Monday, January 09, 2006

Seijin No Hi (Coming of Age Day)

Monday 9 January 2006
Its Seijin No Hi or Coming of Age Day today.Another National Holiday.The day of celebration for those who turned 20 years old during the previous year.They can now vote,legally drink and drive.
Been another cold week here.Went back to work last Thursday after a brief break from the chalk ace.Record snowfalls in various parts of Japan.At least 61 people have died in snow and weather related accidents since the snow season started late December.Mostly old people falling off roofs or being run over by snow removing machinery or crushed to death as their houses collapse due to the weight of snow...

"You're supposed to sit on your ass and nod at stupid things
Man that's hard to do
And if you dont they'll screw you
And if you do they'll screw you too"....(Warren Zevon )
So I had my end of contract evaluation first day back at work.Last Thursday.The feedback after the lesson always begins the same."How did you think it went?"I think to myself "Isnt that your job?" Or another predictable question"How could you improve that part of the lesson?" to which I internally respond "What you really mean is that you have no idea and you're asking me right?"

Actually most of the feedback was constructive.I amused myself by staring at the bosses toes poking through the uppers of his shoes and wondering what grade he would give himself for personal appearance.The small teaching component included in the forty minute feedback period was useful.Our boy wonder boss adopts a strange falsetto voice when he goes into "teaching mode".Several octaves higher than his normal speaking voice I can only describe it as similiar to having The Bee Gees right in your face chorusing "Night Fever Night Fever".I found it postively unnerving.I kept my composure.Barely.

Overall my grades were similiar to last years.What did irk me was the fact I only got a "satisfactory" grade for teaching special students which includes children.Boy Wonder said the grade was influenced by the fact "I scared a three year old student".I bet she didnt complain in English but at least I taught her what xenophobia is..I think it reflects more on the person making the assessment and the professionalism of the company go figure....

During my brief New Year break I managed to get down to the BayCity cinema multiplex to see King Kong.I'd read some so-so comments about the length of the movie and other things.Plus Im a bit leery of Jack Black.Like Jim Carrey,Mike Meyers and natto he's an acquired taste.Still theres only one way to find out.
I was pleasantly surprised I'm pleased to report.Like Carrey in "Eternal Sunshine..." Black was restrained.His usual maniac frenetic mode held well in check.I thought the lead actress Naomi Watts,who at times looked like Nicole Kidman, did a great job in a demanding role.Somehow strong yet vulnerable at the same time.It was interesting to see the child star of "Billy Elliott" Jamie Bell handle an adult role.As for Kong I couldnt help but think he was a bit like that big blue furball in "Monsters Inc"...amazing.
I'd read the movie begins slowly.For me it began at a good clip.I was looking for the New Zealand bit actors in the movie.Sure enough there were some present particularly in the early New York scenes when Naomi Watts character was working in the small theatre.
I thought the movie did lag a bit during the dinosaur section of the movie.Some of the dinosaur scenes were overlong and the stampede a cross between "Jumanji" and "Jurassic Park" seemed to be included just for a "gee whizz look how far computer graphics have advanced" rather than move the story on.
However that minor quibble aside I liked the pacing of the ending.Not rushed or drawn out.I was impressed with the way the light seemed to fade out of Kong's eyes as he died,riddled with bullets atop the Empire State Building.
Finally I think you can only appreciate a movie of this scale in a movie theatre.Large screen.Great sound system.The roar and pained cries of the animals and Kong would be lost on a dvd watched at home on an ordinary TV screen.Only on a large screen can you appreciate the size of Kong and the detail of the jungle and New York scenes.
I would go more regularly to the movies here in Japn if they werent such an expensive proposition.At ¥1800 yen or around $22 for a ticket plus transport and the essential drinks and sweets it aint cheap.....

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