Will's Tour Diary - updated daily (ish)!

Will's tour diary
- What? Why? When? Where? - Shows - Seminars

Wed 29th November

Today was meant to be an ordinary day...but it didn't quite pan out.

We went to Robin's largest school - Hojo Primary - and our three shows went off well. Our friend Eileen showed up and we got her to join us in the Left and Right song (you can never have too many people dancing!).

After lunch we visited Masaoka Primary, a smaller school where we wowed the whole school at once. The teachers at Masaoka were marvellous - they had lots of questions for us so they convened a special staff meeting and we discussed teaching English at the primary school level. It was a great chance to hear the sorts of concerns teachers at this level had. How can you teach correct pronunciation? (use your ALT, use tapes, use CDs and computers) Isn't a foreign language difficult? (No! its just a language - anyone can do it!) Don't you need to know a lot of grammar to communicate? (No. I demonstrated by showing that I could get one of the teachers pass me a pen even though the only word I used to communicate was the word for 'pen' - and gestures, facial expression). We had the impression that some of the teachers were worried about the idea of teaching English, but we allayed a lot of fears and even made some friends - as we drove off all the staff came out to see us off, waving wildly as they chorused "Sayonnara".

It was time to head south. The Mizunuma's had planned a big welcome dinner for us and we were looking forward to relaxing over a few beers. Said farewell to Robin.

 In order to save time we hopped on the expressway at Matsuyama. We zoomed along - there wasn't much traffic - until we hit a long uphill stretch and the Genkimobile laboured along at 40 km/r. We proceeded at this pace for about 5 kilometres when suddenly the engine made a small "putt, putt" sound and then a loud "bang". We pulled over. The Genkimobile wouldn't start - it was dead.

It was cold. I was wearing shorts. I was worried that we had blown up the engine. It was not a  good moment.

Luckily a road inspection guy had stopped a few hundred metres away - I hailed him and asked him for help. He used the nearby emergency phone to call about getting the Genkimobile towed (after checking that we had some money!). Rang Mizunuma Sensei and explained the situation - he suggested getting towed - he would meet us at Uchiko (the nearest exit). The road service guy on the phone wanted my details, and a very Japanese conversation ensued:

(all in Japanese)
Him:    "What has happened"
Me:        "Err..the engine made a sound...err....a loud bang...ahh...the
car won't go...I think the engine blew up"
Him:    "Where are you?"
Me:        "Near Uchiko"
Him:    "Are you a Japan Autombile Federation member?"
Me:        "No"
Him: (suddenly switching to English) No.

Maybe he wanted to practice his one English word.

Two guys wearing reflective vests showed up and directed the few passing cars so they didn't accidentally swerve onto the shoulder and collide with the Genkimobile. Richard and I sat in the car eating Castella cake and feeling miserable.

The towing guy appeared. Tow trucks don't really tow in Japan - they carry. The Genkimobile was winched onto the back of the truck as I steered. Richard and I hopped in and made small talk with the driver. The fact that we were moving again buoyed our spirits a little - but the fact we had killed the Genkimobile weighed heavily on us.

We reached Uchiko - paid the toll for the Genkimobile AND the tow truck. The Mizunumas met us at the rendezvous point - in front of a friend's garage. To make me feel even worse, Mr Mizunuma was in his pajamas. He and Mrs Mizunuma were remarkably cheery for two people whose campervan had just been blown up. We loaded some personals into overnight bags, haggled with the driver for a reduced price (we had been quoted a different rate over the phone) and the Mizunumas took us home to Uwa. I had driven the Genkimobile to Hokkaido and back, and it broke down a mere 30 kilometres from its destination.

We arrived after 11. We fell upon the feast provided, drowned our sorrows and exhausted, fell asleep.


email: will@genkienglish.net

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Opinions expressed in this diary are personal views of Will Jasprizza. They do  not necessarily represent those of Genki English, especially where he is  making jokes which sounded better at the time!!! Please be understanding!


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