I know, I know. I’ve been slacking off with this blogging thing. Here’s a short recap of what’s been going on:
-The school year came to an end in March so I had to say goodbye to my grade six elementary school students and my third grade junior high school students. I enjoyed both graduation ceremonies though I didn’t understand a word of what was going on. True to Japanese form, they were very calm and simple (worlds away from the hooting and hollering we do when the students are receiving their certificates). I also had to say goodbye to a number of teachers, some of whom I really, really liked. The line-up of teachers changes every year here and so I lost some wonderful colleagues. Such is life.
-Spring has FINALLY come around. After some five and a half months of absolute discomfort, I am now happy with the weather. I kept hearing that it would roll around come March, and so March came and………….nothing. Imagine my disappointment. There were a few good days here and there, but nothing solid. However, it’s been pretty good for the past week and I’m hoping it stays this way for a long time.
Now remember I said the school year ends in March? Well, following logic, it begins in April 🙂 One of my schools decided to have a “welcome hike” to ring in the new year, so to speak. I was not enthused about this event, first of all, because I was in no way interested in the idea of hiking. There was also the fact that the weather was disgusting (9 degrees C/ 48 F), it was overcast and there was a forecast of rain. You’ll see the dark sky in the pictures below. Anyway, I’m glad I went. It was a lot of fun, and the big monstrous hike I had imagined turned out to just be a giant picnic/fun day in the park.
We left school at about 9:30 a.m and it was interesting to see them execute a WHOLE SCHOOL field trip not on a bus, not having parents give rides, but walking. The teachers did an excellent job of keeping everyone safe, in line, paired up and moving smoothly. We walked for about twenty minutes pass open fields, graveyards and intrigued housewives and field workers to a big, open space where the children went wild. Running, one-two-three red-light (the Japanese version, anyway), skipping, climbing trees. They had a whale of a time. It just occurred to me that maybe it shouldn’t even be called a picnic since, come to think of it, no eating took place. It was just about two hours of playing and enjoying the outdoors. I loved the fact that students who I had never been given the chance to interact with came up and spoke to me. The ichi nenseis (first graders) were in awe of the gaijin sensei (foreign teacher) and I loved how the grade six students explained my role to them. I also liked getting in on the action. I learned a traditional Japanese game where…as usual…I didn’t understand a word that was being said BUT I had fun and I was glad they asked me to join. All in all, a day well spent.