Sunday, December 18, 2005

Great weekend, but some expectations not quite met.

I feel like some account of this past weekend needs to be made, though perhaps it wasn't all that remarkable in the normal sense. It was a really nice weekend. On Friday night I chilled out at home because I had run out of money. Otherwise I would have gone to see the opera that a few of my friends were participating in. I read the newest edition of Bleach, and finished off the Kamui-den manga I was working on (which are good by the way). I'm just a sucker for ninja stuff I guess. Saturday was one of the most relaxing days I have had in a while. When I woke up it was beautifully sunny. Looking through all the things I had to get ready for the next day, I drove into town to get some ingredients for making my dad's bean salad recipe for the Christmas party the next day. It was raining hard in town.

Having to make food for a party is good for my lifestyle, because in order to make food I have to clean my kitchen. So my kitchen got cleaned and food was made. While I was making the bean salad it began to snow. Then I bleached my hair. And with my hair sufficiently lightened, and various preparations made for the chance that I could find a way to crash in or around Tokushima (because I had no desire to drive back to Kamikatsu over icey roads twice in the same weekend), I was good to go.

It was to a bonenkai ("forget year party," not "good enkai") at this guy Hideki's aunt's restauran that I was going. Hideki is a friend of my friend Derek, but he's started inviting me to more and more stuff, like snowboarding on the 24th later this week fpr example. So anyways, I went to this 忘年会 bonenkai and we had nabé. And it was good nabé. The other people who came were all coworkers of Hideki's from the prefectural office. Most of them work on the same floor. I had met three of the others before; we had gone hiking up Tsurugi. I don't think I wrote about it but I did probably post a fuzzy picture or something.
So it was pretty fun.
Results of the evening: I will be buying a snowboard on Friday, and I may be joining a brazilian jiujitsu class in the new year, I have no money left in pocket until Wednesday.
And when we left it had been snowing a bunch in Tokushima, too, so I called Brian and Christine to see if I couldn't crash at theirs. They were on their way home at that point in time and were trapped at a bridge that Tokushima drivers were incapable of getting up in the snow. It would seem that Tokushima drivers who never get any snow think that if they floor it and spin their tires like crazy they will somehow get up the bridge. So naturally traffic was backed up like crazy. They advised me to take side roads, which were fast.

In the morning Christine added the colour to my hair for me.



It turned out to be a little lighter than I was hoping. The last time I did blue it was darker. I don't think this colour looks all that good on me. When I said that to one of my students, they disagreed, but figured that there probably were colours that would suit me better. Not that I'm regretful that I dyed my hair, but because I am not so enamoured with the colour, I probably won't go for a second dying after all.
Actually, that picture makes it look pretty green, doesn't it?

Then it was off to an international association's party in Hanoura where I had the pleasure of surprising a few friends with the color, and then again at church. Church was our charols by candlelight service, which was nice. After church we had a big Christmas dinner at Barbara's house, which is imported from the States. She made turkey and pumpkin pie, and everyone else brought side dishes or deserts. We were expecting ten-ish people to come, but it was more than twenty. It made for a great party and everyone was able to eat their fill.

And the ride home was easy, because everyone in Katsuura and Kamikatsu was afraid of the roads. They were empty, so I could go my comfortable speed of 40 or 50 km/h instead of 10 or 20. If I can normally drive a road at 70 or 80, there is no reason that a normal person can't drive it in snowy conditions at 40.

But I have been loving the snow. It is perhaps the most at home I have yet felt in Kamikatsu. I think all the snow is my fault. God is sending me snow because I'm not able to travel to a place that has snow this year. He sure is kind, isn't he?

So today I found out that my students are more observant than my friends. My friends had no idea that anything was unsual with my hair until I took my toque off, even though some of it was sticking out from underneath. But at the beginning of class one of the girls was like, "Matthew, is your hair a little green? Please take off your hat!" And then the same thing happened again in my next class. But none of the teachers noticed anything until I sat in the office with my toque off after lunch. I would have to say that with one, maybe two exceptions it was warmly recieved.

While I was sitting typing this out, Yoshioka-sensei (the principal) says, "Who are you?" in that loud voice of his. Looking up I saw that he was looking at me. I explained that I got the dye from my parents with my Christmas stuff. He told me it's bad to have that in front of the students. I said that teachers in Canada definitely bleach their hair... Then he said "But at OUR school it's not good. Wear a hat or something." While there was definitely a part of me that was upset about being shut down and told I'm in the wrong so quickly and about something like hair, it's one of the things I really appreciate about our principal. I guess having worked for three years in Detroit has given him the ability to drop all context and just say what is on his mind like your standard westerner.

So I will keep wearing my toque for the next three days, or maybe a santa hat on Wednesday, and then I will enjoy my coloured hair for the holidays. And then maybe I'll go to black hair just before school starts again. I really like Mr. Yoshioka, and I don't want to get on his bad side at all.

I heard an illustration at one point, (maybe it was about politics or leadership?) that said when you start out with people, you have a certain amount of metaphorical change in your pocket. Every failure you make takes a little bit out, every success puts a little back in. The more you show yourself trustworthy and reliable, the more success you bring, the more metaphorical change it puts in your metaphorical pocket. Any time you rock the boat, it takes a little change out of your pocket, even though you might get it back after whatever you have started has ended. But if you rock the boat too much too fast, or have a failure too big too early and all your change runs out, you are finished. I forget what the change was meant to represent, but I guess it could be anything from patience people have with you, margin or leeway, or your image, or whatever. One way or the other, I feel like I have built up a large enough reserve of metaphorical change with the people in my school and town to get away with something like this now.
But I don't want to push it too far.

I would wager that Kocho-sensei doesn't actually mind my blue hair, but he does have a strong sense of propriety (I think he's an SJ) and blue hair in the Japanese school context doesn't sit right with him. Oh well. The cultural exchange excuse can't work on everybody, I guess. Give and take, as it were.

5 Comments:

At 8:56 AM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bananas and apples, peaches and pears, if you really saw it, you would stand up and stare.
Bananas and apples, peaches and pears, if you really saw it, you would stand up and stare, stand up and stare, stand up and hair.

 
At 7:18 PM PST, Blogger Fletcher said...

What the hell is that?
Who bothers to write something like that?

 
At 9:51 PM PST, Blogger Ellie said...

Holy crap, green hair! That's pretty impressive, champ! Oh, and that wans't me above.

Have a great Christmas Mat, enjoy yourself!

 
At 12:50 AM PST, Blogger Smitha said...

The hair looks good! Blue would've been cool (I've been coveting blue streaks in my hair for years now), but the green looks quite awesome, and I do like that shade. :o)

Was this your first time dyeing it, or do you do it occasionally?

 
At 4:35 PM PST, Blogger Fletcher said...

When I had a mohawk before coming to Japan I dyed it blue. So I guess it's yes and no. I have dyed my hair before, but never my whole head nor with a normal haircut. Although perhaps given my family a mohawk is not abnormal.

 

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