Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween


               Happy Halloween everyone even if it’s a little belated.  Now from what I am able to discover between asking around and digging on the internet, Halloween is not really a holiday the Mongolians celebrate.  That did not mean that the school was bereft of Halloween activities.  Face painting took place before school and during lunch, a costume contest during homeroom, plus a haunted house and a scary movie showing after school.  Luckily my part in the festivities was rather limited as I had cross country practice after school.  I was utterly shocked by the turnout at practice today, on a Friday, Halloween, and the temperature hovering around freezing.  We had a record turnout for the Friday long run, which revolves around running until I tell everyone to turn around and go back (20min each way).  It was a glorious practice, best of the season, I had so much fun it was almost criminal.

Since I’m in Mongolia

               If you haven’t figured it out by now, yeah no one showed up.  Thus I ended up with the afternoon off and took a nap, woke up thinking it’s late at night, only to find out it was 6:20pm.  The days have been getting really short recently, dark at 6pm light at 7am more or less, and no daylight savings time.

               Now back to Halloween, it was like being at an anime convention today, with all of the different costumes, League of Legends, Fairy Tail, Naruto, Madoka Magica, Bleach, plus all of your associated zombies, vampires and assorted horror movie creatures.  My personal favorites out of the bunch were the following

Konan from Naruto (sorry no real pictures for obvious reasons)

Erza Scarlet (Purgatory Armor) from Fairy Tail, which was worn by the art teacher


               The rest of the week wasn't nearly as interesting, just the same old same old.  I did find another grocery store that sold Mongolian meats buns.  Now against my fellow teacher’s advice I just had to try some, two thin ones and two big ones.  I sautéed some mushrooms, because everything is better with mushrooms, and added a little bit of Bolognese sauce.  If you thought the sauce was homemade than your nuts, what do I look like, John.  Anyway the meet buns were glorious, and they traversed my digestive system correctly.  The camera is on the fritz so these will have to do.

Big ones

Thin ones

               Not much else is going on or planned for this weekend since grades are due, So I’ll leave you with a couple of supposedly haunted places from Japan.  The first two pictures are the lover’s rocks at the Kiyomizu temple.   The legend is that if you touch the first rock and walk with your eyes closed to the second rock and manage to touch it your true love will happen.  No I did not attempt this.

               This one is not a myth or legend, but this is what happens when you can’t read the local language and go wandering off into the hills behind a small temple in Kyoto.

                  Well this looks interesting let’s see where it goes.

               This is a little weird, but I am in Japan so who knows.  Maybe it is some Buddhist thing since it’s behind a Buddhist Temple.  I think the stone is a Ryuseki stone, which is usually some kind of monument or marker.  In Sakura Wars they are used to seal demons, so who knows what this one is doing.

               Ok that was a little creepy…… Um, ok its getting a little chilly…… Ok, that sounds weird…..  Ok, now I’m officially creeped out….. Oh hell…. Cheese it, I’m running…..

               I am not one to put much stock in the supernatural being a science teacher and all, but I was for the first time in my life officially creeped out.  One quick run later and I was back at the bottom of the path.  I did search out a local guide and priestess to ask them about what I had stumbled into and their answer only made it worse.  What path behind the temple, you mean that you can go up the mountain their……. Bloody hell if the locals don’t even know then where the hell was I.  And the moral of the story kids is try to learn the language, don’t go wondering off, and red signs usually stop you idiot.

Okiku’s Well- Himeji Castle

               Okiku was a handmaiden at the castle and the lover of one of the castle lords loyal retainers.  During her course of her work she overheard a plan to overthrow the castle lord.  She warned the lord of the castle and the plot failed.  The plotters then accused her of breaking some dishes that were a family treasure and had her killed.  After her death a voice could be heard coming from the well counting the broken pieces of the dishes she broke.  Sometime later the lord of the castle discovered all of the conspirators and her killers.  Let’s just say it did not end well for them.  The lord of the castle removed the remained and had them enshrined at a local temple making her a goddess.  The voices then stopped.

Matsuyama castle

               Legend has it that a large demon bat lives in the well.

In closing a Mongolian Folk Tale 

How the Camel Lost His Good Looks.
They say that long, long ago the Camel used to be one of the most handsome animals. He had a long fluffy tail and nice and mighty horns.
All the animals in the forest and the steppe were envious of the Camel. Many of them wanted to have the kind of tail that the Camel had, or the kind of horns he had.

The Camel knew of this and said proudly: ``You won't find the kind of tail I have, or the horns, anywhere else in the world!''
But it would have been better if he had not boasted.
Once he came up to the river to have a drink of water and there met a Maral. ``I'm invited to a party. Will you lend me your horns, just for a while?'' asked the Maral.
The Camel lent him his horns.
Later on that very day the Camel met a Horse.
``I'm invited to a party,'' said the Horse, ``will you lend me your tail?''
The Camel agreed and stayed on the bank of the river.
The Maral and the Horse ran off. All day long the Camel was drinking water and looking up the road while waiting for them.
But there was no sign either of the Maral, or of the Horse.
The Maral had deceived the Camel and skipped over to the taiga. He stayed there for ever and never went out into the open steppe. He got accustomed to the horns as if they were his.
The Horse never gave back the borrowed tail and when he comes across the Camel, he gets frightened and runs away.

That is how the Camel lost his good looks and sweet temper.

FYI- I first heard Christmas music being played in a small face with really good Cheese Cake on October 18th so I think that beats the States for extending the Christmas season.

PS- Mike it's all your fault.  I went and asked for Yak meat at the supermarket and they looked at me like a crazy person.

PPS- i still don't know why the pictures are sideways when they don't do that in word.