It was another exciting weekend in Japan. It's important to travel while you're young so that you can really experience the essence of a place, get to know what makes it tick, keep up with all the energy around you.
I had an interview Saturday with some people that I thought were with the Board of Education in this area. Turns out it was really two representatives from a school called Zero to One English School. They offered me a job as a Native English Teacher, which means that I would be teaching classes all by myself. I'm fairly confident that I could be a good language teacher if given some materials to work with and if I can get off my ass and learn more Japanese. They offer private classes at various schools throughout this area so taking the job would mean commuting by train and company car. Which means I would have to learn how to drive on the left side of the road and get a Japanese driver's license. I would also be working from the afternoon into the night, maybe as late as 11 or 12. The contract is a little fishy-sounding, so I'm going to hold off on signing it as long as possible and continue my job search. It's heartening to be offered a job finally though.
Sunday was our trip to Nagoya. We spent the day exploring the Nagoya Noh Theater, which has a mini-museum about the Noh theater tradition. One of my favorite parts was trying on traditional Noh masks:
Next, we headed to Nagoya Castle. The castle was actually destroyed in World War II so most of what we saw was a rebuilt version of the original. I didn't realize how devastating WWII was on Japan. Toyo, a man who works for Zero to One, was telling about how almost all of the buildings in Japan were built in the 1950s or later because of the extensive bombing campaign throughout the country. There are very few buildings left that exemplify traditional Japanese architecture. Everything has a Western influence nowadays. I found that very, very sad. A few parts of the original castle were still intact, though, including a nut meg tree that is over 600 years old! We walked through the castle gardens for hours. Everything was beautiful and it was interesting to learn about ancient Japanese culture.
Our day ended with a sumo wrestling match, which is actually more of a foreigner's attraction than a Japanese one. The arena was insane. Half the audience was sitting on the floor on purple cushions and the rest were on bleachers. Pissed off audience members would throw their cushions toward the small stage in the center when their favorite wrestler lost. Many innocent spectators were hit rather than wrestlers. We saw an old man take a cushion to the head. Sumo wrestling is a very unique sport. The wrestlers have to be in tune with one another to know when to begin the match. When both competitors touch the ground with their knuckles and make eye contact, they know it is time to begin. If one looked away, they would get back up and smack their bellies and stretch. They also did a strange dance at one point in the match. I plan on doing some research to try and understand sumo a little more. Even if it is mostly a foreigner's sport, I love seeing an old Japanese tradition continue to survive the 21st century. Click on the pictures for more detail.