Saturday, 9 January 2010

The longest day

It's been a while since I started a business trip at 9pm! I did so last night...

This has been Luna's first week back after the holidays, as it has been for most people; it has been just as hectic for us as everyone else too! Gossip to catch up on and email to wade through; old students to reconnect with and schedules to remember. You know?!

At Luna we also had to replace our car over the break. Nothing wrong with the old one except the shakken/roadworthiness would have cost more than buying a second hand vehicle.

If any students did not get a New Year card (nengajo) from us I apologise. Please email us & tell us your new address! (Help save trees and scroll down a bit?). The fault is probably mine - I am never organised with nengajo nor Christmas cards until it is too late, and I never give Yuki a list :(

At the end of a 'welcome back to work/school & let's be cheerful' campaign, I literally ran home, got changed & threw stuff in a bag before continuing running to the station for my trains. Damn. All the platform kiosks were closed. Local train = no buffet cart with food (or beer...important) BUT heated seats set to 'melt arse to chair' temperature. Horribly uncomfortable to Nagano, trying to sit on one 'cheek' before cooling off in Nagano. Then same performance again on the last chugger to Naouetsu.

I meant to read & finish one of my books on the go, but instead listened to an extremely good podcast on British naval history from Binge Thinking History. I have already read half of a brilliant 'biography' of the Royal Navy, but this was easier as my head kept banging the frozen windows!

What to do around Naoetsu station at the midnight hour in early January? Find somewhere warm? Yes! Next to the sake-reeking old gits curled up in the (only) heated waiting room? Lovely. I know for a fact there are no convenience stores near here for a bento (or a beer!).

{How do you know that, Jim? Well, funny you should ask. In Dec 1989 I first came here to get me visa extended, and only managed to get the hairs in my ears trimmed. As then, I froze.}

At 00:55 the Kitaguni Express slid along platform 6 and I found my berth against the rafters in the last carriage. It's been a while since I had to undress lying flat, and I posted on Twitter what to do with valuables! I woke, feeling like I'd never really fallen asleep, rocking into Kyoto pre-dawn with a few minutes to find the Shinkansen Nozomi to Okayama. Still no food, and no longer in the mood for a beer...saw the sun rise on platform lucky 13 before being whisked away west to arrive an hour later disheveled, dehydrated, and discombobulated.

Less than an hour later starting a day-long training session for Cambridge ESOL Centre JP176 & my friend Malcolm Harding, who is trying ever so hard to get the exams going. A pleasure to be here for him (I just wish I didn't feel like a ghost after that trip!) and to meet some quality new examiners.
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