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whale

March 10, 2005

Last weekend I had a particularly bizarre and interesting few days on the mainland. On Friday I bought a very cheap djembe drum from someone who’s leaving Okinawa next week, and I stayed with a friend whose labrador has unnervingly human mannerisms – the weirdest being her habit of nudging your arm with her paw if you’re not paying attention to her, and then staring chidingly into your eyes with an expression of utter disappointment in you.

On Saturday, I went to see DJ Kentaro, who I had never heard of, but who it turns out was the best DJ in the actual world in 2002. I nearly didn’t go, on account of my head hurt, but after some peaceful time in a pub, woke up a bit and decided to go along. And was very glad I did, because I have a soft spot for record scratching, and he was a total scratchmaster. I then ended up sharing my hotel room with two girls I met that night (they were JETs from Sendai, in the north of Japan, who’d had no luck finding a hotel room of their own), in a weird, slightly David Lynch ryokan full of aging red linoleum and gently-illuminated fishtanks (and which I was staying in because it was the only place I could find that wasn’t fully booked). In the morning, while looking for the shower, one of them was chased down a dimly-lit laundry corridor by a furious chihuahua dragging one leg in a plaster cast that was almost as big as its tiny body.

On Sunday the ferry wasn’t running due to bad weather, so I couldn’t get back to my island. So I stayed at another JET’s house, and since the school he was teaching at is near the port, I went to school with him the following morning. My ferry doesn’t leave till mid-morning, so the plan was to just sit around the staffroom and have some coffee. In the end, though, the kids thought I was some special guest teacher, so just as we were sitting down with some coffee, one of the English teachers came in and said “Um… you know they’re expecting you to be teaching them…”. So, I ended up doing an impromptu double-act lesson with Mike, the bloke whose flat I’d been staying at. It was the first time I’ve ever taught Senior High School, and the kids were really funny, and I came out wishing I’d put more thought into the possibility of doing a third year in the big city… Ach well.

Better still, going back on the first ferry, there was an announcement over the ferry’s PA system that everyone should please go and have a look off the ferry’s port side, because a whale was going past. A whale! Unfortunately, it was too far off to get a decent photo, but as I stood there watching, the black hump would appear, spout a jet of water, and then disappear again, only to appear, further off, thirty seconds later. I stood watching for it long after it submerged for the last time.

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