Monday, December 17, 2018

Amu Christmas Market, Dec. 16

(Santa (one of the foreign English teachers from somewhere) made an appearance Sunday night to pose for photos and hand out little hard candies to the kids.)

Not one of the best weekends. Nothing really going on Friday, and I had to work most of Saturday. The weather Saturday was nice for once - clear skies, but a little cool. I did have a 1-hour break in the middle of the lessons, but I'd still needed to get milk for the week, so I spent the break walking to the grocery store from the school, bringing the milk home, putting the cartons in the fridge, washing dishes from breafast, and then walking back to the school. When I got out at 7 PM, I just returned home, had dinner and worked on the computer for the night.

One of the more unfortunate events last week was that something, somehow, managed to put an inch-long scratch in one of the lenses of my glasses. I've gone through 2 pairs of frames since coming back to Japan, while keeping the same lenses during all those years (they were reshaped once to fit the first, smaller replacement frames). Because of my online work and teaching schedule I wasn't able to get to a glasses shop until Sunday, which kind of meant that I had to miss the first 3 live music performances at Amu mid-day. I'd been hoping to just have the lenses measured to pull off the old prescription and get new lenses quick that way, but the clerk gave me a complete check-up, then cut the new lenses to fit my current frames. Overall, everything took 90 minutes, and a phonecall home to get interpreter services in the middle when I had trouble understanding what the clerk was telling me (that he needed to keep my frames until all the work was done). At the end, the new lenses are almost 75% thinner and lighter than my old ones, and because I had a 20% discount coupon for that shop, the total for everything came to 15,000 yen (about $140 USD). One reason I waited so long to get new glasses is that in the U.S., the stores always made me buy new frames everytime, and that would set me back $300-$400. Eyeglasses are one of the few things that are a real bargain here, compared to the States.

The weather turned bad on Sunday, with moderately heavy rain all day. That prevented me from trying to test shoot the film camera (I got a new roll of ISO400 film, too). So, I just went to Amu at 5 PM, when I got done with the glasses shop, and the Kagoshima University a capella group was singing again. I went inside, did some shopping, and came back out at 5:30, when the stage crew were busy moving in chairs for the JSB Orchestra. The audience area is pretty cramped anyway, with all of the shops and picnic tables there, but as it got closer to 6 PM, more people arrived and things got fairly insane. To kill the time, I went back in to visit Kinokuniya to look for new manga (Attack on Titan #27 just came out, but I'll get that later at Junkudo, where I have a points card), then returned to the plaza a little after 6 PM.

I stayed on the second floor balcony to get a couple photos and check out the music. From the name, I'd thought they were associated with Johann Sebastian Bach, but they were playing something more jazz-like, so maybe they were from Josei High School (Josei = "woman"), and it was the Josei School Band. Either way, I couldn't get a good position to watch them from, and the music wasn't all that great, so I headed to Tenmonkan for more shopping, and then home for dinner.

Dinner finished at 7:45, and I took the opportuity to go back to Amu for the last performance of the night - a repeat of the Kagoshima University a capella group. One of the other Japanese guys I know was in the audience, and he kept complaining about how the singers were all too sharp, and how the sound mixer guy was doing a poor job trying to fit the voices to the event space. After a few minutes, both of us gave up and went our separate ways. I got home again, and spent the rest of the night processing photos and writing up blog entries.

On the plus side, I like the new lenses, but they are going to take a while to get used to. I've got a fairly heavy teaching schedule this week, but starting with next Sunday I'll have a 2-week break from the main school. Bon DX is playing in Tenmonkan on Saturday, but I'll miss that unless my 6 PM lesson cancels at the last minute. Fortunately, Bon is playing again at Amu on the 23rd and 24th at 6 PM, and I'm really hoping to catch one, if not both performances then. After that, I've got no other plans. We'll see what happens.

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