The Magic Noodle

This last week was probably the busiest week I can remember having in my life.  I mean, I did an undergraduate thesis and all in college, and that was stressful enough, but this?  This was on an entirely different level.  Last Monday, I stayed an hour after work making preparations for classes the next day.  Then I came in early the next day to finish the prep. before going to the kindergarten for two hours.

Kindergarten was fairly entertaining.  In preparation for the coming typhoon (news about that in a bit), we spent a good 45 minutes bringing toys inside and putting anything and everything that we could away where it wouldn’t be blown away by the strong winds that were foretasted to hit on Wednesday.  The little children were adorable, picking up everything that we told them to and every so often getting bursts of energy shouting to each other (and us): “THE TYPHOON IS COMING TOMORROW! WE HAVE TO HURRY!  WE NEED TO HURRY AND CLEAN BECAUSE THE TYPHOON IS COMING TOMORROW! HURRY!”  It was pretty adorable to see their developing sense of time in this manner.  They understand “today” and “tomorrow” but don’t have a full sense of the amount of time between the two.  Perhaps it is because their imaginations are so large.

Anyway, that was adorable and all they wanted to do come-time English lesson was sing itsy-bitsy spider.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t the plan for the day, but I felt a strange pride when, as I was walking down the road upon leaving, I heard shouts of “THE EENCY WEENCY SPIDER WEULNUHWURPUT. OIOUBOHRAINUEIUT.”  They got this.

So, I get back to school where I have class in less than 20 minutes.  That was tiring, but okay.  Then, after lunch, I had classes with 1/2 graders and 3/4 graders and my energy was zapped.  It was gone. No more left.

Sadly, my lack of energy didn’t mean I could leave my bike outside for the coming typhoon.  So, I carried it up the stairs and into my genkan (Japanese for their entryways into homes and buildings).  The typhoon was supposed to hit in the middle of the day on Wednesday, so we were told we might have to come to work until then and the students to school–at least until the winds started to pick up.

Well, the typhoon hit in the wee hours of the morning and it hit RIGHT over the island.  I was woken up a few times in the night to strong gusts of wind, but they weren’t much worse than the wind that is around my island on a fairly regular basis, so I wasn’t too concerned about it.  If that was a typhoon, I could be okay with that.

And then I was awoken by the most horrible sound.  There was a high-pitched whistling echoing through my house, things were creaking, there was some banging going on outside, and my doors and windows were shaking from the sheer force of the wind.  It was rather terrifying.  It was also rather early in the morning.  I thought I’d try to sleep, but there was no sleeping during that, so I was awake, in the darkness, too scared to do much but charge things because I expected power to go out.

And go out, it did, in some places.  Mine, fortunately, just flickered a few times.  And then, I got a call saying I didn’t have to come to work, and the announcement came on saying that students didn’t have to go to school.  But then the typhoon went away, much to everyone’s surprise.  It was alarming, but then I had to go to work in the afternoon anyway because the winds stopped.  Working on very little sleep is exhausting.

On Thursday, I was awoken early in the morning by a raging thunderstorm.  Thanks, weather.  I had a busy day that day, too, by traveling to one of my other schools consisting of three classes in a row.  The boat ride was awful, since the ocean was a mess after the typhoon.  We even came to a complete stop to avoid the giant line of tree bits floating in the water, which itself was going up and down and up and down.  This was followed by my first eikaiwa (English Conversation Club) until 9:00pm.    It was enjoyable, but the stress about it up until then and the lack of sleep got to me.

And then there was Friday, a rainy day that also stormed a bit, but not for long.  Just long enough to make going to work in the rain obnoxious.

I also got to work on Saturday (yaaaaay, 6-day work week!)  But I get Tuesday off and Monday is a holiday, so at least I’ve got a three-day weekend followed by a three-day work week.  Saturday was interesting since there was only one student in class.  I taught them how to play dots and boxes, as well as tic-tac-toe, and now it’s all they want to play.

Today, I was busy helping a friend out all day, then I made cookies with her (yaaaay), and then came home.  This morning, I saw my first tanuki (Japanese racoon-dog things) and it was the most adorable thing.  They’re nocturnal creatures, so I was just as surprised as it when I saw it at 8:30 in the morning.  It doesn’t have a tail, but has a rather raccoon-y face.  It’s basically like a Yorkshire terrier, but a little bigger and with the appearance, otherwise, of a raccoon.  I regret that, surprised as we both were by the encounter, I did not bring my camera.

My three-day week might even turn into a two-day week if the other typhoon hits when the forecast says it’s going to.  And if it actually hits and doesn’t fizzle out or anything.  But I’d honestly rather have the work week than another one of those.

Oh, and I’ve also been practicing the violin for at least two hours a day.  I’m not complaining, but I am pretty busy!

Finally, I made gratin tonight.  Part of making it requires me to boil noodles.  In the process of transferring the noodles from the pot to the dish I would cook them in, I dropped one.  If you know anything about Japanese konro (gas stoves), then you know that there’s usually a little fish grill in the middle with a vent between the two stove tops and a little kinda-lid thing.  Well, the noodle rolled under the lid when I dropped it.  So, I lift up the lid expecting to find the noodle on top of the vent, but it wasn’t there.  Not particularly surprised, I checked around the edges to see if the noodle had rolled into a corner.  Then I was a little surprised.  The noodle wasn’t there.  But, as I would naturally think, maybe it fell through the vent on one end somehow and fell INTO the fish grill.  So, fully convinced that I’ll open it and see my noodle, I pull out the fish grill.

No noodle.

I searched again, but still can’t find it.  I have no idea where it went or how.  So, either my konro ate it, or I am now the proud owner of a Magic Noodle.  I’m living like a REAL adult here, guys.

Today’s Japanese (今日の日本語): About the violin and at least the piano (not sure about violin).  You hiku (弾く) them.  Hiku is a cool little verb about which I intend to learn more.  It also means to pull, or draw back.  Granted, the kanji are different depending on the usage, but the word is still the same.  Note: the thing about Japanese classes that always bugged me is that they talk about words like they translate to one or multiple things.  This is not always true.  Hiku, like other words in Japanese, has ONE meaning which, used in a variety of contexts, indicates different things.






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