Okay, so like always a preview of this email...feel free to fast forward to
the topic that interests you...I will put this symbol ----> (nice huh?) for
a new topic.  Well let's preview now...my first Japanese haircut, a
difficult teaching experience,and  how to be very frustrated while looking
for a video..
        ----> I know you didn't need the symbol for this paragraph, but I
like making it, so just deal.  Okay, my haircut experience, and I say
experience because it was a pretty involved ordeal.  A couple weeks ago, I
asked one of guys in my office about barbers..and where I should go.  Well
he whipped out the 3ft by 5 ft town map that is in all Japanese and
proceeded to circle ALL the barbers in the whole town...about 20 in all.
Well how nice...so I told him that I will just go to his barber since it is
close to the office and he, so far, hasn't shown any baldspots after a
haircut.  So finally the other day, after work, we were on our merry
way...discussing on what days  I should throw away burnables and
unburnables ( I will go into that more at another time).  We arrived after
a 5min walk and his barber decided to show me a bunch of pictures so I
could point to the style I wanted.  A little hint:  It is very, very rare
to see a Japanese male with curly hair...okay so after the 6th book I
finally found one picture that was okay... and even better after I combined
it with another picture on the next page...it was close to what I normally
got back in the States...so I was on my way.
        I never knew what a huge process haircutting was here.  Some things
were great, some were very annoying.  So here goes.  He started out by
placing three...yes three layers on my already very warm body (it was
85degrees that day...no air conditioning).  What all these layers were for
I really don't know, but I wasn't going to have any hair on my clothes
that's for sure, and I would be safe if someone decided to shoot me in the
chest.  The first two layers were the typical haircutting attire.  The last
layer was just for show I guess.
        Now the real fun began.  He was a clipping mad man.  Japanese
people are very meticulous when it comes to anything...it has to look
perfect...in this case not a single, little hair out of place.  Well
combine that with the fact my hair is never completely in place (always
hairs sticking up) and we had a battle...for close to 2 hrs...as my hair
got shorter and shorter...since if he cut one he had to cut them all again
and again.  After sweating a couple buckets, both him and me, and some
interesting discussed sounds from him and looks from me...we were done or
so I thought.  Okay I look almost bald, at least I was getting out...
        Well not quite...he suggested a shave and a hairwashing...saying it
was included in the price. I was thinking I just want out, but when my plea
was turned down at the strong suggestion that it "would be better for (him)
to wash (my) hair," I decided to go along...and now I am really glad I did.
 The first part of the wash was while I sat on the chair, the second part
was the rinsing...I think I may still have bruises, but it was
great...needless to say I didn't have any loose hair afterwards.
        Then came the shave...I've never had this done before so it was a
different experience.  The barber chair was completely reclined, shaving
cream was ALL over my face (in parts I didn't know I had hair), and I was
about to let a complete stranger with a razor have access to my neck.  So I
was a little nervous.  Still it was okay, and he only drew blood once...on
the top of my right ear..yes for some reason he shaved there too...I don't
even have hair there but so what?  Then a quick neck massage and the ordeal
was over.  I didn't think this "do"  looked good on me but people have been
saying I look really.....you fill in the blank.
        --------->This past week I was at my "base" school, Nakanojo Jr
High School...my biggest school...550 students. It is the school I will be
spending the most time.  I only had 3 teaching days since one day was the
national holiday and the next day was cacelled because of another typhoon
(don't worry I am okay...though I saw a minor landslide on the way to
work). The first day was an introduction to the whole school.  Before that
though the principal introduced me, and pulling from a introduction letter
I wrote for the local newsletter, he mentioned how I play many sports.  In
my letter I also mentioned that when it came to basketball I was no Michael
Jordan.  Well the principal said that I played like Michael
Jackson...obviously thinking Jaskson was Air, so all the students laughed,
but the principal had no idea what they were laughing at.  Still his
statement is probably the most accurate when it comes to my basketball
skills...or lack thereof.
        For the most part all my class  introductions went okay.  The basic
stuff...what my height, weight, and shoe size are...also if I like Japanese
women...if I have a girlfriend...if I like nato (read next time about
that)...and other assortments of lovely questions.  Well for one class it
was rather difficult to get them motivated.  They were supposed to ask me
questions and all they did was sit there... staring at me...not being
impressed...and we still had 30min of class to go...okay...I need a filler.
 How about the hand whistle?  Well, that didn't even work.  It received a
couple smiles, but the class barely responded to it.  Okay, what else could
I try?  I know that there is a Kentucky Fried Chicken down the road, so I
dug way back into my past...when I was three years old...and told them I
met the Colonel...that he gave me a lollipop and shook my hand.  This
received a little more response...but quickly the class regathered to non
pulse status.  It isn't a good thing when your stomach talks more than the
class when it is supposed to be responding to something.  I was rather
starving...for food and a way out...which came eventually.  I guess some
classes will be like that..totally not into entertaining the foreigner...oh
        ------->If you ever want to become really frustrated try finding a
video in the video stores in Japan.  Yesterday, I once again did this
ritual because I couldn't find any TV that was in English, and I was rather
bored.  Off to the video store.  What an experience.  The videos really
don't seem to be arranged in any particular order.  I have calculated that
there are certain sections...comedy, drama, sci-fi, action, and so on, but
some movies have been placed in more than one category it seems.  Why is
The Cable Guy, an obvious comedy, in with movies like Cape Fear and Final
Analysis?  This is but one example of many...and it is really frustrating.
I guess (the ALTs in the audience will have to confirm this...or at least
tell me what is going on) if a movie has even one scene that might belong
to another category it is placed there.  So The Cable Guy is a comedy, but
it is a drama because it had a few serious scenes.  It is also an action
thriller because a couple things blow up.  Meanwhile other, better known
dramas could very well be placed in the comedy section because in one scene
the characters laughed...this is an event I am still trying to figure out.
I won't even mention trying to find a particular movie and asking the
people who work there if they have it...that is a whole different story.
        ---->Well there were a couple other things I wanted to mention, but
this email is already too long.  In the next email I will talk about what
could possibly be the worse food in the world.