Friday, July 29, 2005

School's Out For Summer (2 days, really)

Well, in a few hours I'm off to Japan, so take it easy while I'm gone! It feels good to be on vacation!

This is normally my favourite weekend of the year. My family has a big kick-ass long-weekend long party at our cottage, and this is the 4th year I've missed it. *Sigh*

Last year was the biggest one yet, and I think there were over 40 people up there! As usual, police were called. On a normally quiet and serene lake, noise travels far. The fact that the big stereo is set up on the front-lawn-cum-volleyball-court-cum-dance-floor doesn't help. I've asked my brother to send me some pictures, and we'll see if he comes through for us.

Likewise, we'll see if I can wrangle the use of my friend's digital camera in Japan, or maybe I'll just finally get around to buying one.

Take care!

Thursday, July 28, 2005


For the past two days, a very old woman has followed me to work, yelling things at me. Yesterday she started yelling from behind me, so I just turned around every once in awhile and smiled at her as she got further and further away (but raised her voice louder and louder.) Today, I passed her before surpassing her, and I think she may have been screaming at me to wear a hat. She kept pointing at my head, and then to her fashionable huge straw hat with a large piece of cloth hanging from it (kind of like a beach cabana on her head) and up to the sky. Either that, or she is the Korean version of Chicken Little, warning me about the sky falling on our heads.

Similarly, my outside cat Valerie popped out from under parked cars the last two days meowing her head off at me. Holy shit, she's loud. She tried to keep up with me, but I was walking fast. I was in a hurry. There were kids who needed some English learnin' and I, by God, wasn't about to let them down. She caught me again the last three nights, anyhow. She got tuna the first night, a whole flat, grilled and torn in bits squid last night, and some more tuna tonight. I'd like to give her cat food, but the last time I tried she turned her skinny nose up at it. Besides, I have to travel an hour and 20 minutes on the bus to pick it up for Kamikaze, so it's easier to grab some people-food from the supermarket on the way home. Valerie waits outside while I buy it.

Wyatt mentions how he has experienced a drop in attendance lately, which provides for an increase in better behaviour in his classes. I have a similar thing going on. One of my students, Lucy, (mentioned briefly here) has gone for a month long English program in the Philippines, arranged through our school. Tony almost joined her, but his mom saw on the news where some Korean was killed there, so she backed out. The only other student who did go was the one who opened a Love Motel in my apartment last September. Other than a kid who puked, and Willa the Devil (the Lucy link) these two Philippine bound and one almost Philippine bound kids are the only ones I've ever blogged about. Isn't dat veeeeeird?

I know I went totally link-happy in the last paragraph. Sorry about that.

A new Love Hotel may or may not be opened this coming weekend. (Smooth segue!) I've arranged for 2 middle school students to stop in and feed and water my cat while I'm off in Japan. They did a pretty good job last February, with my only complaint being I arrived home to find the balcony door open and a freezing apartment. I'm a little nervous about one of them, Ellie, who's been just downright sullen and moody and, well, bloody rude in class lately. A few weeks ago, during a discussion about pets, Ellie replied "No, I have no pets." When I asked her why, she said "I hate animals." Ahhhh, that's nice!

I considered having the Korean teachers float a rumour I have hidden video cameras installed in my apartment. Yes, I'm a little paranoid. I'm mostly worried they'll try to pet or play with Kamikaze and he's so scared he bites them, and they retaliate by bashing his little skull in. That would be bad.

I'm sure it'll all work out fine. I'm excited about my trip!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Way to Go Canada!!

In other news:

Canada wins dumbest government at World Stupidity Awards; Bush wins one award


Hey Ladies!

On my way out the door to work today I saw a blurb on MSN about women having been ordained as Catholic priests and I thought "Huh?" Granted, I haven't been to church in a long time, and the only way I've kept up with the goings on within the religion have been watching the Pope's funeral months ago and the naming of the new Pope, Bernadette,, no, that's not right,....Benedictine. As far as I knew this morning, the Catholics were still pretty much against women priests. Aren't they?

When I got to work, I googled it, and found this article. Apparently, nine women were ordained, on the Canadian St. Lawrence Seaway, aboard the Thousand Island III tour-bout, as either Roman Catholic priests or deacons, in an unsanctioned ceremony. One women, before being ordained as a deacon, said, "I believe it's valid even if it's against the law of the church because it is an unjust law,"

Ahhhh, it's like that eh?

Well I just wanted you all to know that only moments ago, in an unsanctioned ceremony in my apartment, I have been appointed a United States Supreme Court Justice. I believe it's valid, even if I'm Canadian.

Apparently, this isn't the 1st time women have been unofficially ordained in unsanctioned ceremonies. In 2002, on a pleasure boat on the Danube, women were also ordained, only to be later ex-communicated by then Cardinal Ratzinger, (now Pope Bernadette, DAMN, Benedictine,...what the hell is wrong with me?)

It makes me wonder why women are having to go on boat cruises to get ordained? What is the link between voyages on the S.S. Minnow and becoming a femme priest? Were Ginger, Maryanne, and Mrs. Howell, in fact, unofficial Roman Catholic priests?

In my online search today, I also found out that the Catholic church has been ordaining married men! The Vatican grants special celibacy dispensations in some cases. I did not know that!! So, if they can seemingly bend, what I thought was a hard fast rule regarding priests and sex, why can't they bend towards Father-Lady priests?

This site, (Catholic Planet) would have you believe the Catholic church will have naught to do with Lady-priests,....EVER! "Women cannot be validly ordained to the priesthood, because Christ did not give His Church the authority to confer priestly ordination on women. Therefore, between now and the Return of Christ, women cannot be priests." Hmph!

And furthermore, if any of you good Catholic women had any questions about how to dress and behave, Catholic Planet offers these helpful guidelines. Just a sample: "Women should wear skirts and dresses; they should not wear pants. Women should have longer hair than men; a woman's hair style should be feminine (not masculine and not androgenous). Women should dress and groom themselves in a feminine manner, to show that they accept the place God has given women in Creation, in society, in the family, and in the Church."


Anyhow, I have to go iron my pants before I go make some supreme court rulings about very important and serious matters.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


I live with one big fat cat and a million tiny brown ants. I thought their favourite food was the leftover bits of fish the cat leaves in his dish, but I was wrong. A spider killed by said cat and left to decay on my floor is a far tastier treat, as I discovered when I went to pick up what I thought was a piece of lint, and got me a handful of dead spider and 200 scattering ants. Guh-rohss.

In other news, I'm going to Japan for the weekend. Does anyone need me to pick anything up?

Monday, July 25, 2005

A Wee Prank

A number of years ago, when I had just finished highschool, I had a job working as an account reconciliation person (I forget my actual title) at a company that lorded over 4 very popular Toronto restaurants. I initially started out at one of the restaurants, a popular tourist attraction and destination for those who had tickets for events at the nearby theatre, as a hostess. Eventually, I worked my way upstairs into a 'numbers' job, even though I don't particularly like numbers, and kind of sucked at math.

I got my very good friend, Kim, a job there. Well, I didn't hire her, but let her know they were looking for someone, and once she sent in her resume, they hired her. I totally loved Kim, she was funny and smart, and started dating my brother at some point or another. We were all living together in the early 90's, me, my brother, Kim, and her two beloved cats. I mention this, only to note that Kim was an avid animal lover. If you haven't guessed, I am too.

Kim was also a player of pranks. A horrible breakup with my brother effectively put an end to our friendship, but I still think of her often, and cherish the super-fun times we shared.

The office we worked at had a mouse problem. They hired a pest control company to come in and straighten things out, and they left poison at the office in little receptacles in the corners. This meant that we would often find dead mice in the mornings when we arrived at work. This upset Kim very much, and she would usually put the mouse aside in a manilla envelope and give them a little mouse funeral on her lunch hour or way home.

As I said, Kim was a joker, and she played a prank on me at one point, and I vowed revenge. One Sunday, I got the chance.

Kim and I were often behind in our work because we were constantly screwing around during the workweek. So sometimes we would meet up to go in on a Saturday or Sunday to get out shit together. Ususally we would work through dinner and order in Chinese food to the office.

The Sunday in question, we had arrived at work to find a little dead mouse lying in the middle of the office. I scooped it into a manilla envelope and stapled it shut. I told Kim we could bury it on our way home.

We worked. We ordered Chinese. Over dinner at my desk, I pulled a single wonton from my soup, drained it a bit in my hand, placed it in a manilla envelope and stapled it shut. In time, Kim made some funny smart-ass comment and I said "Okay you, that's it."

I walked over and placed the manilla (wonton) envelope on her desk. She, of course, thought it was the mouse. She said "Jelly, fuck off, take that thing off my desk, quit fucking around." I looked at her all crazy like and laughed like a lunatic. She said "Jellllllly!!"

I raised my arm up in the air and brought my fist down hard on the lump in the envelope, making a big wet spot in the middle. "You're NOT SO FUNNY NOWWWWWW, eh KIMMMM?" And I laughed like a lunatic.

Kim started to gag. And run away. Her suspicion that I was crazy was confirmed.

I laughed my ass off, but it took a really long time to convince her that what I had flattened was a wonton and not a dead baby mouse. Sometimes, revenge is funny!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Details, Details

Yes, so. A call. It was nice to talk to him finally. We've been flitting around each other but not actually connecting for months. It started with a Christmas card he sent, which I finally got in February.

He's a smart, kindhearted fellow. We had fun, but he was technically my "rebound," if there's any legitimacy to that tired label. Our short lived affair ended after some silly argument, with my taking off to Scotland to try to mend my shattered heart.

Oh, boo-hoo.

This guy did, however, write me over the years, two of the sweetest letters I have ever received, but they went unanswered because I'm stubborn and lazy like that.

"Forgive me for fantasizing about all the things we could have talked about. A whole least. And at the most, you will say my appreciation of things runs too little, too late...but it is only in their later acceptance that I find their true worth. I do remember everything. And I can accept memory's lesson."


I picked these letters up from where they were hidden at my mother's house when I was last there over a year ago. And I have read them a few times when I was feeling bummed out. And I wondered what happened to him.

Now I know. He's doing well, single and (holy shit time is flying) now 40!! We've promised to keep in touch. We'll see how that goes.

Last night I had a crazy dream. We pulled over on the highway because there was some sort of protest/strike happening. The protestors/picketers were angry. There were overturned tanker trucks blazing and fires everywhere. And there were animals running around. I tried to catch them, and ended up walking around with two fat ducks, seven tiny mice, as many bunnies my arms could hold, and one calico kitten with huge paws. The rest of my dream was me losing and recapturing these animals. I finally constructed an airy white tent and put all the animals inside except the ducks. They sat on my lap.

I was admiring them and stroking their feathers, when one of them reared it's head back and plunged it's beak deep into the other one's head. It pulled brains out, and the now brainless duck went limp like a wind-up toy who ran out of wind up energy. A screen on the killer duck's belly appeared and read "Oh, did I ruin your fun?"

I woke up unnerved.


A 3:00am phonecall from an ex-boyfriend. Things just got very interesting in Jelly Land! Tell you more tomorrow!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

He Poses Proudly in His Tutu

In an effort to slim down, Kamikaze's taken up ballet.
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I support his dance, but he's kind of demanding, wanting me to be involved. "Lift me, spin me, pas de deux with me." And sheesh, how many hours can one listen to Tchaikovsky in a day before going insane?

Friday, July 22, 2005

How You Feelin'?


"It's gettin hot in here. So take off all your clothes."

You know that song, don't you? Nelly sings it? I always thought it sounded better if it rhymed: "It's gettin hot in here, so take off all your gear." Maybe Nelly thought of that too, but 'gear' sounds too gay or something like that.

How about "It's gettin hot in here, so come on, have a beer. I am gettin so hot, I wanna grow my beer gut!"


How's the weather? Hot enough for ya? Hardy har har. *&#%^%&&!!

It's hot here, in case you haven't surmised that yet. Summer, in all its glory, is upon me. Feels like hell. I spent some time yesterday wishing I was wearing clothes made of non-melting ice. I am Canadian. I am a winter-woman. I just don't DO hot well at all. So this is going to sound ranty. Be warned.

Yesterday, after work, an old woman with a mouth full of silver fillings, walked up to me and cackled. She sort of shouted something to me in Korean and I smiled and bowed. (Yah, ok grandma.) She came up close to me and shouted a little more. I smiled. Then she pointed to her cheek, her nose and her chin and shouted more. And cackled. I smiled some more. Then she grabbed my chin and waggled my face. Right, that's it.

I dropped my hockey gloves, cocked my head and punched my puffed out chest with my fists, "What's that GMM?!? (Grandma-Metal-Mouth) You wanna GO? I'll go! Let's GO! BRING IT!!!!" I stepped back and gestured with my hands: Bring It. Come On, Let's Go!!

She didn't bring it. She just walked off cackling with her bag of vegetables. Chicken.

The smallest classroom at my school is the hottest. It has large classes filled with hyper children and only one little air conditioning vent. I spend my time in there sweating and walking around to follow the motion of the fan. I have a bit of a short fuse and a loud bellowy voice with the kids in there these days. I'll tell you though, if I peer into the next classroom and catch Judy, the Korean teacher, with the window open one more time, I'm going to kill her. I've asked her, since she started, to please keep the windows closed. I got in shit with the boss for having the window open with the heating on last winter, (I was actually airing out a students' fart) so I know it's not copacetic at my school. Karen actually said "it is like money going out the window," which is not only true, but also an excellently constructed English sentence. Bravo!

I've asked Judy why she needs to open the window. A couple weeks ago she said air conditioning makes her sleepy. Today she said "I don't like dark." I don't know what she means, but that's not unusual. I like Judy, but have given her a few warnings about the open window. One more time, and she must die.

Just in case there is any question as to what I'm like in the summer, I've hired professionals to create an easy-to-understand graphic:
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Do yourself a favour, and don't mess with me!

He Lies Fatly Beside His Carrot

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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Valerie, Call on Me

I should have known what sort of day I was going to have, when a piece of shit from my cat's ass clung to his bung-hole just long enough, as he was exiting his litter box, to drop into my brand new sandal. I was lucky I looked down while putting my foot into it, or I would have ended up with 'toe-poo' as I was rushing out the door.

Ah, my day wasn't so bad, was just kind of "blah." We played one or the other of my two new games in almost all my classes. 'Frog Juice' continues to go over quite well with the older kids. I have become good at explaining it. 'Chomp' continues to confuse the kids, and I'm going to try to explain it backwards from how I have been tomorrow. I got a little frustrated with my first class of talkative little kids when they, even after I got the Korean teacher to help me explain, just couldn't get it. I smiled happily at them and said very quickly and sweetly, "You guys are a little bit retarded, aren't you?" They smiled and giggled at me. Yep, thought so!

Easy now, I was just kidding.

I mentioned before I was going to go to an amusement park, Ooooo Bang Land, with the kids next Monday. I found out today that's not going to happen. Not enough kids signed up for it. I knew it was a dumb idea to go on the same trip as last year. Now, had we gone to Egypt for a camel ride, as I had suggested, the kids would have been all over that trip! I was disappointed, and I shouldn't really be. Going meant waking up at 7am, which is about 2 hours after I normally like to go to sleep, and it would have been a long hot day. However, I never get to really interact with the kids outside the classroom, so I had been looking forward to a day-trip and some fun with them. Ah well.

I asked Elizabeth if maybe she thought we could go somewhere else at a later date, and she didn't think so. She said the kids are in school Monday to Saturday regularly, and on Sunday they are resting. Not true in August, but we have "special classes," so everyone's going to be busy and tired next month.

I asked if maybe she thought we could go somewhere in the winter when the kids are on their month-long vacation, and Elizabeth said she'd asked Karen that, and was told it was "too dangerous."

I said, "What? Abominable Korean Snowman?" Elizabeth didn't even blink at that, but said "no, snow and froze water." Ahhhh. Yah. That happens as often as the Abominable Korean Snowman is sighted. It doesn't really matter, anyhow. I haven't committed to staying on past December 11th, so chances are I might not be here next January!

I haven't mentioned this before, but I have an inside cat and an outside cat. I met the outside kitty last Fall. She is so tiny I thought she was a kitten, but it turns out she is a full crown mini-cat with grown cats of her own. I named her Valerie after about the 4th time I met her on the way to work and I had a Steve Winwood song running through my head. Valerie is a mouthy little thing who recognizes me as I approach and starts meowing her kitty-head off. She follows me to the supermarket and waits yowling outside while I buy her a can of tuna. Very Mary had a little lamb, but it's Jelly has a little cat!

She's nervous around any other people, but with me it's like she can't decide which she wants more, the can of tuna or a nice head-scratch. I don't see her every day, but lately she's been waiting on the route home and ambushes me. I'm always glad to see her. This past winter when it was so cold and it looked like she had a broken back leg it pained me to meet up with her, but she's doing well now, although she's horribly skinny. Kamikaze's about five times her size.

My day ended as it started, in cat-related folly, with me slashing my knuckle good while opening Valerie's dinner. Some days are like these, I suppose, as opposed to those that are like those.

Say that last sentence 10 times fast!


I noticed these tasty new arrivals last week at the supermarket underneath my school.
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Mmmmmmmm, WORM COOKIES!!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Three Reasons I'm an Idiot

In Korea and Japan, when gesturing toward oneself, you point your finger at your face. This differs a lot from the self-gesturing toward one's chest in the West. It took some time to get used to, but I have, and back home people notice. They also said I was bowing too much, and using bits of Japanese or Korean (unconsciously) too much. Whatever. More on that another time.

At my former school in Japan there is always a big Halloween celebration at a rented out venue. We have games and give out candy and have a little costume parade and contest. I always thought it was a lot of work, but a fun day. For the two years I worked the party, I was a big fat black cat. Go figure, eh?

The first Halloween party took place only a couple weeks after I started teaching at the school, and my Japanese was pitiful. (It still is, but even more so back then.) As I walked around, I kept hearing people - the students and the parents, saying "Kawaii!" when they saw me. I assumed that they were saying "CAT." since that was, afterall, what I was. So when I met people from then on I would practice my newly learned word and proclaim myself "KAWAII!" (CAT!!) Only I was saying it totally wrong, and pronounced it "kOwaii." I am an idiot for walking around pointing to the middle of my face and declaring myself, to small children and their parents, as "SCARY!" (*Actually 'neco' means cat in Japanese, while it's "goyani" in Korean, one to two to three syllables. Complicated.)

I only very recently learned that athletic wristbands actually have a purpose. Goldie stopped by a Nike store to but a pair before we went dancing. I didn't understand why it was so important for him to pick these up, and wondered if it was some raver trend I wasn't aware of. Goldie put them on in the store, danced a little bit, and used the terry-cloth wristbands to mop the pretend sweat off his brow. Well! Whadd'ya know about that!!

I have watched many a tennis match and seem many a tennis player sporting those wrist-socks, and I'm sure I've seen many of then use them to wipe their foreheads, but it still didn't click until G spelled it out for me. I'm an idiot because I miss the function of many a good idea.

The Big Ho just wrote about being wasteful with our resources. I came home tonight and once I entered my apartment, marveled at how cool it still was, seeing as I thought I had opened the balcony door before I left for work. I looked at said door, yes, I had. I looked at my air-conditioner and yes, I had left it on too. Poor thing spent the day labouring to keep my apartment at 25 degrees with a 31 degree breeze blowing on in. Just a couple weeks ago I woke up to discover my apartment was without water so I used cold water from my water-machine to bathe, but left the tap on in the bathroom and came home to find nice hot water had been running out of it for hours. I'm an idiot for pissing my money away.


By the way, surely this, from Wunderground's weather site can't be right, can it? It didn't seem that cold today!
Clear. High: -22° F / -30° C Wind SW 6 mph / 10 km/h
By the way, "kawaii," in Japanese, means 'CUTE!'

Fun and Games

While I was at the English book store on the weekend I picked up a couple of cards games, Frog Juice and Image hosted by Chomp that I tried in a few of my classes today.

Neither are particularly heavy on using English, but the explaining the rules of the game is about a lesson and a half in itself. We do use some English in playing the game, and the kids aren't supposed to speak Korean while playing. It's cool. If you spent time in my classes, you'd probably think my name was "Teacha-Game," since that's what the kids say to me when I first come in the class, and repeat...well, repeatedly through class. I respond "yeah, yeah, yeah," and follow through if we complete all the activities I've planned, and if the kids can manage to stay fairly well behaved. After a over a year teaching these same kids, the made-up games in my bag of tricks are wearing thin, and there aren't too many appropriate actual games at my school.

Anyhow, these games went over kind of ok. The kids loved it because they were playing a game, even if they didn't know what the hell they were doing. I was frustrated, though. My students are, by and large, such a bunch of cheaters!! I'm going to lay the law down next time, if I catch you cheating, you will get a warning. The 2nd time you're out of the game. We'll see how that one goes over. I'm thinking, as well, that you should tack on a couple years to the age suggestion of games that aren't specifically designed for EFL classes. My 7 and 8 year olds really struggled with the rules of "Chomp," meant for ages 6 and up. (My 11 and 12 year olds fared much better, and almost got the idea. Sort of.) And my pre-teens had a hard time with "Frog Juice," which is meant for ages 8 and up. Truth be told, even I had to keep referring to the instructions.

I'm sure with patience and more instruction, they'll get the hang of it. I've also bought Silly Sentences awhile ago, but this was met with a "chaimee opda," (this ain't no frickin fun.) I wish there was a game called "The Most Excellent Funnest EFL game in the World," and it would constantly provide new challenges and never get boring. Perhaps some super fun game you would play with a super fun robot. Oh wait, I am a super fun robot.

When I got home late tonight, I ran into the amazing walking frog who lives behind my apartment. I even picked him up and he did not pee on me. I put him down and he walked away quickly, but then changed his mind and turned around to come right back to me and then begged to get picked up again. (Okay, he didn't beg, but I could tell he was pleading in his frog brain "Up, up, up!") I considered bringing him upstairs for Kamikaze's inspection, but thought better of it and carried him across the parking lot to put him in the garden. He walked away. I don't want him to get smushed.

The dead flat decaying frog at the bottom of the hill is completely gone, even almost all of his little bones. Dust in the wind now.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Shaddup Already!

The cicadas outside on the hill are screaming so loud on the other side of my closed door, I am having trouble getting to sleep. Why are they so shrill and shrieky?

Sunday, July 17, 2005

He Shot Off Like a Fur-Rocket

This is the final part of the story of what my cat did while I spent a month in Canada. In case you missed it, the first part is here and part deux is here. I know hundreds of thousands of you have been anxiously awaiting the final installment.

Let me tell you a little story first, though. When I was in elementary school, I had really looked forward to the release of the movie The Incredible Shrinking Woman. For whatever reason, I had loved Lily Tomlin in 9 to 5, and so I happily skipped off to the movie theatre one fine day in 1981 to see a woman shrink. The movie started off with a voice over from the protagonist, along the lines of "let me tell you a story about how I shrank down almost to nothing." Well, I knew right away that Little Lily Tomlin would end up safe and sound, and she wouldn't shrink so much as to die. It was a bit disappointing.

So I realize that my mentioning Kamikaze sitting regally in his carrot behind me, kind of ruins the anxiousness tens of millions of you should be feeling about his well-being. Last you heard in Kamikaze's saga, he shot off like a rocket made of fur, and I had lost him again. The question of whether or not I found him again is pretty well ruined, n'est pas? Ah well. Let me tell you the rest anyhow.

Miyuki, her son, and I returned to Nakama the next day, and I set out walking around the neighbourhood of nice Japanese houses, calling "Kamikaze! Baby!" and making kissing sounds with my lips. After about a half an hour I finally heard a response, and Kamikaze walked out from under a bush in someone's front yard. I trespassed through the gate and gathered him up in my shirt. He relaxed in my arms and we walked back toward the brother-in-laws house to collect his things. Once I carried him up to the room he'd been staying in and set him down for a moment, he freaked out and bolted for the screen door, climbing nearly to the top in a panic. I plucked him off, and tried to comfort him as he made these horrible meow-moans. The brother-in-law came and took him from me, holding him like a baby while he sat down on the bed. I looked around, and noted Kamikaze's cat dish on the floor caked with dried food still, and his litter box absolutely FILLED with his clumps of waste. When Kamikaze hadn't stopped meowing after a couple minutes as I hurriedly gathered his belongings, the retarded brother-in-law stood up, walked over to an empty closet, shoved Kamikaze in there, and shut the door! No bloody wonder he had run away in the first place!

I used my laser beam eyes to kill the brother-in-law as I went to gather Kamikaze in my shirt. We were outta there, man!

Looking over my kitty in the car, I found a big chunk of fur missing from between his shoulder blades and a large scar there. He had scratches on his head as well. I asked if we could take him to the vet, and Miyuki said sure. The vet noted his claws were all shredded, and supposed he had had a run-in with either a car, or another animal. I doubt he ate much during his run-away adventure. He was only 4.5 kilos! We left with medicine for kitty, and took him back to Miyuki's house, where he would stay in the daughter's room with me, a place he had been before and was familiar with. He ate and drank and rested a lot and slowly returned to his normal self, sleeping beside me or on my back at night and enjoying a good game of 'mouse.' Over the next month he gained back more than 3 kilos, and returned to his robust Sumo-cat stature. I worried, when the scar on his back ballooned up, and the vet told me it was either an abscess caused by infection, or cancer. Another round of antibiotics cleared it up, and my big black pussy managed to survive the journey to Korea.

And now he lies lazily on his back with his big belly sticking up. And now the story of his adventure has been told. I'll post a picture of him sometime this week. Having a pet overseas when one isn't firmly "rooted" can be a pain in the ass, but it's worth it. I totally love my cat.

Oh, and the white haired lady? I made her up.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

A Quite Excellent Day

I had a really great day today! Lunch was delicious, and even though I wasn't very hungry, I think I ate my money's worth. Lots of smoked salmon and the new cheese fondue they had. And the price was 13,400 for lunch. Well worth it, I think.

'War of the Worlds,' I thought, was just outstanding. At one point in the movie I turned to Elizabeth, who was covering her eyes, and said "I am SO scared! I LOVE this movie!" I didn't get to bed until very very late last night (really, this morning) and was a little worried I might doze off with my belly full of yummy lunch, but I tell you, there was NO chance of that happening. This film is a big screen big sound movie. Don't wait for the DVD! I plan to see it again, as a matter of fact.

It was my first time seeing a movie in Korea, and I give it an overall thumbs up. Pluses were the comfortable cushy chairs and retractable arm rests. I enjoyed how the cleaning ladies came bursting through the doors the moment the first apres-film credit appeared on the screen. Minuses were the assigned seating, lack of diet coke at the concession stand, and the fact that one actually has to leave the movie complex to get a snack and travel up another floor. The popcorn smelled delicious, but I was too full. In Japan, they love caramel popcorn at the movies - so the concession area smells sweet and strange. I liked how I could get some cuttlefish to gnaw on at the movies here in Korea. Yummers!

When we went into the theatre, Elizabeth lead us up the wrong stairs and realized we'd have to pass a whole row of people to get to our seats on the other side. Elizabeth decided to screw the assigned seating system and had us plunk down a few rows ahead. As I left to search for a big movie soda, I saw the amount of people hurrying toward the theatre (the previews had already started when we'd arrived) and realized our seats were going to surely be claimed. Sure enough, once I got back to Elizabeth she was in the aisle seat, and all chairs beside her were occupied. She was still totally reluctant, for whatever reason, to go to our actual seats, so we sat in the mostly empty first row. At first, following the action on the screen was making me a little dizzy, but I got used to it quickly and then appreciated the extra leg room as I slouched down in my chair and stretched out. The biggest minus of the movie was the high school boy behind me who kept kneeing my chair, causing my head to jostle. It was annoying, and it's a pet peeve of mine in any situation where I have someone sitting behind me. Keep you frickin self off my chair!

After the movie, Elizabeth took off, and I went to browse in an English book store. I was told it's the largest in the city, and I was hoping for rows and rows of novels, but found only a small selection. Mostly it was an English textbook store, so I spent some time looking for a couple texts to teach for my extra summer classes.

I ran into a guy I had forgotten about. He lives in my suburb, very close to me as a matter of fact! I ran into him once before in the late winter when I was headed to work and he stopped his car to say hello. He was off to work as well, so we just had time to chat for a moment and exchange numbers. I promptly lost his number, and therefore never called. When he approached me at the bookstore with a "Hot enough for ya?" I thought he looked familiar. Turns out we attended the same university at the same time, and we even know some of the same people and professors! Small world! There were a few uncomfortable moments, though, when he became very angry and passionate talking about Canadian politics. I thought I might doze off, but he, like the movie, was big sound. We have tentative plans for tomorrow night - a drive and some dinner. We'll see if I feel like it!

I went looking for the Donchimee store and was successful in buying some funny things! Look at this notebook: Image hosted by
Here, Dongchimee is "testing to have creations." It's WARPED!! I LOVE it! And I love how he has a shit-shaped window looking out toward a pink sky. Just like at my house!

By the way,...

Here is Dongchimee's profile. I simply do NOT know why Kevin hasn't adopted him as a life-mascot!

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(From the very cute 'Engrish' Dalki website.)
* Sex: Male
* Hobby: Making art work using Dung
* Constellation: Virgin (September 9)
* Features: Creative only in Dung

* Character: Dongchimee, one of the characters of Dalkis, is different from Dalkis, main character. Dalkis' friends do not live in the neighborhood of and live with Water Melon, Lemon, Dolbam, and Banana. Dongchimee loves Dung very much. It is his own creation. It is hard to adjust and makes him feel good every morning.

Dongchimee tries to test to have creations. He sometimes makes dung watery or dry. He makes sketches of such satisfactory dung and put it in a glass bottle. Dongchimee spends most of time at home. He sticks out dung of others unconsciously when he is outside. He can't stand just watching it. That's why they call him "Dongchimee".

It's Friday Night, and I Feel Alright!

Dinner was nice tonight. I almost passed on it because I was totally pissed off, (tell you later maybe, if ever) but I'm glad I didn't. We went to this interesting restaurant where they had tables outside, a huge movie screen where they were playing some Santa Claus movie for the kids, and an old rusty 4-person swing that I'm glad I didn't play on. I almost did, but I discovered while pushing it, the rust stains would have totally ruined my new white t-shirt. There were also big cages with roosters and hens and other cute birds, and turkeys and bright coloured big birds, and rabbits and guinea pigs and lovebirds, and 2 not-so-happy monkeys, and cute little birds poking their beaks out of 2 nests.

By the time we explored, dinner was already cooking on the grill at our picnic style table. It was bossam of sorts. Check out Fatman's description of this meat. When my friend Goldie was here, we ordered it delivered from a restaurant that's known for it's delicious bossam, and we were totally turned off at getting a big heaping pile of fat, pretty much. The bossam at the monkey restaurant (which is really called "Clean Barbeque!") was thick and smoky and after grilled quite delicious, dipped in some kind of mustardy sauce and wrapped in sesame (hate 'em) leaves or lettuce with kimchi, wasabi and vinegar soaked onions, thins strips of green leafy stuff and garlic. I should have played on the swing afterall, because I dropped a big wad of kimchi and onion on the front of me within the first few bites.

My co-worker did bring her digital camera and is supposed to e-mail me some pics sometime soon. It's convinced me I want to buy a digital camera. I have a gorgeous Canon Eos which takes excellent shots, but it's cumbersome and I never get around to developing any pictures. I have about 15 rolls I dropped off at my moms place well over a year ago, which documents all my time in Japan. I have a few rolls here as well. Judy (my co-worker) tells me they sell digital cameras on TV quite cheap, so I'll surf more Korean channels. Soon soon.

Tomorrow I am meeting Elizabeth for lunch at this nice buffet restaurant, Paprika. You can read a review half way down the page here, or a tiny blurb here. I'm not sure they got the prices right in the first link, I remember them being more in the 13,000won area last time I went for lunch in May. Doesn't matter, I plan to eat at least 13,000 won worth of smoked salmon, and drop another 4,000 won down the front of my t-shirt just for good measure. Then we're off to see War of the Worlds, my 1st movie at the theatre in Korea.

Then I'm off to search for a little store my students told me about that sells kitchy "Dalki" things. She's a popular strawberry headed animation chick in Korea. I'm in search of Dongchimee toys. I like sending them to my brother in the hopes he will become the avid collector of shit related things he should be. Check out Dongchimee: Image hosted by
Wish me luck!

Friday, July 15, 2005


Last Friday I bought three white chocolate with Macadamia nut cookies from Walmart. I'm not really crazy about sweet things, but I saw these cookies and had to get some. They are, by far, my favourite cookie.

I ate one on Saturday and another on Monday night. They were very so-so, kind of soggy and blah. I actually had forgotten about that last cookie until I discovered it a few minutes ago when I lifted up a bag of end pieces of a loaf of bread to throw out. "Hey! Cookie!"

I popped it under the grill of my silly little stove for about 3 minutes or so. Holy Schmoly, Batman, that was one tasty cookie!! Crisp on the outside and gooey sweet goodness on the inside. Now I want to go back in time and stick the other two under the grill before I ate them. Mmmmmmm cookie.

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Thursday, July 14, 2005

Thirsty Bunny

Tomorrow, weather permitting, I'm going to go dine with my bosses and co-workers outside at a restaurant that my boss chose because she thinks I'll like it there. There are some birds and some monkeys apparently! (Not to eat, I think they live there.) She said it's a bit expensive, but the meat is delicious. I hope it doesn't rain!

My co-worker has promised to bring her digital camera so I can take a couple pictures and then she'll e-mail them to me, and I'll blog them. So maybe YOU can see the monkeys too! I hope she doesn't forget.

I might try to see if I can borrow said camera for the weekend and then I will take a couple pictures of my big black pussy and show you how massive he is. I mean my cat, sick-o.

On my way to work, I pass by a big sad white rabbit in a cage. I always stop and say "Hi Bunny!" and he nibbles at my finger. It was driving me mad that he never had any water in there, and on hot humid days I would arrive at work completely bothered by it.

Recently I passed by a pet store to see the two cool bats who hang upside down there, and I spied one of those rabbit/guinea pig upside-down water bottles. I bought it, thinking about the thirsty white rabbit. I asked Elizabeth to write a note in Korean I could attach to the bottle, and she did. Turns out she had translated my frustration at the sight of water-less bunny, and penned the Korean equivalent of "animals need water to live, dumb-ass!" She didn't have time to finish the note though, as the bell rang. I asked my boss to finish it off, but when Karen read it, she blushed, and hemmed and hawed, "Jenny, can I write a new note?" "Sure!" I said. "Why?" And she told me what Elizabeth had written.

I laughed, and said "ohhh!" and told Karen what I actually wanted to say was along the lines of "here is a present for your rabbit, I hope he likes it!" and I drew a little picture of a happy rabbit drinking from a bottle, (I also wanted to diagram how to attach the bottle to the cage, just in case they didn't have a clue.) I didn't want to insult the people who own the rabbit, I just wanted the animal to be able to have a drink. (There actually was a plastic bowl in the cage, but it was always overturned with the bottom of the cage damp. I don't think rabbits do well with water bowls.) Karen had never seen a water bottle like that, so perhaps the Bunny-owners hadn't either.

Elizabeth really hasn't mastered sarcasm, and I'm guessing she isn't the most tactful person in Korean either. She takes everything I say very literally, and I've learned to explain when I'm joking. Karen smiled and said something along the lines of "Elizabeth is like that."

I left the bottle tied to their door last Friday on my way to work. (The rabbit's cage is actually behind a restaurant/home.) I was very pleased on Monday when I noticed the full bottle hanging on the bunny's cage, and the addition of a smaller brown rabbit as well! Now I stop and say "hello bunnies!!" I hope the rabbits figure out how to drink from it. Are rabbits smarter than sheep?

If your friend jumped off a bridge,...

would you?
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If I were a sheep, then probably, yes. Did you see this? Sad!! And sheep,... not so smart!

A Thought

I was thinking today about that old saying' "A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush." To me, it seems fairly sexual, and in that vein, perhaps not even true. And in a general sense, it's not particularly true at all, if the bird in your hand is a hungry vulture confusing your fingers for tasty pieces of raw chicken. You think?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

A Solid 'A' Day

I learned a couple of interesting things today. I will have a holiday on the 1st and 2nd of August. Yeee hah! Holidays are good. I might be headed to Japan. I want to. We'll see. Probably.

I also found out that in a couple weeks I'm going to be going to Ooooo Baang Land with the kids. Wheeee! I like going on field trips, and I only get to do it once a year. At my old school in Masan, I used to be able to take the kids out - in my special superstar genius class, about maybe once a week. It was fun. We'd play "what's this?" and "what's that?" and chat as we walked around the neighbourhood. I liked to get out of the classroom and disguise errands as learning-trips, "Okay kids! Today we're going to the DRYCLEANERS!!! Yeah!!!!" I think the management liked to have me walking around speaking English to these little kids as an advertisement for their school. It was cool.

Anyhow, so in a couple weeks I will visit an amusement park with all the kids, and I will not go on any rides, though they will beg me. Well, that's not true - I will go on rides that go round and round (see: merry-go-round) but I don't like going upside down or super-fast. I anticipate, even though it might be hotter than hell, that it'll be fun. The last time we took a trip I had only been teaching at my school about a month and a half, so I didn't know the kids as well as I do now. I have to say, I'm a little disappointed that we're going to the same place we went last summer. I have been suggesting other things to do for the last few months, but I guess my boss didn't think Tokyo Disneyland, camel-rides in Egypt, or Santa's Workshop at the North Pole were appropriate.

One thing that's too bad about Ooooo Baang Land is there aren't any games! Well, there's a silly little video game place, and another stall where you can shoot one of those high-powered bb-gun to win stupid ugly prizes. I miss the games from back home, hoop-over-the-bottle or ping-pong-ball-in-a-candy-dish kind of thing. It's weird to be at an amusement park and not see people (me) lugging around huge stuffed animals.

As I've said before, there are 2 elementary schools in my neck of the woods, and all the students at my school go to one or the other. Today, the upper grades from one of the schools were off on a school trip to Gyuengju. (Later in the week, the other school will go on a similar trip.) I don't know exactly what they do on the trip, but when I asked one kid today what he'll be doing on his class outing, he grabbed both his ears and hopped like a frog. I said "really?" and he nodded yes, really. Wheeeee! Boot camp!

So there were only a few kids in classes today. My 3rd class had only one student show up, so my boss asked if it was okay she join the other (lower-level) class Elizabeth was teaching, and the next period I would teach my regular class plus Elizabeth's class. Sounded fair to me, so I had an hour-long break, which almost never happens! I was surprised though, when virtually ALL the students of both classes turned up for the next period, and I had to teach 11 kids in all. Plus it was a combination of "level 4" students with "level 7." (3rd period had my sole level 2 student join a class of level 1's.) It didn't seem fair to me, but I didn't say anything. (I saved bitching for here.) What do you think? I figured I was supposed to be teaching during that time, and because I knew I would have a combination of varying English abilities, I planned appropriately, and they all learned something new (I had activities with the themes of countries and nationalities.) Ahhh well. Overall, it was an easy day. My 2nd last class was two very bright sweet little girls. They're a part of Tony's class, and while they're usually very reserved and quiet, I usually have to spend too much time managing Tony in class. Today, with just the three of us in class, we did a fun creative activity about body parts, and Lola, the quieter of the two, completely laughed her head off. It was great to hear!

Overall, a great day at school, I give it a solid A.

Oh, and I've got a small class of 4 girls in one of my 2nd periods, and I have them all able to sing along with me to 70's hit by R.B. Greaves, "Take a Letter Maria" because I've sang it so often to the little girl nicknamed Maria when I take attendance. How fun is that?

Monday, July 11, 2005

I Wrote a Letter

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We've gotten a break in the weather here. I turned on my air conditioner on Friday because it was muggy, but turned it off Saturday evening when the temperature started to cool. Just a couple minutes ago, it started to rain, and standing out on my balcony, I notice there's a slight chill to the air. Lovely. I've got nothing to complain about.

I spent tonight not making dinner, but writing my brother a letter. No one writes letters it seems, anymore. It's like e-mail, phonecalls, or nothing -- and in my case, it's often nothing.

I am a fan of the letter, though. When all one gets in their mail is bill after bill, stupid pamphlet after flyer, isn't it refreshing to get something personal, handwritten, and pretty? The only people in my world who share this sentiment are my grandmother and my sweet beautiful artist friend Stacey, who sends me brightly coloured letters written on tissue or giftwrap or tree bark.

I love letters. I love love letters even more. I love pens and paper and collect all the cute kitchy stationery sold here. And stickers. My letters are always written in pretty ink and embellished with shiny bright stickers. I'm very pre-teen like that.

No one writes back with any regularity. Even Stacey and my grandmother take their sweet time with replies, and I get letters from Stacey that span two or three months, she picks it up and puts it down.

Still, I'll write. Some might think it's the same as an e-mail. One's thoughts translated to words on a screen, but I think it's so much more personal when I write, with my hand, what I feel.

Plus, I paid almost 2 bucks Canadian to send it, if that doesn't say love, I don't know what does!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

He Lay Fearfully in His Litter Box

So last we left the story of Kamikaze Kamakiri Kitty, he was lying in a strange new house in his litter box, and I was very very close to weeping. I did cry, actually, just about the whole 30 minute drive back to my friend Miyuki's house. Ah well, hopefully my brave little cat would manage the transition, and would be happy to see me when I came back from Canada in a month.

As to the question whether or not Jelly had a rockin' good time in Canada, I did!! For almost the first 2 weeks of my visit I had 2 Japanese friends with me. They were scheduled on a flight a few hours earlier than I, on Korean Air. We weren't able to get 3 seats on the same flight, so I was due to fly United later that day. They were flying Fukuoka->Tokyo->Seoul->Toronto, while I was going Fukuoka->Tokyo->Chicago->Toronto. For those of you who've flown from Korea or Japan to the East Coast of North America, you know it's a long bloody haul.

I managed to miss my flight the day after dropping Kamikaze off. I'm actually quite good at this. (I'm an idiot.) So I had to call over to my brother and assure him I wasn't playing an April Fools joke, and that he would have to pick up my friends at the airport and deal with them until I arrived almost a day and a half later. He wasn't happy. He had met my friend Toshi, though, when he came to Japan the year before. Whatever. All bitterness was forgotten when I finally dragged my tired ass up to the arrivals lounge and hugged my bro. I always miss him crazily; he is, and always has been, my best friend.

It was good to have my Japanese friends with me. I had thought it might be awkward for them, as I was going to be reuniting with friends and family I hadn't seen in over 2 years, but it was all gooooood. My need to see people in various locations went along beautifully with my desire to show my Japanese pals around. We visited Barrie, London, Toronto, Niagara Falls, and a little day-trip over the border to America. In Toronto we stayed with my friends who lived in a big beautiful house. All four of them are gay, and my Japanese friends were SO NERVOUS about it all. They had never met a gay person before. It ended up being their favourite part of the vacation, and once they went back to Japan I got e-mails from them: "I miss the big gay house!" That is a story for another time though. Here, I'm talking bout my cat, Willis.

So yes, I had a great time. The month flew by so quickly and I was sad to leave. I almost stayed a couple extra weeks. I was very very tempted. But I didn't.

I went back to Japan on a Friday and was picked up by my friend Mamoru and brought to Miyuki's place. Hugs and joy and present-giving commenced. I asked about my cat and was told he was well. I was excited to be back there. Over the weekend we were busy, and everytime Miyuki or her husband Yuji would call over to the brother-in-law's place, where Kamikaze was, they weren't home. By the following Wednesday I had grown very impatient to be re-united with my pussy, so kind of insisted they call the house and we head over to pick him up.

They made the call, and finally confessed that Kamikaze was "hiding" and the brother-in-law and mother-in-law were looking for him, but couldn't find him. I thought, "ok, that's cool, it's a big house, probably lots of hiding places." Then they told me he'd been hiding since about a week after I left! He was gone. And nobody knew where he was. They were worried about telling me, and so kept it from me as long as they could. They knew how I was going to react.

I was so very sad. I felt like I had taken responsibility for this cat's happiness and safety and I had totally failed him. Plus, I really loved the cat, and didn't even realize how much until the thought of never seeing him again occurred to me. I spent the day feeling so shitty and in tears. He'd been missing for almost a whole month by now and I thought he was gone for good.

On Thursday morning, I asked Miyuki if we could go over to Nakama and have a look around the neighbourhood and see if maybe he was still lurking there. I realized chances were slight, and even imagined Kamikaze pulling some "Incredible Journey" stunt and try to head back to his old hometown.

We got to Nakama and parked down the street from the brother-in-law's house. I walked up the hill, past the house, took the first left, walked down the street, stopped, and looked up the hill leading to a house where, on a wall, lay a black cat looking down at me.


He meowed and my heart leapt, that was his meow! But it didn't look like him! I approached up the stairs calmly and ran my hand down his back and finally felt the familiar kink at the very end of his tail. "It's YOU!!" I was so happy, but before I could collect him, the Japanese guy who owned the house came walking over and startled Kamikaze who took off like a black fur-rocket. We searched and searched and I called his name over and over, but no luck. We had to head back home, as Miyuki had to start work, but I was so relieved that at least he was alive and I knew where he was.

How would Jelly find Kamikaze again? Was he really ok? What adventures had Kamikaze had while he was outside? Who was the mysterious lady with the long white hair?

These are questions that shall be answered shortly. Not so much that I want to leave you on the edge of your seat, but more so because I want to make dinner. Yes, I know it's late,...but I was busy napping all evening. Zzzzzzz.

Saturday Dinner

I stayed home Saturday night and made this for dinner:
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It was good, but it was even better when I ate it for lunch this afternoon. The chili seemed to get spicier and the flavours had a chance to mix and mingle overnight, so they were more,..."mmmmmmm."
Here's the recipe:

Pork Chilli Noodles

100 gm sotanghon (bean thread or glass noodles)
1/2 cup minced pork
2 Tbsp chopped green onions
1/2 Tbsp chopped ginger
1/2 Tbsp chilli bean sauce
1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
2 cups stock or water
2 Tbsp oil

Soak the sotanghon in water until soft (about 20-30 minutes). Drain. Cut to desired lengths.
Mix stock, soy sauce, and sugar in a bowl or container. Set aside.
Heat oil in wok. Stir-fry pork for about 3-4 minutes.
Turn up heat and add green onions, ginger, and chilli bean sauce. Stir fry for about 1 minute or until green onion and ginger becomes aromatic.
Add stock mixture and sotanghon. Bring to boil then turn heat to low and cook for about 2-3 minutes or until the liquid has almost completely evaporated.
Dish up and serve.

I perhaps doubled this recipe, and didn't really follow the measurements, as I lack measuring spoons and cups. I also skipped the sugar and used a very big heaping (Korean rice) spoonful of 'Lee Kum Lee' garlic Chille sauce, some minced garlic, and a not so heaping spoonful of 'Lee Kum Lee' black bean sauce. I made enough for dinner last night, lunch today, and probably two more meals. Yummilicious.


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Saturday, July 09, 2005

He Sits Regally in His Carrot.

I'm talkin 'bout my cat, Willis. Behind me on my left, my cat is sitting royally in his cat (actually dog) bed, which is orange with a green leafy carrot top. He looks like a prince. I told a story before of how my cat, Kamikaze Kamakiri Kitty came to stay with me. Briefly, I found him meowing his tiny face off on a busy street in Japan as I walked home very late one night from the internet cafe. I took him home, thinking that I would take him to the animal shelter on the weekend, forgetting I was in Japan. What animal shelter? Then I tried half heartedly to find him a home, but no one was interested in having a cat. Two days after he came home with me, I discovered he was riddled with fleas. I took care of it, but it left me itchy for weeks. Then he had a nasty disgusting case of tapeworm because of the fleas. ONLY visit that link if you have a strong stomach. I'll tell you it was a wonder I ended up becoming so attached to this cat after watching little worms wriggle out of his ass. Gross, yes, I know. I'll stop. I've posted this picture before, but just in case you've forgotten,
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how could I not have fallen in love?

So Kamikaze stayed. We played mouse. He was happy. When the girl-cats in heat came calling for him and he meowed without stopping, I took him to the vet and got him fixed. He became much more complacent and lazy, but easier to manage. I worried, though, about what was going to happen when the time came to move on.

In April 2004 I planned a trip back to Canada when my contract ended at my school in Japan. I was going to be gone for a month, and then return to Japan and pick up my stuff and move on to another job, and perhaps another country. I didn't know where I was going, but I can tell you now, I ended up in Korea again. I arranged through a local foreigner magazine for a nice cat-loving couple to take care of Kamikaze through the month of April. I knew it was probably going to be traumatic for him, because he wasn't the most social cat. Once, when friends dropped their little baby off for me to look after for about an hour while they went shopping, I showed the baby to Kamikaze, who hissed at it so ferociously it was like I'd showed him the devil. He then jumped up into my closet and peed all over my clothes. That'll show me.

Unfortunately, the couple who had agreed to look after him backed out the day before I was set to fly. They weren't convinced I was coming back (even though I offered to show them my return ticket) and they didn't want to get saddled with the responsibility of a permanent pet. Can't say I blame them, they didn't know me, after all.

I was frantic. What was I going to do with Kamikaze?

Luckily, my super friend Miyuki made a few phone calls, and got her brother-in-law and mother-in-law to agree to take care of him for the month. They lived about an hour's drive from my place. So, the night before I left, I gathered up Kamikaze's toys and dishes and litter box and a lot of food and supplies and I bundled him up in a blanket. I had tried to put him in his carrier, but he totally shredded my arms. I think he knew something was up, as I'd completely packed up everything in the apartment. We drove over to Nakama City and unloaded all his stuff. He would have his own room at their fairly large house. There was a bed in there and a TV with a playstation. I think the strange brother-in-law chilled out there. I put all Kamikaze's things down, filled his water dish and put out some dry food and went to get him from the car. He was shaking so hard, and when I put him down on the floor he belly-crawled over to his litter box, climbed in, and lay down. It broke my heart. I picked him up again, tried to comfort him and then placed him in his cat-bed (not a carrot, but actually made for cats) but he crawled out again and went back to lie in his toilet.

I had to get out of there quick, because I was going to bawl. We left directions with the bro-in-law. He would be responsible for Kamikaze's care, as the mother-in-law had had a stroke a few years back and wasn't very mobile. She stuck to the bottom floor of the house.

How did Kamikaze cope? Did the bro-in-law with very questionable social skills bond with my little furry baby? Did Jelly have a rockin good time back in Canada?

These are questions that shall be answered shortly. It's not that I want to leave you hanging on the edge of your seat, but more so that I want a nap. Zzzzzzzz.

Ugly Dog

Kevin's diplaying some beasts over at the Big Hominid site. Undead dogs and bouncy boobies. Check it out! The dog pic he posts is not a dog, though, I don't think. Maybe it used to be a dog. This is a dog, though,...
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His name's Billy. What do you think? I think he's cute!

For You

Half of me wants to knock you out
Half of me wants to tell you that I'm sorry, so sorry
Meanwhile, half of the world wants to scream and
shout at half of the world
Just like you and I
Just another fact of life
We plan and we scheme
'Til there's nothing left of our little dream
But half of the time I can't decide and
Half of the time I'm petrified

I want to change the world
I want to make it well
How can I change the world
When I can't change myself
Try again tomorrow
I'd love to change your mind
Capture your citadel
How could I change your mind
If I can't change myself
Try again tomorrow

Both of us want to win this fight
Both of us think the other is mistaken, so mistaken
Meanwhile, everyone wants to take up sides
So everyone helps us to fall apart
Just another fact of life
It's hard to play fair
And it's so easy to pretend to care
But if nobody wants to share the blame
Then everyone gets more of the same

If I want more peace in the world
Then I must make peace with myself
If I want more trust in the world
Then I've got to trust in myself
If I want more love in the world
I must show more love to myself

Because I'd love to change the world,...

Friday, July 08, 2005


I ran to the washroom between classes today, and as I walked toward the sink to wash my hands, I noticed a tiny little frog lying there. He looked kind of tree froggish. I greeted him, and when he didn't respond, I poked him with my fingernail. He was stuck to the counter and seemed to be not very living.

I tried to reconstitute him by pouring a couple handfulls of water on top of him. Maybe it worked, because when I went back at the end of the day he was gone.

But really, what is up with all the inanimate frogs in my path?

By the way, Big Pancake Frog's bones are showing on the left side and he hardly looks like a frog anymore. I suspect by Monday he will be washed away. I can't believe how quickly the dust to dust, ashes to ashes happens when you're a frog.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


There have been 21 visits from 21 various sites in the last hour (not like I'm checking or anything.)

But what the hell? Someone hold me. I'm scared. Who are all of you?

Oh -- and WELCOME!

Dead Frog

He was totally pancakeified. El Flatolo.

It's like someone ran him over, though no one did,...he is well out of the way of the numerous passing cars. Dead frog is no longer leaking. The sun has dried him pretty crisp, and the bugs seem to have excavated him from the inside out. His interior appears pretty hollow and empty, and his exterior only kind of resembles a frog.

I wish I would have named him better, so his name wasn't Dead Frog. I should have called him "The Pancake Formerly Known As Frog."

If I have to bear witness to his decomposition, so do you.

Oh and,...

Speaking of physical contact, my taxi driver was an interesting character tonight. He could speak some English, and did, asking me where I was from, was I an English teacher, how long I'd been in Korea, and did I have a boyfriend? (These are pretty much the BIG 4 Q's I get, in varying order, depending on where I am.)

He explained he had graduated from university with a degree in mechanical engineering, but 4 years ago his company had retired, and so he was a taxi driver. He gave me a pamphlet for his 2nd job - but I couldn't make out exactly what that was about. Computers? Information? Couriers? Informative computer couriers? No idea.

Mr Taxi-man told me he had two sons. At first he said "brothers," but I worked out he meant sons. One was in the 2nd year of high school, and the youngest in the last year of middle school. Than he told me had very very really zero money. I sympathized. "Awwwww, I'm sorry, that's rough, it's too bad about your company, I wish you success in the information delivery online business."

As we pulled up to my apartment, he stopped the car, turned around in his seat, and offered to be my "Korean boyfriend."

Heh heh heh. OK!!! That sounds like a gooooood idea! Where do I sign up???


After work, I went downtown again tonight. Ususally I can't be bothered, but we've gotten a bit of a break in the weather and it's not stupid-hot and humid, so I'm taking advantage of it while I can.

I walked into a 7-11 to buy a couple silly mini-cans of diet coke. As I stood at the register, the cashier gestured to my chest area. Just as I looked down and saw some flying ant-looking thing perched on my right boob, the cashier actually reached across the counter and brushed it off me. Twice.

I mean ~ she performed a nipple sweep on me! She didn't get it off the first time, so she did it again!! I looked at her and (couldn't help myself) laughed like Julia Roberts did when Richard Gere shut the necklace box on her outstretched hand.

It got me thinking about touching and personal space. I went to the food court to drink my silly little sodas and observe. I tell ya, it was like sitting amongst a room of Three Stooges. Nevermind the highschool and young-ish couples cuddled up close, I'm talking about the beatings people were laying on each other. Nearby, there was a table of four, maybe university-aged people. Three guys and a girl. It was like they were having some kind of competition to see who could say something that would provoke the other three to hit them. There was back-slapping, arm thwacking, and head whacking. No eye poking though. There were moms chasing their run-away toddlers with the threat of backhands to their heads and actual smacks to their bottoms. There were high school girls pinching and slapping each other between giggles. Everywhere I looked, people seemed to be laying their hands on each other!

I'm still not used to it, but this is a touchy feely kind of place, Do you think? Oftentimes, Extreme Touch-Feel - as in, bordering on battery! My kids know that their hitting/kicking/pinching another student will result in a "yellow card," but yet, every class I'm giving them out for some kind of physical infraction. It's a total a mixed message, I know, when I'm insisting on 'peace and love' every third day, and during the other two, the Korean teachers are hitting them with sticks. I can only try to manage my classrooms, though.

My friend Young-a used to get my attention everytime she wanted to say something to me, by whacking me on the upper arm. I got wise and started switching seats after one arm got too sore, but even then,...I finally had to ask her to stop, and told her that if she tapped me, I would look at her and end up less annoyed and less bruised in the morning. Likewise, I wasn't used to walking arm in arm or holding her hand in the street. I love the girl, but,...

Maybe it's just me. I didn't grow up in an overly affectionate household. I remember my father patting my back when I was about 12 and headed up on a Greyhound bus for a March break visit with the grandparents. As his hand made contact with my spine I felt all strange. What was this person-to-person contact thing going on? It had been the first time in maybe two years he'd laid a hand on me. His belt doesn't count. But I've grown into a fairly affectionate person. In fact, I'm so jonesing for physical contact I'll sometimes let the kids play with my hair for a minute or two longer, while I'm taking attendance, before I ask them to sit down and open their books. It's the hitting I'm not used to. (Considering none of the hitters here are my father.) WTF - I've gotten off topic kinda sorta.

I almost made a new Korean friend awhile back here. I ran into this woman in the supermarket a few times. She was nice and spoke pretty good English. She had spent some time studying in California. She was married and had a cute little one and a half year old baby. One day, as she was inviting me over to her place for dinner, she encouraged her little guy to say "hi" to me. When he didn't, she rapped him in the head with her knuckles!

I never went to dinner. I come from the point of view that it's best not to hit babies in their yet fully formed skulls. I'm not judging her, but....well, actually, I guess I am. And I don't even know what to do with my judgement. It's not an isolated incident, it seems to be a cultural thing where it's funny here, to hurt each other. Yes, yes, Tom & Jerry, Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote, Grand Theft Crip Super Shoot 'Em Dead Auto, I know. Pervasive.

But to me, it's not cool.

In Japan, it's almost the other extreme. I took a trip with my friend Mamoru to see his parents. It had been 2 years since he'd been down to Nagasaki to see them, and when we arrived there was no physical contact of any kind whatsoever. Bows were exchanged, but, as Mamoru explained afterward, hugs were just not done. Sometimes, Mamoru shook his dad's paw, but other than that -- nothing. Another cultural extreme. Nothing I could change, but I'd like to.

I'd like to buy the world a home, and furnish it with love. Grow apple trees and honey bees and snow white turtle doves. I'd like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony...

At the very least, I'd like my students to stop beating each other. And me.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Frog Update

The dead frog at the bottom of my hill gets flatter everyday. And he is leaking. And it's pretty gross. His top half is quite a bit more flat than the bottom, but since the sun has been shining all morning for the 1st time since last Thursday, I expect he will be quite pancakeisized when I pass by him in a few minutes. I guess the good news is all the bugs feasting on him are not hungry anymore.

I'm off to the bank and the post office now. Have a nice day!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

A Barfy Devil Day

Today was weird. Let's start at the end. When I come home from work I climb a huge hill followed by 2 stories worth of stairs, 2 more smaller hills, and another 4 stories of stairs. I've mentioned this before. Ususally, I stop midway at the little gazebo outside my apartment and take a rest. I watch the big spiders catch bugs in their webs attached to the phonebooth underneath a big street lamp. Tonight as I was calmly replaying the day in my head, something landed on top of the phonebooth with a THUMP. It sounded big, and I waited to see if it would fly away again. As I sat there watching, a devil appeared. I thought, "Oh great, now I've got to face a demon," but I wasn't too surprised considering the way my day had gone down already.

The thing launched off the top of the phone booth and started flying right at me. It was scary! I shrieked a little and stood up to run away. (Yep -- Chicken!) But the demon didn't stay airborne and it fell on the gravel a couple feet in front of me. I went over to investigate and it was on it's back. I flipped it over with my shoe. It was one of these...
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I didn't even know these suckers could fly!
I've seen them before. One little bratty kid in Japan used to bring his pet-demon-beetle to class and chase me around with it. They're scary looking beasts, and I was especially nervous about it's claws.

Here's one not flying -- but you can see it's wing sticking out from behind. The one that harassed me tonight had two big strong pincher things of just about equal length sticking out of its head.
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It's actually not called a "demon-beetle" but rather a rhinoceros beetle, and it is the strongest creature on earth! Imagine that. Hercules-bug flying at me! It walked around on the gravel, and really looked like a black king crab claw hobbling about. It took off after standing straight up and revealing it's big cellophane wings. Scary shit.

The middle of my day was a bit demonic as well. I had about 10 minutes to go with my 3rd class, and I walked out to go get something in the teachers room. Elizabeth was on the phone and there was a little boy, Ken, from my next class standing in the doorway to the office. He had his hand over his mouth and his eyes were all watery. I thought maybe he had bitten his tongue or had a toothache, so I put my hand on his head and said "Ken, are you alright? What's wrong?" He shook his head a little and then (thankfully) turned away from me and hurled all over the place. It wasn't this shy silent puking either, it was forceful and he made huge retching noises. I ran back to the classroom to grab a garbage pail By the time I had returned, Elizabeth was off the phone and in the corner of the room, as far as she could get away from Ken, with her hand over her mouth, jumping up and down and screaming "What do I do? Jenny, what do I dooooo?" Ken was still barfing. I slid the bucket underneath him, patted his back, and went to get the boss.

You think I cleaned it all up? Noooooo. My 10 little impressionable students had rushed out of the class when they heard the super-retching and Elizabeth's squealing. I was a little worried we might have a sympathy puke-fest on our hands. (And no, I wouldn't have cleaned that up either.)

This morning, after eating, Kamikaze barfed a little. Before I could get a paper towel to clean up his puke, he ate it. I'm kind of losing respect for him. That's not cool. I kind of smirked today, though, wondering what the Korean teachers' reaction would be if I suggested poor Ken clean up his own mess by acting like my goofy cat. That's gross. I'm losing my self-respect too.

Oh, and

There was also an ad for Nivea deodorant that was hilarious. I wish I had a camera to take a picture. It was a pretty Korean woman in a sleeveless top with two handsome Korean men on either side of her. All three are lying on the grass and both men have their noses nuzzled up into her armpits. One man looks happy, and the other looks to be sleeping, or perhaps unconcious. Perhaps she only wore deodorant on the one pit. Most of the ad was in Korean, except for "THROW SMELLING AWAY!"

Again, ha ha ha ha ha!

Super Fun Stylistic Summer Fashion English

Speaking of fashion, I found myself with some spare time tonight and the novel I'm currently reading back home on my floor in the bathroom doorway. I looked around and saw a rack of current, very thick, Korean Women's fashion magazines. I picked one up, and fell down. It was heavy. Then I dragged it back to my table. I figured I would just have a look at the pictures.

The contents were all in English, ha-ha, I mean 'Engrish.' Check out some of the article titles: 'sportive sleeveless wind, the best girl of one-piece, swatch for vacance, swing playtime, (which featured a cute girl and a pouty, sneering, often nose-picking guy both dressed in gym-wear and having a silly little playfight) dying variation in star, (which sounds like a, astro-physics article) bye~body pimple, (ewwww~yuck!) lower-item change project,' and finally, 'this month beauty style - kissable blue girl.' I didn't capitalize any of the titles. I know. Neither did the magazine. It's sylistic fashion writing, after all!

Another article was called 'enjoy beach styling - beach queen project cover you! beachwear!' On the following pages were full spread photos of the same model in varying swimsuits and bikinis and tights! I mean - leggings, and stockings, and fishnets, oh my!! Is this the height of beach uuberfashion this season? The model had this afro thing happening and super long eyelashes. Very 70's-chic. I couldn't understand the hosiery though. And before, when I said "full spread," I meant fullll spread. I was surprised at the model's poses. A couple times, she was crouch down knees spread as far apart as they will go. In other shots she was standing up over the photographer. All very "lookit my crotch" poses. This, in a country where girls are often clothed at the beach, as much for their dislike of tanning as it is for their modesty.

Here are the tag-lines from the "check out me crotch" swimsuit spread: 'cover me' is splashed across the length of 2 pages, and then on each page is 'hold in your arm, slim body-slim line, uncover or hide, beautiful ribbon, (yet nary a ribbon in site) good line play, bright print, and sexy region.' Ha ha ha!!

Fashion English is funny.

Speaking of "look at my crotch,"
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For real?? Ha ha ha ha!!!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Right Here, Right Now

I just went for a walk. It's damp out. One might call it "sultry," but I think that sounds kind of cliche. It reminds me of Billy Crystal trying to start a story in 'Throw Mama from the Train.' That was a funny movie. I loved all the crazy payphones Danny DeVito kept calling from.

At the bottom of my big steep hill there is a big dead frog. It's not as big as the mutant walking frog I saw in the parking lot a few weeks ago, but it's pretty big. It died sometime in the last day and a half, because it wasn't there when I went to work yesterday. I wonder how. It seems intact, not smushed by a car, which is the major danger of being a frog on that hill. It looks like it just lay down or a nap, although there is some brown liquid running out from underneath it. Is frog's blood brown? (Say that last sentence 10 times fast!) Bugs are already starting to eat it. I hope someone tosses it into the woods, because I'd rather not be a witness to its decomposing. Late last summer, someone stuck a banana in a fence in the parking lot. I passed the banana every day and watched as it went from bright yellow to black and brittle. It was kind of interesting.

I'm annoying to take along on a hike, because I always want to stop and look at things. I guess I'm a "stop and smell the roses" (or crap) kind of person. It's a cool experiment though, to pick an area, say a couple square feet, and look at everything in it. If you choose a couple square feet of your kitchen floor, there might not be much to see, but still. My floor is made of fake wood and even in a square foot of it, I can consider the colours and the pattern of varying sizes of rectangles that intermingle. And there's Kamikaze's mouse lying there, black and white soft fur with a tail made of bright yellow, pink, and green plumage. I think if Kamikaze ever came across a real mouse he'd be confused by it's lack of feathers sticking out its bum.

Seriously though. Next time you're out and about, take a few minutes and examine something. Take stock of the moment; this is what I see, while I smell and hear this, this is what I think, and this is how I feel. Everyone so often seems to be rushing from moment to moment, but all you really have is right here, right now.

On another note, what is UP with these Korean super-mosquitoes? I'm itchy now from being bit so much on my walk. One even managed to bore through my jeans and underwear to get to my butt. How is that possible? I've seen their little needle noses, and they frankly don't look that strong. Ass injections of a different sort.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Yo C, Happy Birthday!

Million Dollar Baby was a good movie! No surprise about that, and it really did have a Clint Eastwood feel to it. It reminded me of 'Unforgiven,' which I watched at least half a dozen times for my university film class. To me, both movies were quiet and powerful, sort of gentle character analysis kind of deals. Thumbs up.

Because I was distracted by an almost 2-hour long nap, the sewing of buttons, and making of Great Canadian Potato Salad to take to work in honour of Canada's birthday and the bunch of potatoes my boss gave me on Wednesday, I watched the video quite late. Then I couldn't sleep. I was just drifting off when,...

Some advice for English teachers here: when you are teaching the children the phrase "What's your telephone number?" and the kids asks what YOURS is, make up a fake one. Even if you say your actual phone number quickly, they're bright little kids and will capture it. And then a little 9 year old named Sadie will call you at 6:42, giggling in the phone.

When I finally did fall asleep, I had a dream someone punched me in the head and left a big open slit in my forehead, dripping blood. When I went to the doctor, he stuck tweezers in there and starting pulling out piles of black thread. There was a ball of it on the table he'd yanked out, and I felt lightheaded.

A huge clap of thunder woke me up and I squinted outside to see, well, barely see outside through the grey fog and pouring rain. In my empty head, I thought, "Ah, let's cancel today," and I didn't mean today's activities, I meant TODAY. I fell back asleep imagining calling my boss and saying "Yah, it's very rainy, today is not going to work out. See you Monday!"

I'm tired, but now that I'm fully conscious again, have decided to go ahead with Friday. It'll be a good day. Not only is it the end of the week, it's the beginning of a new month, and Canada's birthday to boot. There ain't a thing wrong with today, even the rain's good. The pumpkin plants in all their droopiness looked super thirsty on my way to work this past week, as did a caged white rabbit. Have a good one!