Trains, Planes, and… Trains

On the bullet train now, heading toward Kyoto. Why? Because I can! Well, that and I’m off to go meet an ex-student of mine. Through the wonders of Facebook and mixi (a Japanese networking site, akin to Facebook, that is populated by mostly crazy people. Considering my love for crazy people, I’ve naturally been a member for 6 years), it’s relatively easy to keep in touch with a great many people no matter where you happen to end up in the world. While I taught a wide range of students (3 years old to 82), most of the students I keep in touch with that way were ex high school students of mine. Having taught at the high school from 2008-2011, it means that not only did I see a class from incoming through graduation (Japanese high schools are 3 years long), but it also means that the first class I saw graduate is going to graduate from university next year.

That’s the situation for the student I’m going to visit today. To make it even more interesting, she is majoring in English education and will be an English teacher herself from next April. So it will finally come full circle! My student will have students of her own shortly and the cycle will continue.

So while helping her during her teaching practicum with lesson planning and such, somehow we made lunch plans. Yes, Jason! travels for two and a half hours by bullet train for lunch plans (don’t put it past me, I’ve done far more eccentric things on a whim). I’ll be in Osaka today (going to tour around the university campus and catch up) and then we’re going to Kyoto tomorrow for a whirlwind, 1-day tour.

For those who know the back story, I’ve actually been to Kyoto before. Almost exactly 3 years ago, to the day, in fact (only off by 3 days). There’s only one small caveat: I swore to all that is holy (be it Buddha, Muhammad, or–my personal fave–Jesus) that I would never, ever, ever, never go back to Kyoto as long as I am still alive. I even actually flat out deny that I’ve ever been there (which is especially weird for people who’ve seen the photos). It’s not that I didn’t have a good time–it’s a really nice place–it was just a very awkward set of circumstances that lead into and out of Kyoto.

Not like that matters, ’cause I’m going back to Kyoto anyway! Sorry Buddha, Muhammad, and Jesus. All the same, I’m sure I’ll have a good time!

What else? Not a whole lot. Worked late, woke up early, on the train now and rambling. One thing I would like to note, though, is that I find it MUCH easier to stand long bullet train rides than airplane trips. I’m not exactly sure why that is (no free drinks…), but I suspect the more liberal ability to get up and walk around if you choose, the lack of pressure differential and your ears popping, and knowing that there are no engines to explode and send you spiraling to your fiery demise must help. Not that I particularly fear airplanes (I love turbulence), but when you fly across the pacific, you always know in the back of your mind that you may end up stranded on a deserted island.

….or am I the only one who packs my carry-on with deserted island survival gear? Huh… I thought everyone did that.

Where was I? I swear, I’m a master at random tangents.

I think that’s my sleep-deprived brain’s way of the telling me it’s time to end this blog post.

Rest assured, I’ll be posting again soon with some more random ramblings and some photos of my adventures. I didn’t spend 4 years of my life on a degree in Japanese history for nothing!

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