haven't written a single email (sorry mom); my kitchen is damn clean.

Other results of computer geeks around the world abandoning their chairs may be: less sarcastic responses on forums when you ask a question; your IT guy may soon be able to kick your ass (or at least make it to your desk); bandwidth will be freed up for poor people in Africa. Et cetera.

But like any internet trend, or health kick I go on, what goes up, must come down.

*psych! I wrote this all in one go.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Today was one of those days where I woke up chanting to myself, please dont make me go, please dont make me go. But I gratefully ate the okonomiyaki Motto served for breakfast and filled my new tumbler (thanks Sarah) with decaf coffee and off I went. I woke up after noon so it was too late to call out sick anyway.

I love my long train ride into Yanai. I just cant understand how the time seems to double on the way home.

My first class was a trial lesson I was dreading with three 2 year olds and their mothers. The Japanese teacher of the school had set everything up so nicely my anxiety levels dropped a bit when I entered the room. Plus, she wasn't there, so I could continue listening to my podcast. Bonus.

Things started looking up when the first toddler came in and, after being prompted by his mother, announced, "Mayonnaise Shu!*" We played, I danced around like a monkey, and the class went fine.

The next class, though, made me think about the big picture of my life and what the hell I think I'm doing here. It's a bunch of 7 year olds, and they weren't that bad today, they've been worse. As they usually do, two boys just sat in the back of the room playing with their pencil boxes and talking about Pokemon while I wrangled everyone to get their notebooks out and checked homework. No matter how many times I called these boys, how many of my Japanese words I used, how many angry faces I made, how many times I threatened to call their moms, they wouldn't budge.

I realized they are just doing exactly what they want to be doing. And why should I get mad at them, when before the class started I hoped all 8 students were absent so I could be doing exactly what I want to be doing (listening to a podcast laying on my back in the middle of the room)?

And then I started to think, why I am trying to control these kids and what right do I have to? But then I think that the company that pays me would really appreciate me attempting to teach some English and hopefully use the curriculum they trained me to teach. I just hate when the students get to me and I start getting frustrated or caring that they're in balls on the floor wrestling or talking loudly to each other so I can't hear the other students with my good ear.

I'm standing up, pointing my finger yelling, sit down, sit down, sit down. And then it dawns on me I don't really care at all. And I give everyone a piece of origami paper to draw a picture of their favorite toys.

*That's baby Japanese for "My name is Shu."

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A friend of mine Krijali (alias), who is also my go-to for any random technology question I have, has launched a website for his future 2,500 km hike around Japan. I know to you and me that sounds like a horrible time, but apparently he finds that kind of stuff "fun." Anyway, here's his plan:
I will be hiking around the island of Shikoku, visiting the 88 temples of the longest walking pilgrimage in [...] Japan. From there I will trek through the historic roots of Japan on my way to Kyoto. Then I will take an Edo era route, the Nakasendo, through the picturesque mountains of Japan, from Kyoto to Tokyo. After this I will walk the Tokaido route back to Kyoto with a detour in order to climb Mount Fuji.

You guys remember my Mount Fuji story, right?

Knowing him he'll do the mission (I dont know about survive) and take some incredible video and photos along the way. So visit his new site,, bookmark it, subscribe, whatever, and live vicariously through his adventure.

And yes, I am writing this post to assuage some guilt about constantly annoying him with my tech emails while I redo my website.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Plum Blossoms

Plum Blossoms I
Originally uploaded by JimmyJaneSays

Spring! Spring! Spring!