Finally, I’m getting caught up with my posts and working my way into March. Last Thursday, I had absolutely no classes, so I THOUGHT I would have lots of time to catch up with this blog. For not being busy I sure was busy! I spent a good chunk of the morning prepping for my Thursday night class. I actually thought that I had already made a lesson, so that was something that I hadn’t planned on doing and took up a lot of time. Then I had to print out pictures of my family for a lesson about family members for my second graders, create a review game for my fifth graders, finish a letter to Grandmother, and grade papers that Ms. Fuchita gave me. By the time I finished all of that, it was lunch time. The rest of the afternoon was more of the same….time consuming things that had to be done. Even though I wasn’t in class, I still had a lot to do! In addition, the Thursday night class lesson that I spent a lot of time on pretty much went to waste because only two kids showed up, so we just played go fish, memory, and another card game with little profession (cook, teacher, doctor, etc) cards that I made.
Thursday at lunch, the students had a small bag of sweetened puffed rice. I ate lunch with my third graders, and they started tossing it into each other’s mouth. They wanted me to try, and I did, but I’m the stupid foreigner who can’t catch a puffed rice grain in my mouth. Even the homeroom teacher tried. She was really good at it! That was a rather fun lunch period since puffed rice was flying all over the room.
Graduation is on Sunday, so the JHS has been having graduation practices. My first one to attend was last Friday. Leave it to Japan to have a well organized, smooth practice. My gosh, I was really surprised at how RIGID the structure of the ceremony is. It reminded me almost of a military graduation. The students clap, stand, sit, and bow in unison. The chairs are all squeaky, so when they lean forward to bow, there is one collective squeeeeeak, lol. When the third graders march to the stage to receive their diplomas, there is a very specific way of doing it. It also reminded me of Van Trapp kids in The Sound of Music down to even their sailor uniforms. I can’t wait to take videos on Sunday and post them. You’ll see exactly what I mean!
Last Friday night we had another fish fry. This time it was at our house. Rachel, David, Melissa, and Mary came. We expanded our list of things to fry, and this time it was fish, fries, onion rings, AND Oreos. Yes, the 100 year old cookie was a welcome addition to our fish fry. Once again, we ate and ate and ate and felt disgusting afterward. Ah, American food! David and Ian started playing around with Ian’s camera, and then David had the idea to make an improv movie. David created personas for each character. Melissa was a young down-on-her-luck girl selling drugs to Mary, a sad, sad character going through a rough patch. Both of them really took off with the roles, and it was hilarious! We made fun of Melissa since her character’s personality changed from a young woman to a seven-year-old sweet talking southern to an African American teen boy to a gangsta calling in a Mexican drug lord, Bruno. It was fabulous.
On Saturday, I made pancakes for breakfast and since no one was on skype, we spent the morning in bed catching up on our Thursday night shows. Since the weather was fairly nice, we took a walk around town that afternoon. We explored a way that we’ve never gone before and ended up walking four miles. Ian brought his camera, and we got some good pictures. In one, Ian wanted me to stand on this rotten bridge in someone’s yard, and I was a little reluctant because I didn’t want anyone to see me trespassing (not that they have really strict laws about that here). He said, “Just get over there and do it really quickly!” I did, and just as I was posing for the picture, a car drove by. Behind the door’s window, I saw the driver laughing and giving me one of those “oh, silly foreigner!” looks. The road that we took came out at Green Palace, Yunomae’s park. We walked over to the go cart track. There are some children’s slides beside it, so of course I took the opportunity to play, but whenever my hips became wedged into one of the slides, the fun and games kind of ended. Fat foreigners=do not need to play on children’s playground equipment.
That night, we went to Amanda’s for a fancy party. Everyone dressed up. It’s sometimes fun to dress up for no particular reason. There were a couple of Japanese people there, and after much alcohol was consumed, the women told us how jealous they were of Ian and I. They said that we were such a cute and loving couple, and they were very envious of us. One woman, who was our age, already had two kids, and the other woman, who was in her thirties, basically told us that her husband is an alcoholic jerk. I get the impression that many marriages in Japan are like that, but the Japanese just DEAL with that. Divorce really isn’t an option in Japan. Technically you COULD divorce a spouse, but then you have shame brought not only to you but to your family as well. You are seen as a failure. Side note—something else that I find weird about Japanese society is that not a lot of people wear wedding rings to work (as in the place where they spend most of their time). You have to understand that the Japanese COMPLETELY separate work and private life so much so that for the most part I have no idea who is married, has kids, etc. Americans love to station family and friend pictures on desks, but here they just don’t. Also, the Japanese don’t really wear jewelry. These are cultural things. Anyway, back to the rings. I’ve noticed that more men wear rings than women. I don’t think I’ve seen a single woman wearing a wedding ring….which is probably why all of the kids are ga-ga about my ring. I’ve even had kids tell me to take it off so that they could try it on. Sorry kids but NO! I’m not trusting a fourth graders with my wedding ring!!!
Sunday we had the best of intentions of doing something like going for another walk, but it was a rainy day. Instead, we decided to be lazy. It was actually really nice to just kick up our feet and watch TV all day because the past couple of weekends have kept us very busy.
Woo-hoo! I’m moving right along with this blog, and the next one will be about the current week! Yay! I see the light at the end of the tunnel…..it’s vague, but I see it!