Unfortunately, in years of studying Japanese, I had never learned the suite of vocabulary required for this situation. Not one lesson had covered “Your tyre is stuck in a drain, do you have a jack in your car so we can leverage it out?”
I had entertained the thought that being cloaked in the appropriate apparel would make me feel more involved, when in fact I felt far more self conscious and fraudful.
Received wisdom about bear encounters conflictingly suggests running, standing one’s ground, or playing dead; a selection that seems fatally incompatible.
Mountains are quite often used to connote that which is fixed and enduring, but in reality there are few things more changeable than the mountains.
Once in the wake of a contact lens delivery I came back to find a thin cardboard parcel sticking out of my door like someone trying to eat a pizza box from the corner.
Thanks to simplified biological diagrams, a lack of experience of in situ viscera, and a general naivety, I had previously thought of the oesophagus as a clear drop to the stomach, like a stone well to some distant cavern below. It wasn’t until an unwelcome object needed to make the journey through my digestion that I came to realise how ludicrous this image was.
One day Nakano-sensei asked which of the elementary schools is my favourite, and it’s possible that I answered a little too quickly with “Matsuyama.”
‘Language barrier’ is a phrase well-worn to the point of being threadbare, but it is not until one has experienced the communicative rampart that the barrier in question seems less like a linguistic picket fence and more of a socially impenetrable stone barrack.
As an occupation, teaching can take you to soaring heights of euphoria and hell-belly lows of stress and frustration.
Coming to the realisation that my plan was considerably flawed, I eventually decided to walk to the station, hoping that should anyone be attempting to find me, a bedraggled Caucasian by the roadside would be noticeable enough.