The Lesson

Yesterday me and my house-mate Charlotte went to visit Muta-san. Muta-san is a 60something woman who's very active in the community, supports Studio Kura and arranges English lesson at Itoshima. Every week, she brings one of Studio Kura's resident artists to practice English with a small group of locals. Charlotte was asked to be the teacher this Wednesday and I tagged along because I wanted to maybe find potential models for my project and just all in all see the local people and their lifestyle.

First we went to a small lunch restaurant owned by Muta-san's friend, Lilly-san. The restaurant was a renovated tiny but cute, 100-year-old wooden building, very traditional and comfy. Lilly-san cooked us Vietnamese, chatted with us and served us tea. The whole place was just so adorable I could have just choked. It was pretty much the kind of thing you wish for in a different country, to just see these women who've been friends for decades, just chatting, cooking dinner and hanging out. These are the iron women in every country.

Oh and there was also a doggy at the restaurant by the name of Emi-san! He was very quiet and polite and maybe just a tiny bit afraid of all of us. Poor Emi-san, don't be afraid!

For the English lesson we had an elder couple and a retired man who used to work for Honda. I'm not very social and my habits can be super awkward, especially in a country where I think they appreciate a certain humility and restraint, so I'm not sure if I was at all a tolerable co-teacher, but we did all talk a lot. It's funny when you communicate with people with a language that's foreign to both of you. There can be some major misunderstandings and it's also really odd how you end up talking in this stilted, simple, stupid-foreigner English, as if others would understand you better that way. I even found myself adopting a really strong accent. I don't necessarily have to roll out hard R's but in some situation that accent seems to come out naturally.

But it was great meeting all these people, especially since they seem to be sort of regular people. All I meet are the residency staff and shop clerks. Middle-aged people seem most interesting because they have time to take it easy, they're interested in new stuff and usually have enough life experience to understand us weird artist types. Plus they reminded me of my parents and my favorite aunt, some of them were even almost the exact same age as my parents, so there was something really familiar about them.

Then I got an ear massage from one of the English lesson participants! It was really great and I want one everyday. Almost fell asleep. My sleep rhythm has oddly enough gone straight back to what it was at home: I wake up at eight, which is way too early and then end up being tired during the day, then I take nap and then going to sleep at a reasonable hour becomes impossible. But I still wake up early in the morning, tired again, and the vicious circle is ready. How is this even possible? The times of day are completely different but my rhythm is the same.

I got over jet lag pretty easy, if I even had it. I used Jet Lag Rooster to adjust my rhythm already back home and it actually worked like a charm. I just went to bed earlier and woke up earlier for a few days, then slept in the plane and when I arrived, it felt like the morning it actually was, even if it was 2 AM back in Finland. So I definitely recommend that. I just wish I could have kept reasonable hours up here and not slid back into napping. But napping is the best! I often nap even if I'm not really tired, I just often feel like my brain needs a reset. That's pretty much what napping is all about.


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