To: newsletter
From: "Peter M. Rivard"
Subject: Business functions

      Well, today my base school had its ski trip, followed by the mandatory dinner/drinking party with the PTA, who provided most of the manpower for the ski trip. How do you know you've had a bit to drink? You have one of those flashes of clarity in which you realize in the middle of the vice-principal's closing speech that you have one of your colleagues in a headlock. How do you know you're in Japan? This moment has occurred well before nine o'clock. Another clue that you're in Japan is that just after this your boss remarks that although you seem to put away quite a bit, she's never seen you drunk. On further questioning, you discover that if you can make it to the can and back without either the police or an ambulance (or the National Guard) being summoned, you are not considered to be drunk.
      The ski trip itself was great--I got to know some of the kids a bit better, and the PTA person I was paired with was an expert skier and a good teacher, so I learned a lot even as I was helping teach the kids. I feel like I'm turning a corner in my skiing ability. I really enjoy spending time with these kids. They're no more immature than American kids, but they don't seem to feel the need to pretend to be more mature than they are. They're fun, friendly, and very entertaining. Some of 'em are cute as bugs, too. I go again with my other school Monday, and did I mention that I get paid for this?

It's a good life,

Peter

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