The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Friday, 6 October 2006

Windsurfing club at school

The location of my school next to the sea is fantastic, and it means that my school can offer scuba-diving and windsurfing classes (and the marine teachers in charge of those classes are so kind!). A couple of weeks ago, I joined the school's scuba-diving class which was super-fun. Yesterday I joined the windsurfing club after the last period of the day.

I think the major problem about joining these school activities is the language barrier - I can't learn and they can't teach if I don't understand. Miyashita-sensei was called to a meeting so I was left with a few students from the vocational marine classes (i.e. English comprehension is not as good as the students in the academic classes - however their English is still much better than my Japanese!) teaching me how to windsurf. I had a crash course a few weeks ago on how to assemble the sail and Hirate-sensei said that he would attach a rope to my sail for my first lesson in the water. But there were no teachers here to do that - only a few students (who have been learning windsurfing at least from April this year) who didn't understand my apprehensiveness.

So here I was, standing on the pier, refusing to jump onto the board because I didn't want to stray too far away (the students' reassurances of "rescue boat will come" wasn't at all reassuring). It must have been a hilarious sight to the nearby fishermen - me in a wetsuit, jumping onto the board, sitting on it for a good five minutes refusing to do anything except clutch onto the steps to the pier (and pleading with the students to not let go of the sail), and then getting back out as soon as I was told that Miyashita-sensei was absent because he was in a meeting. One of the students had to run back to school and get Kami-sensei (one of my JTEs) to translate.

It is harder than it looks. I fell from the board into the water many times just trying to bring the sail up from the water. According to Kami-sensei, the students thought I did well for a first-timer - many of them had much more trouble than I did on their first lesson. I think they were just being nice to the clumsy wimpy ALT-sensei. Miyashita-sensei did come out to help after his meeting, but I could only do a further 15 minutes because I needed to cycle back home before it got dark.

Anyway, I will try harder next time.

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