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The day of my farewell speech at the Closing Ceremony was an emotional one. I had spent almost a week trying to translate the entire thing into (bad) Japanese. Piles of textbooks, an electronic dictionary, internet dictionary, and pages of the 500 and something most commonly used Japanese verbs littered my desk as I took on the daunting task of reproducing my one page speech into a language that my students and co-workers could all understand.

Luckily for me, two teachers who had been both friends and family to me, decided to look over my finished product... We re-vamped my Japanese 'translation' so that it actually made sense and didn't use ancient wording (which my dictionaries had happily supplied), until finally we had a speech that conveyed everything I had wanted to convey, but also did so with a sophistication and class that my previous one had unfortunately lacked.

Now came the task of memorizing it. Unfortunately I only had one and a half days to prepare for that, which wasn't nearly enough time. I managed to memorize the first paragraph well, and the later three rather badly.

Once they called me up to the stage I found myself looking down upon a sea of faces as every single one of my student stared up at me. Each of the three grades that I had taught these three years, over 500 of them in total, looked up at me expectantly. What was shocking was that all their faces were familiar. I can't remember names for the life of me, but I can always recognize new students simply from the fact that I don't recognize their faces. But here, I knew every single one. It was an extremely emotional moment for me.

I started my speech, the first paragraph went without a hitch, but by the second one I was stumbling over a few unfamiliar verbs badly enough that I had to look down at my paper. My desire to still keep eye contact with my students kept pulling my eyes away from the helpful sheet that lay before me. At one point I made a mistake and tried correcting it twice, when I heard one of the baseball boys from the front row whisper the corrected sentence to me. Without thinking I thanked him through the microphone in Japanese and kept going. I felt like laughing and crying all at once. The fact that my own students realized what I was trying to choke out, and were trying to help me out even while they stood at attention under the watchful gaze of the school's teachers, was very touching.

By the time I got to my last paragraph, my voice was cracking. It was the part where I was telling them that these three years had been the most fulfilling I had ever experienced in my life. How they were all amazing students and that all the fun times we spent together, the silly chants we sang at the boys baseball games, and the events we all took part in together... all of it, I would never forget. At the very end I'm am ashamed to say that I was crying. The only thing I remember after that is the applause and the principal leading me off the stage. I get the feeling that the teachers were bowing to me as I was passing them, which made me feel a bit embarrassed. I hadn't really done anything worthy enough to warrant that kind of a show of respect. I guess they were simply showing me their thanks for all my work these past three years.

Afterwords, I had students coming up to my desk, either in groups or in pairs. They came to thank me and say goodbye. Some of them handed me little letters or thank you notes. Others tried to thank me in a chorus. It was really cute. The band club amazed me though. They had created a poster for me on which every member had written a little message for me. At the bottom of that poster was the cutest, most amazing drawing of me and two students. What was shocking was that I could actually recognize myself; they even had gotten my silly-looking ponytail right. I also received a beautiful DVD from them of their last performance, which I am proud to say I attended. I had been begging for that DVD from the time since the performance first been presented. I found out that the DVDs had just come out the day before and that I was one of the first people to get a copy. I couldn't believe that the day could possibly get any better. I was wrong.

As I was passing the windows in the hallway that looked out onto the school courtyard, the baton club was practicing right outside. They spotted me immediately as I was passing them (I was on the ground floor at the time) and they rushed up to the open window calling my name. They were so sweet. Each one was trying to tell me that she would miss me, but you could see that they couldn't find the correct English words to get their meaning across. In the end they settled for taking turns to hold my hands. It must have looked funny from an outsider's perspective, but in reality It was adorably sweet and very touching. It was almost as if through the contact they could send all their emotions and thoughts to me telepathically. And in a way they did. It's hard for me to explain how amazing it was to see so many of my students trying to talk to me all at once, to let me know that they would miss me, and that they didn't want me to leave. It was the perfect goodbye present.

At the end of the day when I was packing to go, three of the English teachers I had been working with all these years came up to me with a lovely bouquet of flowers. It was a gift from all the English teachers in the school. As I'm typing, I look back at my floor (the table had been picked up yesterday and moved to my sucessor's new appartment) and look at the gorgeous bouquet that is currently standing proudly in my makeshift vase, a nice, tall container of Bailey's chocolates (minus the chocolates, which were eaten by the teachers upon my arrival from Canada last Christmas). I must say that the combination of chocolates and flowers seems fitting for some reason. After all, I love eating chocolates as well as smelling flowers. (Truth to say, I love smelling chocolates as well...)

And there you have it. A very random and actually serious post. I had a very strong need to write about this as I haven't had a chance to tell anyone about it yet. It's very hard for me to explain how I feel at the moment. A mixture of happiness to know that I will be missed, sadness at the thought of having to let go, pride of having had such wonderful students, and the hope that I will have a few more chances to visit them, once I start my new job next month.
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So I come to school today and find it deserted. Only 3 students arrived out of a total of 500 and something. All the teachers are at an emergency meeting to discuss their present plan of action. Poor Japan. One the one hand I can understand why Japanese people are so cautious when it comes to epidemics, especially in a country that has such a dense population. Every day I came to work, teachers ran up to me to inform me of where the swine flu had hit last. It appears that today there were some cases in Kyoto, so parents kept their kids at home (at least in my school).

There goes Judo class... darn. (I had been allowed to attend a Judo class with my first year students today. I hope they don`t cancel the Judo classes entirely, I was really looking forward to learning a new budo. Budo = Martial Art).

I hope exams won`t be cancelled next week, it would definitely wreak havoc on the already busy and complicated school schedule. There is a good chance however that starting Monday everyone will be required to wear masks as a precaution. Ughh.. No, I don`t like wearing masks when I`m not sick. Oh well. When in Rome...

To all my friends: how are they treating the pig flu in your countries / prefectures / schools?

I`ll keep you guys posted if anything happens.
everlaughter: (Ryuuki: The Search)
The Search: Chapter 2 - The Bargain )
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Here is the second chapter to the Saiunkoku Monogatari Pirates Challange called "The Search"
everlaughter: (Ryuuki: The Search)
The Search: Chapter 1 - Inquires )
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Here is the first chapter of my Saiunkoku fanfic called "The Search". Inspired by the March Madness Challenge, it turned out to be a much larger project than I had first planned.
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Ah, the Asian "Death" Flu...
In Japan they simply call it Influenza Type A or B. It sounds so innocent, so simple. And yet, one little letter and you find yourself practically under house arrest (for your own good and that of your co-workers'). A fever, problems breathing, muscle, nerve, and joint pain (you name it, it's all there). To experience so many glorious sensations all at once is a humbling experience. It reminds me that yes, I am still human, and unfortuantely no, I have not passed out yet.
Phones are off limits, except for texting, as I lost my voice somewhere in the early stages. For those who know me, yes it is very tragic that I can no longer speak. Azusachan I'm sure you would sympathize as would grey_demaskena, for you would most definitely feel lonely in the tranquil silence that follows in my wake.

And that's all the energy I have for now, so don't mind me while I lie back on my little sofa. And if my eyes roll into the back of my head, worry not, for I am just resting them.

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 He died with dreams left unfulfilled.
everlaughter: (Allen Tatooine)
D.Gray-man Fanfic: Story Summery

 What would happen if D.Gray-Man were crossed with Star Wars (the old episodes)? Surprisingly, it all fits together remarkably well. 
 I don`t even think I need to give you a hint as to who will be playing Luke`s role... It`s kind of obvious... (And I`m not just talking about the last name.. :P)
 
To clarify some terms and links between Star Wars and D-greyman in this story:
 
Noah = are the equivalent of the Sith
Exorcists = are the equivalent of Jedi
Innocence = is the force (kind of)

The Dark Order = consists of the Noah (Sith)
The Exorcist Order = the name says it all (Linalee often forgoes the first part, the “E” word is kind of taboo these days.)

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And so I'm back (with a new password and everything!)
 My internet has been acting up a bit lately and I'm still trying to work out the kinks, however at least my e-mail account works again. 

I have taken a break from my Iaido and Aikido clubs. I'm hoping my sensei(plural) will forgive me. (I will be going back next week, I swear!)

On the plus side, I have written the first chapter of my long promised d-grayman fanfic. I'm just double checking everything before I post. It should find it's way onto live journal by this weekend. :) 
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How can it be possible for child welfare officials to kidnap a child in order to force the 11-year-old boy to go through chemotherapy treatment (a second time) against his will? 

Kidnap, you ask? Well what else do you call it when a father goes to the hospital with his son for a routine appointment, to find himself shackled by security as his child is taken away from him by force?

This is a boy who has already undergone chemotherapy once and it almost killed him the first time. The boy told his father that he didn't want to die in a hospital while in pain. He preferred to die peacefully in his home with his father. What's more, the boy's doctors had said that he only had a 20% chance of surviving the chemotherapy treatments the second time around. 

Now, to make things even worse, the boy has now been separated from the only family he has left and is kept in the hospital like some kind of prisoner. Is this improving his quality of life? NO. He has a limited amount of time left to live, why not let him spend his last moments surrounded by those he loves, and not by strange machines and indifferent strangers?

This is beyond disgusting. Whatever happened to people's rights? The boy had gone through chemo once and it didn't work. His chances of surviving a second encounter are very poor. If I was in his place I would demand the same thing (staying at home with my loved ones). I took a series of thanatology courses (the study of death, grief and berevement) in university and there we stress the importance of a person’s quality of life. Prolonging a person’s life simply for the sake of stretching it out just a little bit longer while causing them increasing pain, should not be enforced in such a way that it forces an already dying person to experience hell-on-earth in the last remaining moments of his or her life.

Here's a link to the full article, please feel free to check it out.
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/05/09/cas-chemotherapy.html

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This journey that I have embarked on, known as live journal to many others, will surely change my life in the most positive of ways. No longer will I be randomly filling up various notebooks as well as scribbling down insanely spectacular thoughts on odd scraps of paper that I randomly find lying around my house. No sir.

Now I have this glorious online journal that will help me keep all my thoughts organized and up to date. Watch me world, a new era begins!

Um, yes. As you can see I am extremely excited at having acquired such a wonderful, useful tool. I will do my best to use it responsibly and take very good care of it. Before you know it, me and my journal will become the best of friends. *nod, nod*

On a slightly more serious note, it is my goal to get back into serious writing again. I have had a fairly long vacation from writing fiction, so you might have to be a bit patient while I attempt to jump-start my creativity once more. Once that happens I'm sure that no force on this earth will be able to stop me, much less slow me down. 

So greetings to whoever is reading this and I hope you enjoy your stay.