In the States, I have experienced or known of unexpected school cancellations due to snow, ice, hurricane, and violence. Last week, I experienced my first school closing due to High Winds. Because so many students in Japan commute by trains, if the winds are too intense, much like a ski lift, the trains have to stop running. It does seem ironic that Tokyo can survive earthquakes, but if the winds get too high they worry about trains flying off their tracks. Truth be told, I have never experienced winds as crazy fierce as those in a Tokyo typhoon. Oh well, Chase got an unexpected half-day and because my cooking lesson wasn’t canceled, he ended up meeting Cliff for lunch and spending the rest of the afternoon being “home-schooled”.
HITTING THE WALL: CHINESE VISA
My second attempt for a visa was again unsuccessful. My first attempt happened to coincide with the Chinese holiday Qingming Day, or Tomb Sweeping day. It’s hard to believe anyone can make a living with all the holidays. Remember, call first before you go anywhere.
On my second try, I thought I would take pictures depicting the waiting line as it grew. We live very close to the Embassy so I get to see it regularly. I never expected to actually be a part of it. I decided to get in line at 8:15am even though it opens at 9:00am:
My spot is marked by the pink backpack. There was actually a family of 4 in front of me when I assumed my position.
8:35am looked like this:
When I went across the street to take this picture, the police officer chastised me for jay-walking. I had to walk to the crossways every time.
As 9:00am arrived, some Chinese embassy officials popped out of the building and set up a table ala airport security-style with baskets for “metal objects”.
It was so funny watching people get dropped off in front of the Embassy and watching the realization on their faces that they had to walk another block to get in line. Once the doors opened, we rushed in and you have to go to the 3rd floor and go from window to window. They checked my papers. I didn’t have a photocopy of my (and Chase’s) passport and alien card so I had to get in line for the photocopy machine (luckily I was early so I didn’t have to wait for that) but then I had to get back in line at window 1. You basically go to Window 1 for a ticket to get to Window 2. When my turn came up, I went to Window 2, and she said I needed my hotel reservation and plane tickets. With that, she quickly handed me a copy of the application procedures along with all my papers and shut the window. It was all very Wizard of Oz, Dorothy-San style. As soon as I left, I of course called Cliff to thank him for wasting 2 hours of my life. Will let you know how much further I get on the “yellow-brick road”.
THE GRADUATE… years later
Last night, we finally rendezvoused with Andrew. He’s so cute and very “fresh” (vampire term). Cliff met him at the station, and Chase and I met them at our favorite soba restaurant in Azabu Juban. I don’t know if it’s a sign of maturity or maternity, but as Chase and Andrew sat next to each other, I couldn’t help wondering what Chase would end up being like when he goes to college. How would he act if he was traveling overseas on his own? Andrew got on Chase’s good list as soon as he realized they could talk about video games and DragonBall. Andrew got on my good list as he talked about his interest in Japan and his desire to explore the city. He’s our first visitor and it is so nice to see the city through “new eyes” as only a visitor can bring.
HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL
So the countdown is on. Friday the 13th is opening night. I’m not going to say it’s Glee, but it’s definitely a show. I do have my favorite numbers and my favorite cast members. It’s been an interesting experience and I have enjoyed working with some of the kids. I have also made some interesting observations about people who choose to work in high school settings. Not being faculty and being more of an outsider, it has been a revelation on many levels to work with the kids and adults. If it sounds like I keep talking around something, it’s probably because I wish I could say more, but I have to wait until we’re out of the country to spill my guts.
Until next time…