Friday! Yay~! This week, although seeming to go fast, also somehow managed to be a killer. I didn’t have many classes this week: Monday was prep for the culture festival which took all of Tuesday, and my class load for the rest of the week was cut in half for whatever reason. Usually I teach the 3rd year classes in halves ie> class 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, but this week they were combined.
The culture festival was great fun though. It opened with our wonderful band playing a number of upbeat songs including the opening theme from the anime Evangelion, which was fun. The 2nd year classes each performed the same song (not the same as the band) in chorus, followed by a song of their choosing. Not sure what the mandatory song was, but there was good variety in the other. The 3rdyear classes all put on plays, which were mostly quite difficult for me to follow. One of the classes basically managed to turn their play into a talent show, and a bunch of the girls, and guys in drag, pulled off the dance to the Girls’ Generation (Shoujo Jidai) song ‘Gee’ spectacularly. I wish you could have seen it. 😀 I also appeared in a rather silly video that the student council played near the beginning. It was somewhat embarassing.
I just learned that the Men’s rhythmic gymnastics team from my school is currently at a competition in Tokyo. They’re really good, and have won national competitions in the past. They’re also easy to find on YouTube! Check the link for their 1st place performance at the 2010 All Japan competition.
Last Saturday a couple of the other Ibara ALTs and I stumbled upon a Kagura festival (I can’t adequately explain Kagura, check the Wiki link if you’re interested) up at the top of the big shrine featured in the banner of this blog. It was a lot of fun, and we got to watch the dances up close. I also consumed a bit too much sacred sake and spent most of Sunday recovering. Totally worth it though. There’s a similarly themed festival in a different part of town in the morning this Sunday, so I’ll probably check that out too.
Tomorrow I’m taking the bus into Kasaoka city to cheer on the student I’ve been tutoring for his English recitation contest. I’ll take the opportunity to do some much needed clothes shopping. I also haven’t been into Kasaoka yet, so it should be a fun day. In the evening I’m meeting a bunch of other JETs for a party in Fukuyama.
I’m starting to plan my Christmas vacation. I get the 23-25th off, as well as the 29-3rd. I can also easily take those intervening 3 days as paid vacation, so I have a good stretch of holiday. I’m thinking south. Okinawa south. Not the main island though, everyone goes to Okinawa Island and I’m too cool for that. At the moment I have my eye on the even more southern island of Iriomote. It looks lovely, and has some good looking hiking trails for which the temperature will likely be accommodating in December. Once I book the time off (sometime next week) I’ll see about making a reservation at one of the reasonable B&B’s on the island. Phone conversations are hard though. Some of the other ALTs are heading back to North America for Christmas, and although tempting, I think it would be too hard on me; I think if I spent a week with my family it would be pretty painful getting back on the plane. Plus which, staying in Japan is considerably cheaper even if it is Okinawa.
Today in class I had to describe a Moose to my teachers and students. One of the activities I prepared included the sentence “Moose are large animals found in Canada.” and no one had heard of Moose before. Both my teachers were still skeptical of how large I claimed they were until I showed them the Japanese Wikipedia article back in the teachers’ room. I think they’re afraid of Canada now. One of my JTEs doesn’t reach my shoulders, and a large Moose would probably stand twice as tall as her. 😀
The Halloween party in Okayama city next weekend is a bit of a bother. The last train leaves Okayama for Ibara at slightly before 11:00PM, so we’re probably finding a hostel or something to stay at overnight. Can’t really not show up though, since I agreed to coordinate costumes with a fellow ALT. The weekend following that we are participating in Ibara’s international festival, which means running a booth selling Canadian ethnic food (poutine and apple cider). Shouldn’t be much trouble for me, since I’m only in charge of the cider. Even so, it means I have something taking up precious weekend time for quite a few weeks ahead yet. Boo.
Hmm, won’t do to end on a negative note like that. Let’s see… Oh! Yesterday something incredibly cute happened. Word has apparently gotten around that I’m a bit of a nerd after one of my students asked me if I knew who Hatsune Miko was and I foolishly answered in the affirmative. Anyways, a couple of my 3rd year girls handed me a printed letter after class, which was awesome. It had obviously been fed through a translation program, and was barely comprehensible, but that only added to how great it was. They described a favourite song from a series of visual novels, and gave me the link to it on YouTube, along with their favourite Miku song.
There we go, much better. Maybe I should find something productive to do at work now…