Dateline: Wednesday August 23, 1989
- 8-12: School. First day students are at school. Be there by 8:00.
- Self-introduction to staff and then to student body.
- 14:00. TV delivered to apartment.
Move the self-introduction to a separate entry.
August 23, 1989
1000 cranes–well, one, anyway. If I write 1000 aerogrammes this year, I guess that will be my 1000 cranes.
Okay. Are you the one that ratted to CNN and told them that I wasn’t receiving any news broadcasts in my “remote village” in Japan? Or did you, perchance, write to my school and tell them that it was an international disgrace that their AET was completely ignorant of current world affairs? I remember telling Tonai-sensei only yesterday, as we stopped in at his house for a peach and a bicycle how glad I was not to have a TV. “If we had a TV, I said, “we would never study.” And given how slowly our studies are progressing, that would be disastrous indeed.
[Did I register the look of concerned shock on Tonai-sensei’s face at my offhand remark. I didn’t yet understand that when he said, “You should have a TV.” that he meant “We think you should have a TV and so we’re getting you one.”] And so today, Tonai-sensei came to my desk and whispers, “Kocho-sensei [the principal, ever known only by his title] thinks you should keep up with the news. So someone will deliver a TV to your apartment at 2PM. Is that a good time for you?”
So there it sits in the corner–an incredibly beautiful, brand new Hitachi 20-inch color TV with stereo sound and a bilingual switch on the remote. Dare I demur?
Tonai-sensei spent 2 1/2 hours reading the television schedule to me, line-by-line–even after I pointed out that I’d be at work for most of the shows he was explaining to me. However, I dutifully watched the news at 6:30. Some guy kidnapped three little girls and then videotaped their nude dead bodies. The Japanese are unhappy about their 3% consumption tax and want to overthrow (or perhaps already did overthrow) their government in order to repeal it. And the Japanese are unhappy that more Vietnamese boat people have landed in Okinawa.
We did watch “Little House on the Prairie” because it was the only other bilingual program that we found. […]
Today I had to give an introductory speech, in Japanese, first to the other teachers in my staff room and then to the entire student body. I had practiced it quite a bit but when I faced all those people, my mind went blank. I muddled through it. Oh well, no one seems to care what I accomplish as long as I try.
Tomorrow, I give my first class. My team teacher can’t be there so I’m flying solo the first time out. She spent about half an hour telling me not to become discouraged if the students say absolutely nothing during the whole class. Remember, I’m teaching conversational English. But, as you well know, I’m good at monologues.