I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had time to update my blog in quite awhile. It’s been hectic day after day since last week.
In case you haven’t been watching my videos on YouTube, my birthday was on December 16th. It’s during one of the busiest times of the year, with classes ending and the holidays approaching. I actually found out the week before that the school that I would visit on my birthday and the next day weren’t going to have English classes that entire week, so I spent that day at work doing pretty much nothing.
One thing brightened my day though:
This delicious-looking cake was waiting for me after I came back from eating lunch with the 5th graders. Apparently the 6th graders made the cake in cooking class and shared it with the teachers, but the fact that it was on my birthday made me feel really happy.
The next day I had a bounenkai (year-end party) at Kishi. This was my second enkai with them, and the first one was really fun so I was looking forward to this one, and it exceeded my expectations. The seats were chosen by lottery, and I ended up sitting next to the music teacher, who had given me a ride to the restaurant. Despite being separated into two groups, a lot of the teachers moved around, so I was able to talk to the teachers from the other side as well. One of the 4th grade teachers, who is a first-year, is really outgoing and always tries to speak what little English he can to me, mainly because he knows I’m entertained by it. At one point he was looking at me from the other side of the room and started making faces at me, and when the other teachers saw me laughing they turned around and he pretended like he wasn’t doing anything, lol.
After we finished eating the main course, one of the teachers explained that since the students all had to take tests at the end of the semester, she was going to give us one to test our knowledge. Needless to say, I hardly knew any of the answers other than the English-related questions, but it was fun watching the other teachers scratch their heads at some of the questions.
A few of us (the younger teachers, except for the 5th grade teacher who’s twice my age but really cool) went to karaoke after dinner, which was the highlight of my night. The teachers at Kishi are a lot of fun to hang out with, even though I can’t say or understand all of what they say.
The 18th was the big marathon at Ichiba. I was asked to run with the first graders and so I did, but when it came time for the fifth graders to run, some of the girls begged me to run with them. At first I said no, but changed my mind because I was happy that they actually wanted me to. It was really tiring, but near the end the students cheered for me and a lot of the teachers praised and thanked me for running more than I had to.
On Monday I was supposed to have a day off, but I was invited by the principal at Kishi to sing two Christmas songs for the school during their morning assembly. I was a bit nervous because I didn’t have much time to prepare, but I think I did a pretty good job. I’ll link to the videos once I upload them.
The enkai with Ichiba wasn’t quite as enjoyable; I ended up sitting with a lot of teachers I usually don’t talk to and no one really moved around because we were sitting at tables instead of on the floor like at a traditional Japanese restaurant. And since the enkai was on a Tuesday night, that meant no afterparty, which was a letdown. Fortunately my next-door neighbors were having a game night, so afterwards I headed to their place to hang out.
After my last day of work before the break, I was busy running around trying to clean and pack. Things were a little more stuffed in my small suitcase than I expected they would be, but my large suitcase that I brought from the states would have been too big for me to want to deal with. Of course I’ll probably be bringing back a lot of stuff, so I’m thinking of buying a slightly bigger suitcase and sending some stuff to Ono by takkyuubin near the end of my trip.
Since I’m in my hostel right now, I don’t feel the excitement of Tokyo just quite yet, but I will tomorrow when I go to visit some familiar places that I’ve missed so much.
Lastly, Here’s the Christmas tree I decorated before I left:
In the U.S., I’ve only seen two kinds of fake Christmas trees: green ones and white ones. In Japan, trees are not limited to those two colors, and as one would expect, they are a lot smaller than the ones in America. The Daiso in Sannomiya carries mini trees from about 60cm to 120cm tall, in not only green but sky blue, white, pink, and even black. Anyone that knows me knows that 1) I like to be non-traditional whenever I can, and 2) I like to punk everything up with chains when possible. So I decided to buy a black tree and decorate it with red, white and silver, and make a garland out of chains. Unfortunately, the chains I bought were two heavy for the trees, so I tediously separated the chain into pieces to hang on the branches. I had done the same with this gorgeous purple crystal garland that I found at Tokyu Hands, thus adding purple to my color scheme. I bought a few random ornaments from Loft and Tokyu Hands, and since I couldn’t find a star that I liked I just used two of the ornaments and set them on top. I was expecting to find some really nice (and expensive) stars to choose from, but neither store had any that I could find, and instead had cheap and simple plastic stars. Even though I won’t be back until January, I think I’ll shop around for a star while I’m in Tokyo. In fact, I like my tree so much that I think I’ll leave it up for a while and keep adding decorations to it.