I’ve been wandering again. Here are the shots to prove it:
Last weekend we walked and walked like camels traipsing across a desert. Starting from Roppongi and, taking a very convoluted route, arriving in Shibuya with only half of the day past, we realised how easily central Tokyo can be traversed, should you know the direction and have the faith in your intuition to ‘take a punt’. I think I have said this before, but the back-streets of Japan are like a separate, concealed world entirely, where instead of finding dark fungus ridden caves and angry cannibal Morlocks, you find charming little houses and people going about their daily business. At first I had thought this phenomenon to be localised around places like Kyoto, where the history runs thick in the veins of the city, but it seems that Tokyo also conceals a fine cultural heritage, skulking in the shadows of their imposing, modern structures.
On Sunday we climbed mount Takao, which is a pleasant, if unchallenging route through Japanese countryside. Once we had gotten past the crowds and continued on to some of the neighbouring hills, it was a very peaceful sort of trip. We emerged in a village, the name of which I do not know. It was the first time in Japan that I felt I had ventured beyond the tourist destinations, which had been tailored to my needs. Here there were children playing in the modest grounds of a shrine, while adults were planting seeds in their fields. ‘Unspoilt’ is an overused word, but probably the best one to describe the sort of feeling I had about that place. We can’t have seen more than ten people. Later, we descending into a valley where a man, whose tent suggested that he lived in there, had set up a stall of fresh vegetables that I assumed he had grown himself. Scattered around him were a host of chickens, greedily pecking at the floor.
I find my teaching draining but fulfilling as jobs go. My ratings suggest that my students enjoy my lessons, although there is something very impersonal about receiving a digitised number on the screen, summing up the entirety of your lesson performance. No comments, just ‘5’ or ‘4’. The 5 rating coincidentally, means in definition that the instructor surpassed every expectation that the student had – read into that what you will, when 5 is the rating that most instructors are expected to achieve more often than not. At the moment, I actually seem to be hitting the sweet spot for the 5s, although whether my students are going away feeling in some way that they have transcended an impassable gulf in their English learning – emerging as some sort of higher being capable of new understanding, is dubious and debatable. The smooth is easy, the rough will be less so.
TTFN and have a better one.