Tuesday, 3 June 2014

spring photo diary

It's been a while since I wrote an update with all my random pictures and daily anecdotes. A lot has happened- I got new students, went to Thailand, gave a lecture at the university in Miyazaki and featured in an article in the prefectural newspaper, camped out on the beach and paddled in phosphorescent water, saw hundreds of fireflies, and just this weekend went on a yoga retreat. 

The bonding trip with my new first years was to see the old burial grounds of Saito. It was a perfect spring day and it felt really good to start fresh with new pupils and a better sense of my job and the school. 

My new students' diaries are just as fantastic as the last batch. 
  • "England is one's weakest subject. Thus Iook forward to your continued support. "
  • '"I want to be a cosmopolitan so I'll study English hard." 
  • "My alma mater is an elementary school in Sakasaki."
  • "Our baseball game was hard, but a god didn't betray us and we won! It was a quality day!"
  • "I am twins! Please keep this a secret from everybody. I will say it... soon." 
  • "At the weekend I goes sheeping with my sister. I love sheeping and I want to go sheeping again soon."
  • "We lost the tennis match against Nishi high school, but we will have our revenge on them."
  • "Then pets will die and sometimes children will kill their pets. It is very sad and sorry." 

Chris and I designed a new English club poster featuring ourselves! My crazed picture has appeared already on this blog one too many times. Now that it's my last semester, she and Carlos sensei have taken to casually saying "Your days are numbered" in a somewhat menacing way. 

I really enjoyed the enkai for first year teachers - nabe, sashimi, fried chicken and king prawns, good chat, plus plenty of beer and a smoky nijikai

Miyakonojo blossomed everywhere, including the 'junk yard' house in my neighborhood (blog post to follow) - flowers and foliage pushed through every nook and cranny of discarded scrap and made a tower of blooms and wisteria. 

Saturday pizza brunch

I can has pizza? 

After several postal errors, I finally got my lovely Christmas present from G

I want to do a full blog post later, but I had a crazy evening with a room of Japanese OAPs in which I wore and was given a kimono, won a painting, sang 'Somewhere only we know' for them and heard the confession of a wrinkly secret ballet enthusiast

The timehop app continues to amuse. For the first time it brought up something about my Gran, and I felt a sharp pang, but the good kind. It's funny and unexpected the ways that people live on and make their presence felt in our lives. 

And of course, line stickers. Always line stickers. 

My pigeons problem continued and presented me with something of a moral dilemma. Of course I solved it like the mature adult I now am and subtly rolled them along the balcony to become my neighbour's problem instead

The girls and I went hangover hiking one Sunday in Ebino. 

These elderly, hyper active hikers surrounded us and took several dozen pictures with us, laughing raucously. 

I met some other JETs in Kobayashi for a kimono lesson. Dressing yourself in one (especially one as voluminous as mine) is no easy task and took a couple of practices and a lot of exertion. 

The two under-layers 

Tiny but meticulous Japanese portions

The girls had a Four Weddings and spa night, but relaxation proved hard in these terrifying Japanese face masks. 

Maybe we should have watched the Texas Chainsaw Massacre? 

Simon and I made the most of pre-rainy season weather with some evening bike rides. 

An English teacher at school picked the rainiest hour of the week to go ume (plum) picking

I'm kind of looking forward to a few more excuses for heel-wearing back home, and not towering over every man like a giant when I do 

I love when graduated students come back to visit! 

One recent junior high lesson really made me laugh. The students were reviewing "if" and were taking turns adding consecutive sentences to a list "If I won the lottery, i would be rich. If I were rich..." etc. However it didn't go quite as we planned and a lot of groups found themselves in a downward spiral towards ruin. The rest came face to face with the utility of life as their "ifs" lead around in a never-ending circle! 
My students became utterly obsessed with Frozen, or 'Anna and the Snow Queen', as it's called here in keeping with the trend of more literal titles. They sing "Volley ball, volley baaaaaall" and whatever else they can think of to the tune of Let It Go and almost everyone has done a diary entry about it! 

I had one of my favourite nights in Japan at this beach, next to Kojima, the island we visited last year. This picture from the next morning was the only one I took, evidence that it was too much fun to be Instagramming. About twenty ALTs camped out around a huge, superlative fire pit that looked like this. We barbecued, danced, sang and played guitar, cooled down with deep chat and spontaneous seranading, warmed up with leap frog, and went skinny dipping or paddling in the warm, bioluminescent sea with sparklers. Every time we moved the water subtly lit up like white electricity. In the wee hours a heavily pregnant Japanese woman joined us by the fire. At the time all assumed she was someone's friend, though she turned out to be a stranger. She rubbed her bare belly by the flames as if to induce a birth, and after a while calmly said "Maybe I will have my baby now" and walked off into the surf! Eventually we retired to our tents with smooth stones hot from the fire as bed-warmers. 

Simon was kind enough to lend me his record player and a stack of vinyl to sort out for my birthday party in a month - and this bad boy was in the collection! Complete with katakana on the back. 

 A mid-week day off in lieu was spent shopping chilling by the river 

 Purikura adventures.. 

Me, Hana and Hana's mum amusing ourselves on a Sunday night...

And I finally saw the biggest spider of my life, in our taiko practice place. To clarify, it was at least as big as my hand !I believe they're called huntsman spiders. We were a bit jumpy that night, to say the least. We have a festival coming up on the 28th June, so we're practicing twice a week now. It's hard work but great fun, and I'm loving the camaraderie and the silly banter that transcends language.  

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