Tuesday 11th July

I caught the bus into Takasaki at noon to meet my friend and Kumagaya school Manager, Mitsuyo.  She’s been trying to leave the company since October, but they kept delaying her.  She’s finally due to leave this coming Saturday, although H.O. are trying to persuade her to take a leave of absence instead.  This is something that happens a lot within GEOS…I don’t really understand why Managers don’t just leave when they have worked their two months notice.  They’re made to feel guilty by being told that the students will suffer. 

Anyway, we met up for lunch and chatted about some of my old students.  The new teacher seems to be getting on ok, although some of the childrens’ mothers have complained that she’s not lively enough.  In the younger class (3-5 year olds), she doesn’t sing or dance (when I say dance, I just mean do the actions to the songs).  She plays the tape and watches the children sing and do the actions, whereas I was usually doing exactly what I expected the children to do.  Apparently she dreads that class, whereas I used to look forward to it every week, so that made me feel a little bit sad. 

After lunch we walked around Takasaki for a while and Mitsuyo bought some sandals for a trip to Hawaii next week.  She’s going to see Shoko, who I used to work with in H.O., and will try some surfing, so I’m really jealous!

Walking around Takasaki made me realise how much I miss living there.  It’s only a 40 minute bus journey, but I miss the whole atmosphere.  Because of the bullet train station there, it’s a growing city, as opposed to Maebashi, the prefectural capital, which is more of a business city and really quite boring.  Now I’ve got the bus sorted out, it should be easier to get there though.  Just not as easy getting the baby on the bus though.

takasaki5.jpg

Buses in Japan are very easy once you find out where the bus stop is.  There are only one or two buses per hour near my house, which is the only drawback.  When you get on the bus, you don’t pay, but take a ticket with a number printed on it.  Then you sit down and enjoy the journey.  The bus driver waits for you to sit down before starting off, and when you want to get off, you press the buzzer, wait for the bus to stop, and then get up.  There’s no falling all over the old grannies as the bus speeds off while you’re still grappling for the handrail.  At the front of the bus, there is an electronic screen and before you get off, you check your number and the fare underneath it.  Then you just put your change in the slot.  If you don’t have change, there’s also a change machine on the bus.  So once you get used to it, it’s really quite a nice option.

Another drawback to my bus however, is my last bus leaves at 8p.m., so I can’t really stay out late.  Not that I really want to lately though.

Yusuke has a half-day off today, so he’s off to the dentist and then coming home around one.  We’d planned to go to the pool, but it’s raining!!!  It’s still rainy season, but this week it’s been raining mostly at night.  Oh well, I’ll have to wait until this weekend for the beach!

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