It is almost deathly quiet. A barely audible flip of a page drifts over periodically from the right and the vibrations more than the sound of the air-conditioner adds to the tension that the figure sitting at the desk closest to the wall is feeling. She has delayed long enough; it is time to make her move. Slowly she rises from the desk and instinctively allows her right leg to bare more weight than her left. She slides around the corner and past a teacher sleeping lightly on his arms, it is just before lunch and there are only about six eyes in the staffroom to even take notice and none seem to do so. She curses softly under her breath as her shoes squeak while she takes little steps past the bin busting with recycled bottles. The door is reached by putting one nonchalant foot in front of the other but once outside she starts to run. There is nobody waiting in the corridor and the girl lifts two tissues from her capri pants pocket. The bright sunshine of the outside balcony barely reaches her face as she finally gets to blow her nose.
I know I am being a little gross, but I really miss getting to blow my nose in public or at least when I need to. Here I would get less dirty looks if I were to sing the national anthem in my birthday suit. Something that I expect many of you would not miss however is the lack of `nomihodai` in South Africa. Nomihodai means all you can drink and of whichever poison you have made your mistress. Anything from melon juice to whiskey is on the table for a set price and I know some rugby manne that would make Japan think twice about this little venture.
Well on Friday I experienced my first enkai (work drinking party) with only the fairer sex in attendance. All the lady teachers and myself went to a Spanish restaurant and as I would get some odd looks if I did not at least booze it up a little I chose white wine as my escort for the evening. I did not really over indulge but Roland tells a different story (I think it involves me falling off the couch when I got home but it is best to ask him) and we all had a really great time. I remember speaking a lot more Japanese and I am hoping that, that was really the case and I did not spend the evening chatting in Afrikaans. Either way it was a great way to get to know the ladies of my school and eat some fantastic food. Nothing like a bit of wine to make raw octopus taste like top class calamari.
After sleeping late (which sadly is only till 9am these days), Roland and I met up with ducky and made our way to the water park found not too far from where I live. The three of us lathered up with 2 liters of suntan lotion and jumped into the circular pool that with the help of some strong jet propulsion creates some wicked currents. As is to be expected from the two charlatans I refer to as friends, I was forced via peer pressure to go down the scarily high super tube. I was relieved to see the word yukuri (meaning slow) next to a picture of a little man sitting as opposed to lying down. Ducky and Roland opted for the speed demon option while I yukuried by bum down the slide. Emma even closed her eyes because you can never have enough terror in your life. All said and done it was super fun and I even managed to lie down all the way during one of our attempts.
Our evening was spent at a traditional Japanese summer festival and all three of us were coerced into dancing in a vast circle to the tune of taiko drums and eerie singing. Once again the festival food was amazing and more than twenty people came and thanked us for joining in or asked us to come again the next year. I am slowly getting used to bowing more that fifteen times in one conversation.