Thursday, September 28, 2006

Bunkasai 2006

Here is the entrance to Isahaya High School's Bunkasai (one of the several festivals here lately) - "Bunkasai" is a cultural festival, and I was amazed at what was offered at the one hosted by the "Kanko" (IHS nickname) students. The students practiced their routines and performances well into the night each evening after school, and though they must have been tired on the day of the festival, you'd never have known it to see them!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Carrie Oakie

Oh, yes...definitely two of the next contestants on "Japanese Idol" there...
This is my first time doing karaoke in Japan, and I think the first time doing it since Project Graduation (that would be high school grad) with Danielle, Bob, and Cara! Dawn's thought bubble reads, "She reeeeally needs to keep the day job!"
(Sorry I've been outta touch...between festivals, typhoons, and family "fun", I've been a little ahhhh...distracted.)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Sam went on a field trip with me to Nagasaki City, which is about 20 minutes away by train. The purpose of my visit that time was to find a bike store so I can get a good mountain bike since I couldn't bring mine from home. Funny how things work out, though - because if I HAD been able to bring my US bike, I might very well have missed out on meeting Taniguchi san and his little (bike) touring group! I even had the good fortune to be in the bike shop at the same time as the team leader, Keizo san, and he was nice enough to give me a lift back to Isahaya. And that's just the beginning! There's more to the story - an invite for Christmas Mass and dinner, trips to amazing places, underwear shopping at the "100 yen" store, onsens, yakiniku and hanbagu - all this and I haven't even bought my bike yet! I'm tired now, though, so you'll have to check back for the story later (don't worry - it's not what you might think -it's all PG! this IS Japan, afterall!).

Tanoshiso-dane, Sam!

("It looks like you're having a good time!") As you can see, Sam wastes no time in making new friends in Nagasaki city!

More biru?

Miki pours Fuchi a drink (notice how cute the little beer 'mugs' are?!) A little note on "the way they do things here" - when you want more to drink, someone else pours it for you. In some places in Japan, the men actually just hold up their glass and yell, "Biru!" and some woman will come running over to pour him a drink. (yeah - don't get any ideas, guys. You try that one with me, and I'll say, "What, are your legs broken?") Another one of the JETs from Miami wrote me about a party that he attended where the women actually did this running-over-to-pour-business, and he said it made him feel really awkward. Another BIG note - there is NO drinking and driving. You drink even one drink, and then drive - you're liable to end up in prison. You better not even drive the next morning if you drank a bit the night before - they can still nab you then. Solution? You call this cool "taxi" service - this service provides someone else to drive you and your car home. It's even cheaper than a regular taxi. Maybe Mr. Gibson should take down that number...

Welcome enkai

Chizu! So here is the English department at Isahaya Koko. They took me out for a welcome "enkai" (party) which included lots of food and lots of drinking...great fun! I think this is why the Japanese teachers and staff get along so well! Everyone seems to go out to drink and eat (emphasis on the drinking) together often! I thought the Japanese principal we interviewed the last time I was here was kidding - no! What makes for a nice workplace environment? Drinking and karaoke! Really! By the way, Takahama sensei, my supervisor, is the guy in front of me with the tie.

"dags, ya like dags?"

No - not a spelling error - but I forget that some of you might not understand the reference to the Guy Ritchie movie, "Snatch"...if you don't know what "pikeys" (sp?) are, watch the movie and get back to me. Oh - and ah, in the meantime, you might want to keep your dOgs away from diamonds and squeaker toys...
(ps - click on the underlined title)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Bow - WOW

(yes, I like dags...but this post is really about softball)

My first 5 classes (40 students each, 2 class periods I had 80 kids!) went really well today - they seemed to have a good time, and of course Sam was a big hit. After school I caught the bus home and then ran/walked back to school (about 45 min or so). It was about 6pm, so I hung around the groups practicing sports and their routines for the festival. These kids are really amazing - after school clubs are just what they all do - they play, rehearse, etc. instead of getting into trouble or playing video games. Anyway, I wandered out to the (boys) softball practice (they know that I play). Get this. They all saw me, and actually ALL STOPPED WHAT THEY WERE DOING, TURNED TO ME AND BOWED, saying "konnichiwa". Omigosh...I didn't quite know what to do! I kinda bowed back and returned their greeting in English. Then they gave me a ball and a glove and I threw with one of the guys for a bit. And I wouldn't be surprised if there's a pair of cleats my size waiting for me at my desk tomorrow. I really think the want me to play with them ??? One of the guys asked me - probably on behalf of the team - to come to their game next week. Then, when I left, they all stopped and bowed (they stayed down awhile!) again!

Just another day in the life...It's so hard being the local celebrity :)

Monday, September 04, 2006

Garden Delight

As I was just told today (if I understand the "Japanenglish" correctly), our school property was apparently the site of some sort of a castle during the Edo period. Therefore, this lovely little garden has been preserved, and the students use it for practicing dance, music, etc. How bad can my day get if I can go out the front door of the school, sit on an ancient stone bridge, and visit with the koi?

Sado - "the way of tea"

I take great delight in going out to this little tea house (pictures of a tea ceremony to follow later this week) and the garden that we have here on the grounds (I can't believe I go to "work" here every day!).

Isahaya Koko

Here's a photo of the front of my home school, Isahaya Koko (academic high school). The cypress (?) always smell so good when I walk under them...