The time can drag along as I am required to be there on certain school holidays, yet often have very little to do. This time around I did have some projects to work on, so that helped to pass the days. We’re also working in a brand-new building with great city views and swanky automatic window shades and hallways that light up when you enter them, so that adds to the intrinsic value of having permission to be behind the desks where citizens come to get questions answered.
I also took advantage of having an hour-long lunch. In the schools where I work by the time lunch is served and we’re working our chopsticks like elongated pinchers on a skinny crustacean, there’s only like 15 minutes to clear off my bento box. So lunchtime at the Board of Education is nice. I often walked to Shiroyama Park, sitting near the cherry trees and watching passersby as I slowly enjoyed my meal.
On my last day there before returning to school, a man from another section of the Education department approached me and my coworker, asking if we’d like to go for a walk. We agreed, and I was happy to have a local with whom to practice a few Japanese phrases. I don’t often get the nerve for that, so it was nice. I also made friends with a new employee in that same department, a quiet and sweet girl who walks like she wouldn’t give a damn if a pack of flaming wolves were chasing her. That’s just my take on it anyway.
On my first day back at school I was greeted to a rearranged staff room. Someone kindly pointed me to my desk, which isn’t too far from its old location. The teachers have shuffled around quite a bit; those who stayed now teach other grades, and the holes left by teachers that were sent to other schools have been seamlessly filled by teachers who came from other schools. Some of my favorite coworkers have gone, but a good number of them remain. And the new folks seem cool enough that I think we’ll get on just fine.
But not much has changed as far as the day-to-day darkness I feel. There are moments when I look around and, if I catch them, see teachers filing out of the staff room on their way to some ceremony or meeting, some of which I’m supposed to attend, and some of which I do attend if someone actually informs me that I’m supposed to attend. I ate lunch in solitude at my desk, as nobody informed me that the teachers would be eating together in another room in the building. The only way I had known it was lunchtime was from my clockwork hunger, which gets steadily more furious as the minutes of the morning pass along.
The rain has been hard and steady for the past few days, which makes my transit across the city less than ideal. My rain suit has a handsome gash in the crotch, and its overall waterproofing abilities are now in question. The hood does a fine job of keeping my hair dry while simultaneously feeding drops of water across my brow and onto my face. The same goes for the sleeves and pant cuffs; it’s as if I’m an organic house and my suit is my rain gutters, and my hands and feet are the lawn accepting all that channeled water.
Well, this has gotten a lot longer than I anticipated. ’Til next time.